You have 2 options when you go on vacation. The first is to board your cat and the second is to have a pet sitter watch him. There are advantages and disadvantages of both.
How cats react or responds to each really varies with the individual cat and its personality. Below are some pros and cons of boarding vs. finding a pet sitter to help you as you consider which is best for your cat.
Pros for a Boarding Facility
You don’t have anyone you don’t know coming into your house.
Your cat is being monitoring in a trustworthy location with professionals monitoring your cat. This is their business and they hopefully will know what they are doing.
Cons for a Kennel or Boarding Facility
A kennel is convenient but it is important to find a facility that you trust. Not all of these are “great”. Find one with a good reputation. Some cats don’t get the attention they desire. Extra time and addition can be optional “add-on” to your base fee. Consider those features. Also, some facilities offer premium accommodations that can vary but may include a climbing post, window perch, beds and even a T.V.
Many cats are more stressed at kennels than they are by staying in their own environment.
Some cats are fed or given different food which can lead to gastrointestinal upsets such as vomiting or diarrhea. This seems to be worse with the addition of “stress”.
It is possible for some cats to acquire infectious diseases such as upper respiratory tract infections while boarding. The combination of lots of cats in a small area and stress can induce a viral infection in some cats (this is similar to lots of kids in kindergarten passing around a common “cold”). To minimize this risk, make sure your cat is current on all vaccinations.
You have someone checking your house, getting your mail and making your home looked “lived in”. You can sometimes find someone who is willing to stay at your home if you desire this level of service. A pet sitter that stays at your home is sure to give your pets plenty of attention. However, you have to find the right person! Office and technical staff at veterinary clinics can make good candidates for this job. They are animal-people and are trained to detect medical problems should they arise.
Your cat is in his own environment which is generally less stressful.
Your cat will eat his own food and have his own routine. A change of food or an addition of treats can sometimes induce gastrointestinal upset.
Cons for a Pet Sitter
You are opening your home and pets to one person that you need to trust. If you choose the wrong person –it is possible they could have friends over to your home. You need to choose the right person – one that you trust.
Regardless if whether you choose a kennel or pet sitter – make sure you provide clear instruction on what food your cat should be fed and any required medications. A good kennel or pet sitter will often play or sit with the cats several times a day. Give clear instructions on what you expect of his activity, playtime and interaction to be. Also, ensure that you provide good contact information in both instances in the case of an emergency.
You should read the following articles for information on both topics including Boarding Your Cat and Getting a Pet Sitter.