Cattery or cat sitter: which is best?

Author picture Jessica

What’s the difference between a cattery and a cat sitter?

A cattery is a facility that can board cats overnight, whereas cat sitters generally provide care in the cat owner’s home. 

Cat relaxing in a basket

Cats can be super particular about their environment and daily routine. In fact, many cats experience stress if they undergo too much change in their day-to-day life. 

As such, it’s a common dilemma for cat owners: how do you minimise your cat’s stress when you need to go away on holiday? Do you send your cat to a cattery, or invite someone into your home to care for your furry friend?

Cattery or cat sitting: what do cats prefer?

Generally speaking, most cats are more suited to a cat sitter than being transported to a cattery. This is a smoother and less disruptive experience for your cat, which is more suitable for the feline temperament.

However, some people might prefer to board their cat in a cattery over cat sitting at home. This is absolutely fine too: it’s best to choose the option that gives you peace of mind and makes your cat happy. Here are some things to consider:

Most cats prefer being home

Cats are creatures of routine, and really love staying cosily at home. The sights and smells are reassuring and signal to your cat that all is well in the world. Therefore, it can be a bit stressful for many cats to stay overnight in a cattery.

A cattery might recommend bringing along a favourite blanket or your cat’s bedding, but anxious cats need more familiarity to be happy. Furthermore, the sounds and smells of other nervous cats, unfamiliar humans and a different environment can make things worse.

A cat sitter can pop by to your home and maintain your cat’s routine, including feeding and changing their kitty litter. Your cat can enjoy napping in their usual spot in the sun, and might only be mildly aware that things are different.

Kitten on bed

Cat sitting is more flexible than a cattery

Every cat is unique, which is why it’s important to have flexible cat care options. 

Your cat might wish to relax alone until dinner time. Or maybe they need two bursts of playtime each day and are independent enough to stay alone overnight. Or perhaps they need overnight supervision and cuddles on the couch before bed.  

You can curate your cat’s care with your cat sitter and specify exactly what service they provide. Therefore, this is the least disruptive experience for your cat. 

Boarding at a cattery means a car trip

Most cat owners have experienced the drama of coaxing their cat into their carrier before driving to the vet. Some cats might not mind this, but many find it very unpleasant being in their carrier or being transported in a car. At worse, cats can experience motion sickness and might even get car sick!

Whilst some car trips are unavoidable, having a cat sitter come to you means one less ordeal with the cat carrier!

Catteries and cat flu

Cat flu is a common disease that affects the upper respiratory tract of cats. The disease is caused by the Feline Herpes Virus 1 (FHV1) or the Feline Calicivirus (FVC). 

The cat flu presents much like the human flu, with coughing, sneezing, weepy eyes and lethargy. Infection happens via close contact between cats and sharing facilities such as water bowls or litter trays. 

Kittens and older cats are particularly vulnerable to cat flu because of their weaker immune systems. Notably, there is no cure for cat flu. As such, getting your cat vaccinated is absolutely essential.

Unfortunately, some cats never shake the virus once infected and become cat flu carriers. They can live long healthy lives and only get sick on occasion. However, symptoms can flare up in times of stress, such as during a house move or visiting a cattery.

Catteries are very aware of cat flu and maintain strict cleaning protocols and vaccination checks. However, cat sitter is the safest bet if you worry about your cat getting sick or passing on cat flu. If your cat is at home, you won’t need to be concerned at all about this.

Cat sitters can provide different services to a cattery

If you are away for a few days over summer, you can always ask your cat sitter to water your plants when the weather is hot. Likewise, your cat sitter can bring in the mail or take out the bins on bin night. Your home will look lived in and be much more secure than if it were empty. 

Plus, your cat sitter can provide any extra cat-related services you might need. This could include administering medication, grooming or any other pampering your cat might enjoy. And unlike a cattery, you can converse directly with your cat sitter and enjoy daily updates and pictures of your feline friend living the good life.

Need a cat sitter? If a cattery isn’t for you, visit Pawshake and find a cat sitter today.