Blog post by Susie, our charity manager:
By the end of the second week of the country being in lock down the landscape for us is looking altogether a lot different. The first few days we were lulled into a new, seemingly peaceful rhythm, cocooned in our little centre. My spirits were high and I fleetingly felt unburdened, but on Thursday we had a big reality check when animals began to come in as a direct result of what was happening outside our four walls. I won’t lie, it sent me into a bit of a panic. It was like a big slap in the face of what the near future is likely to hold for us and that things are probably going to get a whole lot worse.
7 rabbits, 3 kittens and 1 hamster have arrived this week and the need to rehome animals is ever more pressing as we fill up and face the reality of soon having to close our doors to new admissions if we cannot place animals into forever homes. We are not permitted to recruit new volunteers and we are not allowed to rehome animals, so our best hope is to get homes lined up so we can move them on as soon as practically possible. Before I share with you the priority animals we are looking to find homes for I thought I’d tell you a little bit more about our week.
Our activities have certainly been as varied as usual. We faced the possibility of having to find funding for a cat who sustained some awful injuries, most likely as a result of a road traffic accident. An xray revealed she had suffered really nasty pelvic fractures. The fear was how we would source £1k+ to fix her if she needed surgery when we had no income. Named Shakira by her foster carer, because the xray showed that her hips don’t lie just how badly she was harmed in the collision! Thankfully it looks like she is making progress with simple cage rest and pain relief. This is the gorgeous girl being a model patient.
Cat litter was another worry this week. Thanks to Pet at Home shoppers who nominate our charity to receive ‘lifelines’ with their VIP cards each time they shop, we had just received a new voucher to spend in store. However, with bulk items limited to 3 per customer we faced having to go every other day to buy the litter we need. Then a little miracle happened! Support Adoption for Pets arranged for us to receive a pallet of ‘damaged’ items, it was entirely unplanned but it was full of cat litter! Salford Pets at Home store colleague Georgina brought out two racks full and we are set for the next couple of weeks, if not more!
So having escaped two problems, there was no mistaking the next one. The clutch went on one of our animal vans with 6 rabbits and a cat on board! It was grindingly noisy and the smell terrible! I soon learnt that not only were all garages closed but so were the parts suppliers. Thankfully my car is insured for work so I could use that: not ideal but at least we could continue with vet appointments and collections if the other van was in use. Except the exhaust then went on my car! I am delighted to say that our friends at Chorlton Cars were amazing and got the van back on the road again. In the last 3 weeks both vans have incurred repair costs exceeding £1250 that were completely unexpected and occurred whilst we have had no income.
We aided the National RSPCA with some animal collections too: one in Leeds and one in Hull. Networking animals is essential at the best of times but even more crucial at the moment to place animals in the best temporary care and to free up spaces elsewhere. It was a truly strange experience driving to Hull with just a smattering of commercial vehicles on the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw deer grazing, during the day, at the side of the motorway, on both sides! I had to keen having a reality check as to what I was seeing all around me: 3 hours of driving in near-deserted roads seemed so surreal, but at the same time a privilege to be doing my job.
Perhaps the highlight of the week was reviewing our activities at the end of the month. In March, despite everything, we rehomed 52 animals – 21 rabbits, 14 cats, 15 guinea pigs and 2 reptiles. So far this year we have admitted 181 animals and rehomed 162 animals, all this is little over 3 months. A staggering amount for such a small branch and all thanks to the amazing help we get from our supporters, volunteers and staff.
So how can you help us now? We really need to find homes for the young animals in our care. We need to be able to place them in permanent homes at the earliest opportunity so we can ensure they don’t grow up in our care. If you, or someone you know has been considering adoption then please share this blog with them.
Kittens of the feline variety
First up is little Malin. She is the last of her litter to find a home. She is all black, was the tiniest of the litter of 5 but has the biggest heart. She desperately needs to be rehomed where there is another young cat she can seek company from. Malin is 11 weeks old and fully vaccinated.
The black kittens from this video are Shadow (female) and Bourbon (male) and were born on 2nd February to a stray mum. (The tabby has now been reserved following his appearance on Instagram.) They have all been to the vets and have a clean bill of health and have started their course of injections. Ideally we would like to rehome Shadow and Bourbon together or for them to join an existing, young playful cat in the home. They are confident kittens and will suit a family.
Ophelia (female) and Oberon (male) are 10 week old siblings who adore each other. They are a confident, affectionate pair who will suit a family who need entertaining! They have started their course of injections and will complete them after Easter. They were born in our care on 21st January.
We have two pairs of siblings that came on transfer from another RSPCA centre. They are approx 5 to 6 months old and all black and are in pairs looking to be rehomed together because they are best friends. In each pair there is one shy one and one confident one, but all are easily engaged in play. Both pairs are in homes with children of primary school age and over. They are gentle cats who will make great companions. They are fully vaccinated, microchipped and neutered.
Bowie (male) and Ziggy (female) are approximately 11 weeks old. They are a remarkable pair of kittens who are really well socialised and confident kittens despite originating from a feral cat colony! I adore this picture, it sums up kittens perfectly. They are being fostered by a family and are ‘mothered’ by the resident adult male cat who picks them up in his mouth and walks around with them like they are his own cubs! It is very cute.
Kittens of the lagomorph variety
Hera (with ‘eyeliner’) and Helena are from a litter of 10 baby bunnies! They came on transfer from the North East at the beginning of March. These girls are best friends. They are around 12 weeks old and fully vaccinated. They are absolutely hilarious and love climbing all over you. We often find volunteers perched in peculiar poses with them dancing on their back! They are confident, friendly and perfect for first time adopters or a family with children.
Pluto sports ‘guyliner’! He is also from the same home as Helena and Hera. He is just like his siblings, playful, comedic and confident. With him being on the cusp of puberty his hormones are likely to interfere with any pairing, so we are looking to rehome him and his brothers Jupiter and Mars as single house rabbits. In the future, once castrated, they could be bonded with a neutered female. Check out his funny naptime:
Mars has really come out of his shell since the litter was split into small groups so he wasn’t overshadowed by the rest of the herd! He is a really sweet and gentle little boy who will suit a calm and loving home. Checkout his ears in this video:
Jupiter is in foster care because he requires daily grooming. So if you liked playing hairdressers as a child then he’s the bunny for you! He also has two different ‘looks’ depending on what side you look at him. He is so good natured and so patient with being groomed. He is an adorable powder puff!
Almande (male) is very much the odd one out! His mum is white and his other siblings all black. He is super fun and playful. Just like our other single male babies he needs to be a single house rabbit for the time being.
Amaretto (female) and Frangipane (female) are all black. We find that when it comes to adoption black is the second least ‘desirable’ colour (albino being the first). Despite these two having belting personalities we will struggle to find them homes. They can be rehomed to live together and will be perfect for first time adopters/a family. But the bunny I fear we will struggle to rehome the most is their brother Bakewell (male). He is a gorgeous little soul, with plenty of cheekiness, just what you want from a baby! But because he is a prepubescent black male he stands little chance of finding a home, but I do believe in miracles! Here is a video of them all sharing a litter tray:
They are dinky buns that are so cute but you should see them when they run up and down the rabbit unit and binkying for Britain, so cute!
Our adoption fees cover the cost of vaccinations, we microchip all animals before they leave us and arrange for neutering at our designated vets once old enough/the operation is made available. Any potential adopters of kittens must live in Manchester, Salford or Trafford. The usual rehoming criteria will apply and can be supplied if you email: firstname.lastname@example.org
With thanks to the staff and volunteers who have created all the photos and videos this week to share with you.
If you can’t adopt but would like to help check out these links!