Kitty Hill Resort FAQs

ChinChin First our most frequently asked question: Does Kitty Hill mix cats from different families together in those big rooms?
A: No. Absolutely never.

Are the biggest rooms more expensive than the smaller rooms?
A: No, they are all the same rate. Inevitably, certain rooms such as the larger ones, or the ones with more windows or climbing levels, or ones with particularly cute cat furniture or playful themes are extra popular and usually fill up first. However, all of our rooms are carefully designed for feline comfort and fun. We decided to have only one rate so that a client devoted to his or her kitty wasn't put in the uncomfortable position of having to decide how much their kitty’s comfort was worth. “I wish I could afford the VIP penthouse rate for my wonderful kitty, but I guess he'll just have to make do with less than the best.” ALL our visiting kitties are VIPs (Very Important Pets) and deserve all the best we can give them.

Can I choose the room I like the best for my kitty and have it reserved?
A: Yes and no. We try to accommodate our clients' requests for a specific room just as we try to put returning kitties back in the rooms they were comfortable in on previous visits. However…

  • Sometimes based on our experience we think the room a client chose is not going to be a good match for that particular kitty. It may be too quiet or too social or too near other cats and so forth, so we suggest another.
  • Sometimes we move kitties AFTER their arrival to a different room we think might suit them better.
  • And sometimes if we reserve for your two kitties one of our three extra large family rooms, for example, “The Presidential Suite,” your kitties may be switched before you arrive to a different two-kitty sized room like "The Bridal Suite" to make way for a family of four kitties who called after you.
  • Sometimes the previous kitty in the room reserved for your kitty doesn't go home on time ("airport snowed in"), so your kitty stays in a different room.

No two rooms at Kitty Hill are the same. And matching kitties to rooms is a fine art. So, yes, we try to accommodate our clients' room choices, and yet ultimately, of course, the Kitty Hill staff has the final say what rooms are best for all the kitties there. This is a rather long answer because people fall in love with special rooms, and they love their kitties and feel passionate about their accommodations – as they should.

There is a rumor circulating that that your long envisioned addition is actually being built. Is this true.?
A: YES. YES. YES. WE are almost at the stage of putting the roofing on.This means it is really taking shape and it is beautiful!! Really nice spaces,windows and skylights everywhere. Many of the 10 to 15 new rooms will have private secured and screened outdoor patios so the kitties can safely go outside and lie in the sun or climb the tree branches we will set out there. Those rooms will effectively have twice the floor area of regular rooms and there will be a slight up-charge for them. Some are on the second floor looking over the western view of Pogonip Park. There is also a new isolation wing with greenhouse windows, individual thru to the outside fans and formica easy to sterilize surfaces. This area is for use if we have a cat that has certain medical issues or maybe for a kitty who may have a cold. We will be able to isolate and watch him without worrying about his being contagious. We will even have storage space. Imagine!! We are very excited.

With all the concerns of fire this summer, what fire safety measures do you have at Kitty Hill?
A: First of all we are a stucco building less than five minutes from the City of Santa Cruz Fire Dept. Second, our facility is fully sprinklered in all areas. Each floor has fire extinguishers. Kitties don't start fires. Our greatest exposure is probably from our electrical wiring and that has all been newly done by a licensed electrician and inspected for compliance with the electric codes. As part of our addition we also built a mostly 12' high concrete block fire wall between us and our neighbor. We do not think fire is a much of a danger to our kitty guests.

Do you ever let the kitties out into the common areas?
A: When Harriet is working at Kitty Hill at night, she will sometimes let out one of the long-term boarders to help her do the laundry or sit on her lap at the computer. The longer the boarding stay, the more attention a kitty needs. We also move our long-term boarders for an afternoon visit to an empty room on a different side of the facility. We call it “environment enrichment” and it is great, even with all the extra cleaning involved.

For what length of time will you board a cat?
A: Well, it varies by the age and temperament of the cat, but about 4 months maximum is a rule of thumb.

