Saturday, 31 December 2011


Not surprisingly it's been very quiet since the last post eleven days ago. I've been grappling (a singularly inappropriate choice of word if ever there was) with the physical limitations imposed by the strained shoulder muscle which, for much of the time, severely limited the used of my right arm.

All bar two black and white kittens have now been re-homed as well as a couple of adult cats though these were replaced almost immediately. We've been doing well for donated cat and dog food, not only from the donation bins at Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsburys (my thanks to their generous customers) but also from individuals and in one case a collection from a local church (again, my thanks to everyone who contributed).

My shoulder now seems to be on the mend and I'm psychologically gearing up for whatever the new year brings. Susan and I will be having a fairly quiet New Years Eve but that suits us. Hope you all have a good one and that your hangovers aren't too severe.

Images from Google.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


Note: a longer version (which contains rude words and sentiments likely to upset the religious) has appeared in my Freethinking blog posted about three hours earlier.

A pain in my shoulder, which made raising my right arm also painful, started on Sunday. By Monday teatime it was getting worse so I went to the walk-in health centre at Grindon.  The place was almost empty and I got seen by a nurse within half an hour. He made me raise my arms in various positions and checked the muscles before deciding I'd pulled a muscle in the shoulder, probably through heavy lifting. 

Well I do heavy lifting quite a lot, loading up the van with unsaleable stuff to take from the shop to the tip or stuck stuff to  another charity like Barnardos. There was also the weekly tip trip from Carole's with a van full of sacks of soiled cat bedding and used cat litter and other smelly stuff. And in the last couple of days I'd done three trips to empty a flat of items we could sell. So heavy lifting is nothing unusual.

Then I realised what had caused it.

Until recently the skips at the council were about waist height (plus six feet further down) making it easy to get stuff out of the van and drop it in with no great effort. Now, however, the council have installed new skips which are twice the height and necessitate climbing up several steps to get to the rim which is then still higher than the old ones. When this happened I asked Carole to put less items in the black sacks and, when light enough, had got into the habit of hurling them over the rim with my right arm, sometimes without even going up the steps, and did the same with shop tip trip stuff when light enough. This was not a good idea.

So:diagnosis pulled muscle. Treatment: paracetemol and rest.

And about 1.30am I woke up in agony. Even the slightest movement caused pain. I struggled through the night until around 4.30 when I got up, emptied smelly cat litter, let cats out, read a magazine, and at 5.00am took two paracetamol and went back to bed. The pills must have had some effect as I dozed until half seven when I again woke in agony. An hour later I was on the phone to the doctor's. I wasn't disagreeing with the diagnosis, I just wanted to be prescribed heavy duty painkillers. She told me to start taking ibuprofen every three hours alternating with paracetamol and trying heat treatment (a hot water bottle on my shoulder). 
So I'm going to have be careful what I do this week with regard to cat-related activities. I certainly can't do any tip runs and transporting food (which involves collecting from three food bins and two deliveries) is going to be a delicate operation. 
I just hope this pain goes away by Christmas.

Sooner would be better.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


So I normally deal with cats which is what I did on Tuesday morning. I picked up a lady and her young cat who'd caught her paw in a door and had been limping ever since and took them to the vets. Luckily it was just a broken toe which would heal with rest and a regular doses of Metacam painkiller. 

That, I thought, was my lot for the day but I got a call from Carole about a guy we know and regularly help who takes in animals in need, when he can, and he'd just taken in a rat (which was fine) and a ferret which wasn't. Indeed he thought it had a broken leg. So I picked up him and ferret, which he'd got in a hamster cage, from the north side of Sunderland and took them to Roker Park vets. While in the waiting room, he got the ferret out to show the receptionist.

The ferret was obviously used to being handled and our rescuer was more than familiar with them. I did learn something though. No matter how friendly a ferret is, it's tempting fate to put your fingers next to its mouth. In this case it was my thumb which the little sweetheart duly nipped but without drawing blood.

The vet checked him out and said his leg wasn't broken, though the skin was inflamed. It was just in a poor condition which antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and some TLC would take care of. I like ferrets and rats, though I don't have much experience of either. I just think they're cute. If I couldn't have cats (or a dog) a ferret would be third on the list, maybe second as I wouldn't have to take it for walks in the pouring rain on a winter's day.

Here are some more photographs of Fred (which isn't his name as he doesn't officially have one, I just like alliteration). I noticed that when he curled into a ball, a bit like cats, he didn't go to sleep immediately but rotated his curled up body like a wheel until he decided he'd got it right.

When I dropped them off I had a look at the rat which he'd taken in. Just your standard pet rat which is to say an intelligent playful friendly little animal.

In addition to these and some more conventional pets, Gary also had a rainbow crab. It was in a fish tank which was quite dark so I had to lean over, press the flash to find out where it was then take a few snaps to get a decent picture. As far as I could tell, all a rainbow crab does is sit in damp sand and occasionally snacks on cat food.

Monday, 12 December 2011


It's been a fairly quiet week since the last post with not a huge amount happening on the cat front and, barring surprises and other than the usual routines like getting cat food, not much is scheduled this week. All the kittens have either gone to new homes or, having been booked, are waiting a week or so until they are old enough to go to their new owners. Apart from one cat with diarrhea who has had to go on a special diet, there are no health problems.

I did take our cat Big Ted to the vets because there's something just not quite right about him. Honor of Vets4Pets took a fair amount of blood from him to have a wide spectrum of blood tests. Only some of the results are back and there is no sign of feline leukaemia or FIP. Where there is a divergence from the norm it's only by a little and nothing to be concerned about. The rest should arrive in the middle of this week.

