Monday, 30 June 2014

"And that, unless something unexpected happens, is the last post of the month," Ian Williams approximately three hours ago.

Well, guess what?

Round about nine last night this cat came into the possession of Andrea, via Lisa the pet taxi person, after running into the Grangetown chippy and hiding, clearly terrified out of her wits, under the fridge. Andrea had nowhere to put it except the shop where there's already one cat in temporary residence. So later this morning I got a call from Susan and you can guess the rest.

As you can see, she's absolutely gorgeous and is used to being handled. Bit wary -hiss, hiss- of my cats so far but she's only been here a few minutes.

We've finally got round to buying a microchip scanner which is currently being charged on the shop's laptop. When that's finished in a few hours, Andrea will come round and scan the cat -and the other two I've got here, and my own just for fun. Hopefully we'll find her owner as she has to be local. 

There are times when I wish all the people who neglect their pets were all in one body so I could wrap my hands round their collective throat and scream, "If you aren't prepared to look after a cat for life then don't rude word get one, you stupid rude word arseholes!"

I've taken three lovely cats into my house in the last two weeks and, believe me, that's only the very tiniest tip of the iceberg when it comes to lost and abandoned cats in Sunderland. There are many many more trying to survive on their own which either never come to our attention or that we don't have the resources to help. We're a very small local animal rescue charity trying to do our best to help and knowing that it's never going to be enough. But at least helping a few is better than helping none.


I've finally managed to take a couple of acceptable, but still not remotely near anything approaching good, photos of the young tortoiseshell female I took in last Wednesday. So far no response to the notices I put in the Animal Krackers and Post Office shop windows. No response to those for the four month old kitten I took in ten days ago and who is now up for re-homing. 

The torty is absolutely delightful. She loves cuddles and responds by rubbing her wet nose against my face. She's fine with other cats and likes her food. I'll try and get her properly checked out at the vets on Thursday by which time I'm legally responsible for her, though I won't put her up for adoption for another week just in case her owners are on holiday and haven't seen either of the notices. She's another one I'd love to keep but I won't because it's not fair on the other cats to have too many in the house.

Don't know what it is about tortys but it's very difficult to get a decent photo of them and I'm not saying that because I'm a rude word awful photographer. Something about their colouration. All bar one of the photos below were taken within minutes of each other (and not that many minutes ago either) and all with my phone but one of the cats is photogenic and the other isn't.

The stray (abandoned?) kitten I can now reveal as ginger and white. He's fitted in perfectly with the others, with Jeff, and with my cats. He's lively, playful, and friendly, just like all the other kittens. I suppose it's still possible that his owners are on holiday which is why I'll leave the notices in the shops up another week, but if anyone wants him before then....

And that, unless something unexpected happens, is the last post of the month.

Thursday, 26 June 2014


I was at the re-homing centre late this afternoon when I re-homed Gilgamesh the ocicat with two nice young women and met Sox who just arrived yesterday. I've already put him on the cats for re-homing list but I wanted to bring him to your attention because I'll be surprised if he's here for long. He is very pretty, smallish, cute and very friendly, a really lovely little thing and these photos, which aren't bad by my feeble standards, don't do him justice. If you want a young cat but not a kitten, I'd say Sox was perfect.

Incidentally, the cat with the pin in its leg is back home with me now. Wendy thinks the pin could probably be removed but can't legally do anything until I've had her a week. Hopefully she'll be back with her owners by then. Unlikely, but it does happen sometimes.


1. Dog Rescuing, Sunderland.

Sometimes it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

As I was at the vets with the little cat I took in last night (see below) and still had cat food in my boot from when I collected it at Asda yesterday, it only made sense to drop it off at Carole's who lives just up the road.
The moment I opened the boot a young boxer came up to me and wanted to be friendly so I made a brief fuss of it and opened Carole's gate so I could carry the cat food up to her back door. Only the dog got in there first. 

Five minutes later I was back at the vets, this time with Carole and the boxer on a spare lead she had handy. Wendy the vet scanned the dog and -ping! ping! ping! ping!- hurrah! it was chipped.We left it with Wendy to sort out.

If I hadn't decided on the spur of the moment to call at Carole's and got there just when I did, anything could have happened to the dog. Here it is. (And they are Carole's legs, not mine!)

2.1 Cat rescuing, Sunderland.

I still can't get a decent photo of the cat I took in last night.

Wendy found a lump I'd noticed on her right hind leg and decided to keep her in and take an X-ray of it. She also confirmed my initial impression that the cat was about a year old. It also had a chipped canine. I've got to ring back early this afternoon -it's noon as I'm typing this- and will put an update at the end of this post about what's happening to her.

