The day after a guest posted a video to Tik Tok of Kim Dolan’s cat-themed Airbnb in Clyde, her reservations started to blow up.
“I woke up to 15 reservations and was so confused,” she said. “I called some of my friends with rentals in the area and they weren’t seeing the same thing. That is when Jamie [a recent guest] called to tell me that a video she posted went viral overnight.”
The Tik Tok video showcased Dolan’s unique one-bedroom, one-bath Airbnb rental tucked away in Haywood County. What is so unique about it? It is on the property of Love and Purrs Sanctuary, a 501-C3 nonprofit cat sanctuary.
After wiping your feet on the cat rug, you walk through a pink door to be greeted by all things feline. From the art on the wall, the comforter on the bed, all the way to the outlet covers — everything is colorfully decorated with cats.
But it isn’t just the decor of the Airbnb that captured the hearts of travelers, it’s the roommates you get during your stay. A small door in the corner of the room connects a fully operational cat sanctuary that serves as the home for dozens of rescue felines. Once you check in and get settled into your room, you can unlock the cat door and it isn’t long before furry visitors arrive, anxiously awaiting treats.
Love and Purrs Sanctuary is a unique no-cage, no-kill, lifetime sanctuary where cats and kittens live with human caretakers 24/7 in a home environment until adopted.
Outside the Airbnb is a fenced-in yard with a fire pit and picnic area and free-roam cats everywhere you turn. According to Dolan, this year has been especially difficult as she has seen an uptick in the number of cats needing to be rescued and finding solace at the sanctuary.
Just before feeding time on Sunday, about a dozen fur friends greeted me at the gate ready for pets. We sat in the grass and watched as the cats pounced around, stopping ever so often for cuddles and head scratches before trolling the yard for adventure.
Dolan said the Airbnb is an essential part of the sanctuary’s operations as it accounts for about 70 percent of the operating budget that allows it to serve the community. The Airbnb has been in operation since 2017 and Dolan solidified the nonprofit status for the sanctuary in 2019.
On a coffee table inside the Airbnb is a notebook with pictures and stories of all the sanctuary’s feline residents, including information on how some of them can be adopted. Not all the residents of Love and Purrs are adoptable, however, like Stevie, who is completely blind. Several resident cats are great visitors, but depending on their special needs or individual stories, may not be suitable as a pet outside of the sanctuary environment.
Love and Purrs Sanctuary won the 2021 Best Nonprofit Organization in the annual “Best of Asheville” contest and are hopeful to win again in 20222.
“Best of Asheville voting is now open,” said Dolan. “You can vote every day and you can vote on multiple devices.”
Dolan said the Airbnb is booked through the end of the year, in large part due to the Tik Tok video and she expects additional bookings to begin rolling in now that Best of Asheville 2022 is open.
To vote for Love and Purrs, visit https://www.votebestofavl.com