Tuesday, 27 July 2010


This is Dan the 18 month old tom cat I rescued from the pissheads down Hendon (see previous post) last Friday. In the three and a half days I've had him he's been neutered and seems a little more secure. He's very friendly towards me and I now let him out in the garage for half an hour twice a day while I'm there. I was worried that he'd go to ground but that isn't the case and he often comes straight to me when he hears my voice. He's still nervous and uncertain but I do think he'll make someone a nice pet.
And then there's Daisy whose position here is a little less than secure because Susan can't really cope with her running around and jumping on any cat she can find. I'm still giving her the panacur for the diarrhea which had dried up but her faeces are getting soft again. Still is still, however, very cute and affectionate -when she's not leaping around destroying everything. Once her bowels are properly cleared up I'm afraid she'll end up being rehomed. Dan will be on the website fairly soon too.

 The other cat is Leo.

Saturday, 24 July 2010


"Riding along in my automobile,
Two dogs and three cats beside me at the wheel.
Cruising along and listening to the radio,
With lots of different places to go."
With apologies to Chuck Berry and his song No particular Place To Go.

It's been a week for smelly unneutered male cats. A couple of days ago one I'd taken to be neutered had completely soaked his bedding and I should have binned it rather than bring it into the house for washing as it stank the house out too. Friday morning and another male and female, the male smelly and very loud lead vocals with the female as backup wailer. So over to Southwick at 8 in the morning to collect them, double back over the river to drop them off at Williams & Cumming vets where we always go for neutering cats because Cats Protection only authorise their vouchers for them. After that I head up to Asda to buy the weekly cat food for Carol, usually spending around £60.00.

Once that's done I go to our garage to sort out Meg the psycho cat. This means letting her out of the cage to wander round the garage while I clean out the litter tray, give her fresh water and a sachet of cat food, replace her bedding if neccessary. That done, I sit down in a recliner armchair which has just been donated to the shop but there currently isn't any room which is nice as it's the most comfortable chair I've ever sat and so I spend half an hour reading while Meg roams around the garage, sometimes jumping on my knee and rubbing against me. As long as I'm careful she doesn't usually attack.

Earlier in the week I took the kitten (previously named Missy but now officially, for as long as she stays with us, Daisy) to see Honor at Vets4Pets about her diarrhea. She got an injection and industrial strength Panacur which so far seems to have done the trick as she's gone from about 10 loose motions a day to two normal and less smellier ones. Her stay with us may be curtailed if she doesn't change her ways. Being a kitten she has boundless energy and no fear whatsoever. This includes launching assaults on other cats four times her size and scaring the crap out of them. Except for Big Ted who patiently suffers her assaults until they get too painful and even he loses his cool.

Back to Friday morning and I get a call from Andrea telling me I have to go pick up Trixie (see earlier post) and her fosterer as she has to have a post tumour-op checkup. Sounds like a busy afternoon so I take an early lunch followed by an early nap and wake up with Daisy stretched out next to me.

I pick up the cats and drop them off at Carol's along with the food, which includes three boxes of donated stuff which we couldn't manage without. If anyone from Sainsbury's is reading this: thank you for having our food bin in your store.

Toni, who is fostering Trixie, lives at Hetton which is about as far south as you can get and still be within the city's boundary. Carol lives near Southwick which is the north of the city. To get there I take the busy roads, the A1231 to the A19 then down to the A690 which would get me to Durham if didn't head off at Houghton to get to Hetton where I pick up Toni and Trixie. The way back is more scenic. Sunderland's image is that of a depressed industrial city which is far from the truth. Inside the boundaries are some lovely areas of countryside, not to mention the several parks, and the coastline. The way I take back from Hetton is up on to the hills along Gillas Lane and at one point you get a fantastic view of the city down to the sea. It's a nice run.

Now Carol has also given me a couple of large bags of used (i.e. soiled) cat bedding to take to the tip, so I drive round to the back of the shop figuring I may as well take some rubbish and save myself a trip on Saturday. Once I've done this, I think, my day is over. Wrong. Although Susan is taking Toni to the vets in the car, I have yet another job. I have to pick up a cat and house it in the garage and Carol will take back Meg to make room.  Firstly I drop off Andrea at her house to pick up her bunnie which she and her sister are taking to Vets4Pets, then I go home and collect Meg, drop the rubbish at the tip and drop Meg off at Carol's.