2.2 Cat rescuing, Sunderland.

On the way back home I called in on Susan (my ex, for new readers) to drop off the dog food which had occupied the rest of my boot space and she told me that there was a cat upstairs in our charity shop which I'd have to drive past anyway so I stopped and called in to check it out.

I know absolutely nothing about the cat except that it is young, maybe a year and a bit, it's black and white, and it's very very friendly; also it's the mother of the kittens Andrea re-homed and she brought it in. It's also another bloody cat that won't stay still so I can take a decent photo. (I refuse to countenance the idea that I'm rubbish at taking photos, all evidence to the contrary).

Post Script.

Just rang the surgery and Wendy found a metal pin surgically implanted in the cat's leg which has become dislodged or something. Anyway, I'm picking her up later, about four-ish, as I have to be over that way anyway to go to my dentist to pick up my modified denture, and then it's off to Ferry Farm when, hopefully, Gilgamesh the ocicat will be adopted.

And on top of that I've got another problem. Just got a call from a lady with special needs who took a cat from us several years ago but has now gone into sheltered accommodation where other residents keep tripping over the cat. The problem being that there's no accommodating, sheltered or otherwise, for the cat right now. I said I'd call round next week but I don't know what I'm going to do yet.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


Less than an hour ago I got a call about an injured cat. The people who found it couldn't take it in because of a dog. As I still had the large low cage, I sighed heavily and told them okay, they could bring it round.

I really didn't know what to expect but ten minutes later a man, woman and teenage girl turned up on my doorstep with a small tortoiseshell cat in a carrier. The people turned out to be very nice genuine animal lovers. The cat turned out to be friendly and not as injured as I was expecting, minor at worst and I'll take it to the vets first thing in the morning. Haven't really had a close look at it yet but it seems a nice little thing. My guess is it's female and about a year old.

Once I know the state of it I'll put notices in the shop and post office to try and find its owner though I suspect it'll end up at our re-homing centre.

Apologies for the poor photos. Better ones and an update tomorrow.


I took these photos today when I called round at Carole's with some donated cat food on my way to the dentist. A police car was parked outside her house but, alas, it wasn't to take her in!

The mother is a beautiful and friendly cat -I've stroked her. Her kittens, only days old and not available for 7/8 weeks, are likely to be the same. Carole also has several other nice cats and kittens ready for adoption. If you're interested give her a call on 079777 69109.

Sunday, 22 June 2014


It's been five days since I last posted anything which is starting to make me feel twitchy as I've already exceeded my post total for about three previous years already and I'm getting withdrawal symptoms. But the simple truth is that I only post something when I feel I've got something to write about or new photos to show. But basically nothing much has happened in the last few days.

Dawn at Ferry Farm Kennels, where our re-homing centre is based, re-homed Frank, one of the three cats I moved from my house a couple of weeks ago. I've had a very strong expression of interest in Gilgamesh the ocicat but I've heard nothing from the lady for three days now. This morning I inducted a couple of new cat cuddlers -two teenage girls- who seem very nice and intend to come along regularly during the summer holidays which will be good for the cats.

Rikki the cat in poor condition -see previous post- is definitely settling in well. After ten days he's used to the other cats and they him and there's no friction that I can tell. Emma the youngest cat (about 9 months) seems to want to be friends with him. So, even though it's early days, the signs are good. He still mostly stays upstairs even though I only now lock him in the bedroom when I feed him -so the others won't steal his food. He's also looking a lot better.

A couple of days ago I took possession of a stray kitten. I got a call from a young woman who lives just a couple of hundred yards away down the road. She described it as being about four months old which, in my experience, could mean a lot older. In fact it might even be a month younger that. She would have taken it in but one of her cats wasn't keen. I put it in with the others where it's settled happily. I think it had only been lost overnight and I put notices in our shop window and at the local post office. Much to my surprise I haven't been contacted yet. It seems perfectly healthy, playful, and used to people. If it's still here in two weeks I'll put it up for re-homing. You might notice that I haven't described it or included a photo. That's because it isn't unheard of for people to claim kittens that aren't theirs, so I want a description and, ideally, a photo before I relinquish it.

One of Jeff's kittens has gone provisionally to a new home dependent on how well it gets on with the couple's nervous one year old female. Two others are reserved pending their new owners coming back from their holidays in mid-July. That leaves me with one black and white kitten which has improved from a bit of a quiet runt into a lively normal kitten.

Barring the unexpected which can always be expected to happen, it looks like this week will also be a quiet one. You'd think I'd be glad of the break.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014


And there they are. From top to bottom, or left to right (same thing):  
Fifi, Rikki, Aelfric, Lily, and Emma. 

That is it. No more. I am having no more cats in this house. Well, except maybe the odd mother and tiny kittens in the conservatory, at a pinch, if it's desperate. But otherwise, no chance. I meant it. Seriously.

