Passion Beyond the Practice: “Each cat makes a nice little impression on my life”

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  Posted by: probe-admin      4th December 2018

Ben Baker, Managing Director of Pearl Dental Software, speaks to Libby Stonell about the highs and lows of fostering vulnerable cats, and how he ended up with much more than he bargained for…

My dad owned Pearl Dental Software originally when it was a bespoke software company and designed things like booking programmes for Aston Villa. When my dad visited our local dentist, he found himself filling out paper forms for what felt like ages and told the dentist: “I write software, let me sort this out for you”. He did just that, and a handful of other dental practices in Leicester, where we’re based, started using our software also. Pearl Dental Software is now known as a software dental practice management company.

A labour of love

Outside of work, I have an interest in computing and do courses on ethical hacking. One course I did was a virtual environment (like a dental practice) with 18 computers and you have to start from the outside, working your way around, compromising each computer and getting bits of information from each one. I really struggled with that, it’s a really difficult skill to learn.

More recently, I’ve been trying to learn how to build mobile apps, its funny to do something for fun that you do for work but I enjoy it. My girlfriend might have other opinions! In our house there is a mezzanine floor, which is my lair almost, and she can hear me typing furiously, but she’s very understanding of my obsessions.

A purrr-fect idea

My girlfriend loves dogs but could never have one due to living in rented accommodation ,and we thought it would be unfair to buy one now as we don’t have a garden. We tried dog-fostering but that was a bit of a nightmare. We had a few that were fine but also had a few real terrors, where it was unclear how well they were trained.

My girlfriend and I decided to start fostering cats. The organisation visited our house and tested it to see if it was cat-proof. Our first cat was a massive Maine Coon and he was really funny as he was just like a dog. That one was a bit of a pain as I loved him but the feeling wasn’t mutual. His previous owner was unwell and signed up for the ‘Rescue My Cat’ scheme, but when the owner died, the cat ran away for a month. When found, he was really emancipated, but we fed him up until he looked really well. I was quite upset when giving back the Maine Coon, we were so close to adopting that one.

We currently have a pregnant queen (female cat) that looks like Felix the cat: big white whiskers and a face that looks really surprised. She was in the early stages of pregnancy when we got her. We were expecting to come home from work and miss her giving birth, and this fear went on for weeks! Every time she made the slightest little meow, we would look over at her and check she was okay. It finally happened, and it’s really nice having four kittens to come home to, and they are getting more mobile everyday!

Saying goodbye

I think we’re going to keep two of the new kittens. It does make it easier knowing that these cats are going to good homes. Pregnant and unwell cats can’t go into kennels because they will most likely get too stressed and wouldn’t last too long. It feels better when we give a cat back, knowing that we’ve got the chance to help another one.

I like to think that they get attached to us too, but with cats, you never know, do you? The kittens have impacted our lives as we’ve been handling them a lot since birth. When they’re a bit older, they’ll either take to you or they won’t. They each make a nice little impression on my life, as I can look through my phone and see non-stop pictures of cats, and have great memories too. We see their characters develop more, the longer they stay with us.


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