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Cattery magnifique

Marc Henrie a.s.c. reports on the opening of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s new cattery

By THIS would certainly describe the superb new cattery that was opened on Wednesday, 20 June, 2007 by HRH Prince Michael of Kent at their Old Windsor site near Runnymeade, Surrey.

A perfect day, the sun shone out of a clear blue sky as Honoured Guests and press representatives arrived.

The Hoerner Cattery, has been named after ex-Battersea Chairman, John Hoerner, who had been the Chairman for 18 years.

The cattery itself is a truly amazing work, designed by Charles Knowles of Richmond Knowles Architects, known for their very innovative and artistic work.

There is every comfort in the temporary home for the thousands of cats which will come through the doors during the coming years - separate sleeping pens, heated beds and their own private runs. A maternity section with special pens and play areas for the newly born felines and their mums, and then there is the “chill out room” for cats who need that little ‘extra’.

A sense of calm and well-being greeted us as we entered the cattery, and a great feeling that the staff care so very much about their charges, and the guests (felines) certainly knew so.

The use of natural materials for the outside of the building was crucial for the enhancement of a country setting and a sedum ‘green’ living roof shows this to be so. The cattery is the latest addition to the Old Windsor complex. The centre has been in being since 1979 as one of the Battersea Dogs & Cats Homes around the country.

Battersea’s aim in life has always been to shelter, give veterinary care, behavioural help and love to the many thousands of abandoned cats and dogs. Then finding them new homes, or reuniting them (if lost) with their owners.

Amongst the guests were Lady Cotterell (former trustee), Robin Bolton (a trustee and chairman of Battersea) and Bradley Viner (TV and radio personality).

Charles Knowles, the architect, was talking to me about his two cats, ‘Lily’ and ‘Webster’. They are part of my very busy life, always ready to greet me when I arrive home after a hard day.

His assistant, the very glamourous Sara De Glamlinge was with him, and spoke of the very special part that cats play in our lives, especially in these modern times when a feline is so much easier to keep in a flat than a dog.

The curtain hiding the plaque commemmorating the new cattery was opened by HRH Prince Michael of Kent, whilst the Princess Michael looked on. The Princess has Siamese and Burmese, greatly adored.

During his speech, HRH Prince Michael said that he was a dog man himself, but since becoming the President of the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, he had become fascinated by the cats and encouraged by his wife, had grown very attached to them. He said he was delighted to open the state of the art cattery.

The new luxury facilities are most impressive and will make a big difference to every cat that stays there.

In ending his speech, HRH Prince Michael of Kent said “I declare this cattery open and God bless all who wail in her”.

After a burst of applause the guests all went to the marquee for Champagne and savouries. It really was a special day, and in keeping with this the sun shone on the righteous...

The reception area at Battersea Cat & Dogs Home, now called the Hoerner Cattery.

Part of the interior at the new Hoerner Cattery.

‘Tarzan’ sits with Kaye, the director of the centre in the ‘chill room’ where cats can relax in large, comfortable surroundings.

‘Cinders’ relaxing in his pen.

‘What’s up matey?’ a cheeky black/white kitten in the new cattery.

‘Popcorn’, a delightful kitten, held by Kelly Anderson.

‘Fairy’ in one of the play areas at the cattery.

The President of Batterseas Dogs & Cats Home, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, opens the new Hoerner Cattery at Old Windsor.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent opens the new cattery, The Hoerner at Battersea, Old Windsor.

The designer and architect of the new cattery, Charles Knowles (right) of Richmond Knowles, with his colleague Ms Sara De Glamlinge.

Coco, a cat for rehoming at the cattery.

Mr John Hoerner (ex-chairman of Battersea) strokes a three-week-old kitten.