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Choosing the right cattery

It’s the time of year that everyone starts to dream of sunnier climates. The weather is cold, generally gloomy, mostly wet, and we all end up day dreaming of the most elusive thing in the UK – Sunshine. So you book your holidays, daydream about what you’ll pack and gladly think about the most difficult choice being to sunbathe by the sea or by the pool. But while you’re dreaming of your perfect escape, who’s going to look after the family member who won’t be coming with you? Choosing the right cattery can be a daunting decision, leaving behind a family member in the care of a relative stranger is no easy task. So how do you know which to pick? We’ve put together a small guide for you on what to look out for to make sure that your cat’s holiday is just as amazing as yours.

1) General considerations
  • Know your price range – Catteries will range in price depending on their location, and services available. As with all things, generally the more you pay, the better the service provided will be. In the MK area prices will range from £8.50 to £15 per day, with some discounts for multiple cats!
  • Inspections – If the cattery you’re interested in doesn’t allow any prior inspections, then seek somewhere else. Meeting the people who will be looking after your family member while you’re away is really important and shouldn’t be underestimated.
  • Websites – If they have a website then it’s worth looking into all that they offer, and if there are any specific terms and conditions you must abide by before lodging your cat there.
  • Testimonials – On their website is great, but those on a hosting website e.g. yell.com are better as they’re not controlled by the cattery owners and so not subject to bias. This means you can get a real idea of what other cat owners before you have really thought about the cattery.
2) Accommodation
  • Housing – Your cat shouldn’t be housed with cats from other households, so individual housing should be available. That being said, if you have multiple cats, it would be better for them to be housed together and so “family accommodation” or cat flaps opening up several individual pens to one another should be available. The housing should also be heated, even in the summer the British nights can get chilly, its important that your loved one stays comfy and cosy so they can enjoy their holiday.
  • Environmental Enrichment – At home your cat will have access to a range of different environments to play around in, a cattery should ideally provide facilities for play and scratching around to ensure that your cat doesn’t get bored during their stay.
  • Outdoor Access – It is important for cats to have the access to the outdoors that they are used to but in a safe environment. Ideally the cattery should have an outdoor run providing a safe area for cat’s to have the outdoor exploration they are used to. Also some catteries may offer outdoor access ad lib, so your cat may come and go as he/she pleases.
  • Safety Passage – Should your cat prove to be a bit of a Houdini, a safety passage should be in place so that if an escape attempt is made, they can be caught and returned to the safety of their pen, quickly and without any problems.
  • The Surrounding Area – If your cat isn’t used to dogs, then ideally the cattery shouldn’t be in range of a doggery, or any noisy neighbours!
3) Cattery requirements
  • Vaccinations – A good cattery will require that your cat is fully up to date with their vaccinations before entering the cattery to ensure that there is no spread of disease at all.
  • Flea and Worming treatment – Most good catteries will also ask that your cat is treated for fleas before their stay, and some may also ask for up to date worming treatment.
4) Additional considerations
  • Prescription/special diets – Catteries should either offer most diets themselves or be happy to deal with feeding special prescription diets.
  • Medications – Some catteries will be happy to administer medications, its worth checking if they will do this and if there is any extra cost incurred.
  • Grooming – Long haired cats will need grooming on a regular basis, you will need to check if the cattery will provide this service and if there is any additional cost involved.
  • Veterinary arrangements – These should always be sorted BEFORE you leave for your holidays, you will need to give the cattery your consent for veterinary treatment if it is necessary. Checks should also be made as to which veterinary surgery will be used in the event that your cat does require attention.
  • TLC – Your cat is used to having a loving, caring owner at home and so should be spoilt with love and affection whilst on holiday too! Ensure that there are provisions made for time to be spent fussing your cat.

Happy Cattery hunting, and Happy Holidays from all of us at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group.

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