Our cats recently spent two weeks at Aristide Cat Hotel. Even though I'm married I'm still a crazy cat lady at heart and I was scared to send them there. They're my babies, and I was paranoid of them picking up some nasty disease.
We visited Aristide twice before making a reservation. The owner, Gauthier, dropped everything to show us around, though we didn't have an appointment. It's spotlessly clean and smelled like cinnamon and rainbows. Aristide (named for Gauthier's cat) carries upcycled wool cat toys with organic fill, plastic-free cat houses, and unpackaged gifts. Food available for purchase is beautifully displayed in glass jars.
Schrodinger couldn't have designed a more thoughtful system. Kar and Toffel could socialize, play, and run around via tunnel network. There are lots of things to climb on, including cute upcycled cat beds made from vintage suitcases and iMacs, and pets have 24-hour access to a playroom supervised by one or two cat-sitters. Everyone is really friendly, especially Gauthier, who is so likable, we kind of wished we lived there ourselves. Downstairs, sick cats referred by area veterinarians are rehabilitated in a safe, comforting environment.
Aristide was crowd-funded, and talking to Gauthier, it's obvious how much he fought for this project and how dedicated the team is to quality animal care. When the day finally came to drop off Kar and Toffel, a cat-sitter accompanied us to their room, where Gauthier greeted our little guys (he speaks perfect English, the only language they respond to). Staff make it a point to know all of the cats' names, sending us daily progress reports and photos. One day, I checked my email to find this:
Bonjour Stephan & Ariana,
KAR & TOFFEL ont déjà trouvé des camarades de jeux dont CARLOS, un chat tout noir qui squatte leur chambre. Il dort même collé à KAR ! TOFFEL aime beaucoup nos gratouilles et a fait une petite sortie ce matin dans les couloirs et à même squatté une Poopoopeedoo pour piquer un petit roupillon !
Bonne fin de journée
Pauline et l’Equipe d'Aristide
English version: Kar, our shy grey cat, made friends with a cat named Carlos, and they had little sleepovers :) Meanwhile, our black cat, Toffel, ran through the halls and slept in his litter box. We later learned that he visited every room in the cat hotel, socializing with other guests!
When I picked up Kar and Toffel, the other cats came by for nuzzles and one jumped in the carrier with them. The whole experience was incredibly cute and beneficial. For the first time, I had peace of mind on holiday because I knew they were having as much fun as we were. Thanks to the care and attention of the staff and socialization with other cats, Toffel, our tardigrade-shaped angora, sleeps through the night better and Kar, who has pica, is more talkative and stopped eating his fur. L'Equipe d'Aristide are the Anne Sullivans of felidae.
I'm ashamed of how wary I was, because I really could not trust these precious little fur balls with nicer people. We keep coming up with excuses to go there without our cats, just to hang out! I think they're getting sick of us. Visit Aristide's blog and Instagram for more.