Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Clinic Opening Times Christmas 2012

RSPCA Cambridge Animal Clinic will be closed on Thursday 27th December and Tuesday 1st January.

Open Saturday 29th December and as normal from Wednesday 2nd January.

Out of hours service running normally throughout.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Poor Rudolph spending Christmas away from home

Rudolph was reported to our control centre as an injured stray in the early hours of Thursday morning. He's a very friendly, neutered male who must have been someone's loved pet. He seems to have got away with a nose-bleed and bruising which has left him very unsteady on his back legs although x-rays haven't shown any damage to his spine or pelvis. 

As he doesn't need any further vet treatment for the moment, except rest and pain-relief, I've got him back home in a cage lined with vet-bed so that the surgery staff won't need to come in on Christmas day.

As you can see from the photo he's looking quite bright and he's also eating and using his litter tray, but his back legs are still extremely shaky. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Emergency Christmas Menu Ideas

Alarmed at the thought of entertaining vegetarian friends this Christmas? Some helpful ideas in this Kindle book from amazon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"RSPCA Generated"

“RSPCA Generated” is the concept that RSPCA branches and centres should give priority to animals "generated" by the work of the Society when setting admissions policies. 

This was a huge benefit to branches when it was introduced because it ended a situation whereby HQ run centres would preferentially accept very adoptable dogs, which were simply unwanted by their owners, and branches had to take a higher percentage of inspectors’ animals (because branches are responsible for animals taken in buy their local inspector or found as sick/injured strays in their area and HQ centres don't have formal responsibilities of this nature).
Concentrating on the more problematic animals meant higher boarding costs for branches and also made their raw rehoming statistics appear to show that they were very slow and inefficient at rehoming compared with HQ centres, because like was not being compared with like. Injured strays and neglected animals signed over to inspectors will normally take longer before they are fit enough to go to new homes and are also more likely to belong to breeds which are less popular with the general public. Freeing up space at HQ animal centres for animals signed over for welfare reasons took some of this load off branches. 

"RSPCA Generated" is also morally the right thing because if we have made a decision to take an animal out of their current situation it is our responsibility to find a suitable placement.

The downside of this is that sticking to “RSPCA Generated” absolutely strictly means our branch sometimes has to turn away easily adoptable animals whilst still being unable to take on the very expensive traffic accident cases. This probably makes it more difficult to home the animals we do admit because potential adopters who are attracted by photos of cute kittens may go on to adopt an older cat or dog. Healthy kittens and puppies cost us very little because they can usually be placed with foster homes and having them increases interest in and support for the branch.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The 12 Dog Rules of Christmas...

And please make sure you know how to contact your vet's emergency stand-in over the holiday period. Remember there may be a higher than usual charge because the vet covering has to work when most people are enjoying themselves, so make sure you have enough funds available if an emergency does happen.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Couldn't find a vet that accepts benefit claimants"

Occasionally when you read newspaper accounts of RSPCA prosecutions you'll see that the defendant states that they did seek veterinary help for their animal but couldn't find a vet who would accept people who are on benefits.

People who call our branch helpline sometimes say this and it can occasionally be very difficult to persuade them that they must go to the private vet if their pet is suffering and they are not registered to use the out of hours emergency service attached to our clinic.

Of course the idea that vets are operating some kind of selection process and refusing to add anyone who's not in employment to their client list is nonsense, but I don't think owners who say this are simply making up a story to excuse themselves.

The original conversation with the private vet's reception probably goes something like this:

Animal Owner] My dog's not himself.

Receptionist] Oh dear! Do you want to bring him in today?

Animal Owner] How much will it cost?

Receptionist] £30 for a consultation plus the cost of treatment.

Animal Owner] I'm on benefits; what would I have to pay?

Receptionist] We're a business; we can't give a reduction to people on benefits.

Animal Owner] (puts phone down)

From the point of view of the animal's owner; they would go to a vet if only there was a vet who accepted claimants (by which they mean charging reduced rates). 

From the point of view of the vet surgery; they are not failing in their obligation to provide pain relief even if the owner cannot pay because that's not what they've said. They haven't refused to see the animal; they have simply said there won't be a reduction in price.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Animal Welfare Statistics for October

In October we rehomed 11 cats, one rabbit and nine ferrets.

