Board Kitty or Hire a Cat Sitter?
April 15, 2015 8:15 PM   Subscribe

We're going on vacation for 16 days. Our cat can't come. Should we board her in a kennel or hire a cat sitter?

We're going on a 16-day South American vacation in June. We have a 12 year old indoor cat. A friend was going to come and stay at our apartment while we were gone, but unfortunately she's no longer able to do it. So we're trying to find alternatives.
We've narrowed the possibilities down to two options: Board our cat in a kennel or have a professional cat sitter stop by once a day. Price-wise, both options are about equal.
I want to do what's best for our little fury princess.

She's a strictly indoor cat, and hates strange places and most other animals (including other cats).

We've gone on vacation before and usually have someone stop by once a day. That's worked well in the past, but we've never been gone for this long before.

One of us also works at home, so she's used to getting a lot of attention and having people around.
She has no serious medical issues and is not on any medication.
We live in downtown San Francisco, if that matters.
posted by firemonkey to Pets & Animals (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cat sitter. She'll sleep most of the time you are gone anyways. She hates new places, so don't force one on her if it's unnecessary.
posted by jeather at 8:18 PM on April 15, 2015 [25 favorites]

For cats? Cat sitter. Cats are territorial, and they generally find being uprooted from their territory and having to stay in a relatively small kennel near a whole bunch of other strange cats to be pretty stressful. Cat sitter all the way.
posted by sciatrix at 8:19 PM on April 15, 2015 [11 favorites]

Cat sitter. It takes cats weeks to recover from changing homes. We always have a cat sitter (my friend comes by to feed and play with her once a day) and the only difference is she's extra cuddly when we get back.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:21 PM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sitter. The cat will be comforted by being its home environment.
posted by quince at 8:22 PM on April 15, 2015

Agreed with the sitter. We were just gone the same number of days, and had a sitter (morning and night in our case), and it worked out well. Our cat wasn't thrilled, but I'm completely confident that he was much less traumatized than he would be in a kennel.
posted by primethyme at 8:31 PM on April 15, 2015

Sitter. Leave her (the cat!) some t-shirts that you've worn so she can sleep on them (or take revenge on them because you went away). You might consider posting this as a job on mefi jobs (either for cat sitting or house sitting), even, as I know there are lots of SF mefites who love cats.
posted by rtha at 8:31 PM on April 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

+1 for a cat sitter. We have two cats of our own, and we would hire a sitter ourselves if it weren't for the fact that one is diabetic and requires insulin injections twice a day. Having a sitter visit them in their own domain will go a long way toward reducing stress for everyone involved (cats AND humans).
posted by Telpethoron at 8:53 PM on April 15, 2015

Sitter for sure. I've dealt with nasty bad behavior from cats that were kenneled for just four or five days... they were not happy campers when they came home and they were at each other's throats for a couple of days until things settled back in. Normally they're best buddies but the stress of the kennel had them both on edge.

The sitter will likely mean MUCH less stress for the cat, or at least that's always been the case for any cat I've had.
posted by Old Man McKay at 8:55 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Cat sitter and have them come every three days.
posted by Oyéah at 9:16 PM on April 15, 2015

Best answer: I may be able to do it (for free)! Feel free to MeMail me. :)
posted by three_red_balloons at 9:16 PM on April 15, 2015

Sorry, meant to say, I may be able to stay at your apartment if you were interested in that, rather than just stopping by. I also work from home, so I'd be there most of the time.
posted by three_red_balloons at 9:17 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

When I go away, I have Tales of the Kitty come by. They do a fantastic job of looking after and entertaining my cats and when I get home, my cats couldn't care less, which I think Is a great testament to their work. Cats are territorial. I would strongly prefer to have mine at home rather than in a strange place. I can't link Tales of the Kitty from my phone but they're easy to find. Seriously, I swear by them.
posted by janey47 at 9:42 PM on April 15, 2015

While I think most cats prefer home, kenneling them won't kill them. I boarded my cat for three weeks and honestly it made my trip easier. I did not have to worry about her meds, my house or what I would do if a problem arose with the sitter. Was she happy the whole? No. Did I have a worry free trip? Yes.
posted by cairnoflore at 10:48 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sitter. My cat literally stopped eating when I boarded her, and they later told me this was not an uncommon reaction. Now I have Calvin the Cat guy and when I get home, they are sad with me for my evil, but are fat and fine. (Most sitters will give daily email updates, and if you're really paranoid, you can couple it with a web cam.)
posted by frumiousb at 11:05 PM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Here's the link for the service janey47 mentioned:
Tales of the Kitty
posted by wonton endangerment at 11:12 PM on April 15, 2015

I always use a cat sitter when I travel, and it's great. The cats are comfortable in the environment that they're used to, and I like that they get personal attention from someone who is only looking after the two of them, rather than a kennel full of cats. I also like the security of knowing someone is checking on my house every day, picking up the mail, etc.
posted by neushoorn at 12:35 AM on April 16, 2015

Cat sitter. We board one of our cats when we travel because he is diabetic and boarding is really stressful for him. I wouldn't recommend it for any cat that doesn't absolutely need someone keeping a close eye on him/her. We have a friend who does a great job watching the other cats and it isn't a big deal for all the non-diabetic kitties if something comes up and she doesn't make it over one day. There's always extra food and lots of water.
posted by whatideserve at 5:31 AM on April 16, 2015

definitely cat sitter and I'd strongly encourage having them come every day.

And if you have a friend/neighbor who wouldn't mind it wouldn't hurt to have them drop by for some longer play/cuddle times every few days as well. Just make sure you let the sitter know that there might be someone around randomly so that they don't walk in on someone there and freak out a little bit.
posted by bowmaniac at 7:10 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Definitely cat sitter. A friend of mine has two cats and usually has a sitter. The one time that the cats were left at a boarding cattery, they were stressed to hell and lost weight. The only upshot of them having a sitter is that one is extra cuddly afterwards (although she's a bit puddled, so she forgets that my friend's ever been away fairly quickly) and the other meows judgementally for about ten minutes after my friend's return, before demanding All Teh Cuddles for the rest of the day.

YMMV, because cats.
posted by gmb at 7:22 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Cat sitter. According to my sister who doesn't know her neighbors well, the cat sitters she's hired have always been very professional, affordable, and she's never had any problems.
posted by KinoAndHermes at 8:48 AM on April 16, 2015

We always use a cat sitter and it's been great. We have two cats, though, so they keep each other company when the sitter's not there.

The pros for us are that most sitters do nice things for you like take in the mail, water a plant or two, and alert us if there seems to be something wrong with the house. Ours also turns lights off and on and generally makes it looks like someone's home. We hired our sitter when we were gone over Christmas once and because the sitter was coming to our house, he noticed the furnace stopped working. We were able to call someone right away to fix it. Of course, had our cats been boarded, this wouldn't have been an issue for them, so there's that.

We have great neighbors who will also sit but we try to lean on them in emergency or last-minute situations only.
posted by Pearl928 at 11:57 AM on April 16, 2015

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