Friday, August 15, 2008

Millicent needs a home

This pretty girl is Millicent, another one of the group of eight. If you might be interested in adopting her, please email

Healthy animals

A dear old lady with six cats of her own had been feeding a scruffy-looking stray and periodically trying to confine him to get him neutered. Finally he disappeared for several weeks and she assumed he'd gone off and died, but he turned up again last night, looking even more the worse for wear and blind in one eye. Claire drove over and took him to Vet24. 

Sadly it turned out that he was a perfect example of why a "no-kill" shelter policy is not as simple as it may sound. If he'd had an owner able to give him tablets and a special renal diet there might well have been some point in having him castrated (so he'd no longer want to wander and fight younger, fitter cats), operating to remove the ruined eye and treating the eye with some remaining sight. As things were, it would have been simple cruelty to confine a cat like him in cattery conditions (most of the earlier to-ing and fro-ing on the old lady's part had been because she couldn't bear to shut him in her shed because he cried). She was in her eighties and wouldn't have been able to organise tablets and special diet. Euthanasia was really the only responsible option to avoid causing him more distress.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Anyone in Soham interested in volunteering?

We have an offer of rent-free, short-term use of a unit on Soham High Street which might be suitable for selling charity items to raise funds in the run-up to Christmas. However, to make it viable we would need a nucleus of committed volunteers - at least 10 to give adequate cover.

If you might be interested and live in or near Soham, please email me -

Branch Reserves Policy

Now that we actually have some reserves (the result of a generous legacy, which pulled us back from a very dicey hand-to-mouth situation) we need to have a policy about the way we manage them, and at our committee meeting this week we agreed the formula below.

“Owing to the nature of our activities and supporter base, branch income is composed of a fairly regular component from fundraising activities and clinic fees and an unpredictable legacy component. This means that we receive occasional very large amounts which need to be used gradually to support the regular income rather than being spent during the year in which we receive them. We aim to keep our free reserves between an upper limit set at twice our annual operating costs and a lower limit fixed at the amount which would permit 12 months continued activity at current levels of regular earned income. 

At any point when free reserves dip below this 12 month safety limit we will have to begin cutting back the level of service which we provide.

At current income and expenditure rates the lower reserve limit is £41,000 and the upper limit is £260,000.”

In other words, if our steady income from the shops, clinic fees, collection tins etc. is £3,000 a month short of what we currently spend, we can calculate how long it would take before our saved funds ran dry. If the remaining time drops to 12 months we need to make emergency cuts until spending is in balance with the steady income. 

Our free reserves at the moment (after allowing for outgoings which we know will take place at the year end) amount to £120,000. This would sustain our current expenditure for three years provided our regular income stays at its existing levels. It means our work is reasonably secure, but there isn't much scope for "capital" projects (such as building an extension to our clinic for a "sluice room", which is one of the things we'd like to do).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And again

Swayne & Partners phoned again this morning to say the last dog owned by the family with the original parvovirus infected puppy has started vomiting, and the one they saw yesterday has died.

Arguably the family have committed some kind of offence under the Animal Welfare Act by failing to provide adequate care for those five dogs, but frankly nothing we could do to them would punish them more than the consequences of their failure to get any of them vaccinated.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Parvo

Vet phones in to say another dog belonging to the family with two parvo-infected puppies is vomiting. They've got no money, so I've agreed to cover basic supportive treatment - given in their surgery car park as they daren't have something that infectious brought into their building to put the paying clients' animals at risk.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Foster Homes Needed

We are looking for people who would be willing to help with short-term care of animals before they're fit enough to be transferred to the kennels. This would usually be injured cats needing "cage rest" - basically time spent confined in a fairly small pen in order to prevent them doing damage to broken bones or wounds that have been stitched.

Fosterers need somewhere indoors suitable to put up one of our pens (tiles or vinyl flooring are ideal because they are easily cleaned).  We provide suitable pens and pay for food and cat litter. Most injured cats would need to attend the RSPCA clinic for several check-ups before being passed as fit for rehoming. We can organise transport if the fosterer doesn't have a car (or isn't available at the right times). Ideally pens should be in a room where they can be shut away from your own cats in order to reduce the risk of disease being spread.

Because of the need to return to the clinic in Cambridge, we are particularly looking for fosterers in or close to Cambridge, but would also be interested in helpers further afield.

If you are interested in fostering for us, please email 


Anyone who fancies winning this rather alarming creature (I think he's meant to be some kind of baboon) can buy a ticket at our charity shop at 188 Mill Road, Cambridge. Hurry, ends on Friday 15th August

Sunday, August 10, 2008


To Haidee Barker of Arbury road vets for very kindly offering to look after the stray with the bad head abscess over the weekend while he still needed daily dressing changes - a really enormous help for us.
Also to Stone Lane vets who took in another stray tom late on Saturday morning, when it would have been virtually impossible to move him anywhere, and helpfully agreed to hold him over until Monday and neuter him before we try to get him into cattery or foster care. It will be much easier for our fosterers to cope with him if he's starting to lose that pungent tom-cat smell.
He's yet another tom who almost certainly had a home originally, but started to wander in search of females, and then was picked up as an injured stray because of a bite abscess. This is one reason why we offer low-cost neutering and neutering vouchers to anyone on state benefits. It not only reduces the production of unwanted kittens, but it also helps to decrease the number of adult males who are handed in to us as injured strays.