February Update

Spring is in the air as we come to the end of February, and it’s time for our end of month update, letting you know what we’ve been up to over the last month.

Henry’s Haven volunteers have been busy this month. We took in 16 cats this month, including Lily, a tiny black and white cat who is pregnant, and a family of four who’s owner had been made homeless.

Lily, a black and white female cat, sitting in a brown cat bed, with a red star toy hanging near her head
Lily

Our gorgeous Teeka, who arrived last month, gave birth to three beautiful kittens today, and is being a great mum to them. This story could have had a very different ending if Teeka hadn’t been brought into Rescue. Kittens born outside have a much lower chance of survival, and if not found early enough, will become feral. Those kittens then have kittens themselves, and the whole cycle repeats. Spay and neuter avoids this.

A tortie cat lying on her side feeding newborn kittens. She is looking up at the camera.
Teeka and Babies

Teeka should never have had to go through pregnancy and birth, and much as we adore her little fluffy babies we are sad that she’s been put through this. Teeka is a lovely cat who must have had a human family at some stage. Once her kittens are weaned Teeka will be available for adoption – however we will not be responding to applications for Teeka or her kittens at this stage.

This month we re-homed 23 cats into wonderful forever homes, including Marigold and Tarmac. We’ve been focussing on the adults this month, as kitten season is just beginning and we are already seeing pregnant cats coming in. That means a lot of pressure on our foster space.

A ginger and white cat wearing a collar, curled up on a purple blanket
Marigold

‘Kitten Season’ is a term you might hear a lot at the moment. While cats breed all year round, most kittens are born in the spring. That means that for Rescues this is a very busy time.

Check out our infographic below on what to do if you find kittens living outside. 

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Kitten season puts a strain on our finances and our foster space. You can help by:

  • Donating! Hit the PayPal button on our front page to donate. You can set up a monthly donation too.
  • Volunteer – we need foster spaces, preferably with people who have some experience of caring for pregnant queens and socialising kittens. If that’s you, we’d love to hear from you!
  • Gift an item from our Amazon wishlist
  • Follow us on social media, and share our posts.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has helped support us this month – we can’t do any of this without you, and we love our West Yorkshire kitty family so much!

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Meet our Volunteers

Sophie is a long time Eccentric Feline Enthusiast, and has been volunteering with Henry’s Haven since the very start. We caught up for a quick chat.

sophiepicforinterview

Can you tell us a bit about what you do at Henry’s Haven? All sorts! I’m a foster carer, mainly for short term fosters. That means cats recovering from an operation, or cats that need somewhere safe for a few days until a longer term place can be found. I also help with paperwork like developing policies and procedures, and look after the website.

What made you decide to volunteer at Henry’s Haven? My last volunteer role had ended and I was at a bit of a loose end. I’m a huge cat lover and have four of my own, so when Debbie reached out to me to help with a local stray, it was a really natural fit. I didn’t have any rescue experience besides helping a friend rescue a stray, so it’s been quite a steep learning curve.

What’s the hardest part of Rescue for you? Seeing how badly some people treat animals. That and when people refuse to neuter their pets. I find that really upsetting because spay and neuter means healthier, happier animals, that are not bringing unwanted kittens into the world.

What do you enjoy most about your role? Seeing cats go to their forever homes! When I started I was worried that I’d not be able to let go of my foster cats, and that it’d be too hard emotionally. What surprised me was that although I do get attached, it’s been really easy to let go because I know they are going to such great homes.

Bumble

What do you do for fun outside of cat rescue? Cats are my main hobby, but I also make jewellery, do a bit of sewing, and love curling up with a brew and a good book.

Do you have cats of your own? Yes – I’ve got 4 cats of my own. Two came from a local rescue. Bumble is a big ginger girl who is a proper snuggler. She came into rescue as a pregnant stray. I fell in love the second I met her. Zoe is a fluffy long haired tortie. She was found abandoned in a box next to a canal at just 6 weeks old along with her two brothers. She’s quite aloof and definitely not a lap cat, so when I do get a cuddle it’s extra special.

