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Christmas 2023

December 12, 2023
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What a year this has been. The hotel has been so busy and we have met some amazing new guests. Two of our older favourites have gone onto rainbow bridge which was very sad to hear, I can still see them in my mind waiting for either fuss or treats. We also, very unexpectedly, lost two of our dogs within three weeks of each other. This was such a shock and is something we are still coming to terms with. Losing an animal is such a sad time as they are family members and so very much loved. We are fortunate to be able to bury ours here and always plant a rose or a tree for them and I still speak to them all when I walk past.

On a brighter note Arthur’s last tumour treatment has started to work, the huge growth has gone and he will start treatment again in the new year to try and get rid of the rest. The donkeys are all really well and love the new stable and it’s so lovely to see them waiting for their biscuits in there every morning.

We now have our new gates up and they are working! It’s been a big project this year, but has made life so much easier. It means that Tim no longer is gate monitor! Our camera lets us know you have arrived and we just press the button to let you in. On the way out the gates open automatically, technology is a wonderful thing!

We are getting all prepared for Christmas, we are always at home as we have our guests and our four legged family to look after, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our own cats are all teenagers now so just have treats in their stockings as they don’t play with toys so much now. Little Sweep has made a full recovery since her dental surgery on her 14th Birthday and will be 15 in April. She is completely blind now but manages so well and is very demanding when she hears me near the food!

Our prices are rising in January, it’s the first time in two years, but unfortunately all our costs have risen dramatically this year.

We are fully booked for numerous dates already next year and have many bookings in the diary for 2025, so if you have any dates you would like booked please let us know as soon as possible.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

Jackie xx

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Hello!

May 17, 2023
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I’ve been told off by some of my regulars for not updating my blog – no excuses apart from being busy with the cats!

How is it May already?! I’m glad it is though as it’s my favourite month, full of the promise of summer, sunshine and long days. It’s been such a busy start to the year and we are almost fully booked until January. We still have a small amount of space left in the second half of October and for some of November, but I’ve never known the diary so full, there is a waiting list for most dates throughout the summer.

We are currently replacing the cat trees as we have found these lovely wooden ones, the cats love them and hopefully by the end of the year there will be at least two in each suite. Our solar panels are now up and running and are fab! In the first month alone we noticed a huge reduction in our electricity bill.

Poor Arthur, our much loved little miniature donkey is undergoing new chemotherapy treatment as his tumour has come back with a vengeance. He started it on Monday and has his second course in two weeks. We are keeping everything crossed that this will work as he’s such a beautiful soul. He also asked me to tell you all that he loves apples and carrots! We are trying to get him to understand that new people do not all have needles so if you have any thing in the fridge before your holiday that you need to clear Arthur’s your boy!

Sweep, our 14 year old cat had to have two teeth removed on her birthday last month, not much of a present, but at least she’s still with us. She has a large growth on her gum which was making her teeth infected. She is much happier now and eating well. all three of our cats are now teenagers and sleep most of the day – they are loving be able to bask in the sunshine again.

I’m off with the binoculars to walk around the farm to see if I can see our deer. The mum is huge at the moment so we know the babies are due anytime. It’s such a joy and a privilege to live here and to spend all day with animals, we both adore your cats and never take for granted how blessed we are.

Jackie xx

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Christmas is coming!

December 4, 2022
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Can you believe how quickly this year has flown? Honestly it feels like September has just ended, but it’s already Christmas time. Mind you, I adore this time of year and already have all my presents wrapped and put away, the decorations and lights are up both indoors and in the Cat Hotel and I sing along to all the Christmas songs with gusto!

It has been an amazing year, we have never been so busy and have met some beautiful cats who have joined our regular guest list already. Unfortunately this has meant that we have had to turn favourites away as we have been fully booked, it’s tough to get it spot on so are already sending out a plea to please book early for next year. There are quite a few dates which are already full including parts of September. We genuinely love seeing our favourite guests returning and seeing how happy they are, it’s like having friends to stay and it is so hard to say we are full.

The farm is as beautiful as ever, every season brings out a new beauty. We have been blessed by such an amazing Autumn this year and our majestic oaks are still holding onto their orange leaves which look stunning in the winter sun. I’m also looking forward to seeing their bare limbs as I think winter trees have their own beauty. Our lovely deer family are all doing well and still bring us a daily smile.

The naughty donkeys and ponies are fat and contented, with a barn full of hay and straw to munch whilst waiting for the grass to return. They are all really well and Arthur’s tumour seems to be shrinking after his treatment, fingers crossed it will disappear and that will be an end to it – he’s such a special boy and a complete heart stealer. They have all settled back down into a group after the loss of Holly in May with Charlie as lead donkey now.

