Thursday, 7 May 2015


(I wasn't sure if this blog was still going as I seem to spend my writing time posting stuff on Facebook but, even if this is the last post here I do, it will go out on, I hope, an interesting note.)

I made a proposal to the committee that, if Animal Krackers would pay for the flagstones to be put down then I would pay for a single unit cat shed in my garden. This wasn't entirely altruistic on my part as, since I pretty much moved into this house about two and a bit years ago, the conservatory has been used solely by cats I've fostering as, because it's the only safe way into my garden, my cats -a total of seven accumulated by mid-2014- have been house cats. As a result the few visitors I have arrive with a peg on their nose.

Things had got better recently as, having decided to go ahead, when the cat I was currently fostering had her section vaccination and went to our re-homing centre, I didn't replace her. And, for the first time since I moved in, I let the cats out.

They quickly learned how to use the cat flap and equally quickly decided that -hey, this outside isn't bad  at all, and that green stuff looks good to eat, and to throw up. I got a fright when one of them didn't come back and ended up staying away for three days but since then no problems and I hope it stays that way if only because the amount of litter tray cleaning I have to do has drastically decreased. I don't think they go too far and the garden next door on my left is cat friendly except when their, actually cat  friendly, dog (his best friend is a cat they got from me at Christmas) is out and about. So it's all working out very nicely and it's nice to turn my head and see cats in the garden, though the large bunny who used to visit hasn't been back for a while.

Right: the cat shed.

I looked on Ebay to see what there was, downloaded images of something which seemed suitable and went to a pet suppliers just up the road to see if they could do something similar and cheaper. The answer was yes and no, sort of. They could build it for the same price but that also included erection (no cheap jokes please) plus there was the advantage of being able to make changes if I needed to. Three weeks later and there it was. Total cost: £585.00 which isn't bad really as it's exactly what  I wanted, although with hindsight it might have been another 6 inches or foot higher.

What you don't see are a couple of boards which can be easily fixed on to either side to stop the rain, snow and/or hail coming in. The tarpaulin on the top will hang down over the door. Some insulation has been added to the bedroom (green in the photo below) and several sheets on underlay for laminate flooring which I had left over add some more as well as giving a soft surface for the cat to sit. There's a cat bed of course and I've got a microwavable hot water bottle for when it gets cold.

If that makes all sound nice and easy, it wasn't. Not that it was difficult either but... I'd originally decided to have it on the other side on a rectangle covered with stone chippings (and weeds). I measured it (several times because I don't trust my own accuracy) then worked out how many paving stones I need (several times as even with a calculator I'm still not good at maths) and how much it would cost -that bit I could manage. I was all set to order the paving stones when it suddenly occurred to me that it would save money, time and a shed-load of effort if it went on the lower decking area where there was only some weather-worn cheap plastic chairs and a garden table which I've never used in the two and half years I've been here. It also turned out to look a lot better and doesn't alter the view of my garden through the conservatory windows.

About five hours after it was complete -took an hour to put up- it had its first resident and here she is. Cassie, abandoned by her owner who moved and left her behind. She's eight years old, has been declared in good health by the vet and received her first vaccination, adapted easily to life in the shed, eats, drinks, and uses the litter tray dropping nice solid stools in the process. She is also friendly and doesn't seem to mind being picked up; she certainly likes being stroked. Shame she's so odd looking but oddly beautiful at the same time. She'll be with me for about three weeks until she get her second vaxx when she'll be transferred to our re-homing centre and I'll be getting, if the plan comes together, two jet black young brothers.

Friday, 13 March 2015


Ian happily acknowledges rock'n'roll genius Chuck Berry for the title, the significance of which will become apparent at the end.

-had been on his own for at least two years, surviving by being fed regularly by an elderly lady who lived in a ground floor flat just round the corner from Sunderland's bus station on the edge of the city centre. The lady -let's call her A- had been helped by me some time ago and got in touch with me again because George had been in a fight and come off badly. I was able to check him and arranged for for treatment at the vets. He seemed friendly enough and the more I thought about it the more I realised I could do for him. The wound on his leg wasn't too bad and easy to treat. I then had him vaccinated and neutered and took him home with me.

My intention was to keep for three weeks until his vaccination and then move him to our re-homing centre where he would find a permanent home. That night I wrote on Animal Krackers' Facebook page that he'd spent his last night out on the streets. Next morning those words came back to bite me on my bottom. George had burst through a locked cat flap and disappeared.

I borrowed a cat trap from a fellow cat rescuer, more in hope than expectation. But basically I felt like shit about it and never expected to see him again. I moped about for the morning then around one went upstairs for a nap.

