Tuesday, 29 March 2011


This blog is going on hiatus for an indefinite period. 

The main reason is that I'm finding it repetitive and a chore to do. Most of the entries are pretty much variations on several themes, plus new cat photos. So if I don't have the enthusiasm for writing this blog then I have no enthusiasm to communicate.

I am not, however, stopping cat rescuing. I'm as busy as ever on that score. Currently we're in the process of renovating a large shed to make it more hygienic, easier to clean, and more cat friendly, though the number of cats we can take in will be reduced. 

We're also having to be more restrictive on the the nature of the cats we can take in. Our business is to rehome cats so our priority is to take in cats which are rehomable. This means no ferals, those with behavioural problems, and, sadly, no older cats. We can't afford, and don't have the facilities, to provide for cats on a long term basis because this limits the number of cats we can take in. Our aim is to have a fast turnover in re-homing.

Hopefully I will be back some time in the future. But goodbye for now.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Tara sent me this poem. The author is apparently anonymous and therefore no copyright attaches to it. What Tara doesn't know about me is that:
1. I hate poems unless they happen to be by someone like Ted Hughes or TS Eliot.
2. I am not a sentimental person, even about animals. I love them dearly and I believe they deserve the same respect we accord each, the same consideration, and the right to a happy and healthy life but I'm not sentimental not in the mawkish sloppy slushy way.

But, damn it, this piece of sentimental slop actually did touch me because it does manage to say something about why I and my co-workers in Animal Krackers and all the other animal rescues do what we do.

The Reason   
I would've died that day if not for you. 
I would've given up on life if not for your kind eyes. 
I would've used my teeth in fear if not for your gentle hands. 
I would have left this life believing that all humans don't care 
Believing there is no such thing as fur that isn't matted skin that isn't flea bitten good food and enough of it beds to sleep on someone to love me to show me I deserve love just because I exist. 
Your kind eyes, your loving smile, your gentle hands 
Your big heart saved me 
You saved me from the terror of the pound, 
Soothing away the memories of my old life. 
You have taught me what it means to be loved. 
I have seen you do the same for other dogs cats and animals like me. 
I have heard you ask yourself in times of despair 
Why you do it 
When there is no more money, no more room, no more homes 
You open your heart a little bigger, stretch the money a little tighter 
Make just a little more room to save one more like me. 
I tell you with the gratitude and love that shines in my eyes 
In the best way I know how 
Reminding you why you go on trying. 
I am the reason The dogs and cats and animals before me are the reason 
As are the ones who come after. 
Our lives would've been wasted, our love never given 
We would die if not for you.

Excruciating sentimental rubbish. Please don't send me anything like that again, Tara. Now excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye...

Saturday, 12 March 2011


They like to sleep a lot.

Daisy likes to sleep on a rug in the bathroom, though if I wake at 4.00am she's usually curled up next to me. She also likes you to make a fuss of her when you are sitting on the toilet.

Blossom is the best mouser in the house, standoffish and friendly by turns.

Max is the most affectionate (needy) and also a bird killer.

(Little) Bob is the most adorable and playful and youngest (9 months) and he's never met a person or a cat he didn't like.

Toffy likes to be out all night and is friendlier outside the house than in it.

Leo is lazy, greedy, and friendly, always happy to be stroked and to steal another cat's food.

Ted, aka Big Ted, is irresistibly ingratiating and has never met an open door (house, garage, car) he didn't like.

Lily, at 9 years old, is the eldest and, sadly, gets bullied by all the others except Little Bob. Can be very affectionate but often likes to be just left alone.

4 were handed in at the shop over the years.
2 came from Carol's.
1 was found near our GP's surgery.
1 as a kitten was at risk from a dog she lived with.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


The why of it is this. Tracy had rehomed a stray cat she'd taken in. However, it turned out that the  cat's owners had just moved round the corner and they got in touch with Tracy who retrieved the cat from its new owner who wanted another one instead, specifically a young neutered female. As Tracy didn't have one she contacted us and we had two candidates so I took both of them through.
Another nice day and a nice country run, at least once I got out of Durham and particularly on the steep road up to Burnhope itself, apart from the fancy car overtaking me at about 70mph on a narrow country lane. I caught up with the moron about a mile outside the village when he'd got stuck behind a van doing a measly 50. About then I passed an upturned car just off the road on my left. Someone else who'd been driving too fast no doubt.

