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What Is a Cattery & How to Choose the Best Cattery

Pets are not just for Christmas, as the old saying goes. When you take on a cat , you have a responsibility to take care of it beyond its novelty value. But that doesn’t mean you can always be around hand and foot for 365 days a year without a break.

You can’t always take a cat on vacation with you (not, at least, until they break ground on that brand new cat-sized resort in Barbados), so you need an option to make sure your pet is getting cared for while you’re away.

Thankfully, there are literally thousands of catteries all across the country that specialize in pet boarding services. Some are so luxurious , you’ll wonder if you should be checking in yourself!

In this article, we’ll be answering the question: what is a cattery? We will also cover why you should use one, what to look for in them, and how to choose the best boarding cattery.

what is a cattery

A big cattery

What Is a Cattery?

Catteries are often called cat hotels, or sometimes even cat boarding kennel(thanks to the predominance of dog boarding services).

Whatever the term, a cattery is a hygienic compound that can be built indoors or outdoors. It provides a safe, warm, enclosed environment for individual cats (or cats from the same family who are familiar with each other sharing) to stay.

Catteries are boarding places where cats can expect to be cleaned, fed and be attended to depending on their personalities.

One of the benefits of using a boarding cattery other than knowing where your cat is, your cat may need attention or to be played with, cattery staff will be more than happy to oblige!

cats playing in a cattery

boarding cats

Why Use a Cattery?

Catteries, and the best catteries, can be a little dearer. But in using a cattery, you pay for peace of mind .

The traditional option for a lot of owners is either to leave the cat with enough food to last the time alone or to ask a neighbor or cat sitter to check in and make sure that they are okay or to feed them. Both options, while saving you money, present problems.

If your cat is a needy one, being alone in an environment where it would usually find company can cause a lot of stress to them. If you feel your neighbors may be too unreliable, or if you don’t have any or don’t know them, your option to leave the cat alone in the house is not a suitable alternative.

A cat without supervision could become trapped, or lost without anyone’s knowledge – not to mention the potential damage a stressed cat can do to a house itself.

Catteries not only provide that oversight, but they are also a place for cats to get companionship and to stay healthy in the event of an emergency.

You are paying for a cat lover to dedicate themselves to the physical and mental well-being of your beloved animal.

Taking your child to a daycare center is like taking your cat to a cattery.

cats in a cattery

Cats in the play area

How to Choose the Best Cattery

Catteries are less strictly regulated in the USA than say in the UK or Europe. In the UK for example, catteries are required to have a license by the local authority’s Environmental Health department (Animal Boarding Establishments Act of 1963).

But there are a few bodies that govern certain elements, such as the guidelines laid out by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) or The International Cat Association (TICA) .

Even if they are insured and licensed, when you are wondering how to choose the best boarding cattery it is always important to maintain your own level of due diligence. If you are not happy, then you will not be happy leaving your cat there either.

You should always visit a cattery before you leave your cat there.

Before you get the specifics of the price and the distance, you should ask yourself:

  • Is it light or warm enough here?
  • Is it noisy?
  • Do the owners seem enthusiastic and good-natured?

Google and Facebook reviews can only tell you so much. Traditional catteries tend to be an older-generation owned enterprise, and some of them are not so internet savvy. Still, a quick email response and a good telephone call can go a long way in showing that they are good mannered enough to be caring (and also present in the daytime hours!)

Beyond those issues, you might also do well to look at the surrounding area, the enclosure and the property it is on.

Is it stimulating enough (a nice view, for example)? Also, how many cats will be staying here?

how to choose a cattery

Another boarding cattery

What to Look for In a Cattery

Catteries should also provide an indoor and outdoor space for your cat, even if that means an indoor pen is divided up.

Plenty of Space

Modern catteries are purpose-built to contain a raised-level platform that gives an enclosed sleeping area, while the space outside is the ‘exercise’ area . This gives cats ample opportunity to choose their own environment, whether they are feeling social or antisocial.

