Saturday, 23 June 2012


For the second time this week we got a call about tiny kittens being dumped. Again, the people who found them contacted the RSPCA who gave them the same answer: leave them alone (to die, probably getting eaten by either rats, birds, or dogs, or from dehydration). Nice to know you can count on the RSPCA to do the right thing. In this instance they were dumped in a cardboard box at the back of a chemists at Gateshead. One member of staff took two home as did another. However in the latter case her own cat took violent objection to these tiny intruders and so, very reluctantly, she had to contact us. I went through this morning to collect them and take them to Carole's. At Carole's, and as I expected, she put them in with the grey tabbies (who are thriving and about the same age). Here they all are.

And here are some more new kitten photos.

I'd just got back when I had to go out again with Susan to meet a lady who had brought two cats from Seaham to by fostered by Lynn. Living in a council house, she was discovered to have more pets than the council would allow and was ordered to get rid of three cats. Her son took the other one. Photos below. One of them, after a quick look around disappeared behind the couch, the other took up residence on another and waited to be made a fuss of. Needless to say, he didn't wait long as I never could resist ginger cats.

Just one final word. I hope these scum of earth (and other rude words I don't use in this blog) who dump kittens (and cats and any other animal) to be either taken in by kind people or left to die, rot in hell.

Monday, 18 June 2012


Quite a busy day for me what with one thing and another. Now it was 7.40pm and, with Susan off aquacising with her friend June, all was quiet. Until the phone rang. Two tiny grey kittens had been found by a main road in Houghton and the lady didn't know what to do. I rang Carole, received the expected answer, and set off with van and kitten carrier. Fortunately the lady's house was easy to find.

She'd done the right thing in contacting me as the kittens were around 3-4 weeks old (which Carole confirmed later) and hadn't been weaned. Had they been dumped? We'll never know. They certainly weren't feral as even at that young age they'd have been vicious. These two were used to being handled. They were also obviously very hungry, one of them crying continuously which was kept up all the way to Carole's.

Just as I got in the van, I saw a grey cat nearby and wondered if this was their mother looking for them. Or it could have been their father. I beckoned him/her over, gave the cat a stroke and picked it up. Answer: neither. He was a neutered male. Nice cat, mind.

I got to Carole's pretty quickly as even the busy A roads were relatively light of traffic at this time of evening. Carole popped them in a small cage and prepared some Simicat (name probably spelled incorrectly) for them. It's a special formula kitten food delivered through a syringe in the mouth. It must have worked as the crying kitten stopped crying; well, for a while anyway. After a little while Carole decided to turf the five week old kittens out of a bigger cage and, after cleaning it out, put the two babies in. She also put in a bowl of kitten food, smeared some over both their mouths so they knew what it was, then shoved (gently) their faces in it so they knew where it was. 

The kittens are going to be fine thanks to Carole's experience but also thanks to the lady who so kindly took them in and contacted me. I talk a lot about about Carole and myself but none of what we do would be possible without the people who take in stray and abandoned cats and kittens in the first place.

Okay, here they are. Also some more kitten photos I took while I was there tonight.

Hang on, before I upload them, I should mention that Susan came home while I was out, didn't have her keys with her, didn't know where I was, couldn't find out because I'd left my phone in the van while I was at Carole's, and had to take refuge with a neighbour. Still, once I'd explained she put the rolling pin away.


The moral of this story, which I'm telling you in advance, is: don't make assumptions because you -and in particular, me- will probably be wrong.

It's very easy, when you know an address, to make assumptions about what you're going to find. In this case a scrawny 6 month old kitten either tabby or black and white and a tough as old boots 5-year old tom also either tabby or black and white. Not so. In this case, a gigantic neutered ginger tom and a pretty big thick furred young tabby who just could not be only six months old, both in good condition; and an elderly distraught owner. 

We didn't have any room for them but I'd heard on the grapevine that StrayAid deep in the hinterlands of Durham (okay, just one exit down the A1M and probably just under 20 miles away) had spaces for a couple of cats. So I picked them up and set off in the pouring wind and rain, rain so heavy that when being overtaken by another vehicle the spray cut off your vision for a couple of scary seconds, and got you soaked to the skin staggering the fifteen yards to the StrayAid front door under the weight of two heavy cat carriers.

Sue the vet checked them out finding nothing wrong with them except, and this was one assumption when I was correct, fleas. The kitten, she declared, to probably be only six months old because, she was sure, he was either whole or in part a Norwegian Forest kitten. The older and somewhat more stressed cat was just big. I told them that if they hadn't re-homed the ginger cat by the time we opened the re-homing centre then we'd take him back.

Here they are.

When he walks, the earth shakes, Kat Kong.

Everyone makes assumptions.

Case in point. Susan got a call from someone she knows about a stray cat they'd started feeding which, from the various damage to him, looked as if he'd been mistreated. They already had one cat-pecked dog, and two cats and couldn't take another cat. Again, we didn't have any room and couldn't take another either and StrayAid wouldn't take a damaged un-rehomable cat. I agreed to take him to the vet and we'd pay for any treatment needed but, at the end of the day, would have to leave him outside in the wild close to their very nice home.

