Tuesday, 25 September 2012


I'd done a fairly short morning runaround but, having had a poor night's sleep, went for a lie down. Except Susan had gone out and the phone kept ringing. I do, I confess, ignore the phone when I'm trying to have a nap but with the fourth ring I gave up and answered it.

Ten minutes later I was on my way to pick up four 10-day old kittens. A lady had taken them in when their mother, who belonged to a neighbour, fell ill and rejected them. She did her best but lacked any experience and so called me. I rang Carole to confirm she'd take them and then set off. Apart from being hungry and flea-ridden, they seemed in decent condition. They were certainly noisy and cried all the way there -actually a good sign; I'd have been worried if they were quiet.

Here they are after having been syringe fed a special formula milk by Carole. 

In the next photographs you see them after they've been sprayed with flea killer -you can see the fleas if you look closely. They look a mess, poor things, but they'll be better for it. They are now with Liz who helps Carole with kittens as Carole herself couldn't keep them because of an infection in her house.

After that it was time for my favourite job of the week -hauling a van-load of sacks of soiled cat bedding and used litter to the council tip and tossing them in the skip- in the rain.

Don't worry, in a couple of weeks they'll start to look irresistibly cute.

There were more fleas in the afternoon when I took an elderly lady and her dog with a skin infection to the PDSA. The infection turned out to be a flea allergy with the fleas brought in by her three cats. The dog got some pills and when I got them them home dosed the lot with Frontline.

Friday, 21 September 2012


1. Lily.

What does the top photograph have to do with the next three of my 9 year old Lily?

If you're more observant than I am, you've already guessed. The giveaway being the name insulin printed on the side of the syringe. 

When see a person or an animal every day, you often don't notice gradual changes in their appearance until the magic moment when it hits you. With Susan and I it was about the same time. Lily was losing weight. And she's been drinking more water than usual. Susan thought it might be her kidneys and pretty much convinced herself that we were going to lose Lily so it was almost a relief when she was diagnosed as being diabetic -diabetes mellitus, to give it its proper name. 

However, we now have to be careful about her eating habits, keeping her to the same type of food which has to be given at certain times. This isn't easy as our nine cats, while being fed at around the same time, tend not to eat all that's down immediately and prefer to nibble during the day, plus getting odd treats. We also have to keep her isolated in one room overnight so we can test her urine every morning. Which also means a smelly room as she does  more than urinate during the night. 

We've had Lily to the vets every morning this week while Wendy the vet makes sure we both know how to test the urine and safely deliver the injection. We were both nervous about the latter but it turned out easier than we both expected and Lily never reacted to the needle going in. First time solo at home tomorrow morning which will be the real test.

She's a sweet little cat who loves being stroked and likes people. She's not so keen on other cats because some of ours can bully her, though that seems to have eased, but not stopped entirely, in recent months. 

Aside: I like to tease my friends and told Denise, Sylvia (Wednesday coffee morning at Starbucks) and Barry (monthly Tuesday night at Jameson's which was this week) separately that I had to start injecting insulin. Both Barry and Sylvia fell for it, expressing immediate concern. Denise said, in a considered manner, "You, or a cat?" She got me!

2. Two more cats on a bed.

Being cuddled is Bob. Cuddling is Daisy. They're both around two, Daisy being the elder by three months.

3. Scrubbing floors.

Tomorrow we're supposed to being going to our new cat re-homing centre to scrub floors as a result of dirt being tracked in by muddy boots. This suggests that it's not inconceivable it might be finished soon. But after so many disappointments, I'll believe it when I see it.

4. All part of the job.

Got a call from a lady who lives in Washington, Tyne & Wear not DC, who'd been followed home by an injured cat -damaged leg(s), brown discharge from the mouth. She couldn't take it in because of an allergy to cats and didn't know what to do. I suggested she feed it and give it some water to drink to give it an incentive to hang around. I called the RSPCA who will pay for the initial treatment of stray and injured animals, and rang Wendy's to tell the practice I'd be there with the cat the following morning.

