Cats are often renowned for being free spirited creatures who tend to do what they want, when they want – but a stately home in the UK is planning to employ cats as ‘tour guides’ to show visitors around the beautiful interior and exterior of the grade 1 listed building, which has hosted royalty and many a historical cat-fight in the past.
Some of the previous owners of Kittybrook House, in Catsfield, East Sussex, were renowned cat-lovers, and many pampered pets have been immortalised in oil paintings and taxidermy dotted around the house. No doubt they would approve of the plan to adopt cats of a suitable temperament and intellect from a local cat rescue sanctuary and give them a new life of luxury – albeit earning their keep too!
In order to be kept in the style to which all cats aspire, where they will dine on smoked salmon, and retire beside a warm radiator in the former scullery, the pusses will also be asked to partner up with visitors opting for the special “Cat Walk” tour. They will be trained to lead visitors in a practiced route around the house and gardens, stopping at particular points of interest, and activating an audio voice-over, by stepping on particular pressure points on the floor. The idea is that, not only do tourists get to learn about the House and all its hidden stories and artefacts, but they also get to interact with a friendly feline, who will no-doubt, charm visitors into giving their helpful tour guide a little treat for all their hard work.
Catriona Thomas, head of Visitor Relations at the attraction hopes that this initiative will prove to be as popular as cat cafes, and will boost the profile of Kittybrook House to visitors from all around the world:
“We think this is the ideal way to link the past of the House with the current visitor experience, in a fun and informative way. None of the cats will be made to do anything they don’t want, and we hope that it will be enjoyable for both cats and visitors.”
Catriona admits that there have been a few teething problems, with some of the cats in training, preferring to laze in the sun, or head off to catch local wildlife, rather than tow the line, but she’s hopeful that they will be up to speed before the tours are launched this Summer.
We will be putting our names down to visit, and we wish the innovative venture every success in providing a unique and paw-sonalised tour.
1st April 2017