The cat is in a flat somewhere in Deerness Park at the bottom end of Hendon not too far from where I live. However, it isn't numbered and I spend a few minutes before I find the place.

The cat owner is a pisshead and so are his two mates and young woman. They're all in the one room, their ages range from around 30 to 50 is my guess, and they're all drunk and drinking from cans. I suspect that booze might be just one of their problems. One of the men expects me to pay £20.00 for the cat but the owner, the youngest guy tells me to ignore him as he's pissed. He still repeats this request several times. There's no overt threat but I can't help but feel distinctly uneasy.These people are, sadly, near the bottom of society's barrel.

It's a one-room flat containing bed, kitchen,  and living area. The cat is under the kitchen units and the owner is stretched out trying to get him. He rips off one bottom panel but still can't reach it. I suggest I come back tomorrow but he doesn't like that idea. He's focussed on getting the cat and, by implication, he might not be another time. It takes about twenty minutes and involves ripping off more of the unit's base before he can grab the struggling large un-neutered grey tom. I manage to get it in the carrier and the owner sinks to his knees, hands covering his face as he sobs his apologies to the cat. I reassure him that the cat will get a good home and get out of there as fast as I can.

The cat, a large grey and white beast, has been in the cage overnight. When I checked him this morning, cat litter was all over the place and the bedding was soaked, so I put him in a carrier which opens from the top and cleaned up. That done, I opened the carrier and spent about ten minutes just stroking him. He didn't try to jump or climb out and placidly let me pet him, eventually and hesitantly starting to purr softly and rub his head against my hand. If he's like this later today I may let him out into the garage for half an hour and just hope he doesn't go to ground. We'll see. He's booked in for neutering on Monday and just a little while ago I put some flea killer on him. He hadn't eaten much of the food I gave him so I tried some dried food. God knows what he was given to eat where he lived, though he seems healthy enough.

To be continued.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Just an ordinary Wednesday morning. I get up as usual just after 5.30, get dressed, take the dog for a walk in the pouring rain. Here she is-
Dog? Did I say dog? I have 6 cats, one kitten which may stay, and a psycho cat in a cage in the garage. But I don't have a dog.

Nevertheless, I did get up at 5.30 this morning and take the above dog for a walk and, yes, I did wake up in my own home. This isn't a trick. Here's the full story.

On Monday, Susan and Andrea had taken a load of dog food to Westhall boarding kennels which gets a stipend from the council to take in stray dogs from the dog warden. The conditions in which they are kept is far from the highest of standards. On Monday Susan saw this dog which if you look carefully near her hind leg you'll see a tumour the size of a football. The dog, called Trixie, had been there nearly a couple of months and shortly after her arrival a vet said she should be put to sleep. But she'd just been left there.

Susan was so upset by this dog that she decided to take Trixie out and get her checked over at Vets4Pets which she did on Tuesday afternoon with my help. The vet agreed to operate on Wednesday morning (today), though did say she might die under the anaesthetic which was still better than going back to the kennels. 

We brought her home and the cats were terrified. A kitten is one thing but a dog with terrier blood in it, even it is old and tired, was just a bit too much. They all fled. I got a large cage from the shop, set it up in the dining room where no cats are allowed, and Trixie settled down in the large dog basket I'd provided. Just after nine in the evening I took her for a walk. In the pouring rain while Susan watched tv in bed. And, in the morning, I took her for another walk, then we took her to the vets. 

She has come through the operation and, as I write, Susan and Andrea have just gone to pick her up. (Me, I've just got back from the PDSA, having taking an elderly lady and her elderly cat with a broken leg for a checkup.) Trixie will recuperate here for a couple of days and then hopefully go to stay with a fosterer.

She's a harmless old thing and it's impossible not to feel sorry for her. But what this has finally proven to Susan is that no matter how much she might wish it we can't really have a dog permanently in the same house as our six cats. Which I'd been telling her all along but there you go.

