This year I was spending two weeks on the Isle of Man, longer than the previous 5 days in 2015 and 8 in 2016. And was able to explore the island after deciding to drive over in my car. With that in mind I came up with a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to visit when the racing wasn't on.
As a Crazy Cat Lady and a mummy to two cats I had to visit the Mann Cat Sanctuary. Now, to be honest, I like dogs as much as I like cats. I only really have my two cats because of my ex-husband, cats would never really have been my choice of pets. However, after reading about the Cat Sanctuary I really wanted to visit to see what it was like.
The sanctuary was founded in 1996, by Sue Critchley and Carole Corlett, to provide a safe and peaceful haven for unwanted, disabled and traumatised cats.
There is no entry fee, but a suggested donation of £5 or a gift of a box of cat food pouches. I went to the supermarket and ended up taking a big bag of cat food tins instead of just a box of pouches.
I had this idea that it would be all magical and beautiful. As I pulled up in the car park I was immediately made welcome....by a couple of cats which was lovely. I loved that they were there straight away, even if I was a little nervous at driving with them so close to my car. After a stroke and giving them some love I walked up towards the Sanctuary and saw a member of staff. Not knowing where to go or what to do with the food I lifted the bag up and happily said "I came with gifts" *massive cheesy smile".
I was told quite bluntly "Up in the Sanctuary" and felt slightly deflated. No "thank you" or "welcome". Nevermind, more of a welcome in the Sanctuary surely. Again, I didn't get it.
They took the bag of food, placed it on the counter and then I was free to have a look around. I guess I kind of expected a bit more of a welcome, a bit more of a "this is what we are, this is what we are about, these are the places you can go" but nothing.
A little deflated and overwhelmed I headed outside. Although there were volunteers around again, I wasn't really acknowledged which was really disappointing.
I sat for a while and felt better by having at one point a little queue of cats waiting to jump on my lap for a cuddle and some attention. It was one of those moments when I wished I had more hands.
After around 45 minutes I decided to leave. I walked inside, again hoping for some acknowledgement, but nothing.
I also felt like it was missing a hygiene element and as I left I was surprised there was no facility to wash my hands. I thought a bottle of antibacterial gel would have been a necessity. Especially when some of the cats are clearly poorly.
Despite being disappointed by the Sanctuary I did fall in love with one of the cats and if I could have done, I would have stolen it. I loved how it looked like it posed and smiled. He/she would have been the ultimate souvenir.