Our clinic treated 220 dogs, 102 cats, 8 rabbits and 2 hamsters and chipped 14 dogs and 11 cats as well as neutering 8 dogs.

Most of the rabbit visits were for vaccination with the new 12 month vaccine which I hope is a sign that all our educational efforts about the importance of vaccination against myxomatosis is having some effect.

Please sign the petition against live exports

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

RSPCA at World Horse Welfare Conference

The image of RSPCA Inspectors tends to be of worthy, but rather "establishment" blokes with not a lot of sympathy for those who don't conform.

Chief Inspector John Grant may fit the stereotype if you judge by looks alone, but as a person who was brought up in the traveling community he's better placed than most people to understand the motivations that can lead to over-breeding and welfare problems and search for solutions rather than just nagging about irresponsible behaviour.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2 puppies; no money; possible broken leg

Call just now from a relation of someone who's bought two very young puppies and now suspects that one of them has a broken leg as the pup is crying and unwilling to put any weight on it. The actual owner of the pups is on benefits and doesn't even have enough funds for credit on a mobile phone to call me direct.

Dogs are very much more liable than cats to injure themselves by jumping on or off household furniture and unfortunately this kind of thing is a fairly common occurrence. I'm hoping that the leg is simply twisted or bruised and simple pain relief and rest will sort it out. If it really is broken then some kind of operation will almost certainly be needed, although the pup's age is in his favour since growing bones repair themselves much more easily than adult ones.

We may well end up taking in one or both of the pups for rehoming if the owner isn't able to contribute anything towards the cost of treatment because it just isn't fair for us to provide free treatment for owners who haven't made any effort to plan at all, but charge the responsible ones who register their animals and save up to cover the cost of treatment.

Update 10 pm

The owner still hasn't managed to get the puppy to the emergency vet because they don't have any transport or money for a taxi. The puppy seems to be resting reasonably comfortably although he's distressed when he tries to walk. The owner's going to keep trying to locate someone who may be willing to give them a lift.

Update 18th November

Puppy has been seen by a vet and has a probable hairline fracture. He's been prescribed pain relief and cage rest (to give the injury a chance to heal). Owner will have to take him to the RSPCA clinic on Tuesday for a follow-up examination, but fortunately it doesn't look as though a repair operation's going to be needed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Congratulations to our Newmarket shop team!

Congratulations to our Newmarket shop team for achieving a fantastic 40% of gift aid sales in October. This represents a lot of hard work behind the scenes as gift aid tax relief can only be claimed if there is a paper trail from donated items to the funds they raise.

This means that our sales team must ensure each donated item is labelled with a bar code sticker matching the sticker placed on the gift aid form completed by the donor. When an item is sold this bar code is scanned at the till and the sale amount credited to the donor number. The till uploads sales details overnight and the computer system keeps a running total of the amount raised by each donor. Periodically I print and mail out the "donor letters" thanking donors and letting them know how much they have raised by their generosity. Once donors have been notified we are able to put in a claim to HMRC for the tax equivalent of the funds raised; meaning that we reclaim 25p for every pound of sales. 

That means an extra £500 raised by Newmarket in October—enough to cover the cost of neutering fifteen cats, chipping 70 dogs or providing 150 low-cost consultations at our animal clinic.

Shops, and the volunteers who keep them running, are the life-blood of the branch because they are our only source of regular income which can be increased by working harder.

We need more volunteers to help keep them in action. If you might be able to help, please drop in for a chat or email We also need donations of saleable items and volunteers to help collect donations from people who aren't able to bring them in to the shops.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Revised national policy on branches

The RSPCA Council have updated the policy on the role of branches and it's worth reading the document if you might be considering the possibility of joining your local branch committee or volunteering with your local branch as it provides a concise summary of what we're all about. The image below is a bit small - so you may find it easier to read the PDF version.

In fact it's not enormously different from the branch Minimum Animal Welfare Standards which were agreed ten years ago: basically the priorities are to provide help (welfare neutering, microchipping, treatments) to prevent cruelty or neglect and to care for and rehome animals taken in when prevention fails.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

RSPCA week isn't a success

To be honest it wasn't a big surprise that my inbox today contained a message from our HQ saying that Tesco are reducing the number of days during RSPCA week 2013 when we can collect donations outside their stores. 

