This comes early this year to announce that due to popular request, we will be open all year again and we are already taking winter bookings. We can only do this because we have such loyal customers who have stayed with us through the many years and recommend us too. So please take this as a big thank you from Specialcats, which is now 20 years old!
Payment by BACS has worked well this year for those seeking electronic payment means. We are also happy to take cheques still as well as payments by cash.
We are also planning some new units, with geriatric kitties in mind. While this is in design stage we would love to hear your ideas on what your cat would appreciate. This could be on steps or ramps; seats and shelving; size; cat flaps; beds; heating; views; fresh air or anything else your cat enjoys that we could provide. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01292 520543 or drop us a line at Weston Cottage, Annbank, KA6 5EY. We are committed to doing the best for your cat and for the environment so the new design will cares for both and be a ‘best practice’ model.
We have lots of interesting projects on the go. Rosie keeps having ideas and Alan obligingly builds them! (Graeme keeps out of the way at Kilmarnock College or up at the cattery.) We now have a polytunnel for growing veg and cattery plants and solar panels are to be installed shortly which will power the house and cattery by day, while the domestic areas are heated by wood fuels, including waste litter. We have slimmed down the shop stock to things that you like best: the jams, toys and more unusual cat foods we know are loved plus the grooming tools we know by experience work.
In the garden: winter gales ripped the ivy off the house, leaving 60 house sparrows temporarily homeless till they moved into the hedgerow. The Kiftsgate rose had to be roped back onto the garage to give them shelter as the winds took that down too.
Our bees bred this year so we now have 2 beehives behind the cattery. We even had some honey. A predator attack in June lost us 12 hens in one afternoon. The ducks hid themselves and one hen flew so survived. We now have 4 slate grey ‘Bluebell’ hens settling in, collectively known as the ‘Spookies’.
Rosie continues to tell stories, particularly at the new Burns Museum in Alloway, which goes from strength to strength. She will be there telling spooky tales on October 28th and 29th. She is also there the first Saturday of every month taking story tours around the grounds and the Auld Kirk. Her Forest School studies have involved far more writing time than seems possible but is nearing completion. She also found herself organizing a poetry slam event. Though she writes poetry it had not really occurred to her to read it live publicly so it was fun to share.
Not all boarders are able to go home. Cassie is now 18 yrs old and resides with Alan. Pushkin’s owner also passed away and he was happily re-homed to one of our regular customers, with support from the Blue Cross. Handsome chap, isn’t he?
You may have noticed Isobel has not been mentioned. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer in June so she is needed at home. She still pops in, as we do on her and is on call for emergencies.
We had extra help from Alistair again this summer and his man-power came in very handy creating the space for the polytunnel.
Both Alan and Rosie continue to offer healing practice work. They hope to do a little teaching next year too. This will probably be in a collaborative group form. Our top herbs this year were comfrey for plant feed and for poultices, lavender for use on kitty ‘puddles’ and Aloe vera for burns. Garlic came in handy (used topically) when a raging dog bit Rosie while she was up in the Highlands. Didn’t keep the dog away but it stopped the infection!
Our charity donations came to £1498 this year, including our various animal sponsorships of ex-lab monkeys for BUAV; dogs in Kiev via Naturewatch and ex-circus lions via ADI.
We love to hear your feedback so please do let us know what else we can do to make boarding an easier experience for cat and owner. We are here to help wherever we can.
With best wishes for a healthy winter and bountiful spring to come:
Rosie, Alan and Graeme at Specialcats.
www.specialcats.co.uk Twitter @rosiestories Facebook: Specialcats of Ayr