The common (false) image of a cattery is one of cats all hanging around together in a yard, but if you discover a cattery that is constructed like this you should turn around and leave.

While it is companionable for cats to be around each other in a cattery, they should never be able to interact with one another beyond seeing one another. This will remove almost any chance they have of upsetting one another, fighting, or – and this is key – sharing germs and potentially incubating diseases.

Squeaky Clean!

A good cattery will be warm and hygienic. Traditional wooden constructions are their way out because they are typically neither of those things. Newly built catteries are constructed from UPVC plastic and metal mesh that are easy to clean and fireproof. Either way, they should have a safety corridor which comes between the pen and the outside world should the worst happen and your cat make a run for it.

Whatever happens, you should check when visiting that the cattery is cleaned regularly with proper cleaning materials (regular antibacterial spray can hurt some paws, so cat-specific ones are needed). Are the litter trays emptied? Is there hair all over the place? Food on the floor?

Good catteries will also stress your responsibility to them : to tell them of any medical conditions your cat has, if it needs medicine (if it is epileptic or diabetic for instance) and whether it’s vaccinations and flea treatments are up to date.

Cat in the window next to a plant

Leaving a cat at home can be stressful

Getting Ready to Use a Cattery

Worked out how to choose the best cattery for you? There’s a couple of things you need to do before the big day.

  • Make sure you confirm a time of arrival with the cat hotel – they have a long day of cleaning, feeding, pickups and drop-offs and need to be able to attend to their cats individually without surprise visits.
  • Make sure you bring a certificate proving vaccinations are up to date (and be suspicious if they don’t ask for one).
  • Take a favorite toy or blanket. While a good cattery will provide adequate entertainment and stimulation, it’s not uncommon for cats to need some time to settle into their new location (new sights, sounds, smells), and a favored item that reminds them of home will help them enormously.
  • If your cat is on p rescription food or a special diet, make sure the cattery knows well in advance. If you are unsure if they can provide it, bring enough for the cat to eat during its stay.Kittens playing in grass

What Is a Cattery business? Final Thoughts

In this article we have answered the question: what is a cattery?

It is essentially a cat boarding facility.

When wondering how to choose the best cattery, there are so many more factors beyond cost and location. If you want the best for your cat while you take necessary trips away from home, it’s not worth the risk of leaving it with an unknown pet sitter/neighbor or to fend for itself.

By far the best option is to put Kitty in a cattery. At least you’re sure he will get fed, stay healthy, and be attended to.

Sure, it’s always a little upsetting to drop your beloved feline off at it’s own hotel for a week, but the peace of mind is worth the heartache. Besides – you’ll be reunited soon enough!

Michael Lee

Tuesday 26th of March 2019

My wife and I are going out of town and have been thinking about using a cattery. I think that a cattery would help to make sure that the cats have great socialization for the cat. This would also help to make sure that our cat has a great experience.

Brittany, Paul, & Yoda =^^=

Tuesday 26th of March 2019

Hey Mike! Definitely agree ;) We have been so lucky here in MX so far - we found the perfect cattery just next door and it makes us feel so much better when Yoda can't come on vacay with us and has to stay there. She takes such good care of him!

Millie Hue

Monday 23rd of July 2018

It really helped when you said that it would help the cat to adjust if you bring their favorite item with them during their stay. I will definitely share this information with a friend of mine who needs to board her cat for a little while. Her house is undergoing renovation, and she will be staying in a hotel for a couple of days. She can't bring her cat there, so this will be the best choice for her. With this information, she will not be worried if her cat is doing okay or not. Thanks!


Friday 17th of November 2017

beautiful web site best wishes to you

Brittany, Paul, and Yoda =^^=

Sunday 19th of November 2017

Hi Roxanne, thanks a lot for your lovely comment :) Really appreciated! Hope to see you around. Take care