Periodically I am asked the question by would-be clients, “Will my cat get to run around and play with the other cats”? My answer is an emphatic “NO absolutely not”.

At Ashley Boarding Cattery only cats from the same family are allowed to board together. There are no exceptions. There are several reasons for this which I will explain shortly.

But first, if you are exploring the possibility of placing your cat into a boarding facility, my advice is; shop around. Sometimes the perception you will get from the advertising will be quite different from seeing the cattery first hand. Ask to see exactly where your cat will be housed and ask yourself the question, “Would I be happy staying in this cattery”? If your answer is no, walk away. Recently, when interviewed by a local newspaper for a pet care feature, I stated thus; “My management philosophy is simple. If it is not good enough for me to stay in, it is not good enough for the cat”. This is how I operate and this is the instruction I give to my staff when they are cleaning and setting up units.

Your cat’s happiness and welfare while you are away relies on you, the owner, making the right choice. Whilst there are still several communal catteries in New Zealand, and other countries like the US which appear to operate successfully, they have been banned in the UK for a number of years now. I personally would like to see the same happen here in New Zealand with the next round of animal welfare legislation.

Cats as a rule are territorial; they do not like to share their space with strangers. This would only cause them undue stress in an already unfamiliar and stressful environment. Whilst we know there are many semi-wild cats that live together in cat colonies, I don’t think you can compare that to a cattery situation. Most cats when they come to board are from a single cat family. They are not used to having unfamiliar cats close at hand. You must also remember that the composition of cats within the cattery will be continually changing.

Individual units also reduce the risk of any cross-infection of disease or illness. Staffs are more easily able to monitor cats: are they eating and drinking normally, are they toileting normally, identifying which cat has fleas or worms, which cat has vomited and so forth.

Organisms can be transferred from cat to cat very readily. Sneezing, sharing water and food bowls, sharing litter trays, contact with faeces, grooming are some examples.

And then there is Feline Aids. It just takes one bite!

New Zealand, along with Australia, has one of the highest percentages of FIV infected domestic cats in the world.

I often wonder who is responsible for the Vet costs if your cat has an altercation with another cat while in a communal cattery.

And while it all looks lovely and cosy to see them all lounging around on comfy chairs, couches and cat trees, nice curtains on the windows, pictures on the walls……….how is this environment cleaned and sterilised properly?

Anyway these are just my personal thoughts on the subject. Like I said in the title, the choice is yours.