Saturday, February 24, 2024

Pets offered lockdown lifeline but rescue centres now struggle with the consequences

FOR many people in lockdown, their pets have been an absolute lifeline. They provide much-needed company, are happy to share a cuddle and play. We really are a nation of pet-lovers.

“But there is a darker side to this picture of which few pet-lovers may be aware,” explains Sarah Revell, of Bow Lodge Cat Rescue Centre, which covers Thurrock and the surrounding area.

As lockdown pressures mount, pets can often be one of the first casualties. Maybe it’s the cost of food and vet bills or the new family member is just too hard to look after and train?  Or perhaps growing mental health difficulties mean they just aren’t properly cared for?

Whatever the cause, the results are often, tragically, the same. Growing numbers of abandoned pets with only the lucky ones finding their way to rescue centres. But the bad news goes on as the rescue centres are also suffering and desperate for funds and support.

It has been a really tough year,” says Sarah, “as the pandemic continues to affect us all in different ways we have seen a two-fold increase in the numbers of cats coming to us. Sadly, we are seeing increasing evidence of people struggling with their finances or buying puppies and giving up their cats in the process, we have also had to deal with situations of hoarding multiple cats in terrible conditions.”

“At Bow Lodge, we take in mums and kittens, older cats, strays and any feline who needs our help. In all cases, we and our volunteers take the cats into our homes, get them the medical care they need and look after them until they are ready to be re-homed.”

Throughout the pandemic, Bow Lodge has continued to work closely with local vets, to ensure that all animals are neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and given necessary medical treatment, which often costs hundreds of pounds. 

“We wouldn’t have been able to manage any of this without the fantastic support of our volunteers and their families and our amazing supporters who have truly kept us going. Critically, this year we have also received Charity status. We’ve had to fight extra hard throughout lockdown as we are limited in what we can do but, despite all the stress and tears, it has been worth it.”

Sarah’s mother, Maria Revell started Bow Lodge 30 years ago with a mission to help as many cats she possibly could, that were either left behind or just needed a helping hand. Maria had a bit of a rough childhood but animals were always there when she needed a hug or a fluffy shoulder to cry on. She attributes them to helping her cope with mental health issues and wellbeing throughout her life which is a sentiment all the centre’s volunteers agree with. This approach still encapsulates the ethos of Bow Lodge today.

As a not for profit organisation, your donations really do make the difference and allow us to carry on our work to ensure a bright future for all the cats and kittens in our care.  Please donate today via Paypal:  or visit our Facebook page:


  1. Thankyou for reporting on this. It’s lovely to see that people are being made aware of all the hard work that the bow lodge volunteers do. Also to make others aware that help is available, without judgement to anybody who needs help with any cats either owned or stray.. The public’s support is vital to them.

  2. Bow lodge always help when they can with no judgement. They even offer help and advice to people who have not adopted from them. They advocate neutering which is a must with so many cats coming into rescue.


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