What do the Welfare Team do?

The welfare team have many duties within their team but one that keeps them the most busy is our trap, neuter and return programme for Swale.  We have a huge issue with feral colonies in Swale, some consistng of hundreds of cats just roaming around producing kitten after kitten.  The Welfare team do their very best against a very fast producing target!

For every TNR (trap, neuter, return) job, it's really important to agree a plan with the homeowner or local resident  as working together is the key to success.
Our first step is to ensure a feeding plan is put in place.  This way the cats know they will get fed and watered at a particular time of day, this makes it much easier for the trapping to then take place which is step number two.  After weeks of routine feeding, a trap, with some very smelly food in (normally pichards or sardines) is placed near where the cats are fed and, because they are used to being fed at a particular time of day, they should (fingers crossed) enter the trap.
Waiting for the trap to close can be a very dull and cold wait.  Feral cats don't miraculously walk into the trap unfortunately, so many hours can be spent waiting for the noise of the trap closing.  Acting quickly to alleviate as much stress as possible for the cat is imperative.  We cover the trap with a large towel, then transfer the cat into a smaller basket for travelling.  This is also covered with a large towel as it helps keep the cat calm.
Onwards then to the vet for neutering (we tend to book spaces in advance if we can).  Our vets hold the cats overnight so they can recover, then we do the whole process in reverse, returning the cats to their 'home' but without the ability to reproduce!

All of this costs money of course .. vet bills, food, petrol.  If you'd like to help, there are many ways you can do so from giving money to adding a can of cat food, tinned fish like sardines or pilchards (in brine or water only) or a packet of biscuits into one of our donation bins.  Please check out our supporting page HERE where you can see where our donation bins are.

Another important role for the welfare team is to bring cats in for rehoming.  The reasons for cats coming into us are many, but could include an owner dying or perhaps a change of living circumstances such as a relationship break up.  The team will visit the owner to assess the situation and find out as much info as possible about the cat.  Unfortunately we don't have masses of space or a cat rehoming centre, we only have a couple of fosterers who dedicate a spare room in their homes for the care of these cats/kittens, so we can't always say yes to helping.  Once the cat is in the fosterers care though, vet appointments are arranged as necessary and the responsibility then passes over to the Publicity and Homing Officers to find suitable new homes.  The fosterer works in the middle of welfare, publicity and homing with updates on the cats in their care.

If all of this has piqued your interest and you fancy getting involved in a very hands on way, please do get in touch as we'd love to hear from you. Just email welfare@swale.cats.org.uk.  You can commit as much time as you'd like, but every hour counts and it would be a massive help to the cats of Swale.