An Island cat-lover, who has dedicated over 30 years to helping local moggies, celebrated by trekking and climbing the equivalent of over 30,000ft to the summit of Everest, is aiming to raise £600 to help cats.
Jo Morrison, deputy manager at Cats’ Protection’s Isle of Wight Adoption Centre, has spent her 30th winter working for the charity. She trekked round Ryde and climbed her stairs to virtually conquer the highest mountain in the world, tracking her total elevation using an app. She climbed 30,314ft, over 1,000ft for every year she has worked at the charity.
Jo, who started working at the centre in 1990, said: “I wasn’t sure I could do it when I first chose Mount Everest – but I love cats. I love the adoption centre’s cats and I especially love my own two cats Sylvester and Tippy who came from Cats’ Protection. Cats have been my passion all my life and I hope this climb helps a few more of the cats that come through our centre.”
Jo remembers the Marlborough Road site when it was nothing more than wooden outbuildings with cat pens inside, making up a kitten shed, homing block and an isolation block. Nothing was computerised and all blankets and bedding were washed by hand.
Thanks to a legacy, the centre was rebuilt in 1998.
Jo says: “This is my 30th winter with Cats’ Protection. I always thought I’d move away and even tried it for a while but, when I went to the mainland in 1996, I couldn’t get the charity out of my head so I joined the local branch in Ipswich. In all this time, Cats’ Protection has been an absolute constant in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve always helped out with fundraising and even spent a day and night locked in a pen with a cat called Mr Wally to raise money. It was very cramped for a human but Mr Wally seemed to enjoy the extra cuddles! This climb has been the most physically demanding fundraising I’ve done, particularly as I suffer with sciatica, so I’m really proud to have reached the top.
“There have been so many wonderful moggies. Those with three legs, one eye, heart conditions, skin problems and more. Every cat has the best care we can give and taking part in my Everest climb is just one way I can help ensure we carry on finding cats the best homes possible.”
If you’d like to help Jo reach her #ClimbForCats target visit justgiving.com/fundraising/isle-of-wight-cats-protection7.