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May 1, 2017
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May’s Arrival at Hotel Cat

May is always the start of summer for me. All of the oak trees are out in full leaf and our newly planted walnut tree is finally showing signs of green shoots. The grass has not really grown due to the lack of rain, but at least we haven’t had to mow!

April was a really busy month. Over the Easter period we had two large families of cats arrive, one of seven cats split between the Moulin Rouge and Beachcombers Suites and a family of six Turkish Angoras in the Royal Mews. It was a first stay for both families and they all settled in really well. We were able to send worried parents plenty of Watsapp videos to show the cats had settled and I know this really puts worried minds at rest. We also had a number of our lovely regular guests staying and I know that their calmness really helps the newcomers. At the moment we have all regular guests staying, including four beautiful Maine Coons and the ever popular Sebastian! Sebastian is very much loved in his new home where he has been for a year today. It is his Birthday on Wednesday and we are cooking him his favourite fish supper, plus he has a new toy from his Mum and Dad – that combined with cuddles and games will make him very happy.

Holly is coping extremely well with her restricted paddock and her foot pain has now gone. All the donkeys are shedding their coats and I spend at least an hour a day grooming them all. They adore any interaction and come running if they see me with the grooming brushes! Hopefully the sheep will be sheared this month, so they will be much more comfortable for the summer. Our busy chickens are laying plenty of lovely eggs and the newcomers are looking very healthy, the only trouble is they love coming indoors and it is quite common to see one walk past me as I’m doing paperwork!

We  have very limited space left now until October and Christmas has a long waiting list. If you do have any dates you are thinking of going away then the sooner we know the better. We have a number of bookings in already for 2018 and will hold dates for you if required.

We have a new electric line being put in this week. It means that we will have lights up the driveway and in the chicken and donkey barns, it will involve a lot of mess, but will be worth it come next winter. We are also updating the cat trees in the hotel and the new ones look very smart.

Must go as I have cats waiting to be groomed and entertained. Have a great month!

Jackie xx

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April 1, 2017
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Happy April!

I cannot believe March has gone already, why does the time fly so fast when the weather improves?! We had a lovely week off and had a couple of days away with James and Lucy which was lovely. Our wonderful friends Sue and Andy moved in to look after our animals and they were all thoroughly spoilt – the added bonus was that the house was immaculate – we must go away again!

We started taking cats again once we were back on the Sunday and have been fully booked ever since, bookings are now coming in for September and October and the diary is looking quite full. We have had lots of our usual gorgeous regular guests staying lately and Tim had to collect from both Kensington and Baker Street in London this week. He loves going up to the city as he says it is so incredible to drive through, he is always glad to get back to the peace of the New Forest at the end of the day – we are so incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

We have been busy around the farm removing the ancient barb wire fences and clearing brambles before they take over. The deer are regular visitors and we will leave long grass under the oak trees for them to hide in. Holly the donkey has just been diagnosed with laminitis, which is a serious condition which affects her feet. She kept going lame and we assumed that it was because she had a foot abscess, but when the vet did x-rays this week she found the laminitis. Holly now has to come off grass until it has settled down and unfortunately she will always have to be restricted. The other donkeys take it in turns to be with her and at night they are all together, they are such a lovely family.

We have a very busy month ahead with lovely cats both in already and due in soon. I have had an awful cold this week and it is so lovely to snuggle up on one of the beds with the cats and recover. I actually fell asleep this week and woke up with two Burmese sleeping on me – I love my ‘job’.

I better go as it is nearing teatime for the cats and I’ll get told off if I’m late!

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Easter,

Jackie x

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March 1, 2017
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March the beginning of Spring

Thank goodness March is finally here, it’s one of my favourite months as it heralds the start of Spring. The daffodils and crocuses are in full bloom and the birds are very busy in the nest boxes which are all around the gardens. The sheep which a local farmer puts on our fields for the winter have now left to have their lambs at home and hopefully the deer will make an appearance again soon.

February was another exceedingly busy month, I don’t think we had many days when we did not have a ‘full house’ of guests. Our lovely Bengal family, which have been with us since before Christmas go home next week. We shall miss them terribly as they are such fun and always looking for mischief! We have had a few new faces staying this month and it is always lovely to watch their character’s come through once they realise we are not the vets!

