Pet owners are notoriously precious about their darling dogs and cherished cats.
So a fortnight in the Algarve is usually accompanied by a big dose of guilt at leaving their treasured companions behind.
Inspired by this predicament, cat lover Jo Ounsley came up with the idea to create a luxury feline hotel where pedigrees and moggies alike could be pampered morning and night while their owners enjoyed a relaxing break.
And now the cat hotel, in Ings Lane, Thornhill, is welcoming its first guests to sit in the lap of luxury at Christmas.
Jo said: “My cat Feli, who died last New Year’s Eve, gave me the idea for the hotel. I was lucky – my mum would look after her while we went away. But one year she was ill, so we looked at some catteries. There was nothing wrong with them but it wasn’t what she was used to, so we didn’t end up going – and that’s how we came up with the idea.”
After two years’ work, the hotel was finally ready earlier this month.
Each of the hotel’s 12 suites is animal themed and includes a four poster bed with goose feather pillows, mood lighting, scratching posts made from Jo’s own trees, climbing walls, a viewing balcony, toys and feline TV. Upgrades include an a la carte menu, massages, bedtime stories, catnip bubbles, organic wheatgrass and extra toys and treats.
And Jo even sends updates, pictures and videos to owners during their holiday so they can see what their cats have been up to.
Tonight, Jo will read the cats a Christmas bedtime story, and tomorrow Santa will pay the cats a visit when they can each enjoy a stocking full of Christmas goodies before tucking in to the a la carte menu of king prawns and salmon.
Jo said: “We wanted to create a home from home environment. It’s all about keeping them stimulated, but the main thing is I will spend time with them, grooming, cuddling and loving them as if they were my own.”