Copper – a cat in grief

Copper or Koppa as she was formerly known is yet another of our arrivals this year that breaks your heart.

She had no physical injuries or abuse to speak of and the very minor issues she had are already resolving with good nutrition.

So why you may ask does she evoke such feeling. To put it simply, the look in her eyes.  She is lost, doesn’t understand what she has done to be here and is essentially grieving for the owners who placed her here.

Thankfully it is a situation we have seen so many times before and we are well versed at helping them. Far too many times cats who are fit and healthy but no longer have a place in the home find themselves here or other rescue centres.

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So what is Copper’s story?

Apparently her owners are moving abroad and so she and her 2 younger housemates have found themselves homeless.  Why, I don’t really know as the latest pet passport schemes make travelling with pets far easier than many years ago. But then people often tell us half truths to “get a space”

Whatever the reason it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that for cats like Copper of which there are thousands every day, they need to endure this emotional roller coaster full of fear and depression.

This shouldn’t be the case. These cats deserve far better and before you consider taking on a pet will you think of them as a throwaway object or permanent part of your family? By taking on a pet you make a life long commitment to care for them to the best of your ability, keep them safe and free from pain and sickness.

If your answer is the latter we would love to hear from you.

If it is the former, try a virtual pet but please don’t subject your whims on a sentient, emotional loving animal like cats, rabbits & dogs.  Far too many of them have their lives shattered because of you causing huge emotional distress as you put your furniture, wallpaper or holidays first.

As for Copper, we will care for her, bring her on and find her a wonderful new loving home, hopefully one day soon, where she will live out the rest of her life happy & spoilt never again to feel as she does now.

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How to make a difference – make your vote count

To jump ahead and vote Please click here: http://www.facebook.com/FeelGoodPark

Simply LIKE the page and then click on Vote for a Charity. Choose Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue and click Submit.

To know more about how your vote will help please read on:

Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue is based in Fife and supports a wide geographical area encompassing Fife, Edinburgh, and the Lothians.  We typically care for approximately 50 cats and kittens at any one time specializing in the most difficult or complex cases and are very proud of our 96% save rate, as a strictly no kill rescue.

The majority of cats or kittens that come to Sunny Harbour are suffering from some form of physical or emotional trauma. At Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue we pride ourselves on helping to heal these cats on the inside and outside.  We will fix their broken bodies, heal their wounds and  show them that they can trust in humans and live a happy, loved life. Great care is taken in the rehoming process to ensure that both adoptees and cats are suitably well matched for the best chance of success.

We have saved many cats from being unnecessarily euthanised because they have been suffering stress or emotional trauma subsequently manifesting itself as unwanted behaviours or illness meaning owners no longer wish to keep them. Cats like Ash, Maya, and Angel who are now living wonderful, happy lives in their new homes.

SunnyHarbour cat rescue also specialise in the hand rearing of infant kittens and strive to maintain our 99% save rate.  We have raised dozens of babies from just a few minutes old until they leave us at 13 – 15 weeks as happy, bouncy kittens. Many tell us our hand rear babies temperaments are 1 of a kind, very special.

In addition to the hands on work with our feline charges we are also here to help advise and guide owners in all aspects of cat care. Grooming to feeding, behaviours and nutrition.

We provide all new cat owners with detailed care packs providing all the basic educational materials to get them started and operate an advice service to support all cat owners.

An injection of £5000 would enable us to clear our ever increasing veterinary bill, put a small pot of emergency funds aside for cases like Bruno or Alice and place some funding towards projects we would like to see over the next few years.

A picture of baby Ali kitten

There are 3 key projects we would love to get off the ground, and it is our hope that by supporting us and the public voting for us in the Animal Friends Charity of the Month that we may be able to roll out 1 or more sooner than we could otherwise have hoped.

Please vote here: http://www.facebook.com/FeelGoodPark/app_225364430831689

1 – Animal Ambulance
A dedicated vehicle which will enable quick response to emergency calls and a means of transporting the cats to and from our vets in a more comfortable environment.   At the current time emergency equipment is stored if various locations and it can take some time to collect all equipment needed and respond.  A dedicated vehicle, fully equipped would mean we could respond far more quickly.

Our intention is to purchase a good quality used van and convert it ourselves by fitting out the interior to meet our specific storage and transportation needs.

2 – Community based advice centre.