My other two cats, Luna and Katniss, are pedigree Bengals. Buying from a breeder isn’t something I’d do again, although I’m not completely against breeding. I just think it needs to be much more heavily regulated to stop irresponsible breeding. As much as I love Bengals and want to always have one in my life, in future I’ll adopt rather than shop.

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Helping Community Cats

In this freezing weather our community cats – the stray and feral cats that live outside – are struggling. 

We know a lot of our followers would love to know more about how to help these cats, especially through the winter.

The first thing to do of course is to speak to us, as we may be able to help. However sadly Henry’s Haven can’t always be there to help. This is because financial and space constraints mean we can’t take every cat. We will always prioritise cats living outside, especially if they are sick or injured, but we can’t help as much as we would like to. We know that even if we can’t help, these cats need support. And there is so much that you can do. So here’s our guide on what YOU can do to support the community cats in your area.

Spay and Neuter:

If you are feeding a community cat, the single most important thing you can do is to spay or neuter that cat. This will help prevent any more kittens being born outside, and will reduce the chance of injury and disease.

To get help neutering a community cat, contact your local vet, or the Cat’s Protection League. 

Feeding is not enough – spay and neuter is essential.

Feeding:

This will help keep cats healthy, and also helps to build trust in humans.  You can feed any wet or dry food. Try feeding community cats on a regular schedule as this will make it easier build trust, and to trap them.

Keeping Warm:

This is especially important during the winter months, but helps all year round. If you have a shed, consider fitting a cat flap and popping a cozy bed in there.

You can also build a basic shelter out of cheap materials. Here’s a video from Buzzfeed showing how to build an easy shelter from cheap or recycled materials.

Make sure to check the shelter every day, and remember to be careful – it’s possible that a wild animal or feral cat could take shelter.

Trapping:

To get a cat to the vet or to a rescue, you will first need to catch her! You might find that your community cat isn’t too keen on getting into a carrier. Here’s how to catch a cat with minimal stress – to you and the cat.

  • Feeding your community cat on a regular schedule and building trust will help.
  • Bring a carrier outside and place it close to where you usually feed the cat. Every day, bring the food bowl closer to the carrier.
  • Eventually, you can place the food just at the entrance to the carrier, then a bit further in, and then right at the back.
  • Once the cat is eating the food inside the carrier, close the door behind them.
  • Cover the carrier with a blanket or towel. This will help keep the cat calm.
  • Take the cat to the vet or rescue as soon as possible.

If you are going to keep the cat in your home for any length of time, make sure she is kept in a room away from your own pets. You should also make sure that your own pets are up to date on vaccinations and flea and worm treatment.

Some cats can’t be caught in this way, and will need to be caught using a baited trap. Contact us if you think this might be the case, as we may be able to help. Never try to force a cat into a carrier.

Kittens:

Penny Jan 19
Penny

If you see kittens on their own outside, remember that this means there will be a mother cat around somewhere! Mum won’t stay with their kittens all the time, as she needs to go out and find food for herself.

It’s really important that kittens stay with their Mum if at all possible. Keep an eye on the kittens, without touching them or moving them. If you don’t see the Mum for a couple of days, or if the kittens are looking sick or injured, then you can catch the kittens and take them to the vet or to a rescue.

If Mum is around, you should try and catch her and the kittens together, using the trapping tips above, or contact us for advice and support.

Your Safety:

  • Wear suitable clothing. Long sleeves and sturdy gloves are really useful. If you are bitten you should always see your GP as cat bites can get infected very quickly.
  • Remember that your community cat might have fleas and worms, and that these can affect you and your family too. Giving your community cat flea and worm treatments will help minimise the risk.
  • Involving your children in caring for community cats is a great family activity. It helps kids learn empathy and gentleness as well as learning to care for animals. Children should always be supervised, and should never try to catch a community cat on their own.
  • Never place yourself in a dangerous situation or trespass on private property in order to catch a community cat. If a cat is in danger and you cannot reach them without placing yourself at risk, call the RSPCA. The police non emergency line may also be able to advise
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