Behind the Scenes at Cat Boarding

We know that dropping your cat off for boarding can be an emotional experience, especially if it is their (and your) first time. It feels a bit like taking your child to their first day of school!

Sometimes we are not able to take you through to the cattery because our animal caretakers are tending to the busy mealtime needs of our guests or assisting our team during medical emergencies in hospital. We do understand that this can make saying goodbye even harder. Goodwood Road Animal Caretakers Tracy and Danika take us through the important work they do to help settle in kitty guests so you can see what happens after you check-in and say goodbye.

We are Tracy and Danika, two of the animal caretakers at Goodwood Road. One of our main responsibilities is looking after Cats in The City cat boarding guests. We love our role as concierges and really enjoy getting to know each and every guest in our care. This starts with the check-in process where we invite you to share with us any specific needs your cat has, any quirks of their personality, anything that makes them anxious and of course their favourite type of pats and play.

If we have met your cat before we will already have some information about how your cat likes their room to be set up and what helps them to settle in. We keep notes on their file that detail any likes, dislikes and specific needs your cat has when boarding which helps us prepare for their visit.

We always have your cat’s room set up ready for them before they arrive so that we can transition them into their room with minimal disruption. We place any bedding from home in the suite and encourage your cat to leave the carrier themselves to be weighed before showing them to their prepared room.

Often at this stage, we can tell if your fur baby is feeling worried and take extra steps to begin to gain their trust, making sure they feel safe and secure in their new space. Sometimes this means we do not remove them from their carrier but place the carrier in the suite so that they can come out to explore in their own time. We also use Feliway which is a great product that mimics pheromones that comfort and reassure cats, reducing stress.

During non-peak times we offer a complimentary 12 point health check and with some cats, we will have a veterinary nurse help us complete this before we show the cat to their room. Other cats are a little too anxious for this when they first arrive, so we will wait a few days until we have earned their trust before examining them. If anything concerns us we ensure that the vet on duty assesses them and if needed contacts you to discuss treatment.

One of the first things we do after your cat is shown to their suite is create a digital record for their stay. We keep track of what and how much your cat eats and drinks, their toileting and their demeanour. This helps us to notice any changes or issues that might indicate that your cat is stressed or unwell. We take photographs of your cat’s belongings to ensure they are accounted for and make note of the feeding instructions you have given us and any medication regimes. We add any notes that are relevant, such as “fearful of other cats” or “loves belly rubs”, or more importantly “no belly rubs… IT’S A TRAP!”.

We also take a photo of your cat which accompanies their daily record. This can take a while because it is a personal challenge to take a nice photo of them, even though it is only us that sees it! During their first day, we always check in with them regularly to make sure they are doing ok and to let them know that they are loved and safe. We also leave detailed notes for the following day to make sure that everyone involved in their care is aware of how their first day went and any special needs they have. When we feel confident that your cat is feeling safe and settled in their personal condo we can begin to offer them time in one of the larger enrichment areas. This is rarely on the first day, as we like to make sure that they initially get to know their condo as a safe place to retreat to.

Now that your cat is safely settled in their suite the fun bit begins, getting to know your cat! We have many regular guests who we have come to know and love over the years and it is always a pleasure spending time with them. Many of the nurses, vets and client relations team have their favourites and will eagerly pop in when they hear that a certain guest is staying. We also make sure that we let everyone know if there is a cute kitten to play with, an extra floofy snugglepot or a sweet elderly cat that loves a brush. We like to share our kitty smorgasbord with the whole team!

We hope this little insight into boarding helps to take some of the stress out of leaving your precious fur baby in our care. You can rest assured that, in the hands of the resident Crazy Cat Ladies, your cat will get plenty of TLC. It’s what we are passionate about and it’s what we do best!

Written by Tracy McNally and Danika Dayman, Animal Caretakers.

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