Saturday, 29 March 2014


Stop that right now!

You're jumping to conclusions and you know what they say about jumping to conclusions: it makes you go bl... Maybe that was something else. Anyway, before the wrong conclusions get embedded in your brain, I should perhaps explain.

I also go swimming five times a week at the local sports centre where I do around twenty lengths or forty minutes and then go and have a shower. Got that? Are we clear? I am not a smelly old man. Right. Now I can get on with the point of this post.

If you read the Introduction to the Animal Krackers: Cats Needing Homes list, you'll note that, although I give my home and mobile numbers, I also state that I prefer to be contacted by email. This is why.

I'm a morning person. I like to get up and about and doing things.  Weekdays it's swimming, often followed by some shopping either for myself or cats or both. An early trip to the vets isn't unusual. This means I do a lot of driving so I won't answer my mobile. Neither can you leave a message on either it or my landline, though texting is an option with the former.

None of this is set in stone, however, as something unexpected often comes up. If you're a regular reader of this blog you'll have a good idea of what takes up my time.

For at least part of the afternoon, I like to have a nap.  Yes, it's the aging process, though I've been napping at lunchtime since I was 48 much to the amusement of library staff. The time and length of afternoon naps varies depending on what I've been doing. either way, I don't answer the phone even if it wakes me up. I ignore it and go back to sleep.

I can be in and out of the house several times during the day and always take some time to check my email and reply if it seems opportune which is why I prefer to be contacted this way. Your're more likely to get in touch with me quickly via email.

Saturday morning, however, I don't usually rush out anywhere and often have a lie in. After cereal and coffee I check my email, scan news websites, stuff like that (which I do every morning) and then have a bath. Not just a scrub/wash hair bath but a long relaxing soak with a book, usually between about eight and nine. And always... Always.. The sodding phone rings. I ignore it of course but it's still annoying especially as it's often Susan, who isn't normally awake at this time, or Carole. It was Susan this morning wanting me to drive the van when I had a round trip planned of Sainsburys-Carole-vets- Ferry Farm-home. 

So that's why I prefer to be contacted by email. Sunday morning is usually safe to call as it only interrupts me reading the Sunday Times which I can live with.

But just to remind you-

It's an exciting life I lead.

Friday, 28 March 2014


No more kittens! No more kittens! No more kittens!

I re-homed all of them, except little black and white Emma (who doesn't count as I suspect she'll end up as resident here), this week, in fact on each of the last three days (including today).

None of them, curiously, have stayed in Sunderland. On Wednesday, Belle, the sweet little tortoiseshell, went to a nurse and (when she's home from uni) her student daughter who live in Tudhoe just outside Durham. When the kitten curled up in the girl's lap it was obviously a no-brainer. On Thursday a mother and post-grad daughter came to see Shadowcat who promptly hid behind the settee. However, it wasn't long before she came out and settled down on the daughter's lap purring constantly as she was stroked so off Shadowcat went to Seaham. Today an extremely nice woman from Whitley Bay (up the coast just past North Shields) who has a nine year old daughter and twelve old son who suffers from CP, came to see Gerald the Ginger Kitten as she just loves ginger cats. He was on good behaviour and they soon departed together. Just before they left I begged her to change his name. Actually, of the three I think that Belle is the only one who might keep hers.

Three horrible destructive kittens gone in three days. What a relief to be rid of them.

And if you believe I mean that then this is your first time visiting this blog.

Not that they were the only ones re-homed this week. Also gone from our re-homing centre are: Yuna, Edgar, Tiger, Poco, and, fostered out, Suzie (whose new owner has already sent a thank-you email; always nice to receive). Which makes a total of 8 re-homed this week. 

On Wednesday I called in at Ferry Farm to find an ambulance there as one of Phil's dog walkers had suffered an epileptic fit. Also in attendance were two young women dog walkers, one of whom was interested in adopting a cat. She hadn't had a cat before and it occurred to me, after showing her a couple of new arrivals, that I'd already described one cat on the list as an ideal starter cat, said cat being Edgar whom I'd recently transferred from being fostered with me. I introduced her to him, she fell for him, and off they went together.

