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Feline Holiday Experience: a Sensory Delight at Calabash Kennels and Cattery

Boarding can be a stressful experience for cats, and it takes a special place like Calabash Kennels and Cattery in NSW to meet their unique needs and reassure their owners that their feline friend will have a purrfect holiday while they are away. 

Calabash is a premier luxury feline (and canine) boarding facility nestled in the rolling hills and natural splendour of Arcadia, less than an hour’s drive from Sydney CBD. 
The facility has developed substantially over the past two decades with their offerings of luxurious pet accommodation and services. 
“I wanted to look after our four-legged pets in the best environment that I can provide with quality food and a high level of care and enjoyment for the cats,” said Linda Meumann, owner of Calabash Kennels and Cattery. 

“We also provide the animals environmental enrichment with diverse sensory experiences, which is especially beneficial for pets suffering from anxiety (i.e. separation anxiety).”

Whiskered guests are served hand and foot in The Cattery, which launched in 2004 and offers three different types of rooms:

The Garden Villa with outdoor Jungle Gym
  •  The Garden Villa (with their own private, outdoor jungle gym and each decorated with tropical plants & a balcony to curl up on in the sunshine)
  • The Balcony Suite (spacious with sunny terraces) and 
  • The Garden View Room – perfect for bird watching!

Plus, there’s a shared
Jungle Gym for adventurous personalities, said Linda. 

The Cattery provides the felines a clean and quiet environment with fully ducted air conditioning, high quality food, secure play area and an outdoor view to scratch for! 

The sunshine, the light and visual enrichment also keep the cats entertained and rested as they get their beauty sleep. 

Calabash staff leave the carry cage in the room until the cat is ready to move out and investigate. They also spend time with the cats in their rooms and only have contact when they initiate it, said Linda. 

“We use minimal chemicals, have staff who genuinely love animals and clients are welcome to bring their own cat food and belongings, such as litter boxes and cubby/igloos,” she said. 

Providing a relaxing atmosphere

Sometimes cats arrive to the Cattery stressed, but it doesn’t take long before they begin to relax. “We allow the cats time to choose when they want contact, play music and use a Feliway (stress) diffuser,” she said. 

“The Cattery also has private rooms where cats can be separated from the other cats if they want, and rooms large enough for them to move around, and up and down.” 

Veronica Green’s two cats are staying at Calabash long term due to home relocation. 

She described the 19-month-old rescue siblings Finn and Samson as “double trouble” and so finding the right cattery was important to her family.

“For me personally, I researched for an extremely long time for a facility that offered joint accommodation and outdoors. 
Our cats are adventurous and love the outdoors, so there had to be a strong outdoor experience

There were many facilities that instantly didn't suit,” said Veronica. Veronica was searching for a clean, neat, country-like, peaceful accommodation where the feline duo could still be social.

“Calabash has an amazing feline enrichment program where they trial different activities and ways of making their brains active,” she said. “They have a double sibling room with an adjoining door. It made me so happy as these boys cannot be separated!” 

Finn and Samson also love the garden – “everything to the extreme!” she laughed. 
“Running, climbing the fence, climbing the trees, eating the cat grass, smelling, looking at the birds above and trying to reach them…”

Veronica was also pleased with how the team at Calabash integrated her furry boys so well from the beginning and transitioned them into a beautiful routine.

“My cats
were given the opportunity to be in the outside world as they are not indoor-only cats. The team nurtured and encouraged their inquisitive nature towards the outdoors, and whilst they had to be indoors, they have been good with their routine,” she said. 

Raising pet boarding standards

Linda’s mission is not just to make pets happy during their stay, but to also lift standards in the pet boarding industry by redefining luxury and quality care. 

Offering a tranquil, rural retreat atmosphere and enticing smells, it’s no surprise Calabash has got a continuous high level of canine occupancy. 

All the furry guests at Calabash make regular Facebook appearances and Instagram to let their pawrents know what they’ve been up to, and they certainly have got a lot to share!

“I love being able to provide our furry boarders with an environment that will enable them to be safe, happy and enjoy their time away from home, so they want to return to us,” said Linda.

Catherine O’Keefe had a succession of her pet family cared for by Calabash over the years and now she takes her three senior felines there for some R&R.

Catherine O'Keefe's cat Shparkle
enjoys bird watching
Shparkle is a 16-year-old loud and deaf Turkish Van cat. Boxhead is a 14-year-old big tabby who has diabetes and loves a cuddle and a chat. Her 13-year-old small tabby, Lily, had the pleasure of being the pinup of Calabash Cattery’s Easter celebrations on Youtube

Catherine said they previously had bad experiences at other catteries. In one case, one of her cats had a damaged back which affected his quality of life after that. On other occasions, her cats came home with cat flu!

“We had stayed at Calabash about six times for about 3-4 weeks each time, and every time they come back in better condition than when they went there,” she said. 

“The care of our ‘fur babies’ is paramount. We like the attention to every detail at Calabash.” Catherine likes play areas, the way the cages have in and outdoor spaces and are adjoining, and how the cats have fresh air and space to wander around if they wish. Plus, at night, if they are lucky, they have something interesting to look at through their window!

“If the cats get sick a vet is called, and they are taken care of quickly,” she said. “As the cats age, it is even more important for us they get this level of quality care.”

Calabash also gives Veronica a "peace of mind” and feeling connected to her Finn and Samson as she regularly receives photos and videos of them enjoying their stay in their temporary home.

“The videos make us laugh so much and seeing not only our cats but the dogs running around so happy and smiling in their separate facility just gave a sense of trust, animal care, love and security,” she said. “Every animal seems to be loved and cared for as if they were the "only one". Everything is transparent, and as a pet owner, that is genuine gold!”

For more details or to book, contact Calabash Kennels and Cattery on 02 9655 1624 or visit 

written by Caroline Zambrano, Pet JournalistApril 2019 for Australian Cat Lover (all rights reserved).

About Calabash Kennels & Cattery

Calabash Kennels & Cattery is located in Arcadia, NSW and is owned and managed by Linda Meumann and Bob Hickman. Calabash Kennels & Cattery was first opened in 1989 and purchased by the current owners in 1997, renaming it Calabash Kennels. Calabash Cattery was launched in 2004, the Canine Lodge in 2016 and the Retreat in 2018.

Calabash Kennels & Cattery’s philosophy is ‘Your pet should leave here in as good a condition, or better, than when your pet arrived’.

Lead Image: Pinnicle Photography; Other photos by Calabash Kennels and Cattery

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