Animal welfare charity urges knitters to create leg-warmers for kittens
The RSPCA is calling on knitters to put their skills to use this Wool Week by whipping up leg warmers for sick kittens, snuggly nests for baby hedgehogs and jumpers for chilly dogs.
The animal welfare charity - the UK’s oldest and largest - rescues around 120,000 animals every year. Many of those are injured, ill or have suffered unimaginable cruelty at the hands of people. While many of these animals have only known suffering in their lives, as soon as they arrive at the RSPCA’s hospitals, centres and wildlife centres, all they experience is TLC.
And now the charity is appealing to other animal-lovers to help us best look after these needy animals and help them on the road to recovery - and eventual rehoming or release.
John Wilkins, head of volunteering at the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA uses lots of different practices and techniques to help animals recover from injuries and illness. Some are based on science and veterinary practices but sometimes they just need a bit of love, comfort and warmth. And that’s where we’re hoping you might come in!
“Many of our centres and clinics use special knitted creations to help orphaned wildlife or poorly pets, and we could always use more! So, if you fancy helping out this winter perhaps you could break out the knitting needles and make some of our furry and feathered friends something special?”
Every year, the RSPCA is inundated with nestlings and fledglings from robins to blackbirds to owlets. The charity’s four wildlife centres (East Winch in Norfolk, Mallydams in East Sussex, West Hatch in Somerset, and Stapeley Grange in Shropshire) and some of the other centres and branches do their best to nurse as many as possible back to health so they can be released back into the wild. And groups of knitters play an integral part in creating lots of little knitted nests (pictured above) for the baby birds to stay warm and cosy while they grow in size and strength. But it’s not just baby birds who benefit from these cosy little beds, they can also be used for other orphans including hoglets (pictured).
It’s a sad reality that many of the animals arriving at RSPCA centres the length and breadth of the country have been neglected or abused. Some have suffered beatings from their owners while other simply haven’t been fed. When extremely emaciated animals - particularly dogs - come into the charity’s care, staff and volunteers not only need to feed them up but also keep them warm. So they use specially created jumpers to help the dogs maintain their body heat while still being able to move freely around. Saluki-cross William (pictured) was just five-months-old when he arrived at the RSPCA’s Coventry branch weighing just 3.2kg - a third of what he should have weighed. They quickly wrapped him in a warm jumper and set about getting him back to health.
Kittens in mittens
As well as helping nurse poorly animals back to health, knitted creations can also be very practical for veterinary staff at the RSPCA’s four animal hospitals in London, Birmingham and Greater Manchester, as well as the dozens of clinics and centres with in-house vets. Bristol Dogs & Cats Home has found an extremely helpful use for knitted socks - vets use them, along with knitted blankets, to regulate the temperatures of animals while they’re under general anaesthetic. This kitten in mittens was undergoing a spay and the special socks made show she stayed warm and stable during the op.
If you’d like to help animals at your local RSPCA hospital, rehoming centre or clinic, visit our website to find your local branch, or check out all our volunteering opportunities online.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give.