By Karen Connolly
THERE were just two things Holly Brockwell dreamed of as a youngster – one was to write and the other was to gather as many unwanted and unloved as cats she could and give them a loving home.
She’s been smashing the first goal for years and is now a well respected and successful tech journalist with a huge social media following.
Her second ambition has just been realised too with Holly’s Home for Manky Moggies now open.
But this is no run-of-the-mill cat shelter, these unadoptable felines live with Holly in her London home.
“It’s been my life’s dream to help needy cats,’ says Holly, 34, “and I’ve finally become solvent enough to start my shelter where I provide a safe, loving lap for cats in need.”
She explains she has a large spare room in her spacious flat that she’s transformed into a home for the cats complete with toys and lots of furniture, beds and fluffy blankets for the residents to enjoy.
As she works from home the cats can wander around all day and night with Holly on hand to care for them.
It’s a sad situation really because her owner loved her very much but couldn’t look after her anymore with her increased medical needs
The first cat to arrive was Duck, a 12-year-old tortoise shell with mammary cancer and some urinary issues.
Holly says: “It’s a sad situation really because her owner loved her very much but couldn’t look after her anymore with her increased medical needs. She’s with me now, in her forever home and is going to be pampered for the rest of her days.”
Holly isn’t worried about caring for sick and needy felines – she has two of her own and had the rather famous Furious Maud, an ancient and extremely neglected lady who Holly adopted when a family moved away and left her behind.
“You wouldn’t believe how many cats get thrown out in London,” she says, “much more than anywhere else in the country.
“A lot of it is down to the bad rental market. People have to move on and if the new landlord doesn’t allow pets, they simply leave them behind.
“It’s difficult to understand, but it’s so common. Shelters are overrun and there’s nowhere for many animals to go but the streets.”
Maud arrived with a myriad of health issues which resulted in having most of her teeth extracted and some tummy problems addressed.
I got her the very best healthcare, with Noel Fitzpatrick, the Super Vet, no less, and she got a good stretch of time in remission
Then she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and so began months of treatment for Maud and worry for Holly.
“I got her the very best healthcare, with Noel Fitzpatrick, the Super Vet, no less, and she got a good stretch of time in remission but since she passed away on Valentine’s Day this year there has been a massive hole in my life.”
While Holly obviously has masses of love and time to give the cats, she’s also made sure she will be able to finance the vet’s fees.
“I’ll be able to find those myself but,” she admits, “who knows, I might have to do some crowdfunding for more help, depending on how many cats I have.”
It looks like there might be quite a few, with the rather handsome, 10-year-old Rio arriving soon.
Rio has the feline equivalent of a ‘cauliflower ear’ which requires a lot of cleaning.
“He’s also got some pretty hardcore allergies, so he’s going to be a tricky one,” says Holly, “but he’ll be living out his elderly years in complete luxury.”
Holly is adamant she won’t turn away any cat if she has room and the only specification she has is that they are indoor cats.
She explains: “I live in a large flat with no outdoor space so they need to get used to staying inside.
“They have everything they need from robotic litter trays, stimulation and toys to masses of TLC.”
She’s not one for holidays and says when she does need to go out she has an army of trusted, cat loving friends who can step in to ‘babysit’. She’s even looking into installing webcams.
While it all sounds idyllic, Holly stresses she has done extensive research and spoken to experts to make sure every medical need is met.
“It would be irresponsible not to,” she says.
“It’s going to cost me a lot of money but it’s been a life’s dream.. and it’s so rewarding in every way.
Even though the shelter is in London, Holly says she will happily accept cats in need from across the country.
“I’ll find a way, wherever they are…”
*Holly can be contacted via her Patreon page www.patreon.com/hollybrockwell