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.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


That's Wednesday, that is.

Another early start so I skipped swimming and went to pick up Mary and her little terror of a terrier Alec to take to Roker Park for neutering. Alec is lovely with people but highly overactive and attacks any animal -dog, cat, whatever, he comes across, except for housemate DJ the English Mastiff (and big softy) who I'd taken to be neutered on Monday. Mind you, he had a very difficult early life before Mary took him on.

At the vets was Elizabeth who'd brought the young cat Tilly (see previous post) to be neutered. I was able to give Elizabeth the good news that Tilly's previous owner, who'd had the cat pretty much dumped on her, was willing to give it another try following a promise of support from her adult daughter. So Elizabeth didn't need to come and pick the cat up in the afternoon as I'd do that when I came to collect Alec. Which is what happened.

Late morning and I received a phone call from a gentleman who asked if we could take in a 3 month old kitten which, after a quick call to Carole, we could and I'd come now and collect it.

When I got there (not far away) I got some more background about the situation. The gentleman and his wife were known cat-lovers and had, in the past, helped feed a colony of ferals that lived in a nearby abandoned factory. He'd been feeding a ginger feral in his back yard for the last five years and in the last few weeks a friendly kitten had started coming round to be fed. He'd also set up a cat kennel in the yard as a place to shelter and sleep for the two animals. He also had one cat of his own, a blind 17 year old female.

I told him that, while I was happy to take the kitten, we hadn't re-homed a cat or kitten in over three weeks and the best that would happen would be that it would be stuck in a cage for an indefinite period of time. It seemed to me that, and it was obvious he was fond of the little thing, the kitten would be better off staying where it was. As long as it didn't bother the older cat (which it didn't seemed to when it came inside), there was no reason why he shouldn't keep it. I'd picked it up and it happily purred away while I stroked it. I'd also take care of the neutering when it got a little older. I'd also de-flea and worm it in a few days time.

So he's keeping the kitten and giving it a very good home.

Result! Two results! in fact.

Oh, and here is the little cutie.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


That's how I sometimes feel how much I can do. While, admittedly, late evening calls are rare, they do happen and one happened last week. I was watching a DVD and drinking wine around ten o'clock in the evening which is, to be truthful, a pretty regular occurrence when the phone went. The daughter of one of our regulars had seen a very thin kitten scavenging beside the bins at Macdonalds just over half a mile away down the road. While a long way from being drunk I'd be lucky to pass a breathalyser and I never under any circumstances drive after I've been drinking. So I told this lady if she could catch the kitten, I'd take it in. She went, checked, didn't see it, so next morning I drove along there and spoke to a maintenance guy on site. He'd been working since four in the morning and hadn't seen the kitten though he had seen a couple of foxes. Knowing of Animal Krackers, he said if he did come  across he'd let us know. But he never did.

Sunday morning is usually quiet but not Sunday gone. I got a call from a lady who needed to re-home a cat she'd more or less been dumped with. I knew about this one as Andrea had had hoped Elizabeth our new fosterer would take it on but I'd got in first with the four kittens. Feeling guilty, I contacted Elizabeth about it and she kindly agreed to take it on.

Then Carole rang in desperate need of food but there was a problem that, even though I had enough for her to last the day, the van was in use all tomorrow and later this morning by Susan. It seemed insoluble until Susan agreed to delay her use of the van.

So it was off to Pallion, an area of Sunderland not far from the river to pick up the cat, which turned out to be a pretty little thing, and then to Elizabeth's house at Dalton le Dale a few miles south. The four not really wild kittens she was fostering for us were coming along nicely, all four now playing together and purring when cuddled, so she took the cat cage they were living in, leaving free them to roam the spare room, and placed it in her conservatory. The kittens, although they'd recently been wormed, correctly so as results proved, they stil had a touch of diarrhea and we're waiting for sample results. Anyway, the cat, Tilly by name, was placed in the cage and is off for neutering tomorrow morning.  As you can she's very pretty but nervous -apparently she's had a bit of a rough time of it- and it's taking a few days for her to settle in.

And after that, the trip to Asda to buy cat food and empty the pet food donation bin, on to Sainsburys to empty theirs and off to Carole's to deliver it. 

Confession time. We haven't re-homed a cat for three weeks and we're getting desperate. We just can not take any more cats in. It's a shame because we have a lot of lovely friendly cats, almost all under two years of age, who would make great pets. Here are some of them.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


After dropping off the fecal samples (see previous post), I head up the A19 to Carole's where I had to pick up two cats to take to the vets to leave overnight for their neutering operations. Including the sweet little angel above who looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. Not only would it melt, it would superheat so much she'd spit it out as boiling oil. Go anywhere near her and she lashes out. I bent down (her cage is on top of another cage) to take some photos of kittens and a paw stretched through the bars to swipe the top of my head. I don't know what's happened to her but she is so scared it comes out as unrestrained aggression.

And I had to put her in a cage.

I got a large towel, lifted the top off the cage and she was out of there like a shot and careening around the kitchen, leaping onto bench tops, jumping down, bolting into the cupboard where a very large dog sleeps, out again just as quickly and only stopped when Carole dropped the top of her cage on her. I then eased the cat carrier inside and pinned her in a corner so that she had no option but to go in it. All that remained was to carefully, very carefully, slot the plastic bolts into place.

Carole had a few new cats and kittens in so I took some photos of them and some of cats and kittens you've seen here before.