So the following morning I drove through to Washington (taking ages because of work and school traffic) only to find no sign of the cat. I had a good look round but in vain. I told the lady that if the cat turned up again and she could get in her shed at the front door I'd come and pick it up.

These things happen and I don't regard it as a waste of time because I'd sooner that happens than a cat suffers when I could do something about it.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Black Bunny & Shopcat.

Black Bunny currently has a foster home and so has Shopcat.

Earlier this week I put up a couple of posters in the shop window at Grangetown -one plugging Carole's kittens, the other Shopcat. The next day a lady came in and asked Susan about the possibility of fostering a cat for us. Susan rang me and got me to talk to her. I immediately thought of Shopcat, she seemed interested, and Susan took her upstairs to see the cat.

Yesterday I had the job of taking Willow, my brother in law's rescued Cavalier King Charles spaniel for several walks while he and family went to Edinburgh. On one of them I called in at Shopcat's new temporary, but fingers crossed permanent, home. I found her curled up on a chair in the sun and with the new name of Nimue. She's settled in very quickly and has delighted her new owners by her affectionate nature.

More of my cats on a bed.

In order from bottom to the top: Blossom, Max, Lotus. In the second photo, l-r Max, Lotus.

Paws in the Park

Last Sunday, Susan and Ann took the van through to Newcastle for a big dog fun event to publicise Animal Krackers. The van was stuffed with cuddly toys and other stuff to sell (they made over £200). I was asked to do a couple of boards to put in front of our table and here they are.

Animal Krackers Cat Re-homing Centre.

Now I know why people when discussing builders always preface the noun with the adjective bloody. Because they're bloody useless and a bloody pain and I'm bloody sick of them.

I won't go into a list of what hasn't yet been done (most of it). Suffice to say that the end is nowhere in sight because they're (a string of rude words far worse than bloody has been omitted here) undependable.

Tightening our belts.

I'm not going in to too much detail here as it's confidential, but recently expenditure has been increasing and our income as a charity hasn't been keeping pace, declining if anything. This is due to those shops (of which there are now two in Grangetown)  that take in notably clothes* but also books and other stuff for money (paying peanuts), thereby affecting the amount of stock which would otherwise be donated to us. So at a committee meeting recently we made several decisions which affect shop procedures and the amount we can spend on animals to change this situation. 

*The clothes are then sent to places like Poland where they are sold for maybe a fifty (or more) times what they were paid for. I just hope these shops are a temporary thing.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


I'm not a speciesist. Just because the title of this blog is Cat Rescuing Sunderland doesn't mean I can't include dogs when I come across them.

Here's Alfie and this is the story of my brief encounter with him.

Alfie was handed over to Gary who lives on the north side of Sunderland and is a regular contact of Carole's. He'd arranged for Alfie to visit the vet and Andrea had arranged with Mark of Ferryfarm Kennels to take him in.

I was the transport facilitator.

I found Gary and Alfie at the front of Gary's house (see first two photos) where he gave me the brief details. He'd been told that Alfie didn't like other dogs or cats but was okay with bitches. He was also okay with kids as there were a few around. He'd been used as a hunting dog and had at least one bite on his leg from a fox. I petted him a little and he didn't really react one way or another. We took him to the van and he hopped in the back with only the slightest encouragement. I tied him up (see above) and set off. Alfie was no bother on the short journey of about a mile. He looked out of the rear window for a couple of minutes then settled down.

When I opened the van up I had to hold him still or he'd have throttled himself before I could undo the leash. The vets was empty and Alfie settled down next to me. After I'd made a fuss of him for a couple of minutes he licked my face. He was fine when Louise the vet checked him over, wagging his tail and generally being perky. He didn't react when she slid the needle into him for the required vaccination. Any minor wounds were healing well. She reckoned he was about a year old and generally in good health.