Monday, 12 July 2010


The last couple of times I picked up and cuddled Meg, she seemed calmer and gave no sign of threatening to attack. Until this afternoon. I was in the garage with Alex, my nephew, who was helping me put a couple of flatpack shelf units together which, in the event didn't need putting together as the already attached shelves folded down and slotted into place. There were, however, gaps on the shelves themselves which Alex solved by cutting out pieces of cardboard to fit the space otherwise paperbacks or DVDs or CDs would have fallen through.

While he was busy cutting I picked up Meg who'd been howling for attention. In less than half a minute she attacked my face with teeth and claws leaving me bleeding. After bathing the wounds and putting on some Savlon you could hardly see the marks, though two bloodstained tissues attest to the efficacy of the attack. 

So I'm afraid that Meg will not be getting any cuddles. I'll pet her through the bars of the cage but that's all she's getting.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


I'm sure I'm not the first person to use a literary pun like that as a title but it is a good one. It's a little misleading if consider kitty to be short for kitten but not if if it's short for kitty-cat as one is a young cat and the other is a kitten.

Here's Meg.
 Meg was one of two cats I took to the vets on Wednesday for neutering and Carol asked me if I'd keep her in our garage for a few days and give her some 1-1 TLC as Carol herself was finding Meg difficult. Meg had had a rough time of it and Carol thought she might identify her with her previous owner. So I set up the cage in the garage (which had previously been occupied for several months by our niece Sarah who was waiting for parking authorisation in Edinburgh where she'd recently started working)  and left her there overnight while she recovered from the shock of her operation. Thursday afternoon I brought Meg into our living room, let her wander around, and then made a fuss of her.

Ar first she responded, purring loudly and snuggling in to me as I stroked her and scratched her ears. Then she growled, hissed and I had blood on my hands. Mine, not hers. She retreated under the couch where I left her for a couple of hours until, after a lot of effort and more blood, I got her out and took her back to the cage in the garage.

The same thing happened on Thursday afternoon. So I took her back to the cage where she sits on the cat litter and pees and craps on the bedding I provided. Since then I visit her three times a day to change anything which needs it, change the water, feed her, and every time I take her out and cuddle her. And every time she responds with loud purrs until she stops and turns on me and there is my blood on my hands. Also my lymph glands under my armpits have swollen up red and sore and one of the causes of that is cat scratch fever. 

Now I'm just waiting for Carol to have a spare space to take her back as I can't help her. What she needs is someone experienced, patient with lots of spare time, no children (too dangerous), and preferably no other pets. Meg is salvageable but I was cuddling her just a few minutes ago and even while she purred and rubbed against my face I felt as if I was holding an unexploded bomb.

 And here's (the provisionally named) Missy.
 Yesterday (and I'll be doing a post about this) I was about to take a lunch break from a large annual community event where we (Animal Krackers) had a table when I bumped into Gordon, one of AK's founder's, who told me a kitten had been handed in to the shop. I shot round there and brought the kitten home. As you can see, she's an absolutely bog-standard black and white moggie about 4/5 months old, distinguished only by a long lean body and long tail.

She's also absolutely everything a kitten that age should be. She's almost a cliche of a kitten. Plays with cotton mousie, batting it in the air, chasing it, chewing it, etc. Investigating everything (in the front room with the door closed) and sniffing everything. Purring when stroked. Uses cat litter appropriately. Jumping around. Jumping on my knee, rubbing against my face, curling up on my knee and going to sleep. Just a nice socialised kitten who also prefers the cheap cat food sachets from Lidl as opposed to the more expensive Felix.

Yesterday, Susan exhausted from the fray, didn't want anything to do with her. This morning she asked to have the kitten brought up to her (she's stayed in bed all day) and since then has rather warmed to the little thing even to the extent of (provisionally) calling her Missy. Missy has also cautiously interacted with some of the other cats -Leo, one of the largest males, fled in terror. There's been some hissing on both parts but no actual violence.

Around lunchtime I'd called at the shop to pick up some catfood when a man came in and said he knew where the cat had come from. I got a long convoluted story which I couldn't really follow but he ending up saying that the original owner (who had the kitten's mother) would take it back if it didn't have a home already. I told him it had. Whether she stays with us or not, I didn't like the sound of where she came from.

I don't want another black and white cat and not a kitten. Besides I've already fallen for Zoe the four month old kitten with runs (see earlier posts). But I've a feeling neither Susan nor I are going to have much choice in the matter.

