Boarding Kennel/Cattery Worker

A boarding kennel looks after dogs, and a cattery cares for cats, while their owners are away. Usually this may due to a holiday but it could also be due to other circumstances such as family illness, moving house, a domestic upheaval such as a new baby or a separation or in some cases if the owner dies and the family are deciding what to do about the pet.

The dogs and cats are usually kept in individual pens (unless there are more than one from the same household and then they cam be kept together). The pen will consist of an indoor area and an outdoor run or exercise area. Dogs will be walked and exercised outside of their runs at least twice a day

Jobs would include feeding, cleaning out, grooming and exercising the dogs. Good customer service skills are also required. To run a boarding kennels you will need good management skills as well as an excellent knowledge of dogs care and behaviour. Most countries require boarding kennels to have a licence to prove they meet the required standards.


These facilities generally need more than one person to operate them; so even a small operation will often employ at least one person in addition to the owner; and sometimes several. Often these may be family businesses, with husband and wife both employed. If the owners are ever to have a holiday themselves though, the business does need to employ someone else who can fill in when they are away.

This is a good job for people who like to work specifically with dogs and cats. Kennels and catteries are found in most locations providing good scope for job opportunities.

The most profitable long term opportunity will be to be an owner operator; but when starting out, you may get valuable experience working part time for an established kennel or cattery.

Risks and Challenges

Animals in new or strange environments may become stressed and unpredictable. This may lead to aggression so if not handle correctly there is a danger of being bitten or scratched by the animals in your care.

How to become a Kennel or Cattery worker

A love of dogs and cats is essential. It is a good idea to get as much experience within this environment as possible before deciding on this as a career choice.  Courses in dog or cat care are very helpful to support the practical experience as well as more specialist subjects such as Dog Psychology and Training.

Other related jobs
organisations such as the RSPCA, which look after stray, abandoned or mistreated animals
kennels run by organisations like the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
breeding or quarantine kennels
other kennels such as hunt or racing kennels.

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