I'm never quite sure what exactly I'm going to find when I unbar the gate to Tracy's cattery. This time two dogs raced up -one I'd met on the previous visit, the other was a terrier- both gave me and the cats a sniff and headed back the way they came. Now all that stood between me and the cattery itself was-
Tracy appeared and we got the cats settled in their new apartments -to call them cages would be an injustice- and I took another couple of pictures of cats she had available for re-homing. One was a massive black and white cat whose elderly owner had recently died.
Tracy and I chatted for a while until I saw someone at the gate and said my goodbyes. It was the people who were bringing back the re-homed cat which was now going to be re-re-homed at its original home. After I'd gone they took the tabby I'd brought as they already had a white cat.

A nice trip out in the countryside, a good chat with Tracy, and encounters with a few animals. After the weekend, a welcome change.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


The cat died some time this afternoon. L phoned me just after four and was very distraught. She asked me if I'd collect the cat and I did.

The poor thing was stretched out beside the cat carrier I'd left and was rigid with rigor mortis. I wrapped it up in a couple of towels and placed it in the back of the van. I had a few words with L, telling her that she'd done everything she could for the cat and that she had nothing to blame herself for. Which is no less than the truth

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can say the same for myself. While I don't doubt for a minute that had I taken it to the emergency vets at Felling they would have put it to sleep straight away which at least would have ended its suffering. Did I think that because it reacted so quickly to my picking it up that it was less injured than it really was. Or was I using that as an excuse not to spend over £200 (which is what it would almost certainly have cost) of Animal Krackers' money on a cat which I honestly (?) thought might just be in a state of shock? To be fair to myself, I was in a bit of a state of shock after the clawing I'd just received and the swelling is only now starting to go down over 30 hours later.

I don't know, I just think that maybe I could have done more and that a cat suffered more than it should have done because of me.

I've since learned a couple of things which would have changed matters. Apparently the RSPCA is bound to collect an injured animal. L could have phoned them yesterday morning but then neither she nor I knew that. I've also learned of a vets at Durham which is open Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning as part of their normal hours.

At least I've learned something.

I've found my camera.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


Well, it's been over two weeks since my last post. Nothing much happened in the first week -just the usual neutering trip, tip and food runs- which is why I didn't write anything. This week, however, there's mostly been too much going on, plus, to be honest, I didn't really feel like writing for this blog. If it's not fun for me to write then it certainly won't be fun for you to read.

1. Blood.
A few months back I wrote about having to go to the Grindon Health Centre because a cat I was collecting had bitten right through my skin. That I consider to be No.1 in my animal-induced injuries. Today I suffered No.2.

Not quite first thing in the morning I went up to Asda to buy some extra cat food as we were getting on low side and emptying the food bin. Before dropping that off, I called in at Roker Park Vets to pick up a presciption for Baby, the surving Lanchester kitten -now a friendly playful young cat with no sense of smell. I thought, apart from a tip run or a trip to drop excess stock off at Barnardo's shop in the city centre, that was it for the day. Just after eleven I got a call from a woman who'd been given my number by Roker Park Vets. She'd been feeding a stray cat for a few weeks but had found it injured this morning. Problem was that she lived several miles away at Shiney Row and by the time I could get there, all local vets would be closed which meant the emergency vets at Heworth which charge £100.00 just to see the animal and that's before any treatment. The lady did say she was waiting to receive benefit, but when we rang later we were told that didn't count.

Anyway, I drove through with a cat carrier. The cat, a thin ginger male was in a shed and hadn't eaten any of the food she'd put down. It let me touch its nose so I thought it would be okay. It then retreated into a corner which meant we had to move a lot of stuff so I could get at it. That done I bent down to pick it up and it reacted as if I'd stuck an electric prod up its bum. It screamed and swiftly shredded a finger and sliced the back of my hand not far from where it had been opened up before. 

I yelled a very rude word when it happened and stared at the blood dripping freely from my hand. The cat, displaying considerably agility for one which might have been hit by a car, went to ground in the shed. The lady (I'll call her L, in case she doesn't want to be identified) put some elastoplast on my wounds after I'd washed them and the blood flow had slowed down. Then I went ahead, managed to pin the cat in such a way that it could only move into the cat carrier. After that we discussed what to do. We pretty much agreed that the cat could hardly have broken anything to be able to move so quickly and with such agility and it was probably more in shock than anything else. I also decided that it had to be feral or as close to it as to make no difference.

