Saturday, 30 October 2010


Another week gone with cats rescued and some cats rehomed, and even more taken the the vets for neutering and other stuff.

The latest rescued is this 7 month old boy who was reluctantly given up because his owner's young son has asthma caused by cat fur. Her older daughter, however, has stopped speaking to her. Don't blame the kid either because the cat is lovely and friendly. He's currently in our garage because Carole has no room but thinks she might have a home for him after the weekend.
Monday night we were called out to a small abandoned factory at Hendon where Jean Frost, an independent cat rescuer who works with local organisations like ourselves, was trapping feral cats which live there. This colony had been there for a while and only a few months ago we caught two kittens which were tamed and rehomed. The cats are used to people and another night Jean met a married couple who regularly fed them. On Monday, however, there were a lot of people around, particularly kids, and I think Jean needed a little moral support. She'd trapped three and wanted one which she felt might be tamable taken to Carole's, which I duly did. Within a couple of days the cat, while still nervous, could be stroked. Yesterday I took it and two kittens (see below) for neutering. Jean has now neutered all but one of the colony. First is the feral.
I've taken a lovely friendly young black cat to Roker Park Vets because it appears to be losing weight and is certainly thin for its age. Both the vet and Carole think it should improve with a loving home. (Sorry, no photo.) Also no photo of a cat I've been trying to catch which has been hanging round a chicken processing factory on a trading estate nearby for over six weeks now. One of the workers there rang me because he's worried about it surviving hte cold weather and says it is friendly. I've seen it once but couldn't get near so I'll have to borrow a trap. However, I'll to get rid the cat at the top of this post first as I don't have the room.

On the home front, Daisy but particularly Little Bob continue to be delightful. Daisy doesn't like being picked up but does like climbing on top of me while I'm in bed and purring loudly as I stroke her. Little Bob loves being picked up and petted and either curling up next to me on the settee or sleeping in my lap. He's also lively and into everything. He and Daisy remain best friends, chasing and jumping on each other, indulging in mutual grooming, and often sleeping next to each other. Domesticated things you make my heart sing.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Another installment of what appears now to be a weekly cat rescuing blog. There's no curse, I've just been watching a few horror movies and I like alliteration.

Thursday afternoon I called in a Roker Park Vets to pick up a cat which had to have the fur from halfway down its back to the base of the tail shorn. The cat lives almost entirely on a crossbar above the gate into the open area where the rescued cats live because she hates/ is terrified of other cats. She eats up there, pees and shits from up there, and can't turn round properly to groom herself. The nurse told me she was absolutely adorable. At Carol's I picked up a sweet-faced young female tabby which I took home to stay overnight in the garage prior to dropping her off for neutering the next morning.

Afternoon and I dropped the cat and a shedload of cat food off at Carol's and picked up a dozen bags of soiled cat bedding to take to the tip on the way home. Back home, I'd literally got through the door when the phone rang. 

Can you take two ten week old kittens. Ring Carol. Go for the kittens. Nice lady and she was having the mother neutered the same day. Kittens, all back, well socialised, cute. Take them to Carol's.

A relatively quiet week on the whole and I managed to go swimming for five mornings in a row. Amigo, the cat with the torn ligaments, had to go back to have his stitches out. For the first half he was okay, the next two he growled, the next one his teeth went into my hand and his claws into my arm after that. So he's going back next week to have the rest out under sedation. Bad cat!

Today Andrea had her much loved dog Milly put to sleep. She was old and had cancer and was suffering. It's the hardest and kindest thing any pet owner can do.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Of course last Caturday didn't stay quiet.

In the evening I was just about to tuck into a Chinese takeaway, indeed I'd eaten about a quarter of it, when the phone rang. Big Ian from the shop needed to go to the emergency vets because his dog had had some kind of a fit. Lady is an oldish collie type with a docile and amenable character and Ian is very protective of her. So, off in the van through to the PDSA emergency vet service (which charges a hundred quid fee if you aren't on benefit) a Heworth, Gateshead. The vet was a very nice woman of Irish extraction who was very thorough and explained that it probably wasn't a fit but rather a form of diziness brought about by fluid being dislodged in the inner ear, It probably wouldn't happen again but if it did then Lady would need further treatment. All in all, a relief really.

