‘Convenience for Owners, Comfort for Cats’
WRITTEN BY: Anna Holton-Dean
As an architect with a busy travel schedule, Camille Hulen struggled to find a suitable place to board her cats. “Most kennels board both cats and dogs, and cats are not comfortable around barking dogs,” Camille says. “Nor are cats comfortable at a veterinary facility; no matter how clean, there can be airborne viruses. Plus, cats give off pheromones perceptible to other cats that we humans don’t detect. Ever wonder why your cat is nervous at the vet?”
The exasperating experience inspired her to change careers and open Camille’s Cathouse, an upscale bed and breakfast for cats, located near Sapulpa.
“My goal is to make the cats comfortable and provide convenience for the owner,” Camille says. “Therefore, I am open seven days a week, as well as evenings for drop off and pickup. It was frustrating to arrive home from a trip on Friday evening and not be able to pick up my cat until Monday or to leave work early to accommodate regular business hours.
With the kennel attached to her home, Camille is always available by appointment. “This is not a 9 to 5 business; like a hotel, it is 24/7, 365,” she says.
Another aspect that sets Camille’s Cathouse apart is cats are not confined to cages all the time.
“I put them in cages when they first arrive,” she explains. “After they relax, they are free to roam around, climb cat trees, look out windows and just be cats. … Younger cats will play, and older cats will observe. Younger cats are respectful to the seniors, and the seniors are stimulated by watching them.”
However, Camille says cats know their individual kennels are their “safe space.”
“They have a choice to stay there if they wish,” she adds. “I put them in their individual spaces at night and for feeding.”
Some may wonder about the social interactions or possible confrontations of free-roaming cats, but Camille says it’s never a problem as cats learn much like children.
“I am frequently asked, ‘Don’t the cats fight?’ The answer is ‘no.’ If they are difficult, I speak sternly to them or put them back in ‘jail,’” she says.
“In 19 years, I have heard plenty of hissing but never a serious fight. Among neutered cats, most cat fights are territorial. The answer is that the kennel is ‘neutral territory.’”
Camille says she, too, is always learning from the felines in her care.
“It is fun to observe them and interact with them. I have met shy cats, grouchy cats, playful cats, smart cats and, yes, dumb cats,” she says. “The lesson here is that you cannot tell the personality of a cat from a picture. All cats are different and respond differently to different people. Therefore, when adopting an animal, you must meet it. The cat will choose you; you do not choose the cat.”
At Camille’s Cathouse, every cat is treated with special care according to its individual personality and needs. “It would be easy to ‘feed a cage’ and ‘clean a cage,’” Camille says, “but that is not what Camille’s Cathouse is about.”
All types of cats are welcome provided they are up to date on FVRCP and rabies vaccinations, and they must be spayed or neutered.
5986 W. 131st St. South
Sapulpa, OK 74066