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How to Buy a Cattery

Find out how, as more South Africans are becoming pet owners, the cattery sector is growing at a steady rate.

This is a great time to enter the market, however having a solid understanding of what to look for in a cattery business is very important before making an offer.

A buyer's profile

Owning a cattery is a lifestyle business, to be successful you need to have a genuine passion and interest in caring for animals. Looking after someone else's pet is a big responsibility, the cat's wellbeing must be a top priority to make your business successful.

You also need to have solid business skills to know how to maintain a profit; if your numeric expertise isn't up to par, make sure you have a good accountant to handle your bookkeeping and accounts.

You should also have basic knowledge in marketing and promoting the business, having excellent social skills is also vital as you will need to build up a great rapport with your customers, so they have the confidence in leaving you to look after their pet.

What to look for in a business

Before you make an offer, you should check the current fencing, pet accommodation and any equipment included in the sale are all in good condition. If you need to repair or replace any assets, then you can calculate the cost before making an offer.

Establish what type of reputation the cattery has within a 20-mile radius; if the business is successful and has a booming referral rate, then you can expect to pay more. Buying a business with great goodwill is best for first-time entrepreneurs.

If you're a seasoned entrepreneur with knowledge of the cattery industry, you may have the confidence to buy a failing business. 

Consider the time, money and energy it will take to rebrand; the business will need a complete image overhaul to disassociate yourself with the previous failing cattery. It may be a risky investment, but it could save you a lot of money on the asking price.

Due diligence

Ask to review the last three years of accounts to make sure the profit and turnover figures all add up. If you have an accountant or solicitor assisting you with the purchase, ask them to look over licenses and permits, and consider their opinion.

Research what other pet boarding businesses there are in the area and consider their nightly rates during peak and low seasons. What services are these catteries offering? Is there a USP that you can offer to set yourself apart from the competition? 

Consider the occupancy rate for catteries in the area and find out the demographics of the

community. Are there enough pet owners in the town to make sure your business thrives? Ask locals what they look for most when choosing a cattery.

The 2017 Competition Amendment Bill has also made it easier for black-owned businesses to enter the market and has created a more level-playing field for new entrants. Research to find out if you are eligible for a government business grant.

Is the business right for you?

You may be a cat lover, but there are a lot of other aspects that you need to consider before buying a cattery business. You will need to be prepared to work during weekends and holidays as this will be the busiest time of year for your business.

You should also expect to work unsocial hours. You will need to be up early for feeding and you will be busiest during holidays. Working close to your home means it can be difficult to separate work life and home life; you will always need to be available as you will be responsible for the cat's wellbeing. 

A love for cats will be a good basis for buying a cattery, but great entrepreneurial skills and being on call 24/7 is also a big part of the job too. Gain experience working at a cattery to know the realities before you take the plunge and buying a cattery.

Krystena Griffin

About the author

Krystena Griffin writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.