Who Boards Their Cat and Why?
I have a mission to paw it forward to the cats who have supported me from my childhood to present, through smiles and tears, expecting nothing in return but my unconditional love. My business is all about the heart- putting love, positivity, and joy out into the world. Our family provides our local community a safe, loving, home away from home for their cats when they want to travel or need to be away. The adoption journey doesn’t end when a cat gets adopted. We are here for pawrents and are a support system that keeps cats out of shelters.
People often ask who boards their cat and why. It is a very emotional answer. We have celebrated with others, caring for their cats so they can see their children get married or visit their grandchildren. They do not have to miss out on birthdays or family moments and have peace of mind knowing their furry family member is being well cared for by us. Some parents want to travel and can do so knowing their cat is having their own vacation with us.
We are located in the 5 college area. College students who are away from home for the first time, many times out of state, are adopting cats for emotional support. It’s a win-win! Cats are leaving shelters and finding loving homes with college students who are in return loved and supported in a new, and many times anxious, time of life. It is touching to see the comfort these cats bring to them and how much they love their cats back. The cats cannot stay at the campus during holidays, breaks, and vacations. Flying a cat out of state requires vet visits, paperwork, airline rules about weather and temperature as well as feeding, and considerable expense. Many of the students don’t have cars. We provide taxi to and from Contented Cats for them so they can comply with campus rules and continue to keep their cats. For us, having the cats throughout the year is like spending time with family members. We get to catch up with the cats and students and celebrate with them when they graduate.
We were there for one student when campus suddenly closed during covid. I remember the first day they came to drop off their cat for boarding while they and their mom settled them into their dorm. I empathized with the mother leaving her child for the first time all the way across the country. I told them that I would be here if they ever needed anything. A few years later covid hit. Imagine being a student far from home being told you have to vacate your dorm in three days while airports are closing down and not even knowing if you will be able to get a flight home. I met parents taking others' children home with them to NH and VT that day. People were scared and confused but also reaching out to those in need. My daughter and I helped pack "our" student's dorm room up and got them on their flight home. Then we worked to get their emotional support cat flown home to them, getting the vet exam and necessary paperwork done, then driving kitty to Boston and seeing her off. With everything shut down, I suddenly was without any income and this student’s mom cared my family and I, making sure we had food and everything we needed, calling to check up, talk, and see how we were. I will never forget the love and bond we two moms shared, caring for each others children. Now that is positivity and love!
On the sadder side of things, other families have had health crises. We have been here through strokes, heart attacks, cancer, and sadly hospice and funerals with others. We have seen cats grieve and parents grieve and have grieved with them. Some parents suddenly find themselves in intensive care. Not everyone has family to come care for their cat and most times family and friends cannot take their cat to their home- they are out of state, have their own pets, allergies, and busy work schedules and children to care for. Sadly for these cats, there are no backup options but relinquishing them to a shelter if they cannot find care. We are here for these cats, sometimes for months, while their parents are in the hospital and then rehab. Reunion day is always such an emotional time for all of us. We get to be there when parents and cats reunite after months of communicating with, sending updates and photos of their baby, and rooting for their speedy recovery. The longest stay we had was 8 months and 3-4 months is not uncommon in these situations.
Then there are special needs kitties- kittens, elderly, disabled, and cats with medical conditions and medications. They require more than a once a day visit from a pet sitter. They need 24 hour care and someone who is experienced and truly knows and loves cats. Someone who is prepared to do hospice care if it comes down to it- giving meds and subcutaneous fluids. A person who will be there in the final moments loving that cat as much as mom and dad would have if the situation arises.
Lastly, we are here when there are service workers in the home- we don’t want any escape artists during that time! We are here when people move out of the area and movers are packing up the home. We are here when people get home repairs and updates like new floors, windows, and kitchens. We are here when new families move to the area and are getting their home set up. Kitty stays with us and gets to move in after things are setup and a room is ready for them, giving them the best start in their new home.
Hopefully what I have shared will help people to understand who boards cats and why they board them. There is a lot of love, snuggling, and playing, but there is so much more. We are honored to be here as a community support to cats and the people who love them. We will continue to learn, grow, and love your cats as our own.