Blog Archives

We already have a really active Facebook page and we will try to publish some of the best stories here, but if any “guest bloggers” have any amazing stories you wish to share please submit them to blog@animalrescueandcare.org.uk and we will aim to add them!

Likewise if you have any great photos or videos of your adopted or fostered animals to share please send to photos@animalrescueandcare.org.uk

For Facebook please check out all the action there – we have our ARC frontpage and also FBgroups which can be joined if you have adopted one of our animals or are a volunteer for ARC. We also have an Instagram account as well as Twitter!

Enjoy reading our blogs below….

Another of our “day in the life of” series: one of our Trustees, Kate shares her ARC fostering experiences.

Growing up on a farm in Devon where we had lots of animals: cows, dogs and cats mainly I spent a lot of time hanging out with them so despite the fact that I have been a city dweller for most of my adult life, it just feels normal to have at least one four-legged friend around. However, I am also an avid traveller and my lifestyle is not conducive to having a particular furry friend long-term so when moving back to Twickenham from abroad in 2014, I discovered ARC online and contacted them to find out more about fostering cats. (as unfortunately cows are not that easy to fit into an urban garden!)

Getting Started

The process sounded quite simple. Mostly I would just be delivered a cat (or two) who needed a temporary place to stay until their forever home is found. All I would need to do is feed, play with and cuddle them; take a couple of decent photos once they were settled in to be used on the website; and then be available to answer any questions when prospective new owners wanted to visit. Sometimes I might add in a couple of vet appointments as all ARC’s new cats are checked out, get their vaccinations up to date and will be neutered if old enough and not yet done. Easy!

At first my husband was not very sure and was rather worried about the “stupid cats who were going to scratch the furniture”…now he is almost as besotted with them as I am! We even vie with each other as to which one of us the cats will select for a lap to snooze on in the evenings.

Our very first foster cat, a beautiful ginger tom, had the same name as my husband so that was quite confusing for a few days…here he is below, lording it over our sofa.

King of the sofa

Pedigree princess

Since then they have arrived with all sorts of names, even one beauty who came in with a fully fledged pedigree and an official name too long to get my tongue around… but we can always resort to calling them “pussycat” to err on the safe side.

Fast forward several years and I have literally lost count of all the adorable moggies that have passed though our place. Most like to play, some like cuddles, others like laps, they pretty much all like to eat! Some prefer to sleep up high, others prefer to sleep down low. We’ve had cats that have loved being in a basket, found their niche above our fridge, behind the sofa or under a cupboard and even in between two mattresses on a spare bed – took a while to find that one, it was quite a challenge…

Settling in

Lap of luxury…

So many of our fosters have come from homes where an elderly person has died or moved into a nursing home where the cats have obviously been well-loved so it must be a bit of shock for them to suddenly change their human. However most of them still adapt to their new environment within minutes, if not hours and it is quite rare that they are not fully settled with us after one week.

We usually start them off in one room and let them progressively discover the house as fast as they seem comfortable to do so. This may range from minutes to weeks. Some have ingrained habits so we may have to train them NOT to jump on the table or try to beg for our food – most get it, a few don’t.

 

 

 

 

The garden (and beyond) is usually kept as a treat once we know they are settled and likely to come back- mostly we let them out first when they are hungry so will come back for food at least. Some will patrol the garden fence, others will just pop out for five minutes and be back in and some disappear for so many hours we get a bit scared they might not come back at all… We do normally make sure they are in before dark to keep them safe from any foxes.

The several other resident cats in the neighbourhood seem very curious how many cats come out to play from our house and have learned that our shed roof is most definitely no longer their domain!

Equipment & Food

Lots of toys are needed!!! Each cat will find their own favourite in our toy box, or even just climb in the box…  Often toys get so over “loved” that they are in shreds and we have to go buy more.

“Nail parlour facilities” are also essential…beware of the vertical vs horizontal divide – your cat will be one or the other, but rarely both. We have a selection of scratching posts and coconut matting squares startegically scattered around the house as, unlike the litter tray, the pusscats don’t seem to want to go to a special place when they feel like a scratch. #just saying

We do have a few cat beds, but you know, cats will just do their own thing and if they decide they prefer to sleep on a pile of CD cases or on your own bed, they just will…

Foodwise then some cats have obviously previously only been fed the feline version of “junk food” and as ARC recommends to feed them Royal Canin we love to see their coats become glossier as they eat the better food. Notwithstanding we do appreciate all of the donations that are made to Arc so none of the food goes to waste. We tend to mix it up a little to get the best of both worlds.

Drinking water is also sometimes a challenge – a couple of early fosters jumped up onto the bathroom sink and demanded we turn the tap on for them! (#atyourservice!!) Thankfully most are just happy with a fresh bowl of water in the kitchen. Current cat is hilarious – even if the water is absolutely fresh he will still stick his paw in and give it a good swirl before drinking!!! Cue dust in the water and paw marks across the kitchen floor every time 🙂

Other bits and pieces include brushes especially for those longer haired cats, also anti-hairball treats or dental treats.

Getting on

 

As we have a home with a small, safe garden and no other pets, we often have pairs of adult cats.

Some of these do enjoy each other’s company (the current duo adore each other!) – but equally some cannot wait to be separated. Indeed one mother and daughter pair seemed positively relieved to be headed in separate directions and both have blossomed since having their own space. It is usually obvious to us within a couple of days whether a home together or a home alone is the most appropriate.

 

 

Adoption

Potential adopters come to meet their cats once they have been homechecked. Most are unsure of a new person around and highly suspicious that something is up! So far only one cat has deselected her new human by a swift swipe in his direction however #ouch

One of my favourite adoption situations was a mother and three kittens: mum and littlest daughter went to one couple whilst their next-door neighbours took the other brother and sister. Sweet.

