Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Short answer: I took these photos in our living room this morning.

And she's not going anywhere. She's with us for life. She's our Cat No.9, the newest and, ironically, the oldest of our nine cats.

She isn't, however, the happiest of cats. Susan and I think she's been very stressed out by her time in the kennels. Although she has the option to wander anywhere in the house, mostly she stays in the living room either on a chair, the floor, or hiding under the settee. Apart from brief ventures into the kitchen, she only usually leaves the room to use one of the two litter boxes in the hall.

She likes me. I can state that as fact because she often comes up to me and I either pick her up or she'll climb (she can't jump) up onto my knee where she'll stay purring for anything from a few minutes or, if I let her, over an hour.

I've been a little concerned for her health so I took her to the vets earlier this week and some blood samples were taken for testing. Mostly the results were clear apart from a slightly high blood sugar level which is caused by either stress (which I think is mostly likely) or incipient diabetes. So I'm taking her back tomorrow morning for more blood samples to be taken and sent away to find out which it is.

Below are a few photos of our Ted on the bed with, first, Leo and then (Little) Bob who, though not as big as either of the other two, isn't so little any more. You can't tell from the photo but Bob has black whiskers which I don't remember seeing on a cat before.

I took this last photograph at the vets this afternoon. It's of a young feral female I dropped off to be neutered. She'll have a few days at Carole's to recover and then she'll go back where she came from.


Look, this is nothing to do with me. I'm just telling you about it because it's something different. The professional-looking poster was designed by a young woman called Esme who is also helping organise the event and if she organises as well as she designs posters it'll be pretty damn good.

But I'm not going.

Why should I? 

For a start it's aimed at women. Of which I'm not and have never wanted to be either. If it was a book/DVD/CD collectors sale I'd be there like a shot. But it isn't. It's a fashion show. Which brings me to my second reason. I have no interest in fashion whatsoever. I'm not interested in men's fashion so I'm most certainly, most emphatically, not interested in women's fashion. At all. Ever.

Forget it.

Susan, of course, has been trying to convince me to attend. Her arguments run roughly as follows.

It's a fund-raising event for Animal Krackers. You have to support it.

No I don't. I do plenty of work for AK. It's only two hours since I took a feral female to the vets for neutering. I took a cat as well, ho ho ho.
We need all the help we can get.

Tough. Your problem, not mine.

It'll be a lot of fun.

Your fun, not my idea of fun.

There'll be a lot of women there.

That much is obvious. And why is my wife telling me this anyway?

Listen, I know this is probably irrelevant because you don't have a sexist, lascivious, dirty-old-man bone in your body-  This is true- but some of the models are attractive women who'll be wearing low-cut dresses and-

Get thee behind me, Sataness. I'm still not... well, it's possible I should help out...I might be going to the pub.... I suppose I could be the official photographer for the event.

(I might have imagined this dialogue between Susan and myself. Then again...)

Sunday, 25 September 2011


This was a gorgeous little thing that I fostered and which we very nearly kept because she was just so beautiful and cute.

But we re-homed her anyway.

Now just about 6 months old and ready for being neutered, here she is in her new home. Photos courtesy of Tom and Laura, Mysti's besotted owners.

Friday, 23 September 2011


It's been a quiet week with nothing of note worth mentioning. I've only been to the vets once and that was a routine visit this morning to have a cat's stitches removed. First off, a picture of the back of the van taken while I was unloading a whole bunch of cat food, some bought, some donated. I have to say that Sainburys store is way the best for donated cat food. If Morrisons and Asda were as good it would cut our food bills considerably. There are also photos of two feral kittens and more of the mother with her now eleven-day old kittens.