The rest of the following week was relatively normal. Several early morning trips to Williams & Cummings with cats for neutering, a couple of trips to Roker Park vets for checkups on cats. At one point it looked as if I might be picking up a couple of ferals for neutering but that's currently on hold.

Friday morning, after a swim and dropping off a cat for neutering, I went to pick up Steven a youngish guy and his cat to take them to the PDSA. I wouldn't say he was special needs exactly but I would call him vulnerable. Late twenties, maybe, he lives in a one-room flat with his cat which he took in a couple of years ago and he's on Benefit. He'd contacted Susan whom he knew as he was concerned about the cat who'd been bitten on the leg a few weeks ago and his behaviour had changed in that it didn't stay out for long like he'd used to do. My first impression was that the cat, a plump tabby/white thing, seemed in good condition. I asked him what he called the cat and got the answer: "Fatty"!

Anyway, off to the PDSA for a half hour wait, surrounded by a variety of dogs, most of them staffies, and a variety of people like the big tatooed muscle man clutching a shih-tsu, the small woman with a massive dobermann which threatened to drag her around the waiting room,a plump woman with three white mice, an elderly man with his elderly dog both hobbling ungainly along as either might collapse at any time.

Finally we went in and I held the cat by her front shoulders as the vet, who remembered me from other times when I'd brought people here, checked it out. The result was that there was nothing wrong with the cat as the vet patiently explained. Steven, who had never had a cat before, was just being overcautious and concerned about the change in the cat's behaviour. I didn't mind as Steven felt reassured and he knows he has some external support with regards to the cat.

Here are a couple of photos of our two kittens: the recently neutered Daisy and Little Bob, best friends.
The picture quality isn't so good on this second one because the camera focussed on the quilt in the foreground. I'll have to watch this in future.

Friday teatime and I had to rush round in the van to the local B&Q hardware store. I parked in what I didn't realise wasn't a proper bay and on the way out scraped against the adjacent car. Being a noble and honest person I went back into the store to confess my sins. The young guy who owned the car was very good about it and seemed to appreciate my owning up. 

I just haven't told Susan about this yet. You won't, will you?

Saturday, 9 October 2010


Which is ironic because, other than filling in a few neutering vouchers (the last we have from Cats Protection) for two people who got some kittens from us, I should have nothing to do on the Animal Krackers front. So here's a cat update.

Clara, the cat whose kittens all died within four days and needed an emergency hysterectomy, has been discovered to have an enlarged heart with a rate varying from rapid to almost dead stop. She's quite young, less than five probably, but won't have a long lifespan. Rachel, who takes our elderly cats as the ones she's adopted come to the end of their lives, has taken Clara so she'll be properly looked after for however long she has.

On Wednesday Carol took in a young male which had been living in a childrens' home but wasn't wanted. Carol thought it had a damaged leg and we left it overnight at Roker Park Vets for it to be x-rayed and then treated the following morning. Turns out its cruciate ligament had been damaged, among other tissue damage, as if it's leg had been trapped and the cat had tried desperately to pull away. I suspect if we hadn't taken the cat when we did, the rest of the cat's life would be short and painful. The vet, Mr Murphy, repaired the damage at a cost of £260.00 to the charity

When we first arrived to get the cat, Amigo, checked out, I chatted to a very nice lady who'd brought her elderly dog for treatment. She suddenly asked if she could give us a donation and handed me a £20.00 note which I immediately passed over to Carol. First time that's happened in a vets; usually we just get good wishes.

