THIS is Dakota. She has quite the history with BAWCS Shelter.

This beautiful girl came into BAWCS care as part of a litter of puppies in 2012. You can see her ‘baby’ photo here. Camille was first adopted at 11 weeks of age to a young couple who called her Dakota.

In June 2017 Dakota was surrendered back to BAWCS Shelter due to a marriage breakdown. She ended up with the husband but he was unable to manage Dakota’s separation anxiety issues. BAWCS Shelter was glad to have Dakota back and our dog trainer Sahil from Elite Canines Training stepped in to work with Dakota and better understand her so we could make sure the next home would be hopefully a forever one.

It does take a toll on dogs to be adopted then returned so BAWCS takes a second rehoming with even more care, even holding the dog if needed.

In August 2018, we thought we had found the perfect home for Dakota. She went ‘on trial’ and Sahil worked with the family ensuring they knew she would need to be an indoor / crated dog when no one was home, otherwise she would escape if left in their backyard.

Unfortunately, circumstances changed and Dakota did end up escaping from a backyard and was hit by a car, which resulted in having her leg amputated.

Dakota’s family moved her in with another family member who was at home most of the time and she managed well, enjoying her time whilst there was someone around. However, the family member had to move and could not take Dakota with him so she was once again returned to the original family members. The home environment did not allow for her to be kept secure so Dakota ended up once again in a situation where she was not safe.

BAWCS Shelter was contacted and we immediately said we would take her back.

Since being back, she’s been health checked which determined she needed a dental (now done) and she has been started on medication to address anxiety. Photos are of her recovering at Bendigo Pet Vets – Mobile Veterinary Clinic and the teeth that were removed.

She’s bunking in with Harrison and doing well. Tonight we are listing her for adoption but we are wanting her to be on the medication for at least 6 weeks (for it to kick in) and two weeks have passed so far.

Our beautiful girl is now 10 years old and she has ‘frosting’ on her eyebrows and muzzle. We are determined to make sure her third home is her ‘forever’ one.

Check out Dakota’s profile here.
Microchip #956000008838988 Source # BR101543

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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SOMETIMES when doing a trapping Program BAWCS comes across very challenged cats.

This sweetheart has been immediately started on antibiotics and is being fed a highly nutritious diet to put on much needed weight prior to being desexed.

BAWCS is hopeful for a speedy recovery for this cat to enable a return home asap.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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DID you know…

BAWCS operates a “no kill” animal shelter, which means animals that come into our care remain safe regardless of whether they are adoptable or not. Reasons for not being available to adopt can vary but generally it is due to age / health related issues.

For April, it is due to her unpredictable behaviour around other dogs.

Her story here : April came into BAWCS Shelter care back in 2014. She was originally known as Marley and ended up on a ‘kill list’ after being transferred from a Council who contracted the ‘high kill’ Shelter for their Pound services.

Offered to ‘rescue’ (by Council) BAWCS Shelter took Marley on and started our own assessment / training to get a better idea of what she was like and to determine suitability for rehoming. Over the course of this training, and a name change to April, we discovered April was unpredictable with her behaviour with other dogs. This would make it challenging to safely rehome her so our Committee decided she would be best to stay as a permanent resident with our Shelter where she would not be put in situations that could bring out a negative reaction leading to her life being put in danger.

April’s home is with our Shelter Caretaker area and she enjoys all the amenities our other dogs enjoy including the large outdoor exercise areas. Whilst she sees other dogs and can interact safely through fence lines, she doesn’t have direct access to other dogs.

If you’d like to sponsor April, your sponsorship will support ongoing care for her including environmental enrichment (she loves toys!), tasty food, treats and veterinary care as required. To date she has remained very healthy despite her now advancing years!

