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Thread: 'Cat emergency' at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default 'Cat emergency' at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

    Smudge the cat is flopped across a squashy cushion, black head down, silky ears back, breath heavy and oblivious to her surroundings.
    She can't be bothered to play with her tatty red-and-yellow ball. She hasn't got the energy to haul herself through the cat flap and out into her tiny run to scowl at the cheeky pigeons. And she's absolutely no interest in getting up and walking two steps to the door of her pen to say hello.
    Which is hardly a surprise, because as one of the longest-resident cats at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Smudge has been living in the same 2ft by 3ft plastic pen for over five months.


    Love at first sight: Jane Fryer bonds with the residents of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

    'She's been here so long, she knows every minute of the daily routine,' says Joanne Champion, 39, who's looked after tens of thousands of unwanted cats and dogs at Battersea over the past 20 years. 'In fact, the only time she moves is first thing in the morning when we let her out for a treat. Other than that, she just sleeps.'
    And, presumably, dreams of the good old days when she was a much-loved part of the family, cosied up on the sofa, purring, watching Coronation Street and having her ears stroked.
    Oh yes, and a lot more like the cat described on her now dog-eared identification card - 'Smudge is a true cat. She knows what she likes and she knows what she doesn't like. She has an independent nature and once she's built a bond, she'll be very affectionate.'

    Enlarge
    Cuties: Two stray kittens that are looking for a home


    Sitting prettey: A total of 143 of Battersea's 145 cat pens are full at the moment

    Goodness, I never thought I was much of a cat person, but my eyes are filling up already. Poor old Smudge. And to make it worse, she isn't alone.
    In the next pen is Bella, a glossy black-and-white cat who's been waiting patiently since March 26 for 'a quiet home where she can relax and potter about her business'. Three down is Dingle, who keeps popping his paws through the gaps and 'is finding it hard to relax here and needs a loving home'.
    On Bella's other side is Sacha, a beautiful silvery beast with amazing light blue eyes, but the warning: 'Sacha looks cute and cuddly, but her owners will need to remember she needs her space and not spoil her too much.'
    Welcome to Battersea's feline wing (also known as Cattersea), the world-famous cat rescue home in London which takes in thousands of stray or unwanted cats each year and is close to bursting point.
    The exhausted staff are struggling to cope with a record 143 'inmates' already in the feline wing waiting patiently for new homes, plus a further 175 standing by for an empty pen.

    Enlarge
    On the look out for a home: One of Battersea's longest serving inmates peeks out of her pen

    'There's a terrible backlog - never in our history have we been so full,' says Joanne Champion. Staff are at a loss to understand why, but suspect it might be because potential owners think cats are less transportable than dogs and don't want to adopt one over the summer holiday period.
    Usually it takes just 27 days to find most cats a new owner, but the 10 per cent fall in the number of new owners coming forward means that Smudge, Bella, Dingle and their neighbours could be here for well over a year.
    Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has been taking in stray cats and dogs for more than 120 years and just walking through the main entrance is enough to get the eyes brimming.
    Dogs are barking and yowling, puppies are whining, everyone who works here has a kindly face and a blue polo shirt coated in animal hair and every spare wall is covered in pictures of cats with pleading messages - 'Hattie, 8-10 years, needs a home', 'Splodge, 6-8 years, still very nervous and shy'.
    But while the dog wing (the charity provides shelter and veterinary care for more than 500 dogs as well as the 143 cats) is unbelievably noisy, when you enter the cat quarters, it isn't the noise (it's surprisingly quiet) that hits you, but the smell - a thick, heady, acrid smell of too many cats cooped up in too small a place for far too long.


    Enlarge
    Purr-fect match: Smudge, a two-year-old female, 'is affectionate but independent and would suit someone at work all day'


    Enlarge
    Enlarge

    Cats' whiskers: Shelley and Sky enjoy the hospitality at Battersea but would swap it for a nice, cosy home

    It's enough to take your breath away, but the carers seem to be immune.
    'It's hard work, but I love being with cats and I love looking after them,' says Joanne, who has two of her own at home. 'We start at 8am with good clean, fresh litter trays, clean blankets, fresh water and a nice meal.'
    And, er, what is a 'nice meal' if you're a cat at Battersea?
    'Whiskas and biscuits - or if they're a bit picky maybe some Sheba, or a bit of chicken or tuna, or one of those posh sachets of food.'
    Clearly, it pays to be picky. And the rest of the day?
    'They might head outside for a run and to look at the pigeons on the roof, or have a potter round on the floor here, or have a bit of a cuddle with one of the volunteers.'
    And it's the volunteers who make the whole set-up bearable, visiting in a rota system, each spending a day or two at the home each week, petting and soothing and spoiling the poor traumatised cats.
    Enlarge
    Hello Kitty: Many are strays - cats that run away, or get lost. 'We keep them downstairs for a week just in case, but they're very rarely claimed'

