On a quiet, leafy boulevard in Burbank, California, a colorful mural featuring a city night skyline and a huge cartoon-styled portrait of a cat captures the attention of passersby.
There is no uniformed concierge at the front door but security is tight to ensure guests cannot bilk. Once inside, the twinkling skyline theme continues up a staircase lit by rope lights through another closed door to the softly lit, elegant reception area.
The Cat Hotel is the feline equivalent of any luxurious Los Angeles establishment. Owner Sandy Rosker-Kelley is personally on hand to attend to every whiskered whim of feline guests.
Like all five-star establishments, there is 24-hour room service with a snack menu offering cat treats, chicken and cubed cheese. The cable TV in the Queen Suites is permanently tuned to Animal Planet and staff is on duty 24/7 to give plenty of hugs and attention on demand.
“When people travel, they like to know their cats are in a nurturing home-from-home environment and that’s exactly what The Cat Hotel is all about,” says Rosker-Kelley.
In the ten years of the hotel’s existence, it’s been featured in books like LA First Class: The Best of the Best and won numerous awards ranking it amongst the top feline accommodation establishments in the country.
The 37 kitty condo-suite hotel offers spacious duplex and tri-level lodging ranging in price from $25-$45 a day. Owners can choose a condo with a city view or a location close to reception to watch the bustling activity. The celebrity clientele includes Tonight show host Jay Leno, who always requests accommodation near the indoor forest for his feline companion.
“Bedalos is a regular guest,” says Rosker-Kelley. “He’s a sweet undemanding tabby and is quite happy to eat anything off the hotel menu.”
The kitchen is always a hive of activity. Each guest’s dietary requirements are listed and kept separately. The staff prepares special raw dishes, cooks chicken and rice to purrfection and serves meals to a time schedule guests are used to at home.
When I visited, there were two elderly regular visitors, both over 20 years old, who each got four small meals a day.
“Often in a boarding situation, cats don’t like the very healthy diet foods they are fed at home. I guess its like going on vacation and splurging out on McDonald’s,” quips Rosker- Kelley. “So we feed them a variety of supermarket brands.”
Feline guests are allowed out of their condos one at a time to roam around the secure main floor, climb the overhead beams and play in the special cedar forest, where floor-to- ceiling cedar trees rescued from a burning forest, are equipped with cushions and platforms making this a fun play area or a retreat for a snooze.
The hotel caters to all owner requests. Rosker-Kelley tells of people sending birthday gifts and postcards when they travel and of one family that insisted on hanging a photograph of themselves for their cat to have them close by.
“The staff has been asked to play recorded tapes with loving messages on a daily basis. One owner, who boarded seven cats with us, called every evening to say ‘goodnight’ to each one of them in turn.
“Nothing is considered unusual, but I had to draw the line to brushing a guest’s teeth three times a day.”
Christmas is especially festive at The Cat Hotel with a huge decorated tree (which is out of bounds to guests) and brightly colored stockings lining the reception desk.
“We serve El Pollo Loco chicken and even the fussy eaters are tempted by the smell. Of course everyone gets a present.”
Over the years, Rosker-Kelley has offered hospitality to many homeless cats and also helped them find good homes. She is always on hand to help in times of disaster and generously accommodated pets displaced during the southern Californian wild fires some years back.
While the paparazzi don’t permanently hang around outside and lifestyle journalist Robin Leach has never popped in for a visit, local and foreign camera crews are not uncommon. Recently, the establishment featured on the E! Entertainment channel. The program, Life is Great with presenter Brooke Burns, outlined the good life some pets are lucky enough to lead.
Ah. Yes. At The Cat Hotel, life is good. Some of the guests have even been known to be so content, they put up a fuss when it’s time to get back into the kitty carrier and go home.
This article is from CatFancy Magazine