In other words, a nice young and very re-homeable  dog.

After that I took him to Ferryfarm kennels where we got him settled in and Mark and I grumbled about the lack of progress on the cat re-homing centre which, he reckoned, was going to take another three weeks. Great.

And that is the story of my brief encounter with Alfie the amicable lurcher.


When I called round at Carole's yesterday to do a tip run (for those new to this blog, I fill the van up with sacks of used cat litter and soiled bedding and take it to the council tip), I found two young neutered ginger cats. They are brother and sister and seem to get on very well with each other and so we'd like them re-homed together. They're also both very friendly. When I sat down on a settee where the female was sitting on the top, she came down and snuggled up against me.

Here are a few photos. The boy is immediately below.

If you sit down at Carole's it usually isn't long before you get jumped on by a cat or climbed on by a kitten. I first picked up a tiny little tortoiseshell who happens to be my favourite. She loves being picked up and stroked and will quite happily stay me with as long as I let her.

This time some kittens came to my attention as well as the usual suspects who always demand attention like a lovely black kitten called Leona who won't be a kitten for much longer. The first one I picked up was a tabby about three months old. The usual stuff: stroke kitten, kitten purrs, rubs against your face, snuggles in. The big surprise was that he'd been feral when he arrived, all hiss and spit and don't touch me. Now he's just a sweetie.

The second was also a tabby; a relative newcomer who tried to assert himself as Top Kitten by going around mugging all the others. Now he'd become another little softie.

The third was a tiny black and white kitten curled up on the settee next to me hoping I hadn't noticed him. But I had and picked him up. He didn't like this as he tried to get away but, as gently as I could, I held onto him and it didn't take long before he relaxed and snuggled in just like the others had done.

Here they are.

Somebody give them a bloody home please.

There's no black kitten because I couldn't get a good shot of him.  Here are some other photos.

Monday, 3 September 2012


And why do we have so many?

The truth about cat rescuing 2012.

I've been involved in the rescue and re-homing of cats and kittens for several years. It's something that's been taking more and more of my time since the focus of Animal Krackers moved from being an animal rescue support group into a rescue ourselves as people started bringing animals to us and we took in Carole after she left Pawz for Thought.

This is the worst year I've known since I became actively involved. The worst by far.

Here are a few basic facts.

We now have more cats and kittens waiting for homes than at any time in our ten year history. Waiting for homes that aren't coming. Last week Animal Krackers and its kitten problem was publicised with a video on the Sky News website (thanks Nisha, who did a great job), there was an article with photos in The Mail Online (the world's most popular newspaper website), and an interview on local radio. 

We have not got a single home as a result.

We have re-homed very few cats and kittens in the last few months.

I receive at least one, often two, calls a day asking if we can take in a cat.

Today I received SIX and had to turn down every one.

We have over 20 kittens that we will have to try to re-home as cats in about three months time. They are all lovely and socialised with other cats, kittens, dogs, and people.

The cat re-homing centre (which still isn't ready thanks to builders' delays) will be full on the day it opens.

If I sound dispirited, that's because I am. I hate turning down people who've found a stray cat or need to re-home their own or a relatives. I hate it because I'll never know what happens to the animal I've refused. But I have no choice.

We have very limited resources and they have gone beyond their limit. Because of the number of animals we have, food and vets bills keep increasing increasing. 

I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate the kind people who foster cats and kittens for us but we can never have enough of them. 

We are a small local charity and what we need more than anything else is people who want cats and kittens and will give them a good home.

Where are you all?

I still haven't answered the two questions I posed at the beginning. The reason for that is that I don't know the answers. I don't know what more we can do to find homes for all these cats and kittens who are depending on us.

I took these photos last week. The larger cats are young neutered females who have adopted (or allowed themselves to be adopted by) the kitten next to them. Please, somebody, give them a home.