I launched Riverside Cat Hotel on 1st August 2008. I'd dreamed of setting up a cattery for many years, so at the beginning of 2007, I started researching the type of accommodation that would be "fit for a feline" and took the first steps toward building my idea of a modern luxury cat hotel.
Without a doubt, the planning stage was the hardest part. Getting planning approval for boarding facilities within a residential area is not easy.
While the planning application was in, I started searching for suitable accommodation. I looked at different companies and various designs for catteries, but none excited me until I discovered Pedigree Pens (www.pedigreepens.co.uk). These state-of-the-art modern and spacious animal housing are incredible and still look pristine as we enter our 15th year.
Wiltshire Council licences Riverside Cat Hotel, and we've always received top marks on our annual inspection. Since the council started awarding their star rating scheme, we have continued to obtain a five-star licence. Those five stars make me incredibly proud as much work and effort go into keeping us at the top of the list of Wiltshire boarding catteries.
It has been an incredible 14 years, and I've met some lovely people and gorgeous cats. Thank you to all my customers for letting me look after your beautiful cats.
As of 1st August 2022, my husband will join me in running Riverside Cat Hotel.
We look forward to meeting you and your pets.
Pam & Kel
In response to requests from a number of our customers, we are pleased annouce that we have extended our facilities to include accommodation for small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.
We have taken some time to research the best accommodation for this purpose and have decided on 'The Eglu Pet' housing supplied by Omlet Ltd (www.omlet.co.uk). This provides modern twin walled insulation to ensure a cool shelter in summer as well as warm accommodation in winter with large attached exercise runs.
Your cats will be fascinated by the extra garden activity and you will be secure in the knowledge that both your cats and your other small pets are safe and well cared for whilst you take a well earned break.
More snow this year but our guests were very cosy and probably laughing at our efforts to clear snowfall from the drive! We sourced some extremely plush cat mattresses for our guests so they could snuggle down and enjoy the extra comfort. Oh to be a cat and sleep away the day!
Many thanks to all the Salisbury Cats Protection ladies for helping to achieve a very successful homing day here in February – it was wonderful to see so many cats go on to new homes and to help raise funds for such a worthy charity.
We extend a warm welcome to Charlotte who completed her work experience with us in June 2010 and is now assisting us in the cattery throughout the summer holidays. Charlotte is due to go to Lackam college this autumn to do a course in animal behaviour.
There will be another Cats Protection Homing Day here on 18th September, so please come along if you can and enjoy the Tombola, bric a brac stalls, refreshments and visit all the lovely CP cats who will be looking for a new home.
What fabulous weather we had in April & May – butterflies and fledglings have kept our feline guests amused and with many more baby bunnies this year too – the garden is showing signs of their excavation work! In June Mrs Duck had another brood of 8 ducklings and gave them a swimming lesson in our fish pond before taking them down to the river.
We wish to say thank you to our daughter, Nicki and her husband Nick for taking over the cattery in April whilst we took a holiday. Well done for looking after our feline guests and keeping everything in such good order while we were away.
Pam Land on a personal note:I would like to thank all my customers for their support, kindness and understanding during a very sad time for me due to the loss of my wonderful Dad.
After many months of building, painting and electrical work, our lovely Reception was completed in August, this was particularly welcome as it meant that visitors during the wet autumn months could visit the cattery and complete the booking in process in our lovely heated office.
In 2009 we had some interesting visitors to the garden – a duck laid eggs close to the cattery and then a pheasant laid a few of her eggs in the duck’s nest. The pheasant did not bother to care for her eggs so the task of getting the eggs to hatch was all left to Mrs Duck. Once the ducklings and pheasant chicks hatched it was left to us to transport the chicks to the Wiltshire wildlife animal hospital so they could be hand reared as Mrs Duck took her ducklings down to the river and had no intention of trying to teach the chicks how to swim!
Another visitor was a baby rabbit that at approximately 8 weeks thought we were his parents and became so tame that we were able to stroke him. Our feline guests were very interested in him!
The wildlife, including a lost homing pigeon kept our guests greatly amused.
No sooner had the summer visitors departed than the phone was busy again with bookings for the October half term and Christmas holidays.December was a very busy month with lots of returning customers and their pets and our own preparation for the festivities.
Well as predicted it has been a hectic month and the guest list has now grown significantly (see the Gallery page). We also had our friends from Pedigee Pens (www.pedigreepens.co.uk) arrived to add the Phase 2 units and true to their word, they completed on time for the new arrivals (Smartie & Safron) with the minimum of disruption.
The kitchen is progressing, but most of the changes are behind the scenes (plumbing) so not much to show for the effort expended. We also had an unexpected guest drop in - Bertie the racing pigeon. We had to rescue him from the pond and then dry him out, we then sent him on his way to Northampton just after the bank holiday weekend but he returned a day later. He is still yet to depart! Talk about putting a cat amongst the pigeons; Bertie obviously has other ideas.
August is going to be a very busy month with lots of our friends returning for another holiday and we will be adding the Phase 2 units towards the end of August. Unfortunately, until we have the new units installed we cannot take firm bookings against them, but at least the preparation for their arrival has been completed.
The kitchen units have arrived along with the water heater so we just(!) need to sort the plumbing, sinks, and work top but at least the wall units have been completed (and yes, in answer to the many enquiries, we can supply any of the activity centres used within the cattery from stock - some of which can be seen in the wall units picture).
