I often get asked ‘Where’s Mimi?!’ when I’m off galavanting around the world. One of the main reasons for this of course is because Mimi has a cult following, but people are also obviously curious about the logistics of how I’m able to travel with an animal.
Since until fairly recently I was in a couple, I found it much easier to travel – for example, to London for work – but since being single I’ve been on the look-out for a solution.
My first thoughts were to have people come cat-sit occasionally, and Jay was kind enough to look after Meems for a couple of days in December when I went to New York, and the shift was taken over by my friend Rebecca for the remaining final days. This worked well, since Mimi was able to stay in her environment with the food and basic routine that she’s used to, but ultimately, it just couldn’t have been a long-term solution when I travel so often.
So, when I was on the search for options that didn’t depend on the wavering generosity of my ex-boyfriend (as was plan A), I asked around some fellow expats and was recommended Aristide cat hotel ‘for urban cats’.
With a glowing personal recommendation and some seriously impressive online reviews, Aristide boasts not only a stunning building with surprisingly large individual rooms for cats, they are also pretty much slap bang in the centre. In an epicentre for bus routes and just a stone’s throw from Grand Boulevards/Bonne Nouvelle on the lines 8 and 9 and Cadet/Poissonnière on the line 7, Aristide is well-serviced from many parts of Paris.
The sign-up involved submitting quite a bit of paperwork, but it’s good to know that all the cats are vaccinated, neutered and have been pre-screened for nasty diseases. I was able to book in advance quite a few trips that I already have booked over the year, other than a few pesky dates in high season, whereby I’ll have to resort to plan A.
Security is high and the cats have 24 hour care at Aristide, with your choice of different foods (they even had Mimi’s regular Royal Canin dry food as an option which was awesome!), they even send photo updates every couple of days.
While putting your cat into one of these places for the first time is of course a little nerve-wracking (you never really know how they’ll react until they’re in there!), they really helped put me at ease, allowed me to bring Meems’s cat bed and some of her favourite toys, and have even featured her on their Instagram story. Which was super adorable, even if I do say so myself.
Monacle-clad and seemingly in good hands, I’m super happy to have found a solution that means I can still travel sometimes and know that Mimi has a place to stay – and can even enjoy her very own ‘sejour’ in the process.
What do you do with your animals when you travel? I’d love to hear your experiences and solutions in the comments below.