Yesterday I picked up Tiger to take to Seaham to meet a temporarily housebound lady who, immediately on arrival, showed me a photo of her previous cat who could have been Tiger's brother. In the afternoon it was back to Ferry Farm to meet a couple who were interested in adopting a cat. I wasn't late but they'd got there even earlier and had already decided on tabby Poco who'd only been here for three days. If only they were all like that. And, of course, an hour later off went Shadowcat. Three re-homings in a day.

Although, not counting today which has several hours left to run, there are still two more days left in March, I think that's it for re-homing for this month as I don't have any more adoption visits scheduled; though the way things have been going I can't rule it out. So, just look at these figures.

Total Cat/Kitten Re-homing for March 2014: 20.
Total Cat/Kitten Re-homing Jan-March 2014: 37.
That's 37 in 13 weeks, or nearly 1 every three days which is three times last year's average.

(Does little dance in the middle of the room, 
waving arms in the air,
and scaring the crap out of the cats who hurriedly run for cover.)

I hope it continues like this or I'll feel like (another word for crap).

So, what can I do to end this post appropriately? Ah, I know.

Canine creatures courtesy of Dawn of Ferry Farm Kennels. (No, you can't have them, they're hers.)

But seriously, folks...

My deepest most sincere thanks to all our volunteers: our helpers in the shop, our fosterers, our cat cuddlers; to everyone at Ferry Farm; and to the many people who keep us afloat financially (the customers at our shop), and the businesses which support us. You do so much to keep us going. Please don't stop because, as this post demonstrates, it's worth all your effort and kindnesses. Thirty-seven cats happy in their new homes in only three months this year. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Well, maybe not a houseful. I might just be exaggerating there.

I know and I know you know that I would never exaggerate. It just isn't in my bones. I can hardly conceive of even exaggerating a little. And if you believe that then you might like to invest in this sure-fire scheme to make us all lots of money with absolutely no risk at all. Email me for further information and include all your financial details including passwords.

But getting back to kittens. It may not be a houseful but it certainly feels like it even if there are actually only four of them. They've spent the last hour in the living room while I sat watching Holby City. You'll see where they were in a moment. Except I couldn't take a photo, for obvious reasons of little Belle the tortoiseshell -oh I like that phrase "little Belle the tortoiseshell", go on, say it out loud- who was snuggled into the crook of my elbow with eyes tight shut.

So it's kitten season again. You know what that means? Well, if it's anything like last year it means my chest, arms, legs and the backs of my hands will be covered with a mass of thin red lines which looks, to anyone who doesn't know my circumstances, as if I'm into self harming. Who knows, maybe I would give it a try except I don't need to when I've got kittens to do it for me. But it's not it's caused by kitten attack, just kittens climbing up and all over me for a cuddle and drawing blood in the process. I swear that one of these days I'm going to have to have a blood transfusion.

Who would want one of these things anyway? They are a literal pain. Plus they're destructive. A year ago when I moved into my nice clean done-up house everything was perfect. Within weeks of getting kittens they'd ruined my vertical blinds, crapped on my bedroom carpet, knocked most of my small British Bird Collection figurines that I'd bought specially for the house (and, just as well, cheaply too) off mantlepieces, windowsills, and any other convenient high flat surfaces I'd put them on, destroyed the backs and fronts of a settee and armchairs with their tiny little sharp claws, do a smelly poo just as the TV programme I'm watching is coming to its climax, jump on the keyboard while you're typing and then cuddle up in your arms when you move them (which has just happened), used any wooden upright (like table legs) as a scratching post, all but demolished any wicker furnishings, knocked books, CDs, and DVDs off shelves (and there are a lot of them in this house), chewed any thin cable like those for my Ipod and Ipad, electric shavers, phones -ah, sorry, no that wasn't them, that was Fifi (see photo in the sidebar), but it if hadn't been her getting there first they'd probably have had a go.