The Cat Hotel is toasty warm with the heating on 24hrs a day, it’s such a lovely place to be. We are trying to swallow the cost of the extra fuel charge by not raising prices but by investing in solar panels. They are being fitted in January, time will tell how much they will save us but as Tesco say, every little helps!

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and good health and much happiness for 2023. We couldn’t do this without you all and genuinely appreciate every booking that comes in. I know how hard it is to trust someone to look after your much loved cat and just love being with them all. Thank you all for making Hotel Cat a success.

Much love,

Jackie

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Summer 2022

July 23, 2022
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I can’t believe it’s been over six months since I’ve written, all I can say is that it’s been crazy busy with no time to sit down!

We have had and are continuing to have, a really busy year. We have been fully booked for months and have no space now until the end of October, we are fully booked for Christmas too. We have so many bookings in for next year and for 2024 already, please, if you have any dates you would like held please let us know as soon as possible.

We are so blessed to have the loveliest cats who stay with us and we adore them all. During the recent hot weather the cat hotel stayed really cool as it is so well insulated, we spent all day up there as it was the coolest place on the farm! We also have the loveliest cat parents, a couple have recently had to cancel with short notice due to illness and both have paid in full, even though it was not their fault. Such kindness means a lot and does us help keep all our rehomed animals fit and well as they always come first.

We have incredibly sad news that our darling donkey Holly died on the 12th May. She had Colic and by the time I found her in the morning at 7am it was too late and we had to make the awful decision to let her go. She was our first ever donkey that we rehomed in 2006. She was the kindest most beautiful soul and we miss her terribly. Her son Charlie is still a bit lost as they had never been apart, but we are spending a lot of time with him and may well look to rehome a friend for him at some point in the future as the other four donkeys are both pairs, even though they do get on well as a group. Holly is buried in the paddock outside the kitchen window where she liked to stand and watch us, I shall miss that little face forever.

Arthur, our little Mediterranean Miniature donkey is having treatment for a tumour which is just under his eye. He has to have injections into it, so far he has had four and he has four more to go. Hopefully this will work, he’s such a lovely little man and being so brave. We have wonderful donkey vets who spend a lot of time making sure he is comfortable both before and after the injection and do really care and we are so grateful to them. All the other donkeys, sheep and ponies are really well thank goodness!

We recently rehomed a few more chickens so the cats have plenty of entertainment outside their windows which they love. Our bird feeders which are outside the cats windows are being filled twice a day as we have so many birds and lots of babies.

Our hay has now been cut and we have had another delivery of straw so the barn is full of feed for the animals. Our resident deer has had two more babies and they are living in the field behind the donkey paddock. There is a fresh water spring which forms a small pond in the corner of this field, plus we planted a small woodland there so she has shelter, its always a treat to see her. We also have two young buzzards again this year, they have a nest in one of our oak trees and are always calling their parents for food! We adore living here and sharing our lives with so many different animals and nature.

Hope you and your beautiful animals are all staying cool and keeping well. I’m back up to sit with my beautiful guests, yes, I really am living my best life 🙂

Jackie xx

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Christmas and New Year

December 27, 2021
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Where to start! We had a slow start to the year then some of the busiest months we have ever had, including a hectic December. January appears to be quieter so we can catch up on some overdue jobs at the end of the month. We have had a wonderful Christmas full of the most gorgeous guests, at one stage in the year we thought we would close for the Christmas period but I’m so glad we changed our minds as it has been so much fun.

We have had lots of new guests join us this year and most of them have been back for more visits and have booked for 2022 which is so good. We have had so much support from our wonderful customers this year, all small businesses have struggled over the pandemic and we feel very blessed to still be here and going strong as I know a lot of people have had to pack in their dreams of running their own businesses, hopefully things will recover in the coming months.

The donkeys are all really well and Holly and Percy have been out spreading smiles at local care homes. The last one we went to just before Christmas we took Ted the Shetland and he was a superstar. It was a neurological unit and Holly wore her Christmas hat and Ted donned his antlers and they went down a storm with the residents. We have big news on the four legged front, Ted has a new best friend called Tony. Tony is a six month old miniature Shetland pony who has joined us as part of the cat entertainment team. He is such a little gem, cheeky but extremely cute and very lovable! Ted thinks he is the best toy ever and the donkeys don’t know quite what to make of him. It’s so funny as when I go out in the morning Ted and Tony are normally asleep outside whatever the weather but the donkeys are always in the barn on their soft straw beds, totally dry and warm.

The farm still looks beautiful, we are so lucky to have our resident deer grazing in the fields and the buzzards flying over head. We totally love being here. We are replacing all the fencing in the Spring and having the oak trees pollarded so busy time ahead.

Our prices will increase on the 1st January, I’m just about to update that page now before heading back out to entertain the guests.

Wishing you all good health and happiness for 2022.

