It’s not often that we get really lucky in life! But in 2005 one of those lucky events occurred for the OCA. We received a sizeable bequest from the estate of a well-wisher and animal lover called Roy Parkinson. Roy was not known to the OCA, but one of his nieces, Lindsey Parkinson, knew of us, having bought kittens from two of our members. When Roy died and left a very large sum of money to be given to several deserving animal welfare groups, Lindsey contacted the OCA Welfare Officer Caroleen Falconer and offered us £5000 for cat rescue.
The Committee of the OCA deliberated long and hard as to what best use we could put the donation. The Club has always worked hard to attract funds for rescue work by dint of fundraising tables at major cat shows.
That fund was in good health, having sufficient provision for the re-homing and veterinary treatment of Oriental Cats in need. But what we did not have was a dedicated “safe house” where homeless and unwanted cats, and those in need of being immediately removed from danger and neglect, could be housed whilst treatment could be managed and new owners found.
Roy’s bequest made that possible. In fact it financed two such houses and pens. The Club is lucky enough to have as a now Life Member Lisa Underhill-Price, who keeps a wonderful small and spotless cattery near Eastbourne. Unlike many commercial catteries staffed by part-timers, Lisa is present and “hands-on” every day and makes a special effort to handle and get to know all her guests, whether pedigrees or moggies.
So the Committee decided to ask Lisa if two houses could be erected in her cattery in such a way that the installation was not a permanent fixture and could be re-sited if and when it was no longer convenient or appropriate for them to be with Lisa. Lisa jumped at the idea and helped us draft a protocol for the use of these houses, so that the Club is protected and so is Lisa.
The houses were purchased early this year and ready for “business” in early Spring. They were put to almost immediate use when the Club was approached, asking us if we could take in eight cats from one household. The larger of the houses is big enough to take all eight, provided of course that the cats come from the same household and all get on together.
And so all eight cats went into one house whilst the other, being slightly smaller, had two cats from another home.
Caroleen and Lisa report how much of a benefit it is to have the houses. It enables Lisa to fully get to know her charges, so as to assess their personalities and therefore what kind of home and new owners are needed. It also gives her the ability to fully assess their state of health and time to treat them appropriately, discover dietary needs and so on.
The Committee decided to inaugurate the houses properly and organised a barbecue to which all the OCA members were invited. May 7th dawned bright and sunny and we had a very good turnout of members.
Lisa’s sons did a sterling job of manning the barbecue and her husband Trevor was on hand to put up two brass plates in memory of Roy Parkinson.
The OCA has been lucky, not just to have received the bequest, but to have a dedicated and caring group of people who spend hours on the telephone talking to people who need our help, trying to contact the breeders of rescued cats and of course “vetting” potential owners once the rescues are well enough to move on.
Lisa spends hours of non-paid work looking after the rescues, visiting her Vet and is aided by Val Walter who also spends hours sitting with the cats in order to re-humanise those who have been denied human companionship and/or are traumatised by events. We thank them all!