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Gateshead and Newcastle Branch 'Best of 2018'

21 December 2018
Gateshead and Newcastle Branch With 2018 coming to a close, we wanted to look back on what a meow-nificent year it’s been for Cats Protection Gateshead and Newcastle Branch.

From celebrating our 15th birthday, to hitting the national headlines, we’ve enjoyed a pawsome 12 months thanks to our amazing supporters and volunteers.

While every single cat we’ve helped has a special place in our hearts, here are just some of this year’s most memorable moggies and stand out moments…

Over 80 adoptions
One of the key areas of our work is of course adoption. In 2018, our branch has fostered and rehomed a total of 84 cats which is almost two each week! Every adoption involves a several volunteers – from listing the cat or kitten on our website, to helping to match the prospective owner to the purrfect cat, not to mention all the admin, driving and finance. Well done all!

Mischievous Greg (pictured above) and his Houdini act will go down in Cats Protection history. This handsome guy not only ran away from his fosterer’s house, but later escaped from his adopter’s home too! Luckily he was looked after until he was taken to the vets and his microchip led him back us. Greg finally landed on his paws when he found his forever home with branch volunteers Eric and Joan. There’s been no more escape attempts…yet.

Fantastic fundraisers
This year our tribe of Cat Champions – a fearless bunch of supporters who take on challenges on our behalf – did us really proud. Back in July, Claire tackled the Great North 10k and smashed her fundraising target, raising more than £700! Later in the year, Kelly and Nadine heroically completed the Great North Run, generating hundreds of pounds of sponsorship money in the process. If you’re feeling inspired to sign up to an event in 2019, here’s all you need to know: https://www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/events

When Fred came into fosterer Jeni’s care he was recovering from malnutrition and was given a 50/50 chance of survival. He had a mouth full of ulcers, digestive problems and flu symptoms but his loving nature, sloppy kisses and photogenic face led to him being branch mascot. What’s more, his ability to bounce back from endless bouts of illness led to him being called The Indomitable Fred. His portrait still adorns some of the branch stationery!

‘Bramble bush kitten’ Pringle was brought into our care as one of a litter of five that had been abandoned in a garden. She had a nasty infection in one eye, thought to be caused by a thorn since the kittens were found in a bramble bush. Pringle’s eye couldn’t be saved and volunteers were worried that she might be overlooked by potential adopters in favour of a ‘perfect’ looking cat. Fortunately adopter Jemma was drawn to Pringle’s character and charm and the kitten was tearing round her new home in no time!

All the anniversaries
Not only was it our branch’s 15th birthday this year, but we also marked two of our volunteers’ 15th anniversaries. Over the years, founding members Kathryn and Cath have dedicated countless hours of their spare time to fostering hundreds of unwanted cats. To mark these occasions, it was only right that we celebrated the way our branch knows best…with a giant cat-themed cake!

In the press
This summer we shared the heartbreaking story of mum and daughter Molly and Polly, and their twelve kittens who were born in our care. Tragically Polly was put to sleep but super-mum Molly stepped in to look after all the little ones, along with some help from fosterer Cecielia. Following our fundraising efforts and promotion of the sad story, the news was picked up by the media and Molly and the kittens appeared in the Sunday Mirror and on the Mirror’s website, raising awareness of the importance of neutering. Molly and all of the kittens have now been adopted and are looking forward to their first Christmas in their lovely new homes!

Pawsome events
New for this year, we hosted a Pawsome Afternoon Tea morning in May in a bid to boost the branch’s funds. The event raised a respectable £300 from the sale of lots of tempting cakes and bakes. December saw the return of the annual Christmas fair which was a great success once again, bringing in over £1,000 to support the branch’s work.

Back in April we featured the story of Lucy Fur and adopter, Phil. Lucy was in our care for over a year before she was rescued, but it was actually her new cat dad who felt like the lucky one. After experiencing mental health issues, Phil discovered Emotional Support Animals and asked his GP for help. Shortly after, one furry housemate arrived in the shape of Lucy Fur! The duo now keep their followers up to date via their Instagram adventures.

Family planning
Our dedicated neutering volunteer, Anne, has been squirrelling away behind the scenes in her mission to keep the region’s population of unplanned kittens at bay. In 2018, our branch issued 554 vouchers to help with the cost of neutering and spaying – a vital part of our work that prevents thousands of unwanted cats being abandoned or mistreated.

New faces
The Gateshead family has expanded considerably this year with a dozen new members having been welcomed to the charity. Andrea, Liesa, Lorna, Sandra, Kerry, Julie, Sharon, Lian, Sonia, Ruth, Abbie, Cecielia and Zoe have all joined the branch which has no paid staff and is ran entirely by volunteers – 365 days of the year!

Friendly boy Hugo was known for being an absolute gent and great little companion. Sadly as he was FIV+ and a black cat, the odds were stacked against him when it came to finding a forever home. After several months in our care, we were overjoyed when Hugo finally found the right family for him. We now love to hear how happy Hugo is getting on in regular updates from his adopter.

Across the area
As our branch doesn’t have a shelter and all our cats are foster care, it can a challenge for us to have a presence in our patch. All this changed in 2018 however, with the opening of the new Cats Protection shop on Clayton Street and the Tyneside Adoption Centre in Felling. This has been amazing for the region as our branch benefits from sales in the shop and we partner with the Adoption Centre to provide the best care for cats with particular needs. Our branch also continued our fundraising weekends in Pets at Home at Kingston Park and placed food donation bins in a number of shops from Hexham through to South Shields!

Happy new year from all at Cats Protection Gateshead and Newcastle Branch!