Animal Rescue & Rehab Centre
Animal Rescue Rehab Centre – ARRC is a registered NPO owned by Shelley Rawsthorne in Crestholme, Durban, South Africa. ARRC is 5 years old. She started the shelter for the feral cats, that she was feeding at Albert Luthuli Central Hospital; that were getting killed by the feral dogs and by the staff - (staff members threw boiling water and boiling oil at the cats when they tried to go into the residences for food) – she has had had to put down many who were too badly burnt but does have a few burn survivors at the shelter. Also, there are many dogs (feral and owned) coming into the hospital grounds from the informal settlement behind – some of these dogs run in packs and kill the cats. There are also snares in the bush at the hospital and she has a few at the shelter who have been rescued from snares. She now has a few hundred rescued cats, 3 dogs (and 27 township dogs that she takes care of), 2 pigs and rescued chickens. In addition, she feeds 150 feral cats in Durban after work each day.
The cats at the shelter have all been rescued as ferals or abandoned cats - all have horrible stories to tell of being abused, burnt with boiling water, oil or acid, poisoned, caught in snares, knocked over by motor vehicles, shot, stabbed, savaged by dogs, rescued from storm drains, starved or some other hideous history.
Shelly runs the shelter alone, even though she has a full-time job and only gets home to the shelter after 10pm each night. She has no help at the shelter, she works full-time and tends to the animals after work and week-ends – getting approximately 6 hours sleep a week. However, the sacrifice is small to ensure that they are well cared for and are given a second chance.
Each cat is inoculated and sterilized before coming into the shelter or after trauma recovery, and kittens are sterilized once they reach the required age. Every cat has a name, and each is loved with every fibre of her being.
The shelter has 2 large 1.5 acre "runs" which have lots of trees, bushes, sheds with double beds, wooden kennels with warm bedding + blankets, jungle gyms and lots of sheltered areas. There are no "cages" except for the 3 side "runs" which are enclosed at the top where newcomers get orientated. Many of the cats are "yard" cats that roam freely around the house and 7acre property.
The cats have a very healthy diet, and their daily food consists of 10kg raw, cubed pork kidneys, 5kg raw chicken necks, 10kg roasted, deboned chicken, 2 kg of chicken livers, 8 kg of minced cooked ox lungs, 60 tins of cat food, 60-80 cat sachets, tins of A/D and RC kitty mouse for the special cases, + 12kg good quality dry food (Hills Optimum care or equivalent) per day. Until recently some of her dry food was sponsored, but this has fallen away, and she now has the additional food costs. Daily food costs between R2 200 and R2 500.
The cats amaze her every-day and she learns something new from them. There has been an awful lot of heartache along the way, the devastation when one passes, or a rescue doesn’t end as it should. The life of a feral cat is a hard, miserable one, so her main aim is to give the rescues the best life she can, and to show them that not all mankind is cruel. If one passes at least she has tried to give them a second chance and they don’t die cold, hungry, unloved and forgotten.
Any financial assistance to help with running the shelter, food and vet costs (including sterilizations), tick and flea meds, as well as maintenance of the property would be HUGELY appreciated – Some months vet bills can amount to R28 000.
After a dry winter and the approaching summer Shelley is now waging war on ticks and fleas as well. Without treatment, the animals can get biliary. Biliary is a serious tick-borne disease (hence ‘tick bite fever’) that affects the red blood cells of animals. The costs of prevention and treating this adds to her expenses.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about the ARRC furry inhabitants.