Sponsorship also entitles you to join BAWCS private Facebook Page BAWCS Shelter and Sanctuary sponsors where we post exclusive updates on how your sponsee is going.
Like to sponsor April? For only $50 a year (and can be just a one off) you’ll receive a great fridge magnet and be invited to join BAWCS Shelter and Sanctuary private FB group where we post exclusive updates on our sponsees.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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BACK in early September BAWCS Community Pets Support Program collaborated with our friends at Pet Medical Crisis to assist David, a 63 year old veteran and his HUGE, cuddly 3-year-old Boerboel named Ripple.

David’s military journey has not only left him with PTSD but when suffering a knee injury, it was revealed he had a life-threatening Atrioventricular Septal Defect (hole in the heart), necessitating transfer back home for urgent life-saving surgery. Trauma and too many losses then compounded David’s world with his second-eldest son passing away from cancer.
David found solace in swimming until the isolation of COVID struck and then even this was taken from him.

Ripple entered David’s life, offering him much-needed companionship and number one support through the tragic loss of his eldest son, followed by his father and youngest brother. Life was bleak and Ripple was the greatest solace during these hardest of days.

When Ripple’s persistent limp led to a diagnosis of an ACL injury which will require a Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery initially quoted was at $8,000. Devastated with the inability to save his best friend, David sought assistance from Pet Medical Crisis and BAWCS Community Pets Support Program. Together with the amazing fundraising efforts from PMC supporters, the RSL and Maryborough Veterinary Practice (who generously agreed to reduce the cost to $3,100) Ripple was able to have his surgery!

David and Ripple are now able to enjoy their joyful daily walks and plays once again.

From David “She is my world of peace”.

BAWCS Community Pets Support Program is sponsored by SavourLife who have a great platform Adopt-a-dog (which supports rescue groups by listing their dogs who are looking for great new homes). Check it out here . BAWCS could not do what we do with clients like David without this amazing support.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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sniffy appeal

BAWCS Shelter permanent ‘special needs’ resident Sniffy underwent surgery at our vet today and this disgusting looking piece of ‘we’re not sure what it is’ came out of her NOSE!

Whilst Sniffy went in for a dental, something odd was noted in one of her nasal cavities and this is what it was.

We have given the go ahead for a sample to be sent off for further investigation and we’re hoping it is not going to be too sinister.

Sniffy is one of our older cats at 18 years of age. She continues to do well with her best bud Langford (also a permanent ‘special needs’ BAWCS Shelter cat).

Whilst our vet has discounted this surgery (which included ear cleaning and the dental did go ahead), with sending off the sample for a biopsy, our vet bill is going to be around $2,000.

If you’d like to donate, you can do so via sponsorship of Sniffy which is ONLY $50 a year.

Sponsorship gives you access to our private FB Group BAWCS Shelter and Sanctuary Sponsors where you’ll be able to get updates on how Sniffy is going.

Don’t want to sponsor but would still like to donate? Click here to make a donation. Please use the reference SNIFFY so we know to allocate your funds to her vet bill.

Sniffy will remain in care at Bendigo Pet Vets – Mobile Veterinary Clinic on pain relief and other appropriate medication until she returns to the Shelter (and best bud Langford ) towards the end of the week.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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ON Monday 22 May City of Greater Bendigo voted to introduce 24-hour cat containment.

The 24-hour cat containment requirements start from 1 July 2024 so cat owners have 12months to get themselves sorted to make sure their cats are contained.

BAWCS has always promoted cat safety by not allowing your cats to be outside and to compliment their environmental enrichment indoors, encourage access to enclosed outdoor spaces.

Recently BAWCS Shelter was contacted by a supporter who wanted to donate her cat park which was no longer being used by her cat. We contacted Jamie from Cat Parks Bendigo to see if he would ‘uninstall’ and reinstall at our Shelter for free. The answer was yes!

So what grew from this was an idea that would not only promote responsible and safe cat management but also benefit BAWCS and Jamie’s family run business Cat Parks Bendigo and Cat Netting Bendigo.

