Thursday, 25 April 2013


1. The government's recent tax on council house spare rooms is in the process of causing people who can't afford the increase to downsize.

Inevitably this means they have to go to private landlords and most of those won't have cats or dogs living in their property. Result: more cats and dogs needing new homes. I had my first call about a cat needing a new home for this reason this week. It's first but I'm damn sure it won't be the last.

Luckily one of our very few fosterers could take it in. One of the problems we have is that we can't take cats into the re-homing centre until they have had their flu jab which involves two vaccinations separated by a period of three weeks, so we can never take a cat into the centre immediately and it's a matter of luck if we have a fosterer available.

As it happens, I took in a three year old black and white female yesterday and took her for her first jab today and her one and only neutering. She's currently cowering underna armchair in my bedroom with a bowl of tuna should she want it.

2. Cats climbing the walls.

I went to pick up three cats from the same house this morning for their second flu jab prior to transporting them to the re-homing centre. One went in the box with relatively little difficulty. The other two...

Were in a cage and huddled up together, one black and one white and tabby, both female. When I tried to get them  they got out and into a room with the door closed. (Hooray!) But it was also piled up with stuff of the previous owner's leaving numerous nooks and crannies for the cats to hide under. (Boo!) And when they were startled out from their hiding places they started climbing the walls. They'd climb up cupboards, they'd climb up fireplaces, they'd climb up curtains, they'd climb up wallpaper, they'd climb up mirrors. And all in a frenzy as the poor things tried to get away from me and the lady who was moving in.

Eventually I got them. Took them to the vets. Took them to the re-homing centre. The black one I placed in a basked and she stayed there without moving. I tried the same with the other one. Guess what she did? That's right. She climbed the walls and she climbed across the wire mesh ceiling. When I left she was still holding on to a wire mesh door.

3. Two cats re-homed in a week.

Actually it's three, but I'll tell that story in a moment.

The first one to go went yesterday. This was Bella, a thick furred black four year old who'd only been with us for a week. She went to an elderly couple.

The second went today. This was Taylor who, with his cage-mate April, has been with us since not long after we opened last December. This went to a family with two children aged four and nine. They just fell for Taylor who is on the right with the white tip of a tail (hence his name).

4. In which your humble blogger makes a great sacrifice.

I'll be honest, I can't foster a cat without wanting to keep it. The first cat I fostered when I moved in to my new place I eventually called Fifi. I just fell for her. She is nervous, particularly of other people, but is now happily ensconced and she's staying.

Jack-Jack is on top, Fifi just above.
Then along came Jack-Jack (see previous posts) the cat so nice I named him twice. Now 8 months old, he's the perfect little cat -friendly, affectionate, fine with other cats, not nervous. I didn't fall for him the way I did Fifi but he gradually wormed his way into my affections.

Susan wasn't happy. She kept saying he'd make a lovely pet for a family which was true but, as far as I was concerned, irrelevant. But, Susan being Susan, she kept harping on and when she rang yesterday to say she had a lovely young couple in the shop who'd be ideal for him I wearily said, "Send them up."

So they came and, yes, they were a lovely young couple and they really liked Jack-Jack. However they still wanted to visit the re-homing centre which they did. After a good look and meeting the cats, he decided he like April, Taylor's bossy cellmate. She, however, wanted Jack-Jack. I tried to make it easy for them to take April then and there ("Here, have a spare cat carrier. No money for the donation fee, drop it off at my house any time.") They went home to talk it over.

The phone rang earlier this afternoon and they're picking up Jack-Jack tomorrow.

5. The curious case of the cautious cat.

He's not cautious, he's just nervous as hell but I just can't resist alliteration.

I'm talking about the pedigree British short-hair that was handed in at the shop, which I then took home to foster, and later paid a ludicrous amount of money for him to the treasurer so no-one (Susan) could have any grounds for getting me to re-home him. It wouldn't work anyway because he's a scared little so and so.

