The cat business. Home daycare or hotel pensions, tailor-made in Normandy

In ten years, the budget devoted to cats has exploded. Accessories, food, health and comfort… There is something for everyone, for all tastes and for all budgets. Episode 3, in the padded universe of a boarding house for cats in Val-de-Reuil.

Shami takes advantage of the April sun to bask in the parking lot of Célya and Ludovic Lecoq’s house in Val-de-Reuil. The tomcat is approaching his twenties and has marked the life of the couple. Célya worked in the medical field in the early 2000s when she began to consider boarding for cats as her professional activity. But no question of going too fast. She seriously studies the project, measures the feasibility. She will also follow a little later training as a behaviorist.

Our video report at the pension “Chez Shami”

A hotel designed for cats

In 2009, she met her future husband, Ludovic. At the same time, the latter discovers Shami, the cat who shares Célya’s daily life. The couple and the feline settled in a beautiful house in Val-de-Reuil, in 2011. The purchase was not made by chance, it is clearly intended that the place will make it possible to carry out the pension, better, the hotel for cats which already bears a name: “Chez Shami”. Gradually, at the pace of administrative procedures and technical obligations, the hotel takes shape. This is a building specifically built to accommodate cats, away from the house. Here, everything is spotlessly clean. The central corridor is pretty, with its neat lighting. Each of the studettes, these mini-apartments for cats, is numbered, the glass doors are decorated.

The same attention to detail inside, the tomcats are entitled to hiding boxes, shelves to perch on, a tree to climb on, an always clean litter box and a cat flap opening onto an individual garden, with tall grass that the clerks like to chew. A detail that particularly appeals to owners, each box is equipped with a camera allowing you to view, via a code, the activity of the feline live, whatever the time and whatever the place on the planet where the We are. A client who left for several months in Japan will no doubt have appreciated this virtual link with her cat, forced to stay in France for the duration of this business trip. Rates are flexible depending on the duration, but the base is 13 euros per day excluding holidays and 15 euros in summer.

The formula pleases

Célya and Loïc can legitimately be proud of their pension. They remain professional above all, and want to maintain a certain rigor. The first contact with a client is made by email or telephone. A discovery visit, without the cat, is then scheduled. “We have all types of people, well-off, less well-off, Parisians, Normans… But everyone loves their animal and that’s the main thing”, explains Loic.

Chez Shami welcomes both kittens and seniors, provided they are up to date with vaccines, identified and sterilized. Célya also wants to know the animal better thanks to an information sheet; food, sociability, health, character… Everything must be there. The formula is popular, to the point that a second building has been created, making it possible in total to provide lodging and board for 60 tomcats of all stripes during peak periods. This is enough to ensure company for Shami and Marcel, the second official cat of the family.

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Pet sitting for cats fearing loneliness

Nina Gil launched her pet sitting activity at the end of 2021. For this 29-year-old Rouennaise, it is not a choice made in a hurry. As a teenager, she was a volunteer in animal protection associations. She then passed her canine educator diploma and created a micro-enterprise. His company Zooéthos offers home caretaking for dogs, cats and other pets. The idea is that the animal does not leave his house and the pet sitter comes to his house. These missions can be occasional or spread over long periods, the principle being that Nina comes at least once a day to change the litter, renew the water, give food and spend time with the animal. It costs 17 euros per hour (usually one hour per day). She also offers to provide dog walking. “But cats are almost 100% pet sitting. At each guard, I send photos of the cat by mms to the owners”, says Nina.

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