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NEVER Boarding Again!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've had cats for more than 20 years and have always used sitters when I've had to be away. But, as I posted some time ago, my current boy is super-social, and I worried that sitters might not provide enough human interaction for him, especially since I'm retired and home all day.

So a found a "luxury resort" that had small rooms with big windows (no cages) and I could pay for as many special play times for him as I wanted. I visited to check it out, and it seemed ideal, so I brought him for 2 days last weekend when I was traveling to see how he'd do. I brought his food, some toys, and even a mat and small bed that he uses (in the TV room--of course, he sleeps in MY bed at night!).

It was a disaster! When I picked him up, the director commented, "He didn't eat last night." I asked, "What about this morning?" The response was, "Oh, we haven't checked yet." He'd been fed more than an hour earlier, and it seemed to me that since there was some concern about his eating, they should have checked. (When they went to get him, they told me that he hadn't eaten breakfast either.)

When I brought him home, he would go to his food, but then turn away. He was incredibly restless and seemed unable to get comfortable enough to sleep.

I forgot to mention that he had a horrible odor on him, and I called the "resort" to ask if they'd given him some kind of flea treatment or anything that would have caused that smell (it was slightly medicinal). They said no, so I asked about the smell, and they suggested that it might have "transferred" from the techs' scrubs when they held him. That didn't seem possible, since the odor was so very strong.

That afternoon, I brought him to my vet because he wasn't eating and was so restless. After a thorough exam, my vet found that the side of his tongue was raw and inflamed, something that he's seen with cats who "over-groom." Of course, my boy must have been miserable with that smell and desperately tried to get rid of it! By the time we got to the vet, I had washed the stuff off him, but from what I described, my vet thought it might be the stuff they use to clean the kennels. He said that perhaps they'd used it on the walls in his room, and he'd rubbed against the wall when it was still damp.

Not only did this seem careless on the part of the resort staff, but my boy was supposed to have 2 play and 2 "loving" sessions each day. I find it odd that no one there noticed that he smelled so badly--or perhaps they didn't interact with him as promised?

My vet gave him a shot of Metacam and subQ fluids. By Wednesday, my boy was eating and resting well. I'm traveling next month for a few days--and I already have my sitters lined up. No more boarding--ever!
post #2 of 20
Poor guy

What an awful experience for him! I'm not sure I would ever take mine to a place like that either. You just never know how they're going to be treated.

Glad he is home and doing better.
post #3 of 20
Poor fella -- and what a disappointment. I wouldn't be going back there, either. We never travelled much, and less so lately, but our lot have always been fine with sitters, and that experience makes me more wary than ever of the whole idea of boarding.
post #4 of 20
I wouldn't be going back there either. I guess you just have to find a place that you have a good experience with. We've never had a problem with our boarding place. They are the most fantastic people, who treat our girls awesome!
post #5 of 20
Many years ago I boarded my first two cats and they both came back sick, but recovered quickly. The boarding facility paid their medical bills, so it must've been a normal occurance. From then on I hired sitters (and eventually became one myself!)
post #6 of 20
What a terrible experience for your kitty. Thank goodness you are such a good owner and care so much.

I'm seriously thinking of being a cat-sitter or some such thing when I retire in 2.5 years. To do something around animals is my dream and I'm too old to work in animal rescue.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
I wrote to the boarding facility, and they are paying the vet bill ($100+). Interestingly, I was told that the vet who owns the place was away at a conference, and his two cats were boarded in the suite right next to my boy at the same time. When he came home (2 days after I did), he called to ask what the smell was on his cats!

They are claiming this is a singular event that must have been a misapplication of the cleaner they use BEFORE the cats occupy a room.

It doesn't matter what the cause, my boy stays home from now on (I don't travel often at all, but I always worry when I'm away.)
post #8 of 20
IMO.. The only "luxury resort" for a cat is its own home surroundings!! That must have been like a vacation from hell for your kitty!! I run my own "home alone pet service", And with my experience with other peoples cats... The cats mostly sleep anyways and its not like they greet me at the door all meowie and rubbing against my leg for play time when i show up to feed them... Most times the cats are scardy cats in hiding on the first day the owners are gone when i show up.. Once they hear the food is being served they may come out or may not until im gone.. I find if a radio or tv is left on when the owners are away they seem to find the house occupied,and are more likely to come out and greet me for a pet.. It all depends on the cats personality.. One cat i take care of occasionally, will never show herself when im there..The only way i know shes there is by whats in the litter box and the amount of food thats gone.. More times than not the cats bowls still have food the next day.. People who do animal care for $$ as a in home service really care about pets or we wouldnt waste time doing it
post #9 of 20
I'm glad you wrote and I'm glad they paid the bill but I would never go back there again. I am ok with the boarder that I took them to. But at the first moment I think something's wrong, I won't ever do it.
post #10 of 20
That's so sad...poor guy. And it's scary to think that it sounds like a great place from what you described (play and love time, seperate room, etc), I would most likely want myboys in a place like that too!

It's a shame about his tongue though...I cant believe they'd put him back in the room with wet chemical/cleaner! Yeesh, even when I wash our apartment floors with all natural non toxic cleaners, I still keep them in a seperate room until it dries!

I'm glad to hear he's doing better!!!
post #11 of 20
Originally Posted by ms cat love View Post
IMO.. The only "luxury resort" for a cat is its own home surroundings!!
I tend to agree, it is much easier to find a neighbor or trusted friend to look after a cat than a dog, i.e. don't have to be walked or exercised as frequently. I'm terribly sorry you had this experience and hope the next time you travel things will work out better.
post #12 of 20
Wow what a horrible experience. I would never board! I know not everyone is lucky enough to have someone to take care of their furbabies but when i travel my boys are cared for by my parents and niece.

