Mortgage adviser, 54, rejected £35,000 job to work with cats because ‘money isn‘t everything‘

Mortgage adviser quits her job to work for a cat charity for £20K a year – but insists she doesn‘t regret the pay cut because there‘s ‘more to life than money‘

A mortgage adviser quit her £24,000-a-year job so she could work with cats.

Tracie Atkin, 54, of Dawlish, Devon, left her profession and turned down the offer of a new role earning £35,000 a year in order to work at charity Cats Protection.

Despite taking a salary cut for the charity role, which pays less than £20,000 a year, Tracie insists she doesn‘t regret the decision because ‘money isn‘t everything‘. 

However she admitted she is also in a fortunate financial position because she has no mortgage or debts and has ‘a lot of savings‘ in the bank. 

She also lives with her boyfriend, 66, who is able to share the cost of bills while Tracie owns the house herself. 

This allows her to carry on going out with girlfriends as well as jetting off on two holidays this year – a luxury cruise around the Mediterranean and trip to see a friend who lives in Orlando, Florida.

Tracie said: ‘I am in a position where I can afford a salary cut and to do something that I really enjoy. Money isn‘t the be-all and end-all.

‘My partner helps me out a bit on bills and foods, and then if we go out, but not on the really big things.

‘I can still afford to go out with friends and have meals out. I usually go on holiday two or three times a year. I am completely financially independent.‘ 

Tracie worked in the financial services industry for 35 years and had no pets until she got Bella the bengal cat to help her deal with stress from work.

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In 2017, spurred on by her fluffy companion Bella, she volunteered for Cats Protection after scouting online for an activity to keep her busy.

A few months later a role came up at the rescue centre as a Volunteer Team Leader.

As Tracie considered her options, she was also headhunted by a complaints management company that offered her the higher salary but she chose the cats. 

‘I‘m so lucky!‘, she said. ‘I found a job that I actually really enjoy!‘ 

Tracie manages 80 volunteers daily and looks after the main adoption centre in Exeter, alongside the centre in Taunton, Somerset, for four days each week. 

She helps clean cats litter trays, train volunteers, and even socialise kittens.

‘Any kitten born in our care at four weeks, we start to help them to get used to people through noises and handling them‘, she said.

‘I had some in my lap while I worked yesterday!‘

Tracie‘s partner, who still works in financial services, is also very happy with her decision. 

‘He‘s brilliant, he is really pleased‘, she said, ‘He is very proud of me.‘  

In 2018 the charity re-homed 44,000 felines across the UK through its network of 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres.

It has also recently launched the ‘#morethanjustacat‘ campaign, to encourage owner‘s to think what their pet means to them.

They also conducted a survey in which more than half of respondents revealed that they celebrate their cats birthday, and nine out of ten said their fluffy companion had improved their mental well-being. 

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