THE first animal to set up home in a new £6.7million rescue centre for dogs is a cat!

The team at the Dogs’ Trust centre on the 13-acre Stevenson Farm site, at the junction of the A127 and Nevendon Road, near Wickford, has promised to keep the tabby cat if they can not reunite her with her owner.

Animal lovers across Essex are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first rescue dogs once builders finish making lastminute touches to the building, which will open to the public on Tuesday, June 3.

The day before special guests will be invited to the official opening, which will feature a special parade of the animals.

The tabby cat, which the team have affectionately named Dog the Mog, has frequency turned up at the gates of the rehoming centre.

Manager Maria Wickes said: “One morning this skinny kitty just arrived at the gates and she has made frequent visits ever since. It is ironic that our first unofficial resident would be a cat, but we are all animal lovers and we adore her, even if she meows rather than barks at us each morning.

“Dog the Mog, as we have decided to call her, is rather feral and isn’t keen on human company unless she is being fed. So, it could be that she is simply a feral cat.

“Wewant members of the public to get in touchwith us if they recognise her. Otherwise, we are very happy to welcome her to the centre.”

The cat could be someone’s pet or a local farm cat.

The trust rescue centre is expected to care for 1,000 dogs every year.

They will be housed in glassfronted kennels, with access to the spacious outside areas.

Behind the main reception, which will be open to the public to make donations to the charity, there will be 20 overflow kennels for other dogs waiting to be rehomed.

The eco-friendly building, which is nearly complete, will have solar panels on the roof and all rain water will be collected in an underground tank and reused to clean the glass fronted dog cages every morning.

Thirty staff have been recruited, with volunteers needed to help with dogwalking and cleaning.

Two houses will be on site so managers, carers and maintenance workers are available round-the-clock.

For more information, or to contact the centre, visit