August 14, 2013

New shelter announced for Canberra

In exciting news for animals in Canberra, the ACT government has announced funding for a new animal care facility, meaning that the aging site in Weston will be relocated.

WIN Television and ABC News

The Canberra Times

RSPCA ACT media release - 9 August 2013

“RSPCA welcomes the ACT Government’s strong support for the relocation of our ageing animal welfare facility and the construction of a new purpose built animal welfare centre,” said Sue Gage, President, RSPCA ACT. “This funding demonstrates the value both RSPCA ACT and the ACT Government have for animal welfare outcomes and the new facility will provide first class care for domestic animals and wildlife in the ACT, staff and for our important volunteers.”

CEO Michael Linke said, “Our current site in Weston, although much loved over the last sixty years, is not able to fully support the increasing demand for our services. The new purpose built animal care centre will enable RSPCA ACT and the ACT Government to deliver animal welfare and regulatory services in a safer, more efficient and responsive working environment. Staff, volunteers, animals and our community will reap the benefits from the new centre as it will allow both organisations to respond to the needs of the growing community.” Mr Linke said;  “Both staff and volunteers at RSPCA and Domestic Animal Services have been looking forward to this announcement over a number of years and have worked together on it. It is fortunate the Land Development Agency (LDA) agreed to fund the project through an agreement that will see our current site become part of the new Molonglo Valley residential development.”

Mr Linke is very positive about the potential of the new centre as it will become a one-stop shop for animal welfare and regulatory issues involving domestic animals. “The new centre will include services currently undertaken by Domestic Animal Services such as securing and caring for dogs that are lost, seized and surrendered. I look forward to continuing our long-standing and valued relationship with Domestic Animal Services, the ACT Government and the Canberra community. We have a history of working together to improve animal welfare outcomes and the new shelter presents an exciting new chapter for both RSPCA ACT and government,” he said.

Mrs Gage thanked the ACT government for the agreement on the capital funding saying that “RSPCA ACT strongly appreciates the government’s on-going commitment to RSPCA and animal welfare in the ACT”.

April 3, 2013

Steps to introducing a new cat

How should I introduce a new cat or kitten to my existing cat?

Cats can be very territorial and sometimes they don't like change very much. Your cat is probably used to being the only cat around and probably had complete run of the house. Suddenly there is this strange other cat or kitten who, from the existing cat's point of view, is just getting in the way. Whenever a new cat is introduced into a house with other cats it takes time for them to get used to each other, and your first cat might a little jealous of the newcomer, so you need to take things slowly and carefully at first.

The key points to consider when introducing cats are:
  • Introduce the existing cat and the new cat in stages – gradually increasing exposure time.
  • Keep the new cat in a separate room for about a week so that the existing cat can become accustomed to their smell and presence and the new cat has time to adjust to their new environment. This separation and gradual introduction may help to reduce the overall anxiety of the situation and provides a good basis for the development of good relations.
  • After the new cat has settled in to her part of the house you can slowly introduce her to the rest of the house by bringing her out for 10 or 15 minutes at a time under your supervision. Eventually she will be confident enough to wander freely around the house and the other cat should be used to her.
  • In the initial stages there may be some hissing and tail swishing – but this should settle down after a few days.
  • Ensure that the existing cat has an area that she can go to for privacy to get away from the new cat.
  • Provide at least two litter trays.
  • Allow the cats to eat separately.
  • Ensure the existing cat receives a lot of individual attention from you.
  • Be aware that it may take some time for a relationship to develop

Not all cats will get on with each other. In situations where cats do not like each other in the long-term, they may still be able to co-exist in relative peace by seeking out their own space and spending most of the time on their own. Some cats have the ability to find a balance and share their territory. Having access to different rooms so that they may be alone can assist in these situations.

In rare situations where cats seriously injure each other or begin to show signs of severe stress as a result of being housed together they may need to be separated. Your local vet can provide more information about available options in these situations.

This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. Please note: We make no warranties that this information is accurate or suitable for a person’s unique circumstances and provide this information on the basis that all persons accessing the information responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.

February 13, 2013

Wild Things

Wildlife rehabilitation is the process of removing injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals from the wild and caring for them. The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to provide food, housing and medical care to these animals and return them to the wild after treatment.

Did you know RSPCA ACT is the only licensed wildlife carer in the ACT?

Were you aware that it is against the law to keep a native animal for longer than a 48 hour period? For the benefit of the animal RSPCA ACT should be contacted as soon as possible if sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife comes into your care.

One of the obstacles for rehabilitation we see at RSPCA is humanising, or imprinting.

Humanising occurs when a young animal is given inappropriate care during the rearing process and the animal becomes dependent on the human carer.  This condition potentially limits the animal’s chance of survival in the wild.

Imprinting occurs when a carer allows a young animal to think of him/her as a parent, with the result that the animal will most likely not fully recognise its own species and therefore may not survive in the wild, or when mature it may approach humans for food or mating.

In addition, native animals raised with or in close proximity to domestic pets will not recognise these species as predators when released.  For adult animals, the opposite problem occurs:  if being cared for in proximity to domestic pets the sight, sound and smell of domestic animals are highly stressful and may cause delay improvement in their condition.

When we receive an animal in to care that has been humanised it may take weeks or even months to get that animal to a stage where it can be released in to the wild.  Sometimes, for their own safety, these animals can’t be released and unfortunately have to be humanely euthanased.

The most common species we see that have been humanised are possums and magpies.
The possum in the photo recently came in to our care.  She was easily approached on the street, picked up and is certainly used to being hand-fed.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to “wild” up this possum so that she will be suitable for release.

If you find an injured native animal please contact us on 6287 8100 and help us keep them wild.

February 4, 2013

Saving lives - the cat's out of the bag

As a supporter of RSPCA ACT, do you ever wonder if your donations of time and money are really making a difference? The short answer is yes. You are literally saving lives.

A few years ago our cat and kitten homing rates were comparatively high, but they weren’t as high as they could have been. One problem was that diseases could spread through the kitten population while they were too young to be vaccinated, and as many kittens were already compromised after a tough start in life, they simply weren’t strong enough to fight.

The solution to this problem was brilliant in its simplicity. We needed to get kittens out of the shelter. We needed to let sick kittens be treated without spreading their illness to others. We needed somewhere for all of our litters of kittens to grow big, strong and healthy so we could find them a forever home.

So, we put a call out to the public asking for help – we needed an army of volunteers to become kitten foster carers, and what a response we got! We now have around 150 trained foster carers and we are able to provide them with everything they need to raise and socialise these precious little creatures – food, bedding, blankets, litter, litter trays, bowls, hot water bottles, toys, vet care… whatever the carers and kittens require.

 In 2012 RSPCA ACT achieved outstanding results in our cat and kitten rehoming rates with 74% of domestic cats and 91% of domestic kittens being homed. These amazing figures are the result of the dedication of our staff and volunteers, and the support from our donors who make this work possible.

Cats and kittens at RSPCA ACT are given the very best chance of finding a new home, and we have you – our supporters – to thank.