Percy, our gorgeous miniature donkey, turned two last week. He had plenty of treats, especially digestive biscuits of which he is particularly partial. He is still enjoying his therapy training and we are now saving up for a small horsebox so that we can take him out. All the other donkeys are very well, but look a bit tatty with their thick woolly coats.

We have a slightly quieter month in March, we are even taking a few days away – we don’t know where yet, as with the amount of animals we have we don’t like to plan too much in advance. The cat hotel is shut from the 21st – 26th, it will feel very odd, but lovely to have a few days away.

Wishing everyone a happy month and I’ll speak to you all once the temperature has risen!

Jackie x

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January 31, 2017
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January end

January is always the longest and slowest month, although this year we have been exceptionally busy which has helped to speed things up. We have had a number of guests staying for between 1-3 months and it has been lovely having them for so long.  We had three separate families of Bengals staying last week, seven of them in total – definitely a walk on the wild side, well, colour wise they look wild, but their personalities are totally soft and exceptionally playful!

We loved the cold weather as the cat hotel is always so warm, but we are not enjoying this rain. It makes looking after the outside animals hard work, still, they are worth the slog as they are all so loving. I have a seat in the donkey barn and they love it when I go and sit with them all each day. Our oldest donkey had to see the vet this month as his teeth were playing up, he is ok now but will need further work done in 12 weeks. Unfortunately our oldest sheep is struggling with her arthritis, the vet looked at her and said the time is coming to let her go as her mobility is limited. She is on pain relief and stays in the barn, where all the others look after her. If all the donkeys and our other two sheep go out to the field you will always see one of them stay behind to keep her company. They have always lived together with us as a family group and they are very close, I have a lovely photo of Polly as a young sheep meeting Charlie the new born donkey taken 10 years ago.

Our diary for 2017 is very booked up, mostly with our lovely regular guests who book their stays early, but also with  a number of new guests to meet which is always lovely. We have a quieter month coming up in March, so we have decided to have a weekend away, goodness knows if it will happen, but fingers crossed!

Sid the cat checking that there are no more lambs under the bed!

Sid the cat checking that there are no more lambs under the bed!

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January 1, 2017
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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone, may all your hopes and dreams come true in 2017. We have had an extremely busy Christmas, but it was hugely enjoyable due to having such lovely guests to stay. They all had a stocking to open on Christmas morning and then the three Bengals had a great game of ‘who can climb the Christmas tree fastest’!! We are already fully booked for next Christmas with all of our lovely favourites coming to stay.

The donkeys have been such stars over Christmas. Percy accompanied me on a fancy dress morning held at our running club. Our group won first prize as a nativity scene complete with real donkey and Percy was the star of the show. We have started training him and he loves learning new tricks, he waits for me at the gate each day so that he can come out and perform! Our new donkey Misty has settled in well and is always with Charlie, he still pretends he doesn’t like her when I am there, but goes looking for her when he can’t see her.

We rehomed 12 ex commercial birds in early Dec and they are delightful. They are so confident already and will march straight into the house if we leave the door open. The cats adore watching them during the day as they are such entertaining birds.

Our diary is filling up quickly for the year ahead, for some dates in February we are already full. If you have any dates you would like held please let us know soon as this looks like a very busy year. We would like to thank everyone for using us in 2016, we adore all of your cats and feel very privileged to be able to care for them all.

I must go, I have a cat called Harmony who insists that I sit and read with her in the afternoon…….

Jackie xx

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November 30, 2016
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November Over

Why do winter months always last longer than summer months?! We have had a quieter month, which has allowed us to decorate some of the suites and have a good tidy up in the gardens. Our first Christmas cat arrived last week and we have three more arriving over the next week. Our Christmas tree is now up and all the cats presents are wrapped up underneath. We have such fun putting the tree up and trying to wrap as the cats always ‘help’! One of our guests, ‘Ally’ managed to put claw marks down a whole roll of wrapping paper and every time I would lay it out he would throw himself in it!! We have some amazing guest staying at the moment and it is so lovely to see how warm and relaxed they are. When I go in first thing the heating is so warm and the cats are always so comfortable, I am so proud of how well the hotel works for the cats as playing with them in their suites is what keeps them and us happy. We love being with the cats throughout the day and they never get put to bed before 9pm. Their heating is on 24 hrs and we always leave them with a night light once the main lights are off.

