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Running a boutique cat hotel (part two)

Running a boutique cat hotel (part two)

Longcroft owner Abi Purser discusses how she created the luxury cattery experience

"We had Diesel, the little cat come in who had a chiming clock. We had Florinia, whose owners had rescued her from Spain and she'd been brought over on the Pet-Passport system."

On ensuring customer satisfaction...

"We listen, firstly. We have what's called our Cat Profile documents, it's a really intensive list of lots of questions. For instance what a cat likes to eat - do they like salmon? Do they like fish? Because there's no point me feeding him fish if he doesn't like it!

"We also have our 'A-la-cat' menu - which I've trademarked. We've got things like a meze, we've got seafood, we've got a skinny because we do have quite a lot of cats that need to be on a diet, so we don't want them to lose out just because their vets have put them on a diet.

"We have everything really that you would expect, or probably even better. A hotel should be better than your home."

On the growing animal care sector...

"There are 11 million cats in the UK, so the market is really huge. There are only 2000 registered boarding catteries in the UK at the moment. Probably a third of those are not licensed - you have to be licensed by your local authority and you have to go through a series of box-ticking and come up to scratch - so they tend to be the better ones.

"In terms of growth I'd like to have about 200, because I think that every good cattery in the UK is fully booked for years in advance, which is crazy really."

On the Longcroft trademark...

"I was very keen to protect what we'd done. Especially as we were in the media so early on, and I think it was actually a cameraman at the Daily Mail who said - you need to get everything absolutely tied-up and trademarked in terms of intellectual property.

"So I got straight onto that, I went to the IP office run by the local government and trademarked the logo, I trademarked the a-la-cat menu, and as much as I could of the look and feel."

On the advice she would offer to start-ups...

"Research is absolutely key. Research every angle, listen to people and don't be afraid to learn. I'm still learning now and this has been in development for about four to five years now.

"Also, buy the best you can possibly afford and give the best customer service that you can possibly afford."

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Sarah Louise Dean

About the author

Sarah Louise produces content across all titles in the Dynamis stable.


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