||Rooms vs. Cages Our Philosophy
Cats are amazing creatures. We find that if you offer them what they need -- love, admiration, good food, and an appropriate room designed just for them -- they will graciously relax and enjoy themselves.
Harriet Jane Butts, the architect who designed and owns the Resort likes to say "If you meet a cat half-way, the cat will meet you three-quarters of the way." It really is true. It is the generous nature of cats that makes the Kitty Hill Resort work so well.
The traditional rationale for boarding kitties in cages is that:
- They feel more secure in small spaces;
- They exercise isometrically so they don't need much room; and
- Unlike dogs, they are independent creatures and do fine alone.
Well, we disagree. Our response to the above is as follows:
- While it is true that cats love small spaces in general, and it is also true that frightened cats feel more secure in small spaces, this doesn't make it right for a boarding facility to offer only small spaces for their kitty guests. Something is very wrong if a cat that is boarded for two weeks remains frightened the whole time. All cats should have a place to hide, but they should also have a place to come out from hiding and play. Actually, cages aren't very good for hiding either; they offer "smallness" but nothing to hide behind. In many cages, cats are given little cardboard trays for elimination since there is not enough floor space to have a regular litter box and space for a cat.
- Cage-boarded cats get depressed, they stop grooming themselves, and they don't exercise. They don't have scratching posts, they can't jump or climb or do much more than turn around and stretch their backs. A short stay in a cage "exercising isometrically" won't harm their musculature, but longer stays will. We've seen the loss of muscle tone a number of times when we have picked up kitties that have been boarded for long weeks in cage-style boarding kennels.
- The kitties that visit Kitty Hill Resort are companion animals; they are loved pets who are used to being an integral (if not pivotal) part of their family's life. Labeling them "independent" creatures (as compared to dogs) ignores the emotionally connected side of family cats. In their own ways they are very involved with their human families, very loving towards them and they miss their families when they are separated. They don't understand why they should be put in a cage, and they don't like it. (Who would ?) In terms of psychological health, they are harder to board than dogs. At the Kitty Hill Resort they are given comfortable rooms. They have their toys and bedding smelling of home around them, and the loving relationships they have with Harriet and the staff are what sustain them. Clean food and water are all but useless without genuine love and admiration.
Change is coming
Most people don't approve of boarding cats in cages. They don't want to do it, but often have to because they have few options. A change in attitudes towards cat boarding is taking place all across the country. Newer upscale boarding facilities generally offer "condos" which are floor to ceiling multilevel cages. While this is obviously a BIG STEP in the right direction, we at the Kitty Hill Resort do not feel it goes far enough. Super friendly kitties are the exception, not the rule, in a boarding situation. There are scaredy cats and shy cats and cranky cats lots of wonderful cats who are simply not just ready to purr and be friends with anyone in a new, strange environment. How do you establish a relationship with these kitties? You can't pick them up and hold them because most cats won't tolerate that from a stranger. Do you reach in through a "condo" door to try to pet a kitty while keeping her from jumping out? The rooms at our Resort are perfect for making friends; you can sit on the furniture or lie on the floor and let the cat come out to you from the safety of his/her own hiding place.
Harder but Better
We know all too well that ROOM-sized accommodations take up much more space, and cost more, and take much more cleaning and care. But they just work so much better. The pleasure Harriet takes in her evolving relationship with each kitty fills her up while she attends to her unending litter box chores.
Kitty Hill Resort for Cats creates one of those wonderful, rare situations that works for all concerned.
- The STAFF at Kitty Hill get to enjoy watching the kitties unfold day by day as they reveal their own special personalities.
- The KITTIES have rooms to pamper their special feline needs, and loving caretakers at their beck and call.
- And the KITTY'S FAMILY is able to relax knowing that, not only will their cat or cats be carefully cared for, but they will be happy and comfortable as well.
All that's worth a little extra effort and expense. Running a Resort like this is about as much fun as you can find anywhere. We hope lots of people will follow our example and set up similar cat boarding facilities of their own all across the country. We would be happy to offer advice and encouragement.
Snow Kitty photos by Stacy Tatman