Some years ago, I remember having the opportunity to take a much-deserved vacation. While excitedly making travel plans and reservations, suddenly a heavy stone laid on my heart. Who would care for my beloved felines while I was away? I had friends and family who might be available, but would they be reliable and responsible? Would they forget some days to feed, provide fresh water and clean the litterbox? Would they take the time to sit with my cats and play, providing a sense of companionship? What if my cats escaped through an open door or window unnoticed? Many anxious thoughts filled my mind; will they feel abandoned, scared, upset or sad? The stress of such an abrupt change to a cat’s routine may cause ailments and loss of appetite. To the untrained eye this could go unnoticed, leading to a decline in health and well-being.
Cats are neophobic, meaning they are very skeptical of changes to their environment. I understood that my felines were very emotionally bonded to me and would experience a high level of distress from my absence. In fact, the Oregon State University’s Human-Animal Interaction Lab recently concluded a study confirming what many Cat Lovers are already acutely aware of: felines bond to their caretakers just as strongly as infants and dogs. Although I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to leave behind my beloved felines, I ultimately employed a friend to look after my cats. While I was appreciative of the friendly favor provided, I was disappointed that I hadn’t found a better option; perhaps a more secure environment meant just for them, which could provide all their feline needs.
I realized that many people must be experiencing the same concerns when they are away from home and began to think of a solution that brought me joy. I conceptualized a cottage-like environment with constant monitoring by a few affectionate people, as well as video cameras which could enable me to see my cats at anytime while I was away. I envisioned a large wing chair with comfortable blankets by a sunny window, where they could dream and relax. They could be housed in a spacious custom wood suite with multiple levels for exercise, luxuriously soft beds, exemplary clean litter boxes/sanitary conditions and fresh food and water. I even fleshed out the little details that often go unnoticed but add so much to the overall ambience of a setting, such as soothing cat-centric music to waft softly in the air, filtered air quality and negative ion lighting.
Another essential and intricate part of the cat psyche is the need for play, exercise and exploring. Climbing shelves and tunnels up and along a wall with bridges across windows would keep them happy and engaged, lessening the stress of being away from home and me. My imagination filled this place with serenity and calm. Loud electronic gadgets and strong smells are absent from this environment and only soft carpets, marshmallow-type bedding and catnip balls and wand toys are evident. The final touch, of course, being a loving person present who would read to and cuddle my fur babies was all I wanted.
After some years I decided to make my dream a reality, not only for myself but for other people. I decided to evolve my feline exclusive mobile grooming salon into a brick-and-mortar location, with feline exclusive boarding built within where cats can stay in luxury and love. I succeeded in providing an environment that I had always pictured in my mind, and in the building of my current feline exclusive grooming business even more ideas came to me. One such idea is that of attaching a Catio; an enclosed outdoor area with doors to various suites where our feline friends can bask fully protected and enjoy the fresh breeze and healing sunshine on their bodies. Other ideas of comfort and tranquility may come to fruition in the future. However, for now, the attention and love plus excellent grooming treatments from the mother/daughter team at Downtown Tabby Inc are awaiting your special felines. If you have the option, please don’t leave your loved ones at home alone.