RSPCA week has been incredibly valuable to branches over the years, but we've never been able to realise its full potential because we simply don't have enough volunteers to cover all the major Tesco stores over 7 days. Reasonably-enough Tesco now say it's not fair to say no to other charities who might be able to make full use of the opportunity.

The days we can collect will now be Friday May 3rd, Saturday 4th and Sunday May 5th.

If we make a real effort to achieve total cover in 2013, Tesco may  revise their decision and offer us the full 7 days again in 2014. If we don't ... we could well see our collection permission reduced even further.

Animal welfare is in crisis. Our inspectors are needed as never before and all the while there is the ticking time-bomb of people who have animals and won't be able to cope if they get ill, or injured, or if the price of feed goes up. 

Whether you think the RSPCA is too timid in its campaigns — or much too "activist" — please make a resolution to help us provide the basic welfare services that make animals' lives tolerable.

It would be an enormous help if you could spare just two hours to collect — either during 3-5 May 2013 or during 15-17 February 2013 when we have permission to collect at Pets at Home.

Sheep for live export at Ramsgate port
If you can help collect, please email 

We also need more volunteers to help at our three charity shops and to set up a fundraising group.

Please also consider joining the RSPCA. The more members we have, more likely it is that government will pay attention when we lobby for better treatment of animals. More members also means a larger pool of talent to draw on for local branch committees and stronger democracy.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Harry doesn't have cystitis: he's just looking for a home 
Feline cystitis, or to give it its more correct name: Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) is frightening to owners because any unexplained bleeding is scary. 

It can ultimately be a killer in male cats because there is a risk that it will cause what's known as a blocked bladder — when the cat cannot pass urine at all and strains so much that he may rupture his bladder or build up urinary toxins to a point which causes death.

In female cats urinary tract disease is less of an emergency but it should still be treated by a vet as soon as possible. 

In both sexes, low-level disease may cause the cat apparently to lose house-training (because he or she comes to associate the litter box with the pain of unproductive straining to pass urine) and cause the owner react harshly and so increase the stress which makes the condition worse. 

Today's early morning call from an owner whose female cat was passing small trickles of urine stained with blood was fairly non-worrying (although it would have been better all round if she'd kept up her registration so that she could have seen our out of hours vets today). As she wasn't acutely ill and being female was at low risk of blocking, she could reasonably be asked to wait until our normal clinic session on Tuesday morning. 

If she'd been a male with a blockage the story might have been much less happy. Surgical un-blocking can cost up to £600 at a private vet and by the time an owner realises there is a problem a male cat can be in terrible pain, to the point that waiting until our next clinic session would be inhumane.

Heart disease to round off a stressful weekend

This caller's cat had been missing for several days and returned on Saturday evening, apparently distressed and panting with her mouth open. She had been to the local private vet in the past, but her owners had no idea that they would be closed over the weekend and that the out of hours cover would cost £100 just for the consultation fee. 

They decided to wait until Monday when their normal vet would be available, but by mid-afternoon on Sunday the cat was so visibly distressed that they called the branch helpline in desperation. 

I agreed that we would cover the consultation fee so she could have first aid today and they would bring the cat to our Tuesday clinic to register her (with a silent mental reservation on my part that she might not live until then).

Even responsible owners who get their pets vaccinated and chipped and provide routine vet care don't always recognise just how expensive it may be if an emergency happens at an inconvenient time or if a condition doesn't respond to initial treatment and requires several visits to the surgery.

Considering that the recent PDSA survey showed that a third of pet owners aged between 18 and 24 would give their pets up if the cost became too great there's a time bomb of unwanted animals in the making.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


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Had a call to our helpline yesterday which left me feeling exasperated and upset in more or less equal measure. The person concerned clearly did love animals but also had some issues which meant she wasn't really capable of looking after them properly. She'd "rescued" three rabbits from someone else who'd been threatening to kill them by wringing their necks, but couldn't afford the cost of vaccination at her local vet and didn't have transport to get them to our clinic from the remote village where she lived.One rabbit had already had to be put to sleep because he had myxomatosis and now a second was showing the same symptoms but the vet wouldn't see her because the owner hadn't yet paid off the debt for treating the first one. 

