Category Archives: Volunteers

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