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25th January 2019

Erdington couple Beki and Mike Thackwray had always dreamed of having a cat, but – because they live in an apartment with no outside space - didn’t think they could.

So when they saw an appeal on Facebook for indoor cat fosterers for the Cats Protection North Birmingham Branch, they jumped at the chance.

Beki (33), who works in child and adolescent mental health, said: “Coming home to our foster cats really is our dream voluntary role.

Volunteer Beki with foster cat Panda“We worried we might want to keep the cats, but we needn’t have.

“Instead, we love to socialise and have fun with the cats and kittens – and then see them go off to their forever homes with their adopters who’ll give them a happy home for life. It couldn’t be more rewarding.”

So far the cat-loving couple, who live in Perry Common, has fostered three pairs of kittens and several adult cats.

White-and-black Panda - who is FIV-positive* and 10 years old - was the last cat they fostered.

Happily, he’s already been adopted and moved to his permanent home.

Although Mike (35), a park ranger, initially thought Beki would be more involved than he would, it hasn’t turned out that way.

He said: “We’ve both completed online courses so we know how to care for the cats, and we’ve had lots of help and encouragement from Cats Protection.

“Sometimes Beki will greet the viewers and potential adopters. Then I’ll get the adoption paperwork completed and register the microchip so everyone can go home smiling and purring.

“We’re so glad to be involved with helping cats and kittens in need – we can have breaks whenever we want and it’s all at no cost to ourselves. We love it!”

Cats Protection fosterers accommodate cats and kittens in a variety of different ways, for example:

  • in a spare room
  • in part of the house
  • in purpose-built garden pens.

The cats can’t go outside or mix with other pets.

If you think you could foster for the Cats Protection North Birmingham Branch – or would like to help through one of their many other volunteer roles – please email


*Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a virus in cats that is similar to the human virus, HIV. However, FIV does not infect humans and HIV does not infect cats.

Whilst FIV is not a very infectious disease, it can spread to other cats.

FIV cats should only be homed to households with no other cats or with only other FIV-positive cats.

FIV cats must be kept indoors, unless an outdoor exercise pen is available.

For further information or an interview, please contact Cats Protection’s Media Office on 01825 741 911, at, or @CPMediaTeam on Twitter.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps over 200,000 cats each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres.
  2. Cats Protection’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.
  3. Cats Protection’s registered charity number is 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland). Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material.
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