Here is a little update about how the COVID -19 global crisis has affected our lives here @BCWR.
Since the COVID 19 outbreak I have experienced every emotion possible however the greatest fealing is fear.
Fear for my own health, fear for the cats in my care and how we can possibly carry on and get through this, fear for my friends then fear on a much larger scale locally, national and globally.
From the first whisperings that COVID19 was becoming an issue in the UK we stepped up our already stringent hygiene protocols for both volunteers and visitors alike. It soon became apparent that this wasn’t enough and instead of hosting open weekends visitors were forced to make pre booked appointments to the rescue to minimise the numbers here.
As Care Coordinator and founder of Bradford Cat Watch Rescue I place highly the values of health, safety and well-being of myself, volunteers and visitors and we absolutely are following the Governments advice and that of the NHS.
Amid the fear is helplessness. I am forced “shield” for a minimum of 12 weeks and all the volunteers are either self-isolating or have very restricted movement in line with the government advice.
This means that we are not currently in a position to rescue any cats in need, re-home any cats to make space and I’m sure there are many cats out there in desperate need of our help…. but at this time we are helpless to do anything.
All 76 cats currently in our care obviously still need their 5 welfare needs met and in food and litter alone this is costing us in excess of £120….. let alone the mounting vet bills.
Sadly in the last 14 days we have been forced to close our doors to visitors and volunteers and and have suspended all admissions and adoptions temporarily until it is safe to reopen our doors.
This has had a massive impact on the day to day running on the rescue and for me, the pressures are immense.
We have gone from having 19 volunteers on a weekly rota basis at the rehoming centre, to just myself.
We do have three dedicated volunteers who can deal with urgent situations and emergencies, who also kindly pick up basic provisions for myself and the cats.
Only 7 days ago CC one of our cats in the rescue needed emergency surgery and following a telephone conversation with our vet at Northcote Veterinary Centre, he agreed that this was indeed an emergency and our little cat CC underwent 3 hours of emergency surgery to remove infected, necrotic debris from her very malformed eyes.
In addition to the pressures I am personally facing at the rescue – looking after 25 cats at the centre, mostly with varying degrees of disability and care needs, I am also liasing with our 12 foster families who between them are looking after 51 cats and kittens we also have massive financial pressures too.
We have had to cancel 3 major large scale fundraising events which were to be held this spring. Sadly our vet bill is spiraling out of control and with no planned events we are not sure that we will recover financially from the domino effects of the COVID 19 Crisis without substantial action.
The rescue at this time is lonely and physically and mentally exhausting.
I am pacing all the activities within the rescue throughout the day,
Cleaning, feeding, grooming, health checks, enrichment time, liaising with our fosterers, speaking with our vets and admin (just to name a few) because if I was to try to get all the tasks done in the usual time frames I would simply burn out.
Despite all these worries, we remain positive.
You may have heard about Carrots our Blind Therapy Cat who visits patients at the Marie curie hospice in Bradford….. Well he has found ways to keep in touch and is writing to patients and staff at the hospice, some of his friends and supporters and also a local care home.
12 weeks+ seems such a long time… but it is essential we all follow government advice….. or 12 weeks could turn into 24 weeks….. or worse still a death sentence.
We have already started planning for the future. When the situation greatly improves and it is safe to do so we hope will be able to have a very controlled and phased return to normality.
If you would like to donate towards the vet care at the rescue there are several ways you can do this listed on our Donate page: