Especially for 54-year-old Tracie from Exeter who was inspired to change her lifestyle and career when someone new came into her life, her cat Bella.
Having worked in banking and insurance for many years, Tracie began working from home as a mortgage adviser and decided to get a cat for company.
“I’d had cats in the past, but because I was frequently away from home for work, I wasn’t able to have one for some time,” said Tracie.
“Then, when I started working from home, I got Bella and we quickly struck up a close bond. She’ll follow me around the house and chirrup for attention, she just wants to be near me all the time.
Cats Protection conducted the research as part of its More Than Just a Cat campaign, which highlights the many ways cats enhance and enrich people’s lives. It showed that nearly two thirds of owners who regularly worked from home said their cat helps them by calming them down (63%), making them feel less lonely (56%) and doing something amusing like walking across the laptop (53%). Four out of ten said they even discuss work problems with their cat.
Tracie added: “She is such a fantastic companion, she inspired me to give something back and do more to help cats.”
“I contacted Cats Protection’s Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre about becoming a volunteer and before long I was helping out as a cat care assistant.
“I loved being able to give something back and it was a welcome distraction from my stressful job as a mortgage adviser.”
Soon a job for a volunteer team leader became available. Tracie successfully applied for it and, 18 months later, she says she doesn’t miss mortgage advising for a minute.
She said: “I can honestly say ‘I love my job’. We have a terrific group of volunteers who not only help look after our cats, but also help with fundraising.
“I look after 87 volunteers at Exeter Axhayes Adoption Centre and Taunton Homing and Information Centre and 11 of these are supported volunteers who come in with their carer. They help with cat socialisation and find this really helps with their mental wellbeing.”
Tracie says Bella was the impetus for her to start working with animals, which she otherwise wouldn’t have considered, and believes that it is thanks to Bella that things have worked out so well.
“Bella is more than just a cat. She’s the reason I found my perfect job.”
Tracie took part in a Skydive for Cats Protection on 14 September and is close to reaching her target of £800. Anyone wishing to donate should visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tracie-atkin1
To get involved with the More Than Just a Cat campaign, visit www.cats.org.uk/my-cat-is or Cat Protection’s social media pages (Cats Protection on Facebook and @CatsProtection on Twitter and Instagram) and use the hashtag #MoreThanJustACat.
To see cats in need of homes in your area visit www.cats.org.uk/find-a-cat
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For further information, photos or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office by emailing on 01825 741 911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
¹The survey of 2,000 cat owners was conducted for Cats Protection by 3 Gem Research and Insights during August 2019