Cat sitting versus cat boarding – helping you choose whats right for you and your pet!

cat sitting versus cat boarding image for blog post with cat sitting on a couch in the grass outside

Which one should you choose? Cat sitting versus cat boarding?

What is the difference between cat sitting versus cat boarding? In essence they both accomplish the same task. You are going away on holiday’s or even away for the weekend and you need someone to mind your cat! As a new cat owner you might not know you need to search for a “cattery” or even “cat sitter”. You might think, right, a person that minds my child is a “child minder” so a person that minds my cat is a “cat minder” right? In theory you are right. But what you will find, especially if you live in Dublin is that your search result on Google will not be as helpful if you were to search either “cattery” or even “cat sitter”! There you will have a whole selection of places to choose from. But heres the dilemma, which one should you choose? To answer this question, it is important to explore what the difference is between cat boarding and cat sitting.

Cat boarding facilities

A cat boarding facility in Ireland is more commonly known as a cattery. This is a place to board your cat while you are away. Not all cat boarding facilities are created equal! Cat boarding facilities come in all shapes and sizes. Some are large and might have up to fifty cats at one time.  Some are professionally run. Some offer 24 hour supervision and others not. Also the size of where you cat will board also is a consideration. Large cat boarding facilities will serve a purpose but might not be feasible for them to give as much one to one attention as a small garden based cattery might! The down side of a small cattery might be that it might not have as much availability as a larger professionally run cattery.

Large versus Small Cat Boarding Facilities

Lets explore this in more detail. On the left below are what large cat boarding facilities look like in Dublin and on the left is an example of a smaller garden based cattery.

Large cat boarding facilities collagecattery garden based environment comparrison

Whether it is a large cat boarding facility you are after or a small cattery, the most important choice is one that you will feel comfortable leaving your pet. Generally large catteries are run by the DSPCA or vets in your area. On the other hand smaller cat boarding facilities are generally run by cat lovers that have converted their home into a cattery business. Either way, whether it is a small family run cattery or larger cattery, each facility must have insurance. To run a cattery business, they must also abide by the standards of the cattery association of Ireland.

Cat boarding facility considerations

A couple of factors come into consideration when choosing a cattery, be it large or small. The first is how close it is to your home? The second is comfort. Sometimes a larger cattery might not have as much space or atmosphere as a smaller cattery in a Garden based setting for example. A large cattery might be run in normal working hours, where as a smaller cattery might not have as much flexibility. On the flip side, should your cat need extra individual attention and constant supervision, a smaller cattery might be able to guarantee more individual requirements.

Price comparison of cat boarding facilities

A large cattery might be cheaper but may not be as spacious and vice versa. What it boils down to really is that both a large cattery and a small cattery will still service the requirements for your cat to board while you are away. But, the quality and what is included is what you will need to investigate before you leave your pet into stay in either. The best solution for comparing prices is to investigate online how much a cattery will cost. Generally there is about a few euro difference in between the prices. What is largely different is however the facilities and levels of care your pet will receive. Having a tour of whichever cattery you decide is a worthwhile exercise which will aid your decision on price.

Pros and Con’s of Cat boarding

As mentioned earlier, cat boarding facilities differ. As with professional cat sitters it is impossible to put everyone under the same umbrella. However the biggest benefits of cat boarding are;

  1. Around the clock supervision
  2. Vet on Call
  3. Professional Care
  4. Individual requirements
  5. Cheaper than cat sitting

The cons of cat boarding are;

  1. Not all cat boarding facilities are created equal
  2. Your pet will be out of there usual environment
  3. Your cat needs to be vaccinated

Cat Sitter?

cat sitter dublin

When considering cat sitting versus cat boarding it is important to understand exactly what is involved with a cat sitter? Well quite simply a cat sitter is someone who would come to your home and mind your cat while you are away. Sometimes you may even get a close family member or friend to check in on your cat while you are away. For example they would arrange to come to your house at a certain time/s of the day. Feed your cat and give them anything they need. There would be an agreed upon time that they would come and care for your cat. Generally boarding catteries would have a minimum stay. Cat sitters might be open to a more flexible arrangement and offer a service should you be working late and need someone to come and care for your cat.

Pros and Con’s of Cat sitting

Similar to boarding your cat at a cattery, all cat sitters are not created equal. You might find that the person needs to offer you a lot more trust. Especially if you are to give them the keys to your house. As much as cat sitters are professionals, there is an extra level of trust needed as apposed to leaving your cat in at a cat boarding facility. On the flip side, cat sitters can be quite useful if you are away for a long time. You can guarantee that someone will be in and out of your house while your away. They might even take in your mail, open and close the blinds and give your house the “lived in look” while you are away. Give the impression that your house is not empty for on looking burglars! Having said that, as much as there as standards of cat boarding facilities, besides evening courses in pet care, there are little qualifications or governing bodies to guarantee the standard of your cat sitter! Testimonials are critical when choosing your cat sitter!

The biggest benefits of cat sitters are;

  1. Cat sitters come to your home
  2. Guaranteed individualised care
  3. Provides a cat feeding and cleaning service
  4. Gives your house the “lived in look” when away for a long period of time.

The downsides of cat sitting;

  1. You need an extra level of trust with the cat sitter as they will be coming to your home!
  2. Your cat might only get seen to twice a day
  3. Can prove more complicated if your cat needs extra attention i.e. medical requirements
  4. Might prove more expensive than cat boarding

Which one should you choose?

There was once a time when I faced the exact same question as well. Cat boarding versus cat sitting which should I choose! Ultimately both offered a similar service. What it really came down to was choosing a facility for my cat to board or someone to come to my house while my cat is away and which might be best for my pet! Sometimes you might be in the luxury that a close friend or family member might be able to come and look after your pet while your away and you might not be faced with this dilemma! But on the other hand, choosing either a cat boarding facility or a cat sitter to come to your home might mean that you do not have to rely on friends or family to mind your pet when away. At the end of the day, whether you choose a cat boarding facility or a cat sitter, ultimately you need to consider what is best for your pet? Do they have medical requirements, do they need 24 hour supervision or do you only need someone to come feed your cat just because you will be late from work! At the end of the day, having your pet minded at a cattery or a pet sitter come to your house will be much much better than having the guilt of your pet being at home on their own uncared for!

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