When cat owners go on holidays, their pets stay safe with Ebony Centazzo. She runs Cat Napping at Caroline Springs, and she spoke to Esther Lauaki about what it’s like to be a cat hotelier.
What’s your connection to Brimbank?
I lived and grew up in Sunshine from the age of four until 24. Pretty much most of my life was spent in Brimbank, growing up, going to school, playing sports, socialising with friends and family.
When did you decide to open Cat Napping?
I opened my first location in Hoppers Crossing in September 2011, and Caroline Springs in April 2014.
What made you decide to start a cat retreat?
I’d been working in the travel industry for eight years … but always had the desire to do my own thing. My next love after travel was animals, so when thinking up business ideas, working with animals was on top of the list. As I was travelling a lot for work, I used a cattery that I wasn’t very happy with, but knew of nowhere else to put them.
I started researching cat hotels, visiting some and then created my ideal one from there. In 2010, I completed an introduction to vet nursing course at Gordon Institute of TAFE, feline management with Australian School of Pet Care and a certificate in animals studies at Victoria University.
Do you have pets of your own?
I’ve always been surrounded by an array of animals. I have two white German shepherds and two domestic short-haired cats.
What happens when cat-owners check their pets in at Caroline Springs?
When our human clients make a booking, they must choose a retreat for their cat – there are three sizes, Snooze Shack, Urban Terrace and Deluxe Villa. When the cat arrives, we must see their current vaccination certificate and make sure we have all the owner’s details, vet details. Our clients (human and feline) are then shown through to their retreat. Owners can bring anything from home they may think their cat would like, blanket, toys, bed etc. But all that is supplied in the price.
While the cat is in our care, we will keep the owners updated with weekly photos via email or Facebook. We encourage the cats to play in our playpen, or some “purrfer” just wandering around the cattery – of course individually, as we don’t want any fights!
Why did you choose Caroline Springs?
Brimbank and Caroline Springs are growing area with many new housing estates. Every second household has a cat and, with pet owners being more responsible these days, it’s not okay asking a neighbour to feed them anymore. Cats don’t travel well in cars, so having a cat resort within a 10 to 15 minute drive is ideal.
What do you love about Brimbank?
Brimbank will always hold a place in my heart – it’s where I grew up. I also love that it’s so close to the city and never costs much to get home in a taxi after a big night!