Cat Crisis: RSPCA rescues three cats every hour

The RSPCA is bracing itself for an influx in cats and kittens as latest figures reveal on average they take in three cats every hour.

Last year (2018), the RSPCA’s centres and branches took in 28,986 cats and more than 90,000 cats over the last three years.

Most kittens are typically born between April and September, which means during the ‘kitten season’ the charity ends up with large amounts of young cats coming into its care.

July sees the most cats coming into the charity’s centres and branches with 2,622 in 2018, 3,386 in 2017 and 3,143 in 2016 in that month alone.

The charity has also seen a shocking peak in abandonments over the summer period with 58% more cats being dumped in July last year compared to January (July: 9,691. January 3,990).

Carrie Stones, the RSPCA’s Cat Population Control Manager, said: “With an average of 86 cats coming into our care every day and a peak in the number of abandoned cats reported to us in summer clearly highlights that the UK is facing a cat overpopulation crisis with so many cats ending up in rescue centres.

“We would always urge people to think about the long-term commitment that caring for a cat entails and avoid making a snap decision about whether to take on a cat or kitten, for example from family or friends or buying online.

“Sadly, we see so many litters of kittens dumped like rubbish in the summer months because often owners have made this quick decision and can no longer cope, or the kittens have been an unplanned litter and a shock to the owner of the moggy mum.

“There is no denying that kittens look cute but the reality of caring for them can be hard work, time consuming and costly. We, and other cat and vet organisations, believe the solution to this crisis is to neuter cats from four months old before they can become pregnant and therefore avoiding these unwanted litters.”

Kitten dumped in Costa Coffee toilets

A three-week-old kitten was found abandoned in the toilets of a Costa Coffee in Woodford Green in March.

The black kitten who was dumped in aplastic box with a little bit of cat food was too young to be away from his mum. When the café staff discovered him in the toilets, they contacted the RSPCA and Animal Collection Officer (ACO) David Eckworth came to collect the small kitten.

He said: “When kittens are so young often they can need hand rearing but luckily a foster mum became available at RSPCA Hamsworth Animal Hospital where the kitten was being looked after.”

The mother cat and her litter of three kittens came into the hospital on Monday 25 March after they were found on the same road as the kitten in Wallers Close. Staff at the hospital suspect they could actually be the same family and are now reunited.

Kittens dumped in cardboard box near bins

Four kittens were found after they were ‘dumped like rubbish” in a cardboard box and left at the side of some bins.

The shocking discovery was made by a woman in Scafall Drive, Birmingham in March (2018). She saw the box by some bins near to Wyrley House block of flats and as she walked past she noticed it move.

Inside were four black and white kittens – who are believed to be around ten-weeks-old.

Aco Cara Gibbon rushed the two female and two male cats to the Coventry branch of the RSPCA for care.

She said: “It is awful to think these kittens were just dumped like rubbish and left by the side of some bins. It is just lucky that the lady saw the box they were in moving abd cared enough to investigate.”

According to statistics from the RSPCA the top counties with the largest number of abandoned cats in 2018 are:

  1. Greater London 2,222
  2. West Midlands 1,596
  3. West Yorkshire 1,291
  4. Greater Manchester 1,018
  5. Lancashire 681
  6. South Yorkshire 672
  7. Essex 644
  8. Kent 629
  9. Merseyside 580
  10. Lincolnshire 560

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vets hail pet heroes

New research has shown just how important pets are to our lives, from providing companionship to offering physical and mental health support.

More than half of people admit that they pet increases their happiness (57%) and helps relieve stress/anxiety (56%), while 43% admit a cat, dog or rabbit increases physical activity and 17% say having a pet improves self-confidence.

However, some pets provide all this and more, with around 7000 disabled people in the UK relying on an assistance dog to help them with everyday tasks.

There are also a further 4,500 dogs who visit hospitals, residential nursing homes, day care centres, hospices and special needs schools, as part of the charity, Pets As Therapy.

