Friday, December 4, 2009


This is Maisie, the cat with the broken jaw who came in just over two weeks ago, still looking a bit sorry for herself. As you can see from the pics, the left-hand side of her face is still not quite right, but she should be able to have the metal wire out next week. I think she's almost blind on the bad side except that her pupil contracts in bright light, so she can probably see light and shade.

Winter Fair 2009 on Mill Road TOMORROW!

Ffiona and Naomi have been busily sticking cloakroom tickets on an enormous pile of tombola prizes. Please come along and spend your money!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Win a (large) cuddly dog toy

Mill Road Winter Fair takes place this Saturday - 5th December. We're running a grand "name the dog competition" — winner's prize is this cheerful-looking chap.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What a week!

Kicked off with Maisie, an unclaimed stray with a broken jaw. She was allegedly eating soft food following the operation to pin it, but spent the next six days resolutely refusing to swallow anything unless I syringed it into her mouth. She's now lapping feline AD (appetite diet), still a bit cautiously, and I think she simply doesn't like the feel of the metal that's holding her jaw in place until the bone mends. She's quite young and hopefully will be resilient enough to make a pretty full recovery although she probably won't get back normal vision in her left eye.

We then had a really frightening drama when Benny, a feral kitten one of our fosterers was taming, went completely off his back legs and couldn't stand. One possible diagnosis would have been toxoplasmosis, which is potentially transmissible to humans, and by Murphy's Law he was with one of our fosterers who has small children. Test results are now back and it's definitely not toxo, although the vets are not sure what the underlying trouble actually is and it seems to come and go.

Sadly one cat picked up after a traffic accident didn't make it through the night, and another very elderly stray had to be put to sleep after the vets found a huge bleeding tumour in his mouth. Another traffic accident had a happier result and the cat is being fostered by a volunteer who will probably adopt her. One of the very elderly cats was found dead in her pen first thing in the morning.

Finally our shop manager at 61 Burleigh st, went down with 'flu (probably partly reaction after all his hard work getting the shop up and running).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

RSPCA elections

Nominations for the RSPCA national council election open in January, and the deadline to join the society if you might be interested in standing for our local branch committee next year is close, so I thought I'd write something about the governing structure of the RSPCA.

If you're interested in helping to decide RSPCA policy, the first step is to become a member; you will be eligible to vote in RSPCA elections three months after your application has been processed. Members are also eligible to stand for election to their local branch committees, and this is probably the best way to get involved initially. (At present, the online application form seems not to be feeling well, so you might have to phone the number given on the page instead).

Branch committees are composed of volunteers and are elected each year at the branch Annual General Meeting. All RSPCA members living in the branch area are invited to this meeting and those who turn up vote to elect the new committee. Unless something very controversial has happened it's quite difficult to get enough people to stand to form a committee so AGM elections are more in the nature of a vote of confidence than a contested election. However they do mean that the membership could get rid of a committee that was doing a poor job (although they would then have to do the work of the people they'd ousted so they might be sorry in the long run!)

As well as running their own local facilities, branch committees can send representatives to their Regional Board and Local Animal Welfare Group; which are committees responsible for activities spanning the areas of a group of branches. They also have a collective vote in the election of Regional Representatives to the RSPCA's ruling council. The combined effect of this is to ensure that the Council has strong input from the people who are doing animal welfare work at grass roots level. This is important because of the ever present danger that leaders who are not in touch with what is actually happening on the ground will "fight the last war" — for example assuming that a major welfare problem is lots of unwanted healthy animals, rather than sick and injured animals whose owners can't or won't afford the cost of veterinary treatment.

The remainder of the governing council of the RSPCA are elected by postal vote of the whole membership. This election is usually fairly hotly contested and the candidates are mostly people who have come up from the branches (perhaps after a period as branch representatives on a Regional Board), or individuals with a national reputation for campaigning or welfare work.

If you might be interested in joining the Cambridge branch committee, email Most prospective candidates arrange to sit in on a few meetings before they decide whether they want to stand or not (but be aware that some meetings to discuss financial decisions have to be "closed" meetings where only elected members can be present). We usually hold our AGM towards the end of June and all members will receive an invitation a few weeks beforehand.

If you want to become more involved, please bear with us! I'm afraid that, because we're perpetually running about, we often give new people the impression that they're being ignored. This isn't done on purpose, so please keep turning up and you will find that it eventually becomes clearer. One thing we're hoping to organise in the future is a regular meeting for volunteers, so that it will be easier for people to find out what's going on, rather than being isolated doing just the clinic, shop, home-visits etc.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cat carriers and old towels

We can always use more cat carriers and old towels if you have any you no longer want.

Carriers need to be capable of being soaked in disinfectant, so not the wicker type ones, but plastic, metal or fabric are all useful.

They can be left at our shops (188 Mill Road, 61 Burleigh St or 156 High Street, Newmarket) or at the animal clinic (1 Pool Way, Whitehill Road, Cambridge). However the shops are probably easier as they're open all day.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

RSPCA Cambridge & District Branch webshop newsletter

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