March 2, 2018
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Mad March Weather!

I never imagined that I would be writing in March whilst the snow fell outside the window! Our poor daffodils have disappeared under the snow and all signs of Spring have been put on hold.

The donkeys are very unimpressed, although they are all warm and dry. Cookie and Holly have their rugs on to help them keep warm as they are both older, but the younger ones are much more active and don’t like having their rugs put on at all. It is hard work making sure that all the outside animals have enough water as all the troughs and outside taps are frozen solid, so Tim and I take it in turns to walk up with a pair of watering cans every hour to top them up. The chickens have refused to come out of their barn for the last two days, they have never seen snow before and are not happy! Still, I’m sure by next week this weather will be a distant memory and Spring will arrive.

Our guests are all warm and snug in their suites. The heating is so effective and it is lovely to see them all so happy. We have an elderly Siamese staying with us for a few weeks and he is a joy to be with as he loves to cuddle up on your lap. I think we all crave a lap cat but it is always on the cats terms not ours! We have a number of bookings coming in daily now and the diary is looking pretty full. There is no space at all left for May and September is almost full too, so if you do have any dates the sooner we know the better.

A quick reminder that our prices went up by £1 a day in January.

Right, I’m back up to entertain my lovely guests and then to settle down with a book and my lap cat friend  – as the song says ‘let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’!

Jackie x

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February 5, 2018
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February – here at last!

It is true that January is the slowest month of the year! At last we have the arrival of February which shows early signs of Spring. We have a row of very old Damson trees leading up to the cat hotel and they are already starting to shoot little green leaves. They are always the first trees to show and we love watching them daily for more growth.

January was another busy month, full of both regular and new guests. We tend to show a large number of people around the hotel in January who are booking for the first time. The diary is getting full quite quickly which is lovely to see.

I was reading one of my blog posts from February 2016 and it was then that our old cat Doumy was diagnosed with her tumour. I cannot believe that two years later we are still lucky enough to have her with us. She is almost 15 now and completely adored by us all, our children were only 3 & 6 when she arrived and they cannot remember a time without her. At mealtimes she will sit by their plates and wait for titbits, although she will refuse to touch it unless it is exactly the right size!

The donkeys are all well and are having a great game today as they get really playful when it is frosty outside. They spend approx. 20 hours of the day in the barn as they don’t approve of the wet fields. We rehomed 6 new chickens last month who were a bit freaked out by the donkeys at first, but they have settled down now and will often be found scratching around in the barn with them.

I must go back up and entertain our lovely guests, we have Sebastian the gorgeous silver tabby staying and he is very demanding of lots of love!

Jackie x

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January 11, 2018
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Happy New Year from Hotel Cat

Wishing everyone a very Happy and Healthy 2018, I hope you all had a lovely,stress free Christmas and that all your cats are in perfect health.

Our Christmas with the cats was lovely, they were all regular visitors and they all enjoyed being thoroughly spoilt. I had my Mum staying so the cats had an extra lap which went down well. We are still really busy this month and our last Christmas guest goes home on Friday. Poppy has stayed for the last forty days and I shall miss her terribly. We have a lovely afternoon routine where her and I curl up on the bed with a book, she is such relaxing company and the perfect excuse for putting my feet up. Tim meanwhile entertains the more energetic guests and Poppy loves to watch the antics beside me. We have a number of cats who stay for long periods and I know their parents are always worried at first, but the cats settle in so well and we do spend an awful lot of time with them all throughout the day and evenings. It is lovely and warm in all the suites, the heating is set to a minimum of 21 degrees and is on 24 hours a day, we do not like the cold and neither do the cats!

The donkeys enjoyed being thoroughly spoilt over Christmas and even had their own Christmas tree outside their barn! I hope this year they will have a new barn, we are in the process of getting quotes now. I would like them to have heat lamps for when it gets cold, but Tim says that may be a step to far – plus he thinks Charlie would pull them all down as he does like to play with anything new! Could you imagine it though, all the donkeys stood under heat lamps on a frosty night, it makes me smile just to think of it!

Our old dog Kia was rushed to the vet last week and it turned out that she had a large growth in her abdomen. We were faced with the decision of whether to let her go or put her through an operation. She will be 12 in March so the decision was not easy, but we decided that we had to try. The vets removed the growth and her spleen. The growth was a kilo in weight and was infected, which is why she was so poorly. We were called back in on the Friday as she was not doing well, but she did eat a spoonful of food for us. We were then told on the Saturday that they didn’t think she would recover, but asked if we would like to take her home to spend the last couple of days with her. She then started to turn the corner and is now back to her old self, she even climbed on the sofa with me last night! We know everyday is a bonus and sometimes it takes something out of the blue for you to realise that we wont have our pet family forever, they are all so precious to us and I don’t think there is anything that we would not do for them.

We were back on television again last week which led to a flurry of new bookings. We are full for certain dates in Feb, May and September now. If you do have plans for this year the earlier we know the better.

