When one door closes, another opens; and when a health condition forced Wendy Penfold to retire from her job, she knew animals would play a part in her future.
Wendy says: “I’ve always loved animals. Even when I was working I often thought of opening a cattery instead.”
Cocoberry, a cat who is having trouble finding a home because of his fur colour, is sitting on Wendy’s lap. He’s an affectionate soul whose owner could no longer afford to care for him. Having got to know this lad well, Wendy knows his ideal home would be one where he can explore the great outdoors.
Today, she is also caring for a group of cheeky kittens who despite appearances are quite the handful, and brother and sister duo Nelson and Peaches, who will be going off to their new home at the weekend.
Each of these cats and kittens are homeless, and without Rehoming Network Cat Rehomer Wendy, who knows what their fates would have been.
Army of carers
Our national rehoming network of volunteer rehomers looks after pets all over the country either inside their own home, or in purpose-built chalets, which are ideal for pusses who would struggle to cope in a large cattery at a busy rehoming centre. Thanks to them, in 2015 we were able to find homes for almost 1,000 more pets than we would have been able to through our centres alone.
Wendy’s health means it is difficult for her to leave her home, so offering cats a place to stay at her home seemed the ideal solution, and she now has a suite of three cat chalets in her garden.
Rehoming is not just about cuddling cats, as Sakura Anderson, Blue Cross Rehoming Network Manager, explains: “Caring for cats will take a massive amount of your time.
"You’re going to have people coming to your house to meet cats, you’ve got to do vet trips and record all the information, and more; it’s a minimum commitment of a few hours every day. Wendy is amazing!”
For Wendy, the low moments are vastly outweighed by the highs: “You do get attached and in some ways it’s like homing your own pets. I think the worst bit is after a cat has gone and you clean the empty pen, but you know they’ve gone to a good home. It is upsetting, but the upset is offset by the reward that I have helped the cat. And I love looking after them.”