In for a treat

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Lenora Macedo and Nixon Dsouza are looking to change the way animals are cared for through their venture Sir Lancelot’s Kitchen. NT BUZZ fetches you the details

ANNA FERNANDES | NT BUZZ

Pets are part of the family. And to treat them like so and keep them healthy, many pet parents today are looking for ways to provide them with the best care. Well, the search just got a lot easier.

Led by Lenora Macedo from Thivim and Nixon Dsouza from Mapusa who have made it their mission to introduce a change in the way pets are cared for, Sir Lancelot’s Kitchen offers a selection of all-natural and high-quality goodies to help you pamper your pets.

The idea to start this venture, named after Lenora’s pet cat Sir Lancelot, came about in July last year. In fact, the entire business revolves around Sir Lancelot who, during the lockdown, last year, had to be brought down to Goa from Bengaluru where the couple was residing. “In Goa, we found there were no healthy treats available in stores and hence we decided to bake them for him ourselves,” they say.

But creating treats that were both healthy and nutritious for a pet would be no easy feat, they learned. “We experimented a lot! We then handed out free samples to our friends for their pets, got feedback and started tweaking the recipe accordingly.” And soon after consulting with veterinarians and nutritionists, the pair zeroed in on a recipe that animals seemed to love.

And what started with a single product to provide their pet with healthy food blossomed into a full-fledged brand specialising in organic pet treats that have been approved by veterinarians and nutritionists. These treats, available in eight different flavours, namely, chicken, liver, pumpkin, beetroot, zesty chicken, spinach, sweet potato and carrot, contain 100 per cent pet-safe and human-grade ingredients and zero additives, preservatives or artificial colourants.

In Goa, the concept of organic and natural pet products and items is relatively new, and at the start, the duo had a tough time getting this idea across to consumers and encouraging them to choose a healthier option for their pets. “Imagine eating tin processed food your entire life. It’s not something you would do, and neither should your pets. Our aim is to provide pets with healthier and nutritious options – something that is homemade with love,” they say.

Lenora has a master’s degree in sociology and Nixon has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and they both share a love for animals. So being in the business of pets is hugely exciting for them. “We currently have six dogs and two cats. We also occasionally foster puppies. Wherever we go, we always have a couple of treats packed up for the critters we find on our way,” says Lenora, adding that having pet parents as customers and being able to chat with people about their pets is a dream come true.

But as young entrepreneurs with a new idea, there will be a lot of people who don’t believe in you and who feel that you are just wasting your time since you’re not earning a salary, notes Nixon. “The biggest lesson, we have learned, is not to be bothered by this because you have a vision that nobody else sees. And once it pays off, people will see for themselves,” he says emphasising that every day is a new learning experience.

Sir Lancelot’s Kitchen has since branched out into offering freshly-baked cupcakes and cakes using safe ingredients for dogs and cats. In addition, their ever-evolving catalogue now offers quality pet accessories as well such as bows, collars, nail clippers, lint rollers, bandanas, ties and toys like rope toys, chew toys, plush toys, and more.

Treats by Sir Lancelot’s Kitchen are natural, healthy and palatable. The brand is still experimenting with cat food to zero in on treats that are liked by all cats. “This will be very exciting as we all know how picky cats are,” says Nixon.

During the festive season of Diwali and Christmas, Sir Lancelot’s Kitchen also offered reasonably-priced hampers specially curated for pets which were a big hit. Lenora and Nixon have also participated in several pop-ups to promote their brand. And today, they can proudly say that Sir Lancelot’s Kitchen is a recognised name in most pet households of Goa. “It’s heart-warming to even think about it. Our customers have been so encouraging. The constructive feedback has really helped in boosting our morale and kept us going to keep improving and innovating,” say the young entrepreneurs who sell through wholesalers, pet retailers and vet clinics. The brand also offers in-person delivery of its products across Goa.

With a vision to improve the lives of not just pets but all animals, they have also started working closely with animal shelters and pet adoption agencies to help foster puppies and kittens and help find them forever homes. Looking ahead, they have lofty plans in store for their brand. The pair is also working on launching a bevvy of new products and items. “Valentine’s Day is going to be ‘paw-fect’. Stay tuned,” they hint briefly, without disclosing anything else.