In any case, because it was Saturday afternoon, the surgery she could reach on foot was closed and being covered from their other one in Cambridge which would have cost her £100 for an out of hours consultation and in any case wasn't accessible because she had no transport and no money for a taxi.

Our fantastic inspector offered to go out to the rabbit as she clearly needed to be put to sleep to end her suffering but the owner called back about twenty minutes later to say the bunny had died.

I've offered to cover the cost of getting the surviving rabbit vaccinated at the private vet, which is trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted but will give him a chance if he's not already incubating the disease.

We can't offer to pay off her existing debt, both because we can't afford it and because it would risk opening the floodgates to everyone who hasn't budgeted for their pets becoming sick.

The problem of vet treatment costs isn't straightforward. The only way we could provide anything like an NHS for animals would be if virtually every animal lover in England and Wales joined us and helped raise funds to do it. We can't simply wash our hands of it and say it's the owner's responsibility and that's it because there are too many people with animal who really are not capable of making the hard decisions needed to ensure they only have the pets they can afford to care for properly. On top of that there are the good owners who lose their jobs, have accidents themselves or take on uninsurable animals with existing medical problems.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Writing this at 4.30 am having had an emergency call to the branch helpline just after 4 so no point trying to get back to sleep as I've got to be up by 6 anyway.

Our clinic has out of hours emergency cover for animals who have been registered by attending a normal clinic session, meaning pets whose owners couldn't pay the £100+ unsocial hours fees which a private vet would charge have access to low-cost treatment instead of having to take their chances until morning.

What we can't do is provide transport; I can't really wake up one of our volunteer drivers at this time of night and it costs around £100 to call out the commercial animal ambulance. RSPCA inspectors are not there to provide a taxi service and in any case there simply aren't enough of them on duty at night for it to be practical to divert one of them away from other emergency calls because some pet owner has no arrangements for transporting their pets.

The 4 am call was regarding a large dog whose owner was doubtful whether she could get him into a car and is the third this month where the main issue for getting the animal treated was transport to the vet.

At reasonable times of day we can sometimes arrange for one of our volunteers to help but there really are limitations on what's possible.

Cambridge Evening News have kindly given some publicity to our survey about access to veterinary treatment and it's looking as though transport is a fairly major issue in stopping animals getting timely care.

Click here to take the survey

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Broken hip

In many ways the most problematic cases where owners have no money for treatment are those where an animal's life is not in danger, but he or she is suffering severe pain. A bitch with life-threatening pyometra fairly clearly has to be either treated or put to sleep, but in the case of less obvious conditions there is the risk that an owner may simply leave without the animal getting any useful treatment.

We had an example of this today: a dog who had been lame for some time and treated with pain-killers then referred to our clinic because the owner did not have enough funds for further investigations at the original private vet.

X-rays showed that she not only had a broken hip, but also an older injury to another leg - raising the concern that both legs might break down unless the hip was stabilised by operating.

This would cost £1000+ at most private vets and £300-£500 at our clinic meaning that the owner would be in a difficult situation even with our help. In the event, he said he had no money at all, so we offered to provide pain relief free of charge to give him a few days to think about it and a choice of raising the money to pay or signing the dog over to us for treatment and rehoming.

We can't be in the business of providing completely free operations with no sanctions on the owner or we will simply run out of money and not be able to treat any animals.

Equally, there has to be a safety-net so that dogs like this one don't simply go back home and suffer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Local or National RSPCAs?

RSPCA branches cover the whole of England and Wales and are responsible for providing welfare services within their area. These would normally include:

  • Caring for and rehoming animals signed over via the RSPCA inspectors or taken in as a result of cruelty prosecutions.
  • Providing treatment, care and rehoming for injured stray or unowned animals.
  • Provision of low-cost veterinary care (or help with the cost of vet treatment) for pet owners on very low income whose pets might otherwise go without proper treatment or be put down.
  • Low-cost neutering to help prevent the birth of unwanted pets.
  • Low-cost micro-chipping to help to ensure strays can be re-united with their families.

