Thursday, 17 February 2011


Up and out early to Asda to buy the week's cat food. Then, there being not much in the donations bin, I headed down the road to Sainsburys to check theirs which proved much better. And on over to Southwick to unload the food and collect three cats for neutering at Roker Park Vets. These were the little cat I'd rescued when only a few days old from a friend's doorstep at Lanchester, a recently-finished lactating ginger cat, and a pretty female tabby I'd never seen before.

After getting home I learned that the cat I'd picked up from Middle Herrington which had gone in the shop office and then been fostered out was back in the office. Don't know why. Then I got a call from the couple who'd taken in the abandoned cat from the Gentoo flat who were finding it too lively for them. Apparently it would wake them up at 5.30am. Still, we all have different tolerances. Me, I get woken by cats wanting to be out any time from just after midnight to no later than 4.30am. 

I did place a 'found' ad in the Sunderland Echo about the office-residing cat but have had only two calls so far, neither of them from the cat's owner.

Later I dropped off one of our helpers who'd bought a load of stuff that day at her home at Dawdon in Seaham then headed over to the vets for 4.00pm to pick up the cats.

A busy day, which is fine, and a little bit of an annoying one too. Not so fine.

The last couple of days have been fairly quiet. It won't last.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Which is the total distance from my house to pick up two cats at Southwick on t'other side of the river, on to Tracy's rescue at Burnhope (deep in the Durham countryside, see several previous posts), and home again.

Tracy had agreed to take a couple of our cats. One of which was the little black and white sod who climbs up people (see previous post) and a lovely long haired one who had just arrived.

Regular readers may remember that Tracy has a rather large gravel yard on which several cockerels strut their stuff, ignored by the cats which laze around. This time I was greeted by a barking dog I'd never seen before. I assumed it would be friendly to be roaming around there and it was. It sniffed at the cats and let me make a fuss of it.

Once the cats were settled in their new (hopefully) temporary homes (see above), Tracy asked me if I'd take some photos for her website (just added to the sidebar) which I was happy to do and here are a few of them. For some reason I didn't take a photo of a lovely friendly little black kitten but what the hell, you've seen one lovely friendly black kitten you've seen them all and I've got a lovely friendly black kitten at home anyway.
These two are son and mother.
Laser-eyes here is a feral.

These two aren't feral but it didn't stop them hissing at me.

Tracy doesn't just have cats, cockerels, the odd dog, and guinea pigs (which being in cages I tend to forget about), she also has these.
They are very friendly but you can't get them to sit in your lap the way you can a cat.

From top to bottom: One bird, one horse, one Tracy, one dog.

I always like visiting Tracy's rescue. I never know quite what I'm going to find.

Friday, 11 February 2011


Which began on Monday.

There's a lady who lives at Washington with 7 cats and has decided that's four too many and she wants to re-home the youngest, these being three about a year old and one aged six months. We don't have any room at present but we could take the kitten, as these are easy to re-home, and did so on Monday morning. Here it is plus another one we hope to take on later.

Later that afternoon I received a call at home from a representative of Gentoo.
(Gentoo used to known as something like Sunderland Housing Group and is responsible for what used to be Sunderland council housing. It changed its name not many years ago to Gentoo, also the name of a species of penguin, a name which, like Sunderland's new football stadium The Stadium of Light, was received with raucous laughter but, like the SOL, is now just accepted. I thought it was also a reasonable pun on Generation 2 but that might be giving them more credit than they deserve.)
Anyway, the guy had rang to find out when we were going to collect an abandoned cat from one of its properties. Which was news to me. Apparently they had called the shop on Saturday and a certain someone there had acquiesced to their request but never bothered to tell me. I won't embarass the person by naming her; suffice to say she's been known to complain about my snoring. The guy mentioned he'd been asked for a donation. I wondered if it would come out of his pocket which would be unfair but he assured me he could claim it back as long I gave him an official receipt.
Having no room anywhere, the cat would have to go in a cage in my garage which isn't a great option but better than any alternatives so I duly turned up the next morning with a cat carrier. The flat was a pig sty, (I've seen worse though) rubbish piled up down one side of bed with the cat hiding underneath it. When I lifted the bed I was surprised the cat could fit underneath as more rubbish was piled under it. We caught the cat and I put it in the carrier, being assured that it was friendly. The man and woman who were dealing with the case were very appreciative. Apparently the cat's owner was supposed to collect it the previous Friday but hadn't turned up. she'd also broken in over the weekend but left the cat.
It is indeed friendly and here it is.

Prior to collecting the cat on Tuesday morning, at 8.15am I was picking up four cats to go to the vets for neutering, including Monday's kitten. Usually they go to Williams & Cummings but Roker Park Practice was having 25% discount for a couple of months and their new charges would save us a bit of money, so no contest. Mid afternoon and I was buying cat food from Asda and collecting cat bedding and donated food from the shop and then picking up the four now-neutered cats.

