Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Being involved with cat rescue is a bit like a doctor being on call -you never know when the phone's going to ring and you're called out.
On Saturday Carol rang me about a lady who lives in a nearby town and takes in some of our older rescued cats (usually when one of hers has died). Incidentally, I'm being vague about details because, while I want to tell this story, I also want to respect her privacy.
She lives on her own in a flat in a nice looking council estate area but has not very nice neighbours. She'd come home to find one of her cats, which never goes out, to be missing and got a bee in her bonnet that someone had a key to her flat and she was upset. I hopped in the van and drove round to see her. While I was there I think I convinced her that no-one had got in. If they had they'd have done a lot more than take one cat. However, despite moving every piece of furniture, the fridge-freezer, cooker, washing machine, bed (also inside the wooden frame), etc, I couldn't find the cat and during that time the cat's best friend also disappeared. I was convinced that neither had got out but completely baffled as where they might be. After 45 minutes I gave up and went home. Not long after that Carol rang me to say the first cat had been found buried in a box on top of the wardrobe though his best friend was still missing. I'm sure it's since turned up.
Monday lunchtime and one of Carol's rescued cats was poorly with the 'sniffles' and very dehydrated. I said I'd take her whenever Carol could get an appointment which basically was as soon as I could get there so off I went.
I didn't have a chance to look at the cat until I was sitting in the surgery, though he'd cried most of the way there. A youngish tabby, he lay on his right side in the carrier, crying in pain and breathing heavily. He tried to get up but fell over and I thought this was far more than a dose of cat flu. I'd been talking to an elderly lady who'd brought her cat in and she saw the vet before I did. When she came out her carrier was empty and she was visibly upset. I sympathised but also said that, while I didn't want to appear insensitive, if she ever wanted another cat Animal Krackers was always desperate for good owners.
I took the cat in and the vet, Louise a young Scot, took the top off the carrier and gently lifted the cat out. After checking it over thoroughly she said that it was clear to her that there were large masses in the chest cavity and probably the lungs and, as it was obvious to both of us that the cat was in great pain, there remained only the hardest and kindest thing to do. And so it was done. I didn't stay because the cat didn't really know what was happening and I didn't have any relationship with it and felt it would be ghoulish.
Carol got a shock as she just expected it to be put on a drip and she took it badly. But these things happen.
Friday, 20 August 2010
Just because there's nothing cuter on the face of the earth than one kitten.
Except for more than one kitten!
Apologies but the next photo is only partly cute.
Don't worry, the dog is in absolutely no danger. The kitten is a trained professional.
And now, for the sake of balance, here are some older cats.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
(Slightly expanded from its appearance on my Freethinking blog.)
Apart from Sundays when Phil borrows it for dogs and at other odd times, I'm the white van man driver for Animal Krackers. Mostly it's just around town to call on Carol who looks after our cats, to pick up cats no longer wanted by their owners plus the occasional stray, and to take cats (and sometimes dogs or rabbits) to one of three local vets. Apart from two or three trips a year to Burnhope to visit Tracy's rescue to drop off some cats when she has spare capacity or to StrayAid just down the A1, it's rarely outside the city's boundaries. To any American readers the distances I travel are minuscule which is why I'm mentioning the two I'm about to mention which are outside my usual routes and routines.
Last Saturday morning I found an email from a friend of a friend who lives in Lanchester wanting help with a mother and her three tiny kittens which were staying behind bushes outside her front door. She was particularly concerned because this is out in the country and only recently a neighbour had her cat killed by one of the many foxes which live in the area.
Anyway, to cut a shortish story even shorter, I climbed into the van and drove to where she lived. I may have visited Lanchester before, a Durham village even further away than Burnhope, but if I had it must have been over 40 years ago and then that would have been passing through. It helped that I had to take the same route as I do for Burnhope only without turning off and heading up into the hills and the specific location was very easy to find thanks to certain landmarks.
