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Manchester Evening News - - NEWS -

and they’ve left them be­hind.

“The an­i­mals then haven’t been dis­cov­ered for quite some time, and they are of­ten in quite a ter­ri­ble state.”

Two rab­bits, Hairy Mary and Cup­cake, were found in a box in a field in Crewe, Cheshire.

Both were dis­cov­ered very mat­ted, but as Hairy Mary’s fur was so se­verely tan­gled, they later dis­cov­ered the team had misiden­ti­fied his gen­der.

Susie also ex­plained that it’s not un­usual for rab­bits to come in with claws so long they’re un­able to walk.

At the time of writ­ing, there were 20 un­planned and un­wanted lit­ters at RSPCA Manch­ester & Sal­ford, which can be at­trib­uted to a num­ber of rea­sons.

Com­mon sce­nar­ios in­clude own­ers mis­tak­enly be­ing sold the wrong gen­der of baby rab­bits, or not re­al­is­ing that fe­male rab­bits can con­ceive at just five months old, and can con­ceive again days af­ter giv­ing birth, and the ex­pense of pre­ven­ta­tive health care, such as vac­ci­na­tions and neu­ter­ing. The same goes for cats. While neu­ter­ing costs £120 for fe­male rab­bits, £70 for a male, up to £80 for a fe­male cat and around £60 for a male cat, the RSPCA al­ready has it cov­ered upon adop­tion.

Susie said: “To keep the cat pop­u­la­tion on a steady level, we need to have a neuter rate of around 92 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

“It’s been at about 89 per cent for a little while; so I think it’s around fi­nances.

“Then you have own­ers who have a male cat and al­low that tom­cat to go and pop­u­late the neigh­bour­hood, be­cause it’s not their prob­lem.

“An­other rea­son to come and adopt is be­cause we’ve done the neu­ter­ing for you”.

In 2018, the RSPCA car­ried out 211,699 mi­crochip­pings, neu­ter­ings and treat­ments.

The most com­mon re­quests at RSPCA Manch­ester & Sal­ford are for kit­tens, and colour is im­por­tant. Gin­ger, tab­bies, grey, and white fur are pop­u­lar choices, how­ever black, and black and white cats and kit­tens get left be­hind, and the same goes for al­bino rab­bits and feather-haired breeds who have slim chances of be­ing re-homed.

If cats haven’t man­aged to be re­homed in eight weeks, then they are moved into a foster home so they can live a nor­mal life.

If rab­bits haven’t found a home within two to three months, then they are given out to an­other branch to in­crease their chances of get­ting snapped up.

RSPCA Manch­ester & Sal­ford have five char­ity shops – in the North­ern Quar­ter, Withing­ton, Chorl­ton, Dids­bury; and Urm­ston.

They’re funded through th­ese stores, fundrais­ing events, adop­tion fees and Ama­zonSmile - the website which sees Ama­zon do­nate 0.5 per cent on ev­ery pur­chase, and be­ing char­ity of the year at Pets At Home.

Susie said: “Last month we re­ceived £50 from Ama­zon, which is bril­liant when it’s such a small per­cent­age.

“And we’re so thank­ful to Pets At Home cus­tomers be­cause the vouch­ers have kept us go­ing in wood and lit­ter all year.”

There are now 45 vol­un­teers at the branch.

Vol­un­teer Sharon, who also fos­ters, has been at the branch for two years.

She looks af­ter seven guinea pigs from a newly-born lit­ter, and one ham­ster.

She visits the cen­tre twice a week af­ter her shift work­ing in a 9-5 of­fice job, and her daugh­ter vol­un­teers on Satur­days.

She said: “When I am here, I find it re­lax­ing. Even if I’m just clean­ing, it helps me chill out and there’s noth­ing bet­ter than kiss­ing kit­tens.”

An­other vol­un­teer Kyle, 23, visits the branch once a week for three hours.

“I en­joy do­ing some­thing good for the an­i­mals and they re­ally need hu­man con­tact”, he said.

Over the Christmas pe­riod, the cen­tre is re­quest­ing do­na­tions of fleecy blan­kets to help keep the an­i­mals warm dur­ing the colder months.

RSPCA man­ager Susie Hughes

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