Cats Protection Organisation

I would like, if I may, to politely castigate the Cats Protection organization. They are the leading feline welfare charity in the UK and they claim to re-home 55,500 cats every year. The Cats Protection was formed in 1927, a very long established cat charity and to be commended for that. They are a big business. In fact, they have quite possibly lost about £11 million (GPD) in investments placed with Icelandic banks that went bust (see update at base of post, please). They wouldn't be the only British organization that has lost huge amounts of money invested in Icelandic banks. But the level of this single investment indicates to me a carelessness in respect of their precious donations from cat lovers.

I am not a financial expert but I feel I know more about how to invest money than the people at Cats Protection. I would argue that a charity (any charity, not necessarily one concerned with cats) should place donors' money into safe investment vehicles for the simple reason that it is donated money. The donations should be spread over a number of investments to protect the money. The money is a gift. A gift to a cat charity is almost held on trust on behalf of the donor. It must be used for the benefit of cats and cats welfare only.

There is an argument that it should not even be invested at all, but ploughed into cat welfare immediately. It is not the place of a cat charity to invest millions of donors' money but to spend it, yes spend it, on cats and their welfare. This is the only way that it is possible to truly satisfy the donors. How many people are there, who would have given to this charity but now do not give to the Cats Protection organisation because of the poor investment strategies of this charity? The losses go much wider that just immediate monetary loss but potentially well into the future affecting the welfare of cats in the UK as a consequence.

I have made a post about this sometime ago: Cats Protection and Lost Millions.



Petfinder.com
Someone found their beloved cat on Petfinder.com...photo by FlippyO

OK, on to the next gripe. In the United States they have an organization called Petfinder.com. They declare on the home page of Petfinder.com that they advertise 271,081 adoptable pets from 12,411 adoption groups (these are not just cat groups, of course). It is a website, through which, rescue centers can advertise their animals for adoption. There are many rescue centers that use this excellent facility to help match cat to human. As a result Petfinder.com is very big and gets a hell of a lot of traffic. The Cats Protection, the UK's biggest cat charity gets less visitors (by a considerable margin at the date of this post) than this website, which gets about 8,000 visitors daily. What is happening?

With the kind of funding that is available to Cats Protection they could have invested in an interactive website that places person with pet. What they have created with all their millions is, frankly, a pretty basic website. A visitor can find a Cats Protection center that is the nearest to them but that is it. What is happening to all the millions given to this cat charity? Perhaps they have decided that the mony should be spent on new facilities but the central task is to match cat with human and with the advance of the internet there should be a more modern website. They say they re-home 55,500 yearly but in comparison to Petfinder this must be a tortous process.

Sure, a person who wants to adopt must actually visit the home to ensure the choice is right. Well, in my opinion, it is very wise to do that. But it can't be beyond the capabilities of the Cats Protection organisation, surely, to facilitate this process; to encourage adoption through a more modern website, which shows off the homeless cats. How many cats are not placed with people each year? I am not sure but on this page:

http://www.cats.org.uk/workwedo/intothefuture.asp

.......it says that, "more than 157,000 cats are given the chance of a better life every year". On the home page, as mentioned, it says that 55,500 cats are re-homed yearly. Does this mean that 157,000 minus 55,500 (101,500) cats that pass through the hands of the Cats Protection organisation are euthanized each year and if so would a better and more interactive and alert website save cat lives?? I am not sure about that but what I am sure about, as mentioned, is that with the funds available (provided they invest them more wisely) they can do better.

Update: The lost funds are still lost it seems (as reported in Charity Finance -- http://www.charityfinance.co.uk). The Cats Protection organisation has formed, with other charities, an action group to try and recover the lost funds. The government won't bail out charities who lost money invested in Icelandic banks. Not surprising as they have thrown hundreds of billions into the busted bank black hole. This is bad news for cats and I am angry, quite frankly, with Cats Protection for being reckless (in hindsight admittedly) with gifted money. You cannot be anything but cautious with donors' money. It must go to the cats, please.

Update 30th March 2009: The position regarding the recovery of this money is still very much in the air. The Cats Protection organisation cannot know what the outcome will be. It may take a great deal of time for any money to be paid back to investors in these failed Icelandic banks. I don't know what the position is regarding running costs at Cats Protection. It may have been the case that the Cats Protection organisation used some or all of the interest on the 11 million to service running costs at the charity. Even at 3 percent tha would have worked out a third of a million pounds per year. This must be missed, surely. I am in trying to make contact with the Cats Protection people to ask some questions but so far am not receiving a response.



Cats Protection Organisation to Feral Cats

Photo:

Comments

  1. Hi I have just come across this post (I realise its 3 years old) and would like to point out that as a volunteer for Cats Protection the 101,500 cats that where not part of the re-homing figure are more likely to be cats that were given other types of help including neutering and health care of owned and feral cats. Cats Protection have a no kill policy and will only euthanize cats that have no quality of life due to sickness or injury. I do agree that we need to look at other ways to maximising our opportunities to rehome our cats and kittens (our branch use various social media) particularly in the current economic climate where we are witnessing a reduction in the numbers of people wanting to home a cat and increase in the number of people looking to give up their animals. I completely agree with your comments about the importance of diversifying investments.
    Thanks
    Miss McFarland

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