Volunteer Position Available

Are you experienced with keeping rabbits, guinea pigs or other small animals?

Hounslow Animal Welfare Society is looking for a ‘Small Animal Co-ordinator’. This voluntary (unpaid) role involves managing animals coming in to rescue, supporting foster homes and processing enquiries for rehoming. It would suit someone with some time off during the week, who has access to a car and who lives in South West or West London or Surrey.

Whilst HAWS is mainly a cat charity we rehome approximately forty small animals each year and the right person would be able to adapt this role according to what level of commitment they are able to offer.

If you are interested please click on button below:

Effective 26th February 2021

Our small team of volunteers is working overtime to tackle the adoption application backlog caused by an overwhelming number of people contacting us to adopt felines in recent months.

If you have already applied to us to adopt a cat or kitten then you will be contacted as soon as possible.

This temporary halt applies only to cats and kittens and not to rabbits and guinea pigs.

We thank you for your understanding 

Christmas appeal

Hounslow Animal Welfare Society is thrilled that Pets at Home chose our charity to benefit from their Santa Paws appeal again this year.

Every £1 you donate in Pets at Home Brentford and Richmond stories during the Santa Paws campaign from Monday 22nd November til Friday 24th December, will help feed animals in our care into the new year. Donations raised by these two store teams will be shared equally between us and the Pets at Home Foundation Grant programme.

Please support this appeal and help feed rescue pets this Christmas and into the new year.

What might your pets like for Christmas?

Mm! Chrismas Lickable cat treat turkey tubes? Yes we’d like some of those!!
Christmas gifts for cats


Or what about Small Animal Festive Stocking?
Christmas gifts for small animals


Reindeer outfits for dogs? Whatever next? The reindeers will be out of a job if this carries on!
Christmas gifts for dogs

Kitten Mayhem Morning

Today (29/10/21) saw three of our kittens taking centre stage on ITV’s This Morning show. TV vet Scott Miller borrowed them from us to do a live piece extolling the virtues of black cats who are often overlooked when put up for adoption. As you can imagine, absolute chaos ensued, but we got a very welcome plug for our charity.  To see the shenanigans, click on the following link

Watch on ‘This Morning’ now

Watch from 48m 45s. It’s only available for a few days.

It was hilarious watching presenter Dermot O’Leary on his hands and knees looking under the sofa for them, and how much fun they had on the sofa with their eyes on Alison Hamond’s boots!

Scott Miller tweeted: 

“Love your black pet like I do. Black pets make up the largest proportion of animals in rescue centres and today on @thismorning we celebrate them!”

Scott Miller

Other comments

One of our members happened to see it live and said:

Delighted to see HAWS featured on “This Morning”.  What a coup!  Scott is our vet now, and is currently treating three of our rescues, Twinkle (14), Sugie (Ruby) and Squidgy (Ginger). 

Angela (HAWS member)

2 new-born kittens found abandoned on a patio

One morning in October our rescue team were called to two new-born kittens found on the patio of one of the people who monitors a feral colony for us. They were cold, covered in birthing fluid, mud, feathers and no sign of the mother. We rushed over to see if we could find the mother, and other kittens and rescue them if we couldn’t find Mum. We found neither the mother nor other kittens and it was very strange as it looked as if the kittens had been in something’s mouth and one had a cut on its leg. They were hours old, if that and would not have been born on the patio. 

Meanwhile, Miss Skimbleshanks, one of our mother and kitten fosterers, had a mother cat who had tried to mother everything whilst boarding at the vet with her new borns, therefore we thought we would try to adopt the kittens onto Daisy. Once we had slowly warmed up the kittens and got as much muck off them as possible, Daisy was amazing – she immediately “stole” one of the babies and ran into the other room with her and curled up. We brought the other kitten to her and put both of them on her to feed. She allowed them to. However, Daisy’s kittens were 3 weeks old and these were new borns so we couldn’t mix the two litters together. Whilst Daisy would feed, clean and toilet the kittens if Miss Skimbleshanks put them with her, Daisy wouldn’t go to them regularly. 

Miss S. learnt the tribulations of hand-feeding every two hours, even through the night which is what it takes to get hand-rear kittens through the first couple of weeks before being able to increase the volume and the gap, going to 3 hours, 4 hours, etc. On Day 3 one of the two girls started to show signs of being unwell and Daisy wanted nothing to do with either.

