Behind the scenes at The Cats Protection Warrington Adoption Centre
PUBLISHED: 00:00 22 February 2019
How the charity helps Cheshire cats find new homes in the county.
Rudyard Kipling famously wrote a story about a cat that walks alone but of course, no domestic cat walks alone: like everyone, they need love and care and no-one works harder at making sure they get it than Cats Protection: the UK’s leading feline charity.
In Cheshire, we are lucky to have The Warrington Adoption Centre. Part of Cats Protection and purpose-built in 2013, with room for up to 100 cats, it is a centre of excellence, regarded as one of the best in the country. Its facilities, staff and volunteers are top notch and they are all under the watchful eye of Goose, a black and white cat, who supervises the humans in the reception and shop.
Regional Centre Operations Manager, Sonia Scowcroft, is always delighted when a cat is adopted and begins the next stage of its life. She said: ‘We love visitors: no appointment is needed during opening hours and, don’t worry, we won’t foist a cat on you! Cats and humans are matched. It’s like a dating agency, although we can usually guarantee a lifelong loving relationship,’ she smiles.
‘We are here to ensure that our cats find good homes but it’s important to note that -like all Cats Protection centres - we will never put a healthy cat to sleep,’ says Sonia, who feels it isn’t a productive day unless she goes home with cat hair clinging to her!
‘We have many types of cats from rare breeds to the Heinz 57 variety; from kittens to seniors. Some are strays and others have been brought in by owners who are experiencing a change in circumstances, such as financial or family. We don’t judge because that owner is behaving responsibly,’ explains Sonia.
When a cat arrives at the Warrington centre, they are given a full health check by a vet and any issues raised are dealt with. If they need ongoing veterinary attention, they are placed in an isolation unit where they are cared for until well. If a cat has a long-term health issue, prospective owners are told, so that they can make an informed decision. Transparency is key: adopting a cat from Warrington means adopting with confidence!
Cats have their own individual pens, only ever sharing with cats that they have lived with before. These are large, well- heated and furnished with beds and toys. There is access to fresh air and each cat is given their favourite food and litter, or specially brought in peat if they prefer!
They are named and information about them is displayed.
‘This is where the dating agency comes in,’ smiles Sonia. ‘Some cats have previously lived with animals and children and so are a good match for families. Others might be elderly, maybe suiting an older person and others are indoor cats - perfect for flat dwellers. We can bring cats into our comfortable Meet and Greet Room, giving both parties a chance to see each other. Goose and his brother might pop in too!’
A maternity section looks after pregnant or nursing cats and their kittens. They receive marvellous care: even small details, such as not putting food dishes on the under heated floor are adhered to.
‘It is rare for anyone to come here and not smile but on a serious note, cats do need to be neutered: we operate an outreach programme, neutering stray or feral cats. It’s fair to the cat and it’s the responsible thing to do. We have a helpline, which we encourage owners to ring if they need any advice about neutering,’ explains Sonia.
‘We’re here to make life better for cats and there are many opportunities to help us to give them the love and care they deserve: visit; buy from our shop; donate food; blankets; sponsor, foster or adopt a cat; help with neutering programmes or simply spread the word about us and our other volunteer run branches in Crewe, Macclesfield and Culcheth’, says Sonia. She recommends visiting the website, where there is information and a donation page where people can pledge their support.
‘£180 will get a cat, ready for homing’, including a health check, vaccination, worming, neutering, blood-testing for certain life threatening conditions, allowing for the best possible start in the cat’s new forever home. Costs can rise dramatically though: one cat needed dental care, costing £450. Looking after our cats is not cheap and we rely entirely on support and donations in order to do our work. We appreciate it and the cats do too: get in touch, we won’t scratch’ smiles Sonia. u
www.cats.org.uk/cheshirelife / Telephone: 03000 120612.
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