A cat crazy couple have seen a rush of four legged holidaymakers booking into their luxury kitty hotel as their owners – able to travel once more – insist on five-star facilities for their fabulous felines.
At Liverpool’s Pets Country Manor owners Victoria Corcoran, 38, and her fiancé, Craig Hailes, 41, cater for their guests’ every need – starting with a welcome drink of chicken-flavoured water, followed up by treats like ‘catachinos’ and ‘kitty tapas,’ served in their 40sq ft rooms with four poster beds.
Housing 100 felines at full capacity in rooms costing between £15.50 and £32 a day, Victoria said: “Cats have a reputation for being sassy and independent.”
She added: “They know what they want and very much know what they don’t want.
“As a cat owner myself, I wanted to create a cattery that wasn’t just somewhere for the animals to stay while their owners are away, but a place where they can really enjoy spending time, too.”
The couple first started looking into opening some kind of animal hotel back in 2007 when they could not find anywhere to board their own pets.
Victoria said: “Craig and I were going on holiday and we had two guinea pigs which needed to be looked after while we were away.
“We looked into every animal boarding facility in the area but couldn’t find a single one that would take them. That’s when we realised there was a gap in the market.”
Opening an animal hotel in their back garden, housing all small creatures, from rabbits and guinea pigs to rats and hamsters, at that point they had no room for cats.
Victoria, who has five cats of her own – Nevada, a 15-year-old black cat, white and tabby Havana, 14, ginger Francisco, 12, and black and white Coco and Cayo, both 13 – said: “I’m a complete animal lover and knew that if I was going to start allowing cats into the hotel it needed to be up to scratch for them.
“I didn’t want to run a bog-standard cattery, I wanted the moggies to receive five-star treatment.”
So, in 2009, the couple built a luxury cattery next to the small animal hotel.
Victoria said: “We started off with 14 rooms, each with their own four poster bed.
“But we actually turned away 984 customers in the first year, because we were fully booked.”
Realising they needed to expand, the couple bought a large plot of land and built their dream pet manor, with enough room to house 100 cats.
Victoria said: “There was an old derelict pub with 1.6 acres of land for sale just 10 minutes down the road.
“We moved into our new home in 2012 and got to work on building the cattery, costing £650,000.”
And business is booming for the feline hospitality champions, who enjoy appreciative purrs from all their guests.
“We’re licenced to house over 100 cats a day with most rooms being 40sq ft and larger rooms, which come with a five-tier built in climbing wall,” said Victoria.
While a leading pet food manufacturer claims one in six cat owners admits to giving their feline friends more treats during the pandemic, nothing compares to the perks offered at Pets Country Manor, where moggies can have either a sunrise or sunset view and can enjoy afternoon tea.
Victoria said: “We offer paw-some afternoon tea, which is served every day to cats on a raised bamboo dining table. We offer catachinos and meow-tinis and puddings such as kitty custard.”
She added: “We also offer water fountains and orthopaedic four poster beds. People can add on daily iPad time, too, which is interactive entertainment for their cat.
“And we offer chicken flavoured water on arrival for hydration after the cats have been travelling in their carry cases.”
According to feedback, the five-star service for felines is a resounding success.
Victoria said: “We get so much positive feedback online from happy customers, which is fantastic.
“We’re very strict on the cats’ vaccination cards and treatments being up to date before they can board with us. Our customers appreciate this, because it shows we put our cats’ health and wellbeing at the forefront of all we do.
“We’re willing to turn away customers who don’t comply, because we wouldn’t risk the health of other cats staying with us.”
She added: “At the end of the day, we go above and beyond to make sure our cats are happy and healthy during their stay.
“The luxury treats are there to keep them purring – and the cats absolutely love them.”
Pet expert Julie Butcher, of pet food manufacturer Webbox, says quality is everything when it comes to boarding cats while owners are away.
She said: “Ultimately, a good cattery shouldn’t stress your pet. They should have a relaxed stay and be well looked after.
“You should absolutely avoid leaving them home alone with food left out. Not only are they most likely to not make their food last, but they will also be lonely and this can affect their long-term mental health.
“By leaving them in a cattery, you’re ensuring they still have that human contact, which is important especially after a year of us being constantly around our pets.”
For further information, visit www.webbox.co.uk