Good To Know

If Great Aunt Ethel were a human she would receive a 100th birthday card from The Queen, but all this affectionate 21-year-old cat wants is a warm home to live out her golden years.

Elderly Ethel has clocked up a century in human years, but life hasn’t given her much to celebrate of late. This old girl’s story has tugged at the heartstrings of carers at Cats Protection’s Downham Market Adoption Centre when they were alerted to a cat sleeping rough on an abandoned sofa in a car park in Wisbech.

Leah Snowden, Cat Care Assistant, was first on the scene when responding to the emergency call. “Someone called and said there was a cat fending for herself in the corner of a car park,” she said. “Residents in a nearby block of flats had been feeding her, which was very kind, but it was clear she needed our help.

“Cats can be nervous when approached but not Ethel. As soon as she saw me she cried out. It was as if she knew that I was there with a helping hand, to bring her to a better life. It was obvious that she was a cat who had previously enjoyed human love and home comforts.”

Ethel’s microchip showed that she was born in 1999 but the excitement was short-lived when Ethel’s sad story unfolded. She had been living in Kent when her owner died but, as the database details had not been updated, carers could not trace Ethel’s last owner.

Local people who had been feeding her in the car park believed that Ethel had been taken to live with family in Wisbech after the death of her previous owner and she either ran off or was left to roam without a home.

Great Aunt Ethel is one of the lucky ones. As the Norfolk cat centre’s oldest temporary resident, Ethel is enjoying fuss and attention while she waits for someone to give her another chance in life.

Many cats are abandoned after their owner passes away, so Cats Protection established Cat Guardians ( to ensure that a cat is taken care of in the event of its owner’s death.

Cat Guardians is a free service to give peace of mind to cat owners concerned about what might happen when they pass away. A simple clause in a will enables people to plan for their cat’s future so that, in the event of death, Cats Protection takes care of their cat and finds it a loving new home.

Cat Guardians Marketing Manager Becky Tichband said: “We know your cat means the world to you, which is why Cats Protection promises to be there for them after you’re gone. By registering with our free Cat Guardians service you can be assured that, after you pass away, our caring staff and volunteers will look after your cat until we find them a loving new home.”

Great Aunt Ethel is a friendly, loving lady in fine condition, especially for a cat of her grand old age. Having received a clean bill of health and some dental work, she can enjoy the rest of her life in a calm home without any other pets or children. A garden in which to sun herself would be a welcome bonus.

Cats Protection is adapting to new ways of homing within Covid-19 guidelines and Great Aunt Ethel is available via the charity’s contactless Hands-Free Homing scheme. Anyone interested in giving Great Aunt Ethel a loving home can get in touch via (

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