Michelle and her medical alert assistance dog, Clive

Now vets are looking to celebrate those everyday pet heroes, including a dog who kept his owner out of hospital, a dog who helped a little boy make friends and a bird who literally saved his owner’s life.

Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “We treat hundreds of thousands of pets every year, and so often hear remarkable and heart-warming stories of pets doing something extraordinary.

“For most owners their pets are an important member of the family and a source of companionship but, for some, their pet is a lifeline and a one-of-a-kind hero as well. Dogs are great at getting people out and about and improving self-confidence. They are also very intelligent, which mean many make ideal assistance and therapy pets.

“We’ve heard about pets helping those with illnesses or disabilities from our practices, as well as from charities like Medical Detection Dogs, who train pets to provide vital support to those in need.”

Michelle from East Yorkshire, and Geneve from Leicestershire, have experienced this first-hand as both their dogs are trained to help them with their health conditions and improve their quality of life.

In Michele’s case her medical alert assistance dog, Clive helps to keep her out of hospital and has allowed her to go back to work, whilst Geneve’s dog Poppy gives her the confidence to leave the house and helps her with numerous everyday jobs around the home.

Dr Stacey continues: “Pets have also been recognised for helping with people’s mental health and wellbeing for many years, with numerous studies looking into the positive effects of pet ownership.

“They can help with depression and loneliness through their companionship, increase physical exercise and socialising through walking, and even just stroking a pet has been said to relieve stress and anxiety, as it can reduce blood pressure and heart rate.

“At Vets4Pets, we recently carried out some research which found that pet ownership resulted in 57% of people experiencing increased happiness and 56% experiencing reductions in stress and anxiety. Therefore, it’s understandable that pets are often perfect for helping to bring some joy to those in need of a smile, something charities such as Pets as Therapy work hard to achieve every day.”

Lianne from Cardiff has seen what a positive impact pets can have on their owner’s lives as her dog Ronnie has helped her son Tommos, who has autism, become a more confident and sociable boy, even helping him to make friends.

Dr Stacey added: “Pets can make a huge difference to people’s lives, helping to improve their mental health or quality through irreplaceable support, but sometimes they can also literally save our lives.

“More often than not pets can sense when things are about to happen, such as storms or thunder, as their senses are far more heightened than humans. There are many cases when pets have alerted people to dangers, therefore saving their life.

“Its great to see how many remarkable pets there are across the UK and how special they are to their families. Pets are everyday heroes to owners, but sometimes there are pets that go above and beyond and it’s great to be able to celebrate this.”

Charities like Medical Detection Dogs and Pets As Therapy work hard with pets to help those in need and rely on public donations.

Further information on the two charities can be found here – www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk and www.petsasthrapy.org/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legal experts reveal laws that all pet owners need to know

In 2018, the UK population was an estimated 5.1 million, which means around 45% of British homes housed a domesticated animal.

Owning a pet is a huge responsibility and can bring happiness but it is up to n owner to ensure that the welfare of that pet is a priority.

To help ensure owners are giving their animal friends all they need, David Green, Senior Tutor at the University of Law has outlined three of the key laws and responsibilities pet owners need to know.

Pets on their travels

The government has put a variety of legislation in place to cover the welfare of our pets and prevent animal cruelty, the most important piece being the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is the principal animal welfare legislation and probably the most recognisable law when it comes to pet ownership. Beyond the guides and codes of practices set out in this legislation that protect pets’ basic rights, the Act also sets out rules for protecting the welfare of animals during journeys. According to the Act, all pet owners must ensure that animals are secured safely in the back seat during car journeys, with the necessary attachments. Anyone caught letting their pet ride up front, or not abiding by these rules, could face a fine up to £5,000.