Right, must go back and entertain. I have three Poppy’s in three different suites and they all have one thing in common, they LOVE fuss! Next time I write it will be February and Spring will be just around the corner, not long now……..

Jackie xx

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December 11, 2017
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Merry Christmas from Hotel Cat

We are all so excited about Christmas here at the farm. I have, rather smugly, finished all of my Christmas shopping and have most things wrapped. I can now relax and enjoy the company of the beautiful guests who are now arriving for their Christmas holidays. We have had our busiest ever November and have met a number of new guests who have already booked their second holidays with us, including two of the cutest Siberian kittens who adored cuddles! We have a full hotel all over Christmas and they are all regular guests who we know like they are our own. We shall be spoiling them with a festive lunch and hope that Santa will pay them all a visit as I’m sure they have all been very good all year!

It is very cold here at the moment, but no snow which is a shame as I wanted the young donkeys to experience it for the first time. Our old donkey Cookie now wears his coat as he feels the cold, but the others don’t like wearing them so we only put them on if needed. The donkeys, sheep and goats spend most of their time in their barn when it is cold and are very insistent on regular top ups of hay and straw, bellowing loudly when they see me in the hotel through the windows!

We are getting very booked up for 2018 and already have some dates which are fully booked, mostly in January, February, May and June. If you have any dates which you would like held please get in touch as soon as possible to guarantee a space. There are only two spaces left for Christmas 2018!

We are not sending cards again this year as we are giving to charity, but wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Give all your cats a cuddle from us,

Jackie & Tim xxxx

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November 5, 2017
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Bonfire Night!

With the short evenings and the approach of Christmas it feels like winter is upon us. Today has been a beautiful day and we are busy with tidying up around the hotel. The car park is having a new surface and we are repainting the outside of the building. We have been flat out all year and have a week approaching where we have only opened half of the hotel so that we can redecorate the suites. The two Royal Mews are going to have new wallpaper and I’m off to choose it tomorrow, I have no idea what colour until I see it!

We have a hotel full of our lovely regular guests staying at the moment. I adore all their different personalities, they are all so individual and so much fun. I can’t believe how busy November is and we have turned many bookings away for the last two weeks as we filled up quickly. We have so many bookings coming in for 2018 already and  if you have any dates you would like held the sooner we know the better.

The donkeys don’t much like the onset of winter, they love the sun and their favourite pastime is sunbathing! Cleaning their barn out daily takes so long as they all insist on ‘helping’. Percy is the worst as if you try and carry on working he runs straight between your legs, there is never a dull moment here!

Right, back to the cats. I have a great book on the go and a number of cats who adore me sitting still for a few hours, it’s a tough life but someone has to do it!

Jackie xx

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October 12, 2017
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Happy Halloween from Hotel Cat!

I am late writing the blog this month, I think the last month has flown and have no idea where the time has gone. September is always one of our busiest months and we have my Birthday at the end of the month and James our son’s Birthday is on the 1st October. This year was his 21st and we are very proud of the lovely young man he has become and he adores animals as much as Tim and I which is so lovely.

We have had mostly regular cats staying in September and they are all really settled and all lovely. The new cats who have/are staying are also  lovely, we are very lucky to have such wonderful and much loved guests. All the cats heating is now on 24hrs a day and it is toasty when I go in first thing in the morning. All the cats love the heating on and they tend to all be snuggled up on their beds first thing. Today is a lovely day and most of them have been using the garden rooms watching the antics of those naughty donkeys!

I had some exciting news this month, I have a ballot entry for the London marathon! As a number of you know I run regularly, I’m no world record beater, but I love it and I am a member of a great running club. This will be my first ever marathon and I have always said that London is the only one that I would like to take part in. As it is a ballot place I do not have to raise money for charity, but I think I should. I would like to try and help a smaller charity, maybe to try and raise money for a certain piece of equipment or an operation. If anyone has any good ideas please get in touch as it will help me focus on the months of training I have ahead.

All of our lovely animals are well. The donkeys all had their feet trimmed yesterday and they look very smart. The only one who was naughty was Arthur. The tiniest one of the lot of them, you would not believe how much of a monkey he was, yet he is so placid and loving when the farrier is not here! Doumy, our oldest cat is doing really well again. She started to refuse her thyroid pills after taking them for 16 months with no fuss at all. Unfortunately she is not the sort of cat who will have it popped in her mouth and we were fearing the worst, but our vets have just started giving the thyroid medication in syrup form. It should really be given orally, but as this is not an option we put it on her food twice daily and she is looking in great shape again. The chickens are looking a bit bedraggled as a few of them are moulting and there are feathers everywhere, they have also stopped laying eggs, hopefully they will start again in a few weeks, but it doesn’t matter if they don’t as we just love them and they keep the cats highly entertained.

Have a Happy Halloween everyone,

Jackie xx

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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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