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.

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