Suzan Kennedy Adoption Centre Manager “Caring for all the cats at our centre is a 365 days a year task. With our 28 adoption centre pens full and all our fosterers places full too we knew we were going to be busy.”
“On the 18th of December we stopped rehoming cats for two reasons. Firstly, it is very important that a pet should never be given as a surprise gift. Taking on a pet is a big commitment and it is a decision that you need to make for yourself. Before we rehome a cat we visit the potential new owner to make sure their home life would suit the cat they have chosen. It is also an opportunity to fully discuss the needs of that particular cat, and if they have never owned a cat before, it is the perfect time to provide them with all the information they would need to care for a cat. When we rehome a cat we aim to make it a home for life; so talking to the potential new owner plays a crucial part in making this happen.”
“Secondly, Christmas is generally the time of year when a household is at its most hectic. To successfully settle a cat into a new home it requires a quiet home and an owner who has the time to spend getting to know their new pet. Moving to a new home is stressful enough for a cat so we start rehoming again on the 2nd January when households have a much calmer atmosphere.”
Cattery assistants Kelly Eyre, Michelle Brown and Adam Davies are part of a team of 7 members of staff who have been working at the centre over Christmas. “Whilst most families are sitting around the Christmas tree opening presents staff and volunteers are busy looking after our homeless residents. But working on Christmas day isn’t just about cleaning out cat pens and giving all the residents some food and a cuddle. Some of our residents need medication and extra special care. Molly for example requires daily injections of insulin to control her diabetes. She will be cared for at our centre for many months while our vet monitors her condition and finds the correct level of dosage needed to control her condition. Molly will remain in our care and will not be available for rehoming until her condition can be managed by her new owner. We have 8 month old Evie who was brought in for rehoming and is pregnant. She needs to be regularly checked on throughout the day and night as we wait for her to give birth. If there are any complications we need to be on hand to get her urgent veterinary care.”
Staff also have to continue with cat socialisation programmes over the Christmas period. 2 year old Ninja is one such case. “Ninja is an extremely nervous cat and would be very difficult to rehome. Staff and volunteers work with Ninja everyday to build his confidence. They initially sit in his pen and just talk to him while he hides himself in a cardboard box. Once he becomes used to them coming into his pen they move the programme towards him letting them handle him. They sit at a distance and stroke him gently with a long feather; over time they will then be able to give him a treat and carefully touch him with their hand so he associates physical contact with a treat. It is a long process but eventually Ninja will have the confidence to actually initiate contact and start to nuzzle your hand with his head. Turning a nervous, unhomeable cat into one that has the confidence to adapt to new surroundings and meet new people requires a lot of commitment; it takes time and patience by both staff and volunteers but is an extremely important and satisfying part of our job.”
“Our centre is only closed to the public on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. We already have 5 cats reserved so we will be spending the weekend doing home visits and preparing paperwork for the cats that will be going to their new homes on Monday.
“Our adoption centre is essentially self-funding. We rely heavily on fundraising and donations to carry out our cat welfare work. We were heart-warmed by all the Christmas cards we opened that had a donation inside. Not everyone included their contact address; so I would like to thank all those cat-lovers and express how grateful we are for their Christmas gifts. Looking ahead we have a full calendar of fundraising activities already planned for next year. You can keep up-to-date with all our events on our website wrexham.cats.org.uk. Our charity shop on Chester Street, Wrexham is in desperate need of a refurbishment so it will be closed until 23rd January 2012 while the work gets completed. Make sure you come and visit us when we reopen as it will be full of new stock. We have also taken delivery of a new van. It will be used to rescue homeless cats and transfer cats to the vets for treatment; it will also be out and about collecting donations for our charity shop and used to take our fundraising goods and educational displays to events. We are hoping its eye catching design will help promote our adoption centre.”
“We would like to thank all the volunteers who kindly give up their free time to help look after our cats and carry out the many other tasks that are involved in running our branch. Our best wishes go to everyone who has supported us throughout 2011 and we hope they all have a very Happy New Year.”
If you are interested in offering a new home to a cat the centre is open from 11am – 3pm, Tel: 01978 313574.