Pets and licences

When purchasing a dog, it is important that you ensure the breed you buy isn’t banned in the UK. Similarly, it’s also against the law to sell, abandon, breed or give away a banned dog in the UK. If you own a banned dog, you are at risk of the police seizing the dog, even if it doesn’t pose any obvious danger. You can then be taken to court for owning the dog and can face an unlimited fine and/or be sent to prison for up to six months.

It isn’t just dogs that require that extra level of attention. Licences are required for some types of exotic animals (like snakes and spiders), as well as some domestic-wild hybrid animals (such as hybrid cats and wolfdogs). Once you’ve purchased the animal it immediately becomes your responsibility, so it’s always best to do your research and check with your local council if unsure.

Pets behaving badly

Pets are legally considered as ‘property’ so owners of cats, dogs and any other animal for that matter enjoy the right of legal protection if their pet is stolen, hurt or injured. Since pets are also considered your ‘property’ it also means that you are responsible for their behaviour.

Dog owners have a duty to control and supervise their pet when in a public place and manage where they can go– so if you dog causes damage to someone else’s property, it is your responsibility. This also applies to walking dogs on a lead, as it is illegal for a dog to not be on a lead near a main road, and if your dog is difficult to handle in a park or field then it is your responsibility to keep it on a lead.

Unsurprisingly cats are a little different as they have a legal ‘right to roam’, which puts a little less responsibility on the owner if they have a feisty feline. However, this does not release the cat owner from potential liability and responsibility under the law if their pet causes damage to another person or their property. So, if your cat damages a neighbour’s fence or decides to dig up their new flowerbed, it will be considered to be your fault even though you can’t control where a cat roams.

Whilst we may be aware of most of the common laws that apply to humans, The University of Law has also gathered some of the more obscure laws that govern our animal friends in the UK:

  • Daventry Council in Northamptonshire may give dog-walkers found to not be carrying a waste bag up to a £100 fine.
  • In Lancashire, it’s against the law to make a dog bark, unless instructed to do so by the police.
  • Up until 1965, allowing your dog to mate with a dog from the Royal House was an executable offence. It’s not so strict anymore, but still against the law nonetheless.
  • If you’re planning on walking your cows along the road between 10pm and 7am, think again. This is against the law according to Metropolitan Streets Act of 1867.
  • Speaking of farm animals, it’s also illegal to have a pig sty at the front of your house according to the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.

 

 

 

 

Fish4Dogs set for TV campaign

Fish4Dogs is set to undertake its first ever television campaign next month to encourage owners to ‘Switch to Fish’.

‘The Run’ features a man and his dog enjoying their run over the moors as they consider the health benefits of a switch to fish.

The ad will run on TV and online in May and is aimed at heightening visibility of the band with a call to action for consumers to purchase either from the extensive network of pet shops of online from the company’s own webshop.

The ‘Switch to Fish’ campaign, which Fish4Dogs launched at Crufts, urges owners to consider overall health and obesity challenges and is supported by the use of #Switch to Fish – Reasons on social media.

The advert and campaign will be accompanied by an extensive programme of digital activity to highlight the nutritional benefits of a fish-based diet.

Graham Smith, CEO of Fish4Dogs, said that the television ad was an ‘exciting step’ for the Worcestershire-based company which still employs just 52 while exporting to more than 35 countries across the globe.

Graham said: “Creating our first TV commercial has been a major undertaking. We make premium quality dog and cat food, not TV commercials so we needed the support of an experienced agency that understood our brand values and how to create a great TV ad.

“Walker based in Bournemouth, has assisted us with all aspects of the TV production – from creative scripting, which needed to mirror our brand values, through to identifying locations, casting for the talent – our two-legged and four-legged stars and the shoot itself.

“We got to spend a lovely couple of days on location around the Saddleworth Moors towards the end of last year ‘making the magic happen’. Having tested a final cut, we are pleased with the end result which can only help in making Fish4Dogs a household name.”

