Choosing a Cattery in Melbourne
Some catteries are only staffed for a few hours a day. A great time to get a sense of how a cattery is run is to inspect at the exact time they commence their afternoon opening hours. True levels of hygiene maintenance and cat care will be apparent at this time.
Even if you phone ahead and arrange a time to visit, be sure to ask at least some of these questions when you inspect:
Some important things to consider when choosing your cattery:
Have a quiet chat with your vet. They will be familiar with the reputations of various catteries in your area. Additionally, they will also hear the glowing feedback when a boarding cattery provides an outstanding level of service.
Word-of-mouth is our biggest source of clients (you can read our customer testimonials here). Ask friends, family and colleagues which catteries they have boarded with and what their experiences have been.
Another really useful way of obtaining information is customer feedback, both good and bad, about Melbourne catteries. This is a great way to find out what people are saying about many different services, including Melbourne catteries and their staff.
Sadly, some catteries make false and misleading claims on their website and over the telephone, so make sure you take the time to inspect the cattery premises before making a booking.
You may also want to ensure that the cattery adheres to the Code of Practice for the Operation of Boarding Establishments (October 2004).
To make your job easier, we’ve listed some critical features to look out for when seeking out a cattery.
For example, some catteries are only staffed for a few hours a day, and ideally you want a cattery that is supervised 24/7.
Even if you phone ahead and arrange a time, be sure to ask at least some of these questions when you do inspect:
- Can you please show me where my cat will be staying? Sometimes during your cat’s stay its placement within the cattery will change. Is there a uniformity of comfort and space in the enclosures throughout the facility? Do they have a permit for every cage in the facility?
- What will you feed the cats? Catteries should be providing premium quality foods, not supermarket domestic brands.
- How often do you completely change my cat’s litter? At The Cattery Company we change your cat’s litter every time it is used. A key indicator of a cattery’s attention to this detail will be the way that it smells. There is really no excuse for stale smells or soiled bedding in a well-managed cattery.
- What is the air-conditioning/climate control system used here? If a cattery claims to value climate control and fresh air circulation, ask about the air-conditioning system. Is it functioning appropriately/adequately at the time of your inspection? Compare the systems of a number of catteries. Smell the air. For winter, keep in mind that gas bottle-heating systems are turned off at night when it is coldest. In summer, noisy industrial fans don’t lend themselves to an environment promoting calm in cats.
- How are the enclosures cleaned? This is particularly important in instances where the bottom level of enclosures is a cold concrete or carpeted floor. Look for evidence of damp from a crude practice of hosing out of bottom ‘levels’. Staff wearing gumboots in a cattery environment is a tell-tale sign of this kind of practice and the dubious care philosophy behind it. What chemicals or products are used in the cleaning of enclosures? Do they break down odour causing enzymes or simply ‘mask’ odours? Most importantly, are they toxic to cats?
- Could I do a quick measurement of the enclosure my cat will be staying in? This can help you to determine what you could bring in with your cat for their stay. It can also help you to size up the claims a cattery makes about how greatly its enclosures exceed the requirements outlined in the Cattery Code of Practice. The integrity shown by a cat boarding facility in regard to its claims about features like enclosure size (particularly when referencing the relevant legislation) indicates the integrity they can be expected to have in relation to the care of your cat.
- How long have your staff been employed here? What are their qualifications, training and experience? Ideally, you want regular and consistent care team- who get to know your cat but more importantly, who your cat/s get to know and trust.
- Do you have an isolation room? Does it feature separate air both in and out? Is there a separate airlock between this room and the rest of the facility?
- In the instance of a cat becoming sick, what do you do? What vets do you call on? What is their availability to you? Could you provide me with their number so that I could chat to them about my cat’s stay with you and get a reference for you from them?
- How secure is the cattery? Are the premises alarmed? Is it a monitored system? Do you have monitored CCTV? Who is the security company so that I may verify this?
- Could I please see the kitchen and cleaning areas? The isolation room? You should be able to inspect the entire facility. A good cattery will be transparent in this regard. If there are doors to closed-off areas and you are curious, ask to see these areas. They may be explained as having no relevance to the cattery, and this may well be the case, however, there should be nothing to hide at the premises where your cat will be staying and cared for in your absence.
If you are only staffed a few hours each day and/or closed on public holidays, who is looking after the cats? Different catteries employ different practices. Some genuinely have staff in attendance for most of the day, yet keep their office hours to a minimum. Some have staff in attendance all day, every day 24/7. A great way to deduce whether or not there has actually been staff in attendance throughout the day, even if office hours are limited, is to visit the cattery at the very beginning of their afternoon office opening times. You will be able to ascertain quite quickly through smell, temperature and the mood of the cats if the cattery has been adequately attended, if at all.