Thursday, 31 October 2013


I'm a big fan of late period Dion so that explains the title.

It doesn't? Oh, okay.

Dion (Di Muci) was a 50's teen idol, a tough short Italian-American kid, whose star faded with the arrival of The Beatles and the rest of the British groups. But he never went away and from the late 80s onwards made a series of excellent intelligent albums. One of them (and one of his best) is Yo Frankie (1989) so, having seen his nature, I decided to call the new kitten (see previous post) Frankie-

-because he's a tough little dude (though I gave him the name when I thought he was dudette -the song's about a girl).

After a day I decided to let him out of solitary (semi-solitary, that is, he was sharing the room with Growler) and put him in with the gen pop (general population, that is; of cats). And he fitted in just fine, soon playing with the other kittens and play-chasing them even though they were twice his size. Like I said, he's a tough little dude.

Then last night I got a shock and I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it before. Embedded firmly in his little head was a number of small ticks. Next morning I took him to the vets, along with (not-so) Tiny who had been booked in to be spayed. Helen, the nurse, who saw him must have removed well over twenty before spotting him with tick-killer. Not just on his head, they were inside his ears and on various other parts of his body including between his toes. 

Just a few minutes ago I found another. The stuff is supposed to take about 24 hours to work completely so I'll check him about eleven tomorrow morning to see if it'll drop off. He's back in solitary till then.

He is a nice little cat and often follows me around or climbs onto my knee (with his tiny sharp little claws) as I sit at this keyboard. Fingers crossed, it won't be long before he gets a home.

Post Script.

We've re-homed another couple of cats from the re-homing centre. But I also transferred Ellie from my house to there. I've got to get the numbers down in my house to about four because it's just too small and, as they currently can't get outside because the only safe way into the garden is through the conservatory (aka solitary/ isolation which has been use from within a month of me moving in.

Also got a new volunteer cat cuddler, a nice young woman who seems keen.

Give Dion a listen, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, 28 October 2013


Little (Lost?) Kitten.

I now have ten animals of the feline persuasion in my house which is at least five, maybe six, too many. The latest arrived last night following a phone call about a crying kitten, about six weeks old, which had followed the caller home and he couldn't keep it.  If it had been an adult cat I'd have had to refuse for several reasons but kittens are far more vulnerable.

It may belong to someone in a house near to the caller but it was shut up and dark. They may just have been out or they may have moved and left the kitten. This sort of thing happens upsettingly often. If I've still got her in a week's time I can legally re-home her which is what I'll try and do.

She was very scared and crying a lot. She was also very hungry. So I fed her and tried to settle her down in the conservatory with Growler (aka Tut) of whom more later. Once she got used to me and stopped hissing, she became friendly and purred loudly when I stroked her. This morning she was still hissing when I picked her up but not struggling to get away from me. Later on she became quite playful. She's a nice little thing and will make a good pet.

Here she is.

My Cats: An Update.

I can now stroke Growler (aka Tut) a little longer than when he first arrived. But not by much. He isn't aggressive either towards me or other cats or kittens as long as we keep our distance. But the problem remains: unless he settles down, he's going to be impossible to re-home and will have to go to the re-homing centre where he'll inevitably spend the rest of his life. 

Ellie the kitten-cat who was spayed and ripped her stitches out is fine. She isn't as affectionate as I first thought she was going to be though she is friendly. Mostly she sleeps on my bed and next to me if I'm on or in it. As she's re-homeable I'll book her in for the centre.

Fifi, the first cat I fostered when I moved to my current address, has, after months of only allowing Aelfric into her space, has turned motherly and adopted one of the kittens which is a big surprise and is rather cute.

Tilly, the grey kitten with the bug in her gut making her loose and poo all over the place so she's on pills and had to be isolated in the conservatory, is improving and back in with the general population mainly because she was desperate to play with her two siblings. If I can get her gut cleaned up permanently she'll make someone a lovely cat.

Tiger hasn't changed in any way unless it's to put on a little weight. He's easily the biggest cat in the house and also the one who is most intimidated by the others. He likes to come up to me on the bed to be stroked but not if another cat is within a couple of feet of me and he'll let the kittens steal his food (he gets chicken because he's so damn finicky but really prefers expensive dried food).