Over the last few years it has become apparent that despite the many neutering schemes around there is still an ever increasing number of litters of kittens around which are now being sold for profit.  In line with this there are a number of impulse buys and in general a lack of basic knowledge in how to care for cats.

As a result we currently utilise tools such as our website, phone lines, Facebook, Twitter and our blog to help educate the public that cats are far more complex emotional animals that require thought and consideration and provide advice on basics such as feeding, grooming and reasons behind certain behaviours.

In light of this we would like to be able to start a fund to enable us to establish a community resource for our geographical area that will serve 2 purposes.

Firstly it will enable us to have the public ‘drop in’ for advice about non veterinary matters in a more relaxed, friendly environment.  We would like to run basic care sessions for new cat owners allowing us to demonstrate basic grooming and feeding and provide information on mental and physical stimulation and how to create a healthy relationship between owner, children and their cat, as well as offering low cost microchipping and neutering advice.

Secondly, in line with the above we would like to help fundSunny Harbour Cat Rescue by providing a much needed pet shop for the area, specifically cat orientated for the Fife andEdinburgh areas.   There is a huge lack of good pet stores with good ranges of toys and equipment for cats in particular and we feel we could fill a retail void and also helpSunny Harbour Cat Rescue become more independent financially and provide future stability by having a dedicated income stream with all profits from the shop donated to the rescue itself.
3 – Development & publishing of educational material for cat owners.

It is our goal to produce a range of leaflets and we hope, one day, a practical written guide for new cat owners on how to care and stimulate their cat(s).

Our aim is to produce a range of short leaflets that can be distributed via veterinary surgeries and rescue centres to help educate the public on key aspects of cat care such as feeding, play, grooming and how to maintain physical and psychological stimulus to help prevent negative behaviours through stress and boredom.

In line with this we would also produce a much more comprehensive book which covered items in depth which are touched upon in the leaflets but also providing real life examples, possible behaviours, how pets deal with grief.  We would also look to include ‘how to’ guides on a range of topics such as building scratching frames, puzzle feeders and home made toys.  Proceeds of the book would go directly toSunnyHarbour to help fund our rescue work.

Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue are a forward thinking rescue organisation and in line with our core principles of rescue and education we hope to build on our current services to enhance the support we can provide to new and existing cat owners.

We can however only achieve these things through securing our future with more independent funding and it is our hope that you will consider voting forSunny Harbour Cat Rescue to enable us to begin paving the way to secure our future and that of the hundreds of cats and kittens that will rely on us.

So please, consider taking just a few moments to vote for SunnyHarbourin this months vote http://www.facebook.com/FeelGoodPark/app_225364430831689

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Its Just a Cat…. or is it?

its only a cat…
4 little words that can spark anger and upset into pet lovers. especially feline varieties, the world over.  So what is it about cats?

Most of the time you will hear this phrase they are muttered from a person who has probably never received the 2 way unconditional love of a cat.  These are the people who believe cats are always distant, aloof, lone creatures with no compassion or ideals of companionship. That cats are manipulative, selfish and ultimately disobedient and destructive.

Many, if not most, will have purely faded childhood memories of a cat which scratched them, though they won’t recall what happened at the time, but it wasn’t their fault, the cat was nasty.

Whilst many will say we are biased due to the very natter of being involved in rescue (so we must see cats through rose tinted glasses).  A degree of this may well be true but what we do see every day is a cats ability to show vulnerability, fear and through time and trusting one another, even the most aggressive, confused and emotionally scarred little cat can blossom into a tactile, loving and very caring companion.

Many of the cats we take in where they have been described as nervous, aggressive, lone animals turn out to be some of the most loving, tactile cats ever.  So why the change?  probably due to being misunderstood, anxiety in the home environment and possibly its just the wrong home!?

Too often people tell us that they must adopt a kitten so that they can bring it up ‘their way’ and so the kitten will fit into their home and family better.  But this is not necessarily so.  Cats are independent animals who think for themselves and have their own characters and personalities.  Yes, this cute little kitten is adorable and will grow up in your home but that does not guarantee that it will like or be happy there.  In fact in most cases we take cats into Sunny Harbour that are 2 – 4 years old that people have had from a kitten that are quite simply stressed and anxious in the home environment causing unwanted behaviours.   You have to realise that you cannot brain wash a cat into ‘your way’.  You must accept that cats are their own persona and it is you who must adapt to them to ensure that they are happy and settled in your home. 

