Many of us like to get our affairs in order to make things easier for loved ones when we are no longer here – but have you thought about what will happen to your cat and who will care for it after you’re gone?
The Lincolnshire Trust For Cats is being increasingly asked to take in cats where the owner has died and made no provision for the animal’s future.
With this in mind, the charity has created a retirement home as an alternative to having an elderly cat put to sleep.
Started ten years ago by the trust’s administrator Jain Hills and based at Osgodby, near Market Rasen, the retirement home is set in seven acres of grounds, along with a rescue centre for 200 stray cats and kittens.
“The retirement section has four centrally heated sitting rooms, enclosed outdoor areas and is south-facing,” explains Jain.
“Last year we successfully raised £15,000 for the addition of a large Edwardian rose wood conservatory, which the cats absolutely love.
“New owners are often concerned about how their cat will react to living with other cats but new residents are given their own room to allow them time to settle and become accustomed to their surroundings.
“Visitors often comment on how amazing it is that all the cats live happily together.
“But this is because it’s neutral territory and there are so many comfortable sofas, cosy beds and outdoor sunbathing areas,” she adds.
Top quality dried food is fed ad lib to make sure it is available for all the residents and special diets and extra food is also given, as is medication for conditions such as diabetes and kidney problems.
The trust also has a vet working on site and a team of experienced staff on hand to look after the animals, which number in the region of 100.
The fee for the retirement home is currently £850 – a one-off payment on admission, after which the trust takes over any on going costs and medical fees.
“Anyone interested in the retirement scheme is encouraged to make a visit and look around the premises and meet the staff who care for the cats,” says Jain.
“Some of the resident cats have owners who may have emigrated, while others have owners who are in retirement homes themselves.
“We encourage people to visit their cats where possible or for their relatives to do so and owners and relatives are sent regular photos and updates on their cats too.”
Occasionally the trust has successfully fundraised through its website for individual cats – including two recent cases Marmaduke and Scooby – who were older strays and who had no-one to pay their retirement fee.
Jain said it was thanks to the generosity of donors they are now able to retire in comfort.
The trust is currently seeking donations for a tabby cat called Bobtail, who arrived in a trap with seven kittens – this was her sixth litter.
Jain says Bobtail feels that with her stumpy tail and menopausal middle the retirement scheme is her last and only chance to have a life of luxury – and anyone who would like to support her can do so via the trust’s website.
As well as fundraising online the trust is also supported by a large database of members who receive its quarterly newsletters and by its charity shop in Market Rasen.
The trust also holds a popular annual open day which attracts more than 1,000 visitors. It will be on Saturday, September 3 this year, from 11am until 4pm when the extensive catteries will be open to the public.
• To find out more about the trust and its work, and to support Bobtail, visit www.lincolnshiretrustforcats.co.uk
HOW YOU CAN HELP
As a charitable organisation, the Trust relies solely on donations for its income.
It costs on average around £250,000 per year to run the Trust and without the help of donations it would be unable to care for the number of cats that it does.
There are various ways of helping.
You can become a Friend of the Trust by making a monthly donation by standing order or an annual donation of your choice.
Details are on the website : www.lincolnshiretrustforcats.co.uk/donations
Or you can make a donation by cheque or postal order and send it to: Lincolnshire Trust for Cats, The Hedgerows , Mill Lane , Osgodby , Market Rasen LN8 3TB.
They are always pleased to see visitors but, due to the work load involved with caring for over 400 cats, would greatly appreciate if visitors could telephone and make an appointment first.
• You can telephone the trust on 01673 844628 to make an appointment.