Cats are a large part of my life because I work with them and have two as pets. I love all animals, but the more I have got to know cats over the years, the more fascinating I find them. I've worked with cats for 20 years and am the resident specialist at Wood Green on cat welfare; but I'm always learning new things about them.
My role is varied, encompassing staff training – on issues ranging from enriching the cats' environments to safe handling – championing animal welfare in the community, advising other, smaller animal charities and providing a consultation service to cat owners.
We rehome about 80 cats a month and all the new owners are given free advice for life. People with cats not provided by Wood Green are also offered an advice service, for a small fee. Sessions are often on the telephone, but I might also do a home visit. Scratched furniture is a common issue and is usually linked to territory marking; another is indoor soiling, which can often be resolved simply by relocating the litter tray. Owners will often send photos of their happy cats once the problems are resolved, which is rewarding.
I share an office with two dog welfare consultants and we're often joined by a cat or a dog that we're caring for. It gives the animals respite from their accommodation and provides the opportunity for us to observe them. Phone conversations will sometimes be interrupted by barking, but cats can be the most disruptive. They have a habit of walking across my keyboard and typing random letters into an email or document, or they tread on the phone and cut it off temporarily when I'm talking.
Seeing neglected animals come in can be really difficult. There's been an increase in the number of cats injured by air gun pellets, which is awful. I do get attached to some of the cats but, with two already at home, I know adoption isn't an option because many cats don't like living in groups. It's fantastic when I hear they've found a loving home.
Juliette Jones is cat and welfare training consultant at Wood Green, the Animals Charity, an animal welfare charity that cares for and rehomes unwanted and lost animals