So…You think you’d like to own a cattery?
That’s great. And I certainly do not want to put you off, but perhaps you should think again!
Quite often, when showing people around the cattery, out comes the comment “Oh I would just love to own a cattery like this”. The person is very taken with the place and obviously a true cat lover. I just smile and think inwardly “No you wouldn’t” or sometimes I reply “Do you want to work seven days a week 12-14 hours a day”?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. You just couldn’t do it otherwise. However, it would be fair to say that if we had had a crystal ball and could have foreseen the impact running a large cattery was going to have on our lives, we may have re-considered. I know my partner Stephen definitely would have.
Ours is a very large boarding facility currently taking around 85 cats at full capacity. Amazingly enough there are plans afoot to expand to 100 cats. Are we crazy!
The cattery was purchased for me. Stephen works fulltime off-site during the week and there was never any plan for this to be otherwise. Even so, I don’t think people in general realise exactly what is involved in owning and managing a cattery this size. It totally consumes your whole life. Having good, reliable staff is essential. So far I am lucky in this respect. The day to day operation is a team effort. I have set the bar high and it is impossible to do all the work myself.
After committing to buy this business, I formed a vision on where I wanted the cattery to be in five years time. Second best was never an option, which means surrounding yourself with the very best people you can lay your hands on. I am proud of my staff and proud of what we are achieving.
But is it hard work and one cannot pretend otherwise. It takes total commitment and without reservation it means putting the animals first.
Cats do not care or even know that it is Xmas Day and you’d rather be eating roast turkey and plum pudding with your extended family. Or that it is New Years Day and you’re hung over from last night’s celebrations. Or that you have a wedding or some other special function to attend. Or that your simply just bone tired and want to stay in bed or have a day off.
Not a chance. Cats look forward to you unlocking same time every morning, appearing with the food trolley, cleaning their litter trays, fussing over them while their units are cleaned and tidied. It does not take them long to catch on to the daily routine, morning, afternoon and evening. Great……dinner time, here comes more yummy food!
Meantime, I finally get to collapse on the couch in front of television and eat my evening meal about 7:30 or 8pm, quite often the first meal of the day.
God forbid that you might want to take a couple of weeks for a holiday overseas. Do you have enough staff, the right staff, and a house/cattery sitter? The cattery cannot be left unattended. There must always be someone living on-site. So many things to plan and organise.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. The delight on the wee faces of the cats when I open up each morning makes all sacrifices worthwhile. The cats need us; me and my staff every day without fail. It is a hard life but a rewarding one. So if you think you’d like to own a boarding cattery; my advice, buy one!