Silver British Shorthairs
Our 100 plus weekly volunteers are mature students with an interest in animals. Many are studying Animal Management at Lackham or Cirencester College with the view to become veterinarians or veterinary nurses. We also have students who want to become zoologists and a couple of students who want to perform post-mortems with a future aim of eradicating certain viruses/diseases.
We have students who are completing their Duke of Edinburgh Awards where they are required to complete Bronze (Three months), Silver (Six months) or Gold status (One year). These students have a real passion for animals.
We also have volunteers who simply love animals and dedicate their time for the love of the British Shorthairs… let’s face it, what’s not to love about this incredible breed.
"Joining Silver British Shorthairs team of volunteers has been a wonderful experience, I have always been a cat lover and was looking for something to dedicate my time and cuddles to, I am a recent member to the team and loving every minute. The cats are just delightful, loving and full of purrs and so beautiful, each one has different markings all of them are stunning. All the team are dedicated to looking after and caring for the cats in any way they can, we have hours of fun, cuddles and chats - they answer back in their own unique way of purrs and nose rubs. I love seeing the different nature of each cat. Sangria is a loving mum to her new kitten (we have named him Dumbo) who is a ball of fluff and now full of cuddles and milk. Oscar is the male of the gang, he has his own Royal Palace beautifully designed and built by the owner. The girls all have their own homes kitted out to a very high standard. I look forward to my time with the cats it's lovely to get to see them so happy in their environment." - Elaine Snowden
What do our volunteers do? Above Courtney (Left) and Tegen (Right) are learning how the cattery itself was built. We decided to make the Queens private space bigger with more areas to jump, scratch and play and our volunteers jumped at the chance to help us and learn.
“I have been volunteering for the cattery for just over 2 years. I enjoy working with lovely animals and with a lovely bunch of people. I have learnt so much and the owners are lovely, friendly people and are always there to help if needed. Courtney trained me when I first started and has taught me well. I hope to carry on working at the cattery, meeting new cats (which are so adorable) and learning more new things.” Molly Starmer-Evens
Katie above has a real passion for cats and kittens and has been with us many years. She is calm and gentle and the kittens enjoy cuddles with her every week.
Above Amber (left) and Chloe (Right) were enjoying spending time with Dumbo the first kitten born in 2019's kitten season. Here they were learning about the birth, how the mother is protective over her kittens, how she carries them safely, how a kitten successfully latches onto the mothers nipple to suckle, and of course having cuddles while mum had some food and water and a rest!
"The cattery has helped me communicate with others and has helped me to push myself further. The cats are extremely friendly and are really calm around all types of people. Inside the cattery is warm and clean. No one is judged in the cattery and everyone is welcome." - Chloe Pullen
While newborn kittens are beautiful, the adults are just as important. Our volunteers spend lots of time making sure their private spaces are clean, the litter trays are changed six times per day, food and water is topped up and fresh, bedding is washed every other day or more if needed. The volunteers learn how to care for our cats and meet all their needs, they learn how to groom them, handle them, give medication i.e. worming tablets, scatter feed, keep their living conditions is immaculate condition, and how to provide each cat with sensory toys to stimulate them. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Above is Luke who attends the cattery with his older sister.
"Having started my Silver Duke of Edinburgh award, I feel the cattery has given me a new experience in animal care and welfare which to start with was completely out of my comfort zone, but upon attending the cattery soon I realised that cats are really lovely, playful animals that you quickly develop strong bonds with. The cattery has helped me develop a love for cats and has given me new perspectives on animals. It has given me experience in a working environment, leadership, being a problem solver, helping others know the works and overall giving the kittens what they need to assist them into their future lives." - Tyler Bourne
Courtney (above) is my cattery assistant. She is also a student studying Animal Management at university. Courtney has been with us for over two years and runs the cattery to a very high standard.
"I decided to volunteer at the Cattery as thought after not being in work for a while and caring for a daughter with special needs, it was something that could fit into my lifestyle more easily. It also is something I knew I would enjoy as love animals, and adore cats. The Cattery has helped me with gaining confidence in handling animals, training volunteers and meeting new people. It has given me a sense of achievement by caring, nurturing, exercising, entertaining cats & kittens, along with working as part of a team and helping out when needed. Working at the cattery has made me feel happier and more content. The cattery has a relaxing and friendly atmosphere where it is warm and welcoming with familiar sparkly cat’s eyes staring at you to greet you as you open the door. There is also an Amazon Alexa system installed that you can use to play music which cats and humans alike can enjoy. The cats are adorable, beautiful with striking markings; they have friendly temperaments, patient and gentle. They all have their own personalities and enjoy being pampered. The kittens are a joy and mischievous extremely cute and loving balls of fluff". – Jenny Ucar
Above we have the wonderful Honey & Mia (left), enjoying some cuddle time with Bacardi our 8 month old male. To the right we have a volunteer who is home schooled and attends the cattery with her fantastic family and together they learn, but there is always time for a cuddle with Glayva!
Our volunteers learn a huge amount about adult cats and kittens of all ages, they learn maturity, responsibility and here are a few examples of tasks they carry out:
- Bottle feeding kittens and making up kitten formula
- Weaning kittens onto solid food
- Handling kittens and adult cats correctly
- Kitten play and adult play
- Scatter feeding
- Keeping litter trays clean
- Providing fresh, clean drinking water
- Normal reactions to vaccinations
- Abnormal reactions to vaccinations
- Cats and kittens coat conditions
- Any unusual behaviours
- Creating a safe and clean environment
- Pet safe cleaning products and paints
- Sensory toys
- Fun toys for kittens
- Helping a kitten use the litter tray where needed
- Giving medications such as eye drops, flea preventative treatments and worming treatments and the importance of these
"I volunteer with my two children and the experience is very fulfilling for us as a family. The children are home educated, and my daughter especially wants to work with animals when she is older, so this is a perfect first step into what it's required while working with animals. The opportunity to let them have the responsibility to look after animals is fantastic for their development as young people; they have learnt caring for animals, cleanliness skills, time management, emotional control and it helps us as a family bond over achieving a goal for the care of someone/something else. We all love seeing all the cats every week, and seeing their different personalities and the love they have to give back when they are being cared for. It's a beautifully run cattery with a complete family feel, while upholding high professional standards." - Emma Day