top of page


„Vitis“ – in the name of the cat

(How Pension VITIS got its name)
Smaller hotels and guest houses like Pension VITIS are usually named after their owner "Pension Miller," or to their neighborhood "Pension Mountain View" or similar. But how did we acquire the rather fancy name of "Pension VITIS"?

In 1995, the Gerstl family took a winter vacation trip to the southern region of the Czech Republic. With their son and daughter in tow, they visited several of the area's castles. On the return trip, they stopped in Nová Bystřice (Neubistritz), a town with 3355 inhabitants. Mind you, this was just a stop. While Mom was looking at a jewelry store window for a ring, the children discovered on the street a young cat licking a frozen puddle - it was five degrees Celsius below zero. "The kitty is cold and hungry," said a nice older Czech woman to the children who wanted to take the little creature by return mail as an animal immigrant. The children reasoned "In Austria it's warmer, maybe the kitten has more of a chance at survival!" The father's sensitive counter-arguments amounted to nothing. Very quickly, the cat got in with the family into the car. "At that moment I knew that we were never going to get rid of this animal" hangover. Karl Gerstl remembers today that time when his lamenting was literally only for the mind of a cat.

A little later, already in Austria, 15 kilometers after the border crossing at Gmünd-Neunagelberg they made a stop at a gas station. Besides the car, the cat was also supplied with food. The pump attendant cared for the cat just as he did for the car. Back home in Vienna, there was the question of what to name the cat. A spontaneous decision was made to name the cat after the town with the nice pump attendant: Vitis - a town in the Waldviertel, with 2575 inhabitants - how many cats live there, is unknown.

Soon enough, the cat Vitis settled in the Herbststraße 24. It now enjoys a high status in the family because of another important naming decision. When the time came to name the Gerstl's small hotel, the boss spontaneously exclaimed "Pension Vitis". Mother and children were excited, only evil tongues say that the father was attempting to butter up the rest of the family by naming the hotel after the beloved pet.



In the town of Vitis, there is one hotel which is named not "Vitis", but "Pichler". Nevertheless in order to keep our rights to the name for all time, Karl Gerstl decided to legally protect the name - no, no not the name for the sake of the cat but for the pension. And so since the end of 2008 under number 248,135 full name and logo of the "Pension Vitis" is subject to the Austrian Trademark Act. Cute! Or would you even say "catty"?

Paradoxical as it may seem. That winter holiday then to the Czech Republic was thus not "for the cat", as the Austrians say when they mean "for nothing" - even though it really was just that!


Our cat Vitis has reached an age of 19 years and 7 months.

bottom of page