Category Archives: Cats

Tippi the three legged cat

Tippi the kitten came to us through an acquaintance of Lorna, one of our volunteers. He had heard that she fostered cats and kittens for the Society and hoped she would be able to help. The man had a stray cat turn up in his garden and gave birth to a litter of kittens in his shed. Wanting to do the right thing, he took the feline family in and began to look for homes for the kittens. His children had become attached to the mother and they decided to keep her.

The only problem was the little black female kitten with a deformed leg, probably due to her umbilical cord wrapping round the leg and stopping the circulation. She had a stump, just below the first joint; the leg was about half the length it should be. His vet advised that the leg should be amputated at six months, when she would be ready for spaying at the same time. The man was having difficulty finding a new owner who would be willing to take on a kitten requiring such an expensive procedure and he did not feel that he could keep her himself. It was decided that she would be admitted to the Sanctuary’s care until a new home could be found, possibly until after she had the surgery. As she was only nine weeks, she went into foster care with Lorna.

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After a week it was evident that she could not wait until she was six months for the surgery as the stump was constantly raw and bled because she was trying to walk on it. It also affected her ability to go to the toilet as it caused her pain to squat, and litter of any kind hurt her raw stump. Therefore, the Sanctuary’s vet decided to do the surgery at 13 weeks, spaying her at the same time so that she didn’t have to go through another anaesthetic at a later date. This decision would ultimately save her life.

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During the operation a large blood clot was found in her abdomen, which was traced back to a tear in her spleen, which had to be removed. The damage was usually consistent with some kind of trauma, such as a kick or road accident. It is a mystery as to how she had this injury as she was closely monitored in foster care and when speaking to the man who originally had her he could not recall anything of note. The vet said it could have been bleeding for a number of weeks – we will never know when it happened or how. We do know that any slight bump or fall during the time it was bleeding could have been fatal. It’s a good job we didn’t wait until she was six months old for the surgery!

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Recovery was slow and for the first few days she would not eat and everyone was really worried. Various foods were tried to get her to eat, from tuna to custard. When she finally ate a small amount of chicken we knew she had turned the corner. She also began to go to the toilet normally, without the frustration and wailing that accompanied it before. She had to then endure the annoyance of a Buster Collar for ten days to stop her from biting her many stitches.

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There was relief all round when the stitches came out and she could then begin to enjoy being a kitten again and she hasn’t looked back.

During all this Lorna and her husband became especially attached to her and decided to break their rule of not adopting any of their foster felines. Tippi has become a permanent member of their furry family.

And an explanation of the name: on the evening she arrived Lorna and her family watched Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ starring Tippi Hedren, a great animal rights campaigner. A perfect name for a kitten who tips over!

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Reiki for Rescue Cats

Some of our cats relaxing

 

At the SAA caring for cats isn’t just about feeding, watering and emptying their litter trays. It’s also about socialising, playing and grooming. We have scratching posts and toys in every pen and regularly have volunteers who spend time with the cats, brushing them and giving them the much needed love and attention many of them crave.

 

But it turns out that some of our volunteers have been giving the cats some extra special attention, using their skills to harness energy to calm and comfort the cats. They’ve been performing cat reiki!

Three reiki healers have been lending their skills to the cats of the SAA; Jean, Janet and Lorraine.

Janet performing reiki

With a sleepy looking kitten on her lap, Janet explains what reiki is: “Reiki is a non-intrusive hands-on energy healing technique. When the energy in the human body becomes blocked and unable to flow as it normally would, it eventually leads to illness in some form. As the Reiki energy flows through the body, it helps break down energetic blockages allowing life force to flow naturally throughout the mind, body and soul.”

But what’s this got to do with cats? Janet says cats, like people, can suffer from blocked energy; particularly when they’ve been through a stressful experience as many of our cats have been.

Janet gathering energy

To help restore their energy flow Janet sits with the cats, projecting her mental energy onto them. This can be passed on either hands-on through the form of stroking or by pushing the energy flow towards them if they’re a little shy.

