Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Cat Wednesday

It’s been a bit of a catty week so far. On Monday I was booked to photograph three cats for a client, yesterday I photographed sixteen for our local re-homing centre and of course Cats Protection launched their General Election Cat Manifesto at the House of Commons this week too (more about that in a mo.)

Whilst the shelter work I do isn't ‘work work’ (as in pay my bills), it’s the voluntary side of what I do; it's still just as important to me. Spending time with the cats, learning their stories and feeling joy when they've found their forever homes; weeping for them when I hear of what some have been through, and being able to show them a little love for the short time I spend with them, is all unquestionably worth the time taken.

What I get back from these sessions is infinitely more than what I give. I live really close to our local centre, so I walk. Often on my way there I'm a bit angsty. I have a busy head, there is no off-switch with me – so my mind’s full of chores and deadlines and problems and projects I have to do – but when I'm with the cats, it all disappears – and that’s not me being squishy about it. 

I don’t get to spend a lot of time the cats; minutes each, if that - there’s often lots to photograph in a short space of time. But with each one, another issue, another worry falls away. I get to look into their eyes, scritch behind their ears, and talk to them whilst taking their pictures. It makes me feel utterly comfortable in my skin and my walk back home is always a content one. I thoroughly recommend going to help out at an animal shelter for the sake of your well-being! 

So, what’s this Cat Manifesto all about then?

Cats Protection have consulted with the public and compiled a list of ten important changes that can be made at government level to create better welfare  for cats. The Manifesto for Cats was launched during an afternoon reception at the House of Commons yesterday. It asks for:

1. Tighter regulations on the use of airguns. 
2. Updated laws on the breeding of cats.
3. Clearer labelling for poisons.
4. Animal Welfare to be added to the National Curriculum.
5. Introduction of compulsory micro-chipping of cats.
6. Changes to the Dangerous Dog acts to ensure that owners of dogs that attack cats are held responsible.
7. Encourage landlords and housing providers to introduce pet friendly tenancy agreements.
8. Acknowledge that cats (and other companion animals) benefit the health and well-being of people.
9. Stop illegal imports of kittens and cats
10. Complete ban on the use of snares

All of these points were unanimously supported by those who participated in the public consultation organised by Cats Protection. Whilst of course many would be deemed by most of us as no-brainers (like the ban on snares - why these barbaric contraptions are still allowed to be used in this day and age is an absolute mystery to me) it is so good to see that there are recommendations for introducing education about animal welfare to school children. This I feel is the key. If we can teach children about the importance of all animals, and how we treat them, we stand a better chance of future generations wanting to fight the horror that is animal cruelty the world over. 

Wouldn't that be wonderful.

You can read the full Cat Manifesto here


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