Jackie xx

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Autumn arrives at Hotel Cat

October 14, 2021
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Well after a fantastic summer Autumn has now arrived. After a slow start the Cat Hotel filled quickly and we have never been so busy, we literally could have filled it three times over and it was almost a full time job just turning people away. It quietens right down at the end of October and we are looking forward to catching our breath again.

We have had so many wonderful guests this summer and really do feel blessed that people want us to care for such amazing cats. All of our guests are so adored at home and really crave the attention that we love to give so it really is a wonderful way to spend our days.

The donkeys are all really well and are loving the late sunshine. The adore sunbathing so it’s lovely to watch them soaking up the last bit of heat before the cold of winter. We treated them to some lovely new mattresses for both their barn and their stables. They should be much warmer for them to lay on and more comfortable too. Holly, who is now our oldest donkey has been having lots of remedial work done on her teeth as they are not good. It’s obviously working though as she is in lovely condition with plenty of weight which they need to have going into winter. Ted the mischievous Shetland has also had quite a few vet visits this summer, including one for colic just this week! He has a problem with his stifle, which is his rear knee and so he is now on an exercise regime to try and build up muscle around this area, fingers crossed it’s working otherwise it means he has to have an operation.

A few of you met our beautiful little Yorkshire Terrier, Wickie Woo, when you came here. We were lucky enough to have been chosen to rehome her from a charity in 2018 when she was just ten weeks old. She was handed into the charity by her breeder as she only had one eye and virtually no hair. We completely and utterly adored her, she was just the sweetest little dog and was smaller than the cats. I would quite often have her on one side of me and Stella the cat on the other as they would both love to snuggle in. Unfortunately she started to look under the weather and after blood tests were taken it was found that she was in acute kidney failure. The scan showed that her kidneys were shriveled and the vets told us that she would have had the condition since birth and couldn’t believe that she had been so well for so long. It was just five and a half weeks after her diagnosis that we lost her and it was just heartbreaking. Losing any animal that is such an integral part of your family is so hard, but when they are so young it just seems so cruel. We shall all miss her forever.

Life on the farm goes on and the family of deer are all really well. This years twins are a boy and a girl and we can get so close to them on our daily walks. It is such a privilege and we still pinch ourselves daily that we live in such a beautiful place. Our apple trees in the drive have been so full this year which has kept the donkeys, Ted, the sheep and Hercules the goat very happy. Every day for the past six weeks they have had a bucket of fallers and they queue up along the fence waiting for me to feed them. Every night the foxes and a pair of badgers come and eat the ones on the drive, we can watch them on the gate cameras and it’s so lovely to see them.

We have a huge amount of bookings coming in for next year, more than we would normally have and a number of dates are full already. If you have any dates you would like held please do let us know as soon as you can.

Unfortunately due to our bills all going up our prices will be going up by £2 per day from the 1st January 2022. We have not put the prices up for four years so hope you understand.

I’m off to kiss my guests goodnight and to give them their bedtime dreamies. The heating is on in all the suites now and it’s warmer in the hotel than it is in the house!

Jackie xx

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Summer on the farm

July 7, 2021
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Business is back with a bang again and we are super busy. We are meeting lots of new customers and welcoming back our lovely regulars, I can’t tell you how lovely it is to see the hotel in full purr.

The farm and gardens really do come into their own during the summer and it all looks beautiful. Due to the weather we still haven’t been able to cut our hay, but fingers crossed it can be done in the next couple of weeks.

Our deer had twins this year, we were fortunate to see them on the day she had them and they were tiny! They are two months old now and have grown so quickly, they are incredibly quick too. Last years two daughters are also still here and we are hoping they stay and have their young here next year.

The mischievous donkeys are all really well – probably a bit too well due to all the excess grass! Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Cookie in May, as a lot of you know he was our oldest donkey, estimated to be at least 35. He was struggling to get on to his feet in the mornings and although we could normally assist him we could see on his final day that he had no fight left. It still breaks my heart, he was such a precious soul and we were truly blessed to have him in our lives for the last twelve years. He is buried at the top of the paddock as we made him a promise that he would never leave. The other donkeys all came to say goodbye before he was buried and Holly who he adored has been like a youngster since he went. I think she slowed her pace down for him and they would amble around together but now she causes all kinds of donkey antics and they can regularly be seen hurtling around the field with her in the lead!

Dare we hope that things are returning to a form of normality? Can any of us even believe that the last eighteen months have happened? What an experience to have lived through, a lot of negativity but also a lot of positivity which really showed the resilience and kindness of the human race.

Really looking forward to meeting all the new cats who are due in next month and to giving all the old favourites a big cuddle on their return.

I must go, I have a full hotel of beautiful guest who are demanding my attention – and I couldn’t be happier to be writing that!

Good health and happiness to you all,

Jackie xx

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What a Year!