As you can see from our video, our great cat park has been installed at the front of our Shelter so visitors can see exactly what these great cat parks can look like. They can be as small or big as you like and tailored to the space you have.

We’ll also have information and contact details for Cat Parks Bendigo and Cat Netting Bendigo to hand out for those interested.

Every referral from BAWCS Shelter that results in an installation will see us receive a $50 donation so even if you just see this post, contact Jamie for a quote etc. and decide to go ahead, mentioning BAWCS will mean you are helping us get a $50 donation! Too easy.

More information on Cat Parks Bendigo here

Click here for link to Cat Netting Bendigo photo gallery for great ideas as well.

Shout out to Jamie for his support and quality work. BAWCS looks forward to working together in promoting responsible and safe cat management.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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prevent dog bites

WITH yet another call from a parent of a toddler concerned about their dog they have had for over 6 years reacting negatively, time for our ‘managing toddlers and children’ post.

It can be very stressful for a dog when a small ‘being’ comes into the home environment.

Just as you would manage any situation with your toddler to keep them safe, interactions with the family dog need to be carefully managed as well.

You do not have to choose between your family pet and your child when both can live harmoniously and safely. It is simply a matter of managing the situation and not allowing interactions between child and dog that can lead to dangerous situations.

This includes not allowing your child to push your dog to where there is no alternative but to react negatively.

Some tips –

  • NEVER leave your dog and toddler unsupervised.
  • Put baby gates into play allowing your dog and toddler safe space away from each other especially when your dog is eating.
  • Teach your toddler respect for your dog’s toys. If your child picks up the dog’s toys, take them away advising the toy belongs to your dog and give your toddler a toy that belongs to them in its place.
  • Teach your child how to be gentle with your dog when interacting with it.
  • Watch your dog’s body language. If it is showing signs of being uncomfortable in a situation, remove your pet immediately.

Learn more here.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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Little legs vet update

It’s that time again and this year we are aiming our Appeal at two very special BAWCS Shelter animals (Little Legs and Duncan) – both examples of the work we do. Once you have read their stories, we do hope you will support our work via our Mid Year fundraiser – and remember, all donations of $2 and over are Tax Deductible.

LITTLE LEGS is one of BAWCS Shelter’s special needs cats. She was only 6 months old, when she arrived in October 2018. Diagnosed with Spina Bifida, (a birth defect where the spinal chord does not form correctly), Little Legs has been living a well managed and happy life with us.

Little Legs recently underwent a veterinary procedure and unfortunately developed complications afterwards. Admitted to emergency care, her life hanging in the balance, we held our breath when advised she was critical. Things were ‘touch and go’ at the start of treatment, but with amazing and intensive veterinary care, Little Legs prognosis is now good with a full recovery in time.

As you can imagine this care comes at quite a cost but BAWCS would not deny care if there was a chance of survival / recovery. We are now facing a vet bill in excess of $13,000 so have decided to dedicate our mid year fundraiser to Little Legs’ bill.

DUNCAN – AS many supporters know, BAWCS Shelter has a ‘return anytime for any reason policy’ when we adopt out. When we take on a dog (or cat) it is a lifetime commitment to us even after they are adopted as circumstances can change for the new home.

This situation has eventuated for new arrival (return) Duncan who was adopted back in 2015. Now a senior, we will be looking for a great new home so he can spend his retirement where he’ll receive the love, care and comfort he deserves.

Duncan has had a vet check where he was brought up to date with vaccination and monthly arthritis injection. Also noted was a perianal mass and whilst not causing any issues, we have decided it would be best removed.

Duncan is booked in for surgery next week and will be ‘good to go’ from then on. Without our Policy, we dread to think what might have happened to Duncan as he’s not what a lot of people would consider a great option for adoption.

Your donation to our Appeal will help cover his veterinary care and the time he is with us which will be for however long it takes to find the right home.

Donations of $2 and over are Tax Deductible.