When you mention bringing my kitty’s possessions, does that include large objects like his beloved carpeted condo/scratcher?
A: Sure. Almost all our rooms are spacious enough for large items from home, and we feel these familiar objects are good for visiting kitties. We have one kitty , Scooter, who always comes with his goldfish friend, and he ONLY drinks water out of his goldfish’s bowl! (We may write a book someday.)

That raises another question: Do you take other animals?
A: Sometimes we do. Unfortunately, we can't take dogs or any animal whose scent would bother the kitties. We have had bunnies, birds, guinea pigs, ferrets and fish, rodents and reptiles. Both the staff and feline guests enjoy them. ChinChin

Speaking of animals what kind of animal is that in the picture to the right?
A: Often mistaken for a dust mop, that is ChinChin, a 5 pound brown tabby Persian.

Does Kitty Hill plan to expand in the future?
A: Yes. Plans are in the works to double in size. We are planning some rooms to have outdoor runs but we are really excited about our proposed second floor plans with their own wired and screened balconies facing Pogonip Park. We are also asking the Santa Cruz City Planning Dept to allow us to build a second apartment for another Cat Cuddler.

Litter box:
My cat only uses the out of doors as a litter box. Will he adapt to the litter box you provide?
A: Yes. We have never had a cat have any trouble with this. They understand right away.

I'd like to bring my own litter box. May I?
A: That's fine with us as long as you use clumping litter or litter pearls and not the odor absorbing non clumping clay. We offer a $5 one-time discount for the extra effort of those who choose to bring their kitty’s box.

My kitty likes a fresh litter box. How often do you scoop?
A: Always at least once a day, More as needed. Older kitties and diabetic kitties need it more often. Families of two or more cats get two litter boxes and/or oversize boxes and/or more scooping. Some highly fragrant kitties get immediate attention. It is all as needed. We are proud that many of our clients walk in and remark on how fresh it smells. (Our timed ventilation system and all our open windows help with this, too.)

I don't want to change my kitty’s diet. Will you feed her as I do?
A: Yes. Give us your instructions. Bring your kitty's special food. We have a refrigerator for perishables. We will post your instructions right on your kitty’s room door.

Do you recommend we bring our kitty’s food?
A: Yes we encourage it. A few kitties are the “I will eat anything, anywhere, anyplace type,” but most are very particular about which flavor of which brand. Since cats are sometimes slow to eat normally in a new situation, we watch their intake (and output) extra carefully for the first few days they are with us. We do not want to worry that they are not eating because we have given them Salmon Entree instead of Salmon Dinner, for example. Also we don't want to change their diet or eating habits, so it is a good idea for our kitty guests to come with their normal foods. Some people bring human treats such as shrimp, deli turkey, baked ham, etc., and that is fine too.

Do you give a discount to someone who brings their kitty’s food?
A: We don't charge extra to serve special diets to our kitty guests, and we don't offer a discount to those who bring their kitty’s foods.

What brands of food do you offer?
A: Iams Less Active is our main dry food; almost all kitties seem to like it. We also usually have on hand Max Adult dry, Hills C/D, and a couple supermarket brands like Meow Mix and Deli Select. We have a whole variety of canned foods and also Trader Joes Tuna for Cats and Gerber baby foods.

Does Kitty Hill serve special meals on holidays?.
A: Yes kitties have holidays too. With the permission of the kitty’s family we serve turkey on Thanksgiving, roast beef and shrimp at Christmas, and so forth. Any excuse is welcome.

What shots do you require?
A: We have discussed the issue of feline vaccinations with numerous veterinarians, and we have found that there is a great deal of controversy and not much consensus on this subject. We have decided the best we can do is to take a conservative position on the subject. We therefore require written proof or a call from your vet concerning the following:

  • that your cat be current on the RABIES vaccine (1 or 3 year variety)
  • that your cat have a FVRCP vaccine every 2 years minimum
  • that your cat have a FeLV (Leukemia) shot every year. We will waive this for an inside only cat whose family and vet do not wish him or her to have this vaccine.

Generally, we will follow the wishes of your vet concerning the shots your cat needs. Some vets are now of the opinion that their older cat clients, having built up sufficient antibodies from 10 or more years of shots, no longer need annual vaccinations at all. Some others question the need for Rabies vaccinations for indoor only cats, despite state law. For boarding purposes we feel the FVRCP vaccination - also called the booster, distemper, 3in1, or combo shot is the most useful since it gives protections against cold viruses and distemper. We will defer to your vet's instructions for your cat or cats.