First night he hid behind the fridge. Second night he hid in a cupboard.  Third night he hid behind shelves. He stayed there for quite a while until he managed to pull all the towels and rags from the pipes in the bathroom, which had been put there to stop Fifi getting under them and thence under the bath, and got under the bath. I got him, and Fifi who'd joined in the fun, out but to the extent of damaging the bath panel so I now need a new bath. I gave up putting the single panel back and just left it open for anyone who wanted to go there.

Anyway, the little monster saw me and ran. and hid. Then, when I caught him in the bathroom, he not only let me stroke him, he purred loudly. Then he started sleeping my bed. As long as I didn't try to touch him. He began to let me make a fuss of him when I collared him in the kitchen where the cat bowls are.

Little slow baby steps. After three weeks he still runs away from me. But the areas where I'm allowed to stroke him have grown in number. And even when he does run away from me, his tail is often in the air as if to say, "I'm not scared at all really, I'm just having fun with you."

Maybe one day he'll actually sit on my knee.

(Side Note: As always, I'm absolute rubbish when it comes to naming cats and I just could not think of a suitable for this one. I noticed, however, that I kept calling him Handsome Boy so I decided, what the hell, that's his name. For practical (i.e. vet's) purposes though his name is corrupted down to Hansen -say it aloud.)

Saturday, 6 April 2013


Friday was a bad day for several reasons, but I'm only going to tell you about one of them. Okay, maybe a couple of others, we'll see.

It started around 5.00pm on Thursday, though I didn't realise it until nearly bedtime. Unknown to me, when I was carrying two large cardboard boxes through the front door, little Jack-Jack (a cat so nice I had to name him twice) was sneaking out, my view of him obscured by said boxes. Some time around ten I sussed that  I hadn't seen him for a while and after a quick look round the house and not finding him came to the obvious conclusion. I called his name at the front door several times before I went to bed and got up at four and did the same.

Early next morning I was out distributing small notices around nearby houses giving brief details and including this photo-
I quickly got a call from a lady six doors up who thought he might be in her garden. It was a black cat with a small white patch with a very strong resemblance to Jack-Jack but it wasn't him.

Then I had to go out and about. First off to see Susan who was in bed (and still is at the time of writing) with what now looks like gastro-enteritis. I fed the cats, did some washing up, and loaded big friendly ginger Leo into a carrying case to take him into the vets. This was his second trip recently. Last time Wendy suspected he had fluid on the lungs and an overactive thyroid. This time she kept him in to give him an x-ray. When I called to pick him up late that afternoon, he'd been confirmed as having fluid on the lungs, an enlarged heart and an overactive thyroid and would be on three different kinds of pills twice a day for the rest of his life. What Wendy couldn't understand is how, given what was wrong with him, he appeared healthy and in good condition.

In between those two visits, the following happened-

Around twelve I had to go pick up two kittens (for one of the several reasons I'm omitting) and keep them until the next morning when Lynn, a fosterer, could take them. I confess they proved to be an absolute delight so I'm glad Lynn agreed to take them. A brother and sister (who don't get on) and just under six months old -when I rescued them I took them straight to Wendy's to be neutered and vaccinated- and both really pretty. Jake is the tabby, Jacqui is the white one with a thick black tail you can't see. 

Both have silky soft fur, are inquisitive, friendly, lively, destructive, and delightful. I was having a bath this morning and at one point both were perched on the edge. They'll be a joy for whoever gets them and Lynn thinks she might have a home already for one of them.

Not long after I got a call from a lady who'd been visiting her sister a couple of doors up at teatime yesterday and had entertained this friendly little black cat who obviously had a home and was, they not unreasonably assumed, was just having a little wander. She'd put the details of Jack-Jack on Facebook. Mid-afternoon she rang again to say she'd been contacted by a friend of hers who lived a mile away and had found a friendly little black cat in their garden. They'd taken it to the PDSA where it was found to be microchipped and took it home while the PDSA contacted the chipping organisation to locate its owner. I went round just before going to collect Leo but not expecting it to be Jack-Jack. How the hell would a cat that had never been out (at least not where I live) end up a mile away?

And I'm still wondering that because it was Jack-Jack. After tormenting myself and fearing the worst since ten the previous evening, I was overwhelmed with relief and with gratitude to the lovely young couple who'd looked after him and made an immediate effort to find his owner, and the lady (young woman?) who put him on Facebook where the couple had seen him and put two and two together. I'm not used to being shown kindness by other people, usually it's the other way around (not a boast, that's just what I do, I help animals and people who own them or want them). 