I get to meet a lot of feline-loving adopters. Some of these keep me updated on progress, especially when the cats have not been with us very long: I think 2 days was the shortest and as they had spent all that time cowered behind our sofa it was nice to get progress updates as they settled over time. So far the longest stay with us has been nine months: the lovely Pip (left) who was 12 years old, but still played like a kitten. She was adopted just before one Christmas so that was a fab present for her!

We miss them all when they leave us of course, but there is always another waiting to come in and be loved for a while before they find their forever home so we almost feel bad about how quickly we adapt. It is such a rewarding experience & I would highly recommend it to others…

 

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Starting our “day in the life” series, our wonderful membership secretary Karen Scott shares her experiences.

Just over three years ago I became the proud owner of a Freedom Pass and cut down from a very busy 5 day working week to just one day. What to do with all my new found free time? Semi retirement brings lots of opportunities and I wanted a balance of frivolous time and useful/rewarding time. I carefully thought about my strengths, interests and skills and decided to offer some of my free time to ARC as a rabbit hutch cleaner – it ticked all my boxes!

I nervously approached ARC and to my delight found there was a vacancy with one of ARC’s busy rabbit fosterers, also called Karen. I passed the interview stage and quickly moved onto the training. Before long I was assigned to cleaning 4 large rabbit hutches on a fortnightly basis. I get to meet a wide variety of rabbits that I can fuss and spoil and then leave the responsibility of actually looking after them to someone else. What is there not to love?!

Actually cleaning out hutches is not without its stresses and strains. Rabbits do not always act according to plan. Some are not even pleased to see me. Some are incredibly mischievous and take great delight in scaring the living daylights out of me.

“Look at me I’m swinging from a hutch door.” “Bet it never occurred to you I could climb up the tree.” “Bet you didn’t think I could jump out of the run when your back was turned.”

However, hide and seek is probably the most popular game. “Why didn’t you think to look for me in the big bag of hay?” “Surely the noises from behind the narrow gap in the shed were a giveaway?”

 

And then of course there is the weather to contend with. Cold I can cope with. Freezing is not so good. Showers are annoying. Constant sleeting rain with a howling gale is a complete nightmare. Chasing bits of sodden newspaper up the garden is no joke. However, on a sunny day there is no better job.

During the last few years I have met rabbits of all shapes and sizes and colours. Old, young, baby, ill, healthy and they are all a delight with their own individual character and charm. Of course there is a certain amount of sadness when they leave. However, I am happy in the knowledge that they are moving on to their forever home and I have played a small part in helping them on their journey. I also know that there will be another lovely new rabbit waiting for me to fuss over on my next visit!

 

 

The Big Rescue

On the 8th February 2018 ARC was involved in its biggest rescue of 44 rabbits, the majority of which were Californian cross youngsters, some as young as one week old. These poor souls had originally been bred for the meat trade and were then taken in by a disreputable rescue. Here they had all been living in awful conditions . . . breeding and fighting, unneutered and unvaccinated.

Most of the bunnies arrived in a reasonable condition but a few had bad bites suspected to be from rats, from fighting or trying to escape. One female, Nellie, had a huge gash in her stomach. Merlin had a large abscess on his back, probably from a rat bite and poor Binky had an infected testicle from a bite which had to be removed… ouch! One of the Mums, Tui, was pregnant again and had eleven more babies. Sadly they all died… she was just too exhausted.

They were all given the TLC they needed, vaccinated against Myxo/VHD1 and RHD2, neutered and treated for mites. Apart from sadly losing the babies, one of the week old babies and Nellie (following complication after her spay), the remaining buns have thrived and are now all well and healthy. To date we have rehomed all but two of them (both boys, Scott and Dandy) to wonderful homes.

It was a difficult time for the rabbit rehoming team, both financially and emotionally but we got through it and just wish we could find homes for the two remaining boys.

 

 

To celebrate the anniversary of this rescue, we set up a Facebook Page called ‘ARCs Californian’s and Friends’ – http://www.facebook.com/groups/2951240894889954/?ref=bookmarks to get updates from their new owners and to share photos of how they are now.

This is the story of Daisy rabbit who endured a lot, but happily still pulled through. At ARC we like to give our animals the best possible chance to enjoy a long and happy life….here is the account from one of our volunteers:

“In March 2018 I noticed a large lump growing on Daisy’s back right leg around her ankle which Wendy at Twickenham Vets successfully removed under general anaesthetic.

She recovered well but unfortunately it came back again and started ulcerating. It was removed again in July.”

Leg with lump

Lego post op

“After the lump was removed for the second time, Wendy (the Vet) and I had a long chat about Daisy’s prognosis and it was looking grim. If the lump came back again the choice would either be to put her to sleep or have her leg amputated.

I was dreading the lump coming back, but it did, more quickly and bigger.

I did a lot of research on various forums about how well rabbits cope on only three legs and I was amazed to see that most did remarkably well and learnt to adapt to their new way of life.
Daisy is 6 years old and having already had two surgeries that year I was worried it would be too much for her. But I decided I couldn’t give up on her and made the appointment for the leg amputation operation.

On the day of the operation, waiting for the call from the vets was agonising but at 1.00 Wendy rang to say the op had gone well and Daisy was trying to move around.

Now back home, her partner Sidney helps to keep her eyes clean by grooming them for her and she has found ways of balancing so she can keep herself clean. I have to help her clean her ears as they normally use their back legs to do this, but other than this, you wouldn’t know she only has three legs . . . my tripod bunny.
This was three months ago now and there is no sign of any lumps coming back. It was a difficult decision, but I definitely made the right one!

This little video shows just how well she is doing now, what a little star she is:

 

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