The RSPCA is looking for special homes for cats in their care
The RSPCA has been working with International Cat Care to help spot the signs that a cat may not be suited to a typical home environment.
The Cat Friendly Homing trial involves identifying specific behaviour that indicates the cat is not socialised with humans and finding alternative homes where they can be happy, such as farms, smallholdings and gardens with a shed.
There are plenty of cats looking for an alternative lifestyle home at RSPCA Canterbury and District branch and the branch is raising awareness about the need for these type of owners.
Beth Hixson, centre manager at the RSPCA Canterbury branch said: “We have been working with International Cat Care consultant Vicky Halls on this for a while now. The trial aims to spot the signs that a cat is not suited for a rehoming centre or home environment and hopefully they can then go directly to an alternative lifestyle home.
“When cats like this come into our centres they are so stressed out and being here is very traumatic for them. Sadly these kinds of cats, who aren’t going to be really friendly and want a fuss when people come to visit, end up being with us for much longer and the right kind of home for them are few and far between.
“We want to start building up a list of people who want cats like this and have a waiting list ready for when they come in. At the moment, we have a backlog of cats that would find living in a home stressful, they don’t want to be around people as this triggers stress. What they do need is someone to provide food, water, shelter and veterinary treatment when needed.
“I suppose it is quite a selfless ownership as you are unlikely to get much back from this kind of cat but at the same time this could suit so many people who can see the cat as a lodger and may live on a farm, have a shed at the bottom of their garden, a smallholding, an orchard or a stately home with gardens. It could also suit someone who is allergic to cats so couldn’t have them in the home. You don’t need to have acres of land to be able to do it either. If you have a big enough garden with a shed then you could give a needy cat a home.”
Beth added: “Some of the cats who need alternative lifestyle homes have actually come from a multi-animal home so they have lived in a home environment before but what we find is that they are under socialised and so to go from what is essentially a cat colony in a home to a owner-pet situation does not suit them.
“Sadly, when someone comes to look round an RSPCA centre, no one wants the cat that hides away and retreats, or the one that hisses when someone passes by, which is such a shame because although they are never going to be a lap cat they could be very happy in an alternative home.”
International Cat Care is a charity which works to improve the health and welfare of cats.
Vicky Halls, cat behaviourist consultant, said: “Cat Friendly Homing is an exciting project to work on as it puts cats and their welfare at the very heart of everything. We have to think laterally and work differently to give each individual cat the tailored outcome they need. The staff here at the Canterbury branch are amazing, really embracing the training and applying their new knowledge. They are already seeing a positive difference, as they are able to identify when cats are struggling and make the necessary changes during their time in the centre.”
Stumpy (pictured above) is a five-year-old male who does not cope well in the cattery. This black and white cat who is missing a tail stays in a separate room at the centre away from the other cats. When he first arrived he was very frustrated and would swipe out but now he has turned into a lovely boy. He enjoys being around humans but doesn’t like being handled – any interaction has to be on his own terms. He is looking to be someone’s new ‘lodger’ and could live in a shed at the bottom of a garden with a cat flap, then it would be up to him to decide if he wanted to gravitate towards the house.
Kuching is a six-year-old male. The tabby and white cat has lived in a home previously but he would need lots of space preferably with no other cats around. He prefers to ride solo and doesn’t like human interaction.
Brian (pictured right) is a four-year-old black and white male. He was abandoned outside a vets so little information is known about his past. He is similar to Stumpy in that he likes to be around people but has a low tolerance for being handled. He would like to be someone’s lodger with no other cats around.
For more information contact the RSPCA Canterbury and District branch on 01227 719113 or email firstname.lastname@example.org