This is where the cats stay when they board with me…
Please take a look at the slideshow above.
Each cabin consists of a large, wood-framed, double glazed sleeping quarter (4’ square and 6’ high) and a generous external run (6’ long, by 4’ wide and 6’ high).
Each internal cabin (sleeping quarters) is:
- Furnished with a chair, a comfortable bed (although cats do prefer their own beds from home), a covered litter tray (for privacy) containing Okoplus cat litter (for odour control), which is cleaned throughout the day, whenever it has been used.
- The cabins are individually temperature-controlled so that it’s cool in summer and warm in winter; in cool weather heating is provided day and night via a thermostatically controlled infrared heater, so that the temperature does not fall below a cosy, homely 16°. The heating is adjusted to the size, breed and age of each cat so can be warmer when necessary (up to 18°).
And each run:
- Has a mat and extra tall scratching post (plus ping pong balls, pipe cleaners, feathers, cat cubes and anything else that might provide fun!).
- A choice of three different levels on which to snooze, lounge, sun oneself and look out at the garden, (watch residents watching visiting pigeons here) and
- Is laid out so that one can choose to lie either in seclusion or in view of one’s neighbours.
Number of cabins
I have 15 cabins in total:
- 14 double cabins, each offered for single occupation or two cats from the same household, and
- One family cabin which can accommodate up to 4-6 cats from the same household.
I take the health and safety of the cats I board extremely seriously. I have a safety corridor to ensure that even the most adventurous resident remains safely inside, hygiene is paramount, and:
- Litter trays are cleaned throughout the day, after they are used, not just at set times
- Uneaten wet food is removed after 20 minutes to avoid attracting flies (read more about [food here link])
- All cabins are fully insulated and well ventilated, with floor-to-ceiling sneeze barriers to prevent risk of infection, and
- Low-level lighting after dark ensures that I can see the cattery from the house at night and the property (house and cat accommodation) is protected by a burglar alarm.
- In the event of illness your cat will be taken to Twickenham Veterinary Surgery during the week, and Medivet, Richmond at week ends.
My aim is to run my small, ‘cat-centric’ garden cattery in such a way as to actively promote the well-being of each cat. In terms of cattery accommodation, this means I do many extra things:
- I think carefully about where to put each cat whose temperament I know (either from previous visits or from pre-boarding conversations with owners). It’s about who goes next to who, and it’s more challenging during peak periods when the cattery is full, but I always do my best.
- At the lower level of each run, I have frosted panels so that cats can choose not to see their neighbours. These are removable, so that when I see that residents are settled, I can adjust – and they can interact with their neighbours through clear glazed panels
- I play soft, soothing music from Smooth Radio all day to create a more homely, relaxed atmosphere, and
- I put toys such as catnip mice, feathers, cat cubes and ping pong balls in the cabins and encourage owners to bring toys that will entertain their cat and make them feel more at home.
I will always try to place young kittens who are boarding for the first time next to friendly adults who will ‘show them the way’. And I put young cats next to each other so that they can see each other through the sneeze barrier and play together.
Finding the right cattery for an older cat can be tricky because they need extra care and consideration. I love boarding OAPs and and take special care by providing a lower chair in their cabin, so they don’t have to sleep on the floor, and putting them in the quietest part of the cattery so they are not too disturbed by customers.
As with older cats, finding the right cattery for a nervous cat can be a worry. In terms of cattery accommodation I try to ensure considerate ‘neighbouring’ and ensuring that they get a cabin towards the quiet end of the cattery as there are fewer customers passing by.
- 8.00 a.m.: breakfast, followed by snooze time (while cattery is cleaned)
- Afternoon: individual play, grooming or lap time with me
- 5-6 p.m.: supper
- Evening: cabin cleaning and cuddle or play time with me (laser chase key!), ending with catnip being sprinkled around one’s scratching post and being given a few Dreamies
- 9 p.m. main lights off and gentle night lighting on
Note that this is the general routine. I do accommodate cats with particular needs, such as kittens and elderly cats with thyroid problems who need to be fed at more regular intervals.