Sunday, 10 June 2012

Cat Crisis

Morris was in RTC and his owner never came forward. Morris is now looking for a new home.

I know we spend a lot of time talking about cats on our social media sites and today will be no exception. I don't think you need to be a cat lover to sympathise with the plight of domestic cats in this country; there are truly thousands of cats in this country that have been abandoned and left to stray and fend for themselves. The problem is immense and one I think is not fully understood.

More often the cats are abandoned because the owner has felt they have faced no alternative, usually because they've been unable to find a rescue organisation that can take their cat in. Now I'm not justifying anyones actions here, animal abandonment is a criminal offence, but if you really have exhausted every avenue and you are being evicted, for example, what else can people do? I get asked this question quite frequently by callers and I simply don't have the answer. I truly don't know.
Gideon arrived this week with his brother from Rotherham. They were abandoned in a box on a remote lane. The boys are looking for a home together.

What invariably happens is that we end up in a cycle of desperately trying to cope with the sheer numbers that need us, hoping like hell we find homes for them, only so that we can take some more in. It feels like fire-fighting at this time of year the pressure on all the rescue organisations is tremendous.

At the moment the crisis is at its worse so far this year; all available cat spaces are in use. Our cat admission boards have never looked so full, in fact we've run out of space, on both! I have staff and friends and volunteers squirrelling cats here there and everywhere. There are 8 more to come in next week - 4 adults and 4 kittens - and I know they'll be many more aside from them but we just can't squeeze anyone else in. I'm dreading a call to take in a cat that needs fostering, and I'm clutching at the hope that we will have calls to adopt cats. But we are in the height of kitten season so the interest in adult cats drops dramatically, as we've been experiencing the last 3 weeks.
Trudy was abandoned whilst heavily pregnant. She's waiting to find a new home.

I think what bothers me most about the 'cat crisis' is the blatant betrayal of the cats' love and faith in humans. We currently have a cattery full of really lovely furries, the odd one is timid, but all enjoy human company and prove to be such tonics to adopters when they go to their new homes.

Take Florence, she's gone to live with another cat adopted from us called Hendrix. Her mum has been telling us all about her high-jinx this week, which include stealing make-up brushes and pens left lying around. I had another adopter telling me this week that their cat plays fetch with scrunched up paper! And look at this picture of Dan - is that a happy cat, or what?

The pressure is immense; all the animal rescues are barely coping and we are no different. We have once again run out of cat food in our store cupboard. We, just like any other shelter, live from hand-to-mouth. So I ask anyone who is considering acquiring a cat to ask themselves if they can make a 20 year commitment? I ask anyone who loves animals if they could donate some food to their local rescue. Both these actions make a difference between sinking and swimming for the likes of us.

And please, please adopt, don't buy a kitten! Buying a kitten (from a shop/casual breeder) perpetuates the problem, adopting from a rescue centre helps to alleviate the problem. Animals should not ever be treated like a commodity, animals are sentient beings that deserve to be treated with respect and recognised as individuals. There is that big thing of people needing to be more responsible about pet ownership, but we do understand that peoples' lives change and relinquishing a pet for some is terribly unfortunate and distressing and I do not wish to be seen to be belittling this, but please, please think before you take on that cute bundle of fur.

One of seven kittens available for adoption from tomorrow.