Coronavirus scare takes cattery to the brink

Director of Curtin Cat Care, Jess Montagne… “It was demoralising and extreme sufficient for us to really feel the enterprise could not survive.”  Picture: Holly Treadaway.

JESS Montagne might by no means have predicted the impact the coronavirus pandemic would have on her household’s cat-boarding enterprise. 

“I do know it sounds naive, however we’d been in enterprise efficiently for greater than 20 years and I by no means thought a time would come the place folks wouldn’t be capable of journey,” says the director of Curtin Cat Care. 

“Our trade depends on it, but pet boarding isn’t thought-about to be part of the journey trade.” 

Jess, who began Curtin Cat Care in 1999 when she was in 12 months 12, says the household had evacuated animals from their Mongarlowe facility due to the specter of bushfires when covid hit, and as soon as lockdown was introduced, they instantly had all remaining bookings for the 12 months cancelled. 

“It was demoralising and extreme sufficient for us to really feel the enterprise could not survive,” she says. 

Along with her mum Alice working Arcadia at Mongarlowe, sister Dindi managing Kismet at Nanima, and Jess at Curtin Cat Care, she says the household was in “surprised shock” as their revenue dwindled.

“All of us depend on the enterprise for 100 per cent of our revenue,” she says.

“We couldn’t even shut, as we had a number of cats already boarding, whose house owners weren’t capable of get again from abroad.”

Some workers members needed to be let go however JobKeeper, a covid grant and mortgage deferrals helped the enterprise proceed, Jess says, in addition to the kindness of valued shoppers, considered one of whom “generously paid for 5 years prematurely”.

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So, impressed by the necessity to survive the challenges of 2020, she created Kismet Cats, a web-based retailer promoting eco-friendly cat toys and equipment, that mirrored her values.  

“A few of what we promote doesn’t have the eco-credentials we’d like, because the pet trade isn’t fairly there but, however we’re transferring in direction of it, in addition to seeking to design our personal felt merchandise subsequent 12 months that will probably be handmade by a group of girls in Nepal. It’s truthful commerce and the artisans are primarily single moms attempting to make a go of it on their very own. We already promote a few of their designs, and it’s the whole image for us.”

Jess, who has a younger son, can also be concerned in land and creek regeneration on the Nanima web site. All three amenities are actually open.

“Hopefully we’re popping out the opposite aspect now. Persons are travelling domestically and we’re seeing a shift,” Jess says. 

“I can’t think about not being surrounded by animals and nature all day and I like the sense of group. Our shoppers are like our household.”