Kittens, I must be bloody mad. Alas I have no choice as our re-homing centre isn't really suitable for them and there's only one person who can take them in and is stupid enough to do so. At least they tend not to stay very long. One of them might not even be here this time tomorrow and another may be gone by the weekend. That being the case I took a few photos while they were all together in the living room.

Just as a reminder as I'm putting them in no particular order: Belle is the tortoiseshell, Shadowcat is black, Emma is black and white, and Gerald the Ginger Kitten is ginger. Plus there's a guest appearance from Aelfric who hates to miss out on anything.

If you want to know which cats and kittens have been re-homed, check out the bottom of the page of Animal Krackers: Cats Needing Homes site -see sidebar.

Kittens, it's only because they're the cutest thing in the world and I hate cute. Really I do. And kittens.

Friday, 21 March 2014



You mean you were expecting me to tell you why you shouldn't stick your hand in a dog's mouth. Come on, guys. I mean, like really. Surely the answer to that has to be obvious. You know what can happen if you stick your fingers in a dog's mouth.

It's what happened to me on Wednesday.

Look, it's a mistake that anyone could make.

So next door's boxer dog has its paws up on the low wall with metal railing on top of it and it's looking at me and barking. Okay, so I don't see that much of the people on the right side of me but we are acquainted and I have had friendly encounters with the dog in the past so it's not entirely unreasonable for me to put my right hand between the railings in order to stroke the dog, despite it going wuff wuff, ruff  ruff, row row.

I didn't know it was going to rip the flesh off the middle finger of my right hand.

Only some of it. But enough of it for me to go back into my house and place some sticking plaster around the finger to stop the bleeding. And I did get a bit of a shock.

So I went back out as I was going out in the first place. This time the guy next door was there and I told him what had happened. I didn't blame the dog, just my own stupidity for sticking my fingers near the mouth of a barking dog. He thought it might be because he hadn't been there and suggested I try it again.

To quote the legendary Saaay whaaat?

But I did, tentatively, with my undamaged hand.

And it wasn't because he hadn't been there.

Wuff wuff! Row row row! Bark, bark, bark! Damn, missed.


If anyone asks me how many cats I have in my house I have to paws (sometimes I'm just so clever and funny I even amaze myself) and count on my fingers because it varies from week to week and sometimes from day to day. I've had three new arrivals since last Friday.

One is Belle, the little loveable ten week old torty kitten who gets more loveable and affectionate every day. She now sleeps cuddled up just under my chin every night and every evening curls up on my chest while I'm watching TV, often to the annoyance of black and white kitten Emma who likes to do the same. 

Tuesday afternoon and Susan phones and tells me she wants me to come round to meet someone. Well I'm not daft (though opinions vary about that) and I knew that meant she had a cat she wanted me to take. And I was right. Fortunately, Belle didn't stay in the conservatory for more than 12 hours before she was socialising (terrorising?) with the other cats.

This young cat was a bit nervous but again, within twelve hours, he was rolling over on his back when saw me and now, three days later, is about ready to join the others.

I've deliberately not described the cat and not included a photo because he was found locally and handed in at the shop. He's so pretty and photogenic, he's not going to anyone unless they can describe him. If he's not claimed by next Tuesday, I'll have him checked over at the vets and put him on the re-homing list.

Already on the re-homing list is his conservatory mate. 

Wednesday afternoon and I called in at the vet's to pick up a cat which had been spayed. While there I was asked if I could take in a kitten/cat about 5-6 months which had been handed in having been dumped over someone's garden fence (yeah sure, not heard that one before, whatev-er). As I already had kitten-cat 1 in the conservatory I said I'd take her in a couple of days or so when k-c1 would be with the others and could they spay her in the meantime. However, by the time I got home I'd changed my mind and rang them to said I'd take her tomorrow after the spaying and just hope the two cats either got on or were indifferent. Pretty much the latter as it turned out.

