[First Published: 17 Nov 2016, Last Updated: 20 Sep 2019]
Cat Boarding in Singapore
Going away on a holiday is meant to be an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, cat owners in Singapore avoid leaving the country entirely, simply because they’re faced with a lack of options when it comes down to where they should board their cats, and who they should task to care for them. Home-based pet boarding is an illegal affair, and when it comes to hiring a cat sitter, who knows if they can be trusted to safely enter your home while you’re away?
Understanding what makes for a good cat boarding facility is crucial in providing yourself with the peace of mind that your cat will be well cared for in your absence. Here are some tips on how you can make informed decisions when it comes to choosing a cat hotel in Singapore.
Select A Cat Hotel With a Credible, Trustworthy Reputation
Take some time to ask friends or fellow cat owners about feedback on places you’re considering. You could also ask your local vet, groomer or pet store if they have recommendations for you. Do a social media check on catteries that you are keen in, and see what anyone has to say about their personal experience with them.
Look For a Cat-Exclusive Environment
Boarding facilities that open their doors to other pets; such as dogs, may cause unnecessary stress to your cat. Not only will it be in a completely new environment, unknown sound and smell will only add to your cat’s anxiety. A cat-only boarding hotel also means that the team is prepared and able to care for your cat with the love and attention it needs.
Check for Security Measures in Place
Does it seem as if the space has been carefully and purposefully designed for a cat? Cats love a good adventure, and can be great escape artists if they put their minds to it. Your cat boarding facility of choice should have multiple levels of security, and there should be a closed-door policy in place, so that the cats can’t get out, even if they tried.
Make a Viewing Appointment at the Cat Hotel
Always make a visit to see the cat boarding facility of your choice. Be wary of cat boarders who are hesitant to open their doors to you, or are reluctant to share information freely regarding their practices and policies. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a dubious business that refuses to show you how they run their cattery.
During your visit, here are some things you’ll want to look out for, or ask important questions about.
In spaces where there is a high density of pets, there will always be a chance of viruses and bacteria spreading. Your cat boarding hotel of choice should have proactive measures in place to ensure that its occupants are properly vaccinated and protected against parasites and diseases.
Cat Hotel Spaces
You want to pay close attention to the design and management of the cat boarding facility of your choice. Your cat should have the right to its own private lodging space. This provides a secure area where your cat won’t be able to squeeze past, and a safe haven where it can decompress and get used to its new surroundings.
A hygienic, well-run cat hotel should:
- Have a secure, cozy area for your cat to stay
- Be clean and free of odour
- Understand the importance of frequent, stringent sanitization and disinfection practices
- Never allow cats from separate households to touch or interact with one another
- Never encourage the sharing of food bowls or litter bins
Some other things you may want to check on include:
- How the cattery screens each cat before admission
- What vaccinations are compulsory for guests
- How the cattery ensures your cat’s health and safety
- The cattery’s cat handling practices
And if there’s one thing you can do for your cat, it’s this –
BEWARE OF COMMUNAL CAT AREAS.
You may think that your cat will benefit from being able to access a shared exercise area, such as a play room or indoor cat run. But don’t be fooled, because you should really be avoiding these places like the plague.
As we’ve emphasized, your cat boarding facility of choice must have a strict policy on hygiene and cleanliness. This extends beyond your cat’s living space, and into the upkeep of shared areas, such as the reception.
Common cat diseases can be easily spread through simple, seemingly harmless interactions. They can be shed through bodily fluids (saliva, urine), direct contact with infected cats, bites and scratches. All of these can be easily avoided simply by ensuring your cat remains isolated from others. Plus, your cat is a solitary creature, and the reality is that having to share a new environment with another cat breeds hostility and can potentially escalate into catfights.
A contained, solitary environment may truly be the best option for your cat outside of its home. And if the cattery of your choice promises to provide your cat with a large area to reside in, make sure they have procedures in place to ensure the pristine upkeep of their environment.
Observe the Cats in Their Care
The very best indicator of a cat boarding facility’s ability to care for its guests is how satisfied and happy the cats in their care seem when you pop by. As a rule of thumb, you want to look out for a boarding facility that will:
Provide a Routine
Routine makes for a happy cat. By sticking to a schedule, your cat will know when feeding time is, and be able to expect play and rest at the appropriate time.
Help Your Cat Settle In
The caretakers should be willing to help you mimic your cat’s daily lives while you’re away.
Look for a place that would:
- gladly feed the foods you feed (according to your instructions)
- make adjustments to help your cat get used to life away from you momentarily
- aims to care for your cat as if it were their own.
Caretakers that strive to care for your cat as if it’s their own would have practices in place to monitor your cat’s behaviour. They are likely to have a vet on call that will attend to your cat in the event it feels unwell. They would also pay attention to providing holistic care for your cat, through an emphasis on physical wellbeing, mental stimulation and emotional adaptability.
It may seem like an uphill task, but investing the time and effort to suss out a cat boarding facility that you can trust in the long term is well worth it. You can take heart in the fact that your cat will adapt easily and quickly to its new environment, as long as ample provisions are available to ensure that it feels secure and safe in its temporary home.
Most importantly, you’ll thank yourself when you are able to take a long holiday without having to feel anxious about going away, or coming home to a cat that is unhealthy or upset that you were gone.