I used to be a cage sponsor at the Stockholm Cats’ Home. You pay a monthly or annual fee for a cage and that covers costs for any cat that is in that cage. I sponsored a cage in Paddy and Tusse’s memory and you could put photos or a small sign up on your cage, and visit the kitties that you were helping.
Over the past few years though, I have chosen to sponsor fostered and shelter cats in South Africa instead.
Animals suffer in all countries, but often in developing or very poor countries, animals are viewed very differently and have much harder lives. Your donkey is your cat, your dog is your burglar alarm, your cat is your rat-catcher, and they are in many cases not seen to have the same needs as other living things. This is not true for everyone of course, and education and help go a huge way in making lives better for all animals in these countries. Someone living from hand to mouth in an informal settlement that has no sanitation or power would find it difficult to believe that quite a number of people in Sweden send their dogs to dog daycare every day, to the dog beauty salon once a month, and sometimes even dress them in designer clothes.
When you are in some countries, there is no way of avoiding the fact that there are starving -and often sick – strays roaming everywhere and animals are often dumped and abused – to a much greater extent than in Sweden. There is also a great deal of politics and bureaucracy going on in huge organisations such as Animal Welfare and the SPCA, which is not always beneficial to the animals they have the mandate to help.
For that reason, my cat shelter of choice is Raise’n Rescue in Cape Town, South Africa. All the cats that pass through this shelter are called Raisens, and you can sponsor individual cats monthly or with a one-off fee. I tend to sponsor two cats a month – usually tuxedos or cats who don’t yet have a sponsor. The cost is €20 per cat if you sponsor individual cats. Raise ‘n Rescue update their Facebook page regularly with updates so you can see how your Raisens are doing in their new homes.
Here are my latest Raisens – Tre (who has now been adopted with his foster-brother) is the little grey one with three dots on his nose, and Michael Schumacher is the little tuxedo boy on the right. The litters tend to have ‘themes’ and the tuxedo boys were the F1 litter and all named after F1 drivers. They were dumped on the side of a busy road.
And here is my little Michael Schumacher
…and my FAVOURITE Raisen story recently is that of Scotty. A friend of mine was going on holiday in the Karoo desert in South Africa. 250kms into the desert, a tiny little kitten appeared. Starving and stunted in growth but oh so friendly and loving. They promptly drove all the way back and took him to Raise ‘n Rescue. He was sponsored and has now been adopted. What a wonderful life he is going to have!
I also financially support the HuskyRomi Rescue and Wolf Sanctuary whenever I can, and I donate to a Greek dog shelter that the owners of Blygedacht Boerboele support to every time they go there.
Sometimes seeing all the suffering you feel helpless and it feels hopeless. But I have learned that even though you cannot save them all, you can save as many as you can.
It is pretty easy to donate via PayPal, bank transfer or via Facebook. I always help charities I trust using bank methods that I trust. I tend to choose small charity organisations that are not bloated with bureaucracy, particularly in countries where foreign donations often end up in a sticky web of local middlemen.