An Interview with Pat of Ark on the Edge

The Ark on the Edge is an Animal Sanctuary in Woodland, County Durham – not to be confused with Rainbow Ark in Willington, County Durham, which was recently closed down and all the animals sent to other Rescue Shelters all over the country. More about that Ark at a later date.

interview with an animal rescuer living in the UK
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Pat Kingsnorth, who along with her volunteers, is dedicated to the animals in her care. This is quite obvious when she says:

‘ I didn’t come into rescue to make money or be a business, I came to do whatever I could to help save and rehome those poor animals left and not wanted’

I asked her some questions for PoC and I’m sure if anyone has any more she will be willing to answer them too.

1. How long have you owned your Sanctuary? ‘6 years as Ark on the Edge but some 24 years from moving to County Durham and 30 years prior to that rescuing animals, mainly cats’

2. How many species of animals do you have? ‘Cats, dogs, rabbits, owls, kestrels, hawks, geese, ducks, deer, foxes, guinea pigs, degu, goats, horses, donkeys, hamsters, gerbils etc, the list goes on’

3. Because this is an interview for a cat web site we’d love to know how many cats you care for? ‘I personally had 21 cats in my own care just over a year ago but lost 5 in short space of time due to old age. Now just have 16 all of who are well over 12 years. In the last year over 170 cats have been successfully rehomed but only after full vet checks, neutering, vaccinations, worming, defleaing, microchipping and of course house checks’

4. What excuses do people make for relinquishing a pet cat to you and your thoughts on those reasons?

  • We are moving to a rented property and not allowed to take pets” – ‘so why if you love your pet don’t you find somewhere else?’
  • My child has an allergy” – ‘so why not try to sort it rather than rehome the pet?’
  • Can’t afford it” – ‘so give up some fags, drink, nights out as a tin of cat food and some water costs very little. Put some money away for any vet bills.’
  • I’m pregnant and my doctor has told me to get rid of the cat” – ‘why if you plan and work things out prior to baby arriving there’s no problems. Sheep faeces have some affect i.e. aborting but how many farmers give up their flocks because their wives are pregnant. NONE!’
  • I took my friends cat(s) on when they moved until they got settled but now they don’t want them” – ‘difficult one this, but if they have had the cats sometime then why give them up now. Just had someone’s cat come in who has a child already and a baby and the mother in law insisted the cat went as she thought it was going to sit on the baby. Good one that and a new one to us!’

5. Living and working at the Ark, do you ever have any leisure time? ‘A couple of years ago I went to South Africa to where they filmed Wild at Heart. It was home from home some sight-seeing, also a lot of volunteering with the wildlife, awesome. I’d dearly like to go back and just work with the wildlife out there, no change from being here but so rewarding, just the cats are a bit bigger and I can’t pick them up. But unless Ark on the Edge is entirely covered I won’t go anywhere. The Ark is never left unattended and no animals big or small are left out, all are securely locked away every night. There’s no rest at Christmas either it’s just another day at the office!’

6. It must be a constant struggle to raise funds especially now when money is very short for most people, have you had a drop in donations? ‘With bills ever increasing and the way of the world today donations have been declining for some time while ‘unwanted’ pets have increased and times are hard not only for animal rescues but all charities, we are all struggling. So with bills on average, totalling in excess of £1500 a month + the rent we are always fund raising and trying to stay afloat.’

‘At Ark on the Edge we pride ourselves in the way we look after the animals in our care whilst they are here. Providing them with full veterinary care and a house check ensuring that they go to the best possible place, hopefully for life.’

‘Please feel free to visit us any day between 10.30 and 4 and visit our web site. You can donate via our charity checkout.’

Ark on the Edge

Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

So Pat, as you see, remains positive and cheerful and along with her volunteers, plods on caring for the creatures she loves, whilst also trying to make this world a better place for all of them.

Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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50 Responses

  1. susan hill says:

    Pat has a pet of the week which works fantastic Leah as well as all the visitors facebook can be a wonderful thing for getting awareness out there regarding all the animals although Pat’s bug bare on facebook is when posts appear free to good home at that Pat cringes x

  2. Leah says:

    Pat what a wonderful rescue centre you have; certainly appears to be a Heaven on earth for all animals. Pat hope you don’t mind me asking but how pro active are you with re-homing? Have you anything that works particularly well or is it that people come to you? I’ve always found this difficult on account of I’m so nervous about letting them go 🙁 I have this insane belief that no one else can love them as much as me and I always want the perfect home for a rescued cat which I guess doesn’t really exist does it? You do such amazing work and I so hope that animals in need find you rather than have to suffer.

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      So happy to hear the problem you have, Leah.
      I have a hard time adopting out too.
      It just has to feel right; and, I have cried like a baby when letting go.

      • Leah says:

        Me too Dee I worry so much even if the people seem perfect 🙁 I think I know that cat or kitten so well I just want to tell them everything.

  3. susan hill says:

    Michael can I pos email you some pics as having trouble lol

  4. Susan hill says:

    Maisy with volunteer

  5. Susan hill says:

    Stunning Molly just chilling

  6. Susan hill says:

    Very heavy pregnant Maisy with my daughter a volunteer. Maisy very uncomfortable today and fingers crossed kittens by morning

    • Susan, sorry that your photograph of a very heavily pregnant Maisy did not upload but the reason was almost certainly because it is too large a photograph (more than 2 million bytes). Sorry about that. You can reduce the size and try again if you wish.

  7. Susan hill says:

    One of Molly’s beautiful kittens 4 weeks old

  8. Rebekah Hill says:

    thank you sooo much Michael, I did use to work at another animal sanctuary however things happened that I didn’t agree with and almost made me change my mind about my career path thankfully when I went up to Ark on the Edge I met Pat and had a look around, I
    thankfully I didn’t change my mind, I guess it takes a great running animal sanctuary to change your mind.

  9. Rebekah Hill says:

    hi everyone! I am a volunteer at Ark on the Edge and I have to say what an amazing place it really is. I as a 14 year old wanting to become a vet has had plenty if not more of hands on experience than you can imagine. Pat does a lot for these animals and she deserves a lot of recognition for her amazing work xx Pat takes us all under her wing and is like a mother figure to each and everyone of us. Pat has a great relationship with the vets and Pat allows volunteers to attend courses run and organised by the vets. I must have the best job in the world 🙂

    • Hi Rebekah, nice to have you visit and your comment supports what other people have said, that Pat does a great job. I wish you the best of luck in your long journey to becoming a veterinarian. I am sure that you will make a very good one.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      It’s lovely to see Pat and some of her volunteers commenting, welcome to our happy PoC family. I think most of us enjoy reading about Animal Sanctuaries, especially the cattery part of course.
      I really love Danielle’s articles and would love to read more stories from the Ark volunteers.

  10. Barbara says:

    Great and really interesting article, I’m so looking forward to a trip to the Ark in the warmer weather

  11. susan hill says:

    Surprised shocked and overwhelmed we have just had two very large donations so thank you to Mary and to Marc for their very kind gestures. So very grateful. Pat – you must plan a visit if at all possible Marc x

  12. susan hill says:

    what a fantastic donation Marc thankyou so so much 🙂

    • marc says:

      Welcome – I was planning to donate to Ark anyway after talking about it a few months ago – and I saved up the money specifically for that but I didn’t know there would be an article about Ark today – seemed like the perfect moment to count up what I had and get on with donating it 🙂

      • Dee (Florida) says:

        So wonderful, Marc.
        We all love you.

      • Barbara says:

        Marc what a wonderful donation, you really are such a kind and generous man to support yet another charity in a different country to your own. I’m can see that the Ark is thrilled to bits with it.

  13. Pat Kingsnorth says:

    Marc what can I say except a huge thankyou for your very kind donation. Totally unexpected and I was truely overwhelmed. It means a lot to us here to get this kind of great donation. We will very surely put it to good use. So grateful Pat

  14. Marc says:

    I’ve donated 🙂
    Now gotta save up again – Red left me on the last day of June so by then I’ll have another decent sized donation.

