Saturday, 29 January 2011


I've started being more meticulous about keeping a diary. No, not one of those about everything I did, rather a brief entry like 2 cats to W&C neutering 8.30. Plus useful stuff like doctor's appointments. If I don't I forget as my memory is very poor.

The entry for Monday this week reads: Pickup at Christmas Close (not the real address). pm Easington Coll drop off.  The second is quickly explained. The rescue StrayAid is opening a charity shop in Easington Colliery, a depressed ex-mining village, and we're helping them with stock and other support. So this was me driving down there with a van full of stuff to drop off.

The first entry is more interesting. The story we got was that this woman had been feeding a stray cat  for a weeks but couldn't keep on doing it. Like we hadn't heard that one before. I picked it up -a one bedroom flat, young couple who knew nothing and had nothing- and took it away. On inspection it proved to be a female which had only stopped nursing kittens around a week or so earlier. There were two interpretations to this. One: that the kittens had been abandoned somewhere near where the couple lived. Or, two, that the cat was hers and now they got rid of (probably sold) the kittens they didn't want the mother any longer.

I did take some photos but none are good enough to show here. She's a young black cat and seems nice enough. Shouldn't be too much bother rehoming.

We got another kitten from a woman who bought it froma  pet shop for £120 and within 24 hours realised she'd made a terrible mistake. Nothing wrong with the kitten; it was just doing what kittens do, like climb up the curtains. Kittens, by weight, are the most destructive animals in the known universe as anyone who's had one will tell you. It's a cute little thing, playful, friendly, naughty.

On Thursday, and I'm going to be deliberately vague about the details here, I went to check on a kitten we'd rehomed which was ready for neutering. I'd been informed via a third party that all was not, perhaps, well. 

Not so. Although being kept as house cat in a smallish flat, the kitten was healthy, friendly, obviously loved, and had plenty of company from its responsible owner. The information had clearly come from someone with an axe to grind. Me, I was more than happy with the situation.

One o'clock in the afternoon that same day and I was off to Easington Colliery again for another drop-off. Back home, as soon I got my foot in the door the phone rang and I had to go take three cats to vets for a variety of reasons. One was losing weight, another might have a damaged rib, can't remember the third. One of them also had a red-raw ear from scratching mites.The vet checked them over and asked to see two of them back if there was no improvement. Today, Saturday, there isn't so I'm off to pick the pair up and take them over to Roker Park Vets right now.


Sunday, 23 January 2011


And usually a quiet one apart from maybe a tip run or two. I don't go swimming at the weekend mainly because the place doesn't open until 9.00. So, cats allowing, I had a little lie-in and checked my email around 8.30.

To find a request from a Spanish lady to take care of her maine coon cat which, because of airline expense, she can't take with her when she leaves the country in a few days time. I checked to see if we could take it and emailed her with a contact number. Also got an email from my friend Cathi recommending the gym as being better than swimming and suggesting I get my doctor to refer me

Not long after that I was out on the road heading south to Murton a few miles away to pick up a couple about my age to take through to choose a cat to adopt. Peter had suffered from a stroke recently and (without my mentioning this) sang the praises of being medically referred to a gymn via the NHS. Okay, okay, I can take a hint.

C had out a lovely four year old female for them, her soft coat a mix of calico and tortoiseshell. Add to an affectionate nature and it was a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately I hadn't thought to bring my camera. So back down the A19 to Murton with happy couple and cat.

The Maine Coon (whose name was Lynda, it being adorned on the collar) was found a new home within a couple of hours with a friend of C's, who already has one and is experienced with this breed, whose name is (and I swear I'm not making this up) Linda.

I read somewhere once that it would be extremely odd if coincidences didn't happen, which I believe, so I don't imbue them with any significance. Still, it's fun when they happen.

The following photo has been lifted from Google and, not having seen the cat, I have no idea if it's anything like this. Still, we all like looking at nice pictures of pussies, don't we.