Many times we rehome a cat where 1 in the couple is slightly reluctant. Typically due to lack of experience with cats or childhood experiences. The strange thing is that we often find it is this individual the cat creates closest bond to. Who melts at every show of the pretty please eyes and who, ultimately gives in to ask if the cat can join them in bed despite forbidding it under any circumstances when the cats first arrived.

Cats are complex, emotional animals and if you take just a few moments each day to get to know that little feline companion you share your home with and learn how to understand what he or she is trying to tell you, you will very quickly see that they are far from being “just a cat”

Cats know when you are sick, feeling down or upset.  They will sit by you and keep you company, give you cuddles unconditionally and provide companionship without demanding much in return.  Simply food, love and of course, a clean litter tray.

So, the next time someone tells you “its just a cat” remind yourself that it is them that is ignorant of the wonderful, loving relationship cats have to offer – and how can people comment on things they know nothing about?

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Why do cats suffer with Stress and associated behaviours??

Throughout the hundreds of cats relinquished to Sunny Harbour every year there are very clear patterns to the core reasons why cats are relinquished.  Many of these include reasons such as a house move, new baby, aggression or unpredictable behaviour and even inappropriate urination possibly as a result of said house move or new arrival.

Whilst there are variables between each case one key element across most of these cases which is the same is stress.  Yes these are stressful times for you and your family. But have you stopped for 1 moment to consider the effect your stress or change in situation is having on your pets? in particular your cat?

Cats are complex beings who whilst yes, can think independently, they are also very intuitive and can sense how you are feeling. They will often know something is wrong before you do.

I know from personal experience that an old boy we had, JoJo (who happens to appear on the front cover of this years Calendar), knew several weeks before me that I was pregnant and would follow me everywhere and want to constantly lay on me, very out of character for JoJo.

There are many studies and many points of view with regards to stress in cats. Some accept their ability to feel stres, others not so much. Certainly from experience we know only too well that stress plays a vital role in why cats come INTO rescue.  It is not simply due to stress but the behaviour that the stress manifests as these cats become more and more anxious.
A large proportion of the cats we see arrive at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue under these circumstances fall into 2 clear categories. Fear Aggressive & Stress Related Behaviours.

Our findings are that cats are not naturally outwardly aggressive. Certainly they will take flee over fight any chance they can. So what causes cats to become aggressive, distant and often erratic in their behaviours? 1 word Stress.
Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue specialise in caring for these unwanted souls because we feel they are essentially misunderstood. They have fed the information to their owners that they are fearful or unhappy and going un noticed  and therefore un treated for so long the cats anxieties increase and begin to manifest in behavioural or physical changes. The longer this continues, generally the worse the behaviour will become, until eventually owners see the cat as a problem and so rather than look for ways to help their pet they often see them as a lost cause and either put them to sleep, abandon them or give them to rescue.

We would like to see owners begin to see their cats as individuals and when you notice changes in behaviour take note, not dismiss.  Changes in behaviour especially drastic changes can also signal health issues and you should have your cat seen and assessed by your veterinary practice as soon as possible.

Based on the cases we have dealt with we feel 1 key element in a cats ability to cope with change well is often related to the age they were separated from their mother and siblings. Those taken below 10 – 12 weeks are more susceptible and even more so, are those taken too young to live as a single cat.

The reason?

Kittens only start to develop social skills and learn how to deal with exposure to new sights, sounds, etc from around 7 weeks when their fundamental senses such as hearing and eyesight is more developed. Between 8 and 12 weeks kittens learn how to develop their natural skills of socialising, hunting, psychological development and ability to adapt to change and new surroundings through play and reassurance from their siblings. 

Without the ability to learn from their siblings kittens lack the basic skills they need to develop into confident, well socialized adult cats.  It is predominantly these very cats that will find themselves in rescue for their unacceptable behaviour and really for no fault of their own.  Humans chose to remove them from their learning environment too soon because they have not taken the time to establish a cats basic developmental needs and the future impact their actions will cause. They have considered only that they want them as young, cute and fluffy as possible.

Think of it as taking your child out of school in nursery with no contact with other children or school education and expecting them to know how to read, write, and communicate with their peers. They would struggle vs those who continued to go to school wouldn’t they?

We really want the public to see more clearly the effects their choices can have and the misery it can cause for the cats but also for the owners. We want to see owners understand their cats needs more fully so that they can spot warning signs and take steps to help your cat before anxiety sends them into despair and they lash out or leave a deposit on your bed telling you they can’t cope.

What should you do?

