Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cats and more cats

Our poor driver had a wasted journey this morning. A member of the public had found a stray cat which was "walking funny" and believed to have been hit by a car. As it was after 9 at night, he was asked to take the cat to Vet24 for first aid, with a view to transfer to the clinic in the morning. Unfortunately the cat had other ideas, and on arrival at the vet, he shot up a tree and vanished into the night, before actually reaching the surgery. However, as the vet said, he most likely didn't have any fractures if he could move that fast.

Second stray of the day was a badly matted, un-neutered cat. This is the time of year when tom cats wander in search of females and they often come to grief. This little chap is just a bit battered and should do fine. He turns out to be negative for both Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV): a huge relief. 

Which brings us to the dreaded topic of the Seven Days. Lots of people will tell you that the RSPCA  puts stray animals to sleep automatically after 7 days. This is NOT TRUE, but like many myths, there is a small amount of fact at base. Healthy animals and animals who can be treated so that they can have a reasonable quality of life stay with us until they find a home (the only exception is animals who are actually dangerous). We normally wait until at least 7 days are up before offering them for rehoming, to give their original owner the chance to reclaim them. 

Some animals are clearly so badly hurt and suffering that there is no choice other than euthanasia almost at once. The major difficulty is animals who are less severe cases, but are clearly not going to get better or have a reasonable chance of getting a home. Some of those (end stage kidney disease is an instance) might live happily for a few weeks or months more if they could be reunited with their original home, but it really isn't fair to keep them in cattery conditions. Feline Leukaemia is a nasty and ultimately fatal disease, but a caring owner might nurse a leukaemic cat successfully for some time. In these sorts of cases we'll normally keep the animal for seven days in case the owner turns up, but effectively we'll already have made the decision that euthanasia is realistically the only possible option.

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