Unique talent takes winning spot at RSPCA One Fun Day

Two-year-old black and white rescue cat, Bettie entertained with her ability to play fetch with a ball in a humorous clip shared by her owner Charlotte Atkinson.


Charlotte, who adopted Bettie from the RSPCA Isle of Wight branch’s Godshill Animal Rescue Centre, said: “I have had cats all my life but never had a cat quite like Bettie. I don’t think she realises that she is a cat sometimes. Her little quirks are like none I’ve experienced before, like her playing fetch and the way she back chats when she is being naughty!

“Without Bettie I would be lost, she is like a naughty child but I wouldn’t change her for the world, she helps me so much when I’m anxious, it’s as if she knows I’m not feeling well and she will just sit by my side purring away and I love her so so much.”

Playful Bettie wasn’t the only winner from the Island, with 12-year-old Harold winning the judges over to be crowned the charity’s ‘Golden Oldie’ winner much to the delight of his owners Debbie and Cliff Whiteley, who hope their prized rescue cat will inspire others to give older animals the second chance they desperately deserve.

Debbie added: “We urge anyone who is considering adopting a pet to look at the older cats – with an established nature, a calm settled outlook and oodles of affection to give – what is there not to love. Visit your local rescue centre and seek out your own ‘Harold’ – you will not regret it.”

The Island’s prize winning kitties had joined proud pet owners, RSPCA experts and celebrity guests, who joined together on Sunday (14 June) to take part in the animal welfare charity’s first ever virtual pet show.

The RSPCA’s One Fun Day offered the charity a chance to showcase the work of its centres and branches and raise much needed funds as well as select a national pet champion chosen by a panel of judges live on Zoom.

The pet show included a packed programme of local and national virtual events from pilates with Verity Bowditch from E4’s Made in Chelsea, live Q&As with RSPCA inspector and Dog Rescuers’ star Herchy Boal, dog treat baking masterclass with Virgin Radio DJ Kate Lawler and her fiancé Boj, a chat about small furries with CBBC’s Rory the vet and much more.

Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive at the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA’s One Fun Day was a brilliant success and lots of fun. It was truly amazing to see people from across the organisation as well as our fantastic supporters working together to make this trailblazing virtual event happen.

“It was inspiring to see so many loving pet owners and to celebrate the relationship they have with their pets as well as the amazing things our animals can do.”

The virtual fundraising event reflects how charities like the RSPCA are having to think outside the box to raise desperately-needed funds during the Covid pandemic so they can continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming the animals who need them most.

Suzanne Pugh, manager at RSPCA Isle of Wight Godshill animal rescue centre, said: “We’re really proud of all the animals and their owners from the Island who joined the RSPCA One Fun Day virtual pet show and over the moon to see Bettie and Harold winning on the big day.

“They’ve brought joy at a time we all need some and show people just how amazing it is to welcome a rescue animal into your life.”

“Rescuing and rehoming animals here on the Isle of Wight couldn’t stop despite the coronavirus outbreak. These animals needed us and we had to be there for them but it’s been really difficult, especially at a time when we’ve sadly lost many of the vital donations we’d raise from events and activities.”

The charity is currently looking at how to safely reopen charity shops and relaunch fundraising events.  People can still support the rescue centre’s work during this time in a variety of ways, including donating items from the Amazon wish list or creating their own fundraising challenge or event to raise money for animals.

Last year the centre, which is run and funded by the RSPCA Isle of Wight Branch, an independent charity separate to the national RSPCA, rehomed 485 animals, with a total of 191 cats, 140 dogs, 48 rabbits, and 106 other animals being found their forever homes in 2019. Anyone looking to rehome an animal can look at the website for pets which need adopting.

Main Picture: Harold and Cliff who was also part of a packed programme of local and national virtual events.