Ask for advice from your vet, call your local rescue for advice, Sunny Harbour offer an advice service, or utilise your pet insurance and ask your vet to refer you to a local cat behaviouralist for help.

Pets don’t ask for much other than love, food, a warm place to sleep and most of all to feel safe in their home.  Consider them part of your family as they consider you part of theirs.

Please remember your cat feels fear, hurt, upset, anxiety as well as happiness. 

Next time you dismiss their behaviour consider how you would feel if you asked for help and it fell on deaf ears?

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Sometimes Nature Fails – Ali’s Tale – kitten at the brink of death saved by Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue, Fife

Sadly there are times when nature takes its course and doesn’t quite manage to complete the cycle of life.  What am I referring to?  Little Ali and his mum.

Little Ali was born on Sunday night with 3 siblings. Mum cat who has had a few litters before had got the hang of things after 3 years in this world.  Typically small for a female cat who began having kittens when she was very young, she delivered her babies well on her own. Cleaning them up and separating them from their sacs and placenta.

This was as far as she could go. For some reason mums milk just didn’t come in.  We don’t know exactly what happened next but we do know that her little body couldn’t feed her 4 babies.

When Sunny Harbour learnt of their arrival nearly 24 hrs had already passed. Paul got to them as quickly as he could but on arrival found 3 kittens were already dead and the sole surviving kitten was barely alive.

Ali on arrival at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue

Ali on arrival at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue

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No time to stop and think and an hour away from the rescue Paul got in the car and headed straight back. This sole surviving kitten was exceptionally weak and freezing cold as well as starving.  In a bid to warm the baby kitten and stop him from dying of hypothermia Paul placed him next to his skin and got back to Sunny Harbour as quickly as possible where I was waiting with emergency supplies.

It was touch and go. Yet despite all the odds against this wee guy he was full of spirit and a will to live.  We desperately got fluids into him and warmed him up.  He was such a little fighter and so we called him Ali.

The first few days were the hardest and part of us was almost expecting to lose him. Ali had different plans and kept fighting on and thankfully at 5 days old and despite everything he remains fighting and full of spirit.

It is so sad when nature cannot cope with the strain on their little bodies and these precious, innocent little souls have to lose their lives.

Better still would be for cats like Ali’s mum not to have to bear the strain of multiple litters and her tiny body fail.

If ever there was a reason or case to have your cat neutered then Ali is it.

We just hope and pray he will survive and for as long as he keeps soldiering on we will continue to help him fight…

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Found White & Black Cat Thornton, Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Fife

This wee guy was found wandering lost on a busy dual carriageway on the 16th January.

He has been brought to Sunny Harbour by concerned passers by who were desperate to get him to safety.

We would like to trace his owners and if you have any information please contact Sunny Harbour on 01592 783732 or email us.

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How much attention do we really pay to our cats diet?

Anyone who has adopted a cat from Sunny Harbour or spoken to us about food for cats will know that we are strong advocates of the most nutritious options available whether that be wet or dry foods.

We firmly believe in giving cats the best nutrition possible for the budget you have available.

But what is good nutrition really? After all supermarket brands state they are complete foods as well as cheap in price, so surely more expensive foods are a rip off…. not necessarily so.

If u were shopping for yourself at the supermarket you would generally check the ingredients, or you would take the fresh apples, not the bruised & battered brown ones. Then why do SO few people look at the ingredients that constitute your cats food?

If we look at this in the most basic form cats are carnivorous animals; meat eaters. So why do so many pet food manufacturers put cereals as the main ingredient in their pet foods? The answer is because it is a cheaper source of protein. The fact that it is harder for your cat to digest and can lead to issues such as IBS in cats seems irrelevant to manufacturers of these cat foods.

One of the reasons that I have decided to discuss this topic is recently discovering that one of our recently adopted cats has developed just such an intolerability to Cereals and grains causing IBS.

Unfortunately we didn’t pick up on this prior and so their home fell through. But I do wonder had we not known our cats so well and worked through a period of elimination would we have reached the actual conclusion…. food??

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The reality is probably not as there seems to be a train of thought that feeding isn’t linked to health issues. In our opinion, yes it can well be and only through looking at the quality of ingredients in your pets food can you be really sure that they are obtaining the best from the food they eat.

Your cat will eat what you put in front of it. Your cat relies on you to make the informed choices about their feeding and to change it as their needs change.

So what should you be looking for?