I went up to the house and found-
(This was taken in my cat carrier)
These two tiny things only a few days old. I was informed that the mother and the other kitten hadn't been seen all morning. After half an hour and a couple of phone calls to Carol, I gently put them in the carrier and drove over to Carol's who popped them in with the mother cat (see the white cats post) who was still lactating. The cat accepted them but her other much larger kittens started trying to play with them. But, after a stint of hand feeding, Carol removed her kittens and put them in a cage with two older kittens and the babies with the mother cat. Two days later and this is still working.
Almost all our charity's income comes from the shop and the donations of goods it receives. From time to time we get some decent stuff for which we can get more by taking them to an auction sale room. Usually it's just the one a few miles along the road but this time they weren't interested in what we had -three good-makes rocking chairs, a few oldish radios, a magic lantern, and a large Bible with illustrations by Gustav Dore- but another auction house was willing to take them on.
This place was a bit of a trail (for me anyway) as it's on the far side of Newcastle upon Tyne so I allowed myself an hour to get there. Just as well I did as for a long section of the main Newcastle dual carriageway there were roadworks which really slowed the traffic down. Once past that it got better and I shot through Newcastle on the central motorway. Coming off it, however, I took the wrong road, doubled back and was still on a wrong road. Thankfully a friendly community support officer was able to put me on the right road which was the road I thought was the first wrong road but was actually the right road.
I got there with five minutes to spare to find myself meeting a miserable unenthusiastic git who reluctantly took everything except an old record player and the Dore Bible. Going back I took a different route (which Susan had mentioned before I'd set out but I knew better) which went past the Metrocentre and was a lot faster and quicker.
And there we are.
Friday, 13 August 2010
The Fleabag family consists of a mother, her three kittens, and her sister. They arrived at Carol's looking like a feline version of dalmatians except dalmatian spots don't move, jump, bite and suck blood. In other words, all five of them were covered, and in this case that is not much of an exaggeration, with fleas. Carol sprayed them, bathed them and a day later, when I arrived, they still had some on them though they were dying off. And today when I came with my camera they were all gone.
Carol's hanging on to them for a little while to make sure that they're okay and here are some of the snaps I took. I can verify that they are all socialised and will make good pets. Don't you want one or more of them?
And lastly, while I was there a young woman arrived wanting a cat. Carol offered her this lovely friendly 6 month old who'd just been neutered last week.
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Unless you got it the same way I did then the chances are that you're wrong.
It's not often that you come across a real bargain like this was and I found out like this. If you read my Freethinking blog regularly you'll know that I'm a member of Amazon Vine -a group of reviewers selected to receive stuff for free in return for a review. There's also a forum for us Viners which can go in some weird and wonderful directions. I spotted a new topic with the title -
-as I'm known for my cativities on the forum, and it directed me (and others of course) to this bargain on Amazon. I ordered 10 packs and then thought what the hell and ordered another 20. Not suprisingly they had all sold out. What really surprised me is that Amazon re-stocked and honoured the orders at the original price and they arrived this afternoon. All six of my cats, plus Daisy the kitten, tucked in.
And the cost?
Well, the total for 30 12-packs (360 individual tins) came to £12.30 which brings the individual tin price at a staggering 3.4p. Three point four pence per tin and it's good stuff.
Coming soon on Cat Rescuing Sunderland: the tale of two white cats, two white kittens, and a ginger kitten and lots of fleas, with photos.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Thursday, 5 August 2010
Arriving at Carol's just before 8 on Tuesday morning to pick up a cat for neutering, I found this box on her front step. Noting the small airholes, I picked it up and shook it gently with hearing any cry or detecting any movement and immediately feared the worst. Inside was this frail little thing.
Later that day I took it to Roker Park Vets for a checkup. It's a neutered male, barely about ten, skinny with fur in tats, poor teeth, and didn't like being picked up though was happy to be stroked. It had messed itself in the carrier but that might have been because of stress. So, take it back, give it some TLC and see what happens.