Yesterday morning I was back at Williams & Cummings within half an hour after dropping off a cat to be neutered for our Little Bob to be checked. He seems to have stopped vomiting but his faeces are still liquid. Victor (Molina, we're on first name terms these days) the vet said his temperature was normal and there were no blockages so he gave me a couple of extra things to try. I also discovered that Little Bob will eat a particular kind of sachet called Feline Fayre (there are three varieties) which boasts '60% real fish' and LB ate a whole sachet of it this morning which is a relief as he can't live on fresh fish and chicken for the rest of his life. Well, he could quite easily but it is also easier and less messy to open a sachet than fanny about cooking for him.

So far next week I have: 3 cats to book in for neutering; on Monday take Frankenstein's Cat and another one back for checkups; Wednesday take Amigo back to be checked. Plus the usual expected food runs, tip runs, pickups and dropoffs. Sound relatively quiet? Yes, but it won't stay that way.

It never does.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


This poor nervous soul was dumped on us by his owners. He's about ten months old and I had him neutered at the beginning of the week. He's currently being fostered with Lynn.
Meg, aka Psycho Cat, had terribly matted fur on her rear end and seemed to have no inclination to groom herself. She was shorn under anaesthetic last week and this is the result.
A recently arrived six week old kitten has been found a home with the neighbour of a veterinary nurse.
Some of Carol's cats.
This is the 21 year old cat referred to in the previous post and this is what she looks like now the open wound/cancerous lump on her back has been removed. From now on I will remember her as Frankenstein's Cat.
More of Carol's cats including FC.

And these should be self-explanatory.
 I brought this one home tonight to be neutered tomorrow.
Here is Big Ted and Little Bob on the window of my study. Ted can sometimes be a bit thuggish with the older cats but he's been astonishly patient with Daisy and Bob.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010



4.00am. Wake up and go to the toilet. Try to get back to sleep. Daisy, the 6 month old kitten, climbs on top of me and purrs loudly.
5.00am. Ted wakes me up either by miaowing or touch my nose or both. I get up and let him out. Try to go back to sleep.
6.00am. Get up, go downstairs, let cats our, put outside any cat litter trays which have been heavily used. Put food down for cats. Eat cereal while trying to fend off Little Bob the 3-month old kitten.
 Little Bob 
 (handed in at the shop two weeks ago and taken home by me)

6.45am. Switch on computer and check emails for any overnight Amazon marketplace sales. Read the Daily Mail Online hoping to get righteously annoyed by some of their over the top right-wing pronouncements. "Red Ed, the new Labour leader, refuses to condemn all strikes outright!" I paraphrase but that is the gist.

7.15am. Get dressed, make Susan a cup of tea, let cats in, put down more food, clean out litter trays and replace litter. Collect cat from its overnight stay in a cage in the garage; clean out its used litter tray, put it in the van.

7.40am. Arrive at Raich Carter Sports Centre for a half hour swim.

8.20am. Drop off cat at Williams and Cummings vets for neutering.

8.40am. Pick up cat from Carol's and take to W&C to have staples removed from its tummy at 9.15.

9.30am. Put cat back in van and go back inside to wait for Susan who is bringing Little Bob for 9.45. Little Bob has been sick a couple of times and has developed extremely runny diarrhea and we're worried about him.

10.15am. Take cat back to Carol's and go home to clean out more cat litter. Do some housework. (Oh yes I do, Susan!). Check emails and potter about on the Internet checking some of my favourite sites.

12.00. Tired and decide to take a nap.

12.05pm. Phone rings.

12.06pm. Tired and decide to take a nap.

12.10pm. Phone rings.

12.15pm. Make a couple of sandwiches and have a cup of coffee.
 Most lunchtimes I watch an episode of a tv series I've taped (i.e. recorded on the black Virgin box's hard drive) from the night before. Currently recording as I'm typing this is Waterloo Road. Others include: Smallville (current series coming to an end), The Vampire Diaries (just started and much better than people who haven't watched it realise), True Blood (waiting for Season 3), Glee (waiting for Season 2), Skins (waiting for series 5), Castle (with the great Nathan Fillion without whom it probably wouldn't completed its first season and the only thing worth watching on the Alibi channel), and stuff I've forgotten.

