Cattery or cat sitting? Discover the best option for your cat

Nancy Boland
Woman holding a cat

Cats are very particular about their environment and can undergo significant stress if they experience an unsettled routine. That’s why deciding between a cattery and a cat sitter can be such a hard decision to make. Do you send your cat to a cattery, or invite someone into your home to care for your furbaby? It’s the question every cat owner has to answer at some point. 

Arranging cat care for when you’re away can be a difficult decision. Two of the most common options are boarding your cat at a cattery or going down the cat sitting route. How do you choose? Fear not: Here at TrustedHousesitters we’ve looked into all the options to help you decide.

What’s the difference between a cattery and cat sitting?

Not sure what to choose for your beloved kitty? Below we detail the pros and cons between a cattery and cat sitting option:

What’s a cattery?

A cattery is a boarding facility you take your cat to while you’re away. They usually consist of separate enclosures for cats, although sometimes they include a communal area for more sociable cats to interact with one another. Some businesses also offer boarding in their house, rather than in their own enclosure in a separate building. 

As with any boarding option, there are advantages and disadvantages to boarding facilities. Below we’ve detailed the most important things to consider:

Advantages 

  • Regulations around cat boarding facilities are strict with specific laws and standards they must meet to ensure care for their cat clients is up to standard. 
  • Catteries are regulated and are run by experienced carers so will understand what to do in an emergency. 
  • Cat boarding facilities rely on good reviews so it’s relatively easy to look into which local options are best for you. 

Disadvantages 

  • Catteries and boarding facilities are often very busy and get booked up months in advance, especially during busy periods of the year like the summer and around Christmas. This means that last-minute requirements are often unsuitable. 
  • Catteries and boarding facilities can be expensive.
  • Cats are creatures of habit and don’t like being away from the home environment they’re used to. A change in routine can be upsetting for your cat and for you. 
  • Boarding facilities often involve the cats being within close quarters of each other – an aspect cats find very stressful in a new environment.

Is it harmful to board your cat?

Your cat won’t be harmed by an experience in a cattery, but cats definitely prefer to stay in their home environment where possible. The majority of catteries are professionally run facilities that provide 24-hour care for cats. Before pet sitting became popular, the only options previously were catteries so it’s definitely not a bad option to board your cat, especially if it’s the only option you can find. However, arranging an in-home cat sitter is a more convenient, kinder solution for you and your cat. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to scope out the perfect sitter for you and your kitty.

A tabby cat

What is cat sitting?

Cat sitting is usually a paid-for service whereby a cat carer looks after your cat in the comfort of their own home (or yours, per your requirements). Booking a cat sitter means you can ask them to visit your cat in your home a few times a day, or even stay overnight if that’s what you need. 

In-home cat sitters, like those on TrustedHousesitters, stay in your home for however long (or little!) you need them, meaning your kitty will always have company around. Best of all, no money exchanges hands - our sitters offer their house and pet sitting in exchange for the chance to stay in unique homestays and spend time with adorable pets - just like yours! It's simple really: our members pay an annual fee, and after that, sits take place on a money-free exchange.

Many of our cat sitters are also happy to help out with the occasional extra job like watering the plants or collecting the post. 

As part of their responsibilities, cat sitting includes feeding your kitty, cleaning their litter tray, as well as providing your cat with lots of TLC. The main advantage however, is that cat sitting offers a much less disruptive option for your cat while you’re away. It also gives you as the owner more peace of mind knowing your cat’s routine is in place and a caring cat sitter is looking after them.

What are the advantages of cat sitting?

Cats stay in the comfort of their home 

With a cat sit, kitty’s are cared for in the comfort of their own home. Leaving your cat in the place they know and love means you’ll return to a relaxed and happy furry friend. They’ll also be able to eat in their usual area, nap in their favourite sun spot and generally be more relaxed. Being cared for in the comfort of their own home also means that you don’t have to worry about the specific drop off and pick up times of a cattery.

Flexibility 

Cat sitting is much more flexible than the cattery option. If you’ve briefed your sitter to come in twice a day, and suddenly need them to come in three this can be easily arranged. You can also ask them to stay overnight in your home if your cat isn’t used to being alone. And as we mentioned above, you can also ask your sitter to help out around the house with a few jobs.

Peace of mind 

Unlike a cattery, where your cat may get unnerved or stressed by the experience, having a cat sitter take care of your kitty gives you peace of mind that they won’t be disrupted and everything is safe and secure within your home. Plus, as our sitters give your pets dedicated one-on-one care, you can rest assured your kitty will never go without a cuddle or two while you’re away. 

A personalised service 

Choosing a cat sitter also means you can get a more personalised service. If your cat has additional needs, for example, and has to have medicine administered daily, you can find the right experienced person for the job. Because you’re getting a more individual service, you can expect daily updates on your cat(s) which is a lovely additional touch when you miss your furry friend.  

With TrustedHousesitters, you can browse through hundreds of cat sitter profiles from both near and far. All sitters are verified, and as well as viewing their profile and photos, you can even read reviews from other pet owners, so you can find the best person to keep your precious puss purring. 

Cat having its chin scratched

How much does cat boarding in a cattery cost vs cat sitting?

Cat boarding 

Cattery costs can range depending on the area you’re in but they typically start at around £10 and can go to around £25 per night. Additional costs include: heaters, grooming and administering medication. Catteries tend to charge per cat so if you have more than one kitty, your costs will be significantly more. 

Cat sitting 

Wondering how much to pay a cat sitter? Cat sitters charge from £8 to £15 for a once-daily drop-in service. Twice daily drop-ins can cost from around £12 to £25, and overnight stays can cost from £15 to £50. Cat sitting costs are usually for the whole household so it can be a lot better value if you have more than one cat. You can also ask your cat sitter to add additional services for a fee, such as watering the plants or feeding small pets like hamsters and fish.

Cat sitting through TrustedHousesitters

While most pet sitters charge a daily or flat rate fee for their services, sitters on TrustedHousesitters provide their time, care and pet sitting services in exchange for interesting homestays and travel experiences. So, while some people may offer cat sitting services in their own home, our members always cat sit in an owner’s home. That’s because we believe in keeping pets safe and sound in the place they’re the happiest – their own home.

All sits take place on a trust-based, money-free exchange, where all members pay an annual fee to enjoy unlimited home and pet care (or for sitters, unlimited worldwide house sits). That means if you're a pet owner, you pay just once a year for unlimited in-home pet care, whenever you need it. That’s all of your pets, all of your vacations, all taken care of!

If you’re away for a day, a weekend or an extended period of time, a cat sitter is a great option for you and your kitty. It allows your cat to stay in his/her own territory, minimise stress and overall makes for a much more positive experience for your cat (and you). 

So, if you’ve been thinking about welcoming a cat sitter into your life, then why not begin by exploring all of our amazing sitters? And don't forget to join our Community Forum — the perfect place to find out more about cat sitting. Chat with like-minded individuals and ask questions, advice or support as you begin the search for your new cat sitter.

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