The other day, I took part in a session at work in which we were asked to describe our ideal workplace – no matter how ridiculous or impractical that might be. One of my colleagues suggested that we implement “bring your dog to work” days, to which I obviously replied with that local government office in New Mexico which has a “cat library” in the basement from which staff can “borrow” shelter cats to sit at their desks for a little while and get them accustomed to humans. Another colleague replied that she was scared of cats, but liked the dog idea. “But then, you probably feel the same way about dogs,” she said to me.
Tradition dictates that we are either cat people or dog people, and its true that I used to be terrified of the latter. And yet it’s also true that since I became a cat owner three years ago, I’ve stopped running away from and started making pals with dogs in the street – even the ones that, like the puppy up the stairs from our last flat, jump up on me and try to lick my face.
My name is Lis Ferla and I am an animal lover. Which is why when I read the latest figures from the RSPCA, who received 3,851 calls about abandoned animals in England between January and April this year – that’s around 33 a day – I was horrified, and only too happy to help them raise awareness about their current campaign around rehoming domestic animals.
Plus it gives me an excuse to post some new photos I took of Scooter and The Big Man – and who on the internet doesn’t like cat pictures?!
Scooter and Biggie (named, of course, for Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons’ characters in the mythology of the E-Street Band) aren’t rescue cats in the traditional sense as I didn’t get them from a shelter, but we did rehome them through a notorious (at least when it comes to finding pets) classified ads website. When we found them they were a pair of four-month old kittens, whose mama cat had belonged to the ex-girlfriend of their then owner. He had realised that he just couldn’t look after them as he had a three-year-old kid who used to chase them about the house – and, at the time, Scooter was called Johncena (so take that, anybody who has ever judged me for having a cat called The Big Man). They are part of our family and we’d do anything for them, as is obvious from the size of the vet bills: a couple of years ago, we discovered that Biggie had a congenital heart defect requiring daily medication and annual monitoring from a veterinary cardiologist. Which, if the bills are anything to go by, is nice work if you can get it.
Of course, as I write this full of love for my little fluffy family members, the pair of them are tearing lumps out of each other in the hallway. Because cats are dicks.
Last year, the RSPCA found new homes for 53,263 animals, some of whom had been abandoned by the people they had trusted best in all the world in the most horrific of ways. They make sure your new pal is already microchipped, vaccinated and neutered, give you six weeks worth of free pet insurance and, recognising that these guys might need a little extra special love and care, will provide advice for rehomed dogs and cats at every step of the way. And their find a pet “matchmaking” process means they’ll find a wee buddy who’s perfect for you.
Personally, I couldn’t imagine life without my cats and I spend way more time than is healthy wondering whether Biggie’s heart condition would have been caught and properly diagnosed had we not found him (given it was, and we did). I couldn’t be more behind this campaign, and I’d urge you – if you’re thinking about getting a pet – to see whether you can rehome one first.
Do you have a rescue pet? Share your story in the comments – particularly if it comes with cute pictures!
With thanks to the RSPCA, who sent Scooter and Biggie some treats from Pets At Home as a thank-you for raising awareness of their campaign. The RSPCA is the animal welfare charity of England and Wales: in Scotland, the Scottish SPCA does similar work and you can find out more on their website.