So we do hope you will continue to support our work via our Mid Year Fundraising Appeal this year, we can’t do it without you!

Click here to view our donation options. Please use reference MID YEAR APPEAL.

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On Saturday night (20 May) one of BAWCS special needs cat Little Legs was rushed into the Emergency vet clinic.  After a dental procedure two days earlier, she became ‘flat’ and then stopped eating with her gums very pale and urine quite dark.

It turns out Little Legs had picked up an infection which spread from her blood to her lungs/chest cavity.   Over the weekend she was critical and it has been an extremely stressful time with her blood pressure very low and not able to maintain her own temperature.  She’s been on oxygen as well, to support her lung capacity.  Whilst we don’t have unlimited funding, we will always give of our animals in care the maximum support required to get them well, Little Legs being no exception. 

BAWCS made the call this morning (Monday 22 May) at 8am to see if she had made it through the night after intensive care all weekend.    

She had! And is now showing signs of the antibiotics she is on have kicked in and less fluid is draining from the two tubes in her chest.  The prognosis is guarded and she’ll need to remain at the vet, closely monitored for at least another 4 days.

As you can imagine the vet bill we are going to be receiving will be quite significant, already above $7,000 so we are reaching out to our supporters to see if you would like to

1. Click here to donate direct to the appeal. Please use the reference Little Legs OR

2. Click here to sponsor Little Legs. If you decide to sponsor, you’ll be invited to join our private FB group BAWCS Shelter and Sanctuary sponsors where you’ll be able to see what has been happening with this precious girl and get real time updates.

Please keep Little Legs in your thoughts as we follow closely what we are hoping will be a full recovery to good health.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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Sponsorship magnets 2023 1

Why not consider a one off BAWCS Shelter Special Needs Cat sponsorship. For as little as $50 for the entire year, your gift provides a great fridge magnet for the recipient together with background / history on the cat you’ve chosen to sponsor.

Sponsorship helps in keeping our special needs cats happy and healthy. Plus sponsors get to join our PRIVATE FB Group for BAWCS Shelter and Sanctuary sponsors, where you get exclusive updates on the cat/s you’ve sponsored.

Click here to check out who is available to sponsor. We can send the sponsor pack to you to pass on or we can send direct to the gift recipient.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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diesel and Dr Mandy pic

WHAT a wonderful outcome working in partnership with Bendigo Pet Vets – Mobile Veterinary Clinic and Pet Medical Crisis who referred this case to BAWCS Community Pets Support Program.
A distressed pet owner, struggling financially under the weight of todays ever increasing living costs, was so worried about her beloved dog who needed major dentistry with mulitple extractions, a third eyelid flap to help a corneal ulcer heal and a lump that had a nasty appearance also needed to be removed from his right thoracic wall.

This lovely boy is home now and his relieved mum is reporting

“We have collected Diesel from Bendigo Pet Vets. He still has the effect from the anesthetic, has eaten a little of his dinner and is now
tucked up in bed. We would like to thank your organisation and Bendigo Pet Vets for all the care and concern that you have given to our Mr D (that’s what we call him)”.
BAWCS Community Pets Support Program is so grateful to be able to work with other organisations ie: Pet Medical Crisis Fund who have with the same mission and for such generous and compassion vets like Dr Mandy from Bendigo Pet Vets – Mobile Veterinary Clinic – we could not do what we do without these partnerships.
Pictured: Dr Mandy and her latest success.

BAWCS Community Pets Support Program is supported by the Victorian Government and City of Greater Bendigo.
Like to know more about our Program? Check it out here

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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Training (002)

BAWCS Shelter was recently contacted by a dog owner who wanted to surrender. When we discussed what her dogs issues were, BAWCS offered training support via our Community Pets Support Program with Sahil from Elite Canines Training as an alternative.

A young (and large) dog that under the right management could stay in his home with his first family with time and dedication.
The offer was taken up and one lesson on – “The training that Sahil suggested to us is going well. We just need to keep implementing the training. Thank you we really appreciate this program you have in place for dog owners”.

