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Claire sitting kitty when it comes to new service.

Byline: Coreena Ford Business reporter coreena.ford@ncjmedia.com @scoopford

AFORMER finance businesswoman is set to expand her cat-sitting service across the North East after turning her passion for cats into her own business venture.

Claire Moorhouse, of Newcastle, had a successful career in finance when she adopted a rescue cat from a Gateshead rehoming centre in a move which would change her life.

Excited by the idea of a complete career change, she realised there was a big gap in the North East market for pet owners who didn't want to put their feline friends into pet hotels when they went away.

After gaining indemnity insurance and a DBS check, she launched Holiday Kitty Cat Care, a pet-minding service which sees her drive across the region, from morning until late at night, to care for scores of cats while their owners go on holiday.

Over the last year, demand for her services has grown rapidly, thanks to tapping into online marketing and social media to spread the firm's name, and she has now taken on three other members of staff to help.

And Mrs Moorhouse has plans to expand further across the North East, to give more cat owners the chance to use her service.

She said: "I was a member and active supporter and fundraiser of a local cat rescue group called New Beginnings Cat Rehoming in Gateshead and I adopted my own cat through the rescue, who had a number of special needs.

"When it was time for me to take a holiday, it became apparent that my lovely rescue cat was not suited to a cattery or pet hotel.

"I had wondered what other cat owners did to cover their cat care when they went on holiday and soon realised that many didn't want to put their cat in a cattery and relied on neighbours or family members to help out.

"I realised there was a demand for a reliable cat sitting service in my area so Holiday Kitty Cat Care was born.

"I started very small with a social media page and got my first booking soon after.

"I had a great deal of support from the cat rescue who also placed me with customers who had cats with complexed needs and word spread very quickly among the cat-owner's community and a steady stream of new customers were enquiring about my services on a daily basis."

Mrs Moorhouse's business involves long days and a lot of driving, travelling to each pet sometimes twice a day to give them food, medication if it's required, and lots of attention. She also sends regular updates to the cats owners while they are away, including pictures, to give them peace of mind.

Together with the three new members of staff, Holiday Kitty Cat Care covers a large area including North Tyneside, Newcastle and south east Northumberland, including Blyth She said: "I don't have any future plans to expand into some franchise business where other sitters can buy into my brand.

"This would mean losing touch with my customers and I would hate that. I work seven days a week, 365 days a year, and it's only recently I have been able to take short breaks away to recharge my batteries and leave the sitting in the very capable hands of my sitters.

"I would hope my business would expand and grow at a steady pace where I can take on more cat sitters and expand out to more areas around the North East. It would be great to provide more jobs for cat lovers doing something that they truly loved, and to extend to other cat owners who would benefit from the service.

"However much my business grows I will always be out 'sitting' as that's the part of the business I truly love."

It would be great to provide more jobs for cat lovers doing something they truly loved and to extend to other cat owners who would benefit from the serviceClaire Moorhouse

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Claire Moorhouse of Holiday Kitty Cat Care with her rescue cat Monty.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 19, 2018
Words:679
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