It’s difficult to understand how much enjoyment a cat gets from the cattery unless you have either worked in one or your cats are extremely regular customers. Cats don’t hate catteries. If they are calm when they arrive then they will enjoy their stay. Cats are nosy little monkeys. They sit on window sills and survey the grounds, watch stealthily from under sofas ( I have the scars to prove it) and sit behind doors watching your every move. In our cattery my residents love to watch me work! It’s a running joke with their owners and I’m sure they get great pleasure from it! But cats also like to watch each other.
Initially a first timer may hide in the sleeping area when they see the other cats. I like to think that this is because of my beautifully polished glass dividers! The glass is so clear some cats do not realise there is a safety net between them and their neighbour. In our cattery there are white perspex barriers at floor level. This is so a resident can have some privacy without their neighbour nose to nose. Above waist level matching the sunning / socialising shelf there is toughened, polished glass enabling observation of other cats in residence. Once a first timer realises the other cats cannot actually reach them they become very brave! Cats are social animals. But on their own terms. The safety of segregation gives cats an ideal situation in which to observe their own species.
The other point that is important when it comes to the cattery is this. Your cat will remember the cattery. Cats have long memories. That’s why rescued cats often have odd habits – they developed them as coping strategies in their previous environment. I have the privilege to build relationships with our residents. They remember me and the sights and sounds of the cattery. It is wonderful to experience the trust an animal gives to you over a period of time. It is also reassuring for the owners to see evidence of that relationship and watch their cat settle quickly. If your cat doesn’t settle in a cattery after many visits then think carefully about whether he or she is happy there. Trust your instinct. Should you try somewhere different? Just because your cat doesn’t settle doesn’t mean he is being mistreated – it might just be that there is not enough stimulation and he is becoming depressed. Look at other catteries. Do your research. A happy cat means a relaxed start to your holiday.