How Jinky found love during lockdown

How do you find a pet their forever home when we’re all living with lockdown measures and social distancing?

The good news is it’s still possible. Cats Protection, for one, is safely rehoming cats using online matching, virtual video ‘meets’ and a series of welfare check-ups, followed by a contact-free pet handover.

Called Hands-Free Homing, it’s good news for cats like Jinky, an elderly but cute-as-a-button tabby, whose owner sadly died earlier this year and who has just been rehomed this way.

Jinky (pictured) arrived at the charity’s Glasgow Adoption Centre on Valentine’s Day. At the age of 13 and weighing in at 11kg, he was nearly twice the weight of an average cat.

Lynsey Anderson, Senior Cat Carer at the Adoption Centre, helped to look after Jinky. As she explains, ‘we put Jinky on a vet-approved diet to help him lose weight and encouraged him to take regular exercise.

‘Although we take the very best of care of every cat that comes into our centre, no adoption centre is a substitute for a real home and loving family.’

His chunkiness didn’t put off NHS worker Emma McCrae, who spotted him on the adoption centre’s website and knew he was the cat for her.

Emma explains: ‘I have always had rescue cats and wondered what organisations like Cats Protection were doing during COVID-19. I follow them on social media, so I saw the notification online about the first set of cats up for adoption.

‘My friends had already sent me a clip of Jinky, so when Cats Protection reached out, he was already on my radar. His video was adorable and his story was so sad that I couldn’t resist.’

Emma knows she has her work cut out trying to get Jinky’s weight down further to make sure he won’t be as susceptible to illnesses such as diabetes and arthritis.

‘I’ve always had big tom cats so portioning out food is nothing new for me, but it’s very hard not to give him treats, as he can be pretty vocal when he wants something.

‘I’m on a mission to help him drop the kilograms, as it’s not good for a cat his age.’

How to help a cat to lose weight

If you think your cat is a bit overweight like Jinky, here are some ways to get them back in shape:

  • Seek the advice of your vet on the best way to help them lose weight. Never starve overweight cats or put them on a crash diet, as this is not healthy
  • Placing a bit of a cat’s daily food ration in a treat ball is a good method as it encourages cats to play and work for their food
  • Avoid feeding your cat human treats like cheese or chocolate, as many cats cannot digest cow’s milk products, and chocolate contains a compound that is toxic to cats.

Jinky is just one of around 200,000 cats and kittens helped by Cats Protection each year across the charity’s UK network of around 230 volunteer-run branches and 37 centres.

Cats available for rehoming are neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, and a special aftercare package includes follow-up calls in the first few weeks to ensure that both the cat and the new owner are both happy.

You can find out more about Cats Protection here.

We work in partnership with the UK's animal charities and have seen first-hand the devastating impact Covid-19 is having on their income and the vital funds needed to support the animals in their care. For over 30 years we have been providing 4 weeks free insurance for rehomed pets and giving 10% of rescue pet premiums back to animal charities. In June, to help support animal charities through the Covid-19 crisis we paid over £700,000 in funds that our partners would have received from us in the next 6 months now, in one lump sum, to help them get through the pandemic.

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