Monday, 19 September 2011


It started out as an ordinary Tuesday morning as I went to pick up cat food from Asda and Sainsburys. It differed a little after that as I had to call in at a friend's house to feed her cat and change the litter and then keep it company for a while as she was on holiday. She actually got the cat from me as it had been found locally, had recently given birth, and had a damaged (discovered to be broken) leg. I'd kept the cat in a cage in the garage, spending some time with it each day until it was ready to be re-homed which, obviously, she was and very successfully.
About an hour after getting home, Susan and I set off in the van to visit Westhall Kennels which acts as a dumping ground for stray cats and dogs which have ended up being the responsibility of Sunderland City Council. It's basically a converted farm and is a dark and depressing place to visit. I'm sure the staff do their very best for the animals in their care but it isn't the sort of place I'd want any of my cats to go to. The reason for our visit is that Susan had just learned of the death of a family friend -it had happened some months earlier but for complicated reasons (not unsavoury I should emphasise) it had been kept quite. He was only in his 40's and as a result his mother with whom he lived had immediately gone into care and their cat into Westhall.

What we found is in the top picture. I could tell she was an oldish cat even before I looked at her teeth and she was clearly stressed. She'd stopped looking after herself and her coat was peppered white with dandruff and thick with loose hairs. She hadn't licked her bottom very well either. As I was due to take a cat to Stray Aid (see several previous posts), I rang up them to see if they would take this one -she'd been named Lotus- which they would. In the meantime, we'd look after her for a couple of days and, suspecting this might happen, I'd brought a cat carrier with me.

That sorted, our next stop was at Carole's with the weekly delivery of food. One cat which had arrived a couple of days ago had just finished giving birth to her last kitten not long before we got there. She'd had six in all. I took a few photos of them and some other cats.

While we were there, Carole suggested we take Lotus to Roker Park vets to be checked out as they'd probably fit us in now. So we did. Wendy, who took the ginger kitten a couple of weeks ago, checked her out and reckoned her to be about 10-12 years old and in reasonable health, coat  condition excepted. So we took her home and she took up residence under the settee.

I was back at Carole's in the afternoon to take one cat and a kitten to the vets. The cat, Ossie (otherwise known, to me anyway, as Psycho-cat) and one of Carole's had recently decided to start peeing all over the place. The three-week old kitten, on the other hand, had developed eye trouble. Here they are.

Thursday morning dawned mild and sunny and, after paying a visit to the cat, it was off to Stray Aid. The first cat was located upstairs above the shop. A stray, it had arrived yesterday. Now I was originally going to take Lotus but, for reasons I'll explain later, it was going to be this friendly young tabby (sorry, no pictures of it) instead. Then I picked up Phil who, with Andrea, does the dog-running. Over to Red House Estate on the north side of the city to pick up a one year old neutered male as the couple didn't have to look after him properly because they had a new baby. Yeah, right, like a cat takes that much looking after. But into the box it went.

About a mile to the west and it's a one year old German Shepherd which has been neither trained nor socialised with the result is that he's wildly friendly with people, can't be allowed near other dogs and a tight grip needs to be kept on his leader at all times. He can be trained but it will need someone with a lot of experience and patience to do it.

Stray Aid were hugely busy that morning due to an influx of several stray dogs and it took a while for them to check ours out. The cats were no problem, both young, friendly, neutered, and healthy and very re-homeable. The dog might have to go to the Blue Cross animal charity for special training.

It's now Monday and Lotus, the cat in cell 9 (actually a reasonable size cage with an outside run) is still with us and looks like being our Cat No.9. In the time she's been with us, I've given several intensive brushes which she actually loved and would let me pretty do anything to her to get at the fur. I gave her a dry shampoo with a special mousse like stuff which got rid of most of the kennel smell but replaced it with a smell that Susan hated. So we gave her a bath and Susan shampooed her with Head & Shoulders. I held Lotus by her front paws against the edge of the bath and, while she clearly wasn't happy, put up with it all.
She actually looks better than this now and the dandruff has mostly gone. While mainly staying in the living room, she occasionally venture into the kitchen or upstairs. She doesn't react to the other cats even when one of them hisses at her, though they most keep out of her way. She likes being cuddled and will happily stay on your knee or slumped against your chest for as long as you'll let her, purring loudly all the while. 

In the last couple of days she's started climbing on my knee without waiting to be picked up. Although Wendy the vet put her at 12 at the oldest, she acts like an older cat. I've never seen her move quickly at all. Susan doesn't think we'll have her long, though she may surprise us. Me, I just feel so sorry for the poor old thing and also pleased that she's begun to respond to us. But what we are doing is giving an old cat a loving home for her last few years which I'm sure would have pleased her late owner.

