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A cattery is where cats are commercially housed. Catteries come in two varieties – boarding catteries and breeding catteries.
In the USA, the terms used are boarding kennel and breeding kennel.
The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United Kingdom and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (November 2013)
A boarding cattery is where cats are housed temporarily, when they cannot stay at their owners' home. Boarding catteries (cat boarding kennels) are mostly used by owners who are away on holiday, although they may also be used during house moves, building work or when their owners are incapacitated, for example if they have to go into hospital.
Cats must be adequately looked after, otherwise the owner(s) of the cattery may face legal action by the law or cat protection bodies such as the RSPCA if the owner(s) of the cat feel that it be necessary.
All establishments boarding cats within the United Kingdom are required to be licensed and inspected by the local authority's Environmental Health department under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963. Licensed establishments will have a copy of their licence prominently displayed as part of their conditions of licence.
A veterinary surgeon (vet) will not be deemed to keep a boarding establishment for cats so long as the cat is at the time receiving treatment by the veterinary surgeon and the boarding is a requirement of the treatment.
A vet will be deemed to be keeping a boarding establishment if, at the time of boarding, the cat is not under treatment or required to board as part of that treatment. If the boarding facility is advertised as ancillary to the vet's main business, the establishment will need to be licensed and inspected by their local authority and meet the conditions as per any other boarding establishment.
In determining whether to grant a licence for the keeping of a boarding establishment for animals by any person at any premises, a local authority shall in particular pay regard to the following:
- that cats will at all times be kept in accommodation suitable as respects construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
- that cats will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, adequately exercised / stimulated, and (so far as necessary) visited at suitable intervals
- that all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread among cats of infectious or contagious diseases, including the provision of adequate isolation facilities
- that appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the cats in case of fire or other emergency
- that a register – either hard or soft copy – be kept, containing a description of any cats received into the establishment, date of arrival and departure, and the name and address of the owner; such register is to be available for inspection at all times by an officer of the local authority, vet or veterinary practitioner authorised by the local authority.
International Cat Care (ICC), a long-established cat charity in the United Kingdom, has defined standards for the construction and management of boarding catteries. ICC standards are in addition to those set by local councils for licensing purposes.
A breeding cattery is where cats are bred. Cats may be bred as a hobby, or on a commercial basis where they are sold for profit.
In the United States, there are two main cat registries – the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA) which establish standards for member breeders. These cat registries also award certificates for catteries that have been inspected for healthy environments. Additionally, many U.S. States and municipalities, along with the Federal government, provide some regulations of breeding catteries.