Thursday, 8 July 2010


First thing, off to Carol's to take two young females to the vets for neutering. An hour later and just as I was about to leave for my Wednesday coffee morning with retired library colleagues, Susan told me had to go pick up some bathroom tiles. The reason for that was because we were having our bathroom refitted.

So off we went to the tile shop and bought 13 boxes of 1 metre square tiles which I carried from the car to our indoors which is harder work than you might think given my age and general feebleness.

I don't have any other relevant photos of today's activities so here's a picture of Carol's outdoor run.
They aren't really Siamese twins.

One of the cats I'd taken to the vets was giving Carol a bit trouble and she wondered if I'd take it in and give it some tlc to try and relax it. This meant keeping her into a cage in the garage, though I'd try to let have some time in a room in our house and see how she behaved. This has just started.

I also had to pick up an elderly lady and her elderly and injured (possibly broken hind leg) cat (which also turned out to be blind and did have a broken leg) and take them to the PDSA. The lady was 84, she'd had a stroke, several operations, walked with the aid of a stick, and wasn't as sharp as she might have been.  Max the cat turned out to be almost completely blind and the vet wanted to keep him back to sedate him for an x-ray. I dropped the neutered cat back at Carol's, took the old lady home, went back home myself and loaded the van with some of the remains of our bathroom which I then took to the council tip and from then to pick up the cat from the PDSA and drop off Max back at home along with the various instructions I passed on from the vet about Max's care.

After that I had to go to another house where a lady had been feeding a young stray tortoiseshell in order to check it hadn't been microchipped, which it hadn't. Problem was we couldn't take it as we are currently totally full. Luckily there's no hurry as, although the woman doesn't want to keep the cat, she's quite happy having it stay in her garden and feed it for the short term at least. It is a nice little thing and very re-homeable so I've kept her details.

All this lot had kept me busy from around 2.30 -7.30.
And this is the sister of Nosfuratu (whose real name is Rolley).

Sunday, 4 July 2010


Well, we've got a white van, what would you expect it to be used for?

Four o'clock yesterday afternoon and I had to deliver a three piece suite that an elderly lady had bought from us. So, with help, I got it loaded into the van -it just fit- and drove the half mile to its new home. Thankfully the elderly lady had a fit grandson who was able to take most of the load.

While in the room I glanced out the back window and noticed that her back yard had been partly converted into a small garden area and there were two cats in it. She actually had four and all were rescued which is nice. One of them a grey female was halfway up the stairs and I was told she was nervous and didn't really like men. Nevertheless I approached her and she was happy for me to stroke her. In fact, when I stopped she followed me downstairs so I could pet her some more. Damn but I wish I'd been as successful with human females when I was younger as I am with cats.

That done I then went to call on Ann and Joe late of the now defunct Star Rescue who had a three-piece suite (which is this case consists of a couch and one chair and yes it confuses me too) for Carol's new outdoor pen. Thankfully they came with me. To be honest, I didn't think it was possible to fit them through the very narrow passageway -wall on one side, shed on the other- but amazingly we managed. I didn't take any photos of the area with it in; that'll have to wait for another time, but here are some before's. 
Note Nosfuratu the Immoveable on the couch.
This area is still a work in progress and I'll be photographing the changes for this blog as they appear.

12.45 this afternoon and Andrea and I headed off to Seaham to pick up two pregnant dogs aged three and one, the older dog being the mother of the younger. The dogs were looked after and very friendly but the woman had no idea really how care for them properly. She didn't have much idea about anything as just out of shot in one of the photos below is her pregnant 15 year old daughter. We took the dogs back to the shop and within half an hour a Stray-Aid van came to pick them up  to take them to Coxhoe for neutering and re-homing and that was that.

Apart from Susan insisting she wants one. This one.
That's the one on the left. She isn't so sure about the one on the right.
Oh yes, almost forgot. The shop was burgled on Saturday night. The police reckon that someone forgot to lock the back door though someone is adamant he did and that they hid while the shop was being locked up. That next door's back gate was broken in (not out) just suggest that the police were right.
Anyway they didn't get much -about £30.00 in cash and trashed the office but left the desktop pc. A laptop might have been more attractive I suppose.