Sunday, 31 July 2011


This is Josie. She isn't the prettiest of cats and she isn't the most photogenic either. But she does possess a certain je ne sais quoi. No, that isn't true, I know exactly what that certain something is. Let me tell you about it.

Thursday morning and I'd been busy. My usual swim followed by a trip to the post office to put a couple of items I'd sold through Amazon Marketplace in the mail. After a brief return home, it was off to Carol's to pick up her and several cats for a trip to the vets. One was Beauty who needed her eye checking. Then there was a litter of kittens (including the tiny ginger one) who had some kind of substance on the front claws. This turned out to be nothing really and was easily removed with a finger nail scraping it off. Then  there was Baby who has the nasal problem for a checkup.

After dropping Carol off I had another couple of places to visit and finally called in at the shop to have a quick chat with Susan. Two minutes after I got home, Susan called me back to the shop as two lads had arrived with an abandoned young cat they'd found in the centre of Newcastle. One of them was thinking of keeping it but wanted it checked out. I rang Roker Park and they could see it immediately so the three of us went down. Apart from being a little underweight she was otherwise fine. I suggested that I'd keep for a couple of days as the lad who wanted it, while used to animals, needed to get his head together. He said he ring me the next day which he didn't, nor yesterday.

Meanwhile, Josie is ensconced in my living room. I did think of putting her in a cage in the garage but then thought again.
She's a quiet cat with erratic eating habits but that may be her just getting used to being here. Her bowels were a bit lose so I got some wormer from the vets. That seemed to quickly do the job until this morning while I was having my breakfast and she...  Well, I'm sure you can guess the rest.

Although younger, not much over a year the vet guessed, she isn't playful and is frightened of other cats. She does, however, like people. Almost as soon as I sit down in a chair she's over and jumping on my knee where she settles down, purring softly as I stroke her. 

Obviously I'm not keeping her. If I can give up a cute little grey kitten for re-homing I can give up any cat. But I don't think living with that lad would be suitable for her. She needs a quiet animal-free  and ideally child-free home with someone prepared to give her a lot of affection. Once I've had her neutered on Wednesday, I'll put her photo up on the website.

Saturday, 30 July 2011


Here's a link to a story about cats in the Daily Mail.

 Copy and paste into your browser. It's worth reading.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


More from the same three litters with Fluffy the foster-mother.

Below is the kitten Carole called Ugly Betty. She is the second and weakest kitten to survive from a litter of five. Despite her tiny size, she is six weeks old and will be coming up for re-homing soon.
Finally, a few cats who are looking for homes, starting with Jasper a big friendly tabby about 3 years old.

 Above are Poppy and Swea'pea, around 4 months, a bit nervous and in need of intensive TLC to bring them around.

I don't know who this one is as he hasn't told me. Just another youngish black and white cat in need of a home and a lot of love.

Friday, 22 July 2011


But first, I got a call from Carol this morning about Beauty, one of two females I'd taken to Roker Park Vets on Wednesday morning to be neutered. Somehow she had managed to pull out all her stitches. So it was off to the vets to have them replaced and a collar put around her neck. I hate those collars, thin plastic funnel-shaped which are uncomfortable for the cats, make it difficult for them to eat, and get messy easily. This time, however, and at additional cost, something new -an inflatable rubber collar which is much more comfortable for the cat, allows them to eat freely, but stops them getting at the wound.
Much better.

And seeing as I was at Carol's, I thought I may as well take some photos of the mother cat who is currently nursing kittens from three different litters including her own.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Nothing of much interest to report, just the same old stuff, so here, without comment, are new photos taken since the last post.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Sadly, but as Carol expected, the weakest of the five newly born kittens died on Sunday night. The remaining four, which I saw this morning, are doing fine.

Yesterday, I made a second attempt to collect a stray cat for neutering from Seaham and it went a lot better. I took with me a rather large and heavy top-opening canvas cat-carrier. The cat just sat at the back of the shed where it had spent the night and it really wasn't difficult at all to pick it up by the scruff of the neck and drop it into the carrier. It then went berserk trying to get out but quickly settled down.

As I sat in the vets waiting room it seemed rather quiet so I carefully opened the top a little and put my hand in to stroke it. It's mostly white with tabby patches and looked an old and worn and very smelly cat. It didn't move when I touched it and didn't react to my stroking its head and back. 

