The tale I have to tell has a happy ending, but no thanks to an organisation I hitherto had a great regard for.
On Boxing Day my friend finally found her lost cat (who had been missing since early on Christmas Eve) up a tree. Not knowing what to do, she rang the fire brigade who said sadly they no longer responded to cats up trees. They suggested she rang the RSPCA for help and advice.
Having managed finally to get through to someone on their switchboard at around 11am, my friend was told that they would get back to her within an hour.
Having waited for over an hour for the elusive phone call, my friend, now at her wits end and very distressed over her young cat’s situation, put up an appeal for help and suggestions on Facebook. We all racked our brains as to what options she had, several suggested she try the wildlife trust or a tree surgeon.
I felt helpless as I was way down the country visiting my sister but suggested that she could try someone who had a cherry picker, but the location of the tree and said cat was in the middle of a wood which immediately ruled that suggestion out, even if someone were willing to come out to the Longhoughton area to deal with the problem on a bank holiday.
Fortunately, before dark, close friends and family were able to rescue the cat themselves by one of them going up the tree and cutting off the branch that the cat had finally settled on high up in the tree canopy.
Said cat then came down to earth with a bump, but by some miracle suffered no ill effects and happily tucked into several meals before relaxing by a cosy fire to sleep off his adventures.
The RSPCA, however, were a different story and only finally rang my friend at 5pm to tell her they wouldn’t be responding.
I have to say when I heard that I was, to say the least, flabbergasted by their total lack of sympathy, help or even advice as to what she could do in the meantime.
Bearing in mind that the cat had already been missing for some days and the weather forecast was not good for that night, it was perhaps just as well that she was able to tell them that, even though they had showed a total lack of sympathy or helpful advice, she had managed to rescue the cat.
The RSPCA claim they are the leading UK animal welfare charity who specialise in rescue, animal welfare and preventing animal cruelty – at least, according to their website.
Take note reader, they claim to help ‘rescue’. Now wouldn’t you think that would mean all animals, including domestic pets?
To leave a person waiting on a phone call for six hours, to then be told they would not help, personally, I think that is a disgrace.
It’s just as well that friends and family were able to rally round and deal with the problem themselves, However, it could have been a very different story and the RSPCA’s response was, in a word, wrong.
They were, after all, willing to leave an animal up a tree in bad weather, when that animal had already been up there for some days by all accounts.
How can they claim to be leaders in animal welfare if that is their response when a member of the public rings them for help and advice? Even if they weren’t able to actively respond to her request, surely they could have advised her on what options she had to deal with the situation?
I do realise that the RSPCA must receive countless requests for help involving cats stuck up trees, but to leave a member of the public with no response for six hours and then to tell that person simply they wouldn’t help or even give advice is frankly shocking.
Fortunately the event had a happy ending, it could however, have had a very different end, no thanks to the RSPCA.