We love our cats and want them to be comfortable away from home. Boarding our cat can be stressful for both kitty and owner. Pet sitting in home isn't always an option, so boarding becomes necessary. We gravitate towards, large, open spaces, full of light to house our kitties. Suites like our Executive suites are highly appealing to the owner. But from a cat behavior perspective, sometimes bigger isn't always better. Sure, some cats are highly social outside of the home, but that is not the norm. Many cats are scared and fearful in new environments. What do our cats do when scared or fearful at home? Do the stay in the most open, well lit area? No, they hide in the smallest and darkest quiet place they can get into. As a prey animal, cats are wired to seek safety when unsure.
While we are always hopeful that a cat arrives at boarding and is their friendly, outgoing, and loving self, often this is not case. Putting them in an area that is very exposed with no hiding places increases stress to an exponential level. Jennifer, the owner, has attended many lectures by vet and behaviorists in how to reduce stress in a kennel environment. We designed our own suites becuase there are not many commercially available suites that meet cat behavior needs to reduce stress. How do our suites at Cat's Meow combat boarding stress?
- We use high sided plastic beds with orthopedic bedding for hiding. Feeling hidden meets a instinctual need of safety and happiness for cats.
- We ask owners to bring small bedding to fit in these beds/ or to sit in their own bed. This envelopes them in their own scent and also deters them from sitting in litter boxes which are heavy with their own scent over time.
- Most of our suites have 3 solid, opaque walls. This meets a behavioral need of safety, there are no places for strange people or animals to approach, and they can face outwards, observing the only entrance. Knowing where “dangers” might appear reduces stress.
- Most of our suites have solid glass fronts with ventilation on top. Cats are smart enough to understand the concept of the glass being solid and providing safety.
- Our suites with wire fronts have reduced vertical bars. Studies have shown that reducing vertical bars in front of cats reduces stress.
- We never mix cats of different families, ever. Cats do not want to make new friends, it is highly stressful for a territorial animal to meet strange cats.
- Our suites have no soft surfaces, such as carpet. Carpet holds odors from strange cats, as well as being highly unsanitary and hard to disinfect
- We use Rescue brand accelarated hydrogen peroxide to clean our suites. This is a “fear free” program accepted disinfectant that is safer for cats and our staff. No noxious fumes or toxins, but can kill ringworm and other cat diseases
- Regular TLC and observation from staff, and a regular feeding routine of their own food and treats.
- Interaction with staff and coming out on their terms for playroom time for exercise and stimulation. Forcing cats to change environments when they feel safe is not kind. We only do playroom time for cat that feel safe leaving their suite. Otherwise we can use toys and catnip inside their suite for interactions.
- Cats can stay with their own family members and feel soothed and calmed by the sight and scent of their companion
Our goal is happy cats returning home with minimal stress after a vacation, and owners who feel at ease bringing their cats to our environment. Please call to schedule a tour or ask for info anytime.