Canines being my pet of choice, I had to think twice before accepting the invitation to help launch the fundraising appeal for an ambitious new cat rescue centre in Shrewsbury – two million quid required to build chalets with curtains and sofas for our feline friends plus a community hub, hospital (for cats) and education centre. But actually it does fit the theme for my shrieval year which is “the challenge and opportunity of old age”. Cats do make great pets for those in later life and one thing the centre will be doing is taking cats into care homes and looking after cats when their owners die. Beanstalk, the charity that helps children who struggle with reading, will take children in to the centre to read to the cats. Apparently cats are very good and uncritical listeners and children’s reading improves dramatically. I made what I thought was a witty speech about whether cats played any role in the great historical events that we celebrate this year – Magna Carta and Waterloo – but judging by the response I clearly missed my mark.
Photo: Marion Micklewright explains the Big Purr