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Feline Wellbeing Information Day well-attended at Sutton venue ...

19 June 2017
Feline Wellbeing Information Day well-attended at Sutton venue ...

Volunteers with North Birmingham Cats Protection enjoyed a one-day workshop on the 16 June - learning how to keep cats happy and healthy – right from cute cuddly kittenhood to end-of-life care.

The venue was the Ramada Hotel in Penns Lane, so within easy travelling distance for local volunteers Bridget Sullivan-Blake, Lynn Walker, Sheila Pennell and Pam Wood.

Facilitator (centre of picture) was Emma Addy, Cat Welfare Learning Officer, who has lots of experience in veterinary nursing practice and previously worked for the PDSA. And volunteers attended from several midland branches – Coventry, Stourbridge, South and North Birmingham, Worcester, Mid-Warwickshire, Dudley and Wyre Forest, and Telford & District. Helen Parkes, Regional Development Manager, came along to support the training too.

Says North Birmingham Education lead Pam Wood: “It was good to be reminded of the basic needs of cats throughout their lives, but we moved on to ‘a good life – a life worth living’ and how to recognise when quality of life was fading, and how to handle this. And not only for ourselves as volunteers, but to understand how differently and individually pet-owners cope with bereavement and how we can offer support.”

 Sheila Pennell, who is involved in education, fostering and rehoming, found sharing experiences with volunteers from other branches particularly useful. “The only male on the workshop was fosterer Bob Lancaster of mid-Warwickshire, whose background was in photography with Jessops. So who better to ask to take a photo of the North Birmingham contingent? He told us his videos of cats in his and his wife Christine’s care were posted on YouTube as well as the website and FB, and this really helped his foster cats find good new homes.”

The last session of the day covered end-of-life care with the focus on understanding the cats’ perspective on quality of life (they live in the moment), what is best for the cat and how CP volunteers can play their part.

Emma Addy – RVN and Cat Welfare Learning Officer (West of England, Wales and Northern Ireland) – drove from Ireland to Birmingham to present the course, and confirms she was ‘happy to meet with all the volunteers who give up their time for cats so selflessly’.

Confirms Emma: “It was great to spend the day in Birmingham with such a fantastic group of volunteers. A day spent chatting ‘all things cat’ is never wasted, and the Cats Protection Volunteer Information Day was certainly a good one. I always enjoy hearing our volunteers’ experiences and stories, and it’s good to share policies and our latest thinking. This module - Feline Wellbeing - is particularly emotional and thought-provoking, but is identified as a real need. Everyone said they found it useful and took something positive away from the training day.”

The ‘Paws to Listen’ grief support service for those experiencing the loss of a pet can be contacted on 0800 024 9494.   

** North Birmingham branch is looking for more volunteers to fill lots of rewarding roles, supported by various courses, workshops and information days. Contact the helpline on 0345 260 1503 or see the website for more details. Currently the CP shop in Erdington is needing and advertising for an assistant manager – a paid position - and an extra volunteer or two to help in the shop Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays would be most welcome !