Jack-Jack is now settled back in his own home, though he still tried to sneak out again this morning but just stood still outside while I picked him up. He also seemed a bit disconcerted by the two strange kittens who'd appeared in his absence but they're gone now so that's okay and he's currently sleeping on the settee a few feet away.

As for the other two cats I'm supposedly fostering but actually keeping, well...

Fifi, the first, was always friendly but a little nervous about other cats and sleeps/sits on a cushion in the living room or in the window of my bookroom. She's recently taken to actually coming and sitting on my knee for a while.

And then there's (Namestilltobedecided) the two year old neutered pedigree British shorthair who is now legally mine as I gave the treasurer of Animal Krackers a cheque for a three figure sum (and I'm not including pennies) for him. After a week he still runs away from me but this is a tease. If I catch him in the bathroom (he follows me in) and shut the door, he rolls over and purrs loudly as I stroke him and give him cuddles. Only a few minutes ago, on the tiled part of the kitchen, he did the same. (I wonder if it's the tiles?) He spends a lot of time in the book room with Fifi whom he seems comfortable with.

So, cats okay, Susan not. Got to go get something for her from the chemist now.


Monday, 1 April 2013


Susan asked me to keep a diary for a week of what I did just to give people an idea of how busy I am (or not) for Animal Krackers. So here it is, with photos.

Friday 22th:
Emily’s Nursery to buy cat litter (4*30 litre sacks). Sainsbury’s to buy cat food. Carole’s at Southwick to deliver the above. Wendy’s vets to collect Jack, a lovely long haired black and white cat, for re-homing. Ferryfarm Kennels to drop off Jack and talk to new volunteer cat cuddlers.

Saturday 23rd:
            To Asda and Morrisons to empty their pet food bins.

Sunday 24th:
            To Sainsburys to empty the pet food bins and then to Susan’s to deliver the dog food. (Note: since Susan and I split up, I now keep the cat food at my house).

Monday 25th:
            To Ferryfarm to photograph all the cats. (See previous post.). Write a blog entry to include the new photos. Notify Phil so he can put them on the website.

Tuesday 26th:
            Email photos to StrayAid for their website. Take donated cat food to Carole. Transport Mary.

Wednesday 27th:
            A rare day when I have no Animal Krackers jobs to do. The next day makes up for it.

Thursday 28th:
            To Lidl to buy cat food which is on special offer and then to Emily’s for litter. After delivering both to Carole’s I take two cats to Wendy’s for vaccinations and she tells me her plans for re-organising Carol’s setup. To Susan to tell her what Wendy said.  

In the afternoon I got to Ferryfarm to meet two people who want to adopt a cat. Only one turns up (because the other wasn't due till Friday and I got the day wrong) but she takes Jack, a lovely long haired black and white (see above). 

To Sainsbury’s to empty the food bin. 

To a garage to have a new passenger side wing mirror fitted. 

While there, Susan calls me to call in at the shop where a pedigree British short hair has just been dumped. I end up taking it home where it spends the night hiding behind the fridge.

This is not the back of my fridge.

Friday 29th:
            The cat is now hiding underneath the settee in my living room. Susan has just called so I’m now on my way out…

Post Script 1. 

Tuppence, called that because he cost £300 (I've seen the web page), is a scaredy cat who runs away from me. when I corner him, however, he purrs as I stroke him. He's also more adventurous as the next photo is of him sharing a settee with me. Given time, I think he'll be as nice as he is pretty.

Post Script 2.   

Thursday 4th April.

I've just been informed that one of my readers has taken offence at the last couple of sentences -which I've deleted- in which I jokingly stated that I'll be keeping the cat. This is true but what I should have indicated was that I'll happily pay whatever is agreed to be a fair price for him as indeed I would have been asking for more than the regular donation anyway. He's a funny little character and I've grown very fond of him in only a few days.

Post Script 3.

Note to self: stop making jokes in this blog, it's not worth it.