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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Catteries - different experiences

We've had to put Jimmy in a cattery twice this year (for one week each time). He had 2 very different experiences which I thought I would share with you.
In the summer we chose a cattery which seemed fine. It was clean and the facilities seemed to be up to standard. But the bloke who was running it didn't seem to have his heart in it really - it had been his wife's busines and he just kept it on when she died.
When we collected Jimmy he had noticeably lost weight. The owner said Jimmy had seemed troubled by the presence of the other cats.
He scrabbled to get out of his container all the way home, even though he usually enjoys car journeys. When we got back he took a couple of days to settle - he kept asking to go out, then he'd set up a fearful wailing and want to come back in again after about 5 mins. He stalked round the garden yowling and spraying everywhere - trying to re-establish his territory I suppose.
When we went away at Christmas we chose another cattery - it was so much better. The owners really seemed to love all the cats there. They asked us what Jimmy liked to eat - even down to whether he prefers his Felix in jelly or gravy! They also asked us what he could be tempted with if he was off his food. I told them ham (I didn't like to say, 'especially Parma ham, as that might have been pushing it a bit). Partner said half-jokingly 'Toast and Marmite!' - and they actually wrote that down as well
We told them how unhappy he had been at the other place. They told us not to worry he would settle in fine.
When we collected him after a week, he seemed perfectly happy. He was really pleased to see us, but they said he had been fine. He seemed to have actually put on weight. He was perfectly calm all the way home and settled back in to the usual routine very happily. No strange prowling, yowling or spraying.
So what a contrast! The actual facilities at the first cattery were absolutely fine. I think the big difference was that at the second place they really loved the cats, talked to them and petted them. It seemed a really happy place - we will certainly use it again.

What are your experiences with catteries? Please share.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 12:37 PM
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I put Dylan into a cattery last year. Since then, if we have to go away, we take him with us

It was all very promising at first. The lady I spoke to on the phone was very nice, put all my fears at ease and took lots of information. I asked if I could visit, she replied "no" her reason being because many people visit and don't use the cattery so it is a waste of her time. I should have heard alarm bells then. She also insisted I pay up front as a lot of people pull out too, this I was ok with as I had never used them before.

When we got there a different lady took Dylan into his pen, and didn't seem to know much about him, what food he ate etc. I cried when I left him because he looked so scared and didn't want to stay.

I phoned the next morning (as I was told I could) and there was no answer - just an answer phone. I left a message asking if they could call me back with my mobile number, as I was aware that the owner often didn't get to the phone in time a lot and likes you to leave messages.

She didn't call back by lunchtime so I called her. When I mentioned I called earlier she said "Yes I know but I don't call mobiles because it is too expensive" :O She said he was fine but didn't give much indication as to what he was like other than that.

I didn't phone again although I wanted to. When we picked him up the owner saw us and asked how old he was (at the time, 9 months) they thought he was 18 months for some odd reason. She also sat there and criticised how "skinny" Dylan was when he came in At the time, he was on Hills Science Diet dry food free feed and wet food. I had been looking at changing his dry food as he had not been interested in it much but he loved his wet (She did not know this info.) She had taken it upon herself to start free feeding him IAMS dry food only

I didn't mention anything to her there and then as I was just so happy to get him back, however we had huge problems getting him settled and back onto his normal food. Scary thing is that this woman also breeds cats
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 12:59 PM
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Usually when I go away I ask the man from next door to look after her. He enjoys it.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2006, 02:08 PM
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I had to leave for 10 whole days this winter break. There are no catteries in College Station. I had to come home every four days to check on them.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2006, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Hayley, what a nightmare
Both the catteries I used were happy for me to look round first, and to my surprise didn't even ask for a deposit. We paid the whole amount when we collected him.
I wish we could leave a neighbour to look after him, but its difficult with us being on a second floor flat. He's used to going out (we let him in and out) so I'm sure he'd try to slip past anyone who came in to feed him. And then they may not be able to get him back in again. But he couldn't just come back of his own accord since we don't have a cat flap (again, due to being in a flat). So it has to be a cattery, really.
So, thank goodness we've found a good one !

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-10-2006, 05:08 PM
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I haven't been gone long enough to need to board my kitties but if I do my vet (which is totally awesome) has a boarding facility right at the office. The vet deals only with cats so there are no barking dogs to scare them. I checked out the boarding area and it is pretty nice.

Here is a link to it
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 03:41 PM
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Funny this topic should come up right now, I was thinking about this situation the other night. We usually go away in May and this year we might have a problem getting someone to take care of the kits. I've had a "friend" come in but in the last year she is really starting to wig out, so I am trying to cut her loose. I don't know what to do, the thought of putting the kitties someplace unfamilier and being cooped up in a cage for 7 days and nights makes me somewhat uncomfortable.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by reprot
I don't know what to do, the thought of putting the kitties someplace unfamilier and being cooped up in a cage for 7 days and nights makes me somewhat uncomfortable.
That's how I feel, too -- it's nice reading about everyone's experiences, though, in case I ever need to leave them.

They travel with us -- they go to my parents' house with me (4 hour drive) and to see Erik (9 hour drive) and they do quite well. We stay at hotels that allow pets.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 06:55 PM
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The service I use is a variation on the usual petsitting service.

She maintains a network of about 10 petsitters who she prescreens for temperment, knowledge of animals, suitablity of the home, etc. She arranges which petsitter is available when you need it and you take your pet to live with the petsitter while you are away. I pay the owner and she pays the sitters. I have used this service for over 10 years and have probably had 9 different sitters - some repeat sitters. None of my cats ever had a problem with this arrangement. When I travel it is usually for 1-2 weeks at a time and I am uneasy about leaving 2 boisterious cats alone in my home 23 hours per day. Most petsitters (friends or petsitting service) only come for an hour a day.

They get the stability of being in a real home and I get peace of mind that someone is around if something goes wrong. I think the stress of getting used to a new person and home is less than the stress of being in a cage for a week.

If I knew of a good cattery in my area I would be willing to try it. But only if I had a recommendation from someone I trusted.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 07:14 PM
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After reading all of these posts I wouldn't mind starting a cattery one day.

I wonder how much business they get. It could be started out of the house and then move up in business gets good. I love cats and I would bend over backwards for I'd be a good owner.
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