Sunday, 11 September 2011


My cold has gone but, as usual, it's left me with a phlegmy chest which will make me cough and retch for a few more weeks until my chest finally clears up. This also stops me swimming. But not running around after cats.

Sunday evening I got a frantic call from A. who owns Tammy, a grey cat we'd taken in for a while. I told her she'd have to wait until the morning when I'd take it to the vets, which I duly did. The vet checked her over but couldn't find anything. I asked about temperature which he hadn't checked her for other than by touch. He got the thermometer out and Tammy did have a temperature so she got a jab. I brought her back the next morning and her temperature had gone down a little but antibiotics were needed. Hopefully these will have worked.

Monday I picked up a cat from an elderly couple at Houghton who were going on holiday until Friday and Carole was looking after it.

Thursday afternoon and I took a couple and their shar pei, Kaiser, to the new PDSA hospital on North Hylton Road not that far from Carole's. It had developed an ear infection which needed treating. To my surprise, the place wasn't packed and we didn't have to wait very long, which is not my usual experience with the PDSA. Don't get me wrong, unlike the RSPCA, I have a very high opinion of the work the PDSA does. The dog was treated but their qualifying information was out of date which necessitated a trip to the Housing Offices, thankfully not too far away. Kaiser was a placid dog, just big and strong. I chatted to a few people while I waited, plugging Animal Krackers at every opportunity.  Here's Kaiser.

 Friday, morning, I picked up three females for neutering at Roker Park. Later that morning I got a call asking if we could take a 6-month old neutered male. Yes we could. I collected him on my way to the vets to pick up the others. Not surprisingly, he was older than 6 months but still a young cat with a lovely soft coat and a friendly placid manner; very re-homeable. 

At Roker Park, I had to see the vet about one of the cats, about 3/4 years old who'd had several litters poor thing. During the operation there'd been a large bleed and they'd had to open her along her underneath to stop it, so she needed monitoring and bringing back for a checkup the next day. Paid a bill of over £900.00 while I was there and called in at JP Pet Supplies on the way back to Carole's to pay off her cat litter bill. After dropping off the cats I took the one she'd been fostering for a week back to its owners at Houghton.

Saturday morning, picked up the cat which I decided to call Jessie and went to the vets and waited and waited. For nearly an hour as there'd been a series of emergencies. These things happen. I spread the AK word, made a fuss of any nearby dogs, spent two minutes with the vet who gave Jessie some antibiotics, then back to Carole's and then back home. Over two hours for two minutes. And just as I'd shut the door, the phone rang.

A lady, who had been told several weeks ago that she was being moved into a tower block, and had given her cat over to Carole had just found out that she wasn't being moved after all and wanted the cat back. Said cat, however, had since been re-homed. Carole offered her the young cat I'd brought the day before (see above) and she accepted so it was back to Carole's  to take it to its new home. The woman was delighted with him, as I knew she would be -he really is a loveable little thing.

Today, Susan and a heavily loaded van and several other AK people have gone through to an animal event at Newcastle. So I have the house to myself for several hours and no running around. Bliss.

Lastly here is a photo of a very friendly neutered male 2-year old wanting a new home.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


I've been loaded with cold this week which has restricted my activities somewhat. I have been fostering a young cat about eight months and both of us were getting too fond of him so he has now gone to another fosterer. He's young, he's healthy, he's local and I've put posters up in both shop windows resulting in two enquiries but neither from his original owner.

Carol has a couple of re-homeable kittens, a brother and sister, who are both adorable and purr as soon as picked up. Alas, they move like lightning making it very difficult to get a good picture of them.

Then there's a young greyish-blackish male, handed over by some kids, who isn't litter trained and seems a bit confused.
Lastly, a brother and sister, 11 weeks old, I picked up yesterday and have the blood loss to prove it. About eleven weeks old and nervous, they've been put in with him above. A few days with Carole will settle them all down I'm sure.