Me saying no and then later changing my mind after I've had time to think about is a bit of a habit of mine. I did the same thing a couple of weeks when Pets at Home rang me about a stray (see previous posts).

Sue, the receptionist at the vets, suggested I call her Shadow (she's black) which I went nrrr, nah, I don't think so. Later, after some musings on alternate names, I decided to call her Shadowcat, a one-time used code name for the X-Men's Kitty Pryde. (And if you think it's odd I should know that, try reading a few posts of my other blog which shows a very different side of me. On the other hand, maybe it's best if you don't.)

Anyway, nervous at first, after twelve hours or so (what? you expect to time these things?) she too started rolling over when she saw me and looks like being a very loveable little thing. Excuse the crap photo, she's darker and cuter than she seems and you can't tell she's got a soft coat.

Expect a new post soon as I've a busy-ish weekend ahead.

Saturday, 15 March 2014


Even though I don't believe in it, I'd still rather not tempt fate by boasting or even by being just a little too proud but I can't help myself.

Our cat re-homing centre at Ferry Farm Kennels is now not quite a quarter of the way into its second year of operating and.. Well, the first year was okay with us re-homing on average a cat a week. It wasn't bad but hardly wonderful and that amounted to around 52 cats which might otherwise not have found new homes. But this year is far exceeding my expectations; not that I had any to be honest, I take things as they come. But so far this year we have re-homed a total of -and yes I know you've already guessed from the title of this- 29 cats in just two and a half months. At this rate -and here's where the tempting of the fate I don't believe in comes in- we'll exceed last years total by the end of June, if not before. But I'd rather not count my chickens before they're on my dinner plate.

One thing I've learned is that you just never know which cats are going to appeal to people. When I meet people at the centre I've usually got some sense of what they're like and which cats, or cat, might suit them. Sometimes I even get it right. But you just never know.

Take Molly, for example. She's a large nine year old tortoiseshell and the most loving cat you could wish to meet but she's been with us for many many months and at best, she was the second choice. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. (That isn't a sexist phrase these days, is it? I do try and be as politically correct as possible but things can change quickly.) Until today.

A nice couple from Billingham, who were after a young affectionate female (and you don't know how tempted I was to insert a mildly un-pc remark there!) came and paid attention to new arrival Yuna (see list), were quite taken with Tiger, even considered Tilly and Todd who used to live with me, but then met Molly. At the same time, four of our regular cat cuddlers were there and all of them urged the couple to choose Molly and were delighted when they did. She is a lovely natured cat and I just don't know why it's taken so long for her to find a new home other than not being a young cat -which is an important factor with many would-be adoptees.

On the other hand, I took in (to foster) two cats last Friday -eight days ago- and both have been-re homed. I mentioned the first one in my previous post. Floppy, the other one, went yesterday though it was close call.  In the few days he'd been with me he got over his nerves, was fine with the other cats, and was really affectionate with me. A nice young lady from Ryhope (just about a mile from me) read my blog and got in touch with me about him. Typically (for cats who as we all know are awkward contrary sods) when she arrived he hid under the settee. We talked for a while and Emma the black and white kitten and Tilly the young grey cat came into the living room and caught her attention. Just when she was seriously beginning to consider Tilly, Floppy emerged and let himself be stroked. And then he jumped on her knee and settled down. Sold! I knew all the time he'd be right for her.

About an hour later I took in Belle, a nine week old tortoiseshell female, who, only about 15 minutes ago was snuggled up to me on the settee. No doubt she was tired after hours of growling loudly at the other cats as she warned them not mess with her. I don't think she'll be here long and I've already had one enquiry.

So, why the sudden improvement on last year? Well, I do know, though to my shame I haven't looked it up, a lot of activity about cats on Facebook (and my thanks to those who've been doing and to) those who've been spreading by word of mouth. And, okay I am going to blow my own damn trumpet, it can't entirely be coincidence that it coincided with me creating and regularly updating (sometimes even twice a day) the re-homing list.

Thanks also go to Mark, Dawn, and Philip at Ferry Farm, and everyone else who volunteers in whatever capacity at Animal Krackers, plus the support of the committee. 