The donkeys are all well and we have a new arrival! Her name is Misty and she is nearly 3. Her previous owner wanted to find a permanent home for her and a mutual friend put her in touch with us. She arrived three weeks ago and after some additional problems, with her adjusting to living in a group, she is settling in well. She is a white donkey like Charlie and they look incredibly cute together! The donkeys, sheep and goats love their new barn and spend most of their time in there, much to the delight of the cats who find them highly amusing!

We have 12 new hens joining our family on Saturday. They are ex commercial birds, who once they reach a certain age are slaughtered due to their egg production dropping. Fortunately, there are fantastic groups around who find homes for these girls and we are very much looking forward to meeting ours. This is the third lot we have taken over the last 10 years and we highly recommend it as they are such characters. The cats love to watch the chickens and ducks and they are such peaceful birds to have around, we normally have eggs to give away in the spring so bring a tub if you would like any.

Bookings are coming in daily for next year. February, Easter and May are booking up fast at the moment, so if you need any dates held please let us know as soon as possible.

Please do not be offended by our second year of no Christmas cards, we have joined the ranks of giving the money to charity instead and have this year decided to support Freshstartforhens who found our girls for us.

I must get back up to my lovely guests. Wishing you all wonderful Christmas and may all your dreams come true.

Jackie xx

 

 

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October 28, 2016
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Happy Halloween!

I cannot believe that we are just about to start November, the weather here has been fabulous and I am currently sat writing with the back door wide open as it’s so mild. We have had such a busy month and have been flat out with so much to do, having said that, Tim did manage to sneak across to Portugal for a weeks golf! We have had beautiful guests staying again this month, mostly regular guests, but also a few new faces. We have two brothers staying called Salt and Pepper who are the sweetest chaps and so very handsome! We had our little family of four who have been in many times and who stayed for a fortnight, they are all young and were so much fun. There is never a day when I don’t pinch myself about how lucky I am to spend my life with animals.

We have almost finished the inside of the house and it looks far better now than it did on the tv show! It has been hard to live in it whilst all the building works have been going on around us, but the end is now in sight. Next week we are decorating the cat hotel as it has worked so hard for the last two years and deserves some love back!

The donkeys are all really well and adore this weather, they are regularly found basking in the autumn sunshine. They also thoroughly approve of their new barn and it is far easier to keep them clean and dry with the concrete floor. Our little deer family are in the fields every evening and we can walk within 200ft of them whilst they just stand and watch us. I cannot express how that makes you feel, to know that a wild animal trusts you enough to let you get that close is an amazing feeling.

We have a quieter month coming up, then we are flat out again for Christmas. We have four families of cats staying for nearly two months, which means that January is half full already. If anyone has January dates please let us know soon to avoid disappointment. We are taking bookings for 2017 most days now and the bank holidays are now fully booked. We have even started our 2018 diary as we have bookings coming in that far in advance!

Right, back up to entertain and lavish love on my lovely guests,

Jackie x

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September 30, 2016
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September over – Autumn arrives

Well, it would appear today that Autumn has arrived. The shorts have been packed away until next year and the jumpers are making an appearance. It has been a fantastic summer at Hotel Cat and we are busy tidying up the outside buildings ready for the winter. The hedges are being cut next week and we are planting new trees around the gardens.

We have had a very busy September with lots of familiar faces coming to stay. It’s funny how the cats know which suite is theirs and how they settle straight back in. We now have the heating back on and the suites are toasty warm in the mornings. We have Enzo and Aston the British Blues staying with us at the moment and Enzo loves to snuggle up under his duvet, you would think he would be too hot, but he loves to snuggle. We also have Ronnie and Reggie the Silver Tabbies, Poppy and Tabitha the Bengals and Florence and Ravello the Silver Tabbies have just gone home. I love the imaginative names, we have always been hopeless at trying to think of a name which is different. We had two cats called Neko in last week in opposite suites, apparently Neko means cat in Japanese, you learn something new everyday!

The donkeys are all really well and just adorable. Their newly refurbished winter accommodation, which is right outside the cats suites, is finished. They now have a concrete base, which will be far easier to keep clean and will help their feet. They are desperate to break into the barn with their winter hay and try daily to find a new way in! They are frequently found now in the paddock by the drive, patiently waiting for someone to give them the fallen apples off the trees.

