Derby twins quit 22-year teaching career - swapping classroom for cat care

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The twins thought they would be ‘teachers forever’ but knew it was their ‘destiny’ to start a brand new business venture focussing on their joint passion for cats

Twin sisters who enjoyed a teaching career of over two decades have left the education sector for an “exciting" career in cat care.

Clare Smith and Joanne Campbell, 52, from Derby, have made the unique career move, ringing the bell on their 22-year-old teaching careers.

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The primary school teachers have always been feline fans and have high hopes for their new premium cat care business, The Cat Butler Derby.

They will provide a service looking after cats for cat owners who may be anxious to leave their beloved pets unattended during vacations or time away from home.

It is a thoughtful offering that is also an alternative to catteries that will see Clare and Joanne making home visits to cats in their own homes up to three times a day.

Twins Clare and Joanne are ready to pamper your beloved cat with their cat care service, The Cat Butler DerbyTwins Clare and Joanne are ready to pamper your beloved cat with their cat care service, The Cat Butler Derby
Twins Clare and Joanne are ready to pamper your beloved cat with their cat care service, The Cat Butler Derby

The Cat Butler Derby covers numerous areas including Derby city centre, Mickleover, Chaddesden, Oakwood, Spondon, Breadsall and Sunny Hill.

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The twins’ new venture came about following Joanne’s move from Dubai, where she has lived for the past 13 years.

When her sons expressed a desire to continue further education in the UK, she knew it was time to pack up the family and return to Derby - where her sister Clare had remained all her life.

Joanne said: “Clare and I are 52 now and although we thought we would be teachers forever, when we saw the Cat Butler, we knew it was our destiny.

“We are both super excited to be starting this brand new business venture together.

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“As someone who has had to leave my cat multiple times when I returned to the UK, I know just how hard it is to leave your cat when you go away.

“Clare and I are thrilled that we will now be able to help keep cats happy and healthy in their own homes, with our premium Cat Butler service.”

Cat hotels or catteries are temporary boarding places for cats.

They are used by cat owners who are either going away on holiday, or will be spending time away from their home, but they can also rest in the knowledge that their pet is being looked after.

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Clare said: “While some cats are happy in a cattery, most owners would probably agree that their cats are happiest at home.

“In their own home, they would be following their usual routine such as lying in their favourite sunny spot and walking around their own garden.

“The Cat Butler is a premium cat visiting service which means we visit our client’s house up to three times a day to feed, clean out the litter tray and, most importantly, have lots of cuddles and play time with the cat.

“For poorly cats, we are qualified to administer medication including insulin injections and can offer daily grooming if required.

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“It is basically all the services one would expect of one’s own butler.”

Twins adore cats and caring

It is more than just a cat care service - the home will also be given a quick scan that includes opening and closing windows to give the impression that someone is still residing in the property.

Joanne said: “Alongside the cat care duties, we will also be offering a light touch security service.

“We’ll be checking over the home and making sure there are no signs of leaks or break-ins, watering plants, putting the bins in and out and opening and closing windows to give the house an occupied feel while the owners are away.”

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Joanne and Clare love cats and have solid experience pampering them, a passion that will serve them well in their new role.

They own three cats between them - Molly the Ragdoll, Bluebell, a Maine Coon, and Pearl, a Russian Blue.

Pearl was flown back to the UK from Dubai and driven, like royalty, by taxi to her new home in Derby.

“The taxi turned up and it was empty except for Pearl in her carrier, looking like the Queen that she is,” said Joanne.

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The move from teaching children in a classroom, to now providing a premium cat care service, could not be more different for the sisters.

A typical day in the new life of ‘cat butlers’ will include clearing litter trays and administering cat cuddles.

Clare said: “One of us will be on litter trays and the other will be on cuddles and playtime but we’ll swap around regularly.

“The great thing is, if one of us is sick there’s always the other one to carry on, so owners have the added insurance of knowing somebody will always be there.”

For more information about Cat Butler Derby, visit their website here.

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