Below is a list of all the cats re-homed this year and was updated today. And, yes, Hawkeye, Maggie and Morag are listed twice because they've been re-homed twice. You got a problem with that?

Cats Re-homed 2014.

January 2014.
Ollie, 2 yrs, male grey tabby, 2/01/14
Tink (aka Tinkerbelle), male, white and tabby, 18 months, 05/01/14, from my house.
Unnamed female tabby, 3 yrs (?), friendly, 07/01/14
Lucas and Tim - Two male, black kittens 6 months old, re-homed 12/01/14

Morag, female spotty tabby, Maggie, female small tabby, 16 month old sisters, Re-homed 13/01/14
Archie 4 yrs, male grey, very friendly. Re-homed 22/01/14

Willow, female, 3 yrs, tortoiseshell, friendly and talkative. Re-homed 22/01/14
Wendy, 2yrs, female, fluffy tabby, arrived mid-December. Re-homed 25/01/14
Blue, 15 wk old grey/white kitten, lively, affectionate, playful, arrived my house 24/01/14. Re-homed 28/01/14
January total: 11

February 2014
Ginger 1 and Ginger 2, 8 month old brothers, arrived 14/02/14, re-homed 14/02/14
Rusty, four and a half months old, black, male, very friendly, arrived 10/02/14, re-homed 16/02/14
Tigger, ginger male, young but exact age uncertain, likes cuddles and sitting on knees, arrived 26/01/14, re-homed 16/02/14
Poppy, female, grey tabby, around 18 months old, very friendly, good with kids . Arrived 23/01/14, re-homed 23/02/14
Maisie, about 2 years old, female tortoiseshell, a very nice cat. Arrived 21/02/14, re-homed 26/02/14
February total: 6

March 2014

Matilda, 5-ish, female, three-colour longhair, loves cuddles and kids, needs regular grooming. Re-homed 01/03/14.
Tut, 5 yrs, male, ginger tabby, nice but needs an experienced owner with no children or other animals. Re-homed 02/03/14
Victoria,  b/w, 14 months, arrived 14/01/14. Re-homed 07/03/14.
Tink, ginger male, 4 yrs, arrived 07/03/14, re-homed 10/03/14.
Hero, male, two and a half, b/w arrived 03/01/14, re-homed 10/03/14.
Morag, female spotty tabby, Maggie, female small tabby, 16 month old sisters, very friendly.  Arrived 08/03/14, re-homed 11/03/14
Miranda, tortoiseshell, 8 months, arrived 14/02/14.  Re-homed 11/03/14
Shappi, black, 8 months, arrived 14/02/14.  Re-homed 11/03/14
Jenny, 14 months, very friendly, used to kids. Arrived 14/02/14. Re-homed 14/03/14.
Floppy, a recently neutered three and a half year old male. Arrived 08/03/14. re-homed 14/03/14
Molly, 9 yrs, female, large tortoiseshell, loves cuddles. Re-homed 15/03/14
March total to date: 12

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


On Friday morning, while swimming at my local sport centre, I was told by Frank (see previous post for full details please because I'm not doing a full recap) about an abandoned cat which I took home at the same time as a stray cat and put both in the conservatory in the hopes that they wouldn't fight.

They didn't, but they didn't become best buddies either. 

Tink, the ginger boy I got from Frank, was lovely and friendly, happy to be cuddled and liked to rub his face against mine. On the other hand he didn't eat very much.

Floppy, the black and white with the floppy ear, was more nervous though by yesterday (Monday) he'd become quite friendly. He liked a sea-food diet as in see food and eat it. On the other hand he threw up on Saturday night and the two meals he got on Sunday. Monday morning I gave him some boiled chicken which he wolfed down and kept down. Teatime he got a sachet and kept that down too. This morning I gave him more chicken and three hours later he still hasn't thrown it up.