A preview of ‘The Run’ can be seen on the company’s YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYxAYF6jKR8&feature=youtu.be

For more information on Fish4Dogs and their range you can visit www.Fish4Dogs.com.

 

Dog found on railway finds her family with help from Battersea

A Siberian Husky who was found on railway tracks in Southwark has been reunited with her owners, thanks to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

Two-year old Kinky was taken to the charity’s London centre by a local dog warden after she had been found dangerously wandering on the tracks at Nunhead Station, Southwark.

Once she arrived at Battersea, Kinky was scanned for a microchip and although she had a chip implanted there were no details of an owner registered. It was impossible for staff to contact her owners to let them know she was safe.

Luckily, the young dogs’ owners had made a report to their local dog warden and DogsLostUK, which is an information site that Battersea regularly check to see if any strays listed are in their care.

After receiving a report from the dog warden, and seeing the listing on DogsLostUK, Battersea staff were able to find the lonely Husky’s family.

On hearing the news, Kinky’s relieved owner, Audacity Pharos, made his way to Battersea to collect her, where it emerged that the dog has a very adventures streak and went missing when she jumped out of a window earlier that day.

It was also revealed that Kinky had recently moved to London with her owners, after having lived in Sicily, Italy.

Steve Craddock, Centre Manager at Battersea, said: “It’s clear that Kinky has lived a very exploratory life for a young dog, but we hope that now she keeps her intrepid adventured to a minimum. Although the process wasn’t straightforward, we’re so happy to reunite Kinky with her owners and get them back on track.

“However, many dogs who come into Battersea without a microchip, or with their chip details out of date, are not so lucky – as it’s often impossible for us to track down their owners. I’d urge everyone to make sure that their pets are microchipped with the up-to-date details. If they ever go missing, an up-to-date microchip means that they can be reunited with their owners as soon as possible.”

For more information about a lost dog, you can visit www.battersea.org.uk/pet-advice/.

 

Dogs Trust Bridgend’s oldest dog seeks loving retirement home

Staff at Dogs Trust Bridgend are appealing for a home for their oldest resident who is the human equivalent of 98 years old.

Taking the accolade is Tilly, who at 14 years old, found herself in the care of the Pen-y-Fai rehoming centre in February after her owners were no longer able to care for her.

Tilly is currently receiving lots of love and care in a foster home through the charity’s Home from Home scheme but would love a forever home to call her own.

Well above the four-year old average for a dog in Dogs Trust’s care, Tilly is now keeping her paws crossed to find a new home for her retirement years.

But staff say the terrier still has a lot of love to give and is a sweet older lady, who is hoping to capture the hearts of new owners who can offer her a forever home in her twilight years.

Angela Weatherall, Dogs Trust Bridgend’s Manager, said: “It’s especially sad when older dogs come to us, but Tilly really deserves to find her special someone. Sometimes older dogs spend a longer time with us than their younger counterparts, but there are so many advantages to having an older dog. They usually tend to need less exercise, and most, like Tilly, are used to living in a home. With age on their side their personality is already shaped s new owners are able to really understand and appreciate the dog they are welcoming into their family.

“Tilly has lived in a home before and is friendly with everyone she meets. She loves pottering about on walks and carrying her toys around the garden. She would like to be the only pet in the home and could be left alone for a short time once she has settled in. We would like to hear from potential new owners who can offer Tilly a cosy bed where she can put her paws up and enjoy her retirement.”

The Bridgend rehoming centre often gets older dogs in their care and is currently home to six mature dogs who are over the age of eight.

They are keen to encourage people to consider the advantages of owning an older dog, which include:

  1. They might need less exercise but are still just as fun.
  2. They are used to living in a home so come house-trained and don’t have those mischievous puppy behaviours.
  3. Their personalities are already developed so new owners will be able to understand and appreciate the dog they are welcoming into their family.

Dogs Trust has lots of information and support available for anyone thinking of adopting an older dogs at www.dogstrust.org.uk.

