We’ve been making the news again thanks to Abby, our first self-referral cat! We featured on local ITV news programme Calendar who were keen to tell the remarkable story of Abby and her kittens!

“Cats are brought to us for many reasons,” explained Becki Hollingsworth, the shelter’s Cat Welfare
Manager, “it could be due to owner’s relocating, health or cash problems, or on occasion we have to
help cats who have been abandoned or who are stray or feral. This is the first time in our long
history, however, that we have a cat refer itself to us!”

One rainy April morning, the team working at the shelter heard a meowing coming from outside
their front door. When opening it they were surprised to see Abby standing there – their very first
self-referral cat! It was clear that Abby needed help; she was bedraggled and tired, and obviously
heavily pregnant. Thankfully, she had come to the right place.
The Sheffield Cats Shelter’s Charity Manager, Sarah Smith, gave this account: “I heard a loud
meowing coming from outside our catio area and went to investigate with Jen, one of our cat
management team. We saw that the cat was dirty and pregnant, and so we checked to see if she
was microchipped but that was negative.”

Abby was demanding to be led in, so was taken into The Sheffield Cats Shelter, given a medical
check, and then placed into one of the shelter’s cat rooms. It was clear to the staff that Abby was
just days, possibly even hours, away from giving birth, so the cat welfare team took it in turns to
watch over her and ensure that she had all she could need when the big moment came.
Abby gave birth to five kittens inside The Sheffield Cats Shelter on 14 th March, six days after she had
walked up to their front door. Sadly, that wasn’t the end of the story. The early days in a kitten’s life
are often the most perilous, and tragically one of Abby’s kittens didn’t make it. Abby herself then
became seriously ill, suffering from severe diarrhoea.

This created difficulties for Abby and for her four kittens. Staff at the shelter provided regular
cleaning of the cat room and the cats, but it became clear that in her current state Abby was unable
to look after her kittens herself. With this in mind the kittens were temporarily removed from their
mother and cared for around the clock by the shelter’s Cat Welfare Manager.
“I have to give them regular feeds around the clock at all hours, day and night”, said Becki, “but it
will all be worth it when they grow into healthy, happy kittens.”

Under this exceptional care Abby’s kittens are making good progress, and there’s good news for
mum too. Now on a vet-prescribed course of treatment, Abby’s diarrhoea problem went and she is
grew stronger by the day. Mother and babies are now reunited and Abby is proving to be a loving
and dutiful mum.
“We are so happy that Abby and her kittens are back together and their future looks good”, said
Becki, “but the cost of looking after these five beautiful kitties is substantial. We couldn’t do it
without the support of cat lovers across Sheffield and beyond, so any donation would be very
gratefully received!”