Wednesday, 30 June 2010


But first I had to call in at Roker Park vets to pick up additional antiobiotics for Zoe the diarrhoea-plagued kitten (see yesterday's post). Then off to Carol's to collect the two cats and one kitten which Tracy had agreed to take. Leaving from Carol's on the opposite side of Sunderland to where I live adds another 15 minutes onto a 40-minute journey. The trip itself is relatively straightforward: dual carriageway from Sunderland to Durham, get through Durham whiich is the slowest and trickiest part, then a fast (depending on who's in front) single carriageway until a right turn up into the hills and to Burnhope for the most attractive part of the drive.

Here are a few photographs of her rescue/cattery plus assorted pets including a couple of cats and their kittens I brought through a few weeks ago.

We got one surprise when it turned out that the kitten I'd brought had an injured toe which had turned septic and was worse than that of the little kitten we'd taken to the vets the day before. If we'd known then we could have taken them both. He's a lovely little thing who loves being picked up and stroked. Needless to say I told Tracy to send any vets bills to us, though she's hoping she may be able to deal with it herself. I just hope he's going to be okay. See for yourself.
Back home, I finally got round to scanning the young cat that Anne was fostering.
And, much to my surprise, I got a positive result. I rang to local vets who contact Petlog, got an address (two actually) and phone number, rang the owner who confirmed the bushy tail and the post-op neutering scar, and called me back. I collected the cat and met the owner at the vets. Before I went there, Susan insisted that I ask for a donation, which I did but was very embarrassing especially as he didn't have any cash on him. Stiil, she's back with her owner and sister who was apparently fretting over her being missing so all's well, etc.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Not because I haven't had anything to post but because I couldn't summon up the energy and I have been quite busy.  Working backwards we'll start with yesterday afternoon when Carol and I took a little kitten to Roker Park vets.
If you look closely at the outstretched paw you'll see some obvious damage. Carol had been looking at the kitten when a toe fell off. Literally. The vet reckoned some hair had got constricted round the toe cutting off the blood supply until it just dropped off. The wound was healing well but we got some antibiotics just in case.

Earlier that day, a carful of us went through to the Department of Pensions Office several miles north east of Newcastle. The department decides on a charity and collects for them for a set period of time and then gives them the money. In this case it was us. So there was me driving, Susan and Anne backseat driving, and Andrea talking on her mobile. Going there, and following a Google map for directions, I had to backtrack several miles because the instructions were wrong and on the return journey I missed the Tyne Tunnel turnoff and again had to backtrack. We still got there in time, went through the security procedures, and found ourselves in an attractive modern complex with lots of walkways and trees. Inside we talked about Animal Krackers, how it got going and what we all did which was appreciated as we were actually the first group to show our appreciation by volunteering to come and accept the cheque in person. The cheque was a handsome sum of over £700 and was accompanied by a table full of cat and dog food which we we just managed to fit into the boot and under the feet of the back seat passengers. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for your kindess. It's much appreciated.

Back at the ranch, it's full house. No kittens or cats had gone out for nearly two weeks until the weekend just gone when Carol managed to rehome three cats and two kittens (or vice versa) only to have three more cats arrive. Here are some nice kitten pics.
Last Thursday I got a call from an elderly lady who had taken in a young cat from us some eighteen months ago. In the last few days she'd also taken in a cat barely out of kitten stage which had been hanging round her house for a few days. However, it hated her cat and was terrified of it she really could do with the fuss. As it wasn't an adult cat, and despite being full, Carol agreed to take it so I picked it up and took it round and here it is.

She is a lovely and friendly cat, had recently been neutered and is probably about 8 months old. And she hates/is terrified of other cats. She even spat at the little kittens and this made it impossible for Carol to keep as she had nowhere suitable for her. So I decided to take her to the shop and put her in a cage in the office, which I did. She seemed quite happy about this and didn't even try to scramble out of the cage when it was opened, preferring to have a fuss made of her. Next day, Anne (our treasure and co-backseat driver, see above) agreed to foster her for up to a couple of weeks and four days later she's still there. Carol put an ad in the Sunderland Echo about finding her but no-one has claimed her yet. This is a surprise as she's obviously been well-looked after and I'd have thought her owner would be trying everything to find her. 

Then there's the older kitten I picked up from Barmston and called Zoe who turned out to have stomach problems i.e. lots of diarrhoea which she still has nearly two weeks later. We're currently waiting for the results of a faeces sample I took to the vets. I hope she's going to be okay as she's not only gorgeous but very affectionate, happy just to be cradled and petted by me. She given me a case of the "I know we agreed not to have any more cats, particularly kittens, but I want her anyway." Here she is.

That wasn't everything I've been doing in the previous two weeks but then this isn't a diary plus I also have a lousy memory. This afternoon I'm off to Burnhope deep in the heart of the Durham countryside (see earlier posts) to take three cats to Tracy's rescue while this morning Susan and Andrea have gone to StrayAid at Coxhoe, not quite so deep in the Durham countryside, in the van with a shedload of dog food.

Back soon.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


The last of Chloe's kittens has been rehomed and Chloe herself was rehomed last week.(and will be neutered tomorrow). Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Carol asking if I'd pick up a bloke from Leechmere (about half a mile away) and take him to hers to look at the kittens. So I did. Bit rough and ready but he lived next door to Ida from whom Susan and I got Lucy, our first cat together, sixteen years ago and Ida had given him our number. If Ida had given her approval that was fine by me.
And here he is with Chloe's last kitten. a few minutes later I took them home together.

