One unwanted pet a day
IN the year since it opened, at least one unwanted animal a day has passed through the flap at Ashford’s cattery.
The RSPCA Ashford Garden Cattery, in Station Road, has to date taken in 459 cats, reuniting some with their owners and finding new homes for others.
Its team of volunteers have given cats of all kinds a safe place with cuddles and care while they wait to be re-homed.
Manager Leslie Young said: “We had no idea what to expect when we opened.
“The response has been huge and we now have a waiting list.”
But the problems are the same as when the cattery opened.
“Some of the cats coming in are in such bad health,” said Leslie.
“About 90 per cent are not vaccinated because people think that if they are done as a kitten that is it. But they need a booster every year.
“They are also not being neu- tered and many have their first litter by the time they are one.”
Cats with health problems include Bright Eyes, whose cloudy eyes require drops every day, and six-year-old Tinka, who is deaf and has only one tooth.
“We are assuming Tinka has had a head injury as she twitches her head,” said Leslie.
“She gets stressed when she doesn’t know what is happening, but she won’t do anything.
“Most places would put a cat like this down, but she just needs to be indoors, and to be the only cat in a house with no children.”
The staff are also determined to find homes for kittens like the Jackson Five, who were dumped in a wood with their mother.
“Their mother was FIV-positive so they are being tested,” Leslie explained.
“I am being a rebel trying to re-home them but we refuse to put FIV cats down. They can live completely normal lives.”
There is also Crumble, who cannot be parted from the teddy bear he came with, and longhaired Bagheera, who simply needs grooming every day.
With monthly vet bills usually totalling £1,500, caring for the cats is an expensive business.
“We are constantly fund-raising,” said Leslie.
“People think we get money from headquarters but we are a branch and need to raise money ourselves. People get pets and don’t consider the financial aspect. If you can’t afford the vet, you can’t afford the pet.”
A FUN day will take place next month in aid of the Ashford and district branch of the RSPCA.
There will be pony rides, games and stalls at the event at Shamblings, Bonnington, on Saturday, June 23 from noon to 4pm.
Entrance is £1 for adults and 50p for children and OAPs.
For more information call 01233 646855.
Tito, one of a set of kittens called the Jackson Five
Manager Leslie Young with long-haired Bagheera