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Lots of ways to help our furry friends

Cats are hugely popular companions for our age group. Both men and women value the friendship and fun that cats can bring and studies have shown there are real benefits of cat ownership for older people, including easing loneliness and also bringing routine into life.

But of course, along with their popularity comes problems. The number of unwanted kittens and abandoned cats in the UK is still enormous high. Cats Protection, the UK’s leading cat welfare charity, helps around 200,000 cats a year – that is over 500 a day. That is an astonishing figure and no wonder the charity is continually fund raising to help run their 250 branches, 29 adoption centres and two homing centres.

Luckily there is a lot of support around. All their centres are run by volunteers, and throughout the year numerous fund raising activities are held. Often people decide to do individual fund raising – 70 year old George Russell from Hungerford is this month abseiling 160 foot down the Avon Gorge to raise money for the charity.

But you don’t have to go to such extreme measures to lend a hand. Cats Protection offer a large range of roles for anyone willing to help and donate their time. These cover hands on cat care and welfare; education roles, fundraising of course, and retail positions in their charity shops. There are also a number of volunteer management roles available and they are always really keen to hear from anyone who has particular skills or knowledge that could be useful. Contact: volunteering@cats.org.uk

But the Cats Protection do more than just look after strays. They are continually seeking ways to protect cats from abandonment, harm and neglect.

Last month in February the Cats Protection Manifesto for Cats was launched at the House of Commons with the aim to put feline welfare on the political agenda ahead of the general election.

The charity unveiled the 10-point document at a reception hosted by Neil Parish MP, Chairman of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, and attended by more than 35 MPs and Lords.

The manifesto covered 10 priorities to improve feline welfare….

  • Breeding of cats for sale: Updating the law to control the breeding and sale of cats to reduce the number of unwanted kittens.
  • Microchipping: Making it compulsory to microchip owned cats.
  • Cats entering the UK: Creating a national database to ensure a central record is kept of cats entering the UK legally so those entering without a rabies vaccine can be identified.
  • Dog attacks: Creation of a new offence within legislation governing dangerous dogs where a dog that is out of control attacks, injures or kills a cat.
  • Cats and the curriculum: Inclusion of animal welfare in the National Curriculum so that all children learn about responsible pet care.
  • Cats and housing providers: Government recognition of the needs of people with cats or other companion animals in rented housing and care homes to allow people to keep their pets.
  • Cats and personal wellbeing: Government monitoring to ensure that assessments and personalised care plans include consideration of any companion animals that form part of the individual’s household.
  • Products toxic to cats: Clear labelling of flowers, plants and household products that are toxic to cats so cat owners know which to avoid.
  • Cats and snares: An outright ban on the use of snares on the basis they are inhumane and cruel, inflicting suffering, injury or death on cats and other animals.
  • Cats, airguns and crossbows: Stricter regulation on the ownership of air guns and crossbows to prevent injury or death to cats shot by such weapons.

If you wish to support the manifesto, there is more information at: www.cats.org.uk/manifesto

For more information about Cats Protection, visit www.cats.org.uk

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