She had a promising career as a mortgage adviser and had even been offered a new role that came with a huge pay rise. But Tracie Atkin from Dawlish in Devon turned it all down for her love of cats.
Tracie, 54, was working as a mortgage adviser earning around £24,000 a year when she was offered a new role by a complaints management firm that would have seen her salary swell to £35,000. But the offer of a great pay rise wasn’t enough for Tracie. She “wanted to do something that mattered,” she told the Daily Mail.
Bella the Bengal
Tracie had worked in the financial services industry for 35 years, but while her job kept her busy, she wanted to find something new to do in her spare time. Bella, a Bengal cat who Tracie had adopted to help her cope with work-related stress, inspired her to start volunteering for the charity Cats Protection in 2017.
Cats Protection began in 1927 and has 36 centres and 250 volunteer-run branches across the UK. The charity looks after thousands of cats and kittens at any one time and rehomed and reunited a staggering 44,000 cats and kittens last year. The charity also helps to neuter around 150,000 felines each year.
But just a few months after Tracie had started volunteering, a role came up at the charity for a Volunteer Team Leader. Just as this job popped up, Tracie also received a job offer from a complaints management company who offered her a much higher salary than what she had been earning.
It didn’t take Tracie long to make up her mind.
Despite taking a £ 20,000 pay cut, Tracie chose cats.
“I'm so lucky!”, she said. “I found a job that I actually really enjoy!”
Since Tracie took up her new role with the cat charity she hasn’t looked back. “Money isn’t everything,” she says. But she does admit that she has a lot of savings in the bank and no mortgage or debts, which has given her the chance to make such a dramatic career change.
Brave Tracie has even skydived for the feline charity.
Doesn’t miss out
Despite the pay cut, being careful with her money has meant Tracie can still enjoy the luxuries she enjoys such as holidays abroad and trips out with friends.
Tracie said: “I am in a position where I can afford a salary cut and to do something that I really enjoy. Money isn't the be-all and end-all.
“My partner helps me out a bit on bills and foods, and then if we go out, but not on the really big things. I can still afford to go out with friends and have meals out. I usually go on holiday two or three times a year. I am completely financially independent.”
Tracie’s job with Cats Protection sees her manage 80 volunteers each day and oversees the running of the charity’s main adoption centre in Exeter, along with centres in Taunton and Somerset. Tracie does everything from cleaning out litter trays to training volunteers and best of all, socialising kittens.
As if being surrounded by felines all day isn’t enough to make any cat lover envious, Tracie has the tough task of cuddling and playing with kittens while she works.
“Any kitten born in our care at four weeks, we start to help them to get used to people through noises and handling them”, she said.
“I had some in my lap while I worked yesterday!”
We think Tracie sounds like the cat that got the cream!
More than just a cat
Cats Protection strives to educate pet owners on cat welfare and has launched its #morethanjustacat campaign to encourage cat owners to think about what their pet means to them. Using the hashtag, cat owners can share what their cat or cats mean to them and their fluffy companion may even appear in the charity’s photo gallery. There’s even a quiz where you can find out just how much of a cat person you really are!