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September 7, 2017
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September at Hotel Cat

I can’t believe that summer is over and that autumn has appeared so quickly this year. Fortunately we are all prepared for winter with plenty of hay and straw supplies in our barn. The new lights up the driveway are getting plenty of use now that the evenings are drawing in, with the added bonus that they are very pretty!

August was another really busy month, filled with the most wonderful guests, both old and new. We even had two families drop their cats off on the same day and collect them 10 days later as they both went on the same cruise out of Southampton. Both of the families had booked the Royal Mews , so the cats had adjoining suites, but they didn’t know each other at all, talk about coincidence! September and October are incredibly busy months and even November is nearly full up which is fantastic.

The donkeys are really well and live in hope that someone will give them one of the many apples that are under the trees. We gather them up in a bucket each day and the donkeys form a line along the fence waiting for them! Holly made us laugh this week when she came in the garden for her feed, I had left her out there and popped indoors and two minutes later she was in the kitchen raiding the fruit bowl! If there is a melon in there she can smell it from outside – all the donkeys adore melon and we always save them the skins, but I think she decided she wanted the whole thing instead!

We have nearly finished renovating the house now and the new stair and landing carpet is going down as I write. We will then start work on the outside and Tim is desperate for the old garage to be replaced as it is past it’s best. I had a lovely phone call from one of the family who used to live here recently and she told me lots of bits about the farm and how much it was loved by them all. She also sent old photos of the original house which was on the site and it is so lovely to have all the information about the farms past. Everyone who comes here loves it as it is a very happy, peaceful place and I’m sure that is because it has always been so well loved.

Right, I had better go and see my lovely guests, they always want to know where I have been and I shall have a lovely afternoon entertaining them.

Jackie xx

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August 5, 2017
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Summer madness at the Cat Hotel

It doesn’t feel like we have stopped this month, there is always so much to do and never enough hours in the day! The weather here has turned into a normal British summer of sunshine and showers, we are all hoping for another heat wave before Autumn makes an appearance.

The Cat Hotel has been very busy and everyday is filled with gorgeous guests, love and laughter. We have a 7 month Siamese staying and she is the hotel comedienne. She loves making you laugh and is just so adorable – one day I would love a Siamese to join our family – until then I get to enjoy other people’s. I cannot believe how busy we are for the next few months, other than the odd couple of days we are full until the end of October. We had no idea how popular Hotel Cat would be and thank you all so much for supporting us. We adore what we do and are so very lucky to spend our lives with so many wonderful animals.

I have been to Ikea buying new beds and furniture this week, I even managed to build two of the units on my own! The cats adore ‘helping’ and making sure that the furniture is suitable for cats by balancing on it as it was being assembled! I am waiting to see if we can be suppliers for Kerbl cat furniture. We use it at Hotel Cat as it is so well designed and a bit different from other cat furniture on the internet. Hopefully we will be accepted.

The donkeys are all looking well and are enjoying all the fallen apples that they are given daily. They line up along the fence opposite the apple trees and start braying for someone to collect the fruit!

We are having a small price increase of £1 per cat per day from the 1st January. We have held our prices for the last two years, but our bills are going up and we do like to keep the cat radiators on 24 hours a day from September until May.

Enjoy your August and hopefully the sun will keep shining on you all.

Jackie x

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July 9, 2017
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Long Summer Nights

What a fantastic summer we are having, day after day of beautiful sunshine – we could get used to this!

June was another busy month and the cats love watching the young birds from their suites. It seems like a really good year for the young birds and all our bird boxes have had two lots of young already. It looks like it will be a bumper harvest on the hedgerows and fruit trees too. Our sloe bushes, blackberry bushes and elderflower trees are showing signs of plenty of berries. Our apple and damson trees have a huge crop of fruit and the hazel trees in the hedges have nuts in abundance.  All the birds, squirrels and mice will have plenty of supplies. We managed to get our hay cut and stored in the barn ready for winter, which is always a huge relief as we are so reliant on the British weather.

I know a number of cats who come to stay have been rehomed into their now very loving homes and I must share our story of rehoming with you. We always try and offer a home to as many animals as we reasonably can and in the winter of 2009 we were asked to rehome a pair of donkeys which had travelled over from Portugal. They had both had very tough lives and suffered terrible abuse. Basil was the oldest, estimated by our vets to be between 30 and 35 years old and Cookie the younger of the two at a mere 20-25 years. Basil was a cantankerous old man and we believe his tough character kept him going so long, he had a loving retirement with us and passed away in Dec 2015. Cookie has always been a complex donkey, never wanting any affection and being terribly head shy. He has never wanted anything to do with us, but is inseparable from Holly our original donkey. We would catch him whenever he needed to see the farrier or vet and that could be a real work up, other than that we left him to choose to do whatever he wanted. Numerous times I have faced his teeth or back legs if he felt that I was invading his space. Unbelievably, this spring after over eight years of being with us he has learnt to trust, I cannot tell you how much this means. After not wanting to ever be groomed he now loves it and will push in to be done over again. He has had three showers and shampoos to keep him cool and will stand patiently waiting for his massage. I can after eight years walk into the field and catch him straight away, in fact he is normally waiting for me at the gate when he sees me. Best of all he loves his nose kissed and will leave the others for extra fuss. It just goes to show that some animals take more time than others to let go of ‘baggage’ from their past, but the rewards when they do are worth more than all the money in the world.

Right, I must go and entertain my lovely guests. I have three gorgeous Bengals who do love a good game and Florence and Ravello will be expecting their cuddles, Ali will want to try and climb in my skin and then fall asleep in my lap and Colin (17) and Minky (18) will want gentle fuss and just to be with us.

Have a wonderful month and lets hope this sunshine continues :-).

Jackie x

 

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June 4, 2017
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June Begins at the Cat Hotel

We had an exceptionally busy month in May and have been rushed off our feet – literally! The cat hotel is in full swing with lots of gorgeous guests staying. Most of the time the hotel is usually full with regular guests, who we know inside out, but every so often we have a new guest staying for the first time. This is a test for both them and us as we want them to settle, trust us and have a great time and they need to work out their new surroundings and servants! Thankfully everyone brings plenty of familiar bits from home to put around the suite to help their cats, we even had one cat who had his Dad’s slippers under his bed and photos on his shelf. It may sound amusing but these all carry familiar scents and this cat settled in almost immediately.

We have been having ground works done in May and now have lights all the way up the drive, in the chicken house and in the donkey barn. Our thoughtful electrician Andy even put a power socket by the fence so that we can have outside Christmas lights this year – perfect. We have been gradually replacing the older cat trees and have a couple of very popular new ones this month.

Holly and Charlie have now been given a larger paddock and they are much happier to be back with the others all the time. We are going to do some new permanent fencing next month so that we can keep their grazing restricted and keep their weight down. We are also thinking about training them to drive so that they can go and explore the lanes, I’m sure they will love this  – I’m not too sure what the locals will make of a couple of donkeys ambling around the lanes though!

Lets hope this glorious weather lasts all summer. Our hay is growing well and we have our family of deer who must be due to have their young soon. Once the hay is cut it is easier to spot them when they come out into the middle of the fields, we leave the sides and under the oak trees uncut so that they have plenty of cover. It is lovely to be out late evening and watch the wildlife start the nightly routine. We always have buzzards roosting in the oak trees and the owls and bats start to make an appearance just before 10pm.

Wishing you all a happy month of June,

Jackie x

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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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