Not quite finally, the two older kittens who are almost identical apart from the placings of a few white hairs in a sea of black and are also almost identical in character, are coming up for a certain minor op. The female, who is a month older, is being spayed this week. The photo below is of one of them, just don't ask me which. It might be the one snuggled up to Fifi, it might not. 

Aelfric, no new photo, continues to be playful, loveable, friendly. Aoife (ditto), the kittens mother, remains quiet and quietly friendly, letting me know with an unsheathed claw when she wants affection.

Sunday, 27 October 2013


Admit it, you're expecting lots of photos, aren't you?

Well I did take my camera but ended up not taking a single picture. Why? you ask. Because I was too busy to even think about it.

I spent all three hours I was there in the centre itself talking to people (of all ages from babies to people who were somewhat older than that) who turned up, showing off the cats, showing off the facilities, talking about cat care, taking the odd moment to give Edward (who'd been brought for display) and some kittens a few cuddles. I did get one re-homed which was to be picked up today along with one which had been selected on Friday and have several people who are thinking about it. As far as I'm concerned if it just caused one cat to get a good home it was all worth it.

But the event was much more than that.

A lot of our volunteers turned up to help and brought stuff to sell to raise money so many thanks to them. And that isn't just a formal thank you. We and I could not do what we do without all the help and support from so many selfless people who believe in what we are doing and are willing to work tirelessly behind the scenes and in our two shops so that we can help animals. It's impossible to adequately thank them enough for their unending tireless efforts.

We also had quite a large attendance from the public at large. It doesn't matter that they didn't take any cats (but for one kind person), it will make them think about cats and about animal welfare and they'll tell their friends and people they work with about the event and like a stone cast in a pond the ripples will spread and hopefully this event will bear some results further on down the line.

The centre was opened by Sunderland Football Club's official mascot*, a man in a black cat suit. (Sunderland are nicknamed the Black Cats. They also beat Newcastle United today 2-1 at the Stadium of Light, their first win in the Premiership this season and against our arch-rivals which is additionally satisfying. My apologies to any Newcastle fans reading this: you were unlucky.) Photos were taken by the Sunderland Echo, though if you buy the paper you can breathe a sigh of relief as I was in the centre and Susan couldn't see me to bring me out. Joe, an animal rescuer friend of ours, did take lots of pics and tried to email some to me but they couldn't get through. Maybe another time.

*I wanted our retired MP, Chris Mullin, a cat lover and all round great guy to do it.**
** Partly, I admit, because I just wanted to meet him.

I normally have an hour or so's nap on an afternoon but this was the second successive one I'd been busy -the day before with ferrying a van load of stuff to Ferry Farm- and it didn't half put out my body clock.

Still, it was all worth it. We're thinking of an open day next summer.

Oh, and the weather stayed fine. 

Bonus cat photos: Fifi and new friend Tiny, Tiny and Todd.

Thursday, 17 October 2013


Still not a blog about Julie Andrews.

Or The Sound Of Music, though I do have the special edition on Blu-ray.

I got a problem with a cat.

Which cat?

I'll tell you shortly. What I will tell you is that this cat is responsible for these-

Bitten through my landline cable.
And the replacement phone I bought today. 
Tried putting the cable back together. Didn't work.

Bitten through my mobile recharger cable.
And my Ipad charger cable which cost eleven quid to replace from Amazon.

Bitten through my blinds cord.
Had to tie the ends together in a reef knot.
Won't make any difference.

This is my recharging centre.
Every cable here is at risk.

So who did it? I didn't find out until I actually caught her in the act.

It's Fifi.

So: How do you solve a problem like Fifi?

I mean, seriously I want to know.



Wednesday, 16 October 2013


Don't know.

Don't care.

This is a cat rescuing blog not a tribute to Julie Andrews blog (though there wouldn't be anything wrong with that if it was as Julie is a marvellous talent and...)


The real title of this post is:

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Edward?

Here's Edward.

Despite my inadequate photos, he's really a very friendly cat, aged between 8 and 10, who loves cuddles. The problem is that he's a stray who hangs around a couple of streets off Villette Road and gets fed by three different families.

He's known to Andrea who got a call a couple of nights ago that he'd possibly broken his leg. She went round and eventually caught him, took him back to the shop and put him in a cage. The leg didn't look broken but he had damaged it.