Back to yesterday morning when I went swimming and told Frank how Tink was doing. Frank then told me that a neighbour who'd also been feeding him (Tink, not Frank) burst into tears as she'd been intending to keep him (Tink, n... okay, enough of that joke). Frank wasn't too sympathetic as she'd had plenty of time to tell him that significant piece of information. He confirmed to me that she would give Tink a good home and that he was used to playing with her two cats. Fine, she can have him, I said and dropped him off at Frank's about lunchtime.

And that was how I re-homed a cat while swimming. 

I had no plans for the rest of the day other than dropping off some donated dog food at Susan's. While there she got a call from the shop wanting to know why I wasn't at Ferry Farm re-homing a cat. I'll be there in fifteen minutes, I yelled and zoomed off (well, reversed slowly and carefully down the back lane, drove slowly down the narrow cul de sac and observed the speed limit all the rest of the way) in my brand new second hand car (see previous two posts).

I apologised profusely because I'd not only forgotten all about it (though I remembered being in contact with the people) I couldn't remember making the arrangement. They were very graceful about it and took home Hero who they'd visited a couple of times.

I was on my way out when a family (grandmother, mother, and lively seven year old son) arrived with the intention of taking Maggie and Morag, two recently returned young Scottish tabby-white sisters, which hadn't been arranged with me though I knew of their intent. It's only a provisional re-homing (which is why they're still on the main list) to see how they get on with the young boy and he with them. They reckoned they should know in a couple of days.

If that takes, then I'll have re-homed four cats in one day which is the best so far. Heck, that used to be the average for a month! Two more are going out tomorrow (and two coming in) and I have expressions of interest in two others. So far March is proving a good month for cat-rehoming. So far. I'm not one for counting my chickens, though I often count cats.

Here's Maggie and Morag. Let's hope it's the last you see of them.

Friday, 7 March 2014


I made three acquisitions today and here are photos of them.

Tackling them in reverse order-

Susan initially wasn't keen on my intended vehicular purchase (see previous post) but when she came with me to actually look at it she was won over. My funds were all in place by today so off I went and, after a test drive, completed the purchase. I've decided to affectionately call it The Catmobile. Yes, that is a pretty crappy twee corny name for it. How about The Feline Flyer then? Catcatcher?  Or how about some of you coming up with a good name and letting me know? My Car seems rather mundane somehow.

The honour of being the first cat to ride in it went to Tink. As regular readers may remember, I usually go swimming about three-four times a week at the local sports centre. One of the regulars I chat to is an oldish guy who I helped a few years ago with his cat. A couple of days ago he told me of a nice friendly cat that had been thrown out of the house by its owner because she'd got a kitten for her daughter. I said I'd check it out and probably take it in. It's difficult to exchange details when you're standing in water and just wearing swimming trunks but today I remembered I had my Animal Krackers card in my wallet which I slid in his locker on my way out.

I got a call at lunchtime and agreed to go get it. (Here's another photo).
He is a handsome boy, isn't he?

However, things weren't quiet that simple. The day before I'd received a call from the local branch of Pets At Home asking if I could take in a stray that they'd found. My initial response was no because I'd already agreed to take Tink and keep him in the conservatory. But then I had a think. Pets At Home have been very very supportive of us -they paid most of the cost of the new van for example- so I thought what the hell, the two would have to go in together. I got in the van and drove round to get the cat. They also had a cheque for £150 for us and a binful of cat and dog food. I took the cat straight to the vets where Wendy declared it an unneutered male around three and a half years old. She agreed to keep him overnight and neuter him today.

I decided to call him Floppy because, if you look carefully, one of his ears partly flops over.

To cut a short story shorter, I picked up Tink, Holly the vet declared him a nice neutered male about four years old, and I brought them home in Catcar the First.

Floppy who, having had an operation to remove his dibbles, was very hungry and munched through a bowl of dried food before demolishing a sachet of moist. Tink, so far, is keeping out his was by sitting on the windowsill. Floppy appears to be standing guard over the now refilled bowl of dried munchies.

Okay, that's yer lot. Time to go do a homecheck.