And so to Wednesday.
Mid-morning I got a call from a lady who had been feeding a stray for over a week but was unwilling to keep on doing it. Luckily the shop office now had a space and, as the cat fit into the at risk category, I agreed to pick it up. Another friendly but nervous black and white female. The lady who'd been looking after it gave me a decent donation which was appreciated. 
The cat, like I said, was friendly but nervous and hid behind the office couch. When I got her out and put her on my knee she was happy to stay there and rubbed against my knuckles.
By chance while I was in the shop, there were people actually wanting cats and both came upstairs to look at this one. I didn't really want to let her go as she hasn't been lost long and I'm going to put a small ad in the local paper about her. 
What did happen was that I showed off some photographs I had in my camera with the result that one lady went to pick up the Washington kitten and was also impressed with the mother of the cute fluffy kittens (see earlier post) but she's waiting to see how the kitten gets on with her older cat first.
A couple (a little younger than me, I think) with the husband in a motorised wheelchair liked the look of the garage cat, came up to see it, liked it and agreed to have it for a week's fostering with a view to keeping it permanently. Once they got home, I brought the cat down in the van. It's nice and cosy and I think the three of them will be very happy. They're both born-again Christians and were surprised to learn that I'm an atheist. After some polite conversation, rather than risk saying anything which might offend them (and my views on religion are offensive to profoundly religious people), I said my goodbyes. I'll say goodbye to this topic too as it's more suited to my Freethinking blog.

Anyway, a good day. Two recently acquired cats re-homed with a third being a distinct possibility. A good day.

Thursday found me in the company of a long-haired 20-ish student called Andrew. Susan knows him and his family and that he's doing a course in photography and thought it would be a good idea if he took a bunch of photographs of our cats in need of re-homing. You've all seen my amateurish photos, so his had to be better. In the next day or so I'll be arranging to have them placed on the Sunderland Animal Adoption website so you can see for yourself. There are, however, two I want to show you because...

This one turned out to have a temperature so I took it, with another, to Roker Park after I'd dropped off Andrew in town. The vet checked her out, gave her an injection and she went easily into the box, whereupon she turned round and swiped at my left thumb with a sharp claw and drew blood.

This boy is very friendly. Demandingly so and will use his claws to make sure he gets your attention. Using his claws, he will climb up your clothes and your flesh until you notice him and make a fuss of him. Or, as in my case, scream, "I'm bleeding all over the cuff of my jacket you little sod!"

Understand, I'm used to being scratched by cats. I'm used to the brief pain. I'm used to the brightly flowing blood. I'm used to constantly having scabs on the backs of my hands, on my legs, and on my chest. I just get annoyed when it gets on my clothes, that's all.

Still, apart from the massive blood loss, it's been quite a good, busy week on the whole.

Friday, 4 February 2011


This isn't intended to be a weekly post but it seems to be have been going that way for a while now. Sometimes I might manage a couple in a week but not often.

Anyway, this post is mostly about Stray Aid. I've mentioned them several times in previous posts and you can check out their website in the newly added sidebar of favourite websites. And if you live in the North East of England I strongly recommend that you do. In the past we've helped out their charity shop at Seaham and very recently helped them set up a new shop at Easington Colliery (grand opening tomorrow) by providing stock and with Bernice, one of our helpers who lives there, getting the shop organised. We also send food and bedding to their base at Coxhoe. I did that on Monday of this week but, as I found out later, not all of the bedding we had for them so we scheduled another trip for today. There are photos of Stray Aid scattered around in several posts with the best, perhaps, being the recent Snow Dogs entry.

Stray Aid also sometimes take dogs from us for re-homing -they are primarily a dog rescue- but also occasionally cats. Earlier this week at young cat was handed in at the unopened shop at Easington and Andrea and Susan brought it through to stay temporarily in the office of Animal Krackers shop. He's a youngish un-neutered male with a quiet and very friendly nature. Susan even asked me if we could take him in. This, after frequently telling me off for bringing home Daisy and then Little Bob a few months ago. Here he is.
He's not the most prepossessing of cats but he has a vulnerable appealing charm.

A lady from Washington has been in touch with us about handing over four of her seven cats as they're too much for her. One is only six months old so we can her as she'll be rehomed in five minutes. I had hoped that Stray Aid would take the other three but when I rang they only had space for two. Now someone locally had been pestering us to take her cat -she's pregnant, a common reason for dumping animals, cats in particular- so that was the two.

However Cat One above was fostered out but too late for me to arrange for another cat so this morning I loaded up with bedding and went to pick up the cat. This heavily pregnant woman opened the door holding a cigarette in one hand. To say this annoyed me, and for more than one reason, was an understatement but I said nothing. She was pleasant enough and, apart from being overweight, the cat was quietly friendly and placid and in good condition.

So off we went to Stray Aid where Sue the vet checked her out and, as I'd forgotten to ask her name, called her Carmel. Here's Carmel.
Although not as heavy as she looks, Carmel still weighed in at 6kg. She was fine on the examination table, letting herself be poked and prodded without too much complaint and no real struggle.

Sue put her in a carrier and while we were talking brought out a kitten, which had just been handed in, for examination. I helped hold the little thing while it went through the same procedure Carmel had. Its bottom was a little mucky so Sue snipped away a few clumps of matted fur. Wherever it had come from, it had been handled regularly was quite happy to held and stroked and purred loudly in appreciation. John, Sue's husband and partner in Stray Aid, came in and we chatted about the problems animal rescues faced -mainly from people who had no understanding of the limitations small local charities like ours face in terms of resources. I'd have quite happily talked all day as long as I was holding the kitten but we all had places to be and things to do. So here's the kitten.

When I got home I brought in with me a piece of cat furniture I'd picked up on my travels. It smelled somewhat of smoke so I gave it a going over with a catnip spray, got out my camera and sat back to watch.

Normally the only place you'd find six of our cats together is in the kitchen at feeding time, and there's another one out of shot.