The welcome appearance of summer weather brings a whole new slant to animal rescue and rehabilitation. This last week or so has seen a dramatic increase in the number of queens and kits needing refuge. We've recruited more foster carers to cope with the pressure, but we have come to the sad realisation that we cannot handle any more admissions. This means that until we rehome kittens or the kittens are old enough to be rehomed, we just can't help any more. This is deeply frustrating but as a team of three and only so many hours in the day, we have to acknowledge our limitations right now so we can make sure we can do the best by our charges.
I learnt yesterday that we are not the only branch in this position. My inspectorate colleagues in South Yorkshire have yet again turned to us for help with admissions because there are no spaces in their neck of the woods. It is so frustrating not being able to help people and animals in genuine need. Take, for example, a desperate situation of 3 cats whose owner passed away. They are being fed by neighbours but with not even a spare foster home to take them in we couldn't offer them a lifeline.
Few realise how many of my colleagues take home charges until there is space at a branch or animal centre. We just don't have an infinite amount of capacity to help all the animals in need and the inspectorate are a prime of example of people who go above and beyond. My friend Liz across the Pennines has these beauties for the weekend because the alternative was to leave them in the finder's shed.
This week someone on Facebook questioned why we don't help with free cat neutering to prevent this annual explosion. The comment came on a day when we'd gone to someones home to collect their 5 cats for neutering for this very reason. But they didn't answer and after 30minutes of trying we had to walk away and cancel the ops at the vets. This is not an isolated incident. We offer vouchers and free neutering programmes all year round but rarely do they get utilised.
We don't give up though, and in the coming week we will be embarking on yet another neutering programme, beginning in Salford M7. It is funded by the Cats Protection League and all the co-ordination and operations will take place at the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital. Our role will be to help with transportation - collecting the cats for neuter and returning them at the end of the day. At the moment I can't even think about how we will fit it in our schedule, but we are so committed to cat neutering that if it means silly-long working days then we will do it.
|Queen found stray with her kittens. She has a large cyst, which we are hoping will go down once she's nursed her babies.|
Whilst I agree that animal charities have a role to play in helping to neuter animals, owners have to play their part too. I found myself saying to someone this week that if you cannot afford £25 to neuter your female cat at our animal hospital then you cannot afford to own a cat. Harsh? Possibly it was, but neutering has to be the very least level of veterinary intervention any cat owner should subscribe to, surely?
I'm also pretty fed up with the number of times people take on a pet only to give up on them when things in their lives change. I don't mean significant changes like death, eviction, job loss - these are life changing and shattering experiences. I mean I just want people to think harder about whether they can give a life-time commitment to an animal. Ask yourself: can you actually imagine where you will be in ten, fifteen years time and imagine still having that animal with you? If you can't, then don't do it. Don't take that animal home. I remember doing a home visit for a nice young couple who I later found out (18 months down the line) that after 6 months they'd decided to go travelling and gave their cat away. If you cannot be reasonably certain of where you will be in the following years post acquisition then please think twice about what you are doing.
|Truffle is not a toy, she's a twenty year commitment.|
It's not just cats that suffer from over-population and irresponsible pet ownership, it's rabbits too, and by the truck load. This week we have a litter of 8 week old babies removed from a home of over 50! Then we admitted a stray that gave birth to 9 overnight. Rabbits are so hard to rehome, especially male babies. We still have Butterscotch, who was born last October (and his mum for that matter). He's a good looking boy and lovely natured but just keeps being overlooked.
|New admission Joshua, 8 weeks old with the most wonderful personality.|
Along with lots of new dogs, all of which have been kept outdoors instead of inside the family home being loved and cherished, we have our work cut out over the coming weeks to rehabilitate so very many animals. I think, in the last week or so, we have pretty much doubled our numbers and so we've really got our work cut out for us, so we are grateful that we have a month off from events. Kitten season is well and truly in full swing and don't we know it about it.