Home is where all the cats are

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

Fe­line fine: Vikki Skin­ner man­ages dozens of cats and that’s not even her full time job.

A love of the cats no­body wants prompted Vikki Skin­ner to open a sanc­tu­ary.

Skin­ner and her part­ner run Out­pawed, refuge for wild and un­wanted fe­lines based in Whitby.

The pair have just em­barked on a mis­sion to trap and de­sex wild colonies in Horowhenua in an ef­fort to stop the cats breed­ing.

Skin­ner chat­ted to Kapi-Mana News about her life, her love and what she’d likely take to onto desert is­land.

What do you do for a job?

I ama ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal chemist and work as the pro­duc­tion team leader for a com­pany in Welling­ton. My team pro­duces ra­dio­trac­ers used in the di­ag­no­sis of cancer and other dis­eases.

What’s the best part of your job?

I re­ally en­joy the early morn­ing pro­duc­tion shifts with my col­leagues. Be­ing up in the mid­dle of the night, pro­duc­ing a drug that you hope will make a dif­fer­ence for some­one. Not to men­tion the in­ter­est­ing sto­ries and jokes that come out at 3am.

What’s the worst?

When some­thing non-rou­tine hap­pens and we end up with a pile of pa­per­work to fin­ish at 6am.

What would peo­ple be sur­prised to know about you?

I ama black belt in Kyokushinkai karate. I have been train­ing since I was 9.

How do you re­lax?

I read and play video games. There isn’t a lot of time for that at the mo­ment.

Where can we find you in the week­ends?

Ei­ther at home clean­ing up af­ter the cats or out trap­ping feral/stray cats. I re­ally could be just about any­where.

Do you have any spe­cial tal­ents?

Not par­tic­u­larly. I used to be a pretty good clar­inet­tist.

If you could in­vite three peo­ple to din­ner - liv­ing or dead - who would they be and why?

I would in­vite Sir Pa­trick Ste­wart, be­cause we have to have an ac­tor and he has got to be my favourite. I would in­vite Marie Curie. I’d just love to talk to her about the progress that we have made in ra­dio­chem­istry since her time.

Fi­nally, I would in­vite car­toon­ist Stan Lee so we could talk about his work. Of course he would have to bring comics in­stead of wine.

Favourite place in Porirua?

Does home count? I love the at­mos­phere and peace in Whitby, and home is where the cats are.

If you could have one su­per power what would it be? Why?

I would have tele­port - the worm­hole kind, not the phase kind. I’d rather not ac­ci­den­tally kill my­self by phas­ing into a solid ob­ject. It would re­ally save me a lot of time trav­el­ling to work and trans­port­ing cats ev­ery­where.

What scares you?

Los­ing my fur-ba­bies. Just think­ing about it ter­ri­fies me. I’m also afraid of heights and spi­ders.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?

Emmy Ros­sum.

What was your high­light of 2016?

I got mar­ried in Novem­ber. Start­ing Out­pawed was a close se­cond.

What three things would you take if you were go­ing to be stranded on a desert is­land?

I’d take a book, a knife and a roll of duct tape.

PHOTO: VIR­GINIA FAL­LON/FAIR­FAX NZ

Vikki Skin­ner res­cues un­wanted cats in Porirua and Welling­ton.

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