Janet says: “The cats sense an increase in energy and respond to that. I try to channel the energy from the surroundings although this can be tricky with so many cats in one place. Some cats respond very well to the energy in the environment but when there are lots of cats together there can be too much energy. It’s been quite a challenge learning how best to channel the energy in the re-homing centre.

Janet continues: “All the cats respond differently. Some fall asleep whilst others get really hungry. One of the cats, Alfie, has changed a lot. He used to scratch me when I performed the reiki but now he sits and licks my face! So I guess he must be enjoying it!”

Feeling energetic after a reiki session

As well as our cats that need new homes Janet also treats the feral cats to a spot of reiki, although this is purely hands off as even an energy master can’t get close to our wild friends!

Away from the sanctuary Janet also practices on humans, although she says pets often muscle in on a reiki session, pinching some of the healing energy meant for their owner!

Two of our cats looking for homes

If you want to find out more about reiki you can find Janet at: www.naturaltherapypages.co.uk/rainbow

Or pop down to the sanctuary to see our cats, they’re always grateful to see a friendly face. With Christmas coming up any spare cat toys, scratching posts and cat food in jelly would certainly go down a treat.

Playing on a giant scratching post

Rise in Rehoming Despite Recession

The number of animals being offered new homes is increasing at the Society for Abandoned Animals despite the tough economic times.

The rehoming figures for dogs, cats and rabbits are up by around 25% compared to this time last year, which is good news as more animals are being admitted to the sanctuary on a daily basis.

So far this year 13 dogs, 162 cats and 36 rabbits have found new homes after coming into the SAA’s care for a variety of reasons. This time last year, just 111 cats had been offered new homes.

Natasha with two new kittens

The Sanctuary Manager, Natasha Woest, is delighted with the figures: “We’re really pleased that more people across South Manchester are choosing to adopt abandoned animals. Our priority is to ensure the animal will fit in with a new owner’s lifestyle and we can also offer a wealth of advice about caring for a new pet.”

Earlier this year the sanctuary opened its newly refurbished kennels which has boosted the number of dogs the charity can care for.

Natasha says: “We’re delighted that we can offer sanctuary to more dogs as there are so many animals that need our care. We take in animals for all sorts of reasons and with more people needing to downsize or rent we’re taking in pets at an increasing rate. It’s good news for all our supporters and hardworking volunteers that these unwanted animals are finding good homes.”

The support of volunteers has been vital to the SAA’s rehoming success. A big rise in kittens has put pressure on the foster carers as many of the young animals need to be fed by hand several times a day. So far this year 177 cats have been admitted to the SAA, alongside 11 dogs and 49 rabbits.

Caring for that many animals takes time and costs a lot of money. The SAA has been finding new ways to raise money through selling items on Ebay and sponsored challenges. On the 1st September volunteer Darren Richardson walked 60 miles from the sanctuary to Blackpool dressed as a giant dog! Seven volunteers will also be taking on the London to Brighton cycle ride in aid of the SAA on the 16th September.

Closer to home there are always opportunities to donate or pop in to see the charity and take a look at the animals. Our next event is a party to celebrate what would have been the 99th birthday of the charity’s founder Peggy Henderson on the 8th September at the Chorlton Irish Club from 8pm.

Tickets for Peggy’s Birthday Bash cost £10 in advance and £12 on the door. People should email office@saarescue.co.uk to buy them in advance.

Why a lick on the head made Lorna love cats!

Meet Lorna Quinlan, one of our volunteers.

Lorna with one of our rescue cats

Lorna has been with the SAA for about a year and has been helping us care for the many cats that we look after.

She decided to follow her dream of working with animals after spending several years in the financial sector. She took a job that allowed her to spend a day a week volunteering. Fortunately for us Lorna already knew about the SAA as she’d adopted cats from us before. So she got in touch and offered to volunteer with us.

“Everyone was really friendly when I first started volunteering. It was like joining a big family where we’re all working towards the same goal to care for animals. The training I received was really good and it was even better when they let me get on with the job when they could see I knew what I was doing.”

