What is best – a cattery, cat sitter, or live-in sitter
for my cat when I travel?
Cats are territorial and easily become stressed when moved to a new environment with the familiarity of scent, furniture and their territory, whether in the home or extended to outside, suddenly removed. Making the right choice for your cat is paramount and relies on many factors including your cats personality. Caring for your cat when you have to travel should be your number one priority and should suit your cats personality.
I am often asked the question of whether a cat is best placed in a cattery when my clients have to travel. In my humble opinion a cattery is not really the best option. Your cat is far better remaining in its home with visits from a reliable cat sitter or, better still, a live in cat sitter who also takes care of the security in your home.
For a cat who is extremely guarded at home and who doesn’t see many people, being put in a cat boarding situation or a pen in a cattery would make it fearful and anxious resulting in possible aggression. I have seen this happen recently at a cat boarding facility. The cat was so fearful of its new surroundings, being plonked there out of the blue, that it spent its days there hissing, growling and about to attack anything that moved, including the human boarder. Your cats personality must be what drives your answer in what is best. Of course, if a cat is territorially aggressive then this can also cause a problem for the cat sitter who has to enter the home daily. I have spoken to cat sitters who have experienced aggressive cats who do not like the presence of a stranger in their homes. Introducing a cat sitter on sessions , before the client goes away, may help but in some instances the cat will revert to behaviours the client will not be aware the cat is capable of including misjudging the extent of their cat’s anxiety.
If you know your cat is aggressive and will cause a cat sitter a problem then the best solution is a cattery. If you know your cat will have no problems with a stranger entering the home then the best solution is a live-in cat sitter. The latter is great for cats who suffer separation anxiety but if this is not possible then boarding is the next best option. For independent cats who are free roaming it’s fine to hire a cat sitter. If a live-in cat sitter is not available for small kittens I would suggest finding a cat boarder who takes on one clients’ cats at a time. Elderly cats should be sat at home when-ever possible.
I hope this has been helpful!
Should you wish a personal recommendation for a live-in cat sitter or a live-in house sitter then Anita Kelsey, Cat Behavior Councillor, can assist you. Please initially email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Caring for your cat when you have to travel should not give you leave you fretting. Ask for advice and get it right the first time around.