Once on the vet's table it was also quiet compliant though it wasn't happy when Louise the vet checked its injured right foreleg. I noticed flea dirt in fur and Louise said they give him a spray later on.

When I called back that afternoon, using the car as Phil had the van, the surgery nurse told me that, to my surprise, he wasn't an old cat but actually only around three to judge from the condition of his teeth. They found two spots that were probably not new injuries, one almost certainly a bite wound, and had given him an injection to ease the pain. If there wasn't any improvement in two weeks, he'd need an x-ray. I duly passed this information on to the person who was feeding him and letting him into her house and told me to call her if this was the case. I'll be more surprised if she doesn't than if she does. But he seems like an amenable cat, the lady is willing to give him a home if he wants it, and he's young, so it's worth persevering with him.

I went home and thoroughly disinfected the cat carrier. Meanwhile, Phil had had to do the same to the van. He really was a very smelly cat.

Monday, 11 July 2011


Which is hopefully a more interesting title than What I did last week involving cats and other charity-related stuff which is basically what this post is.

Apres-swim, I did a food run. Normally that would be all that's worth saying about it but this was a little different. After the first stop at Asda to buy 20 6-packs of Kit-e-Kat and Butcher's and to empty the donated food bin (half full as usual), I headed to Morrison's at Doxford Park to see how much had been deposited in the first full week of the new bin there. Not expecting much, I went in with a small trolley and left with it completely full. I  only just managed to get all the contents of the full bin in it. Very impressed indeed. Then it was over to Morrison's at Castletown on the other side of the river to check its first week of donated pet food. 

It was empty. Not a single sachet or tin.

Late afternoon and I took Baby, the Lanchester-found cat (see previous posts), along with Carol who's adopted it, to Roker Park Vets. Baby has an ongoing nasal problem which is currently being treated with steroids. She's a lovely friendly small black cat who is even nicer than my Little Bob. The vet was reasonably pleased with her progress and reduced the dosage. I suspect she'll probably be on some form of drugs for the rest of her life.

6.00pm and we had a committee meeting. I won't go into details but for one thing. In order to centralise animal enquiries, it was decided that any phone calls about animals to the shop or enquiries there would be referred to me on my mobile phone. I'd design a form and fill in the details of each call. Then, at an appropriate time, if it involved dogs or other animals, I'd pass on the details to either Andrea or Phil. I'd deal with any relating to cats.

I designed a form and used it four times that day. Here it is.

ANIMAL:                              AGE:                      SEX:
DOG: BREED/SIZE:                                                           VACCINATED: YES/ NO



Good, eh?

Misty, the little ten-week old grey tabby kitten, is coming along nicely. Nervous at first, she still doesn't like being picked up but she is now coming to me and climbing on to my lap. (Later in the week she'd being to curl up and sleep there as well as trying to make friends with the other cats.) I was worried about her not eating much though she seemed lively and her bowel movements were normal for a kitten of her size.

Not much to report. I collected 15 bags of clothes and bric a brac for the shop from Houghton about four miles away. It's a nice run, mostly along country lanes and roads which is amazing considering I never went outside the boundaries of the City of Sunderland. After that I had coffee in the city centre with ex-colleagues but always friends Denise & Sylvia, showed them my latest photos and told them my recent stories -they're cat fans.

I had to go to Seaham first thing to collect a stray cat which is being fed by a few people to take to Seaton Lane vets (about a mile away from where the cat lived, and run by Roker Park Vets staff). Unfortunately the cat wasn't very co-operative and escaped my clutches. I'm trying again tomorrow morning with a larger and top-loading cat carrier.
It wasn't a wasted journey as I'd booked in Misty to be checked out by the vet. He thought she seemed healthy enough and I should just keep monitoring her.

Another early morning trip to Seaham, this one at the far end of the town to not one of the better areas, to pick up the two mothers and father of the two litters dropped on Carol the previous Saturday night. Can't remember if I've mentioned them before, so here's a photo of the kittens.
The nearer Seaton Lane surgery couldn't handle three operations in a morning, so I took them along to Roker Park.