Branches are normally run by unpaid volunteer committees elected by local RSPCA members whose job it is to decide what facilities are most needed in their area and then work to raise funds to pay for them.

If not enough members are prepared to stand for election or vote, then control of the area returns to the National Society at Horsham and the branch is run by paid employees until a volunteer committee can be recruited again. This naturally means the loss of local knowledge of welfare needs and the mix of skills provided by a group of people based in the branch area pooling their interests.

I don't think the people who originally set up the structure of the RSPCA intended branch elections to work quite like this, but they've effectively evolved into an annual referendum on whether the branch should be run by local volunteers or by the paid staff at Horsham. If you're an RSPCA member and you don't take part in the local democracy of your branch you're voting with your feet for the Horsham option.
If you love animals and want to keep the "local" aspect of your RSPCA branch: get involved! By joining the RSPCA you'll gain the right to vote to elect the members of your local branch committee and the National Council members who govern the RSPCA. If you can spare a few hours each month to attend meetings, do consider standing for election to your local committee. You may not think you have fantastic business or admin skills, but many important committee jobs don't need a huge amount of  prior experience and training is available. The most important things are willingness to work as part of a team, love of animals and being prepared to learn.

If you might be willing to join the committee of RSPCA Cambridge, email

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The second nicest kitten?

Waiting for further news of the kitten our inspector dropped off at the cattery today. She's apparently got a non-painful but wonky-looking leg which will need investigation at some point but doesn't bother her and can probably be treated as just one of those things.

What has piqued my interest is that Richard described her as, "The second nicest kitten he'd ever taken in". It does leave me wondering what the absolutely nicest kitten was like.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Power of We

A rather ungrammatical title for a post about something that really is true.

Animal welfare won't improve unless WE do something about it.

James: in a bit of bother with a collapsible tunnel toy
None of us can do everything; all of us can do something.

Working together, we can achieve far more than we can individually.

The RSPCA is not perfect, but  animal lovers who are prepared to accept the need for give and take can gain a much more powerful voice for animals than as lone voices.

If you want animals to have better lives, please consider RSPCA membership. Membership adds your voice to the power of RSPCA campaigns, and it will also give you the right to vote in branch and national trustee elections.

If you have time, please consider whether you might be able to help our branch as a volunteer, or by joining the branch committee as a trustee.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rabbit Awareness Week 2012

Take a look at this video for more information about keeping pet rabbits happy.

Our clinic in Cambridge offers low-cost rabbit vaccination (£17) to owners who receive means-tested state benefits (including working tax credits). This will provide a year's protection against myxomatosis and Viral Hemorrhagic disease. By taking your rabbit to our clinic you will also be registering them, which has the additional benefit of giving them access to our out of hours emergency service which is restricted to registered pets.

Click the tab above for more information about the clinic.

If you've not visited this page before, we'd be grateful if you could complete our survey into veterinary treatment costs as this will help us improve the services we provide locally.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Survey: please help

We're trying to develop a better picture of the unmet needs for veterinary treatment in the area served by our animal clinic and beyond.
Please encourage anyone you know who has pets to complete it: all information is anonymous, but will help us to find what we need to do to reduce the numbers of animals who go without the treatment they need.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Grim weekend for cats

Sadly several calls from people wanting to know whether we'd found lost cats, and, even worse, asking what to do about dead cats they'd found. One caller wanting advice about breaking in to a property where he suspects his cat has become trapped which I hope our National Control Centre were able to help with.

But, one call did make me very upset and angry. It was from a good samaritan neighbour who was trying to help a mentally handicapped man whose cat had been mauled by a dog. First there was the infuriating fact that, in spite of all our publicity efforts, this gentleman had still not understood that he needed to register ALL his cats with our clinic if they were to be eligible for the out of hours service our veterinary provider offers. This isn't something that I have the ability to treat leniently; our agreement with the vets is that they will see animals who have been registered by attending a normal clinic session at some time over the past two years and I don't have any ability to make exceptions for hardship. Secondly, he'd got no provision at all for paying for treatment; even if I'd been able to get him into the low-cost scheme he couldn't have paid anything. Thirdly, the private vet his helpful neighbour contacted was refusing even to provide euthanasia unless we agreed to cover the cost, plus the consultation fee.