While I was there I checked out a recent arrival of kittens. Their feral mother lived in a garden and was supervised by its owners who handled the kittens from being a couple of days old and had recently neutered the mother. Four black with nearly hidden tabby streaks which will probably become more pronounced as they get old plus one ginger. I noticed their eyes were a bit sticky and ended up taking them to the vets at Roker Park where they got some ointment and antibiotics.

You can just see Chloe's kitten snuggled up in the middle of them.
While I was in the vets, where the kittens got a few cuddles from the receptionists, I was asked by a guy with a dog if I was a breeder.
The only thing more insulting than that to me would be if he'd asked me if I was a paedophile. I politely explained why I didn't like breeders and what I actually did. 

About the same time a lady had called back to pay her bill which she'd been too upset to do earlier having had a much loved cat put to sleep. She noticed me and the kittens and told her husband who, while I was having the kittens looked at, I was as seeing the kittens had sparked his wife into considering a kitten. After I'd been and gone from Carol's, they'd phoned her up, called round and collected this four month old little treasure who'd been dropped in Carol's lap on Monday.

She also had a couple of other cats and this four year sad-looking ginger boy caught my attention. His owner had just died and no relatives wanted to take him on. Regular readers will know I have a soft spot for ginger cats.
Two more kittens are arriving by Friday so I should have more photos soon.

Monday, 14 June 2010


Just for a change, and seeing as I have my brand new Which? best-buy camera to try out, I thought I'd take a few photographs of our shop which is the main source of our income. Without it there simply wouldn't be an Animal Krackers because we just wouldn't have the money we need for vets bills, kennel fees, pet food, and neutering costs.

The prime movers and organisers are Sue Hardy (my wife) and Andrea Parkin. Here they are with Millie and Benjy, Andrea's two dogs. Benjy is a recent acquisition. He was brought to our attention just after he'd been hit by a car. We paid for his leg to be amputated and looked after him until Andrea decided to keep him. He's lively friendly and happy despite being a tripod.
Here are a few pictures of the main shop area.

And that is pretty much most of it.

Behind the scenes is a kitchen/workroom area. Upstairs is an office and storeroom. and outside is a toilet, storeroom for pet items including bedding, food, traps, etc. What was a coalhouse we use for storing bags of clothing to be recycled. Plus the yard area which is a dumping ground and collection point for stuff that's unusable/unsaleable/unrecycleable which I take to the council tip in the charity's van.
 And some more people.
And a little something for the cat fans out there. Here are two kittens we've recently rescued. The ginger and black one is called Zoe and she's having a problem with her bowels. The other was  found near Carol's being threatened by dogs.
And here's me.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


I spend a lot of time, relatively speaking, writing about the cats (and dogs) I've been involved in rescuing. Just for a change, here's a piece about my cats. The photographs were taken today with my new camera, a Which? best buy which I may do a short piece about on my Freethinking blog.

I'll start with Ted who is a rather endearing sod.
Susan brought him home from Carol's when he literally jumped into her arms and she couldn't resist him. When he first arrived he tried to establish himself as the boss, more out of insecurity than anything else. He's really a laid-back cat who loves people, and has never seen an open door -be it house, garage, car, or van- he didn't like.

Lily is now the oldest since Bonnie died a few months ago and is about 8. She's the only surviving kitten of a litter and we've had her since she was 5 weeks old.
She's also rather nervous and tends to get picked on by the others as she never defends herself but always runs away and tends to have her claws out all too readily as several scars on my hands, arms, and chest will attest. Despite this she is friendly and loves attention. She often stays out all night, spending it curled up in a cat kennel at the bottom of our garden.

I sneaked Leo into our house when Susan was away on holiday with her brother and his family. I told her that he was about to be chucked out and Carol couldn't take him. This was a lie as he was actually a three month old kitten which Carol had recently taken in and he just seemed to be begging me to taken him home.

Leo is extremely friendly and affectionate and, like Ted, quite laid-back. It's not unknown for the two of them to sleep next to each other. Although he goes out, he's more a house cat than any of the others. He's also a greedy pig.

Most people go to the doctors and come home with a prescription. Susan came home with Blossom. She was there for an appointment when someone came in and told her about a kitten on the scaffolding outside. We did try and find her owner but to no avail and she ending up staying.

Impossibly cute, when she's friendly she's all over you and the rest of the time she's very stand-offish. Her fur is prone to tats which makes her high maintenance. She often sleeps on the bed next to me.

Max was brought to the shop by someone for a reason I now forget. We'd only recently lost another short haired black and white tom and Max was impossibly friendly so we kept him. He has very long legs which are quite distinctive.
He's a very needy cat who just loves affection and he really can't get enough of it, though he doesn't like being picked up at all and is quite nervous.

Last comes Toffee who conned us. She was handed in at the shop and was exceptionally friendly. She certainly charmed Susan and myself. However, it turned out that she was in heat as after we had her neutered he true character came out. She can be friendly, particularly if she sees us outside, but doesn't like being handled and, unlike all the others, will never sit on a knee, though she does like being stroked. She usually stays out all night which suits me just fine as when she stays in she usually wakes me in the early house by knocking my clock or glasses or whatever is handy onto the floor so I'll let her out.