Friday, 4 November 2011


Sorry about the long delay between posts but I mislaid my camera at some point and only found it a short time ago today. For some reason, apart from being busy and just not in the damn mood, it put me off posting as I like to have new photos with a post. There've been a few things going on and I may mention some of them if they come to mind, but otherwise I'm concentrating on two cats.

The first one-
-was an 18 month old tabby who was dropped off at Roker Park vets for neutering and thence to be put in our tender care, except that the only space for him was in the cage in my garage. He turned out to be a nice little cat, friendly but a little shy. Luckily Tracy at Burnhope agreed to take him a couple of days later. My camera having just gone missing it meant I couldn't take any photos but I probably wouldn't have anyway. It was a grey overcast day and as I drove up the steep long bank to Burnhope, the mist grew thicker and thicker and thicker and thicker until by the time I got to Tracy's you could barely see the trees on the main road 50 yards away. All the animals -the ferals, the cockerels, the donkeys and horse were all indoors. 

And that's it for the tabby. Here are a few more photos of him.

There's a much longer story about the second cat. Here she is.
At lunchtime on Tuesday I received a call from the admin offices of student accommodation at Low Row down by the river. A very thin but friendly cat had been hanging around for a couple of days and they were worried about it. So I did what I usually do: jump.

This is a bit of a source of discord between Susan and myself. Susan believes that when I hear the words help and cat, I shouldn't just jump up and go into action, I should pause and consider what alternative actions are available to me. She's right, of course. Something else happened this week involving a cat where I agreed to a certain course of action and then told Susan about it. She came up with a different idea which, ultimately, had the same ending but meant it didn't cost us money and the situation was resolved in less time and effort than it otherwise would have taken. Can't argue with that.

In this case, however, the only alternative was to leave the cat where it was. So I went and got her and she was extremely thin. I took her home to the cage in the garage which I'd set up with cat litter tray, food, water, and bedding -the sort of tent you can see her sitting in which is thick and cosy and keeps her warm.

During the course of the afternoon, she twice soiled the bedding material I'd laid down on the floor of the cage. Usually I use scrap bits of carpet but I didn't have any. She ate the single sachet of food I'd put down. On Wednesday she didn't eat any of the food I'd put down and soiled the cat-tent. She was also curled up and none-responsive. Now I was really concerned so I managed to get her booked in a Roker Park vets to be checked over. Mr Murphy found a swelling in her stomach which he thought might be cancer and suggested an exploratory operation. Because this would cost over a hundred pounds, I rang Susan to check that it was okay, expecting to be given the go-ahead. Susan was at the shop and she mentioned it to another committee member who was there who suggested waiting a couple of days to see how things developed. I got very annoyed about this, said a couple of rude things and said I'd pay for the expletive deleted operation myself. As it turned, this time I was right.

The operation would go ahead the next morning with the understanding that if they found cancer, the cat would be euthanised while unconscious. I gave them my mobile number as I was going to be out and about for quite a while. Part of this out and about was taking a guy and his cat from Hetton on the far south west of the city boundary to the new PDSA hospital on the north side of the river and taking them (just him as it sadly turned out) back home. This was the alternative that Susan came up with which  I mentioned above.

To everyone's surprise, it wasn't cancer. What they found was a seriously large mass consisting of human hair, cat fur, and fragments of tin foil. This was almost certainly what was causing the problem -though Mr Murphy suggested the possibility that it might be FIV (feline AIDS). So, she's being kept in the cage in my garage for a while as she hopefully recovers. You can't tell from the photographs but almost all her underneath has been shaved. I had her back again today for a checkup and there'll be another visit next Wednesday afternoon.

She's not out of the woods yet, but I'm hopeful. I'll let you know how she gets on.

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