Branch activity during the COVID-19 pandemic
11 June 2020
These are challenging times as we continue to understand more about the effects of COVID-19, the ways in which the virus is spread, and how this may affect all of our lives every day.
As a responsible national registered charity*, Cats Protection’s priorities are to keep our people safe, protect the public and, within that context, to do our best for cats and obey the law.
We have a duty of care to our people (volunteers and staff), to other organisations we work in partnership with (such as vet practices) and to members of the public. Before we undertake any activity in the current climate, we need to review the risks to people, cats and the charity.
We are reviewing the activities that are safe for our volunteers to undertake, and making judgements about safety, at all times following regularly updated government guidance. This means that as guidance changes, we will be able to re-start some activities that we previously had to temporarily stop.
Within this context, some of our volunteers or members of their families may be shielding or self-isolating, or may have made personal decisions about the types of activities that their feel comfortable undertaking on our behalf. We are committed to not asking any volunteer to undertake an activity on our behalf if they do not feel comfortable doing so.
Our dedicated branch volunteers have continued to offer advice, guidance and support to members of the public throughout the crisis. We have also continued to support the cost of neutering cats, via our voucher schemes, where vet practices are in a position to undertake the neutering procedures.
We are continuing to fundraise in order to help cats and kittens in need as we continue to develop safe new processes. We know that once we are able to undertake more activities, the demand for our help will be greater than ever and we need to ensure that we have the resources to support these activities.
We have recently started “hands free homing” via some of our centres and branches, and this is being gradually rolled-out to more centres and branches. Since lockdown began we have continued to bring cats and kittens most in need into care via our national Contact Centre and adoption centres, following strict safety protocols at all times; some of these cats have subsequently transferred to branch volunteer fosterers. We hope to be able to begin admitting cats directly to our branches in the near future.
Where appropriate, we are also supporting some other organisations where we can work together to help cats.
Whilst we continue to regularly review our activities in line with government guidance, we have assessed that it’s not possible for our staff or volunteers to carry out some activities, such as TNR and remain safe and within the law at the current time. We will re-start these activities as soon as we are able to do to so safely, within the law and prevailing government guidance.
* Cats Protection is part of the Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) - a "not for profit" body which offers expert advice and recommendations with a unified and respected voice on dogs and cats from members including charities, the veterinary sectors and the pet industry. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CFSG have been working with the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to produce guidance for the sector.
Cats Protection is also a member of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) – the umbrella body that promotes best practice in animal welfare for dogs and cats.
Cats Protection is a registered charity 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland).