Should You Board Your Cat or Leave Fluffy at Home? The Pros and Cons


When going on vacation or a work trip, cat owners face the decision of either boarding their feline companion or leaving them at home. Both options come with pros and cons that require careful consideration.

Boarding a cat at a kennel or pet hotel means they will receive professional care and supervision. However, boarding can be stressful for cats as it takes them out of their normal home environment. Leaving a cat at home avoids disrupting their routine but requires arranging for proper care such as feedings, litter box cleaning, and monitoring the cat’s health and behavior.

To make the best choice, owners should weigh factors like their cat’s personality, health, age, and whether suitable at-home care is available. This article examines the key considerations around boarding a cat versus leaving them at home to help owners make an informed decision.

Stress on the Cat

Boarding can be a very stressful experience for cats. Being separated from their owners and home environment is unsettling for them. Cats thrive on routine and familiar surroundings. When they are boarded, even in the nicest facility, it disrupts that routine. This can cause anxiety, behavioral issues, and stress-related illnesses.

According to Cat Boarding Blues: Why Boarding Can Be Bad for Cats, cats can develop medical issues like cystitis due to the stress of boarding. They may stop eating or become aggressive when upset about a major change like boarding.

On Reddit, many cat owners report their cats seem very stressed after being boarded, especially if they can hear unknown cats nearby. The disruption to their normal home life is very difficult for some cats to handle (Is boarding really that bad for cats?).

Risk of Illness

Boarding kennels can expose cats to illnesses since cats are living in close proximity to other animals. According to furniture, cat boarding facilities can expose cats to other animals and potential illnesses. In-home cat sitting minimizes the risk of illness since the cat stays in a familiar environment without exposure to other pets.

Some common illnesses that cats can pick up at boarding kennels include upper respiratory infections, ringworm, and intestinal parasites. These illnesses often require medical treatment with antibiotics or other medications. Keeping cats in their own home reduces the chances of coming into contact with contagious diseases.

Owners should also ask boarding facilities about their protocols for reducing disease transmission between animals. Reputable facilities will follow proper cleaning and sanitation practices and isolate sick animals. However, even well-run facilities cannot eliminate the risk entirely.

Continued Care

When you board your cat at a reputable facility, you can rest assured knowing your cat will receive proper care and attention while you’re away. The staff will follow the feeding instructions you provide so your cat’s diet remains consistent. Your cat will receive scheduled feedings and have access to fresh water at all times. The staff is trained to monitor cats for signs of illness and will make sure your cat receives medication or treatment as needed. Some facilities even have veterinary personnel on site to tend to any health issues that may arise. With regular attention, exercise and social interaction from staff and other cats, your cat’s basic needs are met while boarding. You don’t have to worry about your cat going hungry or becoming lonely.

Preparing for Boarding

There are several steps you should take to prepare your cat for a stay at a boarding facility. This will help reduce stress and ensure your cat is happy and healthy during their time away from home.

First, make sure to choose a reputable boarding facility. Do your research and read reviews to find a clean, caring place that caters to your cat’s needs. Schedule a tour so you can see the facility firsthand and make sure you feel comfortable leaving your cat there (

Prior to boarding, get your cat accustomed to their travel carrier so it is a familiar environment. Take your cat on short car rides in the carrier so they get used to the motion and confinement (

Bring items from home that will comfort your cat, like blankets or toys. Make sure to also provide the boarding facility with your cat’s preferred food, medications, and other necessities. Keeping their normal routine will help reduce stress.

Before drop off, give your cat a check up at the vet to ensure they are healthy for boarding. Some facilities may require proof of vaccinations as well. Make sure to notify them of any special needs or health issues.

When you pick up your cat, allow time for them to decompress back at home. Give them lots of love and comfort to help the transition.

Choosing a Facility

When selecting a boarding facility for your cat, there are several important factors to consider in order to ensure your cat’s comfort and safety while you are away (How to Choose a Cat Boarding Facility in Brisbane):

Look for a clean, odor-free facility that requires all cats to be current on vaccinations. The living spaces should be roomy enough for cats to move around and play. There should be access to natural light from windows or skylights. The facility staff should have training and experience caring for cats.

Ask about the feeding schedule and diet – the cats’ regular food should be available to avoid stomach upsets from sudden diet changes. Make sure fresh water is available at all times. Litter boxes should be kept clean. Cats should have time out of their kennels or condos each day for exercise and play.

