Friday, 28 February 2014


The actual van, parked opposite Susan Hardy's house. brand new second-hand car! Whooo!

And if you're wondering what this has to do with cat rescue, well let me tell you a story...

In the dim and distant past around the time I first started this blog it was decided that the charity needed a van for all the running around we had do, often with large heavy items like furniture or several 30kg sacks of cat litter,or lots of smaller not so heavy items  dozens of tins/packs/cartons of cat and dog food. So Animal Krackers the registered charity went and bought a white van which was registered to the charity. Now me, I'd never driven anything larger than a Fiesta so at first I didn't do much. However as time went on I ended up doing most of the driving and when Susan and I split up and I moved to my new address round the corner the van came with me. 

A few months later we got ourselves a new van almost identical to the old one. Unfortunately it seemed to be accident-prone. Well, at least when I was driving it. Walls would suddenly appear out of nowhere when I was reversing as did, in the last couple of months, two cars and a van. I'm pretty sure that one of those cars was not my fault, honest gov, but I have to cop to the other two. 

After the second car last Saturday, Susan suggested I buy myself a runaround and drive the van a lot less which is the conclusion I'd reluctantly come to. She suggested a Toyota Yaris as driven by our niece. I checked up on it and the several reviews I read all came to the same conclusion of it being among the best, if not the best, in the super-mini class. Ooh-kay.

I now checked to see what was available in Sunderland. Nothing less than four grand. I went through the lists checking out every Yaris which seemed a possibility and decided to go see one with a mileage under 30 thousand and a price of £6.5k which had just arrived at a Toyota dealers. However, by the time I got there it had been sold. But he did have one coming in on Saturday (tomorrow) and would be available for perusal on Monday. This was a top of the range model with a mileage of only 12 thousand and was going for £8k which was more than I wanted to pay but not that much more. So I'm going to see it on Monday.

I told Susan.

"£8,000!" she said. "I wouldn't pay that much for a car!" Then, "You'd better check to see what else is available at other places!"

"It's red!" she expostulated when I told her the colour. "I wouldn't have a red car!"

I didn't say, as I only thought of it later, "It'll be my last car ever and why shouldn't I have a nice one?" (I did check other available Yarises and decided that on a specs vs price basis this was the best.) And I also didn't say, "I couldn't give a monkey's testicle what colour it is as long as it's a good car."

I'm still debating as to whether to bring Susan with me when I go. A mutual friend has suggested this might be unwise. 

Below is a photo pinched from Google Images. Red looks good to me.

I also realised why I keep having these little reversing mishaps. The Yaris I intend to buy has reversing sensors which the previous van also had but the current one does not. If it had, I might not have had these little accidents  as it's hard to keep reversing when the car/van is going beep-beep-beep-beep-beepbeepbeeepbeeep-break you idiot!
What this means is that I'll only be driving the van (which will now be parked at Susan's) when it involves taking a load of cat food over to Carole's or when Susan isn't available. I'll be using my brand new second hand car for transporting cats, small amounts of cat food, and emptying food bins, and stuff.

Cat Info.

I'm always updating -as in nearly every day- the list of cats available for re-homing. Click on the link in the sidebar on the left or cut and paste this into the browser-

However, this is what's happened this week. Poppy and Maisie have been re-homed. Black Cat arrived yesterday. An hour or so ago I showed a lady around and she's very interested in Molly but has another rescue to check out before making a decision. Tomorrow  morning I'm meeting more people. Maggie and Morag, re-homed six weeks ago, are coming back.

Monday, 17 February 2014


I woke up.

What am I going to do today? I asked myself.

And replied: Anything you want. We've got a free day. Absolutely nothing scheduled.

I considered going swim as I'd woken  up early enough to get there by my preferred time of 7.30 am but then remembered that I'd left my trunks and towel in the washing machine along with the rest of assorted stuff overnight. Oh well. I could, of course, choose to do lots of housework but then again I could equally and more likely choose not to. (Cleaning cat litter and feeding cats counts as compulsory and therefore choice is not involved.) 

I checked my emails and discovered I'd sold a graphic novel through Amazon Marketplace. I immediately located the book, wrapped it and addressed it ready for posting, and emailed the buyer that it would be in the post today. I'd only make about four quid on it but four quid in my pocket is four quid in my pocket.

Looked in the mirror and confirmed something I'd suspected for several days. I needed a haircut. I go to a local place just a few yards from the Post Office so that was a twofer which was good. I decided after that to go to PC World in town and buy a new printer, the other one having packed up. Turned out that Sweeney Todd's (which is not a poncy hairdresser's but a manly man's) Barbershop hadn't opened and was ten minutes late. Still hadn't five minutes later when I set off for PC World. Slept in? Killer hangover? Who knew?