I had Rikki at the vets yesterday because it looked like the stitches in his eyes were coming loose. Wendy removed them easily enough resulting in an immediate improvement in his appearance. His eyes are still swollen but I expect that will change fairly soon. Here, have a closer look.

And while you're here, have a look at some other photos I took at the same time.

It's pretty clear that Rikki has settled in and that the other cats aren't bothered about him being here. He's not friends with them yet but he's only been in the house since last Thursday -five days in total- so he's still settling in. It may take a couple of months but I'll be surprised if he doesn't end up cuddling with the three on bed above. He's a nice quiet and affectionate cat and I'm very fond of him already.

As for Jeff's kittens, two are going tomorrow, another is reserved, which leaves only the black and white one from the other litter (see the Cats Needing Homes list for details). I had that one and his brother at the vets yesterday because their two homed brothers had been taken there by their new owner and diagnosed with worms. Although my two hadn't noticably suffered from diarrhea I thought it best to get them checked and Wendy prescribed a wormer for them, all of them which I'm currently giving them. Also gave Jeff a worming tablet to be on the safe side.

Talking of Jeff, the student I got her from still wants her when she's settled. I had expected to hear from her last week but didn't. If the student (now ex-student) changes her mind then I'll have to find a new home for her.

Unless I keep her.

What? I know what I said above but you don't know Jeff. She's a beautiful cat, seems okay with the others, and is very friendly. I'm not saying I will keep her but it's very tempting. I mean 5 cats, 6 cats, there's not much difference really. But I'm only keeping her as the last resort. Well, second resort to be accurate. See for yourself -a nice natured cat like this is hard to resist.

Well if you're going to be like that about it...

Saturday, 14 June 2014


Rikki is proving to be a very loving cat. He seems to have down quickly to life in my bedroom. When I enter the room he gets up, comes to me and pretty much demands that I make a fuss of him. After initially curling up under a small stool or in a secluded corner, he now spends most of the time on my bed.

Yesterday I allowed a brief encounter with Aelfric resulting in a touching of noses for several seconds. Today the same thing happened only four times in the space of a minute or so. It's clear they're sizing each other up with the conclusion so far that the other isn't a threat. I took my camera upstairs and tried to repeat it to get a photo of the two together but Rikki stayed unmoving on the bed while Aelfric wandered round and Emma ate the rest of the sachet of food he'd left.

I'm cautiously hopeful that he'll be staying here.

As for the three I moved on to the re-homing centre, I've just received an email from one of our cat cuddlers who is very taken with all of them.

I'm trying to wean the kittens so that Jeff's milk will dry up and I can get her spayed. It's a gradual process involving letting Jeff out of the conservatory to spend more time in the living room but sooner or later she'll be howling to be let back in with her kittens. The kittens themselves, including the two newcomers, are all thriving on the variety of food I give them but still can't resist the occasional snack from Jeff and that includes the newcomers who are both well integrated with their roomies.

All are now keen to interact with me, in the conservatory at least. Outside in the living room they won't let me touch them but that's more a case of it being a different environment. I'm more than confident that their new owners -two are going to the same person next week leaving three still available- will find them sociable and playful.

Here's what they look like as of this afternoon, starting with Jeff on the settee in the living room, followed by one each of the newbies, and then a mix.

Thursday, 12 June 2014


Of course you all knew that anyway, yeah, yeah, it's not news to anyone but me or rather not that I'd have admitted it but now I can't deny it any longer.

Let me tell you a story.

For the last day and a half I have been enjoying the sheer blissful of tranquillity of living in a house with only four cats who all get on together. I can wake up in bed and find at least three curled up next to me, all comfortable in each others' company. They have me to themselves (I'm not counting Jeff and her kittens in the conservatory) and aren't being terrorised by cats who don't like other cats. Wonderful.

Then this morning I went swimming as usual (well, as usual if I wake up in time or if I decide not to go back to bed, the latter happening on Tuesday). When I swim my mind wanders as I think about things like writing a blog post, doing a draft in my head, or reflecting on something else. Today my mind went to Rikki the cat who had to have an operation on his eyes because eyelid hairs were growing into the eyeball. Such a sad looking thing. I was due to take him to the vets again today but this time because he was losing patches of fur. His eyes still look messy but are healing well.

And I thought to myself (as opposed to thinking to someone else): maybe I could try fostering him and see how he gets on with my cats. He did come in with two others who have since been re-homed so might be quite sociable and mine want to be friends with newcomers. Then I thought about something else.

"It's stress," said Wendy the vet and asked if their was a socket in the pen so we could try Felway a herbal aromatic which had some success in calming cats. I rang Ferry Farm and Mark told me they could by using a long cable but there wasn't a socket as such.

"Oh socket," I said to Wendy, "I'll take him home and give him a try. He might be better in my house."

So I did and here he is on my bed. The Felway is plugged in next to it.

