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When we put our cat into a cattery for the first time, I cried.
I felt so guilty about leaving her with someone else (would she know we were coming back? Would she miss her toys? What if she escaped?).
Fortunately, a friend recommended a great cattery and the owner is fantastic. Our cat always returns from her vacations in good spirits.
But some pets don’t settle into boarding so easily, and you may have noticed your cat meowing a lot after the cattery. You might also have noticed a change in cat behavior after returning home.
So, what’s your cat trying to tell you?
Do cats like catteries?
Cats are territorial animals; they don’t like being taken out of a familiar environment and put somewhere new.
It has a lot to do with scent and a cattery smells very different to home. If you’ve ever moved house with a cat, then you may recognise how cautious and anxious a feline can be when introduced to a new space.
Cats are also creatures of habit and there’s nothing like an enforced vacation to break up a comfortable routine.
Most cats will settle down quickly enough when they’re boarding; It just takes a little time. For all their personality quirks and anxieties, cats are adaptable and resilient animals.
You may be surprised at just how well they do when you’re away.
I can’t ask our cat if she enjoys the cattery, but I know when she comes home, she’s happy and relaxed. I also get photographs of her being fussed and having plenty of playtimes.
Usually, we ask my parents to come and cat-sit so she only ends up in the cattery when necessary, but we think it’s harder on us than it is on her.
We’ve seen a lot of blog posts slamming catteries and saying that it’s always best to keep a cat in their own home, but it’s not always that simple though and neither is it always possible to hire a pet sitter.
The most important thing you can do as an owner is to research the options in your area. Make sure you visit any cattery you’re considering first and that you are 100% happy before booking your pet in.
You know what’s best for your cat.
Are catteries stressful for cats?
Catteries can be stressful.
It’s a strange environment and they may see other cats in other pens that make them uneasy. They may be missing you, too, and you shouldn’t underestimate how powerful separation anxiety is for pets.
Most cats will find the first few days a little difficult but it does depend on their personality.
If you’ve picked a good cattery, then the owners shouldn’t have any problem with you phoning up and asking how things are going.
Some cats don’t like traveling in carriers, either, and that can make the start and end of their vacation time harder to bear.
We’ve got some resources you might find helpful about picking the best carrier for your pet.
What’s the Best Cat Carrier for Vet Visits?
Should I Cover My Cat’s Carrier When Traveling?
What’s the Best Cat Carrier for Scared Cats?
Hard or Soft Cat Carrier?
Why is my cat meowing non-stop?
Cats meow for attention.
Your cat wants something or it needs something.
You shouldn’t ever reward excessive vocalisation but you should try and find out what the reason is behind it. If your cat is meowing a lot after the cattery, it could be because they want reassurance that you’re not going to go away. It pays to spend some quality time with your cat playing, petting and brushing.
Also, has anything changed since they came back from the cattery? Have you had anything new done to the house or have you moved furniture around or had a deep clean? If you’ve washed their toys or bedding, they may feel insecure because things don’t smell familiar.
The meowing is probably just a temporary measure and should pass once they’ve settled back into the home.
You could talk to the cattery to see if anything happened when you were away. Did they notice a change in behavior or did something happen that scared your cat – another cat in a pen or a loud noise?
Meowing can also be a sign of illness so you should keep an eye on them to see if there’s a medical explanation. Age-related illnesses can manifest as symptoms of excessive meowing and so can hyperthyroidism.
Your cat may be meowing a lot after the cattery because it’s picked an illness up during its stay. If in doubt, book them into the veterinarian.
Why is my cat so clingy after vacation?
It’s funny how many of us are surprised at how affectionate cats can be or how well they can communicate their feelings.
Your cat likely missed you.
It could also be that they’re feeling a little insecure about having been left behind in the cattery and they’re looking to you for comfort and reassurance. More often than not this behavior will tail off as kitty settles back into her stride.
And if it’s during the winter then it may just be that they’re after your body heat! Cats are nothing if not resourceful.
Keep an eye on their behavior in case it requires a visit to the vet but just give them enough time to adapt back to their routine and give them a little more attention.