A CAT lover has turned her home into a retreat for felines – building the ‘hotel’ up from scratch during lockdown.

Jennifer Ryder, spurred on by the rise in pet ownership and closure of many catteries and kennels since the start of the pandemic, has opened a ‘luxury’ cat hotel at her Coach Gate Lane, Cawthorne home.

Rooms even feature under-floor heating and handmade beds, with Jennifer inspired to go the extra mile after noticing changes in her own pets’ behaviour when she would send them to a cattery during holidays.

Jennifer said: “We are a family of pet lovers with a lifetime’s experience of looking after cats.

“We recognised that many people treat their feline friends as members of their family and can often feel guilty about sending their cats to a cattery when they go on holiday.

“I wanted to create a relaxing, pleasant environment which replicated the surroundings of their own homes.

“As a small business, we wanted to replicate the love and attention cats receive in their own homes with lots of interactive play, cuddles and treat, and throughout their stay we regularly keep owners updated by sharing pictures of their adventures, which provides comfort and reassurance, enabling them to enjoy their holidays without worrying about the welfare of their pets.”

Jennifer began planning in 2018 but it was only during the pandemic she started acting on her ideas, working with the Sheffield City Region Launchpad programme that supports fledgling businesses.

Nicole Harte, Launchpad business adviser, said: “Jennifer knew that for her business to be a success she would need to navigate her way through a number of significant steps, from securing planning permission to build her dream business to securing the necessary licenses allowing her to trade.

“The Cawthorne Cat Hotel is the result of a labour of love by Jennifer and her family and with pet ownership rising dramatically during lockdown, I think her business is likely to be in high demand as restrictions continue to ease.”