I finally managed to get my act together and send Phil a series of photos plus brief details of adult cats which need homes to go up on our official animal adoption website. I really hope we get some response as we haven't re-homed an adult cat in four weeks now. The corollary to this is that I have to turn down every call I get asking if we can take in their cat/s. There are some heartbreaking stories but you can't add to a full glass. I doubt if things will get much better with Christmas and New Year coming up.

Here are some photos I've called Cats on Beds because... well...

The first three are Leo, Little Bob, and Daisy. The second two are Lotus, our newest and at 14 our eldest and Little Bob, coincidentally our youngest. All feature on previous posts.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Just a collection of photos, taken on Friday, of cats and kittens needing homes.

These three are very scared ferals who need an expert carer to look after them.

Bonus photos.

A mongrel mother and her 10-day old pups fathered by a bull mastiff. She has a lovely nature and her pups will be bigger than her in two months or less.

Monday, 28 November 2011


No, they've just begun.

Mary, who runs our shop in Villette Road, needed her two dogs neutering so I was happy to transport them all (actually separate visits) to the vets at Roker. The first was DJ, a friendly English Mastiff with an unsocial behavioural habit with regard to people that necessitated the removal of the contents of his scrotal sac. The other was Alec, a Jack Russell, who is friendly with people but has a tendency to attack every other living thing, dogs in particular, hence his debollocking.

Mary is also temporarily fostering a dog and her six week-old puppies. She's very protective of them and tends to grumble -not really a growl- when anyone comes near, though she'll tolerate being stroked. Just don't try and move her pups.

And this is what they all look like.

 Alec, having seen another dog in the waiting room, turns psycho.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


But it was too funny (and not necessarily inaccurate) not to share.

A forwarded email from my friend Barry-

Right up yer street - I changed the name on the last line from original "RSPCA", but as I know you'll be forwarding this, the substitute is better!

Forwarded message
From: stewart fox
                                                                How to give a cat medication

1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3) Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.

4) Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right fore-finger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6) Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees. Hold front and rear paws firmly. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7) Retrieve cat from curtain rail. Get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered Doulton figures from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8) Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to stretch out flat on top of cat with head just visible from below arm-pit. Put pill in end of drinking straw. Force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9) Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans. Drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10) Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11) Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of your last tetanus shot. Throw tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12) Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

13) Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed, force cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet steak. Hold head vertically and pour pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14) Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop by the furniture store on way home to order new table.

15) Arrange for Ian to find a new home for cat and ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters

Post Script (Ian)
Um, no, I don't think I'd better comment after all.


(The use of song titles is temporarily suspended.)

(You didn't notice. Oh well.)

(Oh Well was a late 60's song by Fleetwood Mac.)

There's not much to report. Their development continues and they are available for re-homing at £60.00 per pair, £40.00 each, but we'd rather they went as pairs. Contact Elizabeth on 0191 581 7976. They'll be nervous at first and probably want to hide but give them time and they'll make great pets. Gawaine, it seems, should have a name change to Gwen.

The real reason for this post is that Elizabeth emailed me the following photos (slightly cropped by me) which are too good not to use. Better than mine, that's for sure.

Update to the previous post.

Earlier this week I received an email from a couple who had just set up home together and wanted two kitten, one of them, ideally, ginger. We didn't, as far as I knew, have any and replied accordingly, hope they'd be interested in the wild ones above. Then I saw the two ginger siblings yesterday, blogged about it which the couple saw and, as far as I know, the kittens should now be in their new home.

If it was always that easy we wouldn't be full up and unable to take any cats in.

Friday, 25 November 2011


There are always exceptions but if I have a typical day it's like this -starts with an early (7.30) swim, followed by picking up cat(s) to take to the vets either for an appointment or to leave for some reason, and there's often something else to do after that. I tend to get a break from late morning (watch a recorded TV program, have lunch, then a nap) until mid-afternoon when it's out to the vets to collect cats and either take them home or to Carole's.

Today was just a little busier. I didn't have time for a swim as Carole needed more catfood so I went up to Asda to buy some and then over to Thorney Close, a council estate just off Durham Road, to pick up a cat to take to the vets for neutering. I got half an hour back home before setting off for a doctor's appointment (which often means a half hour wait but the doctor is a good one) for one of my regular checkups. Then back home and see above.

I was out early this time, 1.30, as I had to do a runaround. Across the Queen Alexandra Bridge to the North Hylton trading estate not far from the north bank of the Wear to Pets at Home to pick up kitten food, then to nearby Morrisons at Castletown, and after that to darkest Hylton Castle estate (named after the ruins of Hylton Castle -yes, a real old castle) to pick up some bedding for Carole from someone. I used to run Hylton Castle library for about four years in the mid-90's and know the area well. That done it was over to Carole's -it was like a loop with three stops along the bottom road before looping up and round back along the top road- to deliver all the stuff and pick up a cat to have her stitches out. I'd overestimated the time I needed for all this so I had about twenty minutes to spare playing with the cats and kittens and taking photographs.

I'm pleased to report that the most dangerous domestic cat on Earth is now no longer the most dangerous domestic cat on Earth. She still reaches out with a paw but it's to get your attention so you can make a fuss of her not so she can draw blood. Clearly she just needed time to settle down and feel secure.

Carole had also taken in two six week old ginger kittens.

Also playing around were a younger ginger kitten and her calico sibling plus a white and black formerly feral kitten.

And for your further delight-

The last photograph above is of the cat I was about to take to have her stitches (which are visible) out.

The cat safely and stitch-free back at Carole's it was off to a different vets to pick up the now neutered young tom cat to take back to Thorney Close and then home.