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Pussy palace is the cat’s meow

September 14th, 2005, 11:35 AM
From today's Halifax Daily News (Sept 14)

Pussy palace is the cat’s meow

By Stephen Bornais
The Daily News

There is a new cat house in Dartmouth, but not that kind of cat house.
It is a huge new cage for Claire Fougere’s five cats and any strays she happens to bring home.

The Cole Harbour animal lover had contractor Rob Doucette build the three-metre-high structure in the back yard of her new Dartmouth home, giving her cats a safe place to play.

“This one is very, very nice,” she said yesterday.

The cat house is more than three metres long. There is an upstairs with a sliding floor to keep strays separated from her cats. There is even a glassed-in window box that allows her cats free access from the big house to their house.

Fougere thinks she is on to something big.

“All cat lovers, when they see this, will want one,” she said.

Her husband John shares Claire’s feline passion, supporting the decision to build the palatial pussy parlour.

“We had to have some place to put the cats,” he said.

The new house gives Fougere an area to keep strays she plans to rescue. But she will not wait for abandoned cats to come to her. She goes looking for them.

“I trap them, mostly behind apartments,” she said. “People just leave them.”

She tries to stay away from feral cats.

“We did get some, but it’s a lot of work to tame a cat,” she said.

All this love doesn’t come cheap. The cat house alone will run her more than $7,000, she says. In the last 15 years, she estimates she has rescued 400 cats.

“I love saving cats. I just love them,” she said.

“We work all the time and we put the money in this.”
Fougere’s love of animals got her into the news in August. Everyone remembers her as the lady who pushed her three-legged dog Minor around in a wheelbarrow after he became too ill to walk.

Sadly, Fougere had to have Minor put down two weeks ago.

“It was quite a summer with the dog, but we gave him a good life,” she said. “He was a lot of work, but we enjoyed every minute.”