Caz Stanford, 25, rehoming and welfare assistant at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
How did you land this dream role?
‘My mum worked in animal rescue, so I always knew what direction I wanted to head in. Then I saw a position available on the [Battersea Dogs & Cats Home] website, applied and was one of the chosen few. A brilliant way in is through volunteering. We have 1,100 volunteers across our three centres; it’s a really good way to gain knowledge and hands-on experience.’
You must have an army of cats.
‘You’d think that, but my cat is not the biggest fan of other cats. I have a tabby who’s nine years old, his name is Foo and he was an abandoned kitten that I took in. We think somebody had tried to kill him because his mouth and throat were covered in blisters.
That's awful! How do you handle the horrible stories?
‘It can be absolutely heartbreaking to see some of the conditions they come in with, but it’s important to keep in mind the light at the end of the tunnel. The cat will get better and you will rehome them. That’s the highlight of my job.’
What does cat rehoming involve?
‘We start at 8am, finish at 5pm, and it’s always busy. First we check every single cat, which can be up to 220. Then, depending on which duty you’re on, there’s photographing the cats for our website, working with special cats who need more time and attention, and chatting with customers to determine what sort of cat would like to join their family.’
Are you always covered in cat hair?
‘Oh yes. My partner is a huge cat lover himself, so he’s not fazed by it, but my friends joke that I can’t go out without being covered in cat hairs. I spend a lot of time with sticky tape before I go home, but it’s something you just come to accept.’
Is that the worst bit of the job?
‘I don’t think there is a bad bit. If you love cats, you put your heart and soul into it. Cats are my life!’
Hours: 40 per week
Starting salary: £19,000 p/a
Qualifications: Not essential but a customer service background is desirable
Or, why not become a stage manager?