The fire station that was formerly on the property has been demolished. Today, builders are hard at work constructing a new rehoming centre that will double the current building’s 24 cat suites, allowing the service to shelter up to 500 cats per year.
Chip on their shoulder
“It's so exciting as we've been waiting for this new building for a long time,” centre manager Suzan Kennedy told The Leader. “Every day I drive past and can see it getting bigger and bigger. We are hoping the building will be completed by the end of the summer and, fingers crossed and all being well, we will be in there before Christmas.”
The centre is part of the charity CATS Protection, which was previously known as the somewhat creepy-sounding Cats Protection League. The league has 36 such centres across the UK, plus 250 volunteer-run branches. They care for around 200,000 cats each year.
In addition to rehoming the cats, the charity promotes microchipping the creatures since they are otherwise difficult to reconnect with their owners if they go astray. Neutering can also help keep the cat population in check.
The £2.1m price-tag may seem like a lot for a building dedicated to a perpetually ungrateful species, but Kennedy finds the work fulfilling.
“The [previous] building was beginning to need more and more repairs and from a cost basis there is only so much you can do with the facilities you've got,” she continues. “When we looked at it, it was decided we should look at a bigger site with the ability to have more pens and house more cats.
“I just adore cats and I adore every single one which comes into our care here… I love interacting and playing with them and I love the fact a cat can be something as simple as a companion.”