There's a few ways people decide what to do with their family cat while they're on holiday, but apart from the obvious advantage of a stand alone cattery, top of the list must be peace of mind. This area of Somerset has a high turnover of families. There's a lot of mobility so we get a lot of people arriving via the website. People tend to gain an insight into how we operate because the website is rich, but light and welcoming - We continue the same honesty, thoughtfulness and understanding during subsequent phone conversations and emails.
There's a few options for everyone when they go on holiday, visit friends or go into hospital.
Usually a very nice arrangement. Very safe for the cats, but very lonely. A few minutes a day that could be spent cowering in the corner isn't enough to keep a cat's mind occupied. We always hear the same stories, "We had to start using a cattery because our neighbours let the cat escape/are getting too old/left the front door open/we're new to the area" There's nothing more likely to ruin a good relationship if you come home and the cat hasn't been taken to the vet when it was obvious that they needed to go.
Catteries are licensed and inspected annually and are physically safe environments. Outside cats have massive immunity to just about everything in their local environment, but a house cat who's never seen another cat since they left their mother has many potential immunity weaknesses. However, it really isn't an issue if catteries steam and disinfect the cattery on a daily basis. Catteries tend to have solid floors so it's difficult if not impossible for bacteria, viruses or fleas to propagate. In that respect, it's way more safe than your home. However, the fact that so many cats are close together means that potentially there's a higher risk of passing on disease in the air and on clothes … but no more than taking your cat to the vet when the disifectants vets use are the same as ours but vets never follow the manufacturer's guidelines, while we always do. Catteries are very aware of the respitory and proximity issues, and we are required by legislation to have a written arangement with a local vet and many catteries purchase separate veterinary insurance all of which offsets any of the perceived or possible dangers.
After Covid, dozens of cat and dog-sitting operations started up - All the stories we've heard suggests that while these enterprises might have a future place in this industry, currently they are unaccountable and entirely untrustworthy. These operations are rarely adequately insured, they are not licensed and do not have the training or experience and cannot provide the 24 hour care that all catteries and kennels are obliged to provide. But even if you were not handing over your security codes and letting strangers mooch around your home for an hour, if something goes wrong, there is no recourse.
Dropping your dog off at an unlicensed home close to an airport appears to be fine, and if I had a dog I might use a dog walking service if I went abroad, but kennels would be more sensible in both cases ... but cat-sitters are a completely different prospect - A mobile cat-sitter could provide a cheaper service than a cattery because there are virtually no overheads - but they don't because by the time they've contacted, the owners are already desperate. These operations aren't licensed, and even though their services appear professional, anyone can buy expensive advertising, and they're only there because local authorities don't have the resources to investigate or close them down.
A cattery owner is on site 24 hours a day and provides all the food, litter, insurance and interaction in the price. Unlicensed cat-sitting operations have been around for years and don't really impact our catery, but recently people who have tried these services complain about coming home a day early and finding that the litter-tray hadn't been cleaned ... or neighbours saying the van was never there longer than a few minutes if they were seen at all.
The cat might never have been to a cattery before and people believe that they will be happy at home, but a good cattery can't be beaten - If there's no room at Tiger Barn Cattery, and the subject of alternatives come up, I have no hesitation in suggesting that you'd get a better and more reliable service by paying a local teenager for an hour a day to play with and feed the cat.
This seems to be quite a regular option. I've always managed to have friends in to look after my place in the past. If you're lucky to live somewhere nice, having friends and family members down to look after both the home and the animals works well for everyone.
Professional house-sitting services are considerably more expensive than booking your cat into a cattery and I have no experience of them!
Amazing how often this comes up, even though the birds are learning to fly, there's a huge place in everyone's heart for the family pet … and even better if they'll stay in with the cat because they don't want to hang out on a beach with Mum & Dad any more!