Interview with Mrs Jennifer Ridley, Cattery Manager

“Inside the Boote Home” is our interview section, which has been created to share with all our supporters the stories of those who keep the Boote Home working through the years. In our first issue we have interviewed Mrs Jennifer Ridley, Cattery Manager, who has been working at the Boote Home for many years now and has devoted her life to cats in need. We hope you enjoy reading it!

– What is your first memory of your love for cats?

I became aware of cats as part of our family from a very young age. As a teenager, I was very fond of my pet cat Tibby, a beautiful long-haired white & tabby female.

– How long have you been involved with the Boote Home for Cats?

My family first became involved with the Boote Home 50 years ago; we always boarded our cats for annual holidays and my mother used to take stray cats to the Home and then volunteered here to care for them. The manager’s position became vacant and my mother was offered the post which led to the family moving into Boote Home – it was quite different from a domestic home lifestyle, but we adjusted as required.

– Wow. Was it then that you realised that you wanted to spend your life devoted to cats?

Yes, after my dear mother retired I became Cattery manager following in her steps. I have been working as Cattery manager for many years now. Over the years, routines have changed for the better.

– How would you describe a day at the Boote Home?

My day starts very early, the first thing I do is to check all the cat rooms, feeding the cats and attending to their needs before we open to the public. Then I await the arrival of my kind volunteers to assist with all the tasks required. Every day is different, depending on things such as the weather or the time of year (we have some periods busier than others). Days are usually very busy, but very rewarding too.

– What would you say is the most rewarding thing about being Cattery Manager at the Boote Home?

I would say caring for the many arrivals in various ways, many are unwell and we work to help them to improve in health and nature to enable kind adoptions ahead. We are so pleased to hear from their adopters on their progress. Also, it is very rewarding to care for the boarding cats whilst owners are on holiday, it’s a welcome financial support that allows us to keep helping more cats in need.

The Story of Tuebrook Toffee by Vicky McKay

Toffee’s story is quite typical of those cats that are brought in or handed over to Boote.

Toffee was found straying on a street in Tuebrook late one night by one of our Boote volunteers, who was walking back from an Everton match in early October. She had scabs all along her back, was struggling to walk and was thought to be pregnant. After a phone call to one of the Boote trustees, it was agreed that she could be taken in to a fosterer.

Over the next few days, the nearby area had leaflets popped through doors, posters put up in nearby shops and doors were knocked on. It turned out that Toffee had been straying in the area for over a year and was being fed by the locals. One young man said that she had been sleeping in a skip. It was clear that although Toffee was being fed she was struggling being on the streets and a lady who had been feeding her agreed.

Where Toffee was found living

Boote Home for Cats had her whisked off to the vets who found out that happily she wasn’t pregnant. She had a large hernia which was making it very uncomfortable for her to move around, a flea allergy and possible mammary tumours. She was an older girl between 8 and 10 years old.

Toffee was remarkable. She was extremely affectionate. She loved everybody! Children, adults, men and women. She loved to play and was happiest cuddled up on a lap. Anyone who visited fell absolutely in love with her. When her fosterer heard about the possible cancer she was very upset. We waited anxiously for test results on the suspected tumours, praying that they would come back negative and vowed that if they were positive, she would spend the remaining days of her life adored.

Over the next month Toffee got so much healthier, her fur became glossy and her flea allergy was treated so the scabs cleared up. Nobody had responded to the posters or on social media and it seemed that sadly Toffee was not being missed.

A few weeks later, we had the news back from the vets – Toffee was given the all clear! She was given celebratory chicken and catnip treats. She had her hernia removed and was so much more comfortable moving around. Playtime reached new heights of fun and her fosterer fell more in love. However Toffee was now healthy so it was time to think about parting ways. Toffee’s details were put up on the CatChat website and we waited. Older cats do generally struggle to find new homes and with her medical history we weren’t sure at all if she would find a new family.

It was only 5 days later when a phone call came in to our fantastic homing team. Toffee’s video had been seen and a lady who had been searching for months for an older affectionate cat got in touch. Liz worked from home, had a big cat-friendly garden away from main roads and two cats already. Liz and the family all came to visit Toffee that very weekend and (of course!) immediately fell in love with her. Toffee went off to her purrrfect forever family soon after. She must have felt they were perfect too, as within an hour of being there she had waltzed around the house and onto her new Mum’s lap. Two years later Missie, as is her new name, still rules the roost and lives the life of riley. Her family say she is an absolute delight and adores them as much as she is adored.

Lettie finds a new home with Suzie

Beautiful Paisley (now named Lettie) came to Boote Home early in 2019. She was less than a year old when she was rescued and it was feared that she had problems with her heart but after a thorough checkup with the vets she was ready to find her new home.

A couple of months later she became a companion to the gorgeous Lola who was looking for a new friend to play with whilst her owner was at work. The two of them touched noses right away when they were introduced and they are now playing with and grooming each other and love relaxing in the sun together.

A very happy new beginning for this lovely young girl!

Peggy finds a special home with Wendy

Sweet Peggy (was Victoria) came to Boote in May 2015. She was pregnant and expecting kittens.

Peggy had four kittens and even though disabled and with the help of the volunteers she was able to raise her kittens. I knew Peggy needed a special home and I went to see her.

I fell in love with her and about four weeks later Peggy moved in with me.

Now Peggy has her own facebook page where she raises awareness of how disabled pets make great pets.

New Arrivals!

Just look at these cuties!

They’re only 4 weeks old so wont be ready for rehoming for another month, but I just had to share this gorgeous picture of them waking up from their nap time!

xx Suzie (volunteer photographer)

Boote Home 2020 Calendar

Exciting news! The Boote Home’s first-ever calendar (for 2020) is now available to buy, featuring a selection of our cats past and present. The cost is just £6.50 for one calendar, or £6 each if you buy more than one. You can pick yours up from the Boote Home or we can post it to you; it’s an extra £3 per calendar for postage & packing. There will be other locations where you can pick up your calendar, just email or ring us to check where you can pick them up from.

You can see a few months’ pages in the photos.