A second session has been requested and approved to assist with reactivity with other dogs, ie: barking, somersaults, pulling etc. to address all issues originally listed in the application.
Struggling with managing your dog? To see if you qualify for support and how to apply, click here.
This is BAWCS Shelter pro active approach to keeping dogs and their families together.

PLEASE NOTE: This offer is only available to Bendigo and close surrounds dog owners due to BAWCS partnering with Sahil, our dog trainer who residents in Bendigo.
Pictured: Sahil from Elite Canines Training with Shelter dog Harrison (currently available for adoption).

BAWCS Community Pets Support Program is supported by the Victorian Government and City of Greater Bendigo.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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BAWCS Community Pets Support Program offers veterinary care support for disadvantaged pet owners in our community.

A recent referral to a vet ended up with an unwell cat being euthanased due to renal failure. The vet advised that if the cat had presented 2-3 days earlier it most likely would have been saved.

Please don’t delay veterinary care for your pets when they are struggling. There is help available.

RIP precious boy, your suffering has ended now.

Learn more about our Program and how to apply here

BAWCS Community Pets Support Program is funded by The Victorian Government and City of Greater Bendigo.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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IT’s that time of the year when we launch our annual Christmas Appeal! Donations of $2 and over are Tax Deductible.

Click here for donation options. Please use reference XMAS APPEAL.

BAWCS Shelter and Sanctuary celebrated our 19 year anniversary in September this year.

As many supporters know, we were the first ‘no kill’ Shelter established in Central Victoria back in 2003.

This year we are reflecting on how our Policy has enabled so many lives to be saved, including those that have come back into our care for various reasons.

HARRISON (Harry for short) is our feature of this year’s Christmas Appeal and is a great example of this.

He first came into care as a puppy and was quickly adopted out – everyone loves a puppy! When family circumstances changed, he was returned to us (which is part of the Adoption Agreement) so he would be safe until another new home could be found.

We thought we had found that home 2nd time around but again, family circumstances (allergies) meant Harrison was put outside to live (against the Adoption Agreement terms) and it wasn’t until 3 months later we were contacted to have him come back to us.

The time outside and away from his family had a negative impact on Harrison which was sad to see. Going from a well adjusted and social dog (around other dogs), he had become quite reactive, although maintained his love of humans.

Lucky for him, he was back with us and work started with our dog trainer to get Harry to a management level for being taken for walks and meeting other dogs, important to get this sorted.

It was a slow process but we got Harry to a stage where we would be comfortable putting him up for adoption again.

It has been very important to find the right home for him, in the wrong hands could mean he ends up in a situation where his life could be on the line (if negative reaction to other dogs escalating) and being reported to authorities.

Whilst the right home still hasn’t come along, Harrison continues to enjoy his time in our Shelter, being exposed to lots of other dogs (with a positive outcome) and also spending time with our dog trainer walking around Lake Weeroona to keep him fine tuned.

We have had some negative comments about why hasn’t he been adopted but it is better for him to be safe with us than to be sent out with just anyone who doesn’t have the right experience with handling a reactive dog.

So we do hope you will continue to support our work via our Christmas Appeal this year, we can’t do it without you!

Click here for donation options. Please use reference XMAS APPEAL. Donations of $2 and over are Tax Deductible.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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DID you know… BAWCS offers support for disadvantaged pet owners in our community.

BAWCS Community Pets Support Program is designed to benefit and support the welfare of companion animals within Victoria, belonging to disadvantaged pet owners.

The Program’s aim is to address a gap in service provision for disadvantaged pet owners in our community.

Service support provided includes:

Veterinary care – from basic vaccinations and desexing (supporting responsible pet ownership) to ending a pet’s suffering.

Emergency pet accommodation – to support pets in domestic violence situations or when owners are admitted into psychiatric care and have no family or friends.