Miss S. posted about the turn of events on our Facebook page, and that we needed a new hand-rearer since two of ours had stopped this year. One of Miss S.’s followers (who adopted from her a couple of months ago) tagged Tiny Tails in Hertfordshire to ask if she had any space. Tiny Tails have been hand-rearing kittens for 14 years which is amazing as we know how difficult it is. Tiny Tails had space for the 2 girls and then the wonderful adopter drove from work in Reading, to West London to pick up the kittens and then to Hertfordshire to deliver them to Tiny Tails – all out of the goodness of her heart.

2 more litters of 6 rejected and collected

That very same night, we had a pregnant feral cat (being fostered) at Richmond Vet give birth to 6 kittens, but the mother rejected them all, not even allowing one important colostrum feed. As she was feral she couldn’t be handled to try to put the kittens to her. Tiny Tails drove over that night to collect all 6. 

2 days after that another feral mother being looked after by one of our other vets gave birth to 6 kittens and these too were rejected, not allowing even one feed. A vet nurse hand-reared them for a few days until Tiny Tails met up with her and took in those 6 as well.

Hand rearing is tough – there’s a high mortality rate, regardless of how well you care for them. And when the kittens have not even had a first feed its even higher. You have to feed them every two hours, they usually come from tough conditions, with unhealthy mothers, you need to keep them warm for 3 weeks as they can’t regulate their body temperature for that time, normally relying on Mum to keep them warm or moving away to cool them down.  Mum “toilets” her babies, licking their anus and urethra to stimulate them to go… this is both because the kittens will not evacuate on their own until about 4 weeks and also Mums consume it to keep the den clean.

Any kitten that becomes ill goes down hard and fast, so every feed you’re watching for signs. And even the most expert hand rearer can have a tragedy on their hands with no apparent reason and in spite of their care. Tiny Tails is qualified to give anti-biotics, painkillers and anti-inflammatories, as well as fluid injections beneath the skin (all under veterinary guidance when needed), they worm them as soon as possible, and have an intensive care area where the kittens can be given oxygen therapy.

Tragically out of the 14 hand rears we rescued and gave a chance to, 13 of them died over the following 10 days. This was in spite of the most experienced, dedicated, determined, knowledgeable and skilful care of Tiny Tails who did absolutely everything right and all they could. We suspect that the two new borns from the patio succumbed to infections from whatever grabbed them before they were found. Regarding the two feral mother litters: we suspect both colonies have an infection of coccidia – a parasite that adult cats can deal with but kittens can’t, particularly when they have had not colostrum to give them some sort of immune system boost. 

Regardless of the reason, this experience nearly broke Tiny Tails. After successfully raising 36 kittens this year alone, losing 13 of the 14 in such a concentrated time was devastating. They have said since, they considered giving up. But one little chap pulled her through and she pulled him through – in spite of him having a seizure and nearly dying too. 

Eddie – the survivor!

Eddie is the cutest little ginger fighter – we often say that ginger boys are the most likely not to make it through hand-rearing. Tiny Tails has found it too but we think little Eddie heard this and decided to be the exception! He purrs loudly, opened his eyes quickly to take in the world and has the funniest little character. Tiny Tails will continue with their amazing work, there are more kittens to rescue and raise and this awful experience will not stop them.

If only people would get their animals neutered – first time mothers often reject their kittens and if we don’t get to the abandoned strays or feral colonies quickly enough we have exactly these situations. Last year it was hard to trap, neuter, release as vets were not spaying and once that started again, there were backlogs and reduced lists due to catching up on other procedures. PLEASE neuter your animals – even the boys. One boy can father hundreds of kittens in one season, and there are more kittens than homes for them already.

Miss S

We often get asked the difference between a feral and a stray.

Here is a handy guide.

A stray cat is one that has been raised with contact and socialisation but who has become homeless due to getting lost, running away or being abandoned far enough from their home they can’t get back. They are also referred to as “domesticated” or “socialised”.

A feral cat is one who did not receive any human contact in the first 8-10 weeks of their life. These kittens and cats are wild, very scared of people and highly unlikely ever to become tame. They are also referred to as “wild”.

If we do not get in a litter of kittens from a feral Mum before they are 8 weeks old, they are rarely even able to be homed. Between 8 and 12 weeks some kittens may show signs of being able to be socialised and we have some foster carers who specialise in socialising semi-feral kittens so they can be adopted into warm, loving, caring homes. And very rarely we will get a young cat in who is part of a feral litter with a feral Mum but for some reason adores people. But they are few and far between.

