Helpful Advice About Boarding
arranging to place your cat in a kennel
Stop by your local ABKA kennel and visit with the owner. Get acquainted with the people who will be caring for your cat. Ask questions; take nothing for granted. Find out if toys or bedding are welcome. Find out about the diet which the kennel provides. (If there is a special diet which you would like your cat to adhere to, most kennels will allow you to provide such food and will see to it that your cat is fed only what you request. Discuss safety features. Boarding cats requires good security to prevent escapes. Discuss frankly any qualms you may have about boarding your cat. The kennel will appreciate your frankness and interest.
The experienced personnel at Little Wolfe’s Pet Resort are trained to recognize the warning signs of potential health problems and will contact a veterinarian if they feel it is called for. Many times it is easier for kennel personnel to detect problems than it is for the owner of the cat. For example urinary problems, a warning sign that deserves attention, can be more easily detected in the kennel than at home, because the cat is closely supervised.
But it is not part of the kennel’s job to diagnose or to prescribe. If kitty requires veterinary aid while he is in the kennel, you should be aware that you are financially responsible for such aid. Discuss, before boarding, any medication kitty might need or any special care. Most kennels offer a certain amount of individual care (playing with, talking to, petting) but you must be reasonable. (Asking the kennel owner to allow kitty privileges which might result in an escape is not fair to either the kennel or the cat.)
Make certain you understand the rate structure for all services and hours of operation. The fee for boarding not only includes the care of your cat but also your peace of mind that comes from knowing that kitty is safe and with someone you can trust.
One standard for measuring the kennel owner’s interest in his profession is his membership in the American Boarding Kennels Association. You can be certain that ABKA members are trying to keep current on the latest developments within the industry, and that they truly care about your pet. Their membership certificate and ABKA Code of Ethics will be proudly displayed.
Facts to Consider
Keep in mind that cats react much differently in a strange environment than do dogs. Cats are instinctively solitary animals. They do not run in packs as dogs do. Therefore, when confronted with strange surroundings, a cat’s normal response is to withdraw physically and mentally into a protected, solitary state. For this reason, cats enjoy the “protected” feeling they get from being caged while in the kennel.
While it is true that most dogs want to run around and get acquainted, your cat will probably want to sit in the corner of his cage and stare, until he feels comfortable in the new environment. Human contact does not normally accelerate this period of acclimatizing. It has to take place at the cat’s own speed. A common reaction of cat owners to the idea of caging is “kitty loves to run around.” Perhaps he does at home, but while he is in unfamiliar surroundings, his cage gives him a feeling of safety.
“But what about exercise?” Here again, the difference between a cat and a dog must be understood. Dogs need space in which to get their necessary exercise, whereas cats exercise isometrically. This means that if a cat has enough room to stretch, he can exercise every muscle in his body. When your cat is in strange surroundings, around strange cats, he will undoubtedly much prefer “safety” to “space.”
Fortunately, within the last several years, there have been significant advances in immunization programs for cats. In past years, there were a number of contagious airborne viruses which caused serious respiratory problems in cats. These viruses could not be controlled by any means except complete isolation of all cats from each other. Now, however, thanks to advances made by the veterinary pharmaceutical companies, there are effective vaccines available to prevent such diseases.
Most kennels have strict policies regarding the immunization programs for these diseases. You should be aware of the kennel policy and discuss it with your veterinarian prior to boarding your cat. In fairness to the kennel, you should also make sure that your cat is not exposed to any contagious cat diseases prior to boarding.
Stress is a Factor
Any animal in strange surroundings suffers from stress. This means that his normal immune process is affected, as well as his eating and digestive habits. Little Wolfe’s Pet Resort will do everything possible to minimize the effects of stress on your cat. (For this reason, it is a good procedure for them to allow your cat to adjust to the kennel environment at his own rate.) However, you can help to minimize the effects of stress by trying to make the boarding experience as pleasant as possible for your cat. Remember that the more often that your cat boards, the more adjusted he will be to the kennel environment, and the easier the boarding process becomes for him. Therefore, several short periods of boarding prior to a lengthy vacation will probably do more to help your cat adjust to boarding than will anything else.
Welcoming Kitty Home
After you pick kitty up from the kennel, be sure to keep him locked in at home for a few days before allowing him to roam. Just as he had to adjust to the kennel, so will he have to adjust to being home again. Allow him to find that “at home” feeling again before letting him out of the house.
Remember… we are in the business of boarding because we love animals. We want boarding to be a pleasant experience for you and for your cat.