If you're planning a lengthy trip down south this winter but you aren't sure what to do with your feline friend, don't fret—your kitty can have a get away all of its own.
Have you ever heard of luxury boarding kennels? If not, it's time. There are two options within the HRM where your cat can relax in a private room of its own, complete with an en-suite balcony. To get the scoop on these spots, we spoke with the two entrepreneurs about the ins and outs of their posh pet cares.
Both Kitty Care Inn (2376 Highway #2, Milford) and The Cat's Inn (145 Ferguson's Cove Road, Halifax) offer nightly rates for felines while owners are out of town. Services include a clean place to stay, feeding, light grooming, necessary medical care and optional socialization and cuddle opportunities.
And these inns aren't just any old place for your kitty to rest its head— their suites are akin to palaces for cats.
When Marilyn Weagle moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia 15 years ago, she was on the look-out for a bed and breakfast to take over. Instead, she stumbled upon a unique piece of real estate in Milford: An established cat boarding house up for sale, located on residential land.
"I just knew as soon as I walked onto the property," she remembers. With the help of her partner, Weagle runs the Kitty Care Inn seven days a week, hosting anywhere from five to 50 cats at a time.
Christmas is Kitty Care's busiest time, and when it's that full, the two are pretty much working non-stop. "It's a crazy time for us," she says.
Weagle says the care the cat receives depends on their temperament—if they're playful, playtime will be provided, but if they prefer some alone time, that should be respected.
"The longer I deal with cats, the longer I realize they're very much like people," she says. "They all have their own personalities, and their own little quirks," she says. "Really, they communicate pretty clearly to someone who takes the time to try and understand a cat."
Lisa Wash has always spent her time with animals in some capacity. Before opening her Cat's Inn business 22 years ago, Wash worked at the Animal House pet store, and then for a local veterinarian for six years. During her time there, she noticed the need for a long-term boarding house where cats wouldn't be kept in kennels the way they are in vet hospitals (which are meant for surgery recovery).
Plus, she wanted a lifestyle change. "I had always known I'd wanted to do my own thing one day," she says, "and then we bought our property out in Ferguson's Cove and thought it would be perfect here."
Wash and her husband built a cat hotel in their backyard, "and it's been going great ever since," she says. Like Kitty Care, her inn is extremely busy over Christmas, when they've had up to 60 cats with a waiting list of 30 or more.
"I should probably open a cat cafe," she says, laughing while describing the excitement people get when they drop off their feline and get to visit with the other kitties.
"It's a pretty good job actually, I never really think of it as a job," she says.
With a property that overlooks the harbour, Wash feels very fortunate to spend her days at home alongside new and old feline friends.
Kitty Care Inn prices start at $16 plus tax. Monthly fees are also offered, starting at $375. The Cat's Inn ranges from $16.50 to $24.50 a night, depending on suite selection.