Way opens for cat flaps

Queen's Awards

Brian Kerr, managing director of a company which claims the last word in cat flaps, has a particular soft spot for the animal-loving Dutch, who stock its products on the shelves of their supermarkets. But it is the rich Swiss who have rushed to buy the pinnacle of the Reilor range: the Staywell 31, a unique programmable cat flap which runs on mains or battery.

"It can cost up to pounds 180 over there because of the margins, although it sells for pounds 70 here," says Mr Kerr, a former Berger paints man who is now Reilor's managing director.

It was a British voice, however, that inquired about whether there could be a lethal effect on a cat if the Staywell 31 were incorrectly wired to the mains. "He wanted to do know whether, if he wired it up wrongly, it could damage a cat that kept coming in," Mr Kerr said. "I told him we couldn't have anything to do with that."

The Staywell 31 is one of 20 different Staywell cat flaps, from plain grey opaque to the most popular, see-though, four-way-lock. Along with dog flaps - much more popular in the United States than Britain - they enable Reilor to turn over an annual pounds 5.8 million, 46 per cent from exports.

The biggest market is the Netherlands, which fits into Mr Kerr's thumbnail definition of a country which favours animal aids. "You can draw two bands round the globe, defining the temperate regions. If it's too cold or too hot they don't want to know.

"Japan is a strange market. The law is that you cannot allow cats to have free roam within the public domain. They tend to have patios or verandah balconies and the cat flaps allow access to the fenced-off area."

Reilor has existed since 1937, beginning in stainless steel door handles and springs. It moved into cat and dog flaps after a director visited the United States more than 20 years ago but discovered fast that stainless steel, Mr Kerr remarked, tended to slam down on tails.

Having adopted various plastic compounds, it now dominates the British market (80 per cent). It took a decision to export during the recession, taking on multi-linguists and adapting its packaging. This is Reilor's first Queen's Award for Export, marking its efforts in gaining sales in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us