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Knitting for animals this Wool Week

11.10.17

Fledgling in knitted nest for wool week 2017

We’re calling on knitters to put their skills to use this Wool Week by whipping up leg warmers for sick kittens, snuggly nests for baby hedgehogs and jumpers for chilly dogs.

We rescue around 120,000 animals every year. A large number of them are injured, ill or have suffered unimaginable cruelty at the hands of people. While many of these animals have only known suffering in their lives, as soon as they arrive at our hospitals, centres and wildlife centres, all they experience is TLC.

And now we’re appealing to animal-loving knitters to help us look after these needy animals, putting them on the road to recovery and eventual rehoming or release.

John Wilkins, our head of volunteering, said:

We use lots of different practices and techniques to help animals recover from injuries and illness. Some are based on science and veterinary practices but sometimes they just need a bit of love, comfort and warmth. And that’s where we’re hoping you might come in!

Many of our centres and clinics use special knitted creations to help orphaned wildlife or poorly pets, and we could always use more! So if you fancy helping out this winter, perhaps you could break out the knitting needles and make some of our furry and feathered friends something special?

Knitted nests

Hoglets staying warm in a nest knitted by volunteers

Every year, we’re inundated with nestlings and fledglings, from robins to blackbirds to owlets. Our four wildlife centres – East Winch in Norfolk, Mallydams in East Sussex, West Hatch in Somerset, and Stapeley Grange in Shropshire – and some of our other centres and branches, do their best to nurse them back to health so they can be released into the wild.

Groups of knitters play an integral part, by creating lots of little knitted nests for the baby birds to stay warm and cosy while they grow in size and strength. But it’s not just baby birds who benefit from these cosy little beds, they can also be used for other orphans including hoglets.

Warm jumpers

William the saluki cross in a knitted vest for wool week 2017

It’s a sad reality that many of the animals arriving at our centres have been neglected or abused. Some have suffered beatings from their owners while other simply haven’t been fed.

When extremely emaciated animals – particularly dogs – come into our care, staff and volunteers not only need to feed them up but also keep them warm. They use specially created jumpers to help the dogs maintain their body heat while still being able to move freely around.

Saluki-cross William was just five-months-old when he arrived at our Coventry branch. He weighed just 3.2kg – a third of what he should have weighed. They quickly wrapped him in a warm jumper and set about getting him back to health.

Kittens in mittens

Kitten wearing socks to stay warm during an operation

As well as helping nurse poorly animals back to health, knitted creations can also be very practical for veterinary staff. They’re used at our four animal hospitals in London, Birmingham and Greater Manchester, as well as the dozens of clinics and centres with in-house vets.

Bristol Dogs and Cats Home has found an extremely helpful use for knitted socks – vets use them, along with knitted blankets, to regulate the temperatures of animals while they’re under general anaesthetic. This kitten in mittens was undergoing a spay and the special socks made sure she stayed warm and stable during the op.

Support us

If you’d like to help animals at your local RSPCA hospital, rehoming centre or clinic, visit our website to find your local branch, or check out all our volunteering opportunities online.

To help us continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please donate online, or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3.

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