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Preparing Your Pet for Boarding

When you make the decision to take your pet to a boarding environment for care, it is important you make it as easy as possible for your pet & of course for you. It’s also important to understand it doesn’t have to be unpleasant or distressing.  Some people still think it’s ‘cruel’ to leave their pet at a boarding kennels or cattery but that is far from the truth:  people feel this way because they are trying to imagine how their pet will feel, based on human feelings, if left at a kennel or cattery.  Pet owners also feel unsure because they are the ones going away & wonder how their pet is coping. 

We can’t stress enough the importance of the settling in process for all pets to ensure they feel happy, safe & content while in our care. It is not enough to think because someone operates a boarding kennel & cattery they know how to care properly for pets in a boarding environment.  This is when our 32 years of experience is really beneficial – we pay attention to each pet, understand how pets, individually, react & behave in a boarding environment.  We notice the signs of discontent & we do something about it to help each pet settle, relax & feel content & safe whilst with us – we don’t ignore pets.

So, the best thing for your pet is to establish a relationship with a boarding place – preferably us? - & take the time for your pet to adjust.  Pets do adjust & learn routines; they do get to know their temporary home whilst you are away.  We see it time & time again:  the first time a pet comes to us they are slightly hesitant, the next time they come they remember so they relax much quicker, 3rd time “oh I know you – I can do want I want here?”.

That’s the emotional side covered, now for the practical side.

DOGS

  • Prepare: does your dog have a favourite toy, blanket?  Have it ready to bring
  • Make sure you have the current vaccination certificate ready to show on arrival
  • The best thing for your pet is to settle him or her in their new environment the day before you set off on your holiday or work time away – less stress for you & your pet. If you can’t come the day before allow plenty of time so you are not rushing.
  • It is also best for your pet to come to our place in the morning, particularly for the first visit, as it gives him or her the whole day to settle in & get to know us
  • Don’t feed your dog for a minimum of 4 hours before you bring him or her to us; nerves, excitement or a bit of anxiety can cause diarrhoea which is not very pleasant for your pet
  • Ensure your dog is on a lead or in a pet carrier when you arrive
  • When you arrive, if you have a small dog, resist the temptation to carry your dog in – put him or her on a lead & walk in confidently
  • Be relaxed, don’t hug or cling to your dog – this sets off alarm bells for your pet; “my owner is worried, I need to worry”.
  • It is very important to remember your pet will always prefer to be with you – that is his or her first priority. He or she might look at you with pleading eyes, he or she might try to follow you as you leave – this is all normal.  But remember as soon as you leave the settling in process starts, it does not mean your pet is going to be sad whilst you are away.
  • When you return your pet is going to be really excited to see you – this does not mean he or she has been sad whilst you have been away. Most pets get really excited when you return home from work or shopping, sometimes even when you come back from the mailbox.  This is one of the most endearing qualities of a pet – they are always happy to see you.

CATS

Most cat owners will tell you they are certain their cat understood the phone call making arrangements to come to the cattery! Cats are extremely aware & sensitive to changes & it is important you do not take it for granted your cat will be where he or she normally is or where you want your cat to be when you are ready to take your cat to the cattery.  There are a few simple things to remember to make sure there aren’t any last-minute hiccups.

But firstly, going back to our introduction on boarding tips, we can’t stress enough the importance of the settling in process for all pets to ensure they feel happy, safe & content while in our care: even more so with cats.  Cats need that extra bit of help, particularly with their first stay.  Cats rarely just settle in; they need to feel they are in an environment they can relax in.  It is not enough to think because someone operates a cattery they know how to care properly for cats in a cattery environment.  This is when our 32 years of experience is really beneficial – we pay attention to each pet, understand how pets, individually, react & behave in a boarding environment.  We notice the signs of discontent & we do something about it to help each pet settle, relaxe & feel content & safe whilst with us – we don’t ignore pets.

  • Always make sure you use a cat carrier to bring your cat to us; a cat loose in the car can be dangerous & it is distressing for your cat
  • It is much easier & safer for your cat to bring him or her to us before you start packing to go away; simply bringing the suitcase out & leaving it in the bedroom ready to pack is enough to let your cat know you are going away
  • Don’t bring the cat carrier out before you have your cat inside, in a secure room – the first sign of the cat carrier & most cats will go into hiding & they are very good at hiding!
  • Make sure your cat is inside the night before you plan to bring him or her to us – they should not be allowed outside at all when you get up the next morning
  • It is also best for him or her to come to us in the morning, particularly for the first visit, as it gives him or her the whole day to settle in & get to know us
  • Most cats travel better on an empty stomach; don’t feed your cat for at least 4 hours before you come to us
  • If your cat isn’t use to travelling in the car it can help him or her to be calm if you cover your cat’s carrier with a towel; cats are more inclined to relax/settle in a dark place
  • It is better to put a thick layer of newspaper in the pet carrier; some cats will go to the toilet when in a carrier. Newspaper is very absorbent where as a towel or blanket becomes a sodden mess and very uncomfortable for you pet
  • Definitely bring your cat’s favourite blanket, cushion, basket or igloo bed; it will do absolutely no harm whatsoever to bring it & it will almost certainly help your cat to settle in
  • When you arrive, there will be some excitement from the dogs, however once you are inside that is the last time your cat will see the dogs until it’s home time
  • Once inside please leave your cat in his or her cat carrier; generally cats don’t like to be forced out of their carrier – have your goodbye hug at home before you come to us
  • When you come home & pick up your cat, he or she will either be very vocal, wanting to tell you everything, or give you the brush off. This is normal for cats:  it is always on their terms – accept it & they will be back to their usual selves in no time at all.