Scott County zoning officials say it's a first — a request to construct and open a commercial cat kennel.
Yes, there are boarding facilities for dogs and for a mix of pets, but Gerund Finley of Donahue wants to open a 10-room luxury kennel exclusively for cats.
She is seeking a special use permit as required by county ordinance, with a public hearing scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Scott County Administrative Center, Davenport.
Although Finley is not aware of any similar business in the Quad-Cities, she thinks it will fill a need for cat owners who want their pets well-cared for when they are gone for extended periods. These are owners who don't want to leave their cats home alone with someone checking on them only once a day or to have them boarded in cages, surrounded by other animals.
Finley plans to renovate her garage into 10 heated and air-conditioned rooms of roughly 5-feet by 6-feet each, with walls and individual screen doors for air flow. Six of the rooms will have windows to the outside and all will have web cams "so pet parents can check on their pets," she said.
She'll also provide a play room for exercise and will install bird feeders and baths in the trees outside the windows so the cats will have something interesting to look at.
Finley, who is in her 50s, has spent most of her working life in the computer circuit board business, spending her days "sitting and soldering through a microscope."
She wanted to try something different and, because she has always loved and been around cats, decided on the kennel business. She's had the idea in the back of her mind ever since her mother traveled to Hawaii some years ago and had to leave her three cats with a veterinarian, housed in wire cages where they were exposed to all the other animals and odors in the room.
"It was meow, meow, and they were stressed out," she said of her mother's cats. "They don't like your being gone or being left home alone."
Through online research, Finley located a cat kennel in Minneapolis and has watched it thrive since its founding about eight years ago.
Finley hasn't decided on a name but is considering The Cat's Meow Country Inn.
She also hasn't decided on prices but is anticipating rates of about $25 per day for one cat for up to 15 days and $34 per day for two cats up to 15 days. Rates would decline the longer a cat is boarded. Food will be provided, or owners can bring their own.
Finley hopes her business will be open by year's end.
As for the public hearing, Tim Huey, director of the Scott County Planning and Development Department, said he "can't imagine" anyone objecting to her proposal, as all possible issues have been adequately addressed.