Lorna dishing out breakfast

Every Thursday Lorna cleans out the cats. Her day starts with cat food for breakfast – not her breakfast of course! Lorna says if you don’t feed the cats before cleaning the pens then they make so much fuss it’s impossible to clean them. When all the cats have been fed they calm down and many of them have a quick cat nap.

When the cats are settled she changes their litter trays and cleans out their pens. Lorna says this is often the most unglamorous part of the job, wiping up spilt food, poos and even the odd spot of cat sick.

“You have to come into volunteering with an open mind. Unfortunately you don’t get to play with cute kittens every day. You do have to deal with some messy cats and then there are the ones that take a violent dislike to you!”

But cleaning the pens isn’t all bad. Lorna recalls the cat that used to sit on its chair licking her head as she brushed out its pen. She was so touched by its affection that she had to adopt it.

Sweeping out the pens

Whilst most days at the SAA are uneventful Lorna does recall one morning when she thought one of the cats had escaped. She had gone to get more food for them and when she returned to the pens one cat had vanished! She went in and checked it wasn’t hiding anywhere, calling out its name and panicking about how it could have got out. Eventually a staff member popped her head round the door and said the cat had been taken to the vets!

Waking up the cats

As most of the cats at the SAA are very friendly Lorna said one of her biggest concerns was being upset when cats she had got close to were adopted. But she says was surprised how delighted she always feels when a reserved sign appears on a cat’s pen as she knows it will be moving on to a better life.

After cleaning out the cats Lorna helps with our donations, picking out items to sell on ebay to raise money for the SAA. She’s also going to be helping out on reception on Saturdays.

Lorna says she feels very honoured to be part of the work the SAA does, caring for abandoned animals and finding loving homes for cats, dogs and rabbits. She finds her work with the charity very rewarding and far more furry than finance! She says anyone thinking of volunteering or looking to work with animals should consider the SAA. Just a few hours a week makes a massive difference to the lives of hundreds of animals.

If you’re interested in volunteering with the SAA then please check out the volunteering page on our website www.saarescue.co.uk or call the office on 0161 973 5318 between 12 and 16:30. Alternatively you can email our volunteer co-ordinator Aimee at aimeennis@saa.eclipse.co.uk

Charlie and Chaplin asleep in their clean pen

A Rescue and Reunion at Easter

We’ve had a busy Easter at the Society for Abandoned Animals but the holidays have ended with a happy story.

On Easter Saturday we took in four tiny kittens that were just three weeks old.

Taking a nap!

They were brought to the sanctuary by Pam who had spent the past few days looking after the cats on a building site in Eccles.

Pam first learned of the little family from her husband who was working on the site. Despite the noise of the heavy machinery and the busy nature of the site the mother cat had settled into a metal container to give birth and tend her young.

After a lot of persuading from Pam the builders allowed her onto the site so she could bring food for the mother cat. This was a potentially lifesaving action as it’s vital the mother has enough strength to care for the kittens and produce enough milk for them.

However the building site was being closed down for Easter and the builders were threatening to evict the cats. Pam realised how distressing this could be for the mother, something that could prove fatal to the kittens. Concerned about their welfare Pam brought the kittens to the SAA but she hadn’t been able to catch the mother.

Can you guess why this kitten is named after Freddy Mercury?

The kittens were in a very healthy condition and were very friendly with the staff. All they wanted to do was play. We syringe and bottle fed them milk to keep up their strength and they seemed to be thriving. But we were all concerned about the mum who would be wondering the building site looking for her kittens, devastated at their loss. We gave Pam a trap for catching the mother cat and hoped she would be able to find her. I don’t think any of us at that stage were hopeful of ever reuniting this feline family.

Whilst Pam was on the lookout for mum, we sent the kittens to two foster homes. Fortunately two of our fosterers had cats that had recently given birth. The kittens initially took milk from these “foster” mums although we had to go back to bottle feeding to ensure everyone got their fair share of mum’s milk.

To our amazement Pam arrived at the sanctuary on Tuesday with the mother cat. We can’t thank her enough for her tenacity and determination. By sheer coincidence one of our fosterers who had two of the kittens was also at the sanctuary. She immediately called the other fosterer and dashed home to get the kittens.

