Orange has been given a big thumbs up from cat lovers as a feline-friendly place for people to visit and bring their cats.
Sydney-based cat-travel website Catexplorer has backed Orange venues as being cat-friendly after a road test of the region by its operators Hasara and Daniel Lay with their two cats Lumos and Noxie.
They have identified several places they say are friendly to people with cats visiting the region.
They include the Heifer Station and Orange Mountain wineries, Groundstone Cafe in Byng Street and the Hillside Harvest venue at Borenore.
Robertson Park has been included but Cook Park has been ruled out.
Ms Lay said the venues needed to be places where the cats felt safe and did not affect the wellbeing of other animals and people. She said they were concerned about the aviaries in Cook Park.
Usually most places which are dog-friendly are cat-friendly, but usually you need to check before you can go in.Hasara Lay, Catexplorer
"Even if they [the birds] are in cages they might smell the cats," she said.
Ms Lay said the travelling cats were kept on leashes and in harnesses and backpacks.
"There is a huge community of people who want to explore with their cats," she said.
"Orange is by far more cat-friendly, not just with cat-friendly businesses but also with cat-friendly and kind people, [than some other areas of NSW]," she said.
"We and others were blown away by how many people were interested in the concept of cat exploring and wanted to interact with our cats."
She said discovering cat-friendly venues was "trial and error" for cat lovers.
"Each cat explorer has their own criteria. Usually most places which are dog-friendly are cat-friendly, but usually you need to check before you can go in."
Ms Lay said it was beneficial for tourism businesses and towns to be cat-friendly as the cat lover community tended to be loyal customers.
She said cat lovers travelled well-prepared to ensure their pets were safe and relaxed.
"If you travel with your cat you bring along all your gear," she said.
Ms Lay said there was a trend for tourism operators to be more open to allowing animals.
"The pet-friendly industry has grown, and the cat-friendly industry has grown," she said.
Orange360 general manager Caddie Marshall said while some businesses in the region were pet-friendly she was unaware of any that were specifically cat-friendly.
"It shows we are only limited by our imagination," she said.
"I think it's great. If we can build a reputation and people feel welcome in our environment that's terrific.
"These people are loyal and they will come back."
Heifer Station Wines sales and operations manager James Thomas said they had a general pet-friendly policy that included cats and dogs.
"We're just pet-friendly. We don't discriminate against cats. We recognise that animals are part of the family," he said.
Mr Thomas said cats, and dogs, needed to be on a lead in the winery, particularly in their farmyard area.
SEND US PHOTOS OF YOUR CAT ON HOLIDAY
While many people will look for dog-friendly venues to take their pets with them on holidays cat people are also keen to bring their furry friends along for the trip.
Have you taken your pet cat on holidays? We're looking to find out how well-travelled cats can be.
Where are the best places you've taken your pet along with you that you would recommend for other cat lovers to also take their pets?
They obviously need to be safe places where your pet can feel relaxed and not stressed by any threats from other animals or other concerns.
Send us your photos of your cat on holiday in Orange, the Central West or wherever you have taken them with you.
Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the photos attached and your details.
You can also go to the Central Western Daily's Facebook site @centralwesterndaily and message us with your images.
We'll be putting together a gallery of the holiday antics of people with their cats in and around Orange and elsewhere to show off your cats on vacation.
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