Potato Chip Cats: The Whiskers Inn

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Whiskers Inn

The Whiskers Inn is a feline oasis in a desert of American canine preference. It is a sanctuary just for cats, free of smelly, barking dogs (even though I like dogs, I swear), and instead full of light music and sunshine. A quiet log cabin nestled in the woods of Old Saybrook, the Whiskers Inn has been providing rest and relaxation for cats, and peace of mind for cat owners, for over 20 years. I know this sounds like an ad, and just a bit of it maayyy have been paraphrased from the brochure, but it seemed the best way to introduce it.

         The Inn is owned by a wonderful woman, who is (unfortunately or fortunately, depending how you look at it) a bit of a bleeding heart for cats, and has upwards of 20 of her own. She can rarely, if ever, turn away a homeless cat, and on the ideally rare occasion an owner fails to return from "vacation," chances are very slim that Kitty will be schlepped off to the nearest animal shelter anytime soon. Obviously she means well, but one must come into her house prepared for the onslaught of felinity. "The pigs," those that compose the main herd, are always ready and waiting for treats and leftover food from the inn, as if they don't have their own food available 24 hours a day. Even though food from departing guests is no different in brand, and slightly used, it's delicious because it belonged to someone else and therefore must be better. It's a cat mentality in the same vein of the forbidden room phenomenon: cats are convinced that whatever is behind a closed door must be the most fantastic room in the house, and it is their undying quest to gain entry.

         Inside the Inn, the cat-friendly statistics are impressive- the shelves are lined with 25 flavors of dry food, and 20 flavors of canned. 35 single and 5 double cages, which we affectionately refer to as "condos", are stacked in threes in a spacious sunroom, an extension to the cabin built years ago. Painted white and baby pink, the condos complement the walls and molding. Somewhere between 20 and 800* cat beds litter the tops of the condos, and kitties exercise on all sorts of climbers. Baskets of goodies abound, full of 12,000* toys, 92% of them marinated in organic catnip. The walls are bordered with an adorable wallpaper pattern of a medley of cats and kittens, the icing on the Whiskers Inn cake.

       Polls suggest that American dog owners treat their canines more like human members of the family than cat owners do, but the treatment I've observed here disagrees with this theory entirely. I think this may be due in part to the nature of a cat versus a dog. A dog accepts his owner as master indiscriminately-- a cat wants to see a resume. If it doesn't approve, your cat doesn't want you to validate its self esteem. It has enough of that. Cats think they are all that and a bag of potato chips from birth; dogs need human reassurance. If it wants preferential treatment, your cat will train YOU to give it every morsel of attention it could ever want. After all, who's endlessly scooping poop or having fits of excitement when Miss Prissy Kitty chooses your lap to sit on?

*Some statistics may have been exaggerated. But not by a lot.

**This is a real place! If you live in southern New England, find more here!



  1. This is fantastic.The cat in the picture is cute.
    I hope the inn does good for you.

  2. Love the blog up above. I'm a HUGE cat lover. I told my husband about how you came to have the name of your blog. He rolled his eyes....as he knows I'd have more cats than I already have! (we have 4 cats) PS He told me that I can't eat potato chips anymore. lol


Thanks for your input!