An Australian feline whisperer and a writer who pens poetry for his moggy are just two of the thousands of people who’ve jumped at the chance to live a cat-lover’s dream in Greece…
It was a job to please a thousand cat lovers - or 35,000, to be more precise.
When Joan Bowell appealed for someone to replace her in the running God’s Little People Cat Rescue in Greece, nothing could have prepared her for the tidal wave of response.
In a new interview with the Observer today, Bowell reveals that she and her husband have had to hire volunteers in order to help them sift through the tens of thousands of job entries they’ve received from over 83 countries worldwide.
“It’s been inspiring, sobering and quite distressing to read people’s reasons for applying,” says Bowell.
“We’ve had refugees wanting to find a way out of war zones and people from Russia and India who have reached a low point and feel unable to continue caring for their own animals, which they can’t afford to feed.”
The hotly contested role involves looking after around 70 rescued cats at Bowell’s ocean-facing property on the idyllic Greek island of Syros.
The part-time position would involve feeding, medicating and heaping TLC upon the horde of felines, in return for free accommodation, a fair local salary and Aegean Sea views.
The chosen candidate would ideally have “a heart of gold”, be able to handle solitude well and have a solid grasp of moggy psychology.
Hopefuls who’ve applied for the position include a self-professed “catman” from Australia with cat-whispering superpowers, an air force veteran who has offered to enhance the role with his understanding of security, and a Seattle writer who pens poetry for his cats.
Bowell, who is an artist, set up the cat sanctuary with her husband after the couple moved to Syros in 2011.
“It was overwhelmingly sad how many [cats] lived around trash bins scouring the garbage and fighting over scraps. I started feeding a colony by the local dumpsters,” she says.
“People also come here for the summer, feed the strays and leave them. Come winter, these cats start coming into our garden because they don’t know where else to find food.”
The couple hope to create “a new, more humane world” with their rescue work but now need to hand over the ropes to someone else while they travel to New York to continue helping stray cats (you can donate to their new project here).
The candidate they eventually plump for will have “a deep empathy for the feelings of a cat”, as they settle into Greek island life with the four-hour-a-day job on a secluded nature reserve.
We’re not sure whether the meteoric response to the role is testimony to a genuine love of cats, a globally poor work-life balance or the degree to which people simply crave escapism.
Whatever the reason, clearly hanging out with a gaggle of felines in Greece beats a high-tenor city job any day. We’ll raise a glass of Ouzo to that.