Hector’s House leaps forward with purr-fect new home for stray cats

From a humble home to a haven for felines, Hector’s House, a renowned cat rescue centre in Torquay, is leaping forward in its mission to provide a sanctuary for stray tom cats. Hector’s House, has been operating from its founder’s home and garden since its inception in 2020. Following legal advice by GA Solicitors in Plymouth, the charity has taken a huge step and purchased a substantial property which will help it to house up to 50% more cats and provide a more suitable base.

The property, located on Old Mill Road in Torquay, was previously owned by Riviera Life Church and used as a community hall. It will now be transformed to hold 14 cat pens and become the official residence of Hector’s House. This important cat rescue service helps hundreds of stray tom cats each year, providing medical care and assisting them to settle into new and loving homes wherever possible.

The charity was established by founder Zara Oldfield during the coronavirus >COVID pandemic. She became aware of the high number of strays in the area and found there were very few places that were able to help. Since then, the charity has taken over her property, with nine pens filling her garden, and the spare rooms in her house used to store food, cat litter and other necessary items. Since its humble beginnings, the charity has continued to grow and now has six trustees and more than 140 volunteers providing varying levels of support.

The new property was predominantly purchased using funds from a legacy in a supporter’s will. A £95,000 grant was secured from Pets Foundation, a charity established by Pets at Home, to cover the cost of the fit out and bespoke cat pens. With work due to commence imminently, it is hoped that the new facility will be up and running in early summer.

GA Solicitors, a regional law firm headquartered in Plymouth, provided comprehensive legal advice regarding all aspects of the purchase of the property. This included additional advice regarding the necessary change of use application and potential issues which were identified with the freehold.

Jacob Cunningham, the chartered legal executive at GA Solicitors who advised on the purchase, said: “This purchase is a huge step forward for the charity. Not only can they help many more cats, but it gives them a professional base and a stronger hold in the city. The passion that Zara exudes is undeniable and I have no doubt this charity will continue to grow and support many more strays in the area. It was a pleasure to work with Zara and the other trustees and ,I will most certainly be visiting the site when the works have been completed.”

Zara Oldfield, founder of Hector’s House, added: “This property was the ideal base for Hector’s House. It runs over two floors, with huge open spaces, as well as office space and fitted kitchens and toilets. The help we provide is so important. The life of a tom cat is very hard, and they are often in an extremely poor state by the time we find them. Many rescue charities and catteries are unwilling to take in un-neutered male cats, so we are their only route to a better life. Jacob and the team at GA Solicitors have been amazing throughout this purchase. Everything has been very well-explained and dealt with quickly and efficiently. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone else needing legal advice. We hope to have the new property ready by early summer and will be planning an open weekend as soon as we are able. Donations are essential to us to be able to continue our work, so hopefully the new site will raise our profile and encourage more people to show their support.”

More information about Hector’s House can be found on their website and also their Facebook page.