Whiskers Luxury Cat Boarding
Profile of Success
By Kathy Hosler
Photos provided by Whiskers Luxury Cat Boarding
Jennifer Miller knows what makes cats purr. She’s been involved in showing, breeding and feline rescue for more than twenty years.
Jennifer owns the Katznjamr Bengal Cattery and has shown her cats internationally, even producing the number one spotted Bengal in the World. Her more recent venture is owning Whiskers Cat Hotel, central Texas’ premier cat boarding facility.
“Showing and breeding Bengal cats for the past two decades has given me a unique perspective into the world of feline care,” shares Jennifer, co-owner of Whiskers Cat Hotel.
“I researched some luxury cat hotels in Europe and Australia, and I loved the concept,” Jennifer continues. “I decided that I wanted to bring that kind of boarding experience to the cats of Central Texas.”
With the help of co-owner and daughter-in-law, Twyla Miller, Jennifer also did a lot of online research and got as much information on the construction and operation of pet boarding facilities as she could—although most of it was geared towards dogs. Then she and Twyla worked to create a model that would work for felines.
“Facilities that board both dogs and cats do their best to provide quiet areas for their cats, but the barking and other kennel noises are often quite stressful for them,” Jennifer says. “Even cats that are dog-friendly don’t generally do well when there is a lot of noise or activity. We took that into consideration when we were planning every facet of the hotel.”
Whiskers Luxury Cat Boarding, located in Georgetown, Texas, opened in 2014. And it is changing the way cat boarding has traditionally been done. Every guest at Whiskers stays in their own spacious and beautiful walk-in suite. They don’t use cages or condos since they don’t provide the cats enough room, and they are certainly nothing like being at home.
“Our cage-free accommodations really reduce feline stress,” says Twyla. “We have 32 suites in a variety of room sizes; smaller suites for single cats up to our 10’x10’x10′ for families with multiple cats.
“Everything was designed with the cats’ comfort, health, and happiness in mind. We have large, beautiful windows along the entire perimeter of the building. The cats really love resting on a sunny window ledge where they can watch the birds at our outside feeders,” Twyla adds.
Each individual suite was configured so that the cats do not have face-to-face contact with other cats. Having that privacy is so important, but it is not feasible at many facilities.
“Cats need the security of our tranquil, homelike suites,” Jennifer says. “We provide them with cozy beds, chairs, cat trees, perches, stairs, cat wheels, cat TV—everything we could think of to make them comfortable, happy, and enjoy their time here. We even play soothing spa music and we have aviaries of doves and finches to keep them entertained.”
Safety was paramount during the design and construction of the facility. The interior of the hotel was built using fire-retardant surfaces. They also installed monitored cameras and alarms that detect heat, smoke and Co2 which will immediately notify the owners, 911 and the fire department if a problem is ever detected.
“We all know that cats can sometimes be difficult to work with,” Jennifer says. “But, we can accept all personality types. With our background in feline care, we know what each one needs to help them adjust to their new surroundings. We pride ourselves in making the boarding experience pleasant for the cats. When they go home, they are relaxed, not nervous.”
“A great deal of our success is due to our amazing staff,” shares Twyla. “Having talented, dedicated employees that love what they do is a real asset. Most of our employees stay with us for years.”
“Outstanding customer service has always been integral to our continued success. At Whiskers we establish long-lasting relationships with our clients and their cats,” says Jennifer. “In fact, clients will sometimes come in just to ‘talk kitty.’”
Many people come from a long distance to bring their cats to this exclusive facility, and that’s where their website (www.whiskers.co) has proved to be invaluable. Jennifer designed and built the website herself.
“Our website allows people to get a feel of what we are all about and all the services we offer,” Jennifer continues. “I wanted it to have lots of photos and videos of the entire hotel. That allows folks who live an hour or more away to get online and see every one of our rooms. They can know exactly what their cat’s suite will look like before they make the drive here.
“Our clients can do everything online, from seeing our accommodations and selecting the amenities they want their cat to enjoy to booking their reservations. We want to make everything easy and enjoyable for them,” Jennifer adds.
A non-refundable deposit is required to hold a reservation, and Whiskers operates on a per-day booking system. That means, if a cat comes in on a Monday morning for boarding and leaves on Tuesday morning, they are charged for two days. Everything is posted on their website so there are no misunderstandings.
In addition, daily email photos and “Kitty Gram” slideshow updates are sent out to the owners so they can stay in contact and see all the fun their cats are having.
Jennifer and Twyla also do a lot of rescue work. They foster abandoned cats and kittens and find them homes. One section of their website is dedicated to helping these cats and kittens in their local area find forever homes.
Whiskers has a new and unique program that really appeals to cat owners. It’s called the Lifetime Care Program. It provides a way for an owner to ensure that their cat will always be cared for should they ever be unable to. Sometimes when a person passes away, enters a nursing home or can no longer care for their cat, a family member or friend takes the cat. But sadly, in other cases, the cat is simply turned loose or taken to a humane society. That’s never the case if the owner has enrolled in the Lifetime Care Program. A program member’s cat will stay at Whiskers and enjoy their exceptional care as well as all of their grooming and veterinary needs for the rest of its life.
From its concept to completion, the mission of Whiskers Cat Hotel has been to offer cats a one-of-a-kind boarding experience that fulfills their needs in every way and gives their owners complete peace of mind.
This family-run business has enjoyed continuous growth since its opening. They have already expanded and added a second building to the Whiskers complex, and they are contemplating future expansion.
Whiskers Cat Hotel is certainly the place where cats can enjoy a “suite” life.