This luxury cat hotel in Barnsley is a retreat for pampered pets

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Jennifer Ryder, Founder of Cawthorne Cat Hotel (left) and Launchpad Business Advisor Nicole Harte.

Inset Jennifer Ryder began making plans for her five-star cat hotel in Barnsley in 2018 and, after noticing a dramatic increase in the number of pet owners since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic , the site is operating almost at full capacity in its first year.

In an effort to create a home-from-home experience, each of the 12 bedrooms has underfloor heating, handmade pine beds, and large windows overlooking a garden specially created for cats.

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A lifelong cat lover, Ms. Ryder decided to build her dream cat hotel after noticing behavioral changes in her own pets when they were sent to catteries during their annual vacation.

Jennifer Ryder spends a lot of time giving cats a “home from home” experience. The cat in this photo is named Snow.

When she and her family moved to the rural village of Cawthorne, she began to put her plans into action, turning part of the land surrounding her home into her dream cat hotel, built to her own specifications.

The new entrepreneur turned to Launchpad, the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub’s free business support program, which helps new entrepreneurs unlock the potential of their ideas.

Working with an experienced business advisor, Ms. Ryder began formulating plans to turn her dreams into reality and participated in a series of workshops, as well as one-on-one training sessions, helping her reach lovers. cats throughout the region and develop a clear business plan.

Her efforts paid off and before the hotel even opened, Ms. Ryder was crowned Aspiring Entrepreneur of the Year at the Launchpad Business Awards, an event that showcased and celebrated the accomplishments of new owners. company in the region.

Jennifer Ryder, founder of the Cawthorne Cat Hotel, with one of her guests, Arthur

Despite a tough first year in business due to travel restrictions limiting family vacation plans for much of 2020, the company exceeded expectations and managed to make a small profit by tapping into the vacation market. while providing a safe. paradise as homeowners turned to tackle DIY interlocking projects.

So far this year, Ms. Ryder said the business has been in high demand, attracting bookings from both repeat and new customers.

She said, “I decided to start the business because I felt I had spotted a niche in the market. We are a family of animal lovers with a lifelong experience in the care of cats.

“We have recognized that many people treat their feline friends like family and can often feel guilty about sending their cats to a cattery when they go on vacation.

Arthur the Cat overlooking the specially designed cat garden that Jennifer Ryder has created at the Cawthorne Cat Hotel in Barnsley.

“I wanted to create a relaxing and enjoyable environment that mimicked the environment of their own home.”

She added, “As a small business, we wanted to replicate the love and care cats receive in their own homes with lots of interactive play, hugs and treats, and throughout their stay we keep owners regularly updated by sharing photos of their adventures, which brings comfort and reassurance, allowing them to enjoy their vacation without worrying about the welfare of their pets.

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