Paul Weller sang that the ‘long hot summer just passed me by’ and as CP volunteers we’re hoping we’ll get a little downtime, but not anytime soon it seems. We’re half-way through the year and our work is as plentiful, urgent and vital as ever – there’s no let up for cats and kittens in need sadly. This month we’d like to give you a snapshot of just a few of the things we’ve been doing, ongoing work and things to come this summer….so here we go!
Kitten season shows no sign of abating and our wonderful fosterers are as busy as ever caring for these tiny little lives and ensuring they get the very best start in life. Lynda could probably be described as a super-fosterer, having nurtured and overseen the rehoming of around 500 (yes, you read it right) kittens in her many years as a dedicated CP volunteer. It is such a unique responsibility to have these little lives in your hands, but an immense pleasure and source of fun too of course. Seeing the hilarious reaction of my own foster kitten, Reyes, when he first encountered his reflection in a bedroom mirror will be a lasting joy. But sadly sometimes these little ones haven’t had the best start in life, even if taken into our care early on, and despite all best efforts of fosterers like Kelly, Mandy, Carole and Charlotte, we have the heartbreak of losing them. One such kitten, named Sirius by Lynda, was found one summer’s evening, in a bush. He was frail, weak and clearly in need of immediate veterinary care. Watched over and bottle-fed overnight, this little mite was transferred to Lynda’s care in the morning and seemed to pick up; he even ate from a bowl, bless him. But sadly he suddenly took a turn for the worse and despite dedicated care from Lynda and the vet, he didn’t make it. These kind of knock-backs are difficult for our volunteers – we invest so much time, care and emotion into our work and it does take its toll. We get tired, we’re too frequently heartbroken, we’re angry at the unnecessary suffering (and indifference) inflicted on cats and kittens and sometimes feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. Yet we choose to do this work – without pay of course – we are all unpaid volunteers and do whatever we can in whatever spare time we have. But the experience is like no other – it is a privilege to care for these beautiful, vulnerable animals. And just to update, as I write this Lynda is preparing to bottle feed four 2 week old kittens, rescued by our volunteers. What astonishing commitment and dedication to saving the lives of animals.
For the love of Toffee
Amid all of the hard work come truly joyful moments in our role as volunteers, and one such moment was the recent return of beautiful boy Toffee to the loving care of Margaret and Steve. They’d come across poor Toffee a short while back, limping through their garden, and called us for help and advice. Toffee was brought into our care, checked for a microchip, advertised as ‘found’ on social media and provided with expert veterinary care to discover the cause of the limp. This lovely ginger fella didn’t seem to have an owner (no one came forward, no chip) and appeared to have sustained a nasty injury to his hip during his time as a stray. Luckily he didn’t appear to be in any pain and even more luckily, Margaret and Steve had taken him into their hearts and wanted him back home with them to live out his days. Many volunteers helped Toffee along the way and we were all overjoyed to see the photos of him back lazing in his beautiful garden on a long, hot summer’s day.
Rural Cat Colony
Throughout this summer three of our volunteers have been trapping, neutering and returning (TNR) a large number of cats from a colony in a rural part of Swansea. It’s an idyllic spot and a wonderful place for any cat to live – especially in this glorious summer! But this colony has become far too large to be sustainable and safe for the cats, and our intervention couldn’t have come soon enough. We’ve been working to manage the colony for a number of weeks now and thankfully making inroads, but we still have weeks of work to do before we can take the slightest step back. The cats are beautiful – many are young and if left unneutered the colony would grow and grow exponentially, which is truly unthinkable! On our first day of trapping we were incredibly fortunate to trap 3 gorgeous kittens, old enough to leave mum, but young enough to tame and prepare for loving homes. There is a brief window of opportunity to tame feral kittens and we were lucky with these three; unfortunately, one little kit didn’t follow its siblings into the trap and will have to be TNR along with all the other adult cats….and quickly before it too becomes pregnant. The little kitten mentioned earlier, Sirius who sadly died, was from this colony – feral kittens are so vulnerable to disease, predators, adverse weather conditions and lack of nourishment from their often very young mothers. This is challenging and vital work, and we will continue to support the colony for as long as there are funds to sustain us and volunteers to deliver the support needed – for years ahead we hope.
A summer of shopping
Funds of course are a constant concern but eased somewhat by the fantastic success of our little charity shop in Bryn Y Mor Road. Month on month our wonderful shop volunteers, loyal customers and generous donors continue to amaze us with their support. Why not pop along and see for yourself what a great place it is for finding that perfect floaty summer dress, holiday reading or natty pair of sunglasses? You’ll be made very welcome.
Our recent Homing Day was a great success and some very happy cats are now settling down to a long hot summer in their new, loving homes….check out our Facebook page for regular updates on how our cats are doing. For our volunteers, seeing a cat who has been through tough times finally feel safe and truly loved makes it all worthwhile. You might like to know that beautiful Bella, our longest staying cat, was adopted along with the gorgeous Gregory just last month and both cats are already ‘living the life’! We have other beautiful cats right now waiting to be homed and the good news is we home cats all year round, so you don’t have to wait for a homing day. Please call our Helpline number 0345 260 2101 if you are interested in adopting one of our cats or kittens.
Following recent success at both Eastside Carnival and Brynmill Fayre, Lynda will be joined by volunteers Gaynor and Angela on our Swansea Cats Protection stall at the Gower Show again this year….come along and meet us!
We’ve had a busy year so far and helped many cats and kittens live a better, safer life. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people who continue to support us in so many different ways and enable us to improve the lives of cats and kittens in Swansea. Have a lovely summer.
PS….a special plea for some of the wonderful older cats in our care who would dearly love to spend what time they have left in a loving home.
Meet Rosie and Jim (below left) who initially came to us when their owner died but were rehomed only for poor Rosie to be too scared of the resident dog to properly settle.
And here is dear Bo (below centre), a playful and active mature puss who would make a wonderful companion – such a lovely natured cat.
Here is 17-year old sweet Jean (below right), a dear old girl in need of some gentle loving care – she has arthritis and takes medicine to ease her poor aching joints. Do you have a lap or comfy cushion she could rest awhile?
If you are interested in adopting or fostering one our lovely cats or kittens, please get in touch and arrange to come and meet the cats waiting patiently for a safe, loving home. We can be contacted via our Helpline 0345 260 2101 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note our Helpline is answered by a messaging service and we will respond as soon as we can, but please be patient and remember that we are all UNPAID VOLUNTEERS trying to do our best for the rescue cats and kittens of Swansea.