General affordable pet accommodation – supporting local agencies with their client’s pets in times of entering into Rehabilitation Programs (drug/alcohol), respite care, hospitilisation.

Pound reclaim fees to reunite pets with their owners/supporting responsible pet ownership.

Outreach Support where BAWCS volunteers visit pets in the owner’s home whilst they are away. Pets that aren’t able to be ‘boarded’ are particularly targeted such as rabbits, birds, fish, reptiles etc. This part of our Program also supports the purchase of pet needs including food.

Training support instead of surrender. By providing qualified dog training support, owners are given an option to keep their pets instead of making the often heartbreaking decision of surrendering.

To check your eligibility for support, please apply here.

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IT’s that time of the year when the same two questions are asked.

  1. Where did the first half of the year go?
  2. OMG my tax return will be due in soon.

Did you know…

BAWCS is registered with the ACNC and donations of $2 and over are tax deductible?

That we are currently ENTIRELY volunteer run which means donations received go directly into supporting the running of our Shelter and Sanctuary and of course to the animals that are in our care?

That this is the 19th year we have been operating since being established as the very first ‘no kill’ Shelter in Central Victoria?

If these facts pleasantly surprise you (or you already knew and love us) please consider making a donation to our Mid Year Fundraising Appeal. Donation options here

Thank you for your support, we would not be where we are today without it!

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’

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Thank you to those who have been concerned about BAWCS Shelter and Sanctuary during the COVID-19 crisis. Like many others, it has severely impacted our ability to generate critical income which is needed to keep our facility running.

In particular, our boarding kennel and cattery bookings have been cancelled for the usually busy Easter period. With our clients unable to travel, we are not able to rely on this income.

With current restrictions in place, our Committee has also made the decision to suspend our weekly Market Place Shopping Centre fundraising stall due to reduced visitors to the centre and we wanted to limit our volunteers exposure to the public. 

At a time when we were already experiencing financial strain, now more than ever we need YOUR support to get us through the next 6 months (at least) so we can continue to provide care for the animals that are depending on us.


Make a purchase from our online Shop

Sponsor one of our “special needs” shelter cats or one of our sanctuary animals

Buy-a-bale of hay to support our sanctuary animals

Or you can make a donation (amounts of $2 and over are tax deductible)

You can continue to adopt pets from BAWCS but this is now only by private ‘meet and greet’ appointment. You can check out our animals available here and submit an online adoption application form. We will not be able to arrange a private ‘meet and greet’ unless we receive this form first. An application doesn’t commit you to adoption.

We thank you so much for your support and understanding during this difficult time for all.

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christmas wine copy

GOODWILL Wine donate 50% of their profits to us, so you’re not only getting AWESOME wine that you can gift to loved ones, or share over the Christmas break – you’re also helping Bendigo Animal Welfare & Community Services at the same time. ❤

Wine is just a click away. Order yours here.

Free Shipping offer ends at midnight on Wednesday 11th December.

BAWCS ‘caring with compassion’🌲

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As a cat owner, you will appreciate they are amazing animals that have their own individual personalities that are quirky and entertaining.  Unlike dogs, they need to have a different approach when training as they will rarely listen to you telling them what to do.  Rather than damaging your relationship by scolding your cat (which they will not respond to) below are some tips on retraining your cat to not ‘door dash’, one may work or you may need to use a combination.


1. Use an alternate exit. If your cat is constantly hanging out by the front door, waiting to make its escape when you leave, try exiting out a different door.  For instance, instead of going in and out through the front door, try using the back or garage door.

2. Create a distraction.  Before you leave, say goodbye to your cat and give him an absolutely irresistible treat. Your cat will probably be much more interested in eating his yummies than in running out the door.  If your cat insists on following you to the door, keep a stash of cat toys in a place that’s easy for you to reach but hard for him to access. Toss the toy across the room as you leave.