    Enlarge
    Battersea Dogs and Cats Home employee Charlotte Fiarder holds Happy a 12-week-old totoiseshell

    So there's Emma Pack, from Chelsea, who arrives every Wednesday overflowing with feline love, tenderness and packs of Sainsbury's steamed chicken fillets.
    'They just need a bit of love, so my job is to socialise them - give them all a kiss and a cuddle,' she says, nose to nose with Mystical, a black-and-white stray who's in seventh heaven. 'We have a list of names and I try to work through them all, giving them ten minutes each, but I always spend way more time with them.'
    Rod Belman, 60, has 'always been a cat fan' and has three of his own at home. He spends every Tuesday and Wednesday here in Battersea hugging dozens more.
    'Just look at this one!' he says, holding up a silver tabby called Sky. 'She's one of the best little darlings going, this one.'
    So where on earth do all these cats come from? Many are strays - cats that run away, or get lost. 'We keep them downstairs for a week just in case, but they're very rarely claimed,' says Joanne.
    But a good number are simply dropped off at the door, together with cat tray, blanket and favourite toy by owners who just can't - or won't - cope with them any more.

    Enlarge
    Little darling: Dingle the cat could be yours for life

    'The most common are owners who've discovered they're allergic to their cat,' says Joanne. 'Then there are people leaving the country, and others moving home - they're very tearful when they're dropping them off, fussing over them and leaving their favourite blanket or special toy.
    'But the saddest ones are those owned by old people who are going into care homes - it's not their fault and it's not the cat's fault, it's just the situation, so it's very bewildering for them.'
    And poor old Smudge? 'Her owners had a baby and got nervous - lots of people get rid of their cats when they have a baby. She'd been with them for two years since she was a kitten and became a bit jealous.'
    And does it ever get a bit much for the staff and volunteers?
    'Not really,' says Rod, who says he'd have liked to work with dogs, but lost his nerve after he was bitten by an Alsatian. 'Though the one that upset me the most was a ten-year-old cat that belonged to an old lady who passed on. She'd had it since it was a kitten and when it arrived here it was so confused.
    'I get very upset when I hear the reason they're here, but once they've settled, they're fine. Seeing them develop from a nervous creature to a confident little cat is the best bit.'

    Enlarge
    Shouldering the burden: A stray cat is taken out of it's pen

    And then it's all a question of sitting tight and waiting to see where they'll end up. Because while the cat's arrival is often tear-jerking, the rehoming process is full of joy - and begins every afternoon when potential owners arrive to 'choose' their new pet.
    'They think they're choosing, but it's not quite like that,' says Joanne. 'The cats sort of choose them depending on their needs.'
    So there's an interview in an office downstairs with cat rehomer Melanie: 'I look out for people who live in top-floor flats, and full-time workers - they'd suit a different type of cat.'
    And then as Nikki and Sam, an accountant and project manager from South London, are discovering today, a very tense walk round the cages. 'It's a nightmare!' says Nikki. 'How can you choose? We had to brace ourselves and say "One only. One only!" before we dared come in.'
    Sadly, there's a real shortage of people like Nikki and Sam.
    'It's not that there are more cats coming in,' says Siobhan, spokeswoman for the charity. 'The problem is that fewer are going out - people just don't seem to want them.
    'We don't know why the numbers are down - it might be the credit crunch or it could be because everyone's on holiday - but it means the animals are stuck here for much longer than usual. So all we can say is, if you are thinking of getting a cat, please come here and forget the pet shop.'
    Back in the feline wing, Nikki and Sam have chosen (or been chosen by) a beautiful long-haired tabby called Shelley. Which means that poor old Smudge has missed out again. As have more than 100 other unwanted moggies, and that's not counting the dozens of kittens downstairs in the stray block.
    It's enough to make you cry. Or get down here quick sharp and give one a home.

    To inquire about adopting a cat, call Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on 020 7627 9234.

    Smudge the cat is flopped across a squashy cushion, black head down, silky ears back, breath heavy and oblivious to her surroundings.

    She can't be bothered to play with her tatty red-and-yellow ball. She hasn't got the energy to haul herself through the cat flap and out into her tiny run to scowl at the cheeky pigeons. And she's absolutely no interest in getting up and walking two steps to the door of her pen to say hello.

    Which is hardly a surprise, because as one of the longest-resident cats at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Smudge has been living in the same 2ft by 3ft plastic pen for over five months.



