Thursday, 30 September 2010


Just a few photographs I took  on Tuesday.

I took this one to the vet's this afternoon to have her teeth checked. She was so friendly, she rolled over on the table.

Likes people, hates other cats which is why she spends almost all her time on her perch. She even craps and pees from it.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


No, it's not that bad, that's just what you call an attention-grabbing headline. It's just that I can't quite remember what animal-related activities I was involved with on Thursday.  I did go swimming and later went into to town bit that's all that comes to mind. 


Friday morning I picked up a cat for neutering, then to the post office (I've been doing quite well the last few weeks selling stuff on Amazon Marketplace), then to Asda for cat food for Carol .  

I picked the cat up in the afternoon and took about a dozen sacks of used cat bedding to the Council tip for Carol. Then I went to put some food down for the feral family I've been feeding. When I got there I saw a staffy sitting nearby and it started to investigate the food when I moved away. When I remonstrated with it it moved off in an amiable manner and approached a woman and her daughter. The woman, who owned the friendly staffy, told me that she sometimes fed the mother and kittens in her garden while the dog paid them no attention whatsoever and also that 'some woman from the RSPCA' had taken the kittens away earlier in the week.

Around 6.00 in the evening Carol rang to say the piece was in the Echo and I dashed up to Asda to get a couple of copies. When I've got it scanned I'll print it here. The photographer must have been good as I look almost human.
Saturday was busy. It started off taking the cat  who had had the mergency hysterectomy back to the vets for a checkup and after dropping it back at Carol's, took two friendly  elderly black cats to South Shields to live with Rachel who, as I've mentioned in previous posts takes old cats from us as the ones she has die off. She rang Carol later to say how nice they were.

Earlier I'd got a call on my mobile from Susan who told me that a bloke was bringing a kitten he'd found on the balcony of his third floor apartment in the town centre to the shop. So, after I finished with Rachel, that was where I headed. Now as a few of Carol's cats had the sniffles I didn't want to expose the kitten to them and thought it might be an idea if we fostered him for a few days. Of course that was how we ended up with young Daisy. Surprisingly Susan didn't object. He's a Fluffy little black thing somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks old, very friendly but nervous of other cats. Daisy, the ungrateful little sod, took against him straight away. All three male cats politely sniffed him and left him alone. We've now had him for 32 hours and Susan wants to keep him. Daisy, she's no longer so sure about.

I tried to get an afternoon nap but it wasn't long before Carol rang me to ask if I could take a black cat to a bloke who'd seen the article and wanted a black cat (duh). The only catch being he lived in Langley Park on the far side of Durham, a place I can't recall having visited in my entire life. Oh, and he didn't finish work till 6.30. Sox o'clock and I picked up the cat from Carol's and headed off into the wilderness -okay, it was the same road I use to get to Tracy's at Burnhope only I take a different turnoff sooner. I stopped in the centre of Langley Park to ask for directions and discovered that as the crow flies I was only about a hundred yards from my destination but as I wasn't travelling by crow I had to drive to top of the road, turn left and go down a back lane from where I phoned the guy. I'd stopped only two doors away from his ground floor flat which was at the back of a butcher's shop. There were a few kids playing in the lane, one of them holding a four week old kitten. 

The man was very genuine and had a framed collage of photos of his late cat and dog. The cat I'd brought had a sniff around and seemed quite relaxed and I had a good feeling. He then shook my hand, said the cat was the exact double of his dead cat and gave me forty pounds which is quite generous.

This morning when Phil came to borrow the van for dogs he told me the battery light was on and that the van wasn't safe to drive as it could break down at any time. Oh, I said and didn't bother to tell him I'd been driving around with  the light going on and off for a couple of weeks. I thought it was just a loose connections.

Here are some photos.
Two recent arrivals with the Lanchester kitten.
The cat post-hysterectomy.
The kitten that was found on a third floor balcony but is staying with us.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Because Carol didn't have anywhere to keep a young unneutered male separate so he could be starved overnight, I took him home and put him in a cage in the garage. The poor cat had only arrived that afternoon, dumped on Carol by its younger owners who didn't want him any more. When it comes to neutering, for practical purposes males are her priority as they're more likely to spray and fight with the other cats so I replaced a female I was due to take with him. He wasn't aggressive but a little nervous though easy to handle and I felt was somewhat confused and depressed, poor thing.

