Boarding cats-- anyone? Good or sad results?

We are having a big remodeling done and the first week we will be overseas. We’ve gone overseas before for a week, and the cats (2), indoor/outdoor with a cat door and plenty of food and water have been fine. Annoyed but fine.

But this time there will be noisy strangers in the house, tearing out walls, banging and hammering. My cats hate everyone but me. They barely tolerate my fella, but after 16 years, yeah, he’s OK. But strangers?? Oh hell no, they run off and hide.

When we get back, we expect to stay in an extended stay hotel for a week or so, more noisy strangers and noise.

So I think I should board them. My old man cat, who had a bad kidney infection in August, is 17. The other one is 4.

I need to know if you’ve boarded cats successfully, how to pick a boarding facility etc. It’s not cheap by any means, probably over $1000 for the 2 of them. Any advice you can offer is wonderful and I know “they’re just cats” (as my brother says) but they’re my loveys. And is it worth the extra $$ to board at a veterinary facility??

i’m afraid there isn’t any option that isn’t going to suck for cats.

if there is a room in your house that isn’t going to be worked on, i’d say leave them in there. yeah, they’ll be scared, but at least they’ll be at home. And they’ll have the nights to themselves as well.

Just make sure they have a place to hide in the room you chose if you go that route.

And thanks, that’s another possibility. The laundry room, where the cat door is, is a big room, and they could be shut in there for the duration with the cat door closed and a big note on the door for the contractors, but like you said, they’d be scared. And yes, there are plenty of hidey holes in there for them as it doubles as a tool room.

Fret fret fret

I found a fantastic place to board my cat. Here are the things that made it fantastic.

The cat kennels were two-tiered, so the cat could jump. She got to stretch her back legs, which cats really like to do.

>>> It had a window. This was the main thing that sold me on it. She could sit on her top tier and look out the window.

There was a birdcage with some finches in the cat room, so when they weren’t looking out their windows, they could watch the birds. The cage was covered at night.

It had a scratching post with several different textures.

There was a fuzzy hammock she could jump to from her top tier.

They could put either clear Plexiglass or black boards between the kennels, so she either could, or could not see her neighbors, depending on how that was going.

There was a small sitting room with a comfortable couch, and for an additional $5/day, an employee would take her there and pet and cuddle her. She is a very friendly cat, who, once she settled in (about 3 days) really enjoyed this. It’s optional, though, so if you have Bucky from Get Fuzzy, or one of those cats that your friends have to take on faith exists, you don’t have to pay for it.

Every single day she was there, I got a report emailed to me. It told me what the action had been in her litterbox, how much she had eaten, what her demeanor had been, how her petting session went, and about any “events,” like a hairball. I could reply to it and ask questions, and I got a couple of photos of her.

They offered me the option of signing a release, so that if she became ill (she didn’t), they would take her to the (local) vet of my choice. I had to sign that I agreed that I was responsible for all bills at the vet. She was 10 years old the first time I boarded her, so it was also a very attractive thing.

And finally, although I did not need it, they offered Saturday and Sunday drop-off and pick-up. The hours were limited, but the had them.

Either everyone there was really crazy about animals, or extremely conscientious employees. Maybe both.

Anyway, no one else in town offered everything on that list. Other places offered some, for more money. This place had it all, and while it was definitely not cheap, was not the most expensive place going.

The ONLY drawback was that it’s a pretty long drive from where I live-- 30 minutes when there is no traffic, if I use the highway, 45 through town, or during traffic. There are much closer places. But I think this place was worth the drive.

Good luck on your search!

Oh, I forgot to say, I brought my cat her own blanket (carefully NOT washed for a week, so it smelled familiar), plus a T-shirt of mine I’d worn and not washed. The people there thought it was great that I did that, and said yes, the cats that had stuff like that did in fact, settle in faster. My cat isn’t big on store-bought cat toys (she’d rather play with my stuff), but if your cats have toys, I’d bring some.

I, too am looking to board my Siamese cats for my hospital stay. I have a shelter volunteer friend who has kept them for me in the past. She’s very good and they like her. This will be the longest I’ve ever spent away from them. They truly don’t like the people in my family, much. I feel it’s too much to ask them to care for 2 snooty hard to handle cats with all they’ll have to do for me. And I have 2 small dogs, as well.
I’m still worried, even with a known catsitter.
But it’s the best case.
OP, I would not leave your cats in that situation. I can just see that door opening and cats heading for the hills. I’d board for sure. Ask your vet to recommend one.

Today I learned that somewhere, somehow, some employee is paid to sit upon a couch and snuggle with cats.

Their high school guidance counselor was way better than mine, for sure.

(Yes, I get that they also have to chart the litter box activity and clean said remnants. But I do these things for free. I’m in the wrong line of work.)

Son and DIL boarded three cats for six weeks while waiting to get into their new home. The people they were staying with were allergic. (They might have handled one cat, but not three.)

It was a great place, with their own room (and they could have had separate rooms if they hadn’t gotten along, but they did) with a window, a fish tank in the wall (they couldn’t get the fish, but the staff had access somehow), a cat gym that gave them room to run and fake trees to exercise their nails on. It wasn’t a vet, but they had access to vet care if needed (which fortunately it wasn’t). I’m thinking they got some weekly rate. I know it wasn’t cheap.

I believe they searched for “cat hotel” in order to find this place. The cats were none the worse for wear and in fact, became better friends. Two of them were a bonded pair. The third had some problems with the other two and really changed the dynamic. But after driving across the country in the back of a car and then spending six weeks at a cat hotel they were all good friends.

