Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you will find lots of frequently asked questions and our responses to them.
I am worried about an animal who I believe may be mistreated or neglected. What should I do?
Any Concerns with an animal should always be reported to the National Society 24 HR Cruelty helpline on 0300 1234 999. All calls are dealt with as a matter of priority, none will be ignored and you can do this in confidence. It may be that the person who owns the animal may just need education & support, but you may be reporting something far worse so please call or visit: www.rspca.org.uk/login please select ‘Animal in Distress’ as the topic. Please note local branches cannot deal with these matters.
My cats gone missing who should I call?
Cats love to roam and explore new ground, it is common for a cat to follow a person into a garage or shed and then the door is closed behind them. Flyers are a good way of asking neighbours in nearby streets to check their properties. Always report your missing cat to your local RSPCA Branch. We can advise you what to do next. Contact local and emergency vets as soon as you realise your cat is missing. Lost/found pets can be registered with the National RPSCA at www.petslocated.com
My dog is missing has he/she been brought to you?
It is not the responsibility of the RSPCA to accommodate stray dogs. It is the responsibility of the local authority dog wardens who are contracted to deal with a stray dog. Your dog would be classed as a stray if found out on the street. The numbers are Leeds: 0113 222 4406 and Wakefield: 08458 506 506. Please note the dog warden service does not work evenings/weekends or bank holidays and it is worth contacting your local stray kennels to see if your dog has been taken there. All dogs found should be reported by law to the dog wardens.
I have a stray cat which I cannot keep can I bring it to you?
I have found a cat which doesn’t look well what should I do?
Any animal which is sick or injured should be reported to The National Cruelty 24hr helpline 0300 1234 999. If assistance is available they may send out a local Animal Collection Officer who will take the animal for emergency medical attention at a local vets. Alternatively if there is no Animal Collection Officer available they may ask you to take to your local vets. You will need to contact the 24 hour helpline to request a log number before going to the vets. Vets have a duty of care to take the cat from you. You should not incur any costs. Once you do this the cat then becomes the responsibility of the RSPCA or other organisation.
I can’t keep my dog/cat anymore will you take it and find a new home?
I have a hedgehog in my garden should it be hibernating by now?
Exactly when hedgehogs hibernate depends on the night time temperature and their age. So if nights are mild or they are very young, they may not hibernate until quite late in the year. They may also wake up mid winter if there is a spell of milder weather. The most important thing is that they have sufficient fat reserves to survive hibernation. It is recommended that any hedgehogs seen between October and March are picked up and weighed. If they are less than 600g they may need to be cared for by a hedgehog rescue organisation over the winter. Although it may seem relatively simple to care for them yourself, this is not recommended as there may be underlying reasons why the hedgehog is underweight, such as a parasite infestation, which needs medical treatment. You can find information about hedgehog rescues in your area via the British Hedgehog Preservation Society or www.helpwildlife.co.uk. You can help hedgehogs visiting your garden by leaving out small amounts of cat or dog food and fresh water (never cow’s milk).
My dog/cat/rabbit needs neutering & microchipping but I can’t afford it, can you help?
My cat/dog is constantly scratching what could it be?
Pets should regularly be treated to prevent fleas, not doing this could lead to health problems such as fur loss, sore skin and even mange, most common in dogs. This can be costly to yourself and far easier if treated regularly. Good products should be used and can be purchased at your vets or pet supermarkets or even at pharmacies. Your home will also need to be treated and you may also be bitten. Prevention is cheaper than the cure.
Why should I microchip my pet?
Is it just dogs and cats that can be micro-chipped?
No not at all, dogs and cats are the most common but nearly any pet could be microchipped, birds, rabbits, horses etc. Ask your vet for advice.
My dog keeps dragging its rear along the floor why would this be?
All dogs and cats get worms at some point. Puppies and Kittens are born with round worm and so should be treated regularly from an early age as this can be serious, causing vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs and Cats can also get tape worms through flea eggs. Regular treatment will keep your pet healthy.
I have found an injured wild animal what can I do?
A local wildlife rescue organisation should be able to offer advice and assistance. You should be able to find one near you by searching google, or there is a directory at www.helpwildlife.co.uk. You can also call the National Cruelty 24 HR helpline on 0300 1234 999 who may be able to send out an Officer to assist if the animal is large.
I have a racing pigeon which is not injured but has been hanging around for days why would that be?
If you can catch the pigeon, place it in a box and contact your nearest wildlife rescue organisation. We would like to correct the information previously published here – pigeons are not classed as vermin and it is not illegal to release them back into the wild. Most wildlife rescues are happy to care for them the same as any wildlife casualty.
There is a dead cat at the road side who should I tell?
If the cat is in a public place then you need to call your Local Council under the highways department 0113 2224406 and choose the appropriate option. They will remove the body as soon as possible. Should a body be on private property then it would be up to the person who lives/owns the property to dispose of the body. The humane option would be to take to a veterinary practice for disposal. A cost to yourself should not be incurred but please check with the individual vet practice. If no other alternative is available you may need to treble wrap the body in bin liners and place in your outside waste bin for collection.
I have found a wild pigeon with a damaged wing and cant fly what do I do with it?
Should I carry on feeding the wildlife in my garden through winter?
This is the most important time to feed any wildlife. Although a lot of birds migrate there are still a lot which stay in Britain. A good source of food, like any scraps such as stale cake, bread, bacon rind, cheese and always fresh water will make a big difference. It is also worth remembering our Pond life too. A good way to keep oxygen in your pond is to place a ball on top of it and when it freezes over remove the ball leaving an air hole for them to breath, breaking ice can cause harm and even kill fish through the stress of vibration.
I have a rabbit and want to get another to go with it. What sex is best to get?
Rabbits can be kept in pairs, usually best with two of the opposite sex. It is important that both should be neutered as otherwise you will have baby bunnies every couple of months It is not good to have one neutered as the other will get frustrated. It has been known for two of the same sex to get on with each other if they were put together young or as siblings but there is no guarantee. However both sexes can start to fight as they mature. Always introduce gradually on neutral ground and keep a close eye on them until you are happy they get on.
I have a rabbit and want to get a guinea pig to go with it. Which sex is best?
It is not wise to keep rabbits and guinea pigs together as there is a risk of the rabbit kicking out their back legs, and harming the guinea pig which can prove fatal. Guinea pigs are very social pets and are best kept in colonies of females who get on very well. Males can fight between each other, although it is not unheard of for two males to live in harmony if together from an early age.
My cat has started toileting in the house and has never done this before. Why would they start now?
Cats can become unhappy and stressed just as we can. There could be a number of reasons for this; A new pet in the house, a house move, building work disruptions, after an operation. or many other reasons. Should you have any worries, always take your cat to the vets to rule out any illness.
My vet cannot find anything wrong with my cat but she is still soiling the house. What do you suggest?
There is a diffuser which you can purchase from your vet. This is used like a plug-in air freshener but it is not something we can smell. It acts by giving off pheromones which provide a calming effect on your cat. The pheromones are something that your cat will associate from being a kitten with Mum and litter mates. It may not cure the situation but is certainly worth giving a try. Also try changing the litter, getting a shallower litter tray and moving it to a quieter location