What special medical services for kitties do you provide?
A: We are very good at giving pills, shots (including insulin), eye and ear ointments, and sub cutaneous fluids. For most of the above services there is a fee charged of $5 per dose, $20 for sub cutaneous fluids.

If my kitty needs to go to the vet during his stay how is that handled?
A: Part of the paperwork you fill out gives us permission to make medical decisions in your absence. We discuss this with you thoroughly at intake. We SUGGEST everyone leave a credit card and instructions with your veterinarian in general. We REQUIRE clients who are either going to be unreachable by phone, or out of the U.S., or who have a kitty who is over the age of 14 to leave a credit card number with their vet. If we need to take your kitty to the vet, Kitty Hill charges $30/hr. for that extra service.

How do you handle flea control at the Resort?
A: We request that our clients put flea control, for example, “Advantage,” on their kitties approximately a week before they come to the Resort. Even inside only kitties may need protection from fleas that catch a ride on clothing. We haven't had much trouble with fleas, perhaps because our clients sign an intake form that authorizes us to put “Advantage” on any kitty that has fleas. The great majority of our clients use and are pleased with “Advantage.” We have heard one story of a kitty who was seriously allergic to it. We are open to Frontline or other flea control protection at our clients' requests.

I'd like to tour Kitty Hill before I board my kitty. How do I arrange that?
A: We encourage a pre-boarding visit. Everyone knows trying to get away for a vacation is generally a stressful and hurried process. Visiting Kitty Hill, asking your questions, getting to know Harriet a little, filling out the paperwork – all this makes the drop off easier on the day of your departure. To arrange for a tour, call Harriet at 831-427-CATS. Tours are usually given on Saturdays but can be arranged for other times.

If I am in town can I visit my kitty while she is being boarded at your Resort?
A: Sure we love to have people visit their kitties. Just call Harriet to arrange a time with her. You can also arrange to have one of your friends or family visit your kitty.

Why is everything done by appointment at Kitty Hill? Why can't I just stop in and drop off my kitty whenever I want?
A: Harriet needs to be able to give you her undivided attention for about 15 - 20 minutes when you are dropping off your kitties. SHE needs to get clear information from you so she can provide the best possible care for your kitty. YOU need to get focused attention from her so you can leave your kitties (never an easy thing to do) feeling comfortable with her. We have found having appointments is the best way to ensure that this time is available. Imagine two clients arriving at the same time, both in a hurry to catch planes, etc. It doesn't work. We have appointments for tours and visits and pick-ups because an appointment ensures that Harriet will be there when you stop by.

I know some boarding facilities in town charge for each day or part thereof. How do you count the days you charge for?
A: When you drop off a kitty that day and following night are charged as one day. As long as your kitty has gone home by our 12 o'clock checkout, there is no charge for the final day. So dropping off a kitty Monday morning and picking him up by 12 pm Friday is a 4 day charge.

Do you have a minimum charge?
A: Yes, we have a two day minimum charge.

Does Kitty Hill Resort require a deposit to hold a reservation?
A: No. We used to. Because deposits are a nuisance both for you our clients and for us at Kitty Hill during the summer of 2004 we are trying an experiment. We are seeing how things work without deposits. Please help us to be successful at this be letting us know the minute you know you don't need a reservation so that we can say yes to a kitty on our waiting list thereby helping our business, our joie de vevre, and another deserving little kitty.

How early do I need to call to be sure to get a reservation?
A: Most of the year there is no problem getting a reservation. However, we were filled up for Christmas by Thanksgiving. (Though many people were able to get rooms after that from our waiting list.) The summer, of course, is very busy. Call early if you can; sometimes we are very unexpectedly full. By the summer of 2005 we plan to have doubled the size of our facility all with big, beautiful, new rooms. We can't wait.


ChinChin photos by Stacy Tatman

126 Vernon St. • Santa Cruz, CA 95060 • (831) 427-CATS