In late 2014 a unique hotel opened its doors in the Kafr el-Sheikh governorate.

In late 2014 a unique hotel opened its doors in the Kafr el-Sheikh governorate. Designed to shelter cats and dogs while their owners are away, the hotel is considered the first of its kind in Egypt’s Middle Delta region.

Some locals cheered the new service, saying it would ease the recent surge in stray animals but others said there were more important issues to contend with.

Introduced by vets at the Directorate of Veterinary Medicine, the hotel was created to look after pets while their owners are away.

Ismat Nabil, a citizen of the governorate and cat breeder, said the hotel is a great idea which should be developed and copied elsewhere since it offers a service which has long been lacking.

“We used to worry before traveling about where should we leave our pets and who would take care of them,” she explained, adding that the hotel’s prices are suitable for accommodation and the provided meals are good, but the hotel should be expanded and should provide luxurious rooms for expensive dogs and cats.

Mohammed Fathi, a veterinarian in Kafr El-Sheikh, said he expected the hotel to thrive. The number of citizens who own cats and dogs in the governorate, he added, is increasing and, therefore, such a service is necessary.

Shampoo baths, playgrounds

Fathi explained that the price for accommodating a dog or cat is EGP 8 per day with food including meat in addition to EGP 6 for medical treatment. The hotel also offers a playground for dogs and cats, shampooing baths and a central room for cats’ delivery and postpartum care for a mother cat and her kittens.

The number of pet owners in Egypt has significantly increased since the January 25 and June 30 revolutions and the subsequent chaos. Many people bought guard dogs to accompany them while walking amid the rising insecurity.

Many on farms, meanwhile, continue to buy breeding cats to hunt mice and other harmful rodents.

But sharp criticism was directed towards the General Authority for Veterinary Medicine by some citizens, who said that the hotel focuses on domestic animals while neglecting the serious issue of livestock diseases, including aphthous fever and scleroderma which kill animals.

Livestock at risk

The hotel embodies the gap between the citizens who breed cattle in the governorate and the Veterinary Medicine in the region,” Basma Yousef, a civil activist at the governorate, said. “Veterinarians take care of dogs and cats while neglecting the cattle which face death for not being vaccinated on a regular basis or checked for infectious diseases in general.”

She added that most pet owners are poor and keep their pets solely to hunt mice and rats – and therefore wouldn’t use the new service.

She didn’t expect the hotel to make a profit, calling it a glaring waste of public money. It would be better to close down the hotel, she said, instead recommending the building as a veterinary clinic for cattle which could also perform regular checkups for cats and dogs.