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A ‘luxury hotel’ for our feline friends has been opened near Caerphilly - by former miner Gerald Nottingham. 

After a life underground and in the building trade, Gerald plans to fill his retirement looking after cats when owners are away. And he has provided top quality accommodation.

A modern, purpose-built cattery in his garden can house 16 of the animals. And they will even enjoy entertainment.

“There is a television in there for them,” said Gerald. “I’m not sure if they will be watching it or not, but they will certainly hear it. In most homes the TV is on, and I believe this will make them feel at home and keep them relaxed.”

A special ventilation system has also been installed by the former builder to keep the cats comfortable at all times.

Willowdell Cattery near Llanbradach is now open for business, and Gerald is hoping to build a reputation in the locality.

“I think there will be demand for a quality service,” he said. “When people are on holiday, in hospital, or away for other reasons, they want to know that their cats are well looked after and they don’t want to worry about them.”

The business has received a £500 Start Up grant, administered jointly by Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise and Caerphilly County Council.

“The grant was very useful and helped me buy office and other equipment,” said Gerald.

Gerald began work as an electrician in Bedwas Colliery, and worked for various companies in the mining industry. After leaving mining, he set up a successful building and landscaping business.

While still working he was preparing the cattery business, and now will be devoting all his time to it. “I have always loved cats. I have taken many in over the years and always enjoyed caring for them.

“It seemed like the perfect retirement project.”

Martin Palmer of UK Steel Enterprise, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the launch of this new business which will add to the services in the community. We are also pleased that Gerald has been able to turn a pastime into a business, and wish him well.”

Caerphilly County Borough Councils Cabinet Member responsible for Economic Development and Sustainability, Cllr. Sean Morgan said, “Working in partnership with UK Steel Enterprise allows us to provide financial support to fledgling businesses like Willowdell Cattery. I would like to wish Gerald all the best in his new venture and I hope his business goes from strength to strength.”

Caption: Four star feline: from left Claire Vokes Caerphilly Council, Martin Palmer UK Steel Enterprise, Gerald Nottingham, and Tula.