It is usually better to hire a cat sitter provided you have complete trust in the person who will be responsible for your cats while you are away. That’s the slight worry. You have to completely trust the cat sitter because it could go wrong. I can remember a sign on a tree near me of a lost cat. The reason why the cat was lost was because the person had used a relative to look after their cat while they were away. The cat escaped. There is almost nothing worse that could happen than knowing that your cat has escaped while you are away on holiday on the beach trying to relax.
However hiring a cat sitter is normally better because your cats will remain at a location with which they are very familiar and which they treat as their ‘home range’ (the territory that wild cats regards as their home).
Another reason why cats staying at home is better is because there is less chance of your cat acquiring a disease. When you put your cat or cats in a cat hotel they will usually be among many other cats. No matter how careful and responsible the management are in running a boarding cattery there is still a chance of contracting a contagious disease.
A third reason why it’s better that you hire a cat sitter is because at a boarding cattery the cats are kept in cages. There will be cats left and right of your cat in other cages and the whole experience could be stressful for your cat.
However, it appears to me that there is one aspect of a boarding cattery which is possibly superior to using a cat sitter. A boarding cattery is more secure. Your cat will not escape. If your cat is an indoor cat and you use an inexperienced cat sitter then he or she may escape to the outside and become injured or even, in the worst case scenario, be killed on the roads. So a boarding cattery is a normally more secure.
If your cat knows the cat sitter well and if the cat sitter is a highly professional and responsible person then your cat won’t be stressed or they will be no more stressed than they would normally be when their owner is present.
It all turns on how good the cat sitter is and how familiar your cats are with her. Personally I would try a cat sitter out for a short stay and then build up from there. I would always use a professional cat sitting business. I would not use a friend or relative unless you are completely sure about them.
I know some people who live near me who go away from more than 10 days and they ask their neighbour to feed their cats while they are away. Personally, I would never do this because I do not think it is discharging one’s responsibility as a cat guardian adequately. But each person has their own methods and there are different standards of cat caretaking.
My personal preference is to never go away, which completely solves the problem (slightly extreme). At present I don’t think I can trust anybody to look after my cat and I would probably worry about it when I was away. I don’t want that situation to occur. If I go away (and I have not been away for at least 12 years) I’d probably take my cat with me if it was at all practical.