What happens is that he hasn't eaten or drank anything since yesterday and appears to be quietly dying. Carol feels she has let it go on long enough and in half an hour we're taking him to be put to sleep.
We don't know who put him on Carol's doorstep or anything about him as there was no note. Were they just getting rid of a problem, or couldn't afford to pay for treatment, or just couldn't face seeing him slowly dying? Never know.
But there's been more than Boxcat. After dropping off the cat for neutering, I picked up Andrea and a rabbit, then a lady and her dog and took them all over to Vets4Pets at Fulwell. After taking them home a couple of hours later I was back sorting out my study which has had new windows put in and been redecorated which meant all my books, CDs, DVDs, and graphic novels were piled in boxes and dumped in my bedroom and now it was time to start getting things back together, a process which taken until today to nearly complete.
Anyway, mid afternoon and after picking up bedding from the shop, I went to see if the owners had managed to get the cat which savaged my hand into the carrier I left. They had and here she is.
So, with her in the van, I picked up the now neutered young male from Williams & Cummings, dropped him off at Carol's where I collected another cat to go to Roker Park Vets. That done, I picked up Andrea, went to a house to collect an 8-week old fostered out bulldog cross -all cuddly, lickey, and bitey, and sorry no pics- to take to Vets4Pets for his first injections. After dropping off Andrea and her sister at their home, I took the puppy back to its home and then went to my home where I had twenty minutes to get changed to go out for a 60th birthday meal for Big Ian one of the shop's mainstays (as opposed to me who is known as Susan's Ian; there used to be another Ian whom I thought of as Driver Ian but others as Chip On His Shoulder Ian). The pub -the Seaton Lane Inn- is about four miles away and used to be about one step up from a spit and sawdust place when I used to go about 35 years back for the real ale. Now it's a top class small hotel and restaurant and the food was very good indeed.
I'm only about an hour and a half back from taking Boxcat to the vets to be put to sleep. All the way there he came out with a quiet sound like a miaow without the 'm'. He lasted barely seconds after the injection and never even reacted when the fur on his leg was shaved and the needle inserted. Poor thing.
Monday, 2 August 2010
Some things you just don't expect.
Of course you expect to get the odd scratch when you have cats; even more so when you rescue them like I do, or look after them like Carol does. It's par for the course, goes with the territory, no big deal. It tends to be a quick swipe which will result in a drop of blood or two or a thin line across your hand or a claw dug in, often accidentally. Bites are relatively infrequent and hardly ever draw blood.
Have a look at this-
That bite went completely through the skin so that when you pull at the wound you can see, once you've mopped up the blood, the muscle tissue underneath. And yes, that is my hand about ten minutes after it happened. It's the worst injury I've had from a cat in my entire life.
So, who did it? Was it some tough old tom? Was it a cornered feral?
No, it was a 9-month old neutered and socialised (so I was told) pretty little tabby female I was picking up because one of its owners had developed asthma as a result of having the cat and I was picking it up to take to Carol's. It didn't even give any warning when I held out my hand to it, it just attacked and when I started walking away it went for the back of my leg. After washing my hands there, I left the cat carrier and told them to ring me after 9.30 tomorrow morning if they've got the little dear in it. And I'll come and pick it up. Wearing gardening gloves.
To be honest I was in a real state of shock. I called in at the shop on the way home to show off my injuries incurred in the line of duty, then went home, bathed my hand and put Savlon antiseptic on the bite and cuts. I also knocked back a large Southern Comfort and I never drink during the day, especially spirits.
When Susan got home an hour later she told me to go to the walk-in centre and rang my GP to check when I last had an anti-tetanus shot. They didn't have a record of it so I reluctantly (I'm a brave little soldier) agreed that it might be better to be safe than sorry and went along. Within forty minutes I was seen by two nurses who cleaned the wound, gave me an anti-tetanus shot, put a dressing on it -they don't close bite marks in case infection's already in the wound- and gave me some pills to take, not penicillin to which I'm allergic.
So there we go, just one of the dangers of the animal rescue business.
Let's have another look.