Friday, 21 January 2011


My GP's been on at me to lose weight so, apart from including salads in my diet, this week I've been putting more effort into my morning swim. This Thursday (yesterday), I managed 20 lengths in 28 minutes which is slow by most standards but a considerable improvement by mine -I normally manage that in 36mins on a good day. I was so pleased that I swam another 10 and then went home and slept for an hour.

After that I got my act together and sorted out the cat food and receipts and wrote them up for AK's treasurer who'd been nagging me for ages. And quite right too. I'm the great procrastinator: never do today that which you can put off to another day in the hopes that it will go away. Of course it doesn't but what was once a tiny psychological pebble grows into a huge boulder which gets harder and harder to get round to shifting.

That done, it was off to the shop to pick up a heavy cabinet for delivery. I was helped by Michael, a young lad who's with us for a few weeks. We dropped it off at a house three miles away, called in at sheltered accomodation to pick up some donated stuff and took it back to the shop. Then I went to Asda to collect a bin full of donated cat and dog food. With that sorted and stored in our garage, I sat down to a cup of coffee, secure in the knowledge that I had the rest of the afternoon free.

Then the phone rang.

I did finish my coffee, then it was back to the shop to pick up Andrea to take her home to pick up a microchip scanner and then on to Cairo Street in Hendon (part of our patch where we are quite well known) to see a lady who had found a bleeding Siamese cat on her doorstep that morning. It appeared to have a damaged back paw. We scanned it but to no result. After popping it in a cat carrier, I dropped Andrea off at the shop and headed for Roker Park Vets (I'd made an appointment before seeing the cat) on the north side of the river.

Here she is on the vet's table.
She was a very placid and quiet cat, never uttering a sound or attempting to struggle while she was being examined, happy too to be held and stroked. She's also old with very few teeth and seemed traumatised, to me, by her recent experiences. Her paw had been damaged and the vet was able to pull one nail completely off. He gave her a couple of injections and that was that. I also picked up a male which we've taken over after the RSPCA dropped it off there and we paid for the neutering. I took both of them to the rescue, as pre-arranged. (Sometimes I'm quite well organised, just not often enough.)

(Update: the owner rang C late last night and is collecting the cat this morning. Apparently they -an elderly male and female pair, possibly used for breeding- were given to her after being advertised in the Sunderland Echo as 'free to a good home'. They'd been kept as house cats but had gotten out and ran off. The male was found dead shortly after. So, a happy end but but a sad story.)

I was able to take some final photographs of the world's cutest kittens before they go to their new homes today. Their lovely friendly mother, however, will be available after she's been neutered. 

Bonus feature: Cats On A Bed.
Starring: Daisy, Little Bob, and Max.
Plus: surprise guest star.

Little Bob: "She's got a ham sandwich!" Daisy: "I wants it, my precious."

Monday, 17 January 2011


Only one trip to the vets and that on Wednesday morning to take two for neutering.

On Thursday I picked up a lady in her 70's who wanted a cat. Her previous cat had died a month earlier of old age. I'd met the lady before and taken her and her cat to the PDSA a few months ago and knew she'd provide a good home. After looking at several she finally picked a neutered four year old female with thick black fur which will need a lot of grooming but her new owner is quite happy to do that. I picked her up and stroked her and she seemed like a placid cat. Here she is.

Saturday I picked up two five month old kittens for re-homing. The couple, who had two young boys, had got them from someone they new who wanted rid of them in a hurry. However, on top of their children and three other cats all in a small house this was just a little too much. They'll get re-homed quite easily.

And that -apart from roaming around in the van making several trips to collect donations for the shop, several visits to the council tip to drop off bags of used cat litter, soiled bedding, unsaleable stock in poor condition, and a couple of trips to pass on decent but stuck stock to Barnardo's in the city centre, and a committee meeting one evening- was that.