March 19, 2021
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Well, it’s been a year since the world turned on it’s head and life as we knew it was changed forever. This time last year we had just finished redecorating the Cat Hotel and were ready for another busy year with a really full diary. The bookings started to cancel slowly at first, then a crescendo until the diary was empty. I’ve never felt so desperate, it wasn’t just the lack of income that was so needed just to keep all our animals fed, but the way that it all happened so quickly – it was scarey and surreal.

Then the sun came out, blisteringly hot for so early in the year and the roads were so quiet as were the skies. We were able to do jobs around the farm that have needed doing for years but we never had time to do them. We spent hours clearing brambles and old barbed wire from the hedgerows and enjoyed the slower pace of life. I left the house early every Saturday morning to go shopping then the car went back behind the gates until the following week. We spent real quality time together as a family and realized that this was something that money could not buy.

We launched a crowdfunding pay it forward scheme so that people could save money by buying vouchers for their cats next holiday at a reduced rate. Whatever we raised was matched by Solent LEP and this kept us going for a while. We did have a handful of bookings over the summer but were down by 70% on the year. We also had some simply amazing customers who sent donations or who refused to not pay for their cats stay even though they had to cancel, I cannot begin to tell you how much this meant to us and their kindness and generosity will never be forgotten.

I think this last year has been a steep learning curve for us all. I think most people have wobbled more than once, I know I have, but I do feel truly blessed to live in such a beautiful place and to have my family at home. The animals have been wonderful therapy and just being able to go and spend time with the donkeys has helped keep me sane on days that seem so tough. I will never forget talking to one of my customers, who works in a hospital in Hackney ,who told me that their biggest concern was the amount of patients struggling with their mental health over the lockdown period. I suppose I never thought about the large families who share small flats in the cities, no balconies and mattresses on the floor, it was very humbling and such a reality check.

Everyone has had a different journey with both ups and downs and one day, hopefully in the not too distant future, we will be able to get together and laugh again. I think that’s one of the things I’m really missing, laughter in a group of friends, but I know it will be back.

This coming year won’t be easy as business is still slow to recover but from August onwards we are getting quite a few bookings and some dates in September are already full. We are also getting a huge amount of bookings for 2022 so there is real positivity for next year.

Thank you all for sticking with us and for keeping in touch. We really miss seeing you all and having guests to cuddle!

Keep healthy & happy,

Jackie xx

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Our First Guests Return

June 27, 2020
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We are so happy that our lovely cat hotel is purring again, it has been a long time since it was filled with furry heartbeats and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is. We have had so much support during the pandemic and this will never be forgotten, I knew that the families who use us were special and cannot thank you all enough.

The gardens are looking so lovely now and it is a perfect time to start again. All the trees and shrubs we planted nearly seven years ago are now looking mature and are perfect places for the many wild birds to nest. We actually had a family of robins nest in the box bush right outside the door of the hotel!

More fantastic news is that our deer family have new babies. We had our hay cut last week and knew that we had at least one baby in the fields as we had seen it, but imagine our delight when we walked around the farm that evening and saw the mother deer with three babies! Apparently this is quite unusual as they normally have twins and it is the most fantastic sight to see. I have been walking around with the camera to try and get some photos but haven’t managed any yet.

Bookings are starting to come in daily now so if you do have any dates you would like held please do get in touch. We are already fully booked for Christmas and a number of dates for next year are almost full due to people moving their holidays forward by a year.

Wishing you all good health,

Jackie xx

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March, but where is Spring?!

March 11, 2020
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We are so desperate for signs that summer is on it’s way, this has certainly been the longest wettest winter. The primroses and daffodils are all in flower around the entrance to Hotel Cat but we want some sun with warmth in it! The donkey’s paddock is still very muddy and they are not happy, fingers crossed the worst of the weather is past and next time I write we will be enjoying an early heat wave!

The Cat Hotel has not been quite as busy due to the uncertainty from coronavirus but we have plenty of bookings coming in for the summer so lets all hope for good news by then. We have been lucky to have only had two cancellations and they were both covered by insurance which covered their boarding fees. It’s been a really odd year so far with Brexit, floods and now coronavirus, lets hope it improves once the sun appears.

We have had new fencing and gates put up in the driveway, it looks so smart and it is now totally secure. Our electrician is coming out next week to fit a video doorbell and floodlights, it really does look so much smarter when you drive in and we love it. Once the trees are in leaf we will get a new video tour done so that the new cat rooms can be seen on the website, we have had great feedback from everyone and lots of new customers already which is great.

The donkeys have their feet being trimmed this weekend and are due their worming so they won’t be happy! Percy and Arthur are doing well with their training and we are now looking for a trailer to take them out in.

Our lovely deer family are all well and last years baby now has tiny antlers appearing, he is so sweet and is fascinated by us walking by!

I hope you all are well and keep that way,

Jackie xx

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