Just had a call from the 24 hour vet about an owner with absolutely no money and a pregnant cat who needs a caesarian. There's no way we can cover the cost, and he's going to try the Cats Protection branch, but even if they can help this time, eventually they'll run out of money as well.
Private veterinary surgeries can't work for nothing or they will go our of business. If only the owner had got her cat spayed—CP would have given her a voucher to get it done for nothing, or she could have used our clinic and paid only £35. If she'd done no more than arrange for her cat to be vaccinated at our clinic it would have meant the cat was registered and eligible for emergency treatment at the University Vet School's reduced charity rates.
The small numbers of people who keep animal charities running can't solve these problems on their own. We need support from the competent animal lovers who form the majority of the pet-owning population, and we need to educate the minority to develop at least the minimal forethought to get pets vaccinated and registered with our own clinic or with the PDSA if they're not going to be able to afford a private vet.