I spent more than I wanted but less than I could have on a new printer. By the time you add in a cartridge set, a ream of paper, and a guarantee (if it breaks down in the first three years we'll replace it) costing £12.00 which seemed reasonable even to penny-pinching me, I'd spent just over a hundred. Checked out Sweeney Todd's on the way back an hour later. Still shut. Must be sick.

I put the new printer still in its box next to the desktop and proceeded to choose to ignore it which I'm still doing as I type this.  

What a day I was having, free to choose what to do all day. So, mid-morning I chose to watch Sherlock Series 1 episode 3 (the one which introduces Moriarty) and the making of on the DVD box set I bought last week, accompanied by a mug of strong black coffee and chocolate biscuits. Don't tell me, I know, you're just so jealous. Living la vida loca! But don't worry, my morning idyll is about over.

Just on lunchtime, the phone rang and I was asked if I could help with a cat which had been abandoned by its owner ten days ago and was being fed by neighbours and was in good condition. I looked at my empty conservatory with the litter tray, cat furniture, cat beds, bowls, and sighed. I'd call at her house when she got back from work after 4.30.

That still left most of the afternoon. Time for a nap after cleaning litter trays in the bedroom. That done, head down. Susan bangs loudly on the door.

I had to come with her straight away as I was the direct cause of problem so serious that it could split continents in twain and devastate the planet if I didn't do something immediately, preferably whipping my back with a barbed-wire flail to show due penance. (That latter bit might just be wishful thinking on my part.) So off we went.

No, I'm not going to tell you what it was about or what happened. Suffice to say it turned out to be a misunderstanding on several parts which wasn't really the fault of anyone involved. However to avoid any similar misunderstanding I'm going to introduce a new cat page entitled: Somebody has seen this cat [show photo] at their back door. If it's yours, get in touch and claim it as it's been coming here to get fed for weeks now.  Or something like that.

And so to Downhill so far on the other side of the city that it's almost in South Tyneside and a meeting with the cat that I've come to call-


I actually walked by him without realising as he sat at the end of a narrow lane on my way to the lady's house. When we came back the same way we found him sitting on the outside window ledge of the house where he lived until being abandoned ten days ago. He almost ran away when I approached him but had a secret weapon -a bowl of cat food which I placed in front of the carrier. I let him eat for a minute before, not without help, grabbing him and stuffing him inside. I left my details in case his owner turns up. (Stop laughing, it could happen. But then so could me winning the lottery.)

Off I set, having decided to ring Wendy the vets when I got home and book an appointment for him. Then, while driving over the Queen Alexandra Bridge, I asked myself: Why wait till tomorrow? We could call in now and I'm sure they'd fit us. They had a couple of weeks ago when we'd picked up the kitten. As I completely agreed with myself, at the end of the bridge we doubled back the way we'd come as it wasn't far.

They did indeed fit us in within about half an hour which I spent, as usual, chatting to other people and making a fuss of their animals, comprising several dogs and a sadly tumour-ridden pet rat. Edgar was declared to be about 8 years old, in general good health, and with no fleas. He was calm in the surgery despite being poked and prodded by Wendy.

He's now been with me a couple of hours and has settled on a chair in the conservatory. He doesn't run away from me and is quite amenable to being stroked. Initials impressions are that he's a very nice cat. Maybe later tomorrow I'll see how is with the other cats. Here's another couple of photos.

And tomorrow I've got another quiet day!

Sunday, 16 February 2014


Rusty the five month old kitten-cat settled in at my house very quickly. He soon developed into a very loving and friendly cat, often jumping on my lap and sprawling across my chest to go to sleep. He was spotted on my blog by a nice couple who came this morning to look at him and took him home. I thought, being all black, he might be hard to re-home. I do so love being wrong.

(Side note: Even though Emma, the 11-week old black and white kitten, is officially up for adoption I have fears for her long-term health. She's just recovering from diarrhoea and has been diagnosed with the corona virus and I've just got a feeling she isn't going to have a long life. So unless someone comes who fully understands and accepts that, then I'm keeping her.)

But he isn't the only cat to be homed this weekend. On Friday I picked up the six cats from Seaham (see a previous post) to take to the vets for their second and final flu jab and then take them off to the re-homing centre. But the two ginger boys never got there. As pre-arranged I met a lovely young woman, who has two young adopted daughters, at the vets to be picked up and taken home. I've just received an email from her describing the boys as being wonderful, which is a good start.

That same person also almost adopted Tigger the ginger boy a couple of weeks back but was taken with the photos of the others. However, a lady and her mother came to Ferry Farm this morning an hour after I'd said goodbye to Rusty and adopted Tigger.

I looked in on the four girls and found them cuddled up together and wanting someone to make a fuss of them so I did.

A four-cat weekend. Just what I needed after two weeks without a single re-homing to raise my spirits.

Monday, 10 February 2014


Hi everybody! 

