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The Bay Magazine - July 2021

30 June 2021

Deciding to adopt a kitten or a cat: ‘Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be’

With Lyn Gardener - Swansea Cats Protection

When thinking about welcoming a new feline into your home the decision to be made is kitten, adult cat, or a mature moggy. Sometimes of course you’re certain which way you want to go. But it’s not always straightforward. The lovely quote by Victorian poet Robert Browning ‘Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be’ can fit nicely with any age of cat. Adopting an elderly, frail cat was one of the most rewarding and wonderful experiences of my life. I thought she’d only be with us for a few months, but we shared our lives with beautiful Empress Amber for over 2 years. She brought such joy…and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Today I’m writing this with my kitten Arlo snoozing on my lap – he’s been out for hours getting up to all sorts. His paws are muddy, his little pink ears are grubby and tinged with green and his fur is speckled with bits of garden debris. Upstairs, my elderly foster cat Martha is snoring on the bed after expending all her energy just eating breakfast. What a contrast! I never intended to welcome a kitten back into our home, but here he is in all his glorious naughtiness. He was an ‘emergency’ foster kitten who came to us just before Christmas and he never left. Dear old Martha had been brought into the care of Swansea Cats Protection about the same time, her owner had died and she’d been left as a stray. She’s overweight, cuddly, diabetic, she snores, she’s loving and a toddle upstairs after lunch is enough exercise for one one day thank you very much.

Why am I telling you all this? Well it’s the time of year when most kittens are born and need to be found homes (despite all our efforts to reduce numbers through an active neutering program-me). But alongside too, are the many adult and mature cats we regularly need to find loving, safe homes for. So prospective adopters have to make the decision between all the fun and chaos of homing a kitten or opting for more certainty by adopting an adult or mature cat. Or like me, you go for both, which isn’t always as easy as it might be!

Puss for illustration purposes only

When you adopt an adult or mature cat, we at Cats Protection can usually provide lots of information about the cat’s character, personal-ity, likes and dislikes and their health. They will have been in our care for at least a month (and sadly sometimes much, much longer) so we’ve got to know them pretty well. Of course, a cat may behave a little differently in a cattery pen than in a loving home with access to the out-doors – we so often see a once nervous cat blossom into a confident puss once they are homed. It is a joy to see! So, in many cases ‘what you see, is what you get’ when you adopt an adult cat, and most often even better. With kit-tens of course, their little personalities are still forming, still developing. You can get an idea of their temperament from early on, but they’re a work in progress! My little Arlo was a delicate tiny kitten with his pink button nose and heart-melting squeaky meow. Yet a few months on and he’s getting to be a fearless adventurer and a voracious hunter, but the squeaky meow is definitely still there. I could predict more easily how my old Martha would behave once I brought her home…she eats, she sleeps, she purrs, she drapes herself across comfortable chairs and repeats this daily without too much variation, although she can certainly still surprise us, bless her.

So, the choice is yours! Adopting a cat or kitten from Cats Protection (or a similar reputable animal rescue charity) is relatively straight-forward and all information can be found on our website www.cats.org.uk/swansea. All good quality rescue organisations will have certain and specific guide-lines and requirements for people who wish to adopt, and this is just how it should be. We work hard for the welfare of animals and do our utmost to ensure the cats and kittens in our care go to loving homes where they can have the best chance of living a safe and happy life.

Other options? Sadly, some sellers are going out of their way to make online selling of kittens a business, resulting in some people being scammed. Worse of course is that the poor cats and kittens are seen as a commodity and their welfare is compromised. Locally we have seen the most shocking situa-tions where thoughtless cat owners have allowed their poor female cats to get pregnant, often repeat-edly, and then sold the helpless kittens under-age and unwell for ridiculous amounts of money. As a cat welfare charity, we have been alerted to the terrible plight of some of these vulnerable cats and kittens, and with swift action from our volunteers, have been able to intervene. But tragically we can’t help them all. If there wasn’t a market for these poor kittens, the sellers would no doubt find another source of nefarious income, but hopefully not involving animals.

Food for thought here. It’s important to think about the age of the cat you want to welcome into your home and consider very carefully about where you get them from. Cats of any age can bring joy and love…and hey, look at that…as I’m finishing off writing this, my kitten Arlo is off over the fence looking for mischief again and dear old Martha is gently batting her catnip teddy around the floor… there’s life in the old girl yet!

Before I go…just wanted to let you know about a wonderful supporter who is spending his summer raising money for us. Jean-Louis is cycling 10,000km around the British Isles coastline in 3 months and is raising funds for 3 fantastic charities including Swansea Cats Protection. To cover the distance, Jean Louis will need to cycle 100 – 180 kms per day! Use the link below to follow his story where he explains why he wanted to include us as one of his charities after an encounter with a very special elderly “stray” cat who helped Jean-Louis through lockdown. https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/UKtour

If you would like to sponsor Jean-Louis, it would be much appreciated – even if it’s only a pound. We will be following Jean-Louis and post regular updates on our Facebook page. He is leaving Swansea on 22nd June, cycling around the coast of Wales for the first part of his challenge. You can also follow Jean-Louis on Instagram @jlbutton25 & @jlcharitytour

Thanks to Jean-Louis and all our wonderful supporters, adopters, fosterers and volun-teers…we simply couldn’t do it without you.


LOOKING FOR LOVING HOMES

Mr Red

Handsome Mr Red is ready for the next chapter in his life after a very difficult few months. Following the death of his owner he was advertised on Facebook and taken in by a family. But he had sustained an injury to his mouth which needed veterinary treatment and care, so was handed over to us. Mr Red has recovered well from his injury and has learned to adapt. However, the hole in the roof of his mouth might never heal completely. Every day this lovely cat is gaining in strength and confidence. He needs a quiet new home where he can continue to put on weight and feel safe and secure. We understand that Mr Red lived happily with other cats but probably hasn’t lived with dogs. This handsome cat enjoys being gently scooped up for a cuddle and appreciates your company while he eats…what a lovely gentleman he is. One of our volunteers who knows him well describes a cuddle from Mr Red being like sunshine on a rainy day…doesn’t get any better than that.

Louis

Lovely Louis had been a stray who turned up one day and decided to stay, which suited things very well until he realised he didn’t like their dogs…hated them in fact! The kind people tried their best to help cat and dog get on, but it wasn’t meant to be. So handsome Louis came into our care and after a dental op and treatment for the flea allergy he’d unfortunately developed, he is now super-keen to find a loving home! His new owners would have to ensure they keep up his normal regular flea treatment and his skin should be ok. Louis is definitely a favourite with volunteers…he is simply gorgeous!


If you’re interested in adopting or fostering one of our rescue cats or kittens please get in touch. IMPORTANT: we are keen to match the right cat to the right home, based on our knowledge of the cat and the information you provide. However, due to the high number of appli-cations we’re sorry to be unable to respond to unsuccessful applicants. Please remember we are ALL UNPAID VOLUNTEERS trying to do our best for the rescue cats and kittens of Swansea.

We can be contacted via our Helpline 0345 2602 101 or email us at swanseacats@hotmail.co.uk. Please note our helpline is answered by a messaging service and we will respond as soon as we can.