What we did on our summer holidays

With Lyn Gardener - Swansea Cats Protection

Not many of us actually had a summer holiday, did we? But despite that and having to face the obvious challenges of working within COVID-19 safety restrictions, our volunteers achieved a HUGE amount during the summer. So, we’d like to share with you some of our favourite summer holiday memories and photos.

We found lots of lovely homes for lots of lovely cats!

Unfortunately, lockdown meant that none of our rescue cats could be adopted and so they spent some of the long hot summer being cared for by Kelly at Kenwood Kennels (Swansea Cats Protection has 3 cat pen ranges here). But once restrictions were eased at the end of June we started Hands Free Homing, which meant a lot of preparation and online paperwork for our Homing Officer, Judy. In addition, volunteers Mandy and Gaynor spent hours driving cats and kittens to their new homes, as safety restrictions meant adopters couldn’t come to collect them. We currently have many cats available for adoption so do please look on our website or just get in touch to register your interest in adopting.

The joys of adopting an older cat

We were absolutely delighted that the first cats to be adopted after lockdown were two darling older cats, Snoopy (17 years old) and Cindy (10+ years old) who’d come into our care due to their beloved owner’s failing health. As you can see from the photo, they clearly made them-selves at home. Adopting more mature or elder-ly cats is not a choice everyone feels they can make, but the rewards are immense for both owner and most certainly for the cat. Dear old girl Buffy (16 years old) was adopted over the summer too – her new owners were unwaver-ing in their decision after reading about her on our website. She settled quickly and is living her best life with owners who will make sure she lives out her days in warmth, love and comfort. It doesn’t get any better than that.

As restrictions eased and prospective adopters were permitted to come and meet the cats, we were amazed and overjoyed to discover that we successfully homed 42 cats and kittens during August alone.

Quite an achievement, don’t you think?

Look who the wind blew in…

Finding a forever home for each and every one of our rescue cats and kittens is something we take delight in, but when a cat has had a particularly long wait, or a tough journey towards homing, it is of course very special indeed. When the winds of Storm Dennis swept through Swansea way back in February it also blew a darling black and white cat into our care who we named…yep, you’ve guessed it, Dennis! This poor boy had been found badly injured from a car accident and was taken to the local vet. When no owner could be found, we took him into our care and paid for all his treatment and slowly, slowly his wounds healed, and he recovered. But of course, then came Covid 19 lockdown and Dennis wasn’t able to be put up for adoption. But he settled with us and enjoyed fuss, food and cardboard boxes! He jumped in his box, out of his box, sharpened his claws on his box, slept in his box…loved his box! Sadly, the stormy times weren’t quite over for darling Dennis…he’s had an op on his eye, and most recently, dental treatment. But did this beautiful cat stop purring? No, not ever. And that’s why his new owner loved him on sight…who wouldn’t? We heard back straight away that Dennis had made himself right at home and was snuggled up on his new owner’s lap. Good luck darling boy – you deserve the happiest ever after, it’s been our pleasure to care for you.

A life outdoors

Sadly, not all the cats we helped over the summer were able to be homed like Dennis. Some cats, who have been thoughtlessly abandoned by their own-ers to a life on the streets, may never find a proper home. This is usually because the cat is too fearful of a life indoors, is too used to a life on the road to change or simply that there aren’t enough suitable homes to be found. We have a huge waiting list of cats needing to be rehomed. All over Swansea, cats are cared for by kind and generous people in their gardens or other outdoor spaces. Our volunteers helped numerous cats throughout the summer by responding to calls on our Helpline from people who were concerned the cat they were caring for, was unwell or needed neutering. We also helped support these many ‘community cats’ by providing good quality shelters made by volunteers or donated by generous supporters via our Amazon Wish List. A HUGE thank you to Andrew and his family who have been incredibly generous over the summer by donating food, shelters and insulation material for cats and kittens in need. Knowing that we’ve helped a community cat to live a better life by providing warmth, shelter and food is simply wonderful: it’s a feeling that keeps our volunteers going when the happy endings seem in short supply.

Kittens, kittens, kittens…neuter, neuter, neuter!

We were alarmed to read evidence from a recent survey of 1,000 cat owners, highlighting that many were unaware about the importance of neutering and the consequences for not neutering cats at the earliest opportunity.

77 per cent were unaware that a female cat can become pregnant as early as four months of age. We recently rescued (neutered and rehomed) a dear little kitten who’d had one litter and was pregnant again, it was distressing to know what she’d been through simply because her owner hadn’t had her neutered. Please see our website or call us for help with the cost of neutering with our £5 scheme

86 per cent didn’t know that an unneutered female cat can have as many as 18 kittens in a year

30 per cent of cat owners said it was acceptable for a female cat to have a litter of kittens before being spayed.

Compounded by the significantly reduced number of vets carrying out neutering during Covid-19, Cats Protection estimated that as many as 84,000 extra kittens may have been born this summer, which is a staggeringly high number, but thankfully not all in the Swansea area, even though it felt like it at times! Whatever the figure, we definitely noticed a surge in calls about kittens found in gardens, waste ground, garages – even the fire escape on a takeaway restaurant! Among the many abandoned pregnant female cats or those recently given birth that we rescued this summer, Portia was one that was particularly distressing. We were alerted to her plight soon after she’d given birth on a fire escape which was incredibly dangerous for her and her kittens, exposed to the elements with a risk of the kittens falling to their deaths. Our volunteers had to act quickly to ensure Portia and her little family could be taken to the safety of Helena, one of our wonderful fosterers.

Thank you to our volunteers and supporters

It’s been a busy and very challenging summer – the work we do as volunteers can be exhausting and frustrating, joyous and life-affirming…sometimes all in the same day! We’ve helped a massive number of cats and kittens, we’ve responded to hundreds of calls to our Helpline…and still our work continues. Thanks as always to the best bunch of volunteers ever and our wonderful supporters for giving us a summer-full of memories.

If you are interested in adopting one of our lovely cats or kittens, please call our helpline or go to our Facebook page or website to read about our forthcoming new ‘hands free’ homing system, which will operate in line with Welsh Govern-ment advice on safety and social distancing. We can be contacted via our Help-line 0345 260 2101 or email us at swanseacats@hotmail.co.uk

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 kit-tens of Swansea. Thanks.



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