Older cats: the cattery guide
Looking after our cats is important, which is why catteries are a regulated environment in which standards must be met so that your cat feels safe and comfortable.
Summer has arrived and many of us might be considering taking a short (or long!) break away from home. You will most likely be leaving your cat behind as you go on your travels so it’s best to be prepared by booking a cattery so you have peace of mind that your feline friend is in safe hands while you are away. You may already have a trusted cattery in mind that you always reach for, but as cats get older, we should be routinely checking their facilities to ensure that any limited mobility is being accommodated.
We take a look at some features of a cattery that you should be looking out for when booking your older cat in.
Cattery license regulations
Catteries must provide a suitable environment for your cat to live in. This means that the room provided for them must be kept separate from other cats and must not be any sort of outbuilding such as a garage, shed or conservatory.
In accordance with licensing regulations, here are some rules that catteries should have in place when your kitty stays over:
Your cat should always have access to their own sleeping area (unless sharing with another cat from the same household).
Check the temperature
Is it too hot? Too cold? The temperature at the cattery should be at a comfortable level for your cat to keep them happy and calm. There should be thermometers placed around the pen to monitor the temperature.
A reasonable amount of space is needed for your cat to be able to sit and stand at full height, lie down and fully stretch as well as fully walking around.
There should be a litter tray in the room that your cat can use and access with ease. There shouldn’t be any obstacles in the way in case your cat has reduced mobility due to arthritis. Check with the cattery how often the litter tray gets changed.
Your cat should have access to toys and a scratching post, as well as places for them to hide under and take a nice long cat nap. In older cats its important to keep them mentally stimulated to avoid any kitty senility, so try packing a few kitty puzzles for them to enjoy while you are away. Check with the cattery that you are allowed to pack these in line with current COVID-19 restrictions.
How to accommodate your cat
As cats get older and begin to change so does their health and energy levels. You may have a cattery in mind that has suited their needs for a while…and they probably still do now! But to make sure you both have a comfortable stay; it is best to review the facilities to ensure they are kept happy and healthy while you are gone.
Here are some additional things that you can check for your cat:
How often will food be provided for your cat? Is it a similar routine that you have at home? If your cat requires any specific senior cat food, ensure you pack this for them.
Has their sleeping area or litter tray got any obstacles where they would need to jump up and jump down from? Arthritic cats ideally need a sleeping area that can be accessed with ease.
Space to relax
Are there enough facilities at the cattery for your puss to escape and relax to? Our older cats love their afternoon snoozes!
Do they have a first aid veterinary area just in case your cat gets hurt? Are their vets qualified?
Senior cats may often come with existing medicine. Find out how the cattery currently administers any prescriptions to cats.
What does your cat need to do?
Once you have found a suitable holiday home for your kitty, your cat needs to fully vaccinated against flu and other diseases. You should also arrange to take your cat to the cattery so you can assess whether they are scared or anxious in a new environment and to make sure they can access the toilet or an area to hide away if they don’t want to see any people.
Here’s what you can do to prepare you and your cat for their cattery stay:
- Keep them up to date with vaccinations
- Pack their favourite blanket and toy (if current COVID-19 guidelines allow you to)
- Pack any senior cat food they may need
- Give the cattery some contact details of the place you are staying while you are away
- Let the cattery know of any medicines that need to be administered