1.45pm. Susan rings and tells me to pick up some stuff from a house round the corner. I call in at the shop before I realise she means that I have to get some  stuff from a house round the corner not pick up stuff from the shop to deliver to the etc. I get some bedding for Carol while I'm there and then go get the stuff which I take back to the shop.

2.30pm. I collect the cat from W&C and take it to Star Rescue (actually defunct but they still help out occasionally) at Seaburn from where it will be transferred to a new home  in Newcastle the following day. It's a nice little black and white two year old female in case you were wondering. Then it's back up the road to Roker Park Vets to collect two cats I'd left there the night before. One had tests of various kind. The other, Megan, a surprisingly active 21 year old (and that is not a typo) long haired tortoiseshell had a lump removed from her back which manifested itself as an open wound. The lump is probably cancerous but the operation will give her a few months more at the very least. she now looks like Frankenstein's cat having a bald central patch with a long stitch from her ribs, over the spine, and down to the other set of ribs. Both go back to Carol's where is pick up a dozen black sacks full of used smelly bedding and take it to the council tip. All this takes me up to-

5.00pm. Make a cup of coffee, feed the cats, clean up any used cat litter, check my email, etc.

5.45pm. Head off for Houghton-le-Spring four miles away to pick up a cat. To be honest, I don't usually have evening pickups to do but this is a fairly accurate record of my activities on one day this week. I collect the cat from an elderly lady who seems to take in local waifs and strays and take it back home to spend the night in a cage in the garage.

6.30pm. Can't be bothered to cook so I get some fish and chips on the way home. After eating it and watching a bit tv together, Susan goes upstairs to watch tv (Alibi channel or any crime series showing) in bed and I go on the computer.

9.00pm. Slide in a DVD and pour a glass of wine (and later a couple more). I'm currently rewatching the Firefly box set, Joss Whedon's brilliant. SF series. 
I could, if I had the energy or the interest do a blog called DVD A DAY as I do do that every evening at the same time (except on the couple of nights a month when I go out for a drink). I don't always watch a complete DVD disc every evening as it may be a tv series box set as in the case of Firefly (starring the great Nathan Fillion, see above) or Glee, but usually it's a movie which, if it's too long or I want to watch some of the extras (this latter being infrequent as I usually don't bother with them). Often it's Horror or SF or Fantasy but not neccessarily.
Here's what's on my to watch shelf: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish, read the book and its two sequels), Gone Baby Gone (thriller directed by Ben Affleck), Hard Revenge Milly (Japanese action/gore), Exte (Japanese horror), Red Cliff (epic John Woo Chinese historical), Ran (Akira Kurosawa's historical epic based on King Lear), The Good the Bad and the Ugly (and if you don't know what that is you're reading the wrong blog), The World At War (complete 11-disc DVD documentary series remastered and to be reviewed for Amazon Vine), and Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki's latest animation). But tonight, Firefly continues.
The crew of Firefly

Some time between 11.00 and 11.30pm I go to bed.

Post Script.
I've put in a couple of things that happened on different days and it might be a little more packed than a normal day but it really isn't untypical. It's a lot of little things separated by varying spans of time which aren't really long enough for me to settle down and get my head into doing something constructive (like actually writing more of the novel which I write mentally while I'm swimming, and blogging, and several other things I keep putting off doing).
Today I took Daisy, our second newest cat to be neutered, then Carol rang and I had to take Clara (which recently had to have an emergency hysterectomy) to Roker Park as she thought there was something wrong with its side. The vet couldn't find anything but he did discover a very erratic heart rate and has kept her in overnight to X-ray her heart under anaesthetic in the morning.
There's always something unexpected.

(This is also being published in my Freethinking blog.)