Is it a dog’s life, or the cat’s pyjamas - in local pet ‘pensions’?

No-one enjoys leaving a pet in kennels, but it is, from time to time, necessary, so it’s worth doing a bit of research to find one in which you have confidence. Since May is busting out all over with long weekends, and summer holidays are looming on the horizon, now seems a good time to look at options available, and - with the help of AAGP members and their friends (thanks to you all) - we’ve come up with various places well worth investigating further. The best way to do that is to spot-check. Just turn up without warning, and ask to see the animals in their boxes or runs. Any good kennels will welcome your diligence, show you round, and answer all your questions: just as they will demand from you up-to-date vaccinations, including kennel cough.

Catering for cats (exclusively)

When it comes to the feline feelgood factor, we have uncovered two pretty top-cat places.

La Maison des Chats in Gardanne looks delightful – its 20 prettily painted huts each boasting pastel umbrellas for shade. Accommodation is comfortable and spacious, and was recommended in La Provence (4th March 2007) as the “Club Med des minous”. Takes parrots, rabbits and hamsters too.

But posher, no-expense-spared puss-cats with should head for the Chatterie du Vallon, near Auriol/La Destrousse where they can lounge around furnished rooms with access to outside space including personal Wendy houses, scratching posts, cushions and even a goldfish pond!

Prices in both these places depend on whether you are willing for them to share with up to 5 other cats, or be on their own. Although the idea of your cat sharing might, at first, worry you, all the catteries I’ve spoken to assure me that, though cats are territorial in their own area, when they arrive at a neutral territory - like a cattery - they all get on and stimulate each other through “passive playfulness”. (Probably 6 max, though).

Catering for K9s

If you live near Trets you are doggone spoiled for choice. On either side of the motorway, near the Karting, are 2 kennels used by AAGP members.

The Parfum des Lavandes is a boxer breeder who has a large kennels, with plenty of outside fenced-in parks for dogs to play in, who also offer walks for 3 extra euros a day. I’ve used this myself, and found it clean and perfectly functional – I’d only say that I find the owners a little less passionate about dogs (well, the visiting dogs, anyway) than most of the other kennel owners interviewed for this piece.

Not so at the Vallée du Vent, less than a kilometre further down the road. The Franzetti family are mad over animals – and though the outside of the place looks scruffy, the dog accommodation seems very comfortable, even carpeted… The Standard rooms have heating (as do, indeed, all the kennels recommended here), and the Luxe have double glazing and reversible heating-aircon, regulated at 20°C. Rooms are connected to runs of 20m?. They also take cats, putting them together in a luxe room. Check out their website.

Lots of people recommended ID’FIX in Lambesc. As well as boarding your dog, they will train him, too, since they also run an education centre (hence the name – a complicated French pun!) You can elect for a box with half a day’s access to garden space, or for all-day access (5€ more). There are play areas where they can mix, and they are walked in pairs each day – all this is accompanied by background music to soothe the canine soul! Cats are either individual, or 8 max in collective runs, with garden space.

In Les Milles, the Philippe Clement kennel also specialises in canine education: obedience, agility - or professional attack/search dogs, used by gendarmes and pompiers. It is impressively good value compared to the others, and I like the fact that prices don’t hike in high season, and cats are generally on their own.

In Vauvenargues the Chenil des Romarins is rated as particularly responsible amongst caring owners, and, because of this, needs booking well in advance. One AAGP member said that when her dog was ill whilst boarding there, after calling in the vet, they immediately rang her on her mobile to say it was all under control.

And, finally, a couple of Luberon members pointed me enthusiastically to certainly our most interesting find of all. Ann Le Moigne has run the Complexe Canin la Truffe Noire at Merindol, about 15 km west of Cadenet, for some 21 years. It is a kennels, cattery, and runs classes in agility, education and zoothérapie (which encourages interaction of animals with the elderly and the handicapped). Ann is described variously as “a bit brusque” “totally off the wall”, “dog crazy” and “more of a dog person than a people person”. It’s true that she was very cautious with me, until she sensed I shared her passion for animals, when she opened up her heart and soul. The place may not be the smartest, but there’s no doubt she loves and understands dogs. So much so, that she runs a France-wide rescue centre for Great Danes. Just last year she placed a whopping 314 dumped Great Danes with happy new owners. She’s having a Great Dane reunion 8-10 May, if you’re interested – all her grateful adopters plus adoptees are coming (with tents) to attend an assemblé générale – pooper-scoopers at the ready…!

Area Name Dog Tarif*
Cat Tarif*
Phone Email/Website
GARDANNE La Maison des Chats X 10-14 04 42 65 80 47
AURIOL Chatterie du Vallon X 13-25 04 42 18 40 46
LES MILLES Chenil Philippe Clement 12 7 04 42 24 98 56
VAUVENARGUES Chenil des Romarins 16 X 04 42 66 00 13
LAMBESC ID ’FIX 15-20 10-12 04 42 92 75 12 educateur-canin-
TRETS Le parfum des Lavandes 15-18 X 04 42 29 43 86
TRETS La Vallée du Vent 14-17 10 04 42 29 68 74
MERINDOL Complexe Canin 14.50-18.50 8.50 04 90 72 94 17
*Tarifs relate to medium sized dogs, bands reflect low-high season rates.
* For cats the bands relate to whether in collective or single accommodation, as well as low-high season rates.
+ Truffe Noire — dog prices depends on size of enclosure (choose12msq. or 60msq.). Cats only in collective enclosure.
Copyright © 2008 Anglo-American Group of Provence