 

 

Lucky ferret rescued from waste pipe

The RSPCA and fire brigade rescued a ferret from a waste pipe two-storeys high.

A fearless ferret who got herself stuck in a waste pip at the top of a two-storey building was rescued by the RSPCA and fire services.

The female ferret, now named Lucky by the RSPCA, was found with her head poking out of the top of the pipe in Bishop Auckland, County Durham on 9 April.

The RSPCA was contacted by the homeowner when she was alerted to the ferrets’ plight by her cat.

Inspector Kaye Smith said: “The caller heard scuffling noises when she went in to the bathroom and her cat was going crackers there. When she went outside, she spotted the ferret’s head just peeking out of the waste pipe two-storeys up.

“We have no idea how the ferret got there or where she had come from. We were worried about her being so high up and the crows were also very interested in her. I contacted the fire brigade for assistance and they were kindly used their ladder and climbed up to retrieve Lucky.

“Amazingly, she is perfectly healthy and has no injuries. In fact, she was clean and dry as well which is a bit of a mystery as she was in a waste pipe. She’s stayed with me at home overnight and then she will go to a ferret rescue for seven days. If an owner does not come forward in that time she will be rehomed.”

If you have lost a ferret and believe this could be your pet, please contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

 

 

Research reveals pet ownership decreases loneliness

New research reveals that Brits are losing their sense of connection with others, with feelings of loneliness and anxiety overwhelming the nation.

According to a new study by Mars Petcare UK, a fifth of adults now feel more comfortable interreacting with people online than they do in person.

As a result, a third of people feel nervous when meeting new people and alarmingly, four in ten Brits experience pangs of worry at the thought of going out with their own friends.

The research reveals, however that our pets could be the solution to reconnecting with others and decreasing our feelings of loneliness.

More than half of pet owners (54%) felt that they found socialising ‘easier’ upon getting a pet. As a consequence, nine in ten reported feelings of loneliness reduced after getting a new pet.

Nearly 50% described these feelings to have dramatically reduced just days after their new pets’ arrival.

Corinne Sweet, Human Psychotherapist and author said: “Building a relationship with a pet is a major step towards breaking down feelings of isolation, loneliness and anxiety. People confide in their pets: calm down by stroking and grooming them and get exercise by taking them for walks – even a trip to the vet is a way of getting out and meeting new people.

“Pets can welcome you home, give you physical and emotional contract, and make you feel important. They can help with heartbreak, illness and separation, and be a family ‘hub’ when times are tough. On an ‘evolutionary psychological’ level humans have always interacted and co-existed with animals, so it is a symbolic relationship with deep emotional roots.”

Mars Petcare UK has launched “Thank You Pets”, an invitation for pet owners around the country to thank and celebrate the vast benefits their pets bring to their lives, both physically, mentally and socially.

From reducing feelings of loneliness and anxiety, to forging a connection with the wider community and encouraging an increase in physical activity, pets can truly make our lives better.

More than half of Brits who don’t own a pet admit that they would like to get one in the future. Further to this, 74% of 18-24-year-olds would like to own a pet compared to just 37% of 55 plus year olds.

However, Mars Petcare UK found that there are currently a number of barriers to owning a pet, which include, working long hours, landlords not allowing pets in rented property and expense.

Deri Watkins, General Manager at Mars Petcare UK explains: “We know that when people bring pets into their lives, there are proven benefits to general well-being, mental health and social cohesion. The vast range of positives that pets bring is something that we want to celebrate this National pet Day by saying thank you to all UK pets.

“Everyone deserves the right to enjoy the benefits that pets bring to our lives. Working with policy makers and local communities, our mission at Mars Petcare UK is to help eradicate pet homelessness by breaking down the barriers that stop people from enjoying the company, love and loyalty of owning a pet.

“From making it easier for pet owners to lease properties to working with businesses to make their offices more pet friendly, Mars Petcare aims to tackle this from all angles.”

