I have always loved animals and as a child, had cats, dogs, rabbits, white mice and ponies. It was no surprise to my parents that my chosen career just had to be with animals. This was mainly as a veterinary nursing assistant but I also spent two years working with horses, looking after hunters and point-to-pointers.
Merry Hill Cottage - our home for 27 years
After getting married in 1963, our menagerie eventually expanded to include horses, a pony, goats, sheep, ducks and chickens - plus, of course, 4 children and all their pets which included rabbits, guinea pigs, stick insects, lizards, a pair of Silkie bantams, a chinchilla, a pigeon and, fairly regularly, various rescued and orphaned wildlife!
For over 41 years we were fortunate enough to live in the beautiful county of Dorset, in the south of England. In 1987, as our children had started to fly the nest, we decided that we needed a smaller house and moved to Merry Hill Cottage where we lived for the next 27 years.
However, in 2009 our eldest son and his wife invited us to join them in a restoration project on a property they had found in Surrey. In the good old 'Restoration Home' tradition, it all took a lot more time, money and stress than we could have anticipated. However, in August 2012, after nearly 3 years, we were finally able to take up residence in our wing of the Old Malthouse, near Guildford - where we enjoy living as part of an extended family which includes our two young, but growing up fast, granddaughters.
Since Bruce took early retirement in 2001 we have enjoyed having the time to pursue our hobbies and interests. Quite often we can combine these - as when we travel to cat shows in Bruce's pride and joy - his motorhome. Several times we have turned a trip to a cat show into a mini-break and stayed away for a few days or even longer. The cats also seem to enjoy their 'other home'!
The Old Malthouse before the renovations and extension
Our aim has always been to breed healthy kittens who conform to the Standard laid down for British Shorthairs by the GCCF. We also pride ourselves on selling sociable, well adjusted kittens who will give their new owners many years of pleasure and companionship. We register the majority of our kittens on the Non Active Register, preferring our kittens to go to pet or show neuter homes where we can know that they will be loved and cherished for the rest of their lives. On the few occasions when we do allow a kitten to go to another breeder, we usually know the breeder well and are satisfied that they have the same standards that we have for the welfare of both our breeding and retired breeding cats.
Read about the history of Idlebeck Cats in more detail -