We have a Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programme for feral animals where we review the location of the colony and if it’s in a safe enough situation we will put the animals back after neutering to make sure they cannot breed more kittens. Every colony we monitor has someone who will keep their eye on the group to see when someone is ill or injured and in need of trapping and treatment, who will put down supplementary food and who will tell us when a new feral arrives or a stray arrives that needs rescuing or TNR.

Stray cats are usually very easy to identify when trapped in a feral colony or found on the street.  They can be friendly and purring from moment one, have a degree of trust with people or with a little bit of time in our vets will start to relax, make soft eyes and show they were raised with humans.  We will always rehome a stray, even from  a feral colony, as the feral life is tough and shorter than being in a loving human home.

Stray cats can “turn wild” by being scared, having been abused or just being so timid they may never trust a human again. But there are often signs they are not truly feral. If we trap one of these to neuter and release back into their colony, we work on the assumption we can bring them back around to trusting humans. A very, very small number of those we think are stray won’t ever trust again and we adopt them into a home where the cat will have a choice to live inside or outside.

Spate of new-born kittens rejected
by their mothers

We are not the only charity that has noticed an enormous increase in the number of new-born kittens that have been rejected or abandoned by their mothers.  We have been working with three large colonies of feral cats this year and two of these have caused us huge problems. A number of litters of less-than-a-week-old kittens were found on the sites, and their mothers were not giving them even the most basic of care.

Hand-rearing is one of the hardest jobs going. It can be exhausting, heart-breaking, exhilarating, and ultimately sooo rewarding when you see these little scraps of life grow and turn in to the most beautiful kittens.

I’ve had three litters to raise this year – my first litter of 6 was handed in at Mandeville Veterinary Hospital. We believe they were taken from a colony by someone who thought it would be an easy way of making money. By the time I picked them up there were only 3 left. They all had health problems and I became very well acquainted with the hospital at midnight at weekends. Thankfully however, they thrived and grew into beautiful kittens named Bugsy, Fat Sam and Tallulah. They have been adopted in to their lovely forever homes.

Sadly, my second litter had a dreadful start – there were 2 possible mum cats who were seen carrying the kittens about, but neither mothered them properly and they ended up being dumped under an upturned wheelbarrow.  Again, these kittens were extremely sickly and all 5 of them died one-by-one of cat flu and other related issues.

Gizmo
Gizmo

My third litter of 2 were found abandoned in a shed in Southall. Both had dreadful tummies, and again, a midnight trip to the vet was called for. Sadly 1 had passed by the time we got there, and the other was hospitalised. A few more ups and downs later, she still has a horrid tummy, but she is turning into the most beautiful kitty and I have named her Gizmo (remember Gremlins). I am sure she is going to be fought over when she is put up for adoption!

I was also called by a lovely lady who had found 2 black and white kittens of about a day old on her patio. I picked them up, and took them to foster carer, Miss Skimbleshanks in an effort to see if her wonderful foster mum Daisy would adopt them. 

Read more about these kittens from Miss Skimbleshanks here

Then there were two pregnant feral cats we had trapped and hospitalised to await their births – both had 6 kittens and both rejected them, so suddenly we had another 12 new-borns that needed hand-rearing which lead us to enlist the help of a wonderful rescue in Hertfordshire called Tiny Tails. Unfortunately most of them didn’t make it despite their best efforts which has been heart-breaking for everyone concerned, however we do still have one remaining kitten called Eddie who is a little smasher! He is battling on and every day is a bonus. The charity has made a donation in gratitude to Tiny Tails for their help.

Read more about the Tiny Tails kittens rescue here

So why so many kittens being rejected? We can only think that most of the mum cats have been little more than kittens themselves (about 5 to 7 months old) and so did not have the knowledge of what to do that maturity brings. The amount of stray/feral cats has increased greatly too, and this could have been due to the post-lockdown effect, where covid-cats have been abandoned by irresponsible owners.

But whatever the cause, we battle on – with our network of volunteers, and the wonderful Rose. We’ve done our very best for the cats and kittens, and will continue to do so, however, we do need more volunteers to undertake hand-rearing when necessary. If this is something you feel you could do, bearing in mind the 2-hourly feeds, toileting, washing etc, then please contact us now. Full training will be given.

Follow Tiny Tails Herts and/or Miss Skimbleshanks on Facebook

Carol Willingham

Thank you to Pets at Home

We have been very lucky to have continued as the ‘Charity of the Year’ for 2021 in both the Brentford and Richmond branches of Pets at Home. We were thrilled to receive just over £1,000 from the Pets at Home Foundation as a result of the summer ‘Pedal for Paws’ charity fundraising in these two stores.