This month saw the plastering and decorating completed. All that remains is to add the skirting boards and fit the kitchen! With the office almost complete, Mr Tibbs has decided to help us with the meeting and greeting.
Early this month saw the office floor completed along with the office electrics. The office furniture has been put in place and the window sill boards ordered. The balance of the month has been concentrated on tiling the outside base in readiness for phase 2.
The other good news is the completion of our brochure which you can view by pressing this link
The office is really starting to take shape now and thank you to everyone for the complimentary remarks. This month saw the remaining insulation installed in the inner wall cavity, the plaster board for the walls and ceilings, and the soffit lighting for additional security. We have decided an open plan kitchen will provide the best practical use of space so the plasterer has been booked (no, Kelson decided he did not want to attempt this task himself!) and the job should be completed mid June.
In the mean time the next tasks are to cut and install all the socket boxes, the ceiling lights, loft space insulation, loft ladder, loft flooring, and loft lighting to ease maintenance and provide some spare storage space, not to mention the continued tiling of the remaining floor space in readiness for the next run of chalets.
This month saw the completion of the outside of the office with all the soffits, barge boards, and gable ends completed together with the finishing touch of a weather vane. The tiles in the foreground of last months inner wall frame shot have now been laid and grouted and since the weather has been dry and bright, the flooring for phase 2 has been started.
We are still debating whether to go for an enclosed or open plan kitchen area, but in the mean time have added the office furniture. Next on the agenda is the plaster board for the ceilings and walls along with the remaining insulation so that the plastering can be done.
The office is now really starting to take shape and the dry spell (following a bit of a cold start!) has helped enormously. The outer wall cavity been completed along with the second inner wall frame ready for the plasterboard (and yes those are the floor tiles in the foreground ready for yours truly to get on with), but the most noticeable difference is the removal of the green membrane that has been replaced by the Duotherm windows (Aluminium outside, PVCu inside) fitted by Salisbury Glass (www.salisbury-glass.com) in the middle of the month (they also double glazed the doors for us).
They did a superb job and the combination of the windows and the insulation has made a fantastic difference to the temperature inside the office, even on the cold mornings. Anyway, that's it for this update, must get on with the next jobs (gable ends, roof insulation, floor tiling.......)
Following a very busy December (both guests and office building), there has been no time to spare. With the office now water tight (the green membrane keeping the window openings water tight until the windows arrive), work on the interior of the office and kitchen has started. First insulation has been added to the outer wall cavity followed by a thick plywood liner to create a strong boxed outer wall.
The wet November has been followed by a cold but dry December allowing Kelson to make good progress on the roof. From early this month the East facing slope started to take shape and then up the West facing slope later in the month, finally meeting at the ridge line on Boxing day. The Acacia tree seen on the left boundary (left of the office in the ridge line picture) has also been removed so that the debris it drops will not affect the phase 2 units.
Roofing of the office and kitchen is now underway but as predicted, progress is slow because of the wet weather. The first batons have been added and roofing felt now covers 25% of the roof area. The first cedar shingles have been attached and the roof is starting to take shape.
Installation of the radiators has been completed and the roofing materials for the office have been delivered. We decided on Cedar Shingles as they have far better insulation qualities and a much better life expectancy, although they are more expensive. Unfortunately the limited light and poor weather will make roofing a slow process.
The end walls of the office are almost complete with the door frames installed. The roof rafters have been added, so we just need to decide on the roofing material now (Felt Shingles or Cedar shingles). Radiators will be installed in the pens next month as the nights start to cool a little.
The Isolation unit has been completed re-using the shuttering to create the frame. The first guests have arrived and the month is going to be very busy, a baptism by fire but all very exciting. Work on the office walls has now resumed and the frames have been erected ready for the shiplap cladding. Weather has not been very kind so progress has slowed a little.
The Pens have arrived from Pedigree Pens (www.pedigreepens.co.uk) and will be erected this week (15th July). Floor tiling completed with a bit of grouting to be finished once the pens are complete. By the second day, the pens are well under way and I am delighted with the progress. Licence inspection set up for next week along with the installation of the cattery lighting. Building of a separate isolation unit is now underway using recycled materials.
Early this month saw the driveway extension completed, the under floor insulation installed, and the Cattery slab being laid. Attention now diverted to tiling the cattery floors ready for the arrival of the new pens next month. It will be a bit hectic, but we are on schedule for an August opening
The driveway extension to simplify turning and parking is now well under way and the cattery foundations are beginning to take shape. Him indoors is now working on the external walls of what will become the Reception and Kitchen.
With the builder and archaeologist on site, the excavation for the foundation can commence. It's amazing the volume of earth that needs to be removed for relatively shallow foundations.
Finally, planning permission has been granted and we can now start to organise the construction. Our builder has a few tasks to complete but can be on site towards the middle of April - all systems go! With the boundary fences meeting at odd angles, measuring up for the U shaped structure is a bit of a challenge.
Initial discussion were undertaken with Salisbury District Council (SDC) planning department in June to establish requirements for setting up a cattery at Riverside House following which draft plans were prepared and a pre-planning application submitted to SDC in September for feedback and discussion.
Having contacted all the relevant authorities, the final plans were submitted to SDC and fingers crossed. The initial deadline given by SDC was 11/02/2008 although this was subsequently found to be a bit optimistic.