Advice on choosing the best boarding cattery for your cat
famous cat quotationsEverything a cat is and does physically is to me beautiful, lovely, stimulating, soothing, attractive and an enchantment.-
Paul Gallico

When A Cattery SHINES

cat resting
Our cats are sensual creatures who respond to their environment like little furry weather barometers.

Stimulate the senses, make them feel safe, give them something interesting to do and nourishing to eat and they will shine.

Deprive them of the essential qualities of their natural surroundings and a deep depression sets in.

In fact, all we need to do to remember what it takes to keep our cats happy and healthy is learn a simple and appropriately sunny acronym - SHINES...


SS is for Social Stimulation.

Cats are highly social animals and so we need to make sure their environment includes opportunities to get up close and personal with we humans and also other cats in your household.

If you have more than one cat then you will understand how close a bond they can form with each other and so when choosing a cattery it is important to find one that allows your cats to be kept together if that is what they’re used to.

If you have a solo puss then you are the centre of their universe and so must be substituted (OK, it’s impossible to replace you, we know!) if you go away. A cattery must guarantee regular and quality time with each cat, ideally with their own caregiver. A few minutes a day with a different person each time is not good enough.


HH is for Housing

We are looking for something way beyond minimum space requirements here.

A cat needs somewhere to hide, somewhere high to climb to and jump from and somewhere comfortable to sleep and chill out, as they spend a lot of time doing that!

And of course it goes without saying that litter trays should be separate from eating and sleeping places and be appropriate to your cat. Some cats have litter tray preferences and you need to maintain that, especially when they are away from home.


II is for Interesting Stuff to Do

When they’re not sleeping or eating, cats love playing and exploring.

We all know the fascination a simple cardboard box, or anything ‘new’ holds for cats and so their environment, especially if they are in a cattery, should be full of great things to do. From toys to boxes if you can climb into it or hunt it then our puss is going to love it.


NN is for Nutrition

As owners we tend to feed our cats two or three small meals a day at regular times, although in the wild they would probably eat much more frequently than that. 

Cats are hunters and although you cannot recreate the lure of the outdoors inside a cat pen, there is quite a lot you can do to stimulate the prey drive, like hiding dry food or putting it into interesting containers with holes in so the cat has to use a bit of ingenuity to get the bits out.

It goes without saying that cats must have fresh water available and ideally this should be away from food as cats tend to prefer it that way.

Outdoors, cats can eat grass if they need to eliminate furballs or aid digestion and so it’s good to have a pot with growing catgrass available in an the pen.


EE is for Enrichment

When we keep a cat inside or in a cattery, we are putting them in an unnatural environment and so it is only right that we should do our best to make sure that this artificial situation is made as interesting and ‘natural’ as possible.

A bare pen, a bowl and a litter tray are obviously NOT a rich environment!


SS is for Sensory Stimulation

Cats have a sixth sense, of course, but as its hard to cater for that unless you have Caspar the Friendly Ghost in residence, we’ll have to content ourselves with satisfying the other five.

Outside this is no problem. Cats have more than enough in the wild to stimulate sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Inside however, we have to recreate it. So make sure that there are scratching posts to sniff, interesting herbs to smell (like catnip) and familiar bedding in order to stimulate the sense of smell.

A sunny spot and a comfortable place to relax and a pen that doesn’t face north will help with touch, while taste is satisfied by delicious and familiar food. Cats love watching things, preferably while relaxing, so having something to see outside the pen is a great idea.

Fountains, plants that attract wildlife and even bird tables are ideal.

Finally, we need to make sure the sound environment is good. This may mean the comforting sound of voices, a cat CD or even just peace and quiet.

What you don’t want, especially in a cattery, is a cacophony of sounds, particularly loud pop music, staff banging and crashing around, or barking dogs. That might make you think twice about choosing places that are combined kennels and catteries unless the two are kept very far apart.

Some careful thought and planning can easily make your cat’s environment a wonderful place to be...

... and result in a cat that doesn’t just glow with pleasure and contentment but positively SHINES.


When it comes to choosing a cattery, you need to put yourself in your cat’s paws and pick the place your cat would choose for their needs. If you make a list of your cat's likes, dislikes and must-haves before you visit a boarding cattery it'll help keep you focused on what is best for your cat.

Start a clever search for a boarding cattery...