The family are emigrating and they cannot afford to take their cat with them. Other folks are simply not able to keep their cat anymore, or they just don’t want the cat anymore - they don’t want to take it to the SPCA because they are afraid that it will be “put to sleep”. To ease their conscience they “donate” their cat to an animal shelter. At least it won’t die, right?
Wrong. The cat now enters an aura of fear and insecurity. It is bewildered. There are no familiar smells. It no longer hears familiar voices and it no longer hears its name being called. No more loving hands to stroke it while it sits on a familiar lap. It becomes institutionalized. What’s to purr for? Misery and hopelessness set in. They stop eating, hide in corners and bury their heads in their paws. Did you know that cats can die of a broken heart? You won’t find this phrase in a veterinary dictionary – but it is well known to all shelter owners.
Some shelters manage to find new homes for cats but unfortunately, few people offer homes to adult cats, so thousands are left behind.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
• STERILIZE YOUR OWN CATS and encourage your friends to do the same.
• Volunteer your services at shelters. Spend a couple of hours a week brushing, stroking, talking to the cats.
• Assist shelters to look out for possible homes for cats.
• Donate to shelters:
o Dry foods
o Sratch posts
o Blankets (not cushions)
o Soft teddy bears
o Ping-pong balls
o The Wendy house no longer in use
o An old garden bench
o Rubber rakes
o Cotton wool and saline solution
o Tick and Flea control (Frontline/Revolution/Zero tick+flea)
o Unused building materials
o Children’s shell-shaped pools (for use as litter trays)
o Standard cat litter
o Stainless steel feeding bowls
o Old straw sun hats (lots of fun!)
o Your old computer in working order
o Black Rubbish bins / black rubbish bags
o Zinc baths
o Your time
VISIT the shelters, offer your services. Just be there to show you care. Your presence will lighten their load.