In the morning I dropped him off, came home and got ready to go out for my Wednesday coffee morning with two or three retired colleagues of mine. Then Carol rang. I had originally booked in a couple of females to be neutered when one of them decided to have kittens last Friday. She had three, one still-born, a tabby and a blak and white. She also had terrible diarrhea. One kitten died within two days and when Carol rang me about the mother, the third was on its last legs.
I picked up the cat with its kitten and took it to Roker Park vets by which time the kitten had died. Carol had thought the mother might have one left inside her but that didn't turn out to be the case though she was bleeding from her rear. I left her with the vet who would perform a hysterectomy.

Lunchtime and it was back to Carol's as a Sunderland Echo photographer was arriving to take pictures for a piece about the cats. She turned out to be a nice young woman in her late twenties who had once worked as a veterinary nurse. She took a few posed pictures of me holding a couple of adult tabbies and several solo shots. Whether any ever appear is up to the Sunderland Echo's editor. They done this before and nothing has happened but then again about 10 months ago they did a double-page spread about us with a big photo of me the centre so you never know. I shall let you know what happens.

At 4.30 I picked up the now neutered tom cat and then went over to Roker Park vets for the other. While sitting waiting I started chatting to the couple who had just brought in their newly acquired two kittens when I recognised them. They been adopted from us only four days ago and one had developed an eye infection. I even had a couple of photos of them still on the disc in my camera.

I went in to see the vet about the cat and when I came out I found Andrea and Susan my dearly beloved, along with shop helper Edie. I knew what this was about as I'd had a phone call from Edie earlier. At lunchtime she'd taken in a lurcher, which had had a leg amputated last week, as a fosterer and not long after it had slipped its lead and ran off. Seeing as I was there, Susan decided that she'd take the two cats to Carol's and I'd drive Andrea and Edie around to look for the dog. Went down to the quayside in between the National Glass Centre and a newish modern extension of Sunderland University complex where Edie and Andrea asked Glass Centre staff and some people fishing off the quay to keep an eye out for the dog  and gave them numbers to call.

When I was a kid you couldn't have gone down there and it certainly wasn't quiet and peaceful. For about a mile upriver from the mouth up and on either side there were cranes, docks, drydocks, sheds, ships of all shapes and sizes and Sunderland was known as the biggest shipbuilding town (as opposed to city) in the world. The place was a maze of machines and noise and light and men with sweat-streaked ruddy faces working as if in the fires of hell. My grandad (who died before I was eight and now I'm seven years older that he was when he left us) was the chief engineer of one of many small cargo-carrying ships which sailed around the UK coast.

After that, we dropped Edie off and I took Andrea home. Ten minutes later I was about to start cooking my tea when the call came that the dog had been found by Gemma daughter of Lyn the head honchess of Pawz for Thought and only a couple of streets away from Edie. Picked Andrea up, picked the dog up, went to Edie's.  All's well that end's well. Went home. 

The surviving Lanchester kitten now seems to be thriving. She's bright eyed, lively, and likes a cuddle. But she's not very photogenic.

Something I else I found out yesterday. A couple of weeks back I took a young cat to the vets which ended up having to be put to sleep because the vet found masses in its chest and it was clearly suffering. Yesterday when I asked Carol how the cat was who bit me so deeply I ended up at Casualty (see earlier post), she told me it was that one and thought I knew. Poor thing.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Nowhere, I just haven't been in the mood for blogging either here or on Freethinking. It isn't as if I don't have anything to write about either here or there. I've just been busy and when I stop being busy I just can't get it together to write anything. So this is just a few snippets.

One of the Lanchester kittens had to be put to sleep as it was slowly dying and suffering. Its sister, however, after a little concern, seems to be thriving. Now just over four weeks old, she's a lively and inquisitive little things who doesn't mind being cuddled.

This week I was due to take five females for neutering but one suddenly gave birth. One kitten was stillborn and another died this morning. Carol doesn't hold much hope for the survivor as its mother isn't the healthiest of cats and has been suffering from diarrhea.

Some cats and kittens have been re-homed and more have come in. Several cats have been neutered with more this week and more to come. There are always more to come.

This is the surviving Lanchester kitten at the vets a week ago. She's bigger and stronger now.

I'm also feeding a family of ferals which someone contacted us about. No photos as yet as I've only seen them once. I don't really want to get involved with ferals as we have enough to do already and there are only four of us in Animal Krackers actively hands-on with animals but one of our regulars contacted us about them. I'm someone with more experience will take over.

That's it. I'm done.

Thursday, 2 September 2010


-because I just have a lousy memory which is one of the reasons I'm doing this blog, a reminder to myself.