We have a busy month coming up in October, but we ease down in November, our first month when we have not been fully booked weeks in advance! Bookings are flying in for 2017 and we even have a couple in for 2018 – it also looks like Christmas 2017/2018 is already full…….!

Must go, I have a hotel full of gorgeous guests to entertain, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!

Jackie xx

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August 30, 2016
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August Days

What a gorgeous month August has been, we have had so much sunshine and have loved every minute!

We have been so busy in the Cat Hotel this month, lots of regular faces and a few new ones. We had two Siberian kittens stay with us for three weeks, they were the most laid back boys and so much fun. We have also, finally, had our first Siamese guest, ‘Lady’, she is a beautiful girl and loves to snuggle up on your lap. She has king prawns for breakfast each day and will talk to you for more!

Our new girls Stella and Sweep are loving be able to go outside and are always in the garden. Stella has managed to catch two birds and just this morning I found the pair of them playing with a mouse in the lounge. Fortunately it was still alive so it was taken out to the front garden where it scampered away. Doumy, our old girl, is still going strong and is usually found lying in the sun in the front garden.

The donkeys love this time of year as they love the harvest. They pick the blackberries off of the hedgerows and beg mercilessly for the fallen apples to be given to them. Our damson trees have not had much fruit and what there was has been eaten by the birds, it’s lovely that nothing goes to waste.

The deer are back in our fields and we have spotted one baby, hopefully they will stay as they are safe on our land.

We have a very busy couple of months coming up, but things do ease off in November. We have lots of bookings coming in for 2017 and if you have any holidays planned please let us know as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Back off now to play with my lovely guests, being with the cats each day is so perfect and I feel so lucky that we can do this in such a gorgeous place.

Jackie x

Lucy watching a movie with Lady the Siamese

Lucy watching a movie with Lady the Siamese

SAM_0548

 

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July 25, 2016
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July in the sunshine

What a fantastic month July has been, so much sunshine which makes everyone smile. We have had all our hay cut and it is all neatly stacked in the barns ready for the donkeys during the winter. The fields now look so tidy and Tim can now find all the golf balls he lost!

We have had another lovely lot of cats staying, lots of them are in for quite a few weeks whilst their parents have long summer holidays. We love seeing them relax into their new surroundings. We have had a number of new guests staying this month, including a beautiful boy called Ludwig, he is a real character and  has settled in so well. He is with us for the whole month and will be very much missed as he is gorgeous!

We were unfortunately visited by the fox again a few weeks ago. He took one of our chickens and two of our ducks, which left Gladys all on her own. We have been trying to rehome an older female duck to keep her company and last week found one which needed a home. They were both delighted to see each other straight away and have been inseparable ever since, it really makes your heart sing to see them together. We have named the new girl Cynthia and hope she has many happy years with us.

Stella and Sweep, our new girls are firmly settled in now. Stella loves being out in the garden all day and will always be with you, wherever you are. Sweep will venture out when we are there and loves sunbathing in front of the shed. Their little lives have changed so much for them and it is so lovely to see them so happy. Their brother, Sebastian, who was rehomed by a lovely couple in Romsey, is being thoroughly spoilt and is absolutely adored. He is staying back with us whilst they are on holiday and it is so lovely to still be part of his life. It sounds as though he may be getting a new playmate soon, I’ll let you know as soon as I know.

We are working with the donkeys daily with the aim that Percy and Arthur will be ready to start going out to care homes next year. Arthur is getting used to walking on different floors, much to our son’s surprise when he came down for breakfast and found a donkey in the kitchen! Fortuanely he is used to living in a slightly less than normal home!

We have another really busy month ahead in August and we are looking forward to a variety of new and old guests. Hopefully the sun will continue to shine as the cats to love to sunbathe.

I have to end on a sad note this month as we have had news that one of our regular guests has died. Sebastian (not Sebastian the Silver Tabby) was a gorgeous boy who spent all his holidays with us. He was adored by both his family and us alike and will be missed so very much. He had a tough start in life before he found his forever family and was such an affectionate boy who gave so much. We will never forget you sweet boy.

Jackie xx

Arthur exploring the kitchen!

Arthur exploring the kitchen!

Darling Sebastian

Darling Sebastian

Our new girls enjoying the sunshine and entertaining the cats!

Our new girls enjoying the sunshine and entertaining the cats!

 

 

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