Q: Where is the centre and how long does it take to get there?
A: The centre is on Portugal's west coast, and it will take you around 8 hours from check-in at a UK main airport to get there. Flying time to Lisbon or Porto is around 2 and a half hours, with luggage collection and immigration adding a further forty minutes and travel to the centre being 2 hours.
Q: How do I get from the airport to the centre?
A: We will normally collect you, however this depends on you travelling at the times we ask. If you are arriving at a time when no other participants are arriving, then we will provide written instructions and directions to get to the town by train or coach, and cover your fare
Q: What is the accommodation like?
A: It is apartment based, a bit like student living. To keep costs minimal, you may have to share a room with someone of the same sex
Q: What anaesthesia is used?
A: We use a quadruple combination involving Medetomidine, Ketamine, an opiate, and Midazolam. This is usually sufficient to maintain 40 minutes but we will also use Isofluorane as well. It is important however that we also teach delegates from less developed countries how to maintaind GA without inhalation.
Q: What are your testing and PTS Policies?
A: In line with established shelter medicine thinking, we don't FIV or FeLV test. We will euthanase if a feral cat cannot be treated and back to the street in 48 hours. We pregnant spay to term and early neuter from 8 weeks. We release all cats the next day, and we will neuter lactating female cats
Q: How are you funded?
A: The centre is funded by International Cat Care from donations, sponsorhip, legacies and gifts in kind. It costs around £3000 to run a course and if you'd like to fundraise for us, let us know.
Q: What costs are covered?
A: Your flight from the UK, your transfers in Portugal, and maybe one or two lunches. 2 evening meals are organised, and your accommodation is free. Scrubs are provided. Eveything else is your responsibility including getting to the UK airport, and most of your evening meals.
Q: Are there lots of restaurants, pubs and clubs?
A: No, its not that kind of town, and it's not that kind of charity. It's not a holiday, so if you're after holiday activities, this isn't for you.
Q: What is the local food like?
A: It's a Portuguese town - so you'll find it hard if you don't like foreign food, or if you are a vegetarian, although there are several restaurants in the food courts next to the centre with good vegetarian options. It is extremely difficult to find vegan food. Food is, however, very cheap, safe, and rarely a disappointment.
Q: Can I bring a partner / kids or stay extra days?
A: We can't accommodate family; extra days are possible if you find and organise your own accommodation and transfers.
Q: Will I have to work with people who are not from my country?
A: Yes, this is a multinational project, trainees come from Lithuania, Russia, Sudan, Portugal and many other places. Tolerance, and respect for people's religion and culture are essential.
Q: Will I have wifi, a washing machine and cable TV?
A: Sometimes. We will advise, but these facilities may be reserved for our staff to use, or for washing of clinic materials.
Q: I can only come along if my colleague / ex-colleague comes too
A: We select the team on experience and skills, so it's unlikely we could accommodate this. If you are unable to travel on a project without people you know, we would suggest this isn't the project for you, as you need to be confident with unfamiliar peope and places.
We have a basic code of conduct which all volunteers need to abide by. We value your presence and safety, and each person must take responsibility for their own actions to ensure everyone feels comfortable and supported. In particular, all religious and cultural beliefs, and all genders, orientations, races and disabilities are welcome and equally important to animal welfare in general, and our work especially.
Any sensitive, personnel, financial or policy information about International Cat Care, any of our partner charities and the Municipality of Figueira Da Foz is confidential to the project and may not be divulged.
Alcohol, drugs and sexual behaviour:
As a project with diverse delegates and trainers, we ask for sensitivity to others' concerns. Limit alcohol consumption, no drugs, no smoking in the aprtments, and no inappropriate or lewd behaviour.
Perceptions of others:
Be open minded and reserve comment about how you may view the level of experience or training of individuals or the abilties of specific countries' vets. Also be aware that those working in opposing disciplines from your own (eg trapping) may work just as long hours or longer as you, but it may be when you are asleep. Similarly, respect the down time taken by our staff, who have worked solidly for the days before and after each course, and who remain active organising and working on other projects while they are with you. They will not always fully immerse themselves in a full-time role.
Please take safety seriously, as well as common sense, please:
- Always secure cages closed with ties - to not do so risks injury from cat bites, road accidents or injury or escape of cats.
- Always switch off concentrators and machines when not in use and never leave an open circuit or mask with the O2 running.
- Always ensure autoclaves are run with adequate water.
- Never run more than 3 appliances off one plug socket.
- Immediately report any damage to cables or wires.
- No mobile phones in or around the theatre area.
- Maintain labels with cats to ensure the safety of the trappers who will have to explain your mistakes if cats are mixed up.
Once you have committed to a project, please reply to communication promptly - check emails every 4 days. If you cannot do this, please do not apply, as others are depending on your replies to make their own arrnagements.
Read the information given, make a note of phone numbers, and share your own numbers as needed; use the provided Portuguese pool phones only to call other Portuguese numbers, or they will soon run out of credit.
Clothing for clincians:
A scrub top - should not bear the name of any other charity or company. We are happy to lend you an ICatCare one for the week. Sensible trousers which go to the ankle (no shorts, or short skirts). A round neck t-shirt under your scrub top if it has a very low neckline.Long white coats are not to be worn.
Shoes should cover the entire foot and at least 80% of the distance to your elbow can be uncovered for surgical scrubbing up. If your own beliefs are that your arm should not be uncovered – please discuss with us a way we can get round this.
Please make use of the clean plastic aprons over your uniform top. Uniforms attract hair, dust, powder and grit like magnets, please change the apron several times every day. Please always use surgical sterile gloves when spaying female cats. Hats and masks – we do not routinely use these, but you are welcome to bring and wear your own if you wish. Long hair should be tied back, ideally with a hair band at the front of the head.
Nails should be short, with no varnish, and no jewellery, watches, or wristbands may be worn in the clinic. Necklace chains should be secured inside the tunic, or removed.
Clothing for field volunteers
Again, please do not wear any clothing from other charities or companies. This is especially true for Portuguese animal groups who do not carry out TNR in Figueira Da Foz. Full length trousers should be worn, no shorts or skirts. Please do not wear sleeveless tops, vest, or low-neckline blouses. iCatCare t-shirts if provided should be worn.