Cat-lover Claire Schoenherr has had a luxury cattery built at her home during lockdown, thanks to the support of her dad, a popular Norfolk entertainer who found he had time on his hands last year. And it’s all come at the end of a tough few years
Claire Schoenherr’s dad has always been her rock. Her dad happens Nigel ‘boy’ Syer, a Norfolk comedian and singer, and, as Claire recalls: ‘A few years ago, when I went through treatment for breast cancer, he was by my side at every appointment and during chemotherapy; making me laugh throughout.’
And he has been by her side again, to help her achieve her ambition of having her own cattery. ‘I have always loved cats and have three myself,’ explains Claire. ‘Extending our existing garage and converting it into a beautiful cattery has always been an ambition of mine, but with two young children and a very busy family, there was never time. However, when I talked to my dad about the idea early last year, he said ‘okay, let’s do it’.’
Because Claire’s dad has a busy career himself, as a performer in the entertainment industry, she had assumed that the cattery would need to fit in around his work commitments. However, just a few weeks after deciding to start the building work, Covid-19 hit.
The comedian and singer’s day job was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. But instead of using his enforced downtime to relax, he got to grips with building Claire the cattery of her dreams.
Claire says: ‘Being able to start this exciting new business venture with my family supporting me was something positive that we all needed, after several years of difficult times.’
Whilst Claire’s Dad, helped by her brother-in-law Tim, was working hard between lockdowns building the cattery, Claire was busy completing her qualifications in feline care and behaviour and putting her business processes in place. Palm View Cattery opened for its first guests at the end of April.
‘I was determined to create the kind of professional but comfortable cattery where I would be happy to leave my own cats,’ says Claire. ‘All our pens are much larger than the minimum sizes specified within local authority guidelines and we treat each of our guests as VIPs.
‘I feel incredibly lucky that lockdown has given me the opportunity to achieve my dream and start my business. We have already welcomed lots of gorgeous cats and the feedback and reviews have been amazing. I am hugely grateful for all the support I’ve received.’
Palm View Cattery has six spacious pens: four doubles, which are suitable for two cats from the same household; and two family suites, which can accommodate up to four cats from the same household. Each pen includes everything that a discerning cat could need, including multiple platforms for jumping and climbing, underfloor heating, large scratch posts, lots of toys and cosy beds.