What sorts of things should I look for in a cattery when I visit?

I have an old(er) cat who needs to go to a cattery for a week and I'm unsure as to what I should look for to tell me a place is good or bad. Are there decent review sites out there?

If it helps I am in the UK (Buckinghamshire).


I agree that a cat sitter may be the best option in many cases, but looking into the details of catteries can still be useful.

This site has a list of review as well as different things to do in order to see if a cattery is right for you. Just looking at one of these parts, visiting the cattery, may help you learn what you might be looking for when you visit.

Visit the Cattery

It's essential you visit the cattery your cat will be staying in before you drop your cat off for its holiday... You don't want to turn up hours before you are due to jet off on holiday, find the facilities are not what you were expecting and have nowhere to board your cat while you are away.

Any good cattery will be happy to have you visit and view the cattery. Check with the cattery whether they have open hours you can visit unannounced during or need an appointment, but don't let needing an appointment put you off. In most cases it's not because they want to whip around and clean first, just they want to avoid visitors at times when they would interrupt routines like feeding or settling in new arrivals.


In general the cattery should be clean, tidy, light and well ventilated. The pens should be secure, well built and well maintained. ...

Quick Cattery Check List

A good cattery will answer yes to the following questions:

  • Are the staff friendly, caring and experienced?
  • Is the accommodation secure and in good repair?
  • Is there adequate ventilation, light and heating?
  • Do they insist cats are vaccinated?
  • Are you asked for written details about your cat and its needs?
  • Do they have a vet on call 24/7?
  • Can they cope with any special diet, medical or grooming requirements?
  • If relevant, are other types of pets kept out of sight/hearing (to minimise stress)?
  • Do they have a license?


You basically have to make sure that the place that you visit "feels right" to you. If it has everything it should but the staff makes you uncomfortable, that's okay. A quick internet search showed a lot of catteries in your area. Just keep looking until you find one. You may think that an indoor one is best, but after touring a cattery that offers both in and outdoor enclosures, you may change your mind. You should also make sure to look at the cats that are there. If they seem relaxed, that's a very good sign.

From another article about choosing a cattery:

When you visit a cattery (any you must always visit to see for yourself) ask questions... See if it is clean and the cats in the cattery look relaxed and happy. If the proprietor won’t let you see where the cats are kept then go elsewhere – a good proprietor will have nothing to hide and will be proud to show you their cattery.


That being said, the final option is with you. Since your cat is older, perhaps they would not enjoy being out of the house with you gone. Perhaps they would like the adventure, every cat is different.

  • The edit war needs to stop, but as a commentary it is important that when quoting a source that you do not alter their spelling, it's a quote, not your words.
    – Joanne C
    Jul 9 '14 at 17:57

I know you're asking about boarding a cat but...

I just want to start out by saying cats (by nature) associate territory with well being. So boarding a cat is much more stressful on it than boarding a dog. I'd encourage you to only board a cat if you can't find a cat sitter to come over to your place to feed it, change the litter box...

I have no experience with picking a boarding place but I think some common sense measures might do well. Visit the boarding place, see what it is like. Is it clean, does it have a bad smell, does it seem organized or are people zipping about? How do the animals seem there, what are the boarding areas like? Are they clean, easy to clean (think disease transmission)... How do the animals seem at the place they are boarded at? How much attention do they claim to give your pet (if anything they will give less time than they claim). Is there a local town business bureau, if so are there any complaints against the place? Likewise you can check the internet for information (reviews, complaints) about prospective places. Do you know anyone who uses a boarding facility for a pet? If so which ones have they used, which do they like and dislike.

Good luck, if possible get a cat sitter.

  • I use a cat-sitter (well, a cat-visitor if you will) for short periods away but for longer it is impractical (especially as my sitters live far away). Thank you for the advice. May 16 '14 at 16:15
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    Professional cat sitters are available for long lengths of time too, unless you're thinking >6mo or 1 year... In which case I'd look to foster homing with someone you trust. I always use cat sitters.
    – Dan S
    May 16 '14 at 17:11

I just wanted to add one thing to really look out for is the food that's given to the animals. They should be able and willing to accommodate special diets (that's why you're paying them).

Some of the less humane shelters will feed their animals cheap food because it gives them diarrhea, which is easier for them to clean many cages at one time because they can simply hose the cages out.

One of the shelters in my area was caught doing this and because they weren't sanitizing the cages, all the spread bacteria from the feces cause some of the animals they were boarding to get sick.

I'd say it's uncommon with places that board pets because they are getting paid to care for people's pets, but I know plenty of shelters in my area that don't want to spend more money on food for that reason.

In light of that. I think the most important thing to look at when visiting a boarding place is to see what food they're giving their animals, and make sure they can accommodate special diets. If they're unwilling to accommodate special diets, I would say that there's something wrong with how they're staffed.

  • Crikey... places actually do that? The place our cat went to was wonderful - I think she had a lovely time :) Jul 2 '14 at 7:30

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