Many years ago, I boarded my three cats for three weeks at their animal hospital while I took a vacation to Alaska. It didn’t do them any harm that I could tell.

No, they didn’t enjoy it, and the accommodations weren’t lush. But my cats’ whole lives are a vacation, so I figured they could spend three weeks of unfortunate incarceration while I took a once in a lifetime trip. In every life some rain must fall, and it was the safest place to leave them.

When we’ve had to, we always board at our vet. If anything happens, they’re already there, and it’s at least a place they’ve been before, if not a place they like.

Note that many boarding-only places will not take in cats over a certain age, especially ones that are already sick. 17 is definitely over that age. The vet might be your only option.

I have to think that being in their own space, even a small section of it, would be less traumatic than going to a totally new place. Would a white-noise machine lessen the impact of the remodeling noises? If at all possible, I vote for familiar over new and strange, FWIW.

My place was called a “Pet resort.” They board dogs too, but in a different building. They also had one turtle when I visited. They made people wear exam gloves when handling him (and they told me there was a strict policy about washing hands between handling ALL the pets), or his habitat, but he looked pretty well-cared for.

Without knowing any particulars, that sounds like a horrible idea for both you and them. If I understand correctly, no human would be checking on the cats for … how many days? At least a week?

What if they knock their water supplies over in a panic, and then get dehydrated? What if the 17 year old cat gets sick? What if one cat knocks over a heavy tool box and it falls on the other cat? Or, what if one of the contractors unthinkingly opens the door and a cat darts out?

I would be completely unable to focus on, much less enjoy, any time traveling if I knew my kitties were going to be shut up in a room without anyone checking on them for more than a day or two.

Yeah, I’m a little nuts that way.

On the other hand, I’ve had to board cats numerous times due to international moves/quarantine requirements, and the like. The cats always did just fine. It helps if there are two of them together, in my experience. I had two cats that were pretty standoffish towards each other during normal times, but when boarded they suddenly were fast friends :slight_smile:

I have boarded many times, and never had an issue. I have to say that I would not trust in their safety in a home being re-modelled. I would be worried that somehow a worker would let them out. I would board them.

I’ve boarded my two cats (well, one cat now - this was maybe 10 years ago) for a week while on a cruise. I prefer not to board mine and have someone stop in once a day to feed/play with him, but sometimes that isn’t an option. The times I have boarded him he seemed fine. I know it’s a bit stressful, which is why I prefer to keep him at home (and, duh, expensive), but I never had anything bad happen.

I actually used to work at a vet clinic, taking care of boarders and animals at the clinic for medical reasons. If your place is run like mine, they get food, water and their litter cleaned twice a day, which should be fine (any animals needing more attention were kept in the hospital area). I had one cat from hell there that shoved its way out of the cage and ran around the area in a panic before climbing the friggin window screen. When I pulled him down, HE PULLED THE SCREEN DOWN WITH HIM. He ended up clawing my hand/wrist pretty badly before I shoved him back into the cage. That only happened once fortunately, and HE was just fine - I was the one bleeding like crazy, lol.

If you board them, I’m sure they’ll be fine. You can even call in every couple days if you’re worried. But generally, while they’ll be a bit stressed, they’ll recover pretty quickly. Most of the cats I worked with generally didn’t seem that scared, tbh. They adjust fairly well.

Interesting, I didn’t know that. I used to work for a vet that provided boarding as well, but never for a boarding-only place. I’m not the OP, but my cat will be 18 in April, so that’s good to know! I’m glad my default to-go place is the vet.

It’s a case-by-case, place-by-place thing of course, but when we had an elderly cat with a lot of medical issues (he was roughly 18) and had to board him, a lot of places we tried either flat out rejected him, or they wanted to charge us a huge premium to take him, plus a bunch of other hassles. So we would either hire someone to come in to the house to feed him and check on him if it was just a couple of days, or we’d take him to be boarded at the vet, and they never had a problem with taking him in.

To give an idea of what might be out there (I’m in Portland OR, no idea what it might be like in your town) here’s the website to the place that, if I ever needed to board my kittehs, I’d probably send them. My groomer used to work out of that space and it looked like Kitty Dizzkneeland every time I dropped off my fuzzbutt to get his lion cut. It’s not cheap, but I’d have NO worries about leaving my beasts in this place.

There are pet “motels” near us. When we were havin our house flea-bombed, we put our cats up.

I thought for sure that Midnight was going to freak out, but the staff told us that Midnight was happy and extremely well-behaved. I’m not sure I ever saw Midnight Happy and Extremely Well-Behaved, and I’ve long suspected the staff was lying to us. But maybe it was a sobering experience, and she didn’t act up in uncertain surroundings. Whatever, the experience doesn’t seem to have changed her.

About two years ago we boarded our 15-year old female ginger while we took a 12 day road trip. Diana loved her family but was not a fan of the rest of humanity. We had only been on the road a couple of days when we got THE CALL; she apparently had a cardiac overnight. I’m convinced she did it to pay us back for torturing her with a new environment when she was an old lady cat that just wanted to be left alone. I still feel guilty about it.

We quickly filled the position with a bottle fed gray tom named Jeff, and he is the most human-centric cat I’ve ever known. As long as nobody is sticking him with needles he is fine with vet visits, so I don’t expect any problems if we ever have to board him.