When you're leaving town for a while, whether for a vacation or for work, deciding what to do with your cat can be stressful. Your two major options are to leave the cat at a boarding facility or to leave it at a friend's house. Both of these options have their merits and drawbacks. Here's a look at some factors to keep in mind as you choose.
The average cost of leaving a cat at a boarding facility is $15 - $20 per day. More luxurious cat hotels may charge closer to $40. While this is not an exorbitant fee if you'll only be gone for a few days, costs can quickly add up if you'll be gone for a week or more. Depending on your relationship with the friend you're considering leaving your cat with, you can probably get away with giving them a $25 or $50 gift certificate as a "thank you" if you leave your cat there. If they have pets, too, you may even choose to repay the favor by watching their pets for them sometime.
You know your cat better than anyone else. Do you think they'll be happier in a home that's unfamiliar, but rather quiet, or in a busier place where there are workers and other cats around all day? If there is a specific cat boarding facility you're considering using, visit them during open hours and see what the environment is like. Does it feel like a better match for your cat than your friend's house does, or does your friend's house seem more accommodating?
You probably don't want to think about anything bad happening to you cat, but the truth is, accidents and illness are real possibilities while you're away. Cat boarding facilities usually employ knowledgeable pet lovers who are trained to handle emergencies appropriately. Does your friend have similar knowledge and experience? If he or she is a long-time pet owner, then you can probably depend on them to make the right decisions and call the vet as needed – but a more novice pet owner may struggle in this regard with a pet who is not theirs. From a safety standpoint, the boarding facility is almost always a safer bet due to the educated staff.
If an accident happens because someone makes a mistake, boarding facilities will typically cover the cost of any related vet bills. If your friend makes a mistake (lets your cat outside accidentally, gives him bad food, etc.) it will be up to you and your friend to negotiate who pays the resulting vet bills. Only you know if your relationship with your friend can handle this tension.
If you're on a tight budget and have a friend you can really, truly trust, you may be better off leaving your cat with the friend. In most cases, however, a boarding facility is a better option because they're well equipped for your cat's needs. For more information on your animal boarding options, contact a location like Marquette Animal Hospital.