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Kaua‘i Business Marketplace Whiskers Resort, a True Pet Hotel and Spa Biz of the Month
By Léo Azambuja
Massages, slumber parties, day care, guided hikes, movies, grooming and a nice, comfortable bed are all on the menu of this picturesque, hidden resort in the Puhi area. But humans don’t get to experience any of these services; they’re only for cats and dogs.
Operating on a lush, 18-acre rural property, Whiskers Resorts is the island’s premier boarding, grooming, day care and training facility for cats and dogs, with a variety of special services. But calling it a facility doesn’t do justice to this place. It really is a resort – with many spa services – for animals.
“I have looked at them after a long day of work, and I said, ‘I wish I was boarding here,’” said Moksha McClure, owner and founder of Whiskers Resort. “Some of the animals really have it made.”
Whiskers Resort has separate large and small dog camps. Each camp, a large covered area, has access to a yard and a large field beyond it.
At camp, dogs can watch videos – usually a baby-animal or pet-themed movie – made especially for them.
“They really make DVDs for dogs,” Moksha said. “Some will just really sit there and watch the TV, just like I did when I was a kid.”
Non-social dogs that for some reason aren’t being combined with other dogs have separate yards that they can Kaua‘i Business Marketplace Whiskers Resort, a True Pet Hotel and Spa Biz of the Month By Léo Azambuja go three times a day.
Cats have their day too. A large cattery area provides plenty of comfort for them. A six-foottall scratching post and a window with a birdfeeder view keeps them happily purring.
Dog services include hikes and walks, solo or in groups; and fetch sessions. They can get some doggie chewies and popsicles (away from other dogs), training sessions and even a slumber party, where the dog gets to spend the night with the resort’s overnight caretaker. And there’s also doggie day care.
“Doggy day care is where you drop your dog for the day, and they get to play all day with their friends,” Moksha said. Services available for both cats and dogs include “extra, extra lovin,” when they get special one-on-one extra love and pets for 15 minutes; and mini massages and mini brushings. And just like dogs, cats can get grooming too.
“For pawvious reasons, not that many places want to do grooming on cats,” Moksha said.
Some of these special services can be combined in packages, and some the resort’s clients “really indulge” their animals, she said. An animal lover her whole life, Moksha has been a vegetarian since she was 8 years old. She opened Whiskers Resort in 2000, while living in Wainiha, Kaua‘i’s North Shore. There were a lot of feral cats near her home, so she built a small kitty cottage to board female cats after they were spayed. She would board them, and released them after they healed.
“At some point, I spayed and neutered 35 cats out there, and we ran out of cats. So one thing led to another and all of a sudden I had a boarding facility; people were asking me to keep their dogs,” Moksha said.
Between 2004 and 2006, Whiskers relocated to its current property in the Puhi area, and has been operating there ever since. The original Wainiha kitty cottage is still standing at the Puhi location.
Whiskers operates 365 days a year, with about six days when they are closed for pick ups and drop offs, but they still care for the animals. There is always a caretaker in the facility, even overnight.
In an effort to be a socially responsible business with the smallest possible footprint, Whiskers gets its power from solar and biodiesel sources. Many of their buildings are retired shipping containers that have been refurbished. Out-of-service school buses are used as storage space.
Whiskers uses the least toxic products, including a wintergreen/rosemary oil-based product for pest control in the kitty suites. Every aspect of the business was thought through, from naturally preserved byproduct-free pet foods, organic catnip and locally made vegetarian pet treats to their tranquil, breezy rural setting.
“We have a small and dedicated team that cares for the animals, and of course they’re all animal lovers. That’s the one common theme,” said Moksha, adding Whiskers’ manager is Terri Mayne, who has years of experience in the pet industry.
To get to Whiskers Resort, turn onto Puhi Road, directly across Kaua‘i Community College. Follow the road until it ends, then turn right onto Hulemalu Road and drive for half mile. Cross a one-lane bridge, go up a little hill and turn left onto Haiku Road. Whiskers is on the corner of Haiku and Hulemalu roads.
Call 241-PETS (7387) or visit www.whiskersresort.com for more information.