Some facilities offer extras like cat trees, toys, soft bedding, webcams so you can check on your cat, and grooming or medication administration if needed. Getting a tour can help you evaluate the environment and meet the staff caring for the cats.

Look for indications of a high standard of care – a clean facility, healthy relaxed cats, and friendly knowledgeable staff. This can give you peace of mind while your feline friend is in their care.

Home Care

Many cat owners prefer leaving their feline companions at home while away for various reasons. There are certainly some pros and cons to consider when deciding whether home care is best for your cat.

Some of the benefits of leaving your cat home include:

  • Your cat gets to stay in a familiar environment which reduces stress.
  • You don’t have to transport your cat or subject them to the stress of a new place.
  • Your cat can keep their normal routine for eating, litter box use, play time, etc.
  • There are no health risks that can come with boarding like exposure to illnesses.
  • You don’t have to worry about any conflicts with other animals if your cat doesn’t do well with others.

However there are also some downsides to leaving a cat home alone:

  • You will need to arrange for someone to come care for them at least once a day or even twice if your cat is needier.
  • Your cat could suffer from isolation, boredom, stress or behavioral issues from the disruption to your presence/routine.
  • Any health or emergency issues that come up will need to be handled in your absence.
  • You may worry about your cat’s well-being from afar and feel guilty.

Arranging Home Care

If you decide to leave your cat at home while you’re away, you’ll need to make arrangements for someone to care for your cat in your absence. There are a few options to consider:

Hire a pet sitter to come to your home. Professional pet sitters can visit your home 1-2 times per day to feed your cat, clean litter boxes, play with your cat and check on their overall wellbeing. Make sure to hire a bonded and insured pet sitter for peace of mind. Sites like make it easy to find pet sitters and read reviews from other clients.

Have a friend or family member pet sit. If you have a trusted friend or family member nearby, consider asking them to cat sit for you. Make sure they are comfortable caring for a cat and following your instructions. Work out details like how often they will visit and compensation.

Use an in-home pet sitting service. Companies like Fetch! Pet Care and Holidog offer in-home pet sitting where trained sitters will stay at your home overnight and care for your cat. This option provides more intensive care but is more expensive.

Check your cat into a pet boarding facility. Though boarding kennels are traditionally geared toward dogs, many also accommodate cats. Your cat would be cared for 24/7 by staff. Be sure to visit the facility beforehand to ensure it’s clean and cat friendly.

Whatever option you choose, schedule it as far in advance as possible. Provide detailed instructions for caring for your pet including veterinarian contact, feeding schedules, medication administration, and emergency protocols. Make sure your cat is up-to-date on vaccines and flea/tick prevention before leaving them in another’s care. Confirm that your sitter is bonded and insured for protection.

Preparing the Home

When leaving your cat home alone while you’re on vacation, it’s important to take some time to prepare the home environment. This will help your cat feel comfortable and reduce stress while you’re away.

Make sure your cat has access to food and fresh water at all times. Consider purchasing an automatic feeder and water fountain so your cat has a constant supply. Be sure to give them extra food before you leave as well.

Provide plenty of litter boxes, scoop them before you go, and consider getting a self-cleaning litter box. Cats feel safest with a clean place to eliminate.

Set up comfortable sleeping areas with familiar bedding and toys. Give your cat access to multiple rooms andLevels so they can look out windows or find cozy napping spots.

Consider leaving outinteractive toys like treat balls and play tunnels so your cat stays mentally and physically stimulated.

Make sure all doors and windows are securely closed so your cat can’t escape. Check that any screens are firmly in place.

Put away any harmful objects like chemicals, strings, or small items your cat could choke on. Cat-proof the home to avoid accidents.

Use calming pheromones like Feliway to reduce stress. These mimic natural cat pheromones and help create a comforting environment.

With some preparation, you can leave your cat happy and comfy while you enjoy your vacation!


In summary, the decision whether to board a cat or leave it at home comes down to a few key considerations. Leaving a cat at home can reduce stress and the risk of illness, but requires arranging adequate care and preparing the home environment. Boarding simplifies care but can be stressful and exposes the cat to other animals. Most cats do best staying in their home environment, but boarding may be a better choice for highly social cats or in situations where quality in-home care is difficult to find. There are ways to minimize boarding stress such as choosing a high-quality facility. With either option, the cat’s individual personality and needs should be taken into account. For senior or anxious cats, minimizing change by staying at home is usually ideal if possible. The choice depends on an owner’s specific circumstances and resources, but keeping the cat’s wellbeing as the top priority can guide the decision.

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