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    Steps to Take Before Boarding Your Cat

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    Many boarding facilities for cats are very nice and safe, but finding the right one and getting your cat ready for drop-off can be intimidating. Thankfully, with advanced preparation, you and your cat can find the experience simple, easy, and even enjoyable.

    As much as we would love to travel with our cats, we cannot take them everywhere. When you have to travel for work or play and your cat is unable to join you, you either have to find a cat sitter to watch it or check it into a boarding facility.

    If you plan to board your cat in the near future, here is a quick guide to get you and your furry friend ready.

    #1: Find a good facility

    Well in advance of your trip, start searching for a reputable and highly regarded boarding facility for your cat. If your friends or family have cats, ask them for referrals or search online for top-rated ones that fit in your budget. Asking your vet can also turn up some recommended facilities.

    Once you have a list, research them more and find out what they offer. Some facilities are more basic, while others make personal time for your pet and truly make them feel special and loved for the duration of their stay. Some facilities have people there at all times to care for pets in case of an emergency, and others leave pets alone overnight.

    Narrow your list down to the facilities that meet your requirements based on your personal priorities.

    Stay far away from facilities that have negative reviews, especially ones that are said to be unsanitary, as illnesses can spread quickly in kennels.

    #2: Make a visit

    With a shorter list, make a request to visit the facilities ahead of time. Take a tour of the property to view the boarding facilities for yourself, meet the staff and ask lots of questions. Your cat is a part of your family, so you want to ensure it is being treated well while you’re away!

    Something many cat owners forget is to ensure the facility has separate areas for dogs and cats. Many cats can be distressed by the noise coming from dog kennels, so they should have a separate section of the facility where they can lounge in peace.

    #3: Double check the requirements

    If you decide that you like a facility and want to board your cat there, double check the rules and requirements of the facility. What time is check-in and check-out for the pets? What kind of immunizations are required for each pet? Are there things you can and cannot bring with when you drop your pet off?

    Understanding and accommodating these things ahead of time can save a lot of headache later.

    #4: Pack the essentials, and then some

    Once your cat has been registered for the boarding facility, it’s time to get ready for drop-off. You’ll want to pack all the items your cat will need while you’re away, as well as some “fun” or comforting items.

    Be sure to bring enough food for the duration of your trip, since changing your cat’s diet suddenly can cause gastrointestinal upset and make a stressful adjustment even worse. Also pack a few toys and a special blanket or bed to make your cat feel at home.

    If you think your cat will have a difficult time adjusting, you can also pack a T-shirt or other piece of clothing that smells like you to comfort your cat.

    #5: Give the facility instructions

    If your cat has a medical condition that requires the administration of medication, supplements or other supplies, make sure you pack all of those separately and provide a list of instructions for staff members at the facility to follow.

    It can also be useful to bring along a copy of your cat’s medical records, proof of vaccinations and contact information for your pet’s vet, just in case of an emergency. And, be sure to leave your contact info or emergency contact info so someone can be informed if your cat gets injured or falls ill in your absence.

    #6: Make your goodbye easy

    The transition from home to the boarding facility may not be easy on your pet or you. However, it’s important to make your cat feel comfortable in the new space and not make it scared, anxious or wary by fussing over it or getting emotional.

    Make drop-off at the facility easy and simple, give your cat a loving pet or snuggle, then head off on your adventure. Your furry friend will be well taken care of while you are away!

    Boarding your cat doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be a lot of fun, especially if your cat is social and adapts to change more easily than others. By planning ahead, you can make the transition and your trip easy and painless for everyone.

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    Dr. Janice Huntingford

    Pet Wellbeing's own Dr. Jan has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years. Since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, she's founded two veterinary clinics and lectured extensively on pet herbal therapy, nutraceuticals, acupuncture, rehabilitation and pain management.

    Dr. Jan has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities, helping us to formulate all of our supplements. She is an essential part of Pet Wellbeing.

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