I'm going to be boarding my cat. What should I do to make it comfortable?

I’m going off to Israel for ten days, and it looks like I’m going to have to reluctantly board my cat at the vet. The only person who will be at home is my brother, who’s nervous about taking care of the cats anyway, and her lymphoma is flaring up and she probably needs medical supervision that can’t be provided by one guy who can’t touch or go near her.

The problem is, well, Tikva is a sweet, wonderful, loving cat if your name is Malleus Incus Stapes. And I guess she tolerates my mom. Anyone else, she’s essentially semi-feral. So as far as she’s concerned, strange humans are evil. And strange places. And medication. She sometimes has hyperventilation attacks just going to the vet. So she’s not going to be happy. She might even stress hard enough to make herself sicker.

Is there anything I can do that might help ease her? I’m planning to send her cat bed and maybe a smelly shirt, but I’m not sure what else I can do to make her stay more comfortable.

I think boarding is going to be a stressful situation for your cat regardless of what you pack with her. Have you considered having a pet sitter come by your house daily for cat care instead? There are probably people in your area advertising on nextdoor.com. Check their references before settling on someone.

With her current health problems, no. I think she should be at the vet if I;m not there.

I have a cat named Tikva, too. :slight_smile:

I hope she does okay. With her health issues, you’re right–the vet is the place for her. This will stress her to the max. The more the vet staff leaves her alone, the better IMHO.

It’s probably more stressful for you than for your cat.

We board out pets from time to time, despite having been a pet sitter myself. Our cats always seem nervous when dropping them off, but seem fine when we pick them up. The employees always give a report card, “Blue took a little while to settle down, but by day two was playing and sleeping like normal” etc.

Make sure she has a familiar blanket or bedding. Give the facility all the information you can, what you told us in the OP. If she has a favorite brand of cat food, bring it with you. Even if the facility provides food, it might not be to her taste. Since your boarding her at the vet I am sure she will be very well taken care of.

When I have to bring my difficult cat to the vet, they recommend Gabapentin which they refer to as “happy pills.” You could ask the vet about it. Perhaps give her one pill to calm her down for the first 12 hours. After that, she might settle in and calm down.

Missed edit window…

When I was a pet sitter most of the cats I visited would hide from me. I would clean their litter box, wash their bowls and set out fresh water and food. I would call for them, and look for them, while trying not to be too invasive in the clients home. Half the time I couldn’t find the cat. About a quarter of the time, I found them hiding and the other quarter they were friendly and happy to see me. At least at the vet/boarding facility, you know someone will be able to check on your cat.

make sure he has a favorite blankie, something to sleep on that has the familiar smells.

Aw, we could start a collection! (here’s mine)

Tik currently seems to be suffering from Thanksgiving PTSD, flinching and looking ready to bolt. Despite the fact that all the guests were downstairs and she spent the whole time hiding in the back of my closet. Have I mentioned she’s a wee bit neurotic? She’s a wee bit neurotic.

I guess you have already booked a place for the puss to stay, but if you haven’t look for one at a Vet’s Practice. Our idiot (adored cat) goes to a cat condominium which is run by a vet practice so anything can be catered for. Cats adapt really easily and I think you may be stressing about little. Last time our cat wouldn’t eat for a day then decided she was hungry and was quite content until we came back 4 weeks later. Same with all our cats.

Mind you, after we got home she didn’t want to be without our company for what seemed like a decade.

Here’s minein one of her fave napping spots.

The name Tikva lends itself readily to nicknames… Tikipedia, TikiLeaks, KonTiki, TikiPot, TikiPie, TikiPotPie, sometimes just TeaPot.

Not my experience. I used to foster cats for a nearby shelter, and while some of them settled right in, some hid for a week and were obviously uncomfortable being in a strange place. (I’m talking about the tame, human-friendly cats. We also fostered some ferals for a while.) I think the OP is right to be concerned.

That being said, I don’t have any advice beyond what you already plan, and what’s already been offered. Give her a smelly shirt, and her favorite foods. Warn the vet. They might want to medicate her, or they might just leave her alone except during the required medical review.

Oh – and the feral kittens we had didn’t like US, but they were fine with our house. Admittedly, kittens are more flexible that way, buy maybe your cat is one of the ones that really will be fine in a strange place, so long as the people there mostly leave her alone.

Wear a T-shirt nonstop for 2 or 3 days and nights, so it has your scent on it. Leave the shirt in the cat’s cage.

This won’t help much, if the cat is as terrified as mine always is . But it’s a nice positive action you can take that will help you feel like you did your best. :slight_smile:

I board my cat twice a year(once for 2 days when an exterminator sprays poison around my house, and once for a week or two of annual vacation.)
The cat is always terrified when I take her to the kennel, and hisses and screams. And she is always terrified when I come to pick her up–she hisses and screams at me again.
Breaks my little heart, it does.

But then when we get home, she takes 3 minutes to walk around the house and realize where she is, then returns to routine as if nothing every happened.
I sit on the left side of the couch (NEVER the right side–that’s blasphemy!)She curls up on my lap and purrs.

chappachula beat me to it. Make sure she has a piece or two of clothing you have recently worn in her bedding.

Or if she has a favorite pillow or something small that she prefers to sleep on, bring that along too.

My oldest daughter brought her 2 Chihuahuas home for thanksgiving. Along with her 2 young boys. I have 2 very aloof , bossy Siamese. They cats were freaked right out. They hid for 24 hours. They are calmer tonight. Cats is just weird. Your cat will live through it. Give extra cuddles and treats afterwards. Enjoy your trip.

Ask if anybody at the vet’s office might be willing to do some catsitting. The assistants might be glad of some extra cash and would surely be qualified to deal with the medical issues.

See the ‘hiding’ comments above. We had my son and girlfriend house sit for a week-long trip. The cat grew up with him, and is friendly with the girlfriend when they come over.

He did not see the cat once the whole week. Food disappeared, the litter box was used, but that was the only evidence a cat lived in the house.

Well, Kitty survived.

She was traumatized when I brought her home- she threw up and wouldn’t eat and was hiding most of the time. But she seems better today. Even came downstairs while my family was eating lunch.

The vet lost her cat bed, but fortunately I have another one.

Bad news that your cat was so affected. Our cat will have been in three days by now and will be driving the other cats mad “I’m Schrodinger and I am Persian- want to see my toys?” She is so ditzy she adapts well.