One thing that I can't emphasise enough -and indeed I don't emphasise it enough- is that I am only one of several people actively involved in cat rescuing in Sunderland and I'm far from the hardest working. There is Carol, my cat-partner in crime, who looks after over 30 cats at any one time as well as managing family committments. And I certainly can't forget Gillian and Jean of Feline Friends who've been doing this far longer than I have and have helped us on many occasions.
I honestly do not have their dedication and sacrifice, I'm too selfish. I need time for the things that I enjoy including swimming, reading, writing, listening to music, watching films, doing computer stuff (mostly checking my favourite websites). 
If there's anyone who feels they should have been included (see lousy memory above), let me know. Better yet, anyone involved in animal rescue in the area has an open invitation to contribute a guest piece to this blog. I'd be delighted to see it.
On with the show.

There's a guy who lives in a flat in Hendon and he's been accumulating a few stray cats which have now got too much for him. Carol agreed to take on one mother and two lots of three kittens and I went round to pick them up. The poor things were so terrified that they couldn't be caught so I left two cat carriers and arranged to collect them on Friday morning which I duly did.
They were from different mothers and the youngest litter was by far the most nervous. You'll see the photograph underneath with the young tabby in front of her litter-mates. I put my hand in and she swiped it.

The older litter were also nervous but I was able to put my hand in there and gently stroke them without incurring any injury. Out of sight because it's being sat on is a tortoiseshell.

Carol couldn't manage all of them so she agreed to keep the younger litter and Tracy at Burnhope was willing to accept the older three plus the mother which was where I went next for a long drive in the country. If you're new to this blog, I've written about Tracy and her rescue in several previous posts.

Bank Holiday Monday and I had nothing scheduled. Theoretically Susan and I could relax which, in our house, means do housework. Then Andrea rang wanting me to collect her and go pick up a recently re-homed dog at Ryhope as the owner's other older dog was ill and the new one a lot of work. Here she is (the new dog, not the owner).
Off we went to Ferryfarm Kennels where we met Lisa of the pet taxi service who'd brought in a lively weimariner for rehoming. I took a photograph of that as well for the adoption website. After dropping the dogs off, Andrea and I went to Lisa's home to photograph a 10-week old greyhound puppy. I also took a photo of Andrea with the baby that Lisa had had with her partner but I don't do baby photos, not here, not anywhere. The puppy was lovely and sat on my knee for a while.

Tuesday, another day with nothing scheduled until Carol rings. She's desperate for more cat food.

Before I can do anything about it, the phone rings again. A man and his wife have bought an 8-week old kitten from Emmerson's pet shop  and it's not very friendly. I spend some time talking to him but basically saying that all the kitten needs is time, patience, and love. I also told him that I don't recommend buying kittens or puppies from pet shops because they generally aren't as well looked after as those which can be obtained from rescues like ours where the animals are socialised and cared for properly. I'm not going to say what I really think about Emmersons because I don't want to be sued. It is, however, a documented fact that the local authority has looked into complaints about the shop in the past and it is not held in high esteem by members of the local animal rescue community.

Then another phone call, this time from the shop where they have had a phone call from someone who's about to leave on holiday but is concerned about kittens living in the bushes near her home. Susan and I go out in the van to do a couple of jobs and also pick up some cat food for Carol. Then we go and try to find the kittens. It turns out to be easier to find them than it is to find the street where they are. When we finally do find it, I walk by some bushes and see a little furry head peering out from a small gap. I try it and a black and white sibling which appears with a sachet of food and they guzzle it down. Good, now we put down a plate with two tins of food and push it into the bushes where the two kittens are joined by two more and their mother who took in. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera. They are feral and nervous but not actually aggressive and I even manage to briefly touch one.
Yesterday Susan went back twice with food but it wasn't touched all day. She checked again this morning and the food had been eaten but that could have been by rats. I'm going to have a look when I've finished typing this post and see what happens.

In the afternoon I troll along to Carol's with the food which should be enough until Friday's normal food run. She has taken in the kitten from this morning's phone call. I'm a bit annoyed about this after the time I spent talking to the couple and as Carol has too many cats as it is. It is underweight and nervous but not aggressive. It's in a cage with the three kittens I picked up last week. While still unsure, none of them are aggressive now and, if nervous, tolerate me stroking them. The one that lashed out at me actually seems to like being stroked.

Yesterday and today are trips to the vets with a female cat and picking them up later. Tomorrow it's the Friday food run to Asda and then Carol's. Apart from popping out with some food and to check on the ferals I've nothing else on except for arranging more neutering at the Vets and contacting people who've asked for vouchers. Might even get caught up with my Freethinking blog.