How to Make Sure Your Cat Eats Enough During Boarding?
If your beloved pet looks a little thinner than usual after a cattery stay, you may worry that the boarding facility didn't feed it enough. It's actually quite common for pets to lose weight when you board them, even though they are given enough food. If you're worried that your cat will lose weight again next time it goes into a cattery, you can take steps to try to encourage it to eat even though you can't be there at mealtimes.
Check the Cattery's Food Brand
Catteries tend to have their own preferred food brand; some give a couple of choices. Before you book a cattery stay, check which food the cattery uses. If your cat has eaten this food before, you stand a better chance of it eating during boarding; however, if the cattery uses a brand that is unfamiliar to your pet, it may not eat with its normal gusto, especially if it is a fussy eater.
It's worth trying any unfamiliar brands at home for a couple of days to see if your cat will eat the food before it boards. If your cat doesn't eat the food the cattery uses at home, it probably won't eat it when it in the cattery. In this case, you may want to talk to the cattery to see if you can provide your own food for your cat's stay. Catteries are usually flexible about using owner-provided food; however, do be aware that they may charge extra if you want your cat to be fed differently.
Check When Your Cat Will Be Fed
Cats are creatures of habit that like to be fed at the same time every day. It's worth asking the cattery about feeding times to see if they fit into your cat's schedule. It's also worth asking how often your cat will be fed each day. Boarding catteries have to follow state rules on animal care. Typically, these rules require adult cats to be fed at least once a day, although younger cats may need more frequent feeds.
If the cattery's feeding time is way out of kilter with your cat's usual schedule, you may be able to persuade the cattery to feed your cat at a different time. The facility may also agree to supply a couple of smaller meals a day if your cat usually eats twice rather than once daily.
Check Living Conditions
Cats don't usually like other cats much. If your pet is nervous around cats it doesn't know, it may feel uncomfortable eating if it can see these cats in adjacent cages. You may reduce this risk by choosing a cattery that has a barrier or screen between its cages so that cats can't see each other.
It's also worth asking about temperature control in the cattery's living areas to make sure that your pet's cage will be warm enough, especially if you're boarding your pet during cold weather. Cats prefer to eat food that is slightly warm and may not fancy eating food that is cold.
Check What Happens If Your Cat Doesn't Eat
If your cat doesn't eat, you should expect cattery staff to notice and to try to do something about it. For example, some states require catteries to monitor cats for the first few days of their stay to check that they are eating and to take measures to encourage fussy eaters to eat.
While these tips may boost the chances that your cat will eat enough during its cattery stay, there's no guarantee that they will work if your cat decides not to play ball. Some cats are simply unhappy about being away from home and lose their appetite. Once you pick up your cat and get it home, it's likely to regain any weight it did lose.