Orange County’s first luxury hotel exclusively for cats launched in Irvine on Friday, March 1, with a festive grand opening that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, entertainment, and tours of the hotel and suites. Centrally located just two miles from John Wayne airport, Club Cat, an up-and-coming alternative to conventional boarding, will provide peace-of-mind to cat owners who travel for business or pleasure.
With limited options in Orange County to board cats in a cat-only facility, Club Cat founder Shana Martin set out to create an upscale boarding environment. “As a lifelong cat owner, traveling was always stressful for me because it was difficult to rely on family, friends or neighbors to take care of my cats the way I wanted them to be taken care of,” says Martin. “Hiring pet sitters wasn’t an option either because I never felt comfortable giving a complete stranger access to my home and personal belongings.”
Martin continued: “I dreamed about a place where my cats could be safe and healthy but also receive the type of genuine love, attention and care that they are used to at home.”
Martin’s vision was also motivated by the misleading belief that cats are self-sufficient creatures. “Many people think cats are happy with just a bowl of food, some water and a litter box, but research says otherwise,” she notes. A recent study conducted by scientists from Oregon State University reveals that cats are more like their canine counterparts than not, the majority preferring social interaction to food.
Fashioned after luxury hotels and resorts, Club Cat’s décor is a combination of modern trompe l’oeil and whimsical cat portraiture. Martin, a freelance writer, combined her love of literature and cats to create an upscale and spacious yet cozy, inviting feel. Suite names are “cat-punned” after some of her favorite novels—The Great Catsby (after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”) and Romeow and Juliet (after Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”), to name a few. Suites are also “cat-punned” after some other classics like The Chronicles of Furnia (after C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia”) and The Wizard of Paws (after L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”). Each suite boasts a uniquely hand-painted cat positioned playfully around a book spine.
Suite size is also a significant departure from traditional cat boarding facilities that kennel cats in cages. Club Cat patrons will stay in spacious 8-foot-tall suites with actual walls and a glass door. Standard suites house up to two cats from the same family; deluxe suites are even larger and can easily fit up to three cats from the same family. Each suite comes with wrought iron beds, multiple levels to perch on, and enclosed balconies at the top so that cat guests have options.
In addition, cat suites will be shared only by cats from the same family. “Stress can substantially weaken a cat’s immune system,” says Kelly Doria, DVM at All Paws House Calls, who has been advising Martin from the start. “Creating a safe, secure, environmentally stimulating area at Club Cat will help to keep cats calm and minimize their stress when their owner is away.”
One of the many distinctions that separates Club Cat from more traditional boarding options is that pet parents can watch their beloved cats anytime, anywhere from an app on their iPhone or Android device. “Each of our suites has a state-of-the-art webcam so that cat parents can get their kitty cat fix in real-time,” says Martin.
Guests and their felines have an array of entertainment options during their stay. This includes:
- CatFlix – Feline-friendly programs
- CatCasts – Live webcasts for cat owners who want to check in on their kitty cats 24/7
- CatChats – For cat owners who want to have live “cat-versations” with their kitty
Special amenities include:
- Fur therapy
- Derrière trims
- Calming therapy
- Nightly paw-down service