Contented Cattery Visit
Over the last number of years of operating Cedar Lodge Cattery and undertaking various educational courses etc., I continuously strive to ensure that our guests are as happy and contented as possible, with minimum anxiousness or stress. The following Hints & Tips are things that I generally discuss with customers, particularly new customers, and I felt that it might be helpful to list them here for all to see.
Before visiting the Cattery:
- Before any stay, be sure to give the cattery as much information about your cat as possible/reasonable – even if this is an update on any changes from a previous stay. Things that are helpful are your cat’s likes and dislikes, e.g., do not pick up, or, loves being groomed, etc. Also, it is helpful to let the cattery know what signs you look out for to know that your cat is not 100% happy – remember, all cats are individual and react to different experiences in their own particular way.
- Be as detailed as you can when it comes to recent or recurring health issues. Things like any recent changes in behaviour, appetite, weight, infections, trips to the vet, etc. Any concerns you might have or tips for the cattery owner to watch out for are all helpful. Triggers that you are familiar with, that tell you that there is something not right with your cat can assist any cattery in terms of monitoring the comfort of your cat’s stay with them.
- In terms of diet, it is always preferable to have a minimal change to what your cat is happy with – be sure to tell the cattery what works for your cat. Don’t forget, minimal change might include sticking to a regular variety in the foods given! If your cattery doesn’t provide the food your cat prefers, consider providing your own food to ensure that your cat is as happy as possible, and remember, given the vast array of foods available, it is not practical for catteries to stock everything.
- Let your cattery know what treats your cat likes or favourite treat food; your cattery will want to make sure your cat is as happy as possible, and particularly for a first-timer, a treat can be very handy to assist with the settling-in period. Helping cats settle as fast as possible is of great benefit to your cat, as well as the cattery owner!
- As with most animals, cats benefit from an introduction to new circumstances in as easy a way as possible. While all cats are individual, younger cats seem to be able to adapt more easily. It may be worth considering sending your cat (or kitten if possible), to the cattery you have decided upon, even before you might need to go on holiday/undertake those home renovations/bring the new baby home, etc. You never know when that unexpected or urgent circumstance might crop up, but it is preferable for a cat to be sent to a cattery for a second or subsequent visit rather than a rushed first visit.
- If you are worried about how your cat will react to being placed in a cattery, a “trial visit” might work for you and your cat? A trial visit might reassure you that the cattery you choose is the best one for you and your cat, but also, you can see how your cat reacts to a shorter cattery stay before you might need an extended cattery visit, e.g., going abroad for two weeks. If you are anxious about a first visit, at least you know that you will be on hand to chat to the cattery owner or collect your cat if, for any reason, the cattery visit isn’t working out.
First Visit to the Cattery
- For a first visit, discuss with your cattery, and consider yourself, a stay period that is most beneficial to your cat. I am sometimes asked to take in a first-time cat for a single night, or short weekend, etc. I find that if a cat is taking time to settle into the new surroundings and people, a short visit might miss the opportunity to allow the cat to learn that this is a safe and secure place to be, and therefore, fully enjoy its stay. If your cat is taken home after a very short stay and hasn’t had a sufficient chance to “take in” all the new experiences, that’s the memory it will have when they might return to the cattery for a second visit. That said, all cats are individuals, and some cats are so laid back, they are completely at ease from the moment they arrive!
- Consider sending an item with the scent of a loved human with your cat to the cattery. I have had a variety of items provided over the years, from running or gardening shoes, jumpers, dressing gowns, t-shirts, etc. One idea that I have come across, which I think is quite successful, is using an old pillowcase for a number of days in the run-up to the cattery visit. Please keep this item separate from the carrier when transporting the cat to the cattery as the purpose is to provide a familiar and comforting scent for the cat in a new environment; if there is any chance your cat might soil or vomit on the journey, the benefit will be lost if the item needs to be cleaned!
- Vaccinations are completely necessary. There are several approaches recommended by a variety of people, but it is a good idea to provide all the details to your cattery owner as soon as possible in case the cattery might identify an issue or need something clarified. If you have left enough time, and an issue is identified, at least you have time to rectify things before the stay. It doesn’t suit anyone to be so close to a cattery visit and an over-sight is discovered, but not enough time to correct it before the cat arrives at the cattery, e.g., 10 days from the last vaccination to ensure full cover, or ensuring that initial and follow-up vaccinations are completed and given the appropriate time to be effective.
I hope that you find some or all of the above Hints & Tips helpful, but should you need to clarify anything with me prior to booking into Cedar Lodge Cattery, please drop me a note or give me a call.