2016 was a very successful year at the NCAC

2016 was another successful year for the National Cat Adoption Centre, thanks to the dedication of our team of staff and volunteers.

As well as homing 903 cats in need, our vet team performed many routine and emergency operations.

The year in numbers:
  • Spays: 184
  • Castrations: 151
  • Thyroidectomy: 3
  • Dental: 211
  • X-rays: 11
  • Blood Tests: 440
  • Vaccinations: 819 (primary), 666 (secondary)
  • Plus many other operations and tests

Ten cats came into our care after being affected by the Cumbrian floods caused by Storm Desmond, when 2,000 homes and businesses were affected and the military was called in to help evacuate people.

Cats Protection was one of the charities drafted in to help rescue pets. One of the particularly lucky cats rehomed this month was Pepper. She had a few health conditions, such as low potassium, and would need to be on medication for life. She needed regular blood tests, was on medication for an overactive thyroid, and had Stage 2 renal disease. Despite all these she was a darling cat with a lot to offer. Luckily a lovely couple saw past all her health problems, fell in love with her and took her home.

One of the hardest groups of cats to rehome is diabetic cats, and in February we had two: Tippex and Maxwell. Thankfully, they both found homes and are doing really well. Their homes were experienced with owning diabetic cats, so we had no concerns. It was one of our happiest days at the NCAC when they went - for the best reasons, of course.

The first litter of the year was born this month and, in memory of the late David Bowie, they were named in his honour: Jean Genie, Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Space Oddity, China Girl, Starman.

Heidi, was one of our lucky cats of the month. She came in with horrific skin disease that caused some damage to her ear. At one stage we thought she might lose her ear but with a specific course of treatment her ear healed beautifully and we were able to rehome her.

We had three really interesting cases with Tabs, Tye and Jessie.

Tabs was a big and strong stray cat with a facial abcess that had burst and left a big hole. He was such a handsome boy with a great friendly personality. Such a real teddy bear that everyone fell in love with him. With veterinary treatment his face healed well and he was homed in a flash.

Tye had persistent cystitis while in our care. Despite veterinary treatment the condition couldn’t be fully treated. We concluded that the condition was being caused by stress, so the unusual step was taken to home Tye, whilst not in full recovery, to see if being in a home would help. Low and behold, within days the cystitis was gone and Tye was a happy cat in a loving home.

Sometimes a cat's history will lead to them not coping in a home environment as it can be too stressful for them. We had such a case in Jessie. She was delightful here, in a pen with a tight routine. But as soon as we rehomed her, her aggressive behaviour returned due to  fear and anxiety in the new home environment, and she was returned to us repeatedly.

We had to reflect on this for Jessie's happiness and decided to home her to an outdoor environment, which entailed homing her where there were barns, outbuildings etc: a farm, garden centre or stables. There would also need to be a family home on site, so she could settle in the outbuildings, get a routine in place and get used to people, and then graduate into the home when she was ready. This worked perfectly and now she is happily living in the family home.

April: Having experienced success with Jessie, we homed Preta and Honey in a similar set up, as their own personal experiences in life were making it hard for them to settle in a home environment. Again, another pair of happy outdoor-living cats.

May: Our desensitisation programme began. Sometimes cats come into our care feeling very frightened and struggle to adjust to the centre environment. This can make them hard to rehome, as their fear and anxiety display themselves in negative behaviour. We started a programme to allocate a staff member to a cat in this situation, to build their confidence, help them to be less fearful, so their true personality could shine through and they could to be chosen by a family.

We are all very proud of this scheme and it is working very well. We have also instigated a follow up programme for these cats to see how they are settling in to their new homes and to offer advice and support to the new owners. So far there haven't been any issues, which leads us to believe that our desentisisation programme is a great success.

June: Another successful outdoor home was found for Fifi, who was returned three times due to her negative behaviour due to stress and anxiety. Now she lives in stables and she feels like queen of the castle in her new home.

July: We had our most successful Summer Fun Day, with over 1,500 visitors. Our Summer Fun Day 2017 is 16 July. Pop it in your diaries as it’s a brilliant day out with lots to see and do.

November: Jake had been in our care for nearly one year, and we decided to home him to an outside home. He is as happy as Larry within this set up. He has the best of both worlds: space to roam and a loving home. Diabetic Sally came in to care this month. She went on to develop kidney disease and a heart murmur so we thought, 'Gosh, this is going to be tricky!'  

After several appeals on Facebook, on our website and in local media, we found a home for Sally with lovely owners who had sadly just lost their own diabetic cat. We took in a multicat household of nine cats who all needed dental operations as their mouths were in a terrible state. They started off in our Isolation Unit as an extra precaution due to coming from a large household and not knowing what health issues we might be dealing with. We also held our Black Cat Day, where we saw over 700 visitors. Black Cat Day 2017 will be 5 November, so please put it in your diaries.

December: We had two multicat households brought into our care. We also had some cats with ringworm that had to be housed in our Isolation unit as the condition can easily spread. It is an airborn condition so the whole centre, staff and cats are at risk. Ringworm can take months to clear and is a very expensive condition to treat, so tight procedures need to be put in place to limit the risk as much as possible. All items in the care of the cats and the set up of the pens have to be disposed of, so costs soon add up. We also held our Santa's Grotto Day, with 173 visitors - Santa was very busy! Santa will be back on 3 December.

All this added up to a wonderful year caring for cats and finding many loving homes. 

We are all very proud of what we have achieved for our cats and we want to thank everyone for their support in helping us to achieve all of this and more.

None of this would be possible without your visits to the centre, without those of you who have adopted a cat from us, without those of you who have attended our events, come to our café or bought items in our shop, without those of you who have donated money, donated old blankets, sheets, food, carriers or toys.

By thinking of us and the cats in our care we have been able to commit to all of the work that we do.

In 2017 we fully intend to do the same and more, with your kindness, love and support.

This will be a busy year with seven separate events. Cat Protection will celebrate our 90th Birthday in May, so keep an eye out on the website for further details of how to join the party!