    Love at first sight: Jane Fryer bonds with the residents of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

    'She's been here so long, she knows every minute of the daily routine,' says Joanne Champion, 39, who's looked after tens of thousands of unwanted cats and dogs at Battersea over the past 20 years. 'In fact, the only time she moves is first thing in the morning when we let her out for a treat. Other than that, she just sleeps.'

    And, presumably, dreams of the good old days when she was a much-loved part of the family, cosied up on the sofa, purring, watching Coronation Street and having her ears stroked.

    Oh yes, and a lot more like the cat described on her now dog-eared identification card - 'Smudge is a true cat. She knows what she likes and she knows what she doesn't like. She has an independent nature and once she's built a bond, she'll be very affectionate.'


    Enlarge
    Cuties: Two stray kittens that are looking for a home



    Sitting prettey: A total of 143 of Battersea's 145 cat pens are full at the moment
    Goodness, I never thought I was much of a cat person, but my eyes are filling up already. Poor old Smudge. And to make it worse, she isn't alone.

    In the next pen is Bella, a glossy black-and-white cat who's been waiting patiently since March 26 for 'a quiet home where she can relax and potter about her business'. Three down is Dingle, who keeps popping his paws through the gaps and 'is finding it hard to relax here and needs a loving home'.

    On Bella's other side is Sacha, a beautiful silvery beast with amazing light blue eyes, but the warning: 'Sacha looks cute and cuddly, but her owners will need to remember she needs her space and not spoil her too much.'

    Welcome to Battersea's feline wing (also known as Cattersea), the world-famous cat rescue home in London which takes in thousands of stray or unwanted cats each year and is close to bursting point.

    The exhausted staff are struggling to cope with a record 143 'inmates' already in the feline wing waiting patiently for new homes, plus a further 175 standing by for an empty pen.


    Enlarge
    On the look out for a home: One of Battersea's longest serving inmates peeks out of her pen
    'There's a terrible backlog - never in our history have we been so full,' says Joanne Champion. Staff are at a loss to understand why, but suspect it might be because potential owners think cats are less transportable than dogs and don't want to adopt one over the summer holiday period.

    Usually it takes just 27 days to find most cats a new owner, but the 10 per cent fall in the number of new owners coming forward means that Smudge, Bella, Dingle and their neighbours could be here for well over a year.



    More...



    Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has been taking in stray cats and dogs for more than 120 years and just walking through the main entrance is enough to get the eyes brimming.

    Dogs are barking and yowling, puppies are whining, everyone who works here has a kindly face and a blue polo shirt coated in animal hair and every spare wall is covered in pictures of cats with pleading messages - 'Hattie, 8-10 years, needs a home', 'Splodge, 6-8 years, still very nervous and shy'.

    But while the dog wing (the charity provides shelter and veterinary care for more than 500 dogs as well as the 143 cats) is unbelievably noisy, when you enter the cat quarters, it isn't the noise (it's surprisingly quiet) that hits you, but the smell - a thick, heady, acrid smell of too many cats cooped up in too small a place for far too long.


    Enlarge
    Purr-fect match: Smudge, a two-year-old female, 'is affectionate but independent and would suit someone at work all day'


    Enlarge
    Enlarge

    Cats' whiskers: Shelley and Sky enjoy the hospitality at Battersea but would swap it for a nice, cosy home


    It's enough to take your breath away, but the carers seem to be immune.

    'It's hard work, but I love being with cats and I love looking after them,' says Joanne, who has two of her own at home. 'We start at 8am with good clean, fresh litter trays, clean blankets, fresh water and a nice meal.'

    And, er, what is a 'nice meal' if you're a cat at Battersea?

    'Whiskas and biscuits - or if they're a bit picky maybe some Sheba, or a bit of chicken or tuna, or one of those posh sachets of food.'

    Clearly, it pays to be picky. And the rest of the day?

    'They might head outside for a run and to look at the pigeons on the roof, or have a potter round on the floor here, or have a bit of a cuddle with one of the volunteers.'

    And it's the volunteers who make the whole set-up bearable, visiting in a rota system, each spending a day or two at the home each week, petting and soothing and spoiling the poor traumatised cats.


    Enlarge
    Hello Kitty: Many are strays - cats that run away, or get lost. 'We keep them downstairs for a week just in case, but they're very rarely claimed'

    Enlarge
    Battersea Dogs and Cats Home employee Charlotte Fiarder holds Happy a 12-week-old totoiseshell
    So there's Emma Pack, from Chelsea, who arrives every Wednesday overflowing with feline love, tenderness and packs of Sainsbury's steamed chicken fillets.

    'They just need a bit of love, so my job is to socialise them - give them all a kiss and a cuddle,' she says, nose to nose with Mystical, a black-and-white stray who's in seventh heaven. 'We have a list of names and I try to work through them all, giving them ten minutes each, but I always spend way more time with them.'

