Another hot one! In the UK I find we are always taken aback a little by a heat wave, especially one that spans a couple of weekends! We complain when we have no summer and many of us also complain when its too hot!
Fortunately for us, and our pets, we have options to minimise any discomfort.
Its not same for the shelter though as they battle to get as much air flow into each room as possible.
One room, in the attic, becomes pretty much unusable during hot weather as it just can't be kept cool enough.
The attic, the old bathroom and the yard outside are used to give some cats a space of their own.
These are cats who, for whatever reason, can't be in one of the main communal rooms. Crystal from last weeks blog is one such cat. By day you'll find her on her own in the yard.
|Crystal in the yard|
Any other time she will need to be isolated inside the shelter. There is nothing wrong with her, she just really doesn't like other cats. To put her in a communal room would lead to upset and stress for everyone.
So if just one of these "single accommodation" area's become unavailable it causes big problems.
Maternity is a cage room, like holding and infirmary.
Most of the cages can be split up in different ways to make bigger or smaller areas. Currently in maternity there are three nursing mums. The heat is not helping here either. Mum's are too hot to want to nurse their babies for very long.
In the case of these little ones, who are 5 weeks old, they are nowhere near the size or weight they should be. They are being given extra formula milk to try and help build them up.
|Five weeks old, but very small|
|A second, underweight kitten|
When you first see the cage rooms you feel a little sad, but they are there for a reason and the majority get a time out by taking turns in the main part of the room. The Shelter staff always try and spend as much time with the cats as possible too.
As can be seen, some happily play with their toys.
|Tootsie plays with her ball|
|Tootsie trying to play with me through the bars!|
Others like nev find the cage a safe place and don't always want to come out, but will, once their confidence increases. Here he is venturing a little further. I also managed a cuddle which is always nice
|Nev sitting on the steps|
One of the bottom sections is always without a door. This lets the more timid cats hide away while their own cage is cleaned, or as I call them, their 'houses'.
|Tootsie makes use of the open spare section|
Holding was full despite Salam and Freddie, from last week, now being in a small room together. Its hoped this will help Freddie to feel more settled. He is also having to adjust his diet. At 3 years old he has never eaten cat food, being fed only on tinned tuna and pilchards. These are fine for the occasional treat, but not as a diet. The shelter team now have the long task of weaning him onto cat food.
As you've seen Tootsie is still here and so is Ellie, both very playful!
|Ellie also playing through the bars :)|
|Ellie checking out the street scene|
Here's Shamus, a very handsome young man, confident and curious.
Next we have Grace. She's very loving and fluffy, if a little timid :)
|Grace in her house|
|Grace checking out my gloves|
Finally Shadow. She is unhappy and with good reason. Her owner passed away recently. To add to her misery, when relatives cleared out the house, they left her behind. She was spotted by a neighbour crying to get into her home.
Every time I hear these stories I hope they are isolated cases. Sadly they are not. There are so many cats and kittens in Sheffield needing re-homing. But until cats are adopted no new ones cat come in.
The larger rooms are generally home to 6 or 7 cats. There are 3 large rooms and two smaller ones. These are all currently at capacity. In addition there are around 50 mum's and kittens out with foster carers. Plus there are approximately 400 other cats and kittens on the waiting list. Some are strays, some are unwanted pets, others have suffered the death of their human. Many of these would not be on the list, if more cats were neutered. Sadly, many people just don't do this and just assume that the Cat Shelter will take the resulting kittens off their hands.
I popped in on Monday to drop off newspapers. In the ten minutes I was there the phone rang as soon as the previous call had ended. I mean seconds.
One caller was asking for 15 cats to be collected. They had 3 females and one male, none neutered. No surprises that there are now 11 kittens.
Others were ringing about cats they'd seen caring outside for kittens or just about strays in general. In those ten minutes there were easily another 20 cats or kittens added to the waiting list. With little movement in adoptions recently, no one is quite sure where these cats or kittens are going to go.
The Shelter do everything they can to take in and care for those who have been abandoned or never had a home in the first place, but if there is no room, there is no room.
There is a small part of the solution that we can all help with. We should think very carefully before taking on an animal. They are for life and they deserve to be safe, loved and cared for. An animal is not something you should just give away when your circumstances change or you want an "upgrade". And neuter!! I know it costs money, but it costs more in the long run when those kittens start appearing. Finally, if you're looking for an animal, go to a rescue. There are so many lovely cats at this Shelter and no doubt others across the country. Try and help them out if you can.
So for now I'll leave you with a picture of a Mum and her babies enjoying a little time outside their "house"
|Mum and her kittens have some time out|
If you are interested in volunteering like me, the shelter are looking for people to help out, Tuesdays and Fridays in particular. Why not call in or pick up the phone? Contact details can be found on their web page.