As you can tell, Yuhui and I love going overseas. However as most pet owners know, going overseas isn’t that straightforward when you have fur kids. Arguably cats are somewhat easier to leave alone and we find this true to a certain extent. However our 2 boys are also attention whores who crave human interaction or even presence for a while every day.
How we’ve managed this so far if by getting one of our siblings to stay over while we’re gone to cat-sit. This works well coz they love the 2 boys almost as much as we do.
It’s been at the back of our minds thought that one day when they have families of their own as well, this arrangement might not be convenient. We’ve always been reluctant and sceptical about pet hotels due to price and more importantly we weren’t very sure they’d be able to meet the specific needs of ragdolls.
Our main concerns in using a cat boarding house were these:
2) Spreading of diseases from other residents
3) Boys not being used to it and getting stressed
4) Confinement to small spaces as they are used to having lots of space at home
5) Human interaction and attention given
The first thing that Nekoya requested came as somewhat of a surprise to me. They requested we bring the boys down for a site inspection and also for all parties to gauge how the cats would react to the cat hotel. This gesture, though small, gave me a very good first impression as it seemed they were serious about ensuring our boys well-being.
During the site visit, we had the chance of viewing the premises and meeting the staff caring for the cats. The place itself was big and spacious with lots of sunlight. The cat ‘pods’ were large, definitely able to fit ragdolls or even mainecoons. For a smaller cat it could like a cat hotel suite. Although it had ceiling to floor glass panels the temperature was kept nice and cool via aircon.
During the visit these were some of the extra things we learnt as well:
1) The cats were let out of the pods and given supervised playtime regularly every day. It was strictly cats from 1 household at a time to prevent possible spreading of illnesses or fighting.
2) No one other than the staff are allowed to touch the cats.
3) They were damn well equipped to handle stressed cats. They had a Spotify list (?!!?) of calming cat music (its public so you can use it to ^^) that runs the whole day. They also had what I can only describe as therapeutic scent that they applied to extremely stressed cats that calmed them down.
And tons of other small stuff I won’t mention as they patiently explained the whole place for close an hour. E.g. Their staff are former animal nurses and the whole place is strictly designed only for cats. End of the day this is what we took out – these guys knew their stuff and were really serious about caring for cats. The boys also seemed relaxed and happy as they roamed around while we spoke.
The outcome of that trip was that we were super comfortable to leave the cats there when the time to go to Bangkok came.
As Nekoya recommended, we dropped the boys in the evening of the day before we were supposed to fly. This is because our flight was in the morning and from their observations, their guests adapted better over the course of the night (dark and comforting) rather than over a full daytime.
We were also told to bring familiar things along to help the cats adapt to the new environment. Hence we took their scarves, their toys and a few packs of their cat food.
When we dropped them off, Olaf made himself at home in no time. He busily went around exploring and greeting the other residents.
Fabs on the other hand seemed anxious and grumpy. He hid in a corner of the pod and refused to come out. Due to this, we chose to have both the boys in 1 pod so that they could comfort each other even though it was a little cramped for 2 ragdolls. Even though we were a little concerned about Fabs as we left, we were quite confident that they were in good hands.
At this point I need to highlight something. If you’re overprotective, first time cat hotel users like us, I’d highly recommend you take an additional service Nekoya offers: $5 daily updates including pictures, videos etc of your cats. Yuhui and I absolutely loved waking up to pictures of Fabs and Olaf doing well. And this helped us greatly in being able to enjoy the rest of the day.
Over the course of the 4 days, Nekoya sent us pictures and updates of the 2 boys regularly every morning.
Olaf checking out the scenery.
Fabs checking the kittens out.
Both of them guarding Nekoya.
When we went to pick them up the checkout was fast and the boys and their toys were all packed and ready to go. I actually think that the boys had a pretty good time and the ones that were more anxious initially was us. So overall what do we think of the whole experience?
Nekoya knows their stuff.
There was extreme attention to detail and a lot of effort to make the guests comfortable (both human and feline). You might think there’s not much difference between a mixed cat hotel and a specialised one but I’ve learnt that there’s a world of difference in terms of type of care, environment and facilities.
Not all cats might enjoy it, but they definitely will be taken very well taken care of.
We saw some residents that spent all of their time inside their pods and refused to interact or come out. However even though they seemed quite dao, it was very clear they were very comfortable. For residents such as these, Nekoya also puts drapes on their pods to minimise interaction with other cats and make them comfortable. And also we need to remember that not every cat is as sociable as Olaf even in their own home environment.
Would we do it again?
Here’s the big question and I’ll be perfectly honest with the answer. Cat boarding is not cheap and this is no exception. But I don’t think people should view pet boarding as cheap in the first place. Especially if you care about your cat’s welfare. For the level of service and expertise, I’d consider Nekoya to be reasonably priced and of good value. The rates at Nekoya is about $39 a day with long term stays getting a pretty good discount (goes to down to a low of $20).
For us personally, we will still rely on our siblings and friends for really long holidays (we have a habit of disappearing for a month sometimes ><) from a cost management perspective. But for anything between a weekend getaway and a week long holiday, Nekoya is definitely an option now.
You are free to schedule for complimentary private viewings on Nekoya site if you’re keen to consider them for their next trip abroad!
Hope this helps all you cat/holiday lovers!
This post is brought to you by our guest writer who happens to Spoiltbytes’ husband and photos are by spoiltbytes.