Staff interview with Hayley on working at Catoro

Hayley has been working at Catoro since we opened over 3 years ago. She's a Cat Supervisor who describes her job as "never having a dull moment" and her favourite drink is "the purr-over coffee because I am a coffee addict. But I like the Lychee Rose Sparkler when I need something sweet."

What is the most fun part of your job?

Making jokes with my coworkers, they're a fun bunch. Joking with the cats is fun too but they don't laugh.

How is working at Catoro different than you expected?

Initially, I didn't release the full extent of the emotional and physical labor that goes into taking care of the cats. There's a lot to do in a day and it can easily wear you out, but I am so lucky to be surrounded by such a great team that is so supportive, kind, and funny.

So much has also changed at Catoro since we first opened, I didn't expect that we'd have as much retail items as we do now. Everyone works very hard and Catoro has grown a lot because of it.

Why do you think working with rescue cats is important?

So many rescue cats come from horrible situations. We do our best to make the rescue cats feel safe and comfortable so their personalities can start to shine. It's so rewarding when a cat with trauma or a semi-feral cat suddenly starts playing with you or asks for attention. It's even more rewarding when they eventually find a home where they will continue to be cared for and loved.

What is the most stressful thing about your job?

You can't just ask a cat nicely to do the things you need them to do and have them do it. They have goals of their own and sometimes those goals are to cause nothing but trouble. And they usually cause trouble when they know everyone is currently very, very busy.

What is your favourite memory of working at Catoro?

There have been so many great moments. I've had a lot of fun with my team and with the kitties. One moment that comes to mind though was with a cat we had named Peter.

A volunteer was brushing him and then stopped and out of nowhere he sat up, lifted his to front paws together, and started doing a begging motion over and over again. He didn't stop until he got more brushies. It was so funny! We had no idea he know how to do that. It was something you only see videos of cats doing, I wasn't expecting to see it in real life.

Are there any cats whose stories affected you?

There's been so many. Sienna is a cat that comes to mind. She has a really traumatizing past that included animal abuse. She was a stray who was rescued and was extremely distrusting of people. She was very stressed and scared at the beginning. She wouldn't play and she would hide the whole day while people were around.

But over time she became so playful that she would wait at the door expecting us to bring a toy over for her. It also got to the point where she started taking treats from my hands.

Eventually she would hang out in the middle of the cat forest to play with people. She could still be a bit skittish and still didn't like to be touched but it was amazing to see her come so far. She ended up being adopted into a really lovely and understanding home, I hope she's doing well.

Do you have a pet at home? 

I currently don't a have cat of my own at home (it's a bit shocking as to how this is still the case given how many cats I fall in love with on a daily basis).

But there are some pets that are very special to me that live in another city with my parents. I like to spoil them when I visit. Earl (orange tabby) is a big boy who is very confident and talkative. But when he meows he sounds like a little mouse.

Klaus (grey tabby) has a bit of anxiety but loves to play, especially in swivel chairs; he loves to spin! He also has to be where you are and will crawl into your lap to be held like a baby.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Saying goodbye to the cats at the end of the day. I miss them when I go home.

What's one thing you wish more people knew about rescue cats?

They all deserve a chance to have a safe home and to be loved. But that doesn't always mean that every rescue cat will be accepting of pets and cuddles. Some rescue cats are very distrusting of people and need a lot of time and patience to open up, sometimes it can take years. You have to match their pace. You can't force a cat to play or be cuddly when they don't want to. But that doesn't mean that they wont make a great companion.