Sorry to hear about your experience. Poor little boy must have been so sad. Hope the sitters do a better job!
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
My sitters love my guy. Both are neighbors. One young woman lives in my house while I'm gone, and since she works all day, a teenage girl comes by every afternoon to play with him and give him some love (what he really craves). It's worked out fine, but I considered boarding because the woman who stays in the house is getting married and moving away this spring. However, the good news is that her brother is graduating from college and moving back home, so she will "train" him to replace her. I hope this continues to work out. I don't travel much, but I worry so much when I do.
post #14 of 20
I know dogs and cats are completely different creatures but I wanted to say that the not eating his food is not that rare for any animal away from home. I work at a boarding facility and we often get dogs that the first day they will not eat. But we make sure they always have food out and by the 2nd day they have normally calmed down and will eat. And really it probably takes them a while to get everything sorted out and they may have been giving him a chance to eat and really had not looked in on him yet when you got there.

It does sound like they didnt read the instructions completely on the cleaners. It should never leave any sort of film or residue! Although if it was bad enough to transfer off the walls onto the cat then my bet would be the workers did not notice the smell, just because they were used to it by that point and didnt notice it any more.

Now please do not take this as I am sticking up for the place, and I agree that you should not use them anymore, I'm just also saying that you should not completely swear off boarding because of one bad experience. And I do think you should call the owner and speak to him in person some.
Hopefully if you need to you will find a place that you do love! It may just take some looking around!
post #15 of 20
The only time I left for a couple of days was last September, and my next door neighbor came in to play and scoop the box. Dusty loves her and will run up for some loving when she comes by. We have looked after her boy a few times too.
post #16 of 20
I had a similiar experiance. But I was boarding at the vets. From a 'luxury' cat hotel you would expect grand customer service. My poor Sydney smelled so bad, that medicinal smell like yours. Like he was doused in it! So gross. He was so depressed for a few days even after he came home it was awful.

With my three i have now I can't even imagine boarding them. The were all in shelters before i adopted them and I can't even imagine them thinking they were abandoned again....i would cry through my whole trip. NO I WOULDNT! I just wouldn't go away!!

I have a great sitter who comes twice a day and gives me detailed reports everyday of their bathroom habits and eating habits and if they played, their general mood. They love her! I do too. I get such peave of mind knowing they are taking well care of. The money is beside the point for me. I just add it into my travel plans!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Capt Jordi-

If he had not eaten when he arrived, it would be more natural. They reported to me that he had eaten well until the final two feedings before I picked him up--I now know that's because his tongue had finally become so inflammed from all that grooming.

The manager called me after she received my letter of complaint, and we discussed the situation. Later, after she had sent me a nice letter (along with a check for my boy's vet care), I sent a letter to her to explain that I wasn't boarding any more---but the incident was not the reason. It was his reaction when I brought him home. I had left him once before--with sitters--and he was overjoyed to see me when I returned. THIS TIME, however, he was obviously more overjoyed to see the house! I realize that he probably thought he'd been abandoned once again. That's why from now on he'll stay home, as I've always done with cats for the past 20 years.
post #18 of 20
Thankfully you were only gone two days!

I wonder what they used to clean the kennels? In addition to owning and operating a pet sitting company I work part time at a local clinic/shelter. We use a cleaning product strong enough to kill Parvo virus (it only affects dogs but is highly contagious). It smells nice and dries very quickly. I've never had an issue of it transferring to an animal. I'm so glad whatever it was only made your kitty stressed and not very sick too. I would think that would be awful.

Like some other posters let me plug for pet sitters. Cats, even very social cats, do extremely well with pet sitters. To find a reputable sitter go to and enter your zip code to locate a sitter near you.
post #19 of 20
So sorry to hear about this experience you and your Kitty had to go through. I was EXTREMLY against bording my cat Dexter especially as he is always with me, i couldnt imagine that he would be ok without me!!!! However i did LOADS of research and in England there is an organisation called FAB (Feline Advisory Bureau) they were wonderful, they told me the best place for my cat to board and that this was a FAB inspected cattery. I went to have a look at the cattery (Pinewood cattery) and was very impressed, every cat was set one carer who would look after them throughout their stay, they would see that they got enough play and grooming time every day for NO extra expense and i called them every other day while i was away to get regular updates on how he was doing. In the future if you are ever stuck for what to do if you go away and cannot get a cat sitter see if there is an organisation like FAB that could help you OR get in contact with FAB here in England and i am sure they would point you in the right direction.

I think its horrific you had to pay EXTRA for you cat to have extra play times. This should be something that the boarding house/cattery does for FREE.

Sorry to hear about what happened to your cat and i hope he is over it now.

post #20 of 20
They probably figured it was his fault for rubbing against things that already had the residue on it. My friend said it best (re:using chemicals to mop floors - and I would extend this advice to countertops or upholstery or practically any surface - including surfaces within pet boarding) - PEOPLE NEGLECT TO RINSE even though rinsing is tremendously tremendously helpful in many ways. It's an extra step that can make you tired just thinking about it.yeah I speak from experience. lol

..... .. I'm sorry you had to go through that. It seemed so wonderful from the description. Never again. Perhaps you can write them a quick email or letter, not to hold on to ill feelings but just to give them feedback. Or perhaps go on to Angie's List or whatever it's called and type out your feelings to help others.
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