The phone woke me after about half an hour. Social Services. A woman had been found dead in her house that morning. She had no relatives nearby and there were no friends to take her cat. Half asleep and a little depressed, I agreed to come and take him. The location was Hetton-le-Hole on the outskirts of the city about five miles from me and where I'd once managed their branch library. When I got there there were a lot of people milling around including a nurse and policeman. She'd been ill for a while and regularly visited by Mari, the nurse. Only 53, she'd been found that morning, the cat sitting outside wanting to be in. He was about 7 and called Hitler because of his moustache and, I was told, very friendly. He also only ate sliced chicken and some cheap cat food.
They were right about him being friendly but, far from picky, he ate pretty much anything I put in front of him. I had him checked out, vaccinated, given flea and worm treatment and had his knackers removed -sorry, I mean neutered. I also became very fond of him very quickly. He loved being cuddled and would snuggle into my shoulder. I would have kept him too but he was frightened of my other cats, though never aggressive towards him. 

I decided not to change his name, hideous as it was, because he'd had it for so long. I regularly posted on AK's Facebook page about his progress and got feedback, specifically (words to this effect): Change his name, you stupid sod. So I did, following a cat cuddler's suggestion of Tash.

Incidentally and much to my surprise, George turned up back at A's place. How he found his way there is beyond me but he did. I just left him where he was happy until it was time for his second vaccination when I got him done and took him to the re-homing centre where's he's been now for a couple of weeks.

Eventually the time came for Tash to go there too, the day after George as it happened. I didn't want to let him go but I had no choice. While he liked me he wasn't really happy stuck in the conservatory watched by other cats. On the sheet at his pen, I wrote that he would be best off as the only cat in the house, no kids, and best with an older person or couple. Mari, the nurse who had visited his owner and knew him, kept in touch through Facebook and asked about him regularly. Eventually she offered to take him home.

As she was youngish with another cat and a ten year old daughter, I didn't really think her home would be an appropriate environment for him. Eventually I thought, what the hell. I didn't ask for a donation or to fill in an adoption form because I was sure it wouldn't be long before Mari brought him back.

During the course of the same evening, Mari posted a series of photos of Tash in his new home. Tash eating cat treats next to Mari's other cat. Tash snuggling up to Mari's daughter. Tash resting against Mari's husband's chest. Tash not going anywhere.

This is the second time this has happened recently. Another cat I fostered went to a home I didn't think was suitable (a nice home but wrong for the cat) and she settled in immediately. It was my conservatory that was the wrong environment.

So, a certain 66 year old old folk says, "C'est..."

Thursday, 26 February 2015

ALL MY CATS 26th FEB, 2015

All the cats in my house on this day: 1 adult foster, 2 kitten fosters, 7 adult residents.

1. Tash the foster cat, 7 years old, loves cuddles, frightened of other cats, off to our re-homing centre next week.

2. Rhiannon the grey tabby and Tabitha the black and white kitten, sisters, 16 weeks old, available for adoption from 3rd March.

3. The Residents.

Fifi the first to arrive.

Aelfric, the second.

Grey Girl, arrived the day after she was born.



Rikki, who over-grooms himself hence the collar.
Squeak, who rips open everything not in hard plastic, cardboard, or a tin.

Group shots.

Friday, 6 February 2015


I got a call earlier this week from a lady I'd helped a while ago. She regularly feeds strays where she lives but because she's elderly and lives in a small flat, she doesn't feel up to actually taking them in, but she does what she can. A cat she feeds had been injured in a fight and she was worried about it so I agreed to call round and, if she could get it inside, I'd take it to the vets. This she did and it turned out to be a fairly placid animal despite having been on the streets for at least two years -the period she'd be feeding him.

I got him to King's Road Vets where he was seen by chief vet Wendy. She bathed the wound and gave him a couple of vaccinations which he endured without complaint of any kind. He's about 6, hadn't been neutered and the lady -let's call her Ms A- didn't want him done because she felt he would lose his edge if he was. By the time I got him back I'd had an idea and I told her: if she'd keep feeding him I'd arrange for him to be vaccinated and then neutered and take him our Ferry Farm Re-homing Centre. This changed slightly as I had a cat in my conservatory -more about whom later- bound for there (today as it happens) and when he went, I'd take her cat in. And so, to shorten a longer story, that is what has happened and he's here now and will be for three weeks. I've also decided to apply my original plan to another cat Ms A is feeding.

I'm a little concerned about him as, before he could go in the conservatory I had to put him in a cage for a few hours. When I moved him I noticed he'd emptied bowels and bladder where he sat. He's also not eating and just sitting on the window. It's probably just nerves. Some cats take a while settling in to a new place and not eating is one of the main symptoms.

I agreed to take in two 12 week old kittens (sisters) which arrived yesterday and are living in my bedroom. They'll go to the vets on Monday for a check up and first vaccination at the same time as I pick up a ginger cat which is hanging about an old people's home and which I'll also get checked and vaccinated. Incidentally, both reek of cigarette smoke. I've often wondered about the effects of passive smoking on animals but that's a subject for another time.