Monday, 10 January 2011


Firstly there are the obvious reasons, so let's get them out the way to start with.

1.  I love writing and have spent much of my spare time since my teenage years writing for pleasure be it fiction or non fiction..
2.  I love cats.
3. Cat rescuing and my general involvement with Animal Krackers plays an important part of my life, particularly since my retirement in August 2008.

However, the most important reasons I write about cat rescuing  are as follows.

I hope that my experiences in animal rescue will enlighten those who aren't aware of what it entails, while admitting that everyone involved will have different experiences, but then I can only write about mine with any authority. 

I hope that people who come across my blog will find it interesting and enjoyable  -if only by looking at the various photographs I post- and understand the delight I have in working to help cats (and  the occasional dog).

I hope it will inform people about cat behaviour and cat problems. 

Writing for this blog is also very different from writing for my Freethinking blog.  Freethinking is more varied in content but significantly it doesn't as a rule mention real people in real situations except when it's about something like a political issue. Catrescuing is all about real situations and, as a result, certain constraints are placed on me. I very rarely identify anyone by their full name and sometimes give them a false one or fudge certain details so as not to make them readily identifiable. Just recently someone I have dealings with has asked me not to include him/her in this blog and I feel obliged to accede to the request to respect this person's privacy.

What I am not prepared to do is alter the nature of this blog. I was recently told that people don't want sad stories of cats being put to sleep. They want happy stories about animals.

Well, if they do they'll have to go elsewhere. While I hope that this blog may encourage re-homing of animals that isn't its prime purpose. Animal rescue can be very rewarding work but it can also be heart-breaking, annoying, frustrating, and at times makes you feel like punching certain people. This is a warts and all blog not a bland icky  Hello, my name is Tiddles and I'm looking for a new mummy or daddy. 

At the weekend I was rung up by H and asked to help out an elderly lady who was having problems with a recently acquired cat and not being helped by a visiting relative. The following day I was rung up again and asked if I'd actually be able to take the cat. I made a couple of calls and sorted something out. Then I went round. The cat was nervous though I eventually managed to get hold of it and stroke it to calm it down before popping it into the cat carrier. I may have been seeing the lady on a bad day -her right hand was swollen from a cat scratch and she was clearly stressed- but really she was very elderly and not in the best of health. While the cat was very therapeutic in providing company and affection, the general looking after it involved was a little too much. Not helping was the dynamic between her and the visiting relative which was also causing problems. The cat went but nothing was really resolved and no-one -well, one perhaps- was happy with the result.

And there you go. A little story which is all part of cat rescuing and one which I feel is valid to relate. I like to think this blog is also about people and that human stories are also interesting. I may not always succeed in what I'm trying to do either in terms of writing this blog or animal rescue but that's life.

Monday, 3 January 2011


Right, now that's over it's back to cats.

On Christmas Eve, Susan had to take our Lily to the vets and she just managed to get in. The cat had an abscess on her tail which had burst and was in a mess. The vet sedated her, cleaned and stitched the wound and out a bandage on. The bandage lasted until the following Wednesday evening by which time it was apparent that the wound was healing well.

On Thursday I called in at Carol's with a pile of food and looked at the new kittens. There were three, just at rehomable age in a cat carrier and a black 5 month old female whose mood alternated between very friendly and somewhat bitey. I think it's just how she's approached but would benefit from someone used to cats. Not a starter cat in other words. Her legs seem a bit on the short side, don't they?

One of the other cats -Meg aka Psycho cat- wasn't in a good way so I took her to Roker Park vets. I was also carrying an old cat which had died in her sleep for them to take care of. Sadly, Meg was in a worse state than we thought and it was decided to put her to sleep. I wasn't happy about this as I was rather fond of the moody old soul but felt it was the right thing to do. Not to do so would only have prolonged her suffering. Apart from not being well, she wasn't a happy cat, didn't like the other cats she shared space with, and was too old and temperamental to re-home. Here she is in better days.