It's rare that we can take a cat at short notice, as we usually have a long waiting list of cats to come in. Everyone who needs to ask us to rehome a cat has a valid reason and each situation feels like a priority to the person asking for help.
Apart from pregnant cats or mother cats and kittens, we therefore usually have to put cats on our waiting list, and because we have a no-kill policy and sometimes have difficult cats in our care, rehoming can be slow and our waiting list can therefore stretch back for several weeks.
Last weekend we offered a place to the cat at the top of the list and arranged for it to come in on the Sunday afternoon. At lunchtime on Sunday, we received a call to say that the cat was going to stay where it was and the person bringing it was going to give it another chance. Great news!
The next job would have been to contact the person on the top of our waiting list, but before we could do that we received a call from one of our regular supporters begging us to help. She had been told about two cats who were due to be put to sleep the next day as their owner had died and no one could take them. Normally we would have had to say no, but because of the earlier cancellation we were able to accept them.
It was a bit complicated because our supporter had heard of their plight via a number of associates and the message had to be relayed back. No one could get hold of the person who was bringing them to the vets, and in the end, the vets had to be asked to pass the message on when the cats went for their appointment. Fortunately they were co-operative and delighted to be able to save the cats' lives.
When the sister of the owner took the cats in to be put to sleep, she was given the good news and the cats were collected from the vets and brought to us later that day. The sister was delighted as the cats had been their owner's pride and joy and she had loved them to bits.
Because of the circumstances, we weren't told the names of the cats, but luckily one of them was microchipped and we were able to obtain details from that. For the other we had to make up a name, although we knew both were the same age.
So Saffron and Gilbert are now settling in, and hoping for a new home soon. We are saddened though, that their owner hadn't made provision for them. They had been well cared for and obviously much loved, but it would have been wonderful if she had asked around her friends and relatives and found someone willing to take them in the event of her death. We are all going to die one day, and if we choose to own cats (or other pets) all our lives then it is likely that one day we will die leaving a pet behind. Responsible owners would ask amongst their associates until they found someone willing to adopt them, and then would leave details of the cats's names, ages, medical history etc with other papers along with a note in a prominent place advising where the cats are to go.
It is the final act of love for our furry friends.