Ideally you are looking for foods that state human grade or certainly good quality meat as the main ingredient. You are looking for no cereals such as wheat in the food and by getting used to reading pet food ingredient labels you will notice the stark differences in the pet foods available.

Don’t be fooled by price either. While I won’t lie there are good quality dry foods put there that are a little pricey but when broken down into daily feeding quantities will generally work out cheaper on a per day basis than cheaper foods as u feed less of it per meal.

There are however higher priced food available in pet shops and even vets which are exceptionally poor quality. So don’t just go by labels that say ‘veterinary’ or ‘prescription’ or have fancy packaging. Actually look at the ingredients and if you are taking these foods on vet recommendation why not ask for alternatives with better quality ingredients?

You have to make the choice of what to feed your cat and thinking of it as taking care of their health. With better nutrition your cat will thank you for a healthier lifestyle.

As for the kitty we have with food intolerance she is still going through food trials while we find the best possible food options for her so that she can go on to find a loving new home.

If you have queries regarding feeding please do contact us we are only too happy to discuss the options out there.

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Volunteer in Fife – Opportunities

Like me and many tens of thousands of others come New years day many a resolution for change will have been made, but will we stick to it?

Every year I plan to be more organised & keep on top of filing & paperwork. I start off with good intentions but sadly usually falter after a few weeks.   This year however, more than ever I feel determined to get things back on track & into an orderly fashion.

What about you? What are your goals for 2012 ? January is often the time when people think of doing more for others whether neighbours, friends or organisations or charities.  A small yet significant change you can make is to volunteer for a local charity.

There are thousands of small charities throughout the UK and I would encourage you to visit small, local, grass root charities and offer your time or skills to help, where it is needed most.

Often these small charities like Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue are run on a volunteer basis only. They lack the large corporate size budgets to employ personnel and instead have to rely on utilising what skills they can from their small teams of unpaid volunteers.

Whether you can spare an hour or 2 a week or a couple of days please consider helping out either hands on, collecting donations in your spare time or helping with administration, fundraising or just cuddling a few cats. Every little bit helps and often far more than you realise.

So, if you are considering change in 2012 why not consider volunteering? Sunny Harbour are always looking for Volunteers to join the ranks. More information about our volunteer opportunities can be found on our website at http://www.sunnyharbour.org.uk/vol.html

Happy New Year!!

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A festive message

Every year at this time Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue and I’m sure hundreds of other rescues throughout the UK will begin to receive the annual calls from Parents who have “promised their child a kitten for Xmas”… <sigh>

Yes, it really does still happen! Despite years of conveying the opposing message people still encourage their children to see pets as objects rather than a responsibility and privilege by giving them as gifts.  Unfortunately the ever increasing number of kittens and animals in general sold on the free ad sites don’t help matters either.  Like every year come March time we will be inundated by people calling with 6 mth old kittens, this time however the message will be “kids are bored of it” and they need to find the kitten a new home.  Same thing, every year at the same time!

Getting a pet for xmas isn't a good idea in many circumstances

Ideally we would like to see people consider as a family decision the responsibility associated with the adoption of a cat or kitten. Not as a festive ‘surprise’.  If you really must get a cat or kitten for Xmas then remember cats are living, breathing, sentient animals who feel fear, pain, anxiety and worry. The reason we don’t rehome to families over the Xmas period and wait until the new year is due to the following considerations.  We would ask that should you still get a kitten for Xmas you consider the following very carefully;

  • Do not buy or adopt a kitten under a minimum of 10 weeks old. It is critical that kittens remain with their siblings until 10 weeks so that they can fully develop their sight, mobility, strength and most importantly their social skills. Without these skills it increases the likelihood of said kitten maturing into a reserved, timid adult cat rather than an integrated member of the family.
  • Don’t give the kitten full run of the house. Provide them with a safe space / room where their food, toys & litter box are.  The more space they have the more chance there is of increasing their anxiety and creating confusion over the litter box. Restricting access in the house for a couple of weeks will help to reduce this and prevent stress related litter box issues.
  • When cats settle into their new homes they explore using sight, sound and scent. The noise, existing animals, past animals, new people, colours, flashing lights and smells generated over the Xmas period can be exceptionally confusing for an adult cat never mind a kitten. Combine this with an equally strange home environment and a kitten just learning to see, hear and interact and you have a very nervous kitten on your hands. This combined with excited children running around makes the home a very stressful and hazardous environment for a kitten.
  • To avoid injury and excessive and needless stress for your kitten then keep them in their ‘safe space’ with all their belongings until the house has calmed down again. E.g. when you have visitors round or the children are opening presents or just generally being over excited then place the kitten into a safe, quiet place until the house is calmer.
  • Never play with kittens with tinsel as small pieces may be ingested or they may choke on them.  Always keep tinsel well out of their reach and away from the bottom of the tree.
  • Avoid the use of breakable or glass baubles on the tree as kittens love to climb and play on Xmas trees. Instead go for plastic or tin / aluminium which won’t easily break and cause injury and make sure that at least the bottom 2 branches all round are clear of decorations.
  • Preferably opt for a synthetic tree not a real tree if you can to avoid eye injuries to kittens from  sharp pine needles