For more information about the campaign and to join in, you can visit www.mars.co.uk/doing-our-part/thank-you-pets.

 

 

 

 

 

Police statistics show UK cat thefts rise sharply

From 2015 to 2018 cat thefts recorded by police revealed a sharp increase of 144%.

Yorkshire-based pet insurance company, The Insurance Emporium has been working with pet theft reform campaigners, Pet theft Awareness on insights into cat theft trends in the UK.

Pet Theft Awareness requested information on cat theft from 48 police authorities across the UK, which revealed the Bengal cat seemed to be at the greatest risk of being stolen.

Bengals are particularly sought-after cats, and 19% of all recorded thefts were for this particular cat.

Nat far behind was the pricey British Shorthair cats, including the popular British Blue, accounting for 14% of recorded cat thefts. The aristocratic-looking and expensive Persian cat followed at 11%.

Some police authorities recorded significantly higher numbers of cat thefts than others with the Metropolitan Police being the UK’s number one cat theft hotspot, with 18% of all recorded cat thefts in the UK.

West Yorkshire followed with 8.9% of all recorded cat thefts and Kent Police at 7.2%. At the bottom of the list is Thames Valley Police with 2.6% of all recorded cat thefts.

However, actual police prosecution or cautions followed in just 1% of the Met Police’s recorded cases. This was in stark contrast to Cumbria Constabulary, where 50% of recorded cat thefts were converted into police cautions.

Whilst cat theft may at first glance appear to be more common in some areas, this could be down to a lack of uniformity in the way police record and enforce cat theft.

For example, 100% of cat thefts prosecuted in West Mercia all occurred during 2018, with none between 2015 and 2017. Could this be due to improvements in their processes, or a new willingness by West Mercia police to take cat theft seriously as a crime?

Responding to these statistics, Pet Theft Awareness Campaigner Toni Clarke, and owners of missing cat Clooney, said: “When my beloved Siamese cat Clooney vanished in 2013 after a courier van was seen driving away from our rural home, police officers quoted a cat’s right to roam to me and refused to record him as missing or stolen even though I had good reason to suspect the crime of cat theft.”

Richard Jordon of Pet Theft Awareness said: “Cat theft is a crime which seems to be on the up. We are campaigning for cat theft reform so that when a cat disappears, the assumption that it has gone walkabout is replaced with proper police recording, enforcement and uniformity of approach across the board.”

For more information on Pet Theft Awareness and Toni Clarke’s campaign to find her missing cat Clooney, you can visit www.pettheftawareness.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutravet aims to help pet owners make a big difference to pets’ mobility for less

Natural animal health company, nutravet have introduced smaller packs of their fast-acting joint support, nutraquin+.

The smaller 30 packs provide a low-cost introduction for pet owners, allowing them to test the fast-acting nature of the product.

Nutraquin+is a fast-acting joint support product with the benefits noticeable, on average within 7 days due to its high strength formula and the inclusion of Boswellia Extract.

The natural joint support product contains a unique high strength formula that help to maintain optimum joint health in dogs, cats and horses and only contains the highest quality natural ingredients.

Matthew Shaw, Managing Director for nutravet, said: “Since its introduction 10 years ago, nutraquin+ has been the market leader in fast-acting joint health nutraceuticals, but we’re always looking for ways to improve and following feedback, we have made the product even more accessible for pet owners.

“The new smaller packs will allow pet owners to test the fast-acting nature of the product at a lower cost. On the face of it, many joint supplements can appear good value for money, however many are very low in strength. The nutraquin range provides the highest strength products for pets, whilst delivering the most affordable price.”

As with all nutravet products, the new packs are manufactured with minimal environmental impact and sustainability in mind and are sold in packaging made from 100% recycled materials.

The 30 packs re now available for pet owners to buy over the counter from any authorised veterinary practice.

For further information you can visit www.nutravet.co.uk.