The upshot is that it's staying in the shed for now and L will keep me informed of any change in its condition.

The middle finger on my right hand is swollen and a little painful. If it's no better in the morning, I'll be off to the Grindon Health Centre again.

2. The Three Year Old Which Aged Seven Years In Seconds.

Tuesday morning was busy with a 7.30 start to Asda to buy food for cats, drop it off, collect a cat for neutering and then drive to Barmston at Washington to pick up three cats from a couple who had six (I'd taken a 6 month old kitten a few weeks ago) which was three too many. When I dropped them off I had to take another cat to the vets as it had stopped eating and drinking. The vet kept it in to put it on a drip and do several blood tests (all of which proved negative).

Late afternoon and just as I was thinking about what to have for our tea, Susan rang from the shop. The girlfriend of the son of one of our helpers had brought her cat in because her mother said she couldn't keep it any more. She said it was three years old which I just accepted. I really really should know by now not to take what people say on face value especially when I know them to have certain problems. But I took the cat which had to go  in the cage in the garage.

It was a very shy ginger and white neutered male which seemed to have no aggression whatsoever but was obviously a bit stressed. It was also noticeably underweight. Nothing much happened on Wednesday that was cat-related. Swimming first thing then into the city centre for coffee with my retired colleagues Denise and Sylvia -I tell them all the cat stuff (they're both big cat lovers) before Phil, our fourth member, turns up. I checked in and fed the cat, making a fuss of it, changing its litter, three times.

Thursday morning and another early trip to the vets, this time with the three Barmston cats, all just under two years old, two males (who hate being put in a carrier) and a more pliable just pregnant female. We also found that they were riddled with fleas.

Later that morning I got a call to say that Stray Aid at Coxhoe could take another of our cats and I had just the one. I popped it in the van then went to the shop to fill the rest of it up with bedding for Stray Aids dogs. When Sue the vet checked it over, she discovered that it had been chipped and that the girl wasn't the first owner and that it was actually 10 years old. To be fair, she might have meant that she'd just had it three years and I didn't catch it. A 10 year old cat is a hell of a lot harder to rehome than a three year old. Ironically, while I was holding it it finally began responding to me by rubbing its head under my chin and purring for the first time since I'd taken it in.

3. About A Dog.

Friday morning I went swimming as usual but had to cut the session short as I needed to pick up Andrea. We then headed over to Hylton Castle on the other side of the river to collect a three year old Yorkshire Terrier from two sisters who had inherited it from a close relative who had died but found they were unable to care for it they it should be cared for. This was, unlike some, a genuine case; they were upset to see the dog go and gave us a donation. The Yorkie was a lively and friendly little thing and would easily and quickly find a new home.

We had to take it to Vets4Pets at Fulwell to get it checked over and have its vaccinations prior to taking it to Ferryfarm Kennels. On the way there, we called in at C's to remove all the soiled cat bedding and other stuff to take to the council tip, something I do on a weekly basis, and then dropped the dog off at the kennels and went home.

And that's all there is to say about a dog.

4. Boom! Boom! Boom!

In a previous post I'll have mentioned M, someone who was one of our helpers and a recovering substance abuser. He also fostered a cat and a dog for us but when he went into hospital for heart surgery they went elsewhere and when he came out he didn't want them back. What he did have back were the cigarettes and  drink habits and his behaviour began to deteriorate to the extent that didn't want him coming to the shop any more.

Nevertheless it was still a surprise when we saw a photograph of his flat on the front page of the Sunderland Echo. The reason it was there was because it had been pretty much destroyed in a gas explosion. Apparently M returned home, went inside, lit a cigarette and Boom!

He was described as being found burned, bleeding, and staggering about in the street. His injuries were  not   life threatening. Lucky sod, poor sod. We suspect that Social Services will have to intervene. He was often confused, inarticulate and his own worst enemy before -believe me, in the past we at Animal Krackers put a lot of time in trying to help him- and I suspect he'll be even worse now after this.

Poor sod.

5. No Photographs.

I've mislaid/lost my camera.