Lastly bear in mind cats love and rely on routine. The festive break is the time of year when your daily routine couldn’t be more out of tune. This can make life doubly confusing for a tiny kitten as your family as you get caught up in the festivities and impromptu social gatherings.  Not to mention the huge feeling of loneliness when you go back to work and the kids to school and they are left on their own all day.

Picture of a sad kitten on its own

A little sad face waiting on you getting home...

This is 1 of they key reasons we specifically wait until the 2nd week of January before we begin rehoming. By then you are back at work and the kids at school and a set family routine is once again being established.  This enables your kitten to work out where they fit in the family and routine in a safe, calm atmosphere.

We hope everyone has a very happy, safe Xmas and considers these points before adding to their family this Christmas.

From All at Sunny Harbour Cat Rescue

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Neutering; A better life for our pets

After reading an article in a local paper a few weeks ago I have debated and been very frustrated over the message it sent out.

The article itself was written by an Edinburgh vet and was very misleading in its message to the public.  The basis of the article was a great idea and was encouraging people to consider adopting older pets from rescues.

The reasoning for doing so according to this article was of course that older cats make wonderful additions to your home, which of course they do. However the point I did take note of and which angered me was the article stated the reason for so few kittens were available in rescues was that Edinburgh pet owners neutering rates were so high it was reducing the number of unwanted litters of kittens.  Therefore making kittens very hard to come by.

On this point I have to say this is completely untrue and such mis information is a loaded gun to pets.  If I were an irresponsible owner or BSB it would be easy to interpret this as a signal not to neuter and to continue churning out kittens and puppies as there are so few available then people must be desperate for them, especially in the run up to Xmas.

The cold hard facts are this couldn’t be further from the truth.  All you have to do is go on the free ad websites and see dozens upon dozens of litters for sale. Each kitten or puppy is usually under age, with little or no basic health care and being sold for ridiculous amounts of money. It is this ‘retailing’ of pets that has seen a decline in the number of kittens in rescue and the public have learnt how to make a quick buck at their pets expense. Once they get a taste for it, it won’t stop and you can see this for yourself with a little research as it is the same people posting the same ads every few months.

Have these mothers received veterinary and regular health care? I very much doubt it.

These poor mums bodies are weakened over time. Drained of life and their youth and many suffer with hip pain and illness from the lack of nutrients and basic care whilst churning out a litter of kittens one after the other. Many are pregnant again before their existing litter is even weaned.

What life is this for any cat or dog or any animal for that matter. Cats in particular are such intelligent loving animals who make wonderful companions and their urge to mate is driven purely by hormones. Neutering removes this and allows them to lead happy contented lives.

The sight of fear and often panic on the faces of young kittens, a mere 8 or 9 months old as they give birth for the first time is heart breaking. They should be running around carefree and exploring life, having fun. They shouldn’t be having their first litter whilst they are babies themselves and the physical drain will often stunt their growth.

There is a long running debate over whether free ad sites should allow the unregulated sale of animals, personally I don’t think it should be permitted for many reasons and a regulated means should be created.  That however is a topic for the future.

One thing I do know though is that in order to stop this exploitation of pets for money we have to make it much harder for them to be able to sell puppies & kittens. Then and only then will we be able to make real headway in neutering and reducing the overall number of pets abandoned and ending up in rescue.  Whilst it is still so easy to sell and find buyers this generation of back street breeders will never change.

How can you help?  By turning to rescue every time you look for a pet, not the freeads.  Help stamp out this exploitation by removing the demand and save these mummy cats and dogs from a life of breeding. Give them back their lives.

Please, please spread the word because until more people stop and think, before they buy, rather than acting on impulse then we will never be able to change the fate of future generations of pets for the better.

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