– Offer puzzle feeders before you head out the door.  A puzzle feeder will provide your cat with entertainment while getting a food reward for their efforts.  Divide up their daily meal portion so you can set out a couple of puzzle feeders before you head off to work in the morning.

– If you have children, keep a box of cat toys beside the door and teach the kids to throw a cat toy for the cat to chase when exiting the house.  If the cat is too busy chasing toys, it won’t be darting out the door.

3. Deterrents. You may also use smell deterrents to keep the cat away from forbidden doorway zones. Cats dislike citrus smells, so orange or lemon scents sprayed at the bottom of the door may help.


1. Distract your cat. Keep a spray bottle filled with water just outside your door. When you open the door to come in, open it just a crack so that you can see your cat waiting to run outside. Put the nozzle of the bottle through the crack and spray your kitty with a well-aimed ‘mist’ of water (not a squirt) and don’t aim at its face. It might take a few sprays before your cat backs up.  After a week or so of doing this, your cat will associate the door with getting sprayed by the water bottle and avoid going near the door.

This method, should only be used when you’re entering the home, not exiting.  If you do it when exiting, your cat will associate you, not the door, with the irritation of getting sprayed by the water bottle and it could have a negative impact on you and your cat’s relationship.

2. Don’t give your cat any attention at the door.  If your cat thinks that being near the door is a place where you will pet or play with it, your cat will gravitate toward the door.  If your cat is in the habit of greeting you and getting a friendly hello right when you walk in, break yourself of that habit.

3. Play it extra safe. Post bright neon coloured signs reminding all people entering and leaving the house to stop and look for signs of your daring cat before reaching for the door knob. When you have guests over, put your cat in another room until the festivities are over. This way, when people come through the main door, your cat won’t be around to dart through it.


Part of a cat’s ‘environmental enrichment’ is allowing access to a safe enclosed outdoor area. This will assist with meeting your cat’s natural instincts of feeling sun on their face and having another area they can relax and play in. If this ‘need’ is being met, it may assist with the cat wanting to dart out the door.

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cat litter tray and scoop

Litter tray issues are one of the most common concerns with cat owners but in many cases, can be easily solved and is often one of the first signs that something is not right with your feline family member. Cats are very clean animals and will naturally use a litter tray so if your cat is not using their tray, there’s always a reason.

It can be frustrating for cat parents but please DON’T ever punish a cat for urinating or defecating outside their tray. This will just make the problem worse and increase their anxiety and stress. Patience and perseverance is key!

The first step is to thoroughly clean the area where your cat has urinated. You want to make that place less appealing to toilet. Try moving a water bowl, bed or toys onto the cleaned area, place double sided tape or foil on the surface to discourage them returning to that spot.

Make the litter tray more appealing by following the steps below. With patience and a few changes, you should see an improvement. If you are unable to rectify the issue, please ensure your cat has visited your local vet to rule out any health issues.

KEEP IT CLEAN – Scoop soiled litter at least once a day and replace litter regularly to keep clean and odour free. Scrub the tray with hot water and unscented soap at least once a week.

TRAY TYPE AND SIZE – The tray should be appropriate to the size/age of the cat. A large cat will not feel comfortable using a small tray. Older cats might struggle to access a high sided tray. Many cats do not like hooded trays, particularly those in multi pet homes who can be easily snuck up on and surprised.

TYPE OF LITTER – The litter type depends on your cat’s preference. Use a shallow bed of litter about one to two inches deep. Cats are sensitive to smell so avoid scented litter and liners. You could try 2 litter trays with different types to establish which one your cat prefers. Avoid crystal litter for kittens, who can easily ingest crystals while grooming.

LOCATION – One litter tray per cat plus one extra, and placed in different areas. Choose quiet but easily accessible areas. You don’t want to eat next to the toilet and neither does your cat! Avoid placing food/water bowls near litter trays.