In the afternoon, after picking them up and dropping them off, I called in at another house at Seaham. The day before I'd had a call asking if we could take a stray cat which this family had been feeding for four weeks but which the daughter had developed an allergy to. I said I'd call round to check on the cat but couldn't promise anything. When I got there, in a part of Seaham as different again to where I'd just been, I found the cat sleeping on a wicker couch in the conservatory. She obviously knew where she was well off.
As you can see, she's very pretty. She was also very friendly and, after I checked her teeth, quite young I thought, maybe around two. There were no signs of her ever being pregnant so she's probably been neutered. I rang Carol who had just rehomed a cat earlier that day and had a space which is why the cat is in a cage.

Got a phone call from a nice-sounding young woman who saw Misty's photo on the Animal Krackers adoption website. She's going to come and have a look at her on Sunday.

Took our cat Toffy to Roker Park to have her stitches out. No problems.

The young woman whom I'll call L arrived to have a look at Misty. Misty had, only half an hour early, weed and crapped in the litter tray. The poo was perfectly normal for a small kitten. Anyway, mid-twenties L seemed really nice with good experience of cats and so we decided she could take her home there and then. The longer we left it and the harder it would be to give her up. Susan, who's currently worried about her health, didn't think it right that we should take a kitten on when, at 63, we might not be around till the end of its life. She still periodically berates me for keeping Daisy and Little Bob, though she loves them as much as I do. I took L and Misty back to L's flat at Moorside and, not without a tug at the heart strings, left them to get to know each other.

I woke from my nap just after four and checked my emails, though there's rarely anything on a Sunday afternoon. However, fifteen minutes earlier I'd been sent an email from someone at Moorside who had a friend who had five newly born but abandoned kittens in his garden. I rang Carol. I went to Moorside. I took the kittens to Carol's.
You may remember the recent story about the cat who had five kittens and three died. The two survivors are now four weeks old. Carol put the new kittens in with them and the mother immediately started caring for them. She can't feed them -Carol does that with a bottle- but she does look after them in every other way.

And back to where we started with a food run. This time there wasn't very much at Doxford Park and only a small amount (but more than nothing) at Castletown. At Carol's, the five kittens were doing okay, though she felt that one was vulnerable. I'll keep you informed.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


What I know about frogs.

There is a song which was popular in the 50's about frogs called Froggie In The Morning.* It goes like this:

Froggie in the morning/ Froggie in the evening/ Froggie at supper time/ Won't you be my little froggie/ and ribbit all the time.

I know that they don't spend most of the time hopping around. They are too lazy for that. Instead their preferred mode of transport is by the mouth of a cat. Usually, they are carried by their bodies though they don't seem to mind being picked up by the head either. When they want to visit my garden, they wait for one of my cats to come along and carry them from their garden to mine. Then, when they are finished playing, they wait for me to pick them up and drop them back over their own fence.

Sometimes they let themselves be carried indoors. On Sunday morning, one frog wanted to come upstairs. When it had finished investigating the underside of the vacuum cleaner, it hopped into the bedroom to see Susan. Susan appreciated this friendly visit by the loud noise she made. She insists it was an exclamation of delight and not a scream. Perhaps I spoiled the visit by taking the frog away too quickly.

And that's what I know about frogs.

*This is a lie.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


When I left Carol's yesterday afternoon, I took away with me a flea spray and de-wormer for Misty the fluffy grey kitten. About 7.30 that evening, I got a call from Carol wanting the flea spray back as she'd just been landed with five kittens. Seven actually, but the rescuer who brought them was keeping two for herself. I also found myself landed with the job of getting the three parents -two female, one male- neutered.

So here are some photos of the new batch, starting with a group picture.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


But first, one that I picked up this afternoon from the quayside area and took to Carol's. S/he's about 9 weeks old and howled the whole way.

And now the one you've all been waiting for... 

In just a moment.

I put the kitten in a big cage in our living room overnight. It's so big that I could get in the scratching post. I covered the floor with paper and put the litter tray on top of it. I also left food and milk as well as a nice thick blanket for it to sleep on.

Next morning, I found it had ignored the litter tray and instead wet and soiled the newspaper. Omigord! An untrained kitten! However, I wondered if something else might be the reason. So off I went to Asda to get cheap clumping litter and used it to replace the wood chippings we prefer (light and easy to clean). Within half an hour, the kitten was happily wee-ing and poo-ing away in the new litter.