By Sally Dean
Whitecroft Cattery was established in 1961 by my parents, Paul and Nancy Collyer. They bought the land, which was just a field, and built the house and the cattery from scratch. I was five at the time, and we lived in a caravan on the building site during the construction!
Over the years they also lovingly landscaped the grounds with lawns, trees, shrubs and flowers to create a peaceful and picturesque garden.
I was involved in the cattery from the beginning, even at such a young age, helping out at weekends and evenings after school. When I left school, I became a student nurse, and continued to work at the cattery in my spare time.
When I was 16, I met Graham who was 17 (childhood sweethearts!), and he also became involved in the cattery in his spare time. We married three years later.
We both continued to work full time and helped out at the cattery in our spare time, and especially enjoyed being able to stay there and be left in charge when Mum and Dad went on holiday!
When I started my own family, I left the hospital to be a full-time mum and to work part-time at the cattery. It was convenient to be able to take my three girls with me, so that I could juggle work and parenting!
In 1999, Mum and Dad decided to retire, and sold the cattery to Elaine Wearing. Being a young family, we couldn’t afford to buy it at that time, and I returned to nursing.
In 2015, I left the NHS and set up my own cat-sitting business. One day, I had a surprise phone call from Elaine asking me if I would like to work some hours at the cattery to cover sick leave for one of her staff. The person didn’t return, and I stayed on.
And a year later, it was even more of a surprise when she decided to retire and sell the cattery! This time we were in a position to buy it, and we had no hesitation to seize the opportunity to return to our passion, as well as to come back home! We took over in August 2017 and it really is a special place to us.
Our mission is to give our guests the best possible care and attention to ensure their health, safety, comfort and enjoyment during their stay with us. As well as the usual cleaning and feeding routines, we carry out regular walk-rounds from when we get up until we go to bed to check on each cat individually and make sure that all is well with them. In addition to my extensive experience of looking after cats, my nursing experience comes in handy to be able to administer any prescribed medication, and also to check such things as whether the cat is eating properly, using its litter box, has any hygiene issues, and if there are any changes to its appearance or behaviour that might indicate an illness or something wrong. If required, appropriate action is then taken to ensure that we improve the cat’s comfort and well-being.
Graham and I both have more than 40 years’ experience of cat welfare and cattery management. We are passionate about our vocation, and we really do care that while we are entrusted with your cat, it will receive the best possible care and attention.