I don't think it's likely that the cat's life could have been saved even if we could have covered the cost of attempting surgery, and I appreciate that vets are in a very difficult position because they would go out of business if all their potential clients could just say they couldn't pay and get things for free. However they do have a professional obligation to relieve suffering and if they demand we pay more than we can raise by fundraising we will go bust and there will be no source of help for vulnerable owners.

It's extremely worrying that so many owners still seem to have no idea that free or cheap veterinary treatment isn't automatically going to be available if something goes wrong (for example, see this thread about access to PDSA treatment on the dogpages discussion forum).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Animal Welfare Statistics for July and August

In July 2012, our clinic treated 237 dogs, 117 cats, 9 rabbits and 6 miscellaneous small furries.

We rehomed 12 cats, 1 dog and 2 miscellaneous, and took in one case dog from the inspectors and six injured stray cats via the RSPCA National Control Centre.

In August 2012, our clinic treated 243 dogs, 125 cats, 4 rabbits and 4 miscellaneous small furries.

We rehomed 8 cats and 2 rabbits.

A further three cats were put to sleep on veterinary advice that treatment would be futile and only prolong their suffering.

We took in 8 cats and three rabbits as injured strays via the National Control Centre.

Over the year to date, our clinic has provided low cost treatments for 1,815 dogs, 688 cats, 51 rabbits and 39 small furries - a total of 2,593 animals altogether.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Collecting at Pets at Home this weekend

As always, these opinions are my own thoughts and not the responsibility of the RSPCA.

Pets at Home is the largest chain of pet stores in the UK. Many of these stores offer additional services such as pet grooming and micro-chipping and have assistants trained to give advice about flea and worm products so that the store is almost acting like a pharmacy for animals. The company also owns a franchise of veterinary surgeries and many of these surgeries operate out of the same building as the pet stores. It has potentially enormous influence on members of the general public who keep animals because of the all-inclusive nature of the services it provides.

And it does sell animals.

The stores don't sell puppies, kittens, or adult cats and dogs, but they do sell rabbits, guinea-pigs and smaller animals as well as fish and captive-bred reptiles.

Many UK animal charities (for example PDSA, Blue Cross) already have a relationship with the company because they can't justify turning down a potential source of help for the animals who need them. In the past, the RSPCA has always held back, taking a view that fundraising need shouldn't be allowed to compromise our message about the terrible problems caused by impulse purchase of animals.

Frankly this has not worked: the number of people who buy animals and contact us demanding help within a matter of days is growing, not decreasing. The danger of compromising our message is finely balanced with the danger that what we say will be ignored if ordinary animal lovers come to believe we want to end pet keeping altogether. Most people who work in pet stores probably choose their job precisely because they like animals, not because they are heartless exploiters, and name-calling doesn't help convince them that change is needed. If we've had a somewhat biased view of them the same probably applies the other way round and a genuinely closer relationship may convince them that we're not making up our stories about the enormous problem of unwanted rabbits.

This matters because if they're telling their customers there isn't a genuine problem it discredits the work of the RSPCA and potentially impacts on all the other things we're trying to do for animals.

Worst scenario sees us with even more limited funds, because we've lost the confidence of ordinary people, and call after call continuing to come in from impulse buyers with sick animals abusing our volunteers because they think our funds are being spent on "politics" instead of helping animals.

So this weekend represents a toe in the water. All over the country RSPCA branches will be collecting to raise funds for their welfare activities in their local Pets at Home Stores, and we need to recruit more helpers.

If you might be able to help collect in Cambridge or Newmarket, please email

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rabbit Awareness Week - one day only offer!

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On Wednesday 19th September, our animal clinic will be offering FREE rabbit health checks for owners who are on means-tested benefits (which does include working tax credits).

In addition, there will be an opportunity to get rabbits vaccinated against myxomatosis and VHD for just £17 (again this is restricted to owners on qualifying benefits).

The clinic opens for booking in at 8.30 in the morning and no additional animals can be booked in after 10.30 am. To take advantage of this offer you need to bring some proof of benefit (a bank statement showing relevant benefits being paid in is fine).

Rabbits are one of the trickiest pets to keep healthy, so we hope this will be a small step towards improved rabbit welfare in Cambridge.