Converting an outdoor cat to a litter tray? Try placing a tray at the door where the cat previously exited and gradually move it to a more suitable location. If you’re able to provide an outdoor enclosure attached to the house, you can use timber or brick to frame a large sand box or loose soil box where the urine drains away and you just need to remove the faecal matter.

PAIN/FEAR/STRESS – Your cat will avoid using the litter tray if he/she experienced pain urinating. If you suspect this may be the case, please contact your vet immediately. Your cat may also avoid the litter tray if it is being bullied by another cat or if he/she had a fright while using the tray. You may need to move the tray to a different location and always ensure you have enough litter trays in different positions for multi cat households. Cats can react to even slight changes in the household or to the normal routine so events such as moving house or a new pet/family member are particularly stressful.

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Paws Up

This week 21-27 May is National Volunteer Week and what better time to say THANK YOU to all our dedicated and hard working volunteers who make what we do possible.

Cat Vollie (2)

You may have helped out once as part of your workplace giving program or you may be one of our dedicated regulars, on behalf of all the BAWCS shelter and sanctuary animals, we thank you for helping to make a difference!

While you definitely get your hands dirty caring for animals, it is such a rewarding experience. In the spirit of this years theme…Give a little. Change a lot….why not check out our Volunteer page and find out how you can get involved.


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Earlier this year, BAWCS was delighted to receive a Victorian State Government grant to allow us to run our 2017 Feline Desexing Program. The program was made available to concession card holders, who otherwise would not have been able to afford it.

We had an overwhelming response to the launch of our program and it has been a great success. Just over 100 cats were not only desexed, but the majority of those were also given a free vaccination and microchip as part of our program.

The funding for this program also allowed us to provide an Education kit, covering information and advice on keeping a happy indoor cat, addressing common issues and options for providing a safe and secure outdoor space.

Not only are all of these cats now healthier but they will also no longer be able to contribute to the huge amount of unwanted kittens born every year.

A huge shout out to Kangaroo Flat Veterinary Clinic, who partnered with us to deliver this program and of course the Victorian State Government for providing the funding support for this important work.





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birdman 2

Would you jump into the Yarra River for a good cause?

On Sunday 12th March, Moomba’s brave Birdman Rally participants will take the leap for charity, as part of the annual Moomba Festival. For the first time ever, BAWCS is being represented!

BAWCS Volunteer Stef and Miss Kitty

Only 12 entrants were selected to take the plunge into the Yarra River on the day, which includes one of our very dedicated volunteers. Stef is all set to make a splash with her homemade wings, to raise much needed funds for BAWCS.

Stef has been volunteering in our Adoption Cattery for 2 years and has helped play an important role in keeping our cattery areas clean and our many felines happy and healthy. Without people who are willing to give their time, we would not be able to change the lives of the many animals that come into our care.

We are chuffed to be part of this great event and wish Stef all the best as she plunges into the Yarra.

Like to show your support for Stef and help BAWCS continue to care for animals in need?

You don’t have to jump into the Yarra, just click here to make a donation. (No splash required)

Click here for more information on the Birdman Rally.

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vic_gov_logo_black_-_state_government-003We are so excited to announce that the construction of our new BAWCS vet building is now complete, thanks to the State Government Animal Welfare Fund grant that we received earlier this year.

The project would not have been possible without the funding, which has enabled us to build a dedicated veterinary care building and to upgrade part of our existing facilities to include heating/cooling, repainting and new flooring.

Framing of the new vet building

During construction of the new vet building

The new building will allow for visiting veterinarians to assess and treat animals onsite, minimising stress on animals and reducing travel time for our volunteers.

We are now better equipped to care for sick animals with a specific isolation area and greater capacity to care for animals in need, including those in emergency situations.

Vet cages in the new building

We look forward to expanding on our  work assisting disadvantaged pet owners with plans for our new facility to provide these clients with vaccination, microchipping and desexing of their pets at a reduced cost.

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