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There is always something going on in a multi-cat household. Erm 9... cats and counting...... Plus stories from the Sheffield Cats Shelter

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sunday at the Shelter 18-08-2013

I went to the shelter earlier than normal today to do some filming. I want to try and capture some 'behind the scenes' elements of the day to day workings.  I'm not sure many people realise quite how much work goes into every single day.

Judith was already preparing food when I got there at 8:10am.

Preparing cat mealsPreparing cat meals
Judith prepares meals

Currently the shelter are having to be really careful throughout as flu symptoms have started to appear.  Pro-biotic powder, plus a Flu remedy are being added into food where appropriate.

Preparing cat meals
Judith adds pro-biotic powder to meals

Flu in cats can go from mild to very serious and it can spread very easily. A cat showing no symptoms can still pass on the infection in a number of ways, in addition, some can be carriers.  This is one of the reasons the Shelter has such a strict cleaning regime. Sadly as the infection can be passed by direct cat to cat contact or from being carried on clothing and shoes, it's managed to get through the defences.  Even cats who have been vaccinated could become ill, although not usually as severely as non vaccinated ones.

In view of this a number of additional measures have been put in place to reduce the risk of cross infection.  Rooms with cats showing any sign of illness are marked accordingly. Anyone visiting or cleaning in such a room will not be allowed in any other room and should completely limit their movement around the shelter.

Protective clothing
Smurf fashion?
Where necessary, staff equip themselves with overshoes and aprons, or full 'clean suits' which are disposed of as soon as a room is completed.

Back to the filming and Emma kindly talked me through the daily routine.  Generally the morning starts with feeding in all rooms, medication and changing litter trays.  Although it sounds a bit gross, the contents of litter trays are important as any diarrhoea or evidence of blood can indicate a problem.

I took some photos and video within Room 4 to begin with, Daisy and Princess's kittens are in here. All but one have been pre-adopted and should be going to their new homes in about a weeks time.

ginger kitten hiding
A hiding little kitten

They were all due for worming, which meant each one had to first be weighed and then given a tablet.  Weights and medication are then all written on each kittens record sheet.

Ginger kitten on weighing scales
Weighing kittens
I then moved into Maternity to do a little more filming.  Some of the younger kittens are weighed to check their progress. As before these are then carefully recorded.

Then it was all about cleaning. As you can see a Mum and her babies can make quite a mess of their cage!

Here's the before....

Messy cat cage
Dirty cage

And the after :)

Clean cat cage
All clean!
The newspapers in the bottom of the cage serve two purposes, they help to make cleaning a little easier, but also make the surface of the cage a little warmer for younger kittens.

Speaking of which, here are a few kittens to drool over!


Tabby and white kitten



And Mum :)

So until next week! Thanks for calling by :)



  1. Flu is such a nightmare with the extra work it brings. It looks like you have an excellent regime there for containing outbreaks, I know how hard it is.

    Those scales look really good. I keep humming and haa'ing about getting some to keep an eye on the weight of my cats.

    Isn't it depressing how kitten season is now all year long? Every shelter down here is bulging with huge waiting lists too :(

    1. This is my first personal experience of cat flu, its scary how poorly it can make the vulnerable cats :(
      I signed my 'tribe' up with a new vet on their 'Healthy Pet' scheme, they get weighed twice a year. As we both know weight loss can be serious.

      There is certainly no shortage of kittens :(