The Business of Boarding Animals in Your Home in the City of Manitowoc, Wisconsin

I hadn’t thought much about the business of boarding animals in residential homes, let alone my own. I always thought that I would just pet sit outside of my home, but then some things changed.

We hired Mason Marquardt to do private boarding of dogs in his country home located outside of Maribel, WI. I hired Mason because I believe that offering a place where only the dogs belonging to a single family will be kept at a time is a critical factor when it comes to people deciding where to board their dogs. It took me a long time to find someone who was right for the position I wanted to fill. I wanted someone who loved dogs and had a lot of experience with them, but who did not have any of his or her own pets. It was difficult to find the right person, but, thankfully, not impossible. I am so thankful for Mason and the services he is offering to my clients!

Even before we established a place where our clients could board their dogs in an exclusive setting, I started to think about all the people who call me and want a place to board their cats. For reasons that may be due to the current state of affairs in our society, some people just aren’t comfortable with a professional pet sitter entering their homes to tend to their pets, plants or anything else…and there isn’t anyone or anything that will convince them to do so.

Even though I thought about this for a long time, I didn’t have time to take action. The first year of any business is hectic after all and I’ve been busy meeting new clients and learning new things to improve the care I provide to animals whose owners are unable to tend to them themselves.

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Ollie and I. He’s one of the cats I currently pet sit for.

Still, I wanted to do something to create a safe place for my clients’ cats to stay. That’s when I asked myself, “Why can’t I help out by at least offering a different, more personal setting in which cats can be boarded?” Let’s face it. The boarding options in our community pretty much all involve our pets staying in cages. So, I thought, “What if I could offer something better for cats?”

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My own two cats, Hope and Amara

You see, my love for cats as grown deeply over the years, especially the past three. It started with a feral cat I named, Green Eyes, back in 2011. My affection for Green Eyes inspired me to start fostering cats for the Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue of Wisconsin. As a result of my experience with that non-profit, my knowledge base regarding cats grew at an exponential rate. I now have a deep love for these creatures that rivals my love of dogs.

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Yep I dream big! Yet another idea of what we want to do in the cat room : )

So, I’m now in the process of learning what it will take for me to be able to board cats in my own home. I took a trip down to Manitowoc City Hall recently and ended up speaking to the city building inspector. It turns out that any occupation based out of a given home needs to be approved by the building inspector.

I got the form I was told I needed to complete and started looking at the questions on it. There were two questions that the building inspector said might be an issue for me. The first involved space. A home occupation within the city of Manitowoc can only occupy up to 25% of the total floor space on the first floor of the home. Well, that isn’t a problem for me as I plan to renovate a 9 x 10 foot room in my house that represents considerably less than 25% of the total floor space of the first floor of our home.

If I were going to board dogs, this spatial constraint could have been an issue since they would be roaming throughout my house. Since my goal is to only board cats in a single room, my plan won’t be affected by the 25 percent rule.

The second question involved noise. This question is designed to prevent anyone from opening a home-based business that would deprive the residents around a given home of their right to peace and quiet in any way, shape or form. Once again, since I’m going to board cats and not dogs, my neighbors will not be disturbed by my boarding activities.

Today, I’m heading down to the building inspector’s office to turn in my application and see if I’m approved. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve got the ball rolling.

This is a project that will take time, thought and money to pull off, but I’m cautiously optimistic that I will be able to care for my clients’ cats in my own home in the future as I continue to grow my pet sitting business.
I’ll check back in with you soon to keep you updated about my progress. Wish me luck!