The recession bites and scratches …

I think Chaplin is beginning to pity his old enemy. The fat ginger Tom that wanders through his garden like it owns the place is now allowed to do so. It used to reduce Chaplin to wailing like a teenager told they can’t go to a gig but now it’s given the run of the fence and allowed to sit in comfort, staring out into the park.

I wonder if they’ve read the news and are developing some sort of brotherhood in the face of the growing threat to pets across the country. The UK pet population in 2011, according to the RSPCA,  is an estimated eight million cats and the same number of dogs: and quite a few of them are having a tough time.

One learns to live in luxury

In recent weeks the RSPCA has witnessed a surge in the numbers of abandoned animals: cats, dogs, horses and donkeys.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home says the number of people handing pets over for financial reasons has doubled in the past year.

Animal welfare charity Blue Cross said it dealt with 1,530 stray and abandoned animals this year, compared with 1,027 in 2010 – a rise of nearly 50%.

Pets are abandoned across London. Sheffield saw an unprecedented number of abandoned dogs. Bradford has seen the number of horses being abandoned reach crisis levels.

The same is happening across the US where animals shelters are full to capacity as people struggle to pay for food and vet’s fees or lose their homes and can’t take the animal with them when, for example, sleeping on a friend’s floor.

Don’t tell Edwina Currie but I would go without food rather than take Chaplin to a cat sanctuary. No doubt she would see a companion in the form of a pet as an indulgence similar to Lottery tickets and a widescreen television.

You see, this week I spent:

  • 38p on catnip choc drops
  • £1.84 on Webbox delight sticks
  • £12.96 on 48 Whiskas Market Produce cat food pouches

Minus £2.96 for a BOGOF deal, I spent £12.22 on the cat. This food will last easily a fortnight but it’s still a substantial amount. I have, though found the cheaper stuff lasts longer because he’s not as keen on eating it. I’ve also informed Chaplin that we’re a poor family now and gone are the days of veal steaks.

Regular readers will know that Chaplin has been a genuine source of comfort and company as unemployment has isolated me from my friends, leaving me without a social life. Another heartbeat in the room, listening to him snore, being nagged at for food/cuddles/attention can take one’s mind of the misery and monotony of unemployment.

I’m not alone in this, if we’re to believe the Daily Mail, because Madness front man Suggs says of his cat’s death in a tragic accident, “It triggered a deluge of emotion. My two daughters had recently left home, I was 50 and now the cat was dead. My first thought was that God hated me.”

Pets shouldn’t be considered either a luxury or something to be abandoned when times are tough. Consider research being undertaken at the University of Manchester into just how important dogs are to humans.

Head of Companion Animals at the RSPCA, James Yeates, says the relationship between humans and pets is a special one: “Humans also get significant benefits from pets, especially when those pets are happy and healthy.”.

Sad news for pets in a recession, I know, but this video should cheer you and provide a genuine insight into my day-to-day life:

One thought on “The recession bites and scratches …

  1. I had a female cat of the same colouring as Chaplin – I still miss her, Elsie, she was a great blessing.

    Anyway… the food situtation with Elsie…. I found from experience that the cheapest food for Elsie was actually Hills Science Diet, which I used to buy in either 5Kg bags… I think it was the mid-size bag … so even though one bag seems like a lot of money… I used to save myself a fortune compared to the cost of ordinary tin cat food from the supermarket, and the dietary composition for the cat was complete… Don’t buy it from the supermarkets, buy it from the vets’ or the dedicated pet shops. Of all these, Elsie never tired of Hills Science Diet.

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