Cats are funny little things. They like their home comforts and enjoy sitting on your knee when they choose, eating their food and the occasional treat when they choose, playing when they choose and sleeping when they choose. They do not like having others’ wills imposed upon them and every so often, seemingly just to keep their owners on their toes they disappear for a day or two, or even longer.
Loving owners will search high and low for their kitty, asking neighbours and complete strangers if they will please look in their garages, or prowling local construction sites for any sign of their pet. They will put up ‘lost’ posters and phone round local vets and even contact the RSPCA and local cat rescue centres to give details of their missing pet in the hope that they will be reunited if their cat turns up lost or injured somewhere. This happens frequently around Christmas time, when all the visitors, decorations and change in routine often severely annoy cats, and at New Year when fireworks can frighten them.
Just when all hope is lost and the owners are beginning to grieve for their lost pet, their cat will usually stroll in with no sign or acknowledgement of having been away. But for a few unfortunate owners their cat never finds its way home and ends up being cared for by a cat rescue centre run by a charity like the RSPCA. More often, those cat rescue centres deal with injured, neglected, abused or abandoned cats, many of whom need to be cared for by vets before being looked after in temporary, foster homes.
A charity in the UK can only function if enough people donate money and/or volunteer to help: aside from the Gift Aid scheme and income tax relief, any charity in the UK must rely on public support, not governmental subsidies. A cat rescue centre needs thousands of pounds each year to function: it needs to provide food, shelter and veterinary care for the cats in its care. In the case of the RSPCA it also needs to employ and train Inspectors who can respond to calls for help by members of the public, and investigate cases of suspected animal abuse.
The RSPCA Choices site has several projects that people can choose to support through donations or fundraising activities: their cat rescue centres benefit from support given to those projects specifically aimed at cats (such as providing veterinary treatment to a cat, or rehoming a cat) and from support for the RSPCA’s Everyday Heroes (their Inspectors, who have a very tough job to do).
If you have ever had a cat go missing, or if you are just a cat lover who wants to help cats other than just your own, you could consider supporting one of those projects or even becoming a volunteer at your local cat rescue centre. Perhaps you could even consider becoming a foster carer for one or more of the cats that are awaiting adoption in your area: have a look on the RSPCA’s website if you are interested.