Saturday, 31 December 2011


Not surprisingly it's been very quiet since the last post eleven days ago. I've been grappling (a singularly inappropriate choice of word if ever there was) with the physical limitations imposed by the strained shoulder muscle which, for much of the time, severely limited the used of my right arm.

All bar two black and white kittens have now been re-homed as well as a couple of adult cats though these were replaced almost immediately. We've been doing well for donated cat and dog food, not only from the donation bins at Asda, Morrisons, and Sainsburys (my thanks to their generous customers) but also from individuals and in one case a collection from a local church (again, my thanks to everyone who contributed).

My shoulder now seems to be on the mend and I'm psychologically gearing up for whatever the new year brings. Susan and I will be having a fairly quiet New Years Eve but that suits us. Hope you all have a good one and that your hangovers aren't too severe.

Images from Google.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


Note: a longer version (which contains rude words and sentiments likely to upset the religious) has appeared in my Freethinking blog posted about three hours earlier.

A pain in my shoulder, which made raising my right arm also painful, started on Sunday. By Monday teatime it was getting worse so I went to the walk-in health centre at Grindon.  The place was almost empty and I got seen by a nurse within half an hour. He made me raise my arms in various positions and checked the muscles before deciding I'd pulled a muscle in the shoulder, probably through heavy lifting. 

Well I do heavy lifting quite a lot, loading up the van with unsaleable stuff to take from the shop to the tip or stuck stuff to  another charity like Barnardos. There was also the weekly tip trip from Carole's with a van full of sacks of soiled cat bedding and used cat litter and other smelly stuff. And in the last couple of days I'd done three trips to empty a flat of items we could sell. So heavy lifting is nothing unusual.

Then I realised what had caused it.

Until recently the skips at the council were about waist height (plus six feet further down) making it easy to get stuff out of the van and drop it in with no great effort. Now, however, the council have installed new skips which are twice the height and necessitate climbing up several steps to get to the rim which is then still higher than the old ones. When this happened I asked Carole to put less items in the black sacks and, when light enough, had got into the habit of hurling them over the rim with my right arm, sometimes without even going up the steps, and did the same with shop tip trip stuff when light enough. This was not a good idea.

So:diagnosis pulled muscle. Treatment: paracetemol and rest.

And about 1.30am I woke up in agony. Even the slightest movement caused pain. I struggled through the night until around 4.30 when I got up, emptied smelly cat litter, let cats out, read a magazine, and at 5.00am took two paracetamol and went back to bed. The pills must have had some effect as I dozed until half seven when I again woke in agony. An hour later I was on the phone to the doctor's. I wasn't disagreeing with the diagnosis, I just wanted to be prescribed heavy duty painkillers. She told me to start taking ibuprofen every three hours alternating with paracetamol and trying heat treatment (a hot water bottle on my shoulder). 
So I'm going to have be careful what I do this week with regard to cat-related activities. I certainly can't do any tip runs and transporting food (which involves collecting from three food bins and two deliveries) is going to be a delicate operation. 
I just hope this pain goes away by Christmas.

Sooner would be better.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


So I normally deal with cats which is what I did on Tuesday morning. I picked up a lady and her young cat who'd caught her paw in a door and had been limping ever since and took them to the vets. Luckily it was just a broken toe which would heal with rest and a regular doses of Metacam painkiller. 

That, I thought, was my lot for the day but I got a call from Carole about a guy we know and regularly help who takes in animals in need, when he can, and he'd just taken in a rat (which was fine) and a ferret which wasn't. Indeed he thought it had a broken leg. So I picked up him and ferret, which he'd got in a hamster cage, from the north side of Sunderland and took them to Roker Park vets. While in the waiting room, he got the ferret out to show the receptionist.

The ferret was obviously used to being handled and our rescuer was more than familiar with them. I did learn something though. No matter how friendly a ferret is, it's tempting fate to put your fingers next to its mouth. In this case it was my thumb which the little sweetheart duly nipped but without drawing blood.

The vet checked him out and said his leg wasn't broken, though the skin was inflamed. It was just in a poor condition which antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and some TLC would take care of. I like ferrets and rats, though I don't have much experience of either. I just think they're cute. If I couldn't have cats (or a dog) a ferret would be third on the list, maybe second as I wouldn't have to take it for walks in the pouring rain on a winter's day.

Here are some more photographs of Fred (which isn't his name as he doesn't officially have one, I just like alliteration). I noticed that when he curled into a ball, a bit like cats, he didn't go to sleep immediately but rotated his curled up body like a wheel until he decided he'd got it right.

When I dropped them off I had a look at the rat which he'd taken in. Just your standard pet rat which is to say an intelligent playful friendly little animal.

In addition to these and some more conventional pets, Gary also had a rainbow crab. It was in a fish tank which was quite dark so I had to lean over, press the flash to find out where it was then take a few snaps to get a decent picture. As far as I could tell, all a rainbow crab does is sit in damp sand and occasionally snacks on cat food.

Monday, 12 December 2011


It's been a fairly quiet week since the last post with not a huge amount happening on the cat front and, barring surprises and other than the usual routines like getting cat food, not much is scheduled this week. All the kittens have either gone to new homes or, having been booked, are waiting a week or so until they are old enough to go to their new owners. Apart from one cat with diarrhea who has had to go on a special diet, there are no health problems.

I did take our cat Big Ted to the vets because there's something just not quite right about him. Honor of Vets4Pets took a fair amount of blood from him to have a wide spectrum of blood tests. Only some of the results are back and there is no sign of feline leukaemia or FIP. Where there is a divergence from the norm it's only by a little and nothing to be concerned about. The rest should arrive in the middle of this week.

I finally managed to get my act together and send Phil a series of photos plus brief details of adult cats which need homes to go up on our official animal adoption website. I really hope we get some response as we haven't re-homed an adult cat in four weeks now. The corollary to this is that I have to turn down every call I get asking if we can take in their cat/s. There are some heartbreaking stories but you can't add to a full glass. I doubt if things will get much better with Christmas and New Year coming up.

Here are some photos I've called Cats on Beds because... well...

The first three are Leo, Little Bob, and Daisy. The second two are Lotus, our newest and at 14 our eldest and Little Bob, coincidentally our youngest. All feature on previous posts.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Just a collection of photos, taken on Friday, of cats and kittens needing homes.

These three are very scared ferals who need an expert carer to look after them.

Bonus photos.

A mongrel mother and her 10-day old pups fathered by a bull mastiff. She has a lovely nature and her pups will be bigger than her in two months or less.