Club Cat Irvine

Original artwork by OCSA Visual Arts Conservatory student Skyler Pitsker

It’s hard to believe that Club Cat is celebrating its first Christmas as an operating business. For so many years Club Cat was just a big idea in my noodle and a business plan on paper.  Our Grand Opening was supposed to be last December. I remember feeling so deflated last year when our construction ran longer than it should have. I had been so excited about opening right before Christmas.  In retrospect, it was probably kismet that we opened during a non-busy season – in the much slower season of March of this year instead.

I can’t remember a Christmas without cats. They just go together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Sushi and sake.  Lucy and Ricky.

My childhood cat, Siggy (aka Siggela, Siggelini Fettucini, The Sigster, and sometimes just Sig), cat boardingwho is memorialized on one of our twenty literature themed and cat-punned, original art-donned suites, was almost 20 years old when she passed away.  My childhood memories are painted with Siggy’s colors all over them. Especially Christmas memories. The overly (read garishly) decorated tree she loved to lounge underneath, squished cozily yet gracefully between presents with jaunty bows. The homemade crocheted and knitted Christmas blankets she’d nuzzle into that dressed the couch or one of our beds. When she died, I was a senior in college. My heart broke.

I was promoted from cat sister to cat mama at the ripe young age of 27 years when my mom gave me a stray kitten named Bella. cat hotelI immediately made new kitty cat memories that would not replace those of Siggy but rather enhance them. Bella was with me for 4 years as a swinging single and then another 9 years after I got married and had kids. He (yup, Bella was a “he”) died two days before Christmas in 2012. He was only 13. This time my heart didn’t break alone; my kids’ and my husband’s hearts broke too. That year, Christmas was bitter sweet. Bella is also memorialized on the wall in one of our suites.

This year, we have the joy of celebrating our first Christmas with a full hotel of cats that we get to take care of and cuddle and love on! Sure, I suspect our kitty cat patrons would likely much rather be at home with their furrever cat families, climbing and munching on Christmas trees and pirating milk and cookies left out for Santa. And then throwing it all up by morning.

But it’s like Stephen Still sings: “If you can’t be with the one you love, Love the one you’re with!”

Merry Christmas from Club Cat!