(From the November 13, 2020, edition of the Jewish Telegraph)
“HUMANS are my least favourite animal,” says technology journalist Holly Brockwell. For the 34-year-old prefers cats — lots of cats.
And she is now dedicating her life to caring for those in need — in her two-bedroom flat in London.
She told me: “I always said that I would do it if I ever won the lottery.
“Obviously, living in London and renting, and being on a journalist’s wage, is not ideal for caring for expensive cats.
“But things changed when my ex-fiance lived here for a year through lockdown, and he was trying to find a place to rent.
“When he finally moved out, I advertised his room and a guy came to view it.
“We did all the references and the contract and then at the very last second he decided not to move in, for no reason.
“I could have murdered him at the time, but I thought, ‘You know, I could advertise it or I could sort of take it as a sign from the universe’.
“But I also thought, ‘Don’t be crazy and pay double rent in London, using your money on manky cats because you’ll just go bankrupt and everything will be terrible’.”
Ignoring her own advice, she has now launched Holly’s Home for Manky Moggies.
The home was inspired by Holly’s previous cat — and the home’s first unofficial resident — Maud, who had become something of a social media star before her death this year, thanks to the hashtag #FuriousMaud.
Holly said: “I was lucky enough to adopt a 15-year-old cantankerous British Shorthair called Maud, who sadly was diagnosed with cancer.
“I crowdfunded her treatment and although she only lived another 10 months, I was able to give her an amazing last year full of love and treats.
“Caring for her was really rewarding, and I just absolutely adored her — we bonded so much.
“It just gave me a sense of fulfilment that nothing else ever has, and it made me feel like, you know, most people don’t want the old cats.
“They don’t want the manky cats or want the ill cats, and maybe I can be the person who can help those ones — the adoptable ones and the ones nobody wants.”
To cover costs, Holly has launched a Patreon subscription service, where supporters can pay as little as £4.50 per month. They will be provided with update posts and more — and she already has more than 140 subscribers.
“I’m lucky that I’m home all the time anyway, because I’m freelance,” she said.
“It’s nice for people to feel like they can be involved and they can help in some way.
“If they just jack a fiver a month in the Patreon, they make a massive difference.”
Holly has already taken in her first two residents — Duck and Rio — who now live alongside her own cats Moose and Mawri.
Duck is a 12-year-old tortoiseshell who had suspected mammary cancer — it turned out not to be — and also some urinary issues, while Rio is a 10-year-old short-haired ginger with, what in human terms is called a cauliflower ear, and many, many allergies.
Holly has a history of looking after sick animals — she used to do it with birds.
But while she would help them to recover before re-homing them, her plan with the feline residents is to keep them as her own.
She said: “I’m hoping to keep all the ones I take in for ever.
“It’s a sort of a retirement home because I don’t really want to put them through any more.
“Plus, I love them to bits already.”
She has also set up an Amazon wishlist for supporters to buy care products for cats, such as food, treats and litter tray essentials.
To support the home, go to patreon.com/hollybrockwell, paypal.me/holly or tinyurl.com/BrockwellJT