The happy family reunited.

When they arrived everyone was apprehensive as to what would happen. We held our breath as the basket with the kittens was brought into the room. It’s very common for mother’s to reject their young after a period of separation and it had now been four days. The kittens also smelt of another cat. Fortunately we needn’t have worried. We were thrilled to see the mother come straight over to the basket before the kittens were even released. When they were she was overjoyed, licking the kittens all over. It was like a mother kissing her children. They were equally excited to have their mum back and were climbing all over her, although two of them were more interested in mum’s milk than her kisses!

Mum gives a reassuring hug

After such an emotional reunion the kittens were exhausted and literally fell asleep in mum’s paws. It was really moving to watch her hugging the kittens, reassuring them that she was there to protect them.

All five of this lucky feline family are now living with one of our fosterers. When the kittens are old enough and mum is satisfied that her job is done we’ll be looking for permanent homes for the cats.

It’s clear the mother cat isn’t a stray. She has a collar and is very friendly with people, but unfortunately she isn’t micro chipped. Pam tried her best to locate the owner but had no joy. This story is a really clear example of why owners must microchip their pets. We would also implore all owners to neuter their animals so they don’t end up with a litter of kittens on a building site relying on strangers for their survival.

We can’t thank Pam enough for her dedication to this cat family’s welfare. In recognition of her efforts we’ve named the mother cat after her. So if you’re interested in adopting Pam or any of the kittens (including Freddy, named after Freddie Mercury!) please contact the SAA on 0161 973 5318.

A real happy ending!

Paws for Thought

“Why was I so afraid of that vet?”

Last sunday (15th may) was the day of our first ever Cat Care Day here at the Society for Abandoned Animals and boy did the cats come out to play! We saw big ones, skinny ones, fluffy ones (but no bald ones) – all different shapes and sizes came to have a visit with our vets who donated their time from the Chorltom Animal Medical Centre Referral Services.

 
The whole event was geared around cats, something we have not attempted before at one of our event days. We were let down by the damp and dingy British weather but our army of volunteers still marched out to bring the words of cat welfare to the visiting public!
 
possibly the most rewarding part of the day was the fact that we microchiped 8 cats who may otherwise have gone un-chipped, risking being separated from their owners forever if they ever went missing. Microchiping is one of the most important things a cat owner can do, it ensures that no matter what someone else does to the cat, it can still be identified.
 
Collars can be removed, identity microchips can’t!
 
If you would like more information on how microchip implantation affects your cat then please feel free to contact us on 0161 973 5318.
 
When all of the monies from the event have been counted we will be announcing the grand total so watch this space!

The Cats Whiskers

“I wish we were tall enough to get to the phone!”

This sunday (15 th May) is our first annual Cat Care Day extravaganza! The day promises to be filled with all things feline from Cat health checks and low-cost vaccinations to fun feline-themed stalls fit for all ages! To book your cat a place with our vet please call (UK) 01619735318 and specify if you would like a health check, preventative health care, vaccinations or advice on any specific conditions that may be affecting your cat.

 
Cat welfare is obviously one of the highest priorities for us here at the Society for Abandoned Animals. We are continually trying to improve the level of welfare we set for our animals and would very much like to help cat owners to improve the welfare of their own cats.
 
Cat behaviour is a perplexing thing, cats are very difficult to read and often do not betray any of the emotions they may be feeling at that particular moment in time. I’m sure that you have seen your own cat doing something very odd like focusing so completely on one spot on the floor to the extent that everything going on around it is being ignored. Our fully trained staff will be on hand to tell you all you need to know about feline antics.
 
We will have our cat vet on hand to do health checks, microchipping, worming, de-fleaing and to issue vouchers for low-cost vaccinations. They will also be more than happy to discuss any issues you may have with your can and can advise on the next course of action on any potential medical problems.
 
There will be lots to do for all of our human visitors on the day too so why not pop down, buy your cat a little prezzie, try your luck at ourn raffle games and join us for a fantastic feline friendly day!