2022 in review at Specialcats

Rosie MapplebeckSpecialcats News

2022 started slowly, ducking gales and having to bath a cat! that’s a rare unloved act for a feline but others followed! Winter de-shedding work recommenced and was my main income till April. Regular boarders started to return, older but no wiser.

I sacked the gardener, preferring to maintain the land my way not rely on others who don’t respect nature’s ways or share information but say otherwise.

Summer was late to book (still no government help though we are now part of hospitality due to our kennel owner campaigning) but then a rush of customers keen to get a break materialised. The quiet period gave me time to start to move my belongings to the cabin and Caitlin and Andrew moved into the house with their pets. I’m nearer the cats and in my peaceful library. I share Aga, washing machine and piano which couldn’t be moved. There’s help on hand and occasional time off to go sing or see friends cabin.

A young man with autism started coming to us for experience with his carer. While he does not contribute directly to cat care he does brighten our week and made me realise how little the paid assistant achieved and what they cost me in time. They stayed to the end of their placement. Now Caitlin and I split the work.


July became the pre pandemic madness. Every cat space was needed so we cleaned into the night. We worked long, long hours, added to by cat collection trips meaning no rest time. Negatives were petrol prices escalating and bad predictions for energy prices. I decided to see how this actually panned out before upping prices but it must be done. We all know food prices rose by 10%, cat litter doubled due to it being an energy source too, Energy, despite our supply being from renewables is tied to world prices so saw a 200% rise. The warm long summer helped but now our heaters are on 24/7 and its costly. Its been nice to hear people appreciating how warm and cosy the cats are however.

I had to become stricter with no deposit, no booking rules as we cant hold spaces with no commitment. We can only take so many and this mainly July season focus means we must not have empty spaces due to changes of mind. We know life is uncertain for everyone and some accommodation can be made for change, however the cattery must pay its way and us be paid in turn.

Summer saw an unprecedented heatwave and us hosing floors to cool them, installing reflective layers on roofs and measuring temperature several times a day. It was great for growing chilli peppers and tomatoes though. Suddenly I felt I was back in the Med. A real contrast to the ice about us today.

A baby blackcap was seen from cabin window and sang at the office too, showing they breed here. Its good to see the wildlife thriving.

All the cat grooming work came at cost. There is a reason vets insist on anaesthetic use for this. Its highly dangerous and I’d had one too many lucky escapes it seems. This year claws ripped through my veins and a particularly nasty bite from a large kitten sent me to A&E twice, I bear the scars. 10% count of dangerous beasts hasn’t yet stopped me helping others. (To be reassessed.)

August to October continued in the old mode with a breather only once the schools went back.

Despite a sore hand I managed to repaint the cabin and much of the cattery on quiet days.

I broke my iPhone and the difficulty getting a new one delivered made me appreciate what it does for me. I don’t have internet in the cabin despite a new router and provider’s promises, so use the office for just that.

The egg glut from the hens has been harder to use. Now they can buy in shops fewer purchase from the gate or cattery and the dogs can only eat so many!

Tucked in my warm cabin I am hand sewing cat beds like the ones I use in the cattery, let me know if you’d like one made for your cat. I’m also honing my poems, expecting to collate the collection this winter while work is quiet.

Wishing you and yours a gentle and prosperous New Year

With love xxx

Rosie, Caitlin and co, Maddy and Marlena, Madame and Samson at Specialcats of Ayr

rosiestories@ymail.com, 07800 985 564