We have launched an urgent winter appeal because with more animals needing us, and our costs increasing, this winter will be especially challenging.
Soon our fuel bills will increase as our previous contract finishes and we must start on a new tariff. Also, our veterinary bills are continuing to increase. This is in part due to general medication price increases, but also because we are seeing more animals with severe medical needs. We estimate that in 2024 our veterinary care bills alone will be about £85,000.
To make matters worse, more people than ever are signing over pets as they can no longer afford to keep them, and fewer people are able to adopt a pet.
By the end of 2023 we estimate that we will have had over 900 requests to sign-over pets, which is in addition to the many stray cats, dogs and small animals that end up with us.
Smokey’s story is typical of what we’re experiencing and with the winter months upon us, we’re expecting the arrival of more animals just like him.
Smokey, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, came to us as a stray. He is an ageing dog and so has some weakness in his rear limbs and tartar on his teeth, but he also had medical issues that needed urgent attention.
He had bare skin patches and red sores on his face and back, but worst of all he had a lump on his back that we identified as a tumour. Smokey’s treatment consisted of special medication to help his skin heal and an operation to remove the lump. It cost over £450 to provide the veterinary care Smokey needed.
Pitta was ill, and so were her kittens
Urgent Winter appeal!
Pitta was just over two years old when she came to the Shelter. When our vet examined her, he found that she was pregnant, and in addition, she had feline flu.
Six weeks after arriving she gave birth to six kittens who we named: Panini, Bagel, Crumpet, Crouton, Quiche and Toastie. Sadly, like mum, the kittens also had feline flu, so the whole family was chesty, sneezy and suffered from breathing difficulties.
Pitta was able to feed her kittens, but they also needed special kitten food. We housed this little family in a specially heated quarantine pen, and they all received antibiotics and eye drops.
It is vital to neuter and vaccinate cats. Cat flu is not usually serious in healthy cats, but it can be serious, and even fatal in kittens and adult cats with underlying illnesses, so we had to keep a close eye on Pitta and her new family. It cost £44.40 to provide Pitta and her kittens the medication they needed.
Midnight the blind rabbit
Midnight is a young rabbit, who came to us as a stray. When she arrived, we could see immediately that she was blind. We can’t be sure, but we think she may have been born blind and ‘let go’. Luckily a kind member of the public found him and brought him to us. It cost £25.17 to provide Midnight with some eye medication to help him feel more comfortable.
As Midnight had a slight head tilt, we checked him for a parasite called E. cuniculi, which is a nasty disease and can cause liver failure, tremors and loss of balance. Luckily, Midnight’s tests came back negative, so we could focus on giving him a comfortable, cosy pen during his stay with us.
We have on average 70 animals at our site in Cheltenham every day, who need your support this Christmas. Please support our Winter Appeal so that we can help more pets like Smokey, Pitta and Midnight.
How you can donate
Online at www.gawa.org.uk/appeal Scan the QR code (below),
Call 01242 523 521 or visit us at Cheltenham Animal Shelter, Gardners Lane, Cheltenham GL51 9JW.