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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wai'anae cat hotel opens for boarders

By Leslie Kawamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Boots, a Hawaiian Humane Society adoptee, enjoys the window at the Tradewinds Cat Cabanas.

Photos courtesy Sandy Van

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

At Tradewinds Cat Cabanas, each room has split and single level condos, as well as a play area to keep kitty occupied.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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When Sandy Van's tenant moved out of her two-bedroom Wai'anae farmhouse in October, Van thought about placing a "for rent" ad in the paper, while anticipating a long-term vacancy because of today's economic climate.

Then she remembered that a veterinarian suggested she open a cattery, sorely needed on the Wai'anae side. She already had a boarding facility for dogs called Tradewinds Pet Suites, which opened in 2008.

"Necessity truly is the mother of invention," says Van. "My dog kennel wasn't designed for cats, so I just didn't have the facilities to do it right. I kept thinking about it, but couldn't figure out quite how to make it work. Then when my tenants moved out, it suddenly occurred to me that it would be a perfect environment for cats."

Now, Van is ready to accept a new kind of tenant.

The renovated farmhouse is the cat's meow! It's elevated, with large windows overlooking mango trees. Cats can birdwatch, snooze or daydream all day long from the high vantage point. Each room has its own air-conditioning system to keep the furry tenants comfortable. No chance of boredom here.

Cats have fun jumping and climbing on the newly painted 6-foot-high ladders and nesting in the plush carpet towers.

There are scratching posts all over to keep kitty's claws sharp. Kitty music is heard in each room and cat-themed DVDs such as "Milo & Otis" and "Tom & Jerry" play on the television.

Boarders have their choice of kennels: either a single-level condo or a split-level two-storied one. Each condo comes with its own litter pan and bed. Split-level condos have a window view. Right now, Tradewinds Cat Cabanas can accommodate up to eight cats, and its owners are working to accommodate more.

The experienced staff love caring for their boarders. Van has cared for many types of animals from a very young age. She grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in Oregon.

There's also a certified veterinary technician on staff as well as Van's own family. Each person at Tradewinds is cross-trained to care for dogs, cats and the horses there.

Rates range from $15.95 per day for a single-level condo and $19.95 for a split-level. Discounts are available for long-term stays and for the military.

Tours of the facility are encouraged. Pet parents are welcome.

For information, call 696-4900 or go online: www.tradewindsqh.com/cats.

Animal lover Leslie Kawamoto has been with The Advertiser for 19 years, or 133 in dog years. Check out her blog at http://islandtails.honadvblogs.com.