The grey tabby is very friendly and confident coming to me for cuddles while  her sister is extremely nervous and runs away from me. Give it time.

Quite a few photos below and all taken at independent local rescuer Carole O'Brien's house. In this case I'm just the transport and always happy to help her.

The first kitten is only 5 weeks old and was founded and handed in to the local PDSA hospital where they did what they could for it and contacted Carole to ask if she'd take it. Not having transport, she asked me if I could collect it. I was going to nearby Kings Road Vets (see 1. above) to collect the cat in the photo anyway.

Once at Carole's she put it in a mother cat, the cat's sister, and mother cat's kittens which are about the same age as the new one in the hopes that MC would nurse him and kittens would accept him. It was a little awkward while I was there but I've since heard from Carole that all is well. There are no guarantees but the kitten now has a good chance thanks to the PDSA and Carole without whom he'd be dead by now.


Houdini is the cat who went to Ferry Farm today. I gave him that name because he is a feline escapologist. Basically he's never seen an open door he won't run through whether you want him to or not and he combines speed with sheer determination. He's also a incredibly friendly cat who likes people but does intimidate other cats with his sheer ebullience. Anyone who takes him on should like a cat with a lot of personality and also possess fast reactions and an airlock to stop him getting outside when they want him to stay in.

By coincidence he also came via the PDSA (who removed the tip of an infect tail), then on to Carole (I collected him with her) who later begged me to take him because he needed space that he didn't have in one of her cages.

Sunday, 1 February 2015


Rikki (who has a skin condition hence the collar) with Emma (2 photos), Arya on the cat bed, Aelfric on the cat tower, and Fifi on the top of the armchair. Squeak and Grey Girl are both upstairs on my bed so they didn't get photographed and Little Ed (soon to be name changed) the cat with the stumpy tail I'm fostering is in the conservatory and I wouldn't have been able to get a picture of him anyway because as soon as I opened the door he'd be through it.

I really should be posting more but I just don't have the energy these days, plus I'm still doing quite a few Facebook posts which are essentially condensed versions of what I write about here. You can find them on Animal Krackers FB page.

Friday, 23 January 2015


Here's a list of all the cats and kittens we've re-homed this month.

Frazzle, a kitten, adopted 01/01/15
Minnie, female, about two, okay with children and dogs but still a bit nervous but is becoming more friendly by the day. Arrived 01/12/14. Adopted 02/01/15
Timmy, male, about 3,  confident cat who lets you know where he wants to sit, best as the only cat, likes laps, arrived 01/12/14. Adopted 02/01/15 
Ted, about 3-4 years old, neutered 02/09/14. He's an abandoned cat who's been on his own for a while but, when he comes out of his shell has shown himself to be a nice natured friendly cat who’ll happy sit on your lap for a cuddle. Arrived 31/08/14. Adopted 02/01/15
Sherry, kitten, adopted 02/01/15.
Polo is 6 months old, he is very loving. Adopted 06/01/15

Cleo, 2yrs old, adopted 10/01/15.
Dandy is about 3, he is a very affectionate little man. Arrived early Dec 2014. Adopted 12/01/15.
Morrissey the kitten adopted 13/01/15.
Flipper & Dipper 2 feral kittens adopted by fosterer 13/01/15
2 semi-ferals adopted by Joanna 13/01/15.
Juno, 8 months old ginger-white, adopted 14/01/15
Bettie, 2 years old, a nice friendly cat who isn't keen on other cats. Arrived 02/01/15. Adopted 14/01/15
Mickey & Eva, 6 months, brother and sister, adopted 17/01/15
Fluffy, the adorable fluffy ginger tabby adopted 18/01/18
Neville, a nice young male around 2/3. Has had a bit of a rough life and would like a nice quiet home and lots of cuddles. Arrived 07/01/15.Adopted 20/01/15

And now here's some photographs I've taken this month.

After three weeks with me, this one moved next door and his best friend is now an elderly labrador.

This is Neville (see above) who likes sitting on people's shoulders.

Carole O'Brien rescued this mother who was living in terrible conditions and who had several kittens as soon as she arrived. About three of them died but mother and survivors are now doing well.

Carole also rescued this poor young boy who had been handed in to the PDSA who had to amputate part of his tail. If, as I'm expecting, Boots the cat in the next photo leaves my conservatory for a permanent home tomorrow then this one, who I've named Little Ed, will replace him.
Then again I've just had an email asking if I can take in another cat and as Little Ed is with Carole...

Tomas, who has lived with me for three weeks and had his second vaccination today, is a nice friendly boy who may also have a new home this weekend. If he doesn't then he's off to our re-homing centre next week.

Mickey and Eva abandoned me for a permanent home a week ago and I miss them terribly.

Back soon. (I hope).