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.

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