  15. Danielle says:

    Hi guys!!

    Now you can all see the amazing place where i work!!!! Hope Dee enjoys the wildlife pictures!!!

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      Love them!
      Can’t get enough!
      Thanks for thinking of me.

    • Dee (Florida) says:

      I am so loving these pics, Danielle.
      The cats, ofcourse, but that red fox, miniature ponies, the bunny, and goats.
      Are those guinea pigs or bunnies left of the awesome owl?
      I could, easily, live the rest of my life there.
      I’m small (5’3″) and won’t take up much room. Just give me a blanket and I’ll sleep on the floor! And, I’ll eat whatever the bunny eats.

  16. Paula Thompson says:

    I agree totally with sue hill, pat is one hell of a woman, she’s never in ur face about donations like some of the rescue centers round our way, pat is lovely with little ones, spending time talking to them lol and not just about the animals lol new shoes also lol.
    Well done Pat, it just doesn’t seem enough for what u do x

  17. susan hill says:

    hi there Michael, not sure how we got 2 comments maybe because my computer crashed first time i thought it had disappeared, regarding the pic’s I have lots of the volunteers at work and will sort them all and upload them all at the weekend 🙂

  18. susan hill says:

    hi everyone, what a lovely piece Ruth x Pat is one very extraordinary lady who has such passion for all animals in her care. Ark on the Edge would not survive without Pat and her volunteer’s dedication to all animals and with Pat’s open house policy everyone is able to see the amazing work for themselves. Pat is an amazing teacher and will teach her volunteers anything they wish to know for example showing the volunteer’s how to change Chelsea’s ( a stunning horse) tracheotomy. She is a very talented lady who inspires many others to work in the same field. The cat chalets are an amazing place for the cat’s to live in (wouldn’t mind moving in myself). They provide natural lighting, emergency lighting, heating, a run area and a lovely warm bed as well as an abundance of toys to encourage play. If anyone ever wants to find a volunteer at the centre they only have to visit the cattery, where they will be on the floor encouraging much needed social skills with the cats as well as joyful play. Ark on the Edge rehoming figures speak for them selves and every animal that leaves the centre has been vet checked, neutered, deflead, wormed and micro chipped which I believe every rescue and rehoming centre should follow suit.

    • Hi Susan. Pat deserves all the praise she can get. She is the sort of person I admire. I admire Pat far more than I admire all the so-called famous celebrities and the rich. Thank you for commenting.

  19. Sue Hill says:

    Where do I start the very loving Pat has become one very special person in our families life. I have never met such an extraordinary lady with such passion for animals. Pat’s day never stops from the very minute she gets up she is constantly on the go. Ark on the Edge has amazing re-homing figures that speak for themselves. There are approx. 20 volunteers who assist Pat of all ages and everyone is treated with respect, and bond together to make one fantastic team. This team of which my daughters and I are very proud and privileged to be part of. Ark on the edge deflead, worm, neutered, vet check and home check every single animal that comes into it’s care so as you could imagine the cost spiral’s.
    Pat also has amazing teaching skills and if your willing she will teach you anything you want to know, even down to teaching myself my daughters and others how to change Chelsea ( stunning horse) tracheotomy in her neck. Pat has a passion for her cats and to be honest the environment they live in I wouldn’t mind living in them myself. She has purpose built cats chalets with have an outside run area and the inside includes heating lighting artificial as well as natural light, huge cat scratching posts and an abundance of toys to keep these gorgeous animals entertained. If ever you want to know where all the volunteer’s are hiding I can guarantee you will find them all in the cat chalets enjoying and providing much needed social skills. Ark on the Edge are very proud of all its volunteers and the volunteers are extremely proud of Pat

    • Sue, just a quick note to tell you that your photograph did not upload properly because it is too large a file. Just below the comment box you will find a link to instructions as to how to reduce the file size. Thank you for the additional information that you have provided in your welcome comment.

  20. Marc says:

    I want to make a donation. Where can I do it?

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