    Rod Belman, 60, has 'always been a cat fan' and has three of his own at home. He spends every Tuesday and Wednesday here in Battersea hugging dozens more.

    'Just look at this one!' he says, holding up a silver tabby called Sky. 'She's one of the best little darlings going, this one.'

    So where on earth do all these cats come from? Many are strays - cats that run away, or get lost. 'We keep them downstairs for a week just in case, but they're very rarely claimed,' says Joanne.

    But a good number are simply dropped off at the door, together with cat tray, blanket and favourite toy by owners who just can't - or won't - cope with them any more.


    Enlarge
    Little darling: Dingle the cat could be yours for life
    'The most common are owners who've discovered they're allergic to their cat,' says Joanne. 'Then there are people leaving the country, and others moving home - they're very tearful when they're dropping them off, fussing over them and leaving their favourite blanket or special toy.

    'But the saddest ones are those owned by old people who are going into care homes - it's not their fault and it's not the cat's fault, it's just the situation, so it's very bewildering for them.'

    And poor old Smudge? 'Her owners had a baby and got nervous - lots of people get rid of their cats when they have a baby. She'd been with them for two years since she was a kitten and became a bit jealous.'

    And does it ever get a bit much for the staff and volunteers?

    'Not really,' says Rod, who says he'd have liked to work with dogs, but lost his nerve after he was bitten by an Alsatian. 'Though the one that upset me the most was a ten-year-old cat that belonged to an old lady who passed on. She'd had it since it was a kitten and when it arrived here it was so confused.

    'I get very upset when I hear the reason they're here, but once they've settled, they're fine. Seeing them develop from a nervous creature to a confident little cat is the best bit.'


    Enlarge
    Shouldering the burden: A stray cat is taken out of it's pen
    And then it's all a question of sitting tight and waiting to see where they'll end up. Because while the cat's arrival is often tear-jerking, the rehoming process is full of joy - and begins every afternoon when potential owners arrive to 'choose' their new pet.

    'They think they're choosing, but it's not quite like that,' says Joanne. 'The cats sort of choose them depending on their needs.'

    So there's an interview in an office downstairs with cat rehomer Melanie: 'I look out for people who live in top-floor flats, and full-time workers - they'd suit a different type of cat.'

    And then as Nikki and Sam, an accountant and project manager from South London, are discovering today, a very tense walk round the cages. 'It's a nightmare!' says Nikki. 'How can you choose? We had to brace ourselves and say "One only. One only!" before we dared come in.'

    Sadly, there's a real shortage of people like Nikki and Sam.

    'It's not that there are more cats coming in,' says Siobhan, spokeswoman for the charity. 'The problem is that fewer are going out - people just don't seem to want them.

    'We don't know why the numbers are down - it might be the credit crunch or it could be because everyone's on holiday - but it means the animals are stuck here for much longer than usual. So all we can say is, if you are thinking of getting a cat, please come here and forget the pet shop.'

    Back in the feline wing, Nikki and Sam have chosen (or been chosen by) a beautiful long-haired tabby called Shelley. Which means that poor old Smudge has missed out again. As have more than 100 other unwanted moggies, and that's not counting the dozens of kittens downstairs in the stray block.

    It's enough to make you cry. Or get down here quick sharp and give one a home.

    To inquire about adopting a cat, call Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on 020 7627 9234.


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1207800/As-Britons-turn-cats--Who-save-forgotten-moggies-Catt-ersea.html#ixzz0On4OjpQ6


  2. #2
    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    I'm not a cat person but god, look at those faces!!!!!!
    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

    ***** celeb

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    Silver Member Alleycat's Avatar
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    Those poor babies I'd take each and every one of them if I could.

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    Elite Member Rondette's Avatar
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    me too....poor cats, although they are the lucky ones to be in a home of some sort..

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    awww so sad. i said a prayer for each and every named cat in the article and for all the un-named kitties as well, for cat Moms and Dads to come forward and take their little ones home. they need luv and toys and space to play and frolic.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    I would also love to take in each one but true - at least they have a home, if only temporary. Multiply this shelter times all the shelters in the world, not accounting for the strays, and it hurts your heart. Every one is precious.

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    If i every came into money, i would start a shelter for cats and dogs and give the the royal treatment with the best of care.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    What precious little faces! I hope they find a loving home.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  9. #9
    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    Purr-fect match: Smudge, a two-year-old female, 'is affectionate but independent and would suit someone at work all day'
    I'm surprised that she's not found a home already... especially if she likes to be independent...

    We were talking last night & we were adopted by our cat (he used to live at our neighbour's farm), we said that we don't feel like a home without him now.
    Free Charmed.

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