Protectapuss: The Alsager man's business idea to keep curious cats safe
CAT lover Simon Davies has invented a garden barrier system designed to keep pets safe from harm.
His business, Protectapuss, has secured orders from homeowners across the country.
Now he is expecting the company to grow during 2013 with the summer tipped to be his busiest time.
He has taken on a part-time member of staff and hopes to build up two teams of workers to fulfil UK orders.
He said: "Things are taking off, we are getting inquiries all the time. This time of year is supposed to be quiet but we are still working on up to four jobs a week.
"We are reinvesting in the business and aim to expand into work on catteries and enclosures.
"We are also developing a new product, which we hope to launch next year, and we are on the look-out for a new base."
Simon, of Alsager, came up with his idea after his pet Lola was killed while exploring the outdoors.
After three years of design work, he launched Protectapuss to keep pets safe by limiting their territory to the house and garden.
He said: "My cats, Leo and Lola, were indoor cats for the first two years of their lives.
"However Lola, in particular, was desperate to get outside and would dive in between my legs when I opened the door.
"The whole family was devastated when, one spring day, our neighbour came round to tell us he had found her body.
"I became desperate to devise a solution that would prevent Leo from meeting the same fate. I designed a cat-proof fence barrier to allow Leo to experience the outdoors without suffering any of the associated risks.
"I quickly realised there were plenty of additional benefits to using a cat barrier around the periphery of the garden.
"Cats are less likely to catch birds or other wildlife, they will not annoy neighbours by digging up flower beds, and other cats are deterred from entering the garden because they cannot see an exit.
"In Stoke-on-Trent there seems to be a problem with cat poisonings. This is a great way to keep pets safe."
As well as the barriers, Protectapuss supplies pens and custom cat enclosures. The business works with the home and pet owners to provide a barrier system tailored to the dimensions of their gardens.
As well as barriers to stop cats climbing over fences, walls and hedges, Protectapuss can install ground level barriers and inspects every corner of the garden to ensure all escape routes are covered.
The cost depends on the size of the garden.
Simon, aged 29, a former design and technology teacher, added: "The initial cost is counterbalanced by the reduction in risk to the cats and therefore minimised vet bills. I am keen to provide this service to other animal lovers looking to maximise the safety of their cat.
"I am passionate about cats' welfare and I think I have developed a product with the potential to have a huge impact on indoor cats' quality of life and outdoor cats' expected longevity.
"I have done some very tricky jobs including, cat-proofing greenhouses, sheds and conservatories. A cat hasn't outwitted me yet."
Simon's wife Eve is supporting her husband in the business, as her family has a long history in the pet trade.
Her great-grandparents Harry and Daisy Hancock opened Hancock's Pet Centre in Broad Street, Hanley in 1952.
Now Hancock's, which moved to Burslem to make way for the Central Business District in Hanley, supplies the mesh for Protectapuss. Eve said: "The business has really taken off, it is testament to Simon's hard work really."
For more information, visit www.protectapuss.co.uk.