By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
Stray cats are a common sight at Caribbean hotels, lazing on sun-dappled lawns and sidling up to diners in al fresco restaurants to beg for table scraps.
But at most resorts the feral felines are either ignored or grudgingly tolerated, forced to rely on their hunting skills and the kindness of animal-friendly guests to eke out an existence.
At Sandos Playacar in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, however, hotel cats aren’t just tolerated. Instead, they’re welcomed and accommodated in their own section of the resort called (what else?) Cat Land.
The cat sanctuary debuted last month with designated sleeping shelters, feeding stations and an outdoor playground for the roughly 20 cats who make the hotel their home. It’s just the latest animal care effort by management at the all-inclusive resort, which, since 2009, has employed two veterinarians to attend to the hotel’s wildlife (which includes macaws and a pair of rescued donkeys) and to spay and neuter the cat population.
“They’re here so we feel its our duty to take care of them,” says Heidi Verschaeve, the resort’s director of business development.
And even though it’s been open less than a month Cat Land has already become a hit with guests little and large, who stop by throughout the day to pet the cats and snap photos.
It appears that Cat Land is a win for all parties: the cats are content; guest comfort is enchanced; and the resort has turned a potential problem into a positive.
So will we see cat sanctuaries at other Caribbean resorts? Only time will tell. But we think it’s a meow-vellous idea.