If you can't make it on the 19th, don't forget rabbit vaccinations will be available at our normal clinic sessions throughout the year for just £17.

Cambridge is a high risk area for myxomatosis, so it makes sense to get your rabbits protected.

Vaccination at our clinic also means your bunny is registered to use our low-cost out of hours emergency service should they become ill or injured outside normal clinic hours. But remember, you need to keep up your pet's yearly booster vaccinations to maintain your registration.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Grand bookshop relaunch tomorrow!

By 7 pm this evening we decided the shop was as ready as it's ever going to be and staggered home, to be ready for an early start tomorrow. Our volunteers have repainted all the walls; put up extra shelving; shampooed the carpet; washed the windows; repaired the light fittings, then rationalised the book categories and filled the shelves with as much fresh stock as possible.

We'll probably still need to do a small amount of shifting around if the amounts allowed for the different    classes aren't yet quite right and some of the most interesting books are still in boxes that won't be accessible until we've completed the re-organisation of our basement stock-room. However there will still be lots of bargains and interest for book-addicts when we open tomorrow at 10 and the "hidden store" will gradually flow out onto the shop floor as we empty boxes.

Many thanks to former city MP Anne Campbell for agreeing to do the official opening and to everyone who worked so hard on the refurbishment or helped by loaning equipment or donating materials, including ASDA, Cutlacks, Halls of Cambridge, Cambridge Resale, Homebase, Lloyds TSB.

Special mention must go to Claire of ASDA's Community Life project who put in an enormous amount of work driving forward the renovation, and to Pat, Liz, Alison, Paul and Eileen who worked incredibly hard to get it done in the time available.

We still need your book donations!

Please keep donations of books, CDs, vinyl and DVDs coming: the interest of a shop like ours depends on a constant input of fresh items so that customers know it will always be worth their while to stop by and see what's new.

At the moment the bookshop is open from 10 am until 5 pm from Monday till Saturday (we'd very much like to recruit some extra volunteers to make it possible to open Sundays too).

Our current target is to increase our sales by £200 per week so that we can generate £1,000 profit which can be used to support our low-cost animal clinic.


Please visit the main RSPCA website for more information about keeping animals safe in very hot weather. Some dogs may be at risk even of heat stroke even if you are careful not to leave them in a car.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What's worse than the kitten season?

The caesarian season.

Just (12.30 am) had a conversation with a frustrated vet about the number of people who don't get their cats spayed and don't have any funds to deal with the consequences of something going wrong. 

It can cost over £1,500 to get an operation done to save a cat's life after her uterus has ruptured because she's been in labour for hours with a kitten stuck in the birth canal. In those circumstances, of course all the kittens will be dead.

Even an uncomplicated caesarian for a cat can cost over £500.

In comparison, spaying a cat so that she does not give birth is incredibly cheap - usually less than £70 - and there are animal charities almost begging to offer financial help to people who really can't afford the cost.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our latest rehoming poster: please display if you can

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun dog show: pics from last year

Just to whet your appetites for our Bigger and Better show in two weeks time.

This year's show will begin at 12 noon (registration) with the first class starting at 12.30. Lots of side shows and activities as well as the main show itself. Please come along and help raise even more money to help local animals.

Ben, our mascot for the day

Winners of the "mismatched pair"

Waiting for the command!

Fastest recall

Slightly lumbering recall

Flatten your ears to reduce wind resistance

I retrieve too!

Village Vet Whittlesford kindly provided sponsorship

Some of the winners

In a bit of a tangle

More winners

A bit hot for some

Face painting and ice-creams!

Getting a thorough examination

Monday, June 18, 2012

Animal Welfare Statistics for May

During May the branch rehomed three dogs, two cats and nine ferrets. Our clinic treated 218 dogs, 68 cats, 10 rabbits and 8 miscellaneous small furries.

Numbers of rabbits seen by the clinic continue to be worryingly low considering that this is the time of year when rabbits should be vaccinated against myxomatosis.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Cambridge even the bees are on bicycles!

Not really RSPCA- related, but I couldn't resist adding this photo of a swarm of bees who settled on one unlucky student's bike which she'd parked in the New Museums site where I work for my day job. (The bees are the brown mass hanging below the basket).