Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sore eyes

Star waiting to alight from the catmobile
One of the regular visitors to our clinic is a lovely lady with a little dog, who also feeds all her local stray cats. As she has mobility problems and no transport she gets very upset if any of them are poorly because she really doesn't have any easy way to get them in a basket and take them to the vet herself. She's also a bit of a worrier, so my heart rather sank when I had a phone call around 10pm on Friday.

In the past she's had me out on searches for at-risk feral chickens, possibly injured muntjac deer and various cat and dog problems and the weather was absolutely chucking it down outside, so I was relieved that this time she seemed to think the morning would be good enough.

Got there just before ten and kitty was obligingly waiting to show off his eyes, which were indeed looking sore, so I popped him in a basket and off to the clinic. He really is an extremely laid-back cat and let the students take a blood sample with no problems at all. He's thin, although he's been eating ravenously, so he may be hyperthyroid; we'll have to wait for the blood results to come back and in the meantime he's in my spare cat pen with a prescription for eye ointment.

He is neutered, so someone obviously was looking after him at one point, and it is possible that he does have a home and was only looking for extra food because he has a medical problem.

Sickening Story

The Daily Mail has a really upsetting report on a woman who drowned eight cats and tried to excuse herself by saying she didn't have enough credit on her mobile phone to call an animal charity to try to get the cats rehomed.

In this case,  she doesn't even seem to have tried to ask for help, but whenever we do turn people away there is always a nagging worry that they will simply leave the animal to suffer or deliberately do it harm.   

There are the owners who insist they won't contact any of the vets local to them because none are any good—my cynical alter ego says they've run up debts with all of them and know they won't be seen.

One of our inspectors gave me some very wise advice: "Always remember it is ultimately the owner who is responsible for an animal. We did not create the situation."

We have an obligation to give what help we can, but we can't let ourselves be manipulated into feeling we are responsible for everything and we must never say no. 

If we go down that route we will either go under because we run out of money or wind up taking in every animal and putting most of them down because we think no-one but us can be trusted.

It comes back once again to prioritising urgency and getting it right. There are owners who just need a small amount of help, or a reminder of their responsibilities, and there are those who simply are not capable of making reasonable decisions and whose animals need to come in to our care. Identifying which is which is what RSPCA Animal Welfare Officers are trained for.