Saturday, November 28, 2009

Volunteer drivers needed for our shops

We're looking for someone (or several someones) with a car who would be prepared to put in about an hour a week moving stock between 188 Mill Road and 61 Burleigh street. We need to do this because it's often more convenient for supporters to drop off their donations at Mill road and we then sort them there and transfer just the saleable clothes and ornaments.

We're also looking for volunteer drivers who would be prepared to help with house-clearances. This often produces some very good quality stock for the shops (among a lot that can only be sold for recycling) and is very popular because people wanting houses cleared are happy to see the contents going to support a charity rather than being thrown in a skip.

House clearances are done on an occasional basis and usually involve one or more drivers and some helpers working for about half a day.

We reimburse petrol costs.

If you might be interested in this, please email or phone 01223 212 644

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another elderly stray

It's hard to know what to do for the best when we get calls to pick up elderly "stray" cats. Callers naturally tend to assume that a thin, "poor" looking cat has got that way because he or she doesn't have a home or isn't being cared for. That's not necessarily true, and a very frail-looking animal may well have a devoted home only a few doors away and simply be a very old cat. On the other hand, if the cat really has got lost, and is very elderly their chances of survival are obviously much worse than for a young, fit animal, so we would normally ask the caller to make enquries locally, but agree to collect if no owner is found.

Once we have the cat it's difficult for vets to make an effective assessment without any knowledge of previous history and we'll need to pay for blood tests as a minimum to check kidney function and whether or not the cat is hyperthyroid. Some conditions are treatable and the cat might be able to be placed in a home and live for years; others (such as the last stages of kidney failure) are hopeless and it's not fair to put put the cat in kennels and hope for the best.

If the vet's opinion is that the cat is suffering and ought to be put to sleep then as a welfare organisation we really cannot disregard their advice (bear in mind that this will not usually be "an RSPCA vet" but a normal private vet who is treating people's pets every day).

Just yesterday one of the Soham vets took in a very poorly looking stray for us and this morning they phoned to say he had a bleeding cancerous mass in his mouth and was in pain. In those circumstances it really isn't acceptable to delay in case an owner makes contact. The same day they took in another injured cat for us and he died overnight, so with hindsight it would have saved money to be used for other animals and been better for him if he'd been put to sleep at once. Sometimes these decisions have tragic consequences.

Old strays are another reason why we need more foster homes where we can give a higher standard of TLC than will ever be possible in a cattery environment. These are cats who are unlikely to be rehomed, but are still enjoying life and only ask for warmth, food, a litter tray and a comfortable bed.

If you might be willing to consider fostering animals for the branch, please email

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stocking Fillers

We get a commission from Amazon when you purchase books starting from the links on our pages

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Whitehaven news report of Cumbria rescue

Pictures of the RSPCA water rescue team working in Cumbria in the Whitehaven News illustrate just how physical the work of the inspectors and animal welfare officers is.

Some people might think all of the rescue effort should be concentrated on helping human beings, but by providing trained people who know enough not to become casualties themselves they're making it less likely that pet owners will try to return to retrieve their animals and need to be rescued by the emergency services.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not just books!

Our charity shop at 188 Mill Road also has pictures (antique and new), posters and music (CDs and vinyl).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More and more requests for help

The number of requests we're getting for emergency help with veterinary treatment is increasing in a worrying fashion. I've had five calls this weekend, each of them meaning £100 just to get the animal seen by an emergency vet for pain relief. This time last year two or three calls would have been a bad weekend, and it doesn't seem to be slackening off.

A bigger proportion of them now seem to be people who are registered with a private practice and have never needed help in the past, but haven't budgeted for the increased cost of out of hours treatment now that nearly all vets use a dedicated ER cover vet rather than just expecting their staff to get up and deal with emergencies. I've no doubt that it makes out of hours treatment safer if the vet's not single-handed and dizzy with fatigue. However— it's making pet insurance more and more essential and also more essential that owners investigate the small print and make sure their insurer will pay the vet direct if they aren't going to be in a position to pay by credit card and claim the cost back.

From our point of view it's making the cost of veterinary help a more and more concerning part of our outgoings and it's ever more urgent that we increase the income from our shops.

Christmas cards available now!

Delightful animal cards now available to buy at 188 Mill Road and 61 Burleigh Street in Cambridge.

All profits from the sale go to support out local animal welfare work.