What’s Happening to the Cats and Dogs during the Massive UK Floods?

Dramatically unusual weather is causing huge floods in the North of England. It is estimated that about £5 billion worth of damage has been caused (about 7.5 billion US Dollars). Many householders are uninsured because the insurance premiums are too high. The situation is desperate for many. Obviously a lot of these people have cat and dog companions. What is happening to these animals?

Cat saved in UK floods
Cat saved in UK floods. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid.
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Although many animals are thought to have drowned in the floods in Cumbria, the RSPCA’s Water Rescue Unit is doing excellent work in rescuing all animals including cats and dogs. They are kitted out with specialist equipment and trained to deal with animals under these circumstances. They are fitted out with dry suits and carry a lot of animal rescue equipment including crates.

One of the problems that they are encountering is that a lot of cat and dog caretakers do not wish to leave their homes without their animals. This means that they stay behind as the situation becomes more dangerous. It gets to the point when it becomes too dangerous for the person to stay. At this point the RSPCA have stepped in and removed people with their cats and dogs from their homes stop

The RSPCA advise people to take their pets with them when temporarily abandoning their home safety reasons.

“If you have to leave your house the ideal scenario is that you take your pets with you. If that’s not possible confine them in an upstairs room with plenty of food and water to last at least 3 to 4 days.”

After 3 to 4 days either the water has often subsided and the person can return or rescue services will recover the animals. Naturally, if the person is leaving their companion animals behind they would have to leave a sufficient amount of pet food and water in the upstairs rooms. People should also be prepared to vacate and therefore they will need carriers in readiness.

The local fire services and mountain rescue teams have also been involved in rescuing animals. Two people who were rescued were Sophie Thornton and Chris Fairclough who left their flooded home with a chinchilla, two cats and a dog.

“We just grabbed the dog and the cat carriers and someone from the RSPCA helped us carry out the chinchilla cage.”

Thornton with chincilla, cats and a dog
Sophie Thornton and Chris Fairclough with chincilla, cats and a dog. Photo: PA.

Thornton’s cats and the dog are currently being fostered with friends apparently because they have still been unable to find somewhere to rent. Landlords do not let people rent when they have pets.

Last week, the RSPCA set up a scheme which offers short-term boarding for the pets of people caught up in the floods. The service is free. The primary reason why this service has been set up is to allow people to get out of their homes because, as mentioned above, they are staying too long because they need to look after their cats and dogs. If they can’t find anywhere to rent then the RSPCA’s free service can step in and solve that problem.

Cat saved in flooded Carlisle
Cat saved in flooded Carlisle. This is the specialist RSPCA team. Photo: RSPCA.

It seems that Facebook and other social media websites have also assisted in helping people to communicate and find cat and dog foster placements while flooded out people sort out their problems. People are pulling together and there have been lots of offers of help from those lucky enough not to have been flooded.

For example from Anne Williams:

“My husband and myself would be willing to offer a temporary home for another dog or small pet that needs looking after due to the North Yorkshire floods. We have 2 small dogs and 1 cat and feel we are able to offer a helping hand for anyone who is affected by the floods. I could offer a reference if needed. We live in the B47 5ND area.”

The problem is that foster carers can take care of cats and dogs in the short term but often it can take up to a year before people can return to their homes because a considerable amount of maintenance work need to take place to repair the damage done by water which often floods a house up to 4 or 5 feet and more.

The length of time to get back into their homes can, on occasion, lead to people surrendering their cats and dogs which is very unfortunate. It is obviously a last resort but it has happened. And some cats have gone missing.

“Gibbs my big ginger cat is still missing from Rosemary court,navigation road area since the floods please keep your eyes peeled for him ️xx” – Christine Williams.

Cat missing in floods in north of England
“Gibbs my big ginger cat” – missing in floods in north of England

One last point. Some unscrupulous people are taking advantage of the plight of others. A man called Michael Anthony Burdis is apparently visiting rescue centers looking for dogs to use as bait in dog fights. Beware.

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