Cats and canines sitting pretty thanks to East Lancashire furniture guru

Lancashire Telegraph: Kate May with her dog which is trying out one of the beds Kate May with her dog which is trying out one of the beds

Diane Cooke finds our cossetted cats and canines are sitting pretty thanks to furniture guru Kate May

WHEN one of our celebrities want a sleep haven for their pampered pooches and cossetted cats, they call on Kate May.

Whether it’s a Harris tweed cot bed or a deep-buttoned bespoke leather Chesterfield chair, Kate’s company Pink Whiskers at Bashall Barn, Clitheroe, will ensure that Rover and Mr Pickles get a heavenly night’s sleep.

Although confidentiality is guaranteed, singers, actors, lords and ladies have used Pink Whiskers’ luxury pet furniture service since it launched seven years ago.

In fact, she’s made pet beds for clients all over the world including as far afield as Japan, Australia and Florida. She’s even made them to match range cookers in the owners’ posh kitchens.

Kate, 50, from Waddington, hit upon the innovative business idea when her cat Daisy took a liking to the leather chair she made in the final year of her upholstery and furniture-making course at Burnley College.

“It’s a scaled-down version of a leather porter’s chair with a hood, the type that sits in hotel foyers, but Daisy loved it. She clearly felt all snuggly and secure in there and that’s when I got the idea for pet beds.

“I love animals and I’m a bit of a rescue freak — I have four lurchers, Daisy the cat, a mini dachshund and a horse, so I know what animals like.”

“People love their animals and want the best for them. I’m often asked to match fabrics and colour schemes with home decor.

“I’ve made furniture for all types of dogs, but the biggest was for a Great Dane in Scotland, which measured three metres long.”

And what’s more, she’s never come across a dog who didn’t love her beds. “Many people tell me that their dog has started sleeping on the bed, but they don’t know how to get it out of the habit. My beds do the trick. The dog feels really secure in there, and if the beds have legs and are raised off the ground, the animals prefer that and can’t resist them. And, of course, you can always match them to the bedroom decor.”

Kate began studying the three-year full time course at Burnley College in September 2003 after a number of years front of house in the hotel industry. On completion of the Advanced Level Furniture Production course, her tutors nominated her for the City & Guilds Medal of Excellence awarded to “learners whose dedication and talent enables them to produce work of an exceptional standard”, and she won.

Making pet furniture to Kate’s high standards is very time consuming and she completes around eight a month to a client’s particular specifications and materials.

Prices start at around £300 for a fabric bed through to £1,500 for a leather porter’s chair.

For further details, visit www.pinkwhiskers.co.uk.

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