How to be a responsible pet owner

Cats Protection League volunteer Sheridan Gaunt holds unwanted pet Arthur, during a rehoming event at Loxley Community Centre, Werrington. ENGEMN00120130408173222
Cats Protection League volunteer Sheridan Gaunt holds unwanted pet Arthur, during a rehoming event at Loxley Community Centre, Werrington. ENGEMN00120130408173222
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If you already share your life with a cat, you’re probably aware that you get far more than just companionship and affection from your feline friend. For responsible owners, their cat is an integral member of the family - inspiring feelings of peace, joy, happiness and providing fun and laughter. Owning a cat should be a privilege and a lifelong commitment.

Unfortunately, they are also easy to abandon. Unlike dogs, there is no fixed law or financial penalty to prevent a cat owner opening the door and forgetting they exist, or to just simply move away and leave them behind. This is something that is happening more and more across the city, leaving cats and kittens exposed and vulnerable.

Social media sites are on the increase with people, for whatever reason, choosing to rehome their cat. People who are advertising their pets as free to a good home, or ask for a small amount of money, may feel that by doing this their pet will be looked after. Some of these cats will be lucky and will go to genuine people; others won’t and risk falling into the wrong hands. The fact is by advertising this way, you have absolutely no control whatsoever in the future of your once loved pet.

And then there are the people who breed indiscriminately, to make a few quid. They don’t give a damn about cat welfare and are happy to sell to anyone, for any reason, thus feeding the trade of buying over the net.

Cats Protection regularly receive calls from people who, in good faith, have taken on a cat or kitten that was advertised on these sites, only to find that they are far from healthy and are faced with large veterinary bills. Whist we can’t help with owned cats vets bills as it’s not within our remit, we do offer neutering assistance for those on benefits or low income and urge people to contact us for help in this area.

As a voluntary run branch, we work tirelessly to help all cats, but we do need to prioritise, especially in the summer months when we are at the height of kitten season. We encourage people to contact us and get their cat onto as many welfare charity waiting lists as possible. Even if we can’t help immediately, we can offer the correct advice along with other charity contact details. There is no need for cats and kittens to be at risk of falling into the wrong hands, medical conditions not to be treated or cats to continue breeding.

Cats Protection has simple and clear objectives to help cats.

Homing - Finding good homes for cats in need

Neutering - Supporting and encouraging the neutering of cats

Information - Improving people’s understanding of cats and their care

Our rehoming policy is to rehome responsibly and find not just good homes, but homes that suit each cat or kitten’s needs and personality for the rest of their lives. It is a huge responsibility to take this on board but as cat lovers, we should all aim to do this and think of the various implications, including the financial ones and not just be swayed by cute cats/kittens and our emotions. Cats often live into their late teens and beyond. They deserve a loving home for all of this time. All cats rehomed via Cats Protection will be vaccinated against cat flu, enteritis and feline leukaemia microchipped, health checked, neutered and had their flea and worm treatment and come with four weeks free Petplan insurance. Kittens receive the exact same treatment, the only difference being that a neuter voucher is given to ensure that the kitten is neutered by the time they are four months of age.

Our next homing event is on Sunday 10th July, at the Loxley Centre, (next to the Crab & Winkle Pub) Werrington, PE4 5BW from 2-3.30pm. If you are unable to attend and would like more information on rehoming or neutering then please contact us on 0345 371 2750

Photographed is Bertie who came to us when his elderly owner passed away. He is 8 years old and loves to be fussed and likes lots of attention. He is now looking for his second chance of finding his forever home.