Next morning around breakfast time when I'd normally be swimming but had slept in, I got a call from Susan asking me to take Edward to the vets which is what I did. This was my first encounter with him and hadn't heard of him before. His rear right leg had been knocked but there was no obvious damage, Louise the vet said. Edward accepted all her manipulations patiently and without trying to claw my face off as I held him still. Louise thought he might be in the early stages of arthritis.

He seemed such a nice cat I thought he might be a candidate for our re-homing centre and had Louise give him the first vaccination against cat flu. Possible Animal Krackers could pay for any arthritis-related vet treatment if someone adopted him. At the very least he'd be out of the cold and monitored in case the arthritis got worse and could then be treated. I said as much to Andrea when I brought him back.

The real problem is that he's used to being on the streets and absolutely hated being stuck in the cage but none of the three families who feed him can take him into their homes. Andrea said that the best option would be if at least one of them had a shed he could shelter in and some bedding he could curl up in.

There no easy answers and I can't help being worried about him especially if it proves to be a harsh winter.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Yes, that is a bit cryptic but once you read this story it will make sense.

I'm starting this just after four on Thursday afternoon but it all starts on Tuesday morning when I got a phone call asking me if I'd forgotten about the pregnant kitten I'd agreed to take to the vets last week.

My reaction to that was a succinct: Eh?

Basically I had no idea what the caller was talking about. However, my memory being notably poor I assumed that it was something I'd agreed to but forgotten about. I took the caller's details and rang King's Road Practice vets who could fit me in in about an hour.

Half an hour later I called at the lady's house in Pallion which, fortuitously, was on the way (or one of the ways) to the vets. She and her husband owned three lovely and friendly Persians but they (the cats) didn't like this stray young cat/kitten they'd been feeding for a month or so otherwise they'd have taken it in. She got it in the house and it was definitely pregnant and about a year old I thought. She said six months. She was right. I wasn't. So into the cat carrier and off to the vets.

I saw Louise who checked it out, confirming the age -it's adult teeth had just grown through- and that it was pregnant but not near term so she could spay her. Asked for a name, I thought a moment and came up with Ellie which Louise liked. As I've said in a previous post I'm not good at naming cats and still haven't named the youngest kitten. I also had her given her first cat flu jab.

Later that afternoon I brought her home and put her in a cage in the conservatory where the growling cat is staying. Ellie didn't like the cage and went berserk so I let her out into the conservatory and left them to it. The growling cat growled at her when she came close but didn't go for her and eventually she settled down.

Next morning I didn't get up until 7.15 which is the time I normally go swimming so it knocked that on the head. After the usual round of cleaning cat litter and feeding the other cats, I checked on Ellie and noticed blood on a cushion. I thought it might just be leaking from her anus (not unusual but nothing to worry about in newly spayed females). It wasn't. She'd ripped her stitches open and I could see her insides which fortunately hadn't become outsides. There was also more blood on the floor. I put her in a cat carrier so as to minimise her movements and kept busy until 8.30 when I set off with her back to the vets.

While there the internal stitches were replaced, external stitches added for extra security and a collar firmly fitted into place. The collar stays until next Friday when the stitches will be removed. She doesn't like it but it doesn't stop her eating or drinking so tough luck little kitten-cat.

I should also add that now she's calmed down she's proving to be the most adorable little cat who loves sitting or sprawling in my lap and is very very lovable. I will put her up for adoption after he second flu jab but, as she likes other cats, I'll keep her here rather than sending her to the re-homing centre.

I still haven't explained the title, have I? All will be revealed after the photos.

Early Tuesday evening after I'd got Ellie back from the vets the first time, I got a call from Phil who apologised to me for reason I at first didn't understand but then became clear. Some Phil, who normally just deals with dogs, had been put in touch with this lady and agreed to have the kitten-cat, who became Ellie, taken to a vet he regularly uses but had forgotten about. About three or four days later, the lady then phoned Animal Krackers shop where I assumed she asked who dealt with the cats and was given my number and assumed when she spoke to me that I was Phil. Me, doubting my own memory, assumed I had made that promise and acted accordingly. Got to admit that it is a relief that my memory isn't that bad.

So Ellie is the little cat that shouldn't have ended up in my house but did.

And luckily for her in that had plans gone as they were supposed to she would at best have ended up in the lady's kitchen overnight or possibly outside. As it was, she ended up with me who was best placed to look after her and quickly do what needed to be done.

And now all is explained.

Growler: an update.

I seem to have settled on Growler as the name for the cat that Susan dumped on me last week. As that's what he does.