Thank you Pets at Home and customers – We and all the animals really appreciate it!

Thank you for supporting Pedal for Paws

The results by branch were as shown below. The first number is half the sum raised by the store, which we received because we met all the social media posting requirements. The other half goes as usual into the Pets at Home foundation to be awarded via grant applications. The second figure of a £250 bonus per store was awarded because the staff consistently asked customers to scan their VIP card at the till.

  • Brentford team secured – £307.29 Pedal For Paws donation + £250.00 VIP cash bonus
  • Richmond team secured – £264.02 Pedal For Paws donation + £250.00 VIP cash bonus

Our Rabbit and Small Animal Co-ordinator commented that the bunnies are loving the swanky feeding hay he got them with the last voucher.

Pets at Home Foundation

This is great news and really made me smile.
So funny to think of them as those little balls of fur in the nest in February. 
Their mother has paired and is now a settled house rabbit.
Their father is still waiting for the right home.

Lu Covell – HAWS

HAWS was asked to take a male and a female rabbit in January 2021 Someone had seen them advertised for free and had taken them in to avoid them going to a bad home, but could not keep them. It is hard to work out if a rabbit is pregnant from feeling their tummies and we hoped the female, Carys was too young. Before we could get her to the vet she gave birth to two babies in her outdoor hutch. We could not move them as she was likely to abandon them if we did, and a move inside would stress her more so we wrapped the hutch up with duvets and gave her plenty of bedding and heat pads so she could transfer the heat to them. 

She did an amazing job and built a huge ball of a nest lined with her tummy fluff (which female rabbits use for nesting) and they did really well. They were big babies as the father, Jeffrey, was twice her size. They were moved after a few weeks to one of our fosterers, Jenni, who handled them often and they became calm, confident bunnies and have now rehomed. Carys went to a home with a much more suitably sized male bunny after she was neutered and is now settled as a house bunny and Jeffrey is still looking for a home with a large, neutered female.  

Update on these two

I just wanted to send a you an email to let you know how Rum and Raisin (now Elsa and Peter) are doing.

Elsa has been spayed and is fully recovered, she did great and the vets said how lovely natured and confident they both were (thanks to Jenni!). Peter went with Elsa for her operation and was apparently a very protective brother thumping at every person that went past them in their cage. Elsa took her medication and syringe feed without fuss and on most occasions tried to steal the syringe off me for more!

They are both such lovely bunnies with a little bit of sass mixed in. Peter has a fondness for water and seems to find every puddle / wet patch he can drenching himself and refusing to get out.

Thank you so much for letting us adopt them, they bring us so much happiness and make us laugh every day with their zoomies, binkys and cheekiness  

Sarah Jane

Cats supposedly have nine lives but Cookie has recently used up a few.

Cookie is in a foster home on a quiet road but he’d taken a walk and been hit by a car on an adjacent road. He was found by a member of the public who contacted a local vet and two members of the practice rushed round and collected him.

He was in a very sorry state, covered in blood from his mouth and very weak on his back legs. After emergency treatment to stabilise him, Cookie was diagnosed with a broken jaw and fractured rear leg. As the practice wasn’t open on a Sunday the decision was taken to transfer him to Mandeville Veterinary Hospital where they have 24 hour care. They kept him pain free and closely monitored until he could have surgery.  

It was a huge relief when we were told “he’s just used the litter tray and done a big wee”. When cats are hit at the rear there is always a concern there is damage to the spine and bladder that could make them incontinent. 

We understand this is not his first accident as X rays showed he had a previous injury that wasn’t set and had calcified. This was going to make the operation to mend the break more complicated. Initially there was discussion about the option of amputation but being a young cat we wanted to avoid that if possible.

Cookie
Cookie

Fortunately the operation was a success. Cookie is recuperating on 6 weeks cage rest and no doubt, he’s finding it very frustrating. He won’t understand how lucky he’s been, how many people have been involved in “mending” him or how much he’s cost us.

With thanks to the caring member of the public, The Vet at Old Isleworth and Mandeville Veterinary Hospital. I’m sure you can imagine what we think of the driver who hit him and didn’t bother to stop.

Support Pets at Home's Pedal for Paws Summer Fundraiser from Monday 5th July – Sunday 1st August. Donate online at petsathomefoundation.co.uk