Saturday, November 6, 2010

Beautiful walnut wardrobe donated to our shop

The photo doesn't do it justice, but this is a really attractive antique wardrobe, kindly donated to us together with a large amount of other furniture, including a lockable bureau and various tables.

All now available at our charity shop at 61 Burleigh Street, Cambridge.

Many thanks to the kind donor.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Christmas mug designs sent off

Just approved the designs for this year's limited edition, must-have, Christmas animal mugs, featuring photos of some of the animals we've rehomed during 2010.

Cats design
Dog design
They should be available at our bookshop at 188 Mill Road from mid-November at £4.75 each. Our supporters' Christmas presents sorted, I hope.

Incidentally I'd be grateful for any feedback on how people feel about using pics of actual rescue animals. I do try not to feature any that might be upsetting for fosterers or adopters—for example if an adopted cat was run over and died. I do wonder how someone might feel if they suddenly came across a photo of much loved animal years down the line after they'd grown old and died? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mystery Cat

In case you've missed it, the National RSPCA has a new twitter feed: RSPCA_Frontline, illustrating a selection of real incidents being responded to by RSPCA Inspectors and Animal Welfare Officers.

It's well worth looking at to get some idea of the sheer number of incidents staff are called to investigate, and also the inconclusive nature of many of them - for example call-outs to injured, but mobile, wild animals which are impossible to find.

For many of the incidents which actually do have an outcome of some kind, the local branch forms the next step in dealing with a problem. As a nice example, the final tweet for 1st November was:

"On 01/11/10 our officers were allocated 2093 incidents to attend. Good night."

Each of the 2093 incidents is given a log number so that it can be retrieved from the computer system at a later date, and lo, and behold, a cat is now sitting in the emergency vet in Milton with number 17** - fairly close to the tail end of the day. She's a feral cat who's been trapped and taken there by a member of the public, using a trap loaned by one of the inspectors. 

This was initially a complete mystery to us because the first we knew about her was a call from the vet asking what we wanted to do with her. There followed a daft conversation reminiscent of James Herriot and the dog who was "pretty lively" because we'd got no idea why someone thought she needed to go to a vet, and none of the vets fancied putting his hand inside the cage to do an examination. Best guess was that someone wanted her spayed, but it might have been need for a dental or something entirely different as the person who borrowed the trap seems to have assumed the vet would know. 

The only information the surgery had was her log number and the system does work, because I was able to phone in to the control centre and discover that she was being fed by an elderly lady who had to go into hospital and the person who took over the feeding was concerned her fur was very matted. No-one seems to know for sure whether or not she's been spayed (or has been having kittens) and the plan is to de-matt her under sedation and look for a spay scar at the same time. If she's not got a scar they'll do the spay operation.

Callers who are very concerned about individual animals sometimes think we're over-bureaucratic and causing delay when we insist on administrative details such as log numbers and post codes. The sheer numbers of animals handled by the RSPCA each day mean it's impossible to rely on memory and we have to record information in a systematic way. This cat was a perfect example—without her log number it would have been impossible to track back and verify that the people feeding her are happy to have her back on site. That's hugely important for her future welfare as she's completely unsuited to long-term confinement in a cattery and will have a much better quality of life in the familiar surroundings from which she came.