Monday, 11 January 2010

The not-so-dirty dozen >^..^<

It's not uncommon for us to be asked to rehome a pair or a small group of cats - usually a family group such as a mother and her kittens or a group of siblings.

We were rather astounded recently when we were asked to rehome a household of twelve cats. Their poor owner had recently been diagnosed with a severe illness, and this, compounded with a change in his domestic circumstances meant that he could no longer keep his cats.

He actually had nineteen altogether, but had managed to find someone to care for five of them whilst he was in hospital and had rehomed two directly himself.

The tragedy of this situation is that these were very much loved cats - all neutered and up-to-date with medical treatment - and in normal circumstances their owner would have expected to keep them for the rest of their lives.

It is such a shame that he did not make arrangements long ago for the cats to be cared for "should anything happen". Too many people either think that they will be alright and will be able to keep their cats forever, or they assume that in the worst case scenario, a relative or friend will take responsibility for their cat. We often hear "I would never let my cats go to a rescue centre" - but sometimes, this is the only option. The best way to ensure that your pets don't end up in a rescue centre, is to make
concrete arrangements for their well-being, even when all is well in your world. Hopefully you will never have to call upon these arrangements, but if ever your situation should change for the worse, you will have a fall-back solution for your cats.

Take these simple steps:
1. Ask someone to care for your pet - repeat this for each pet you have, even if different people take different pets, at least they will be safe and cared for.
2. Make a clear note and put in somewhere prominent in your house "In case of emergency ...XXX... will take care of my cat [name]. Put a copy with your legal papers too.
3. Check every six months or so that the arrangement is still valid - remember, other people's circumstances change too.
4. Make a reciprocal offer to a friend or relative - but remember to tell them if your circumstances change.

The rescue centres are there to help, but particularly in these hard-pressed times, they are struggling to keep afloat, and quite a few rescue centres in our area have closed, or are temporarily not taking pets in. This is one way to try and ensure that your pet doesn't end up in a rescue centre, or worse.

Hopefully, you won't need a friend, and you and your pet will live happily ever after, just as Pamba, Taiba, Polgara, Jacob, Henry, Kheldar, Bazo, Aboli, Tungata Zebewe, Dufford Charliewood, Rumbo and Sarah are now doing.