But I'm slowly thawing towards him (warming would be an exaggeration) as I get to know him. I don't think he's an aggressive cat, just a very frightened one. He warns off me and other cats but actually only attacks if you don't back off. As he becomes less frightened his initial reaction is to miaow at me rather growl -that comes next.

So, baby steps. Baby steps.

Post Script.

If you look at the labels below, you'll find the phrase 'perfect pussy'. I confess that's a lure and a joke on a certain type of person who isn't exactly looking for the ideal cat. 


Monday, 7 October 2013


No, of course it isn't me! What kind of a world would this be if something like that could happen?

The BBC Comes To Animal Krackers.

It's Andrea.

A small team of two arrived to follow Andrea around to see what AK did with regards rescuing, concentrating on dogs. We were just one of several rescues they were filming for an hour long documentary to be shown on BBC1 in either the 8.00pm or 9.00pm slot. Susan did mention me and the cats to them but was informed that it makes it more accessible for the audience to focus on the fewer people the better. Which was fine with me. AK getting tv exposure can only help us and is all that matters.

Anyway, last Friday morning I was at the re-homing centre to meet a potential adopter. When I arrived I checked my text messages and sure enough the person I was due to meet had already found a cat. sorry and all that. Oh well, it happens. 

I'd also brought a load of Fiprospot and Drontal was fleas and worms so I decided to make a start on spotting the cats on the back of the neck. I was just about to get the stuff from the van when Andrea and the BBC people (who were both very nice) turned up. The BBC consisted of a bearded guy in his (and my apologies if I've got it wrong) forties who was cameraman, producer, and interviewer with a young woman (no, I'm definitely not going there) whom I assumed was the researcher/assistant/whatever and they wanted to see the cats as, it turned out, they were both cat people and the assistant had even read my blog. She thought it contained some very perceptive observations about cat behaviour. I restrained myself from asking if she was sure it was my blog she'd been reading. Anyway they thought it would be a good idea if they filmed me and Andrea putting the flea stuff on the cats and then doing a joint piece to camera. So that's what we did.

Whether any of this actually appears in the finished programme only time will tell, if, indeed, it even does get shown. Nothing is certain in the world of media until it's actually happened, so I'm not holding my breath.

I did shed some blood though as a cat who, one moment was licking my chin and purring loudly, the next attacked my hand.

We're Full.

I was back again the next morning to take in two cats two occupy the final two available pens. That's because, after averaging one re-homing a week, we haven't re-homed any in six weeks and I'm getting pretty sick.

Here they are.

This is Milo. He knew something was up because he'd been avoiding his owner all week and two visits had to be cancelled because he disappeared. The lady who owned him had to give him up because her younger son developed a massive allergy (I saw the photo) to him. Needless to say, he was very nervous and I made the mistake of picking him up. This turned out to be the equivalent of sticking an electric prod up his bum as he went wild with claws flying in all directions and ripping open a wound down my chin. His owner was mortified and even rang me later to make sure I was okay. But it was my daft fault. A while later he'd calmed down which was when I took this photo.

And this is Max, a recently neutered stray of unknown age, the final arrival. As he was growling I just left him alone.

This is the pretty girl who licked my chin then attacked my hand. I like to think the latter act is out of character.

The Cat In The Conservatory.

As in my conservatory.

He was dumped on meby Susan, despite my reluctance, last week. So far all he does is eat, sleep, sit, pee, crap, and growl at me if I go anywhere near him.

He's called Tut but I can think of other names for him which I won't repeat in this blog.

Kittens Re-homed.

If Moustache hadn't happened to find a home I wouldn't be stuck with Tut.

Also re-homed is one of Aoife's kittens, the little grey one. To be honest, I wasn't sure if this would take but it's been about five days now and I've heard nothing which I'm cautiously assuming is a good sign.

The Kittens (and One Cat) In The Shop.

I called in at the shop a week last Sunday morning after going for the paper and within five minutes I had all three simultaneously climbing all over me and purring loudly.

The one at the top has a slightly deformed front right leg. It's shorter than the other and the claws are turned inward. It doesn't stop him getting about but I hope whoever gets him keeps him as a housecat. All three would make delightful pets.

More Kittens At Carole's.

These five were found in a box dumped by the side of the road. All female, all tortoishell.

Another Cute Photo Of Fifi and Aelfric.

Fifi is ever vigilant.