Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday at the bookshop

Bulging stock room
Followed by nice, full shelves in the shop
Many thanks for the wonderful donations of books this week, including lots of out of print Penguins, which are very popular.

Stephanie and I are now bent double after hours sifting through sacks of books, but the RSPCA bookshop's shelves are promisingly full.

The shop is now opening Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but we still need to recruit more volunteers so we can cover the full six days, and possibly Sunday too.

If you might be interested in volunteering, please email

Friday, September 9, 2011

Calls about reptiles

Lizard by Lairich Rig

Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara)
  © Copyright Lairich Rig and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

We're getting a slightly surprising number of calls from people who are concerned about finding lizards in their garden (or straying inside buildings), so I thought I'd try to find a photo showing what species these are likely to be. The only other British lizards are the Smooth snake (a legless lizard) and the much rarer Sand Lizard. 

They are entirely harmless to people (in fact beneficial because they feed on insects and slugs) and, at a maximum size of about 8 inches, have much more reason to be afraid of us than we of them.

All species of British lizard are protected by law, and it is an offence to kill or injure them. If one end s up indoors (perhaps attracted by warmth), the best way to remove it is probably to capture it by putting something like a jam jar over it, then sliding a piece of card or paper under the rim of the jar until the lizard is confined. Alternatively you could use a dustpan and soft brush to gently sweep the lizard up and then release it outside. 

Lizards have waterproof skin which is dry and scaly to the touch. Other lizard-like creatures you may find locally are various newts. These are amphibia (related to frogs and toads) and their skin is moist. They definitely ought not to be indoors as they will dehydrate and die, but may get in by accident, or possibly be brought in by cats.

SO1191 : Newt by Penny Mayes

  © Copyright Penny Mayes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

As exotic reptiles become more common as pets, there's the added potential complication of escapees. If you find a lizard that's significantly more than 8 inches long, it may be a lost pet. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Animal Welfare Figures for July and August

I've got a bit behind with these.

The stats for July are:

Animal treatments: Cats 108, Dogs 238, Rabbits 6, and 4 miscellaneous "small furries"

We rehomed 2 dogs, 11 cats and 2 miscellaneous.

For August:
Treatments: Cats 141, Dogs 295, Rabbits 7 and 3 miscellaneous.

We rehomed 3 dogs, 8 cats, 1 Rabbit and 3 miscellaneous.

Total treatments for the year to date: Cats 813, Dogs 1,970, Rabbits 71 and 28 miscellaneous.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


On reception at the clinic all yesterday morning, with Patch, one of the cats I'm fostering fitted in at the end of the session. The abscess under her eye has healed up nicely, but unfortunately her skin condition is, if anything, worse than ever. She's now on steroids to try to clear up the inflammation and irritation and medicated baths to keep the skin clean and wash off allergens.

This morning I had an anxious call from on of our local "cat ladies", about a probable stray she's been feeding (shown in the picture). We're fairly certain that she's hyperthyroid and that someone has gone to the trouble of getting it diagnosed, because her throat has been shaved at the point where blood would be taken for the test. The major problem is that she doesn't seem to be going home at all, which is very bad news if she ought to be on medication for the condition. The vets were able to feel an enlarged thyroid, and she's got all the symptoms: extreme weight loss while eating ravenously, racing heart, thirst and excessive drinking.

Cycled over at 8 and collected her as the "least worst" option since if we take her in we do at least know for sure what's happening, while if we leave her where she is we've got no way of knowing whether or not she's returning home or getting any treatment at all. Hyperthyroidism is a common problem in elderly cats and is usually treatable with medication, but the longer a cat goes without treatment the greater the strain on her heart and kidneys.

To the charity shop at 11, but not a lot of customers due to the awful weather. This was compensated by lots of incoming donations of items to sell, including two enormous ones including loads of very good crockery, which should go well when the students return. The clothes donations included a bag of towels, which are very welcome with so many foster cats needing washable bedding.

We need to recruit more volunteers to help in the shops. If you are interested, please email or (depending on your location).