Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

I think I must have carted roughly my own weight of pet food and cat litter over the past 24 hours. However anything we've not got by now will have to wait until the shops open again.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Please consider supporting our Christmas Appeal: animals will go on needing help all through the holiday period and beyond.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tis the Season to be Jolly

Mistletoe from £2.00 a bunch at our charity shop at 61 Burleigh Street. We also have other decorations, cards and gifts as well as all our usual stock.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Buy a mug and fund our animal welfare services for five minutes!

Photo mugs 

Dog design

Cat design
If you're searching for some inexpensive last-minute gifts, then look no further. 

These cute mugs featuring animals rehomed by the branch during the past year are available at our charity shops at 188 Mill Road and 61 Burleigh Street, at £4.75 each.

Every mug bought will make enough profit to run our  services for five minutes (so we need to sell a lot of mugs!)

If you live in Cambridge, please tell your friends.

While they're shopping for mugs they can also look out for some wonderful bargains and gift ideas in our Burleigh Street general charity shop and for a range of fascinating reading in our second hand bookshop at 188 Mill Road.

Animal emotions, citizen science and the promotion of welfare

There's a lot of interest in the cognition of dogs and whether they've evolved to be especially capable of recognising human signals and facial expressions. Cats have been rather left out of this, so it's interesting to find two projects which are almost mirror images of the dog ones — not how good cats are at reading human behaviour, but how well humans can interpret cats.

The tagpuss project at the University of Lincoln aims to investigate the feasibility of studying animal emotions using "citizen science".
Citizen science is a term that describes a partnership between ordinary citizens and scientists working together in real scientific studies. This partnership means we can create large research teams with networks of volunteers who have little training in the area of research to peform tasks such as observation, measurement and computation.
In the case of tagpuss, the volunteers are shown random images of cats and asked to add tags which describe the cats' emotions. Once the image is tagged the system reveals a word cloud showing which tags have been selected by other participants.

It's evident that there's generally a fair degree of agreement, even if it's not perfect — it might be enlightening to compare agreement over tagging images of human emotions (for instance is this person terrified, angry, shocked? )

This can have practical implications for the way we view and look after cats. The extremely rich and subtle social and emotional signals they display help to dispel the idea that they are rather simple unsocial animals. Finding out more about our ability to interpret cats' emotional signals can also help to improve assessment of individual cats—as in the ASPCA "Is that cat feral" study which is intended to help shelters decide which cats are suitable for adoption as domestic pets and which would be happier if they were simply neutered and released back to their original location.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Clinic opening hours over Christmas

The Cambridge RSPCA animal clinic will be CLOSED on Saturday 25th December, Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th December. It will also be closed on New Year's day (Saturday 1st January). All other times as normal. In case of emergency, phone the mobile contact number on your pet's clinic registration card and arrangements will be made for your pet to be seen at the University Vet School.

Please note that the Vet School staff are only able to see animals who have been registered by attending the normal clinic.

If your pet is on long-term medication or a prescription diet, please make sure that you order and collect any repeat prescriptions in good time. This means that the Tuesday session is the last opportunity before Christmas if you need to order medications for collection at the Thursday 23rd December session.

Prescriptions can only be ordered by phoning the clinic (01223 247 986) on a clinic morning. It is not possible to order them by phoning the emergency mobile as the branch contacts answering the mobile do not have access to any of the medical records.