And my, he certainly did seem as if he'd been bashed about with chunks of fur missing and scabs all over his body and legs. 

And so to Wendy the vet at Southwick. On the examination table he was placid, not protesting at any poking and prodding and happy to be picked up and stroked. And he hadn't been abused. Wendy reckoned he'd been hit by a car, ran off and got lost. The various wounds were healing well, though Wendy thought he might have an enlarged liver. He wasn't an old cat either and he had to have had a good home because he was far from the beaten up old tom I'd been expecting and I just couldn't find it in my heart to take him back and dump him on the street. Wendy offered to take him in and make some calls to other nearby vets to see if anyone had reported a lost  cat of his description. It's a very short term solution as I don't want to impose on Wendy's good nature but the problem remains of what to do with him. I'll let you know what happens. Meanwhile, here he is.

To finish on a more upbeat note, here are some kitten photos. All photographs in this post were taken with my camera which is why they aren't up to the usual standard. All bar the big cats were taken today.

 Mother and 3-day old kittens.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


It's kitten season and we have a house full of kittens but nobody seems to want one and the cat in the photo below is pregnant so there are more on the way..

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


I never go anywhere if I can avoid it. I prefer to stay in the house and potter about on the internet. For some reason -possibly the fact that I've actually made the effort to go and see Bruce Springsteen in less than two weeks time -he's playing a whole two miles from my house- may have something to do with me also deciding to go to this year's Great North Dog Walk with Susan and (borrowed) springer spaniel Sam. It's an annual event which includes a dog show and this year is sponsored by the chain Pets At Home. We like this chain because they don't sell puppies or kittens and do a lot of work with local charities (like us, Animal Krackers).
To be honest, we didn't get off to a very good start. Sam's long-term fosterer tied him up securely on the back seat but tied him to the seat belt which, being extensible, meant Sam was too. So, after several near disasters caused by a virtually unrestrained lively and very strong dog, we pulled in and I tied him to the extensible metal part of the rear seat head rest which thankfully kept him relatively secure. Apart from the facts that he is both strong and lively, in other respects he's a lovely dog who is friendly with both people and other dogs.

We got there intact, signed Sam in for a couple of categories in the dog show and set about looking for our Krackers colleagues. We were supposed to have a table selling soft toy animals to publicise our charity but that didn't materialise when the person who had the van didn't turn up until much later than we did by which time we couldn't be bothered but it was no big deal really as it meant we could enjoy the dog show.

Benjy, schnauser, Sam

We found Animal Krackers co-founder Andrea's family fairly quickly (see above), though I noticed the Benjy the three-legged dog before the people who accompanied them. Andrea was also there with Charlie a lovely affectionate mongrel who gave birth to six puppies within an hour of her arrival. We pretty much hung around the show ring as the various dogs who were with us were entered in various categories. Benjy won Best Rescue Dog and later Best In Show (3 legs good, 4 legs bad in competition with a 3-legged dog) and guess who came second in the Best Rescue Dog-

L-R: Unknown, Sam w/Susan, Benjy w/Victoria, Charlie w/Andrea

Also in the show ring, cheques were presented from Pets At Home to various local animal charities, including NorthEast Greyhound Rescue (which we help out with food and stuff) and us. We all had our photos taken with the dogs.

Other people we met there whom we knew included Mark from Ferryfarm Kennels (with his young daughter Abbie and their three dogs), Sharon of the Greyhound rescue with her daughters, and, stuck out on his own in a small tent away from the activities but at the beginning of the Walk, Victor the Mexican vet sitting at a leaflet covered table with a volume of Readers Digest condensed novels. We've known Victor for a number of years and he's treated many of our cats and Susan and I chatted to him for a little while before-

Yes, we even went on The Great North Dog Walk itself though by this time, along with Edie and her small friendly dog (unless you're another dog in which case he's a small vicious sod) called Sammy, we were feeling rather tired and just did about a mile and a half loop (or maybe it was less).
 Me (note highly inappropriate t-shirt) with Sam, Sammy & Edie

All in all, a good day and congratulations to the organisers and Pets At Home.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


A few months ago I wrote about a cat called Rosie that I'd rescued. She was owned by a couple who lived in a pit village down the coast and didn't want her any more because they decided to get a new kitten or a puppy. She was a bit of a flea bag and older than they claimed but we got her tidied up and she was recently re-homed with a Scientologist who's had older cats from us before.

Anyway, this week we got another call from the same couple who had found a young kitten in their back yard two days earlier. These people are so stupid that they actually think we'd believe them. It doesn't matter though because Carole and I agreed that it was best to get any animal away from them. So off I went and picked it up. Surprisingly, it actually was a young kitten of 6-8 weeks. Unsurprisingly it was covered in fleas. I thought it seemed a bit quiet and wasn't sure about its health but after a couple of days it's running around happily with Carole's other cats and kittens, play-attacking the latter. Here she is.

And here are some more kittens. The tabby (below) has just arrived and is still settling in. She's currently a little wild, growling and attacking anything that comes near here like my hand but I think it's more show, more defensive than actually aggressive.

Another new arrival, a little black kitten is, Carole tells me, extremely affectionate (when not actually eating).

And lastly here's here's another photo of the kittens from last time, all cuddling up together and sleepy.