Lord Guy Black is a Life Peer member of the House of Lords, UK, and Executive Director of the Telegraph Media Group. Mark is a public relations executive who has worked for the Advertising Standards Authority and the Press Complaints Commission before serving as Deputy Private Secretary to Charles, Prince of Wales. Both are committed cat fans and are pictured here with their Russian Blue, Victoria
International Cat Care is very proud to welcome Lord Black and Mark Bolland to our team as iCatCare Patrons. Here we learn a little more about them…
Early experiences of cats
Interestingly, their great love for all things feline wasn’t – as you might expect – forged in early childhood. As Guy recalls, ‘My mother developed an allergy and, although she loved cats, we were sadly unable to have any at home (but I did have a budgie called Dougal).’ Mark, too, wasn’t raised alongside cats – although there was a rabbit called Flash! Later on, however, a series of cats entered their lives. They fondly recall the black and white cat who followed them home one day, and a pair of ginger kittens that Guy’s mother worshipped – and also Tristan and Tobias, two beautiful Birmans. Their most recent cat, a Russian Blue called Victoria, sadly passed away last summer, aged 19, and is very much missed.
While Guy and Mark (and us) know that ‘all cats are special and each one is special in its own way’, they also feel that all cats share the same remarkable ability to give back. ‘They give so much to one’s existence’ and it is their ‘unconditional, constant love’ coupled with a ‘fun and mischievous nature’ that is the source of the wonderful companionship a cat brings. (And while adamant that all cats are special – they admit that some possess that extra something. Victoria was clearly very special indeed – as Guy says – ‘she was a veritable Grande-Dame!’)
The challenges ahead
Guy and Mark firmly believe in the importance of raising children who care. ‘A cat for a young person is very important, it’s about responsible ownership’. Learning early is vital, not only because it helps children to develop relationships built on respect, but because it reduces the incidence of cruelty (to animals and humans) later in life.
They also believe in the importance of raising standards of care in order to bring an end to abuse and unnecessary suffering. They spoke of their particular sadness at seeing the ragged street cats in Ankara and Amman – and the enormous importance of international neutering programmes.
International Cat Care
It was the international dimension that persuaded Guy and Mark to become Patrons. They want all cats to be treated with care and compassion in whichever country they are in. ‘Love shouldn’t know boundaries – we need to work to changes attitudes around the world’. They believe that International Cat Care has an incredibly important role to play. Guy has also suggested that we draft a Feline Bill of Rights – a minimum set of standards worldwide – that all countries could sign up to. We think that’s a great idea and are working to put that into action.
Finally, Guy and Mark say that they are both proud and thrilled to be Patrons – ‘This work is very important – if our taking part can help then it’s worth every minute.’
At International Cat Care, we are delighted and honoured that they have accepted our invitation to work with us.