I want you to say hello to Rusty. He's only been in my house for fifteen minutes and he'll be feeling a little uncertain. Plus he's only four and half months old. So give him a big friendly hello (but not too loud).

Okay, thank you.

Carole got a call late this afternoon but gave them my phone number. (Thanks, Carole!) This kitten was being harrassed by his owner's four year old son who wouldn't leave him alone so I agreed to take him because Emma (see previous post) no longer had to be isolated so the conservatory was free.

First impressions are quite positive. He immediately wanted to explore the house despite the presence of other cats and he was easy to pick up. However he's going to stay in the conservatory at first until I get a more accurate idea of what he's like but I don't think he'll be there for long.

Incidentally, have you any idea how hard it is to take an even halfway decent photo of an inquisitive black kitten in a poorly lit room? Well these are the best photos after they've been cropped and lightened.

And, nothing to do with Rusty, but here are some photos of my cats & the kitten I took a little earlier this evening. I think they're cute (well, the first one is).


After a terrific start to the New Year, I haven't re-homed a cat in two weeks. I should have known better than to be so gloating and gleeful as it's come back to bite me in the bum. It's a shame as we've some lovely cats wanting homes and on Friday of this week (space allowing) there'll be another four (or six) friendly young cats arriving.

The black and white kitten, who I named (on the spur of the moment when asked for a name by vet Louise) Emma, which spent five days at the vets because of terrible diarrhoea is back with me. It's dried up considerably, though could still be better. She definitely likes people as she spends a lot of time in the same room as me and often comes on my knee, or chest, to be made a fuss of or to curl up and sleep. I'll be putting her on the list of cats/kittens available though I still have some reservations about her overall health.

I've just taken some nice photos of her in good lighting conditions. See what you think.

Otherwise it's been a quiet week. The usual answering phone and email enquiries, emptying food bins at Sainsburys, Morrisons, and Asda, buying cat food, supplying Carole whose list I've just updated with three young ginger cats -worth checking out, they're lovely and friendly. Nothing really on the horizon until Friday when I pick up the six cats from Seaham to take to Wendy's for their second flu jab. 

Talking of whom, here's the link to the website for her King's Road Veterinary Practice -   -which is now two years old. There were three of them when they opened and now the staff total is ten. I think you can assume that it's been successful and deservedly so. They also have a Facebook page with a photo competition that I might even enter. Why don't you too?

Monday, 3 February 2014


We have now closed our shop in Villette Road, Hendon, Sunderland. This was done because, rather than be an asset to our charity, it had placed a drain on our existing resources.

We'd like to thank all those volunteers who worked in the shop and the, sadly too few, customers who used it. Our original shop in Grangetown continues to do well and provide most of the funds we receive for our work with animals. Closing the other shop allows us to focus our resources and efforts at maintaining its success.

(Gordon Bennett, I've become a corporate spokesperson!)

Okay, I'll now lower the tone.

The ten week old kitten I took in a week ago still has the runs and it's getting worse. She's now leaking as she walks and doesn't seem to know how to clean herself. I'll be at the vets with her in a hour and hopefully the vet will be able to do something because this is just wearing me down. I certainly can't re-home her until it is sorted.

Saturday, 1 February 2014


Since I first put up the list Animal Krackers Cats Needing Homes (see link on sidebar) the average re-homing rate of one cat a week has gone up to three a week -13 in total since December 27th- and I'd like to think that the list had something to do with it. Of course new cats are always arriving. I've been tinkering with it since it started and have managed to keep up my promise of updating it the same day a cat either arrives or is re-homed. It's not perfect, of course, suffering from the limitations of being a blog post but I'm still pretty pleased with it.

We have a few regular cat cuddlers, though more are always welcome, and I introduced Kelly, a new volunteer to the cats just this morning. The name is a bit twee but it's a very important job as they help maintain cats socialisation over months of being in a pen and help nervous cats settle in. Thank you one and all, you really are appreciated so please don't stop. Bring a friend, your partner, your children, other relatives, all are welcome.

Some cats can be with us for months. Willow, a lovely friendly tortoiseshell, was only just re-homed recently after over a year with us. Blue, a kitten handed in to the shop (see recent post) and then over to me, was only with me for four days before finding a new home.

The same people are interested in adopting another kitten I took in last Monday (see photo below) but, apart from being a little loose in the bowel department, isn't very good at licking her bottom clean so I'm stuck with her until she is. It also means that I have to... well, I'm sure you get the idea. Nice little thing otherwise.

Here's no name kitten.

I also lost Max, who I was fostering, to cancer a couple of days ago (see previous post).

I'd love to find a home for Lucy the traumatised stray cat who had to have most of her tail amputated. She's frightened of other cats but, when she gets to know you, very affectionate. She needs a quiet home as house cat.