I'm quietly optimistic that this might just work.

And there you go. I just get the cat population down to what I wanted in my house and all is calm and I take in another bloody cat. Mind, he's on the fostering list. Anyone wants him they can have him.



Regular readers may remember the story of Muddy, an ailing elderly cat found sitting on a grass verge, who I took to the vets and fostered for a short while before, much to my surprise, finding him a new home and taking the new name of Monty. Now neither myself nor the new owners thought this weary battered but affectionate cat had a long life ahead of him. All the same it still felt upsetting when I received this email a couple of days ago-

Hi Ian

Just to let you know the sad news that Monty was put to sleep this morning due to kidney failure.
Thank you for letting me foster him for the short time we had together.

To which all I can add are my thanks to Victoria and her partner for giving Monty the love and care he received from them for the last few weeks of his life and which made his passing so much easier. I wish he'd had longer.

I thought a similar situation might be arising with this one. Yesterday I got a call about a stray cat who'd been regularly fed by people in a quiet close at Silksworth. I went up, took one look him, and popped him in the basket. The people who'd contacted me were lucky as the 17 year old cat I'd more or less agreed to take in on Tuesday never arrived so I did have space, especially as three of my foster-cats had gone to the re-homing centre. I couldn't take him to the vets immediately as I had a committee meeting at 4.30 so I left him in the large cage.

When I got back some 90 minutes later he'd messily soiled the cat bed (see above) which I had to clean and put in the washer before I did anything else. Then off the to the vets.

Alas this isn't a story with a happy ending. Apart from a head covered in ticks, he had cat flu and at his age lacked the resources to fight it off. There were only two alternatives, neither pleasant: give him a booster shot and return him to where he came from to look after himself as I had no resources to cope with a cat in that condition; or to put him to sleep. You won't be surprised that Holly the vet and I decided the latter was the kindest option.

Can't win 'em all.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


I'll be honest, I live in a small house. The garden is about twice the size. Don't get me wrong though, I like living here. The location is convenient and the house being compact makes it relatively easy to keep clean. Well it would if I wasn't such an idle rude word and I didn't have so many cats which makes the house smell. I can only open my bedroom windows when the door is closed and all cats ejected because the windows open from the bottom up. The living room isn't too bad because the bay window is divided into three with the opening windows at the top of each panel. Even then I can only open them a little so as to deter a persistent cat from forcing the gap wider and getting out as happened once.

So I decided to be ruthless and reduce the number of cats I'm looking after, specifically those I'm fostering. Two were easy to decide upon. The first was Frank, the people-friendly but cat-bullying black and white two year old I took in three weeks ago. Then Gilgamesh the beautiful ocicat who likes people but was even worse with cats than Frank. Every cat is the house was afraid of him. And lastly I decided to let Aoife go. I've had her for fifteen months, her and her three adopted kittens and two of her own -all but one has either been adopted or is at our re-homing centre.  But it wasn't an easy decision as she's very loving but doesn't like other cats and I've been changing my mind constantly, but in the end...  In the end as of a few hours ago, all three have taken up residence at our re-homing centre at Ferry Farm kennels.

Now I'm reduced to Aelfric and Fifi, the first two cats I fostered here, who will never leave. I nearly sent Emma, a nine month old black and white, and Tilly, Aoife's fifteen month old grey daughter, to Ferry Farm together but they're both so affectionate and all four get on well together.

That still leaves Jeff and her kittens and the kittens I took in last week. Except that the student I got Jeff (as a stray) from has finished her course and is hoping to take Jeff home to Manchester. Three of the kittens have been re-homed and two are reserved to be collected in a week. So, not counting them, I'm down to a much more manageable four which will reduce the amount of time I spend cleaning the litter trays considerably as well as reducing the food bill. It also means that I can give more time and affection to the cats I do have. It feels almost like a holiday, except...

Except: I hate that word.

Except that I'm expecting a phone call any minute now about an abandoned 17 year old cat I've agreed to take in. And then there'll be the phone call about a cat that the circumstances are such that I can't help myself. And, and, and...

We really, really, really need more fosterers. Animal Krackers will pay any vets bills and help with the food so if you or someone you know... Get in touch, dammit!

Friday, 6 June 2014


Well, only two of the new kittens as I homed the grey and the white/black one  together this morning, leaving only the tabby and the black & white. This evening, just a few minutes ago, I put the two remaining in the conservatory with Jeff and her kittens. The newcomers are slightly larger than Jeff's brood but not by much

Apart from some minor sparring between two tabbies, it's mostly been a slightly wary curiosity. Jeff has had a good sniff at both and is currently sitting on the windowsill. New tabby is wandering around and the b/w one is sitting next to a seated tabby. 

I rather think it's going well and it means a bit less work for me. I think I'll leave them there.