This blog is about my individual experiences while rescuing and re-homing cats for the Sunderland animal rescue charity Animal Krackers. The blog itself, however, does not represent Animal Krackers; it's just me, my sense of humour, and my personal take on things and in that sense, it's about me as much as cats. It it was a film, I'd give it a 12 rating for the occasional mild swear word and strong story.
It's called a fountain but really it's a waterfall. A small pump sucks the water up to the top level which then drops down into a larger one just below and the water is then channeled down a small chute. Which is rather obvious from the photos. It also aerates the water to keep it fresh for longer. It was mentioned to me by a visitor who said that her cats loved it. I have to confess that, after nearly a week, it's yet to attract much attention from my cats who use it more when the pump is switched off.
You can see him above with Aelfric. He's very much an alpha cat, or at least he thinks he is, and often bullies some of my others. He particularly went for Gilgamesh (see recent posts) which was why Gil wet my bed (which I didn't make completely clear in the post itself). As far as people goes, he is very friendly and likes sitting on knees. Just over a week and he's off to our re-homing centre.
3. Jeff's kittens.
Six weeks old now and all are on solid food. Tinned tuna is their favourite but they also eat small amounts of dried kitten (as in food not dried kittens), boiled chicken, and sachets of moist kitten food as well as still nursing from Jeff. They are very playful and this afternoon all of them ventured into the living room when I opened the door. The ginger kitten is a gorgeous fluffy bundle but he's also the most wary of the four, while the black and white is the boldest, closely followed by Tabby 1, who both like engaging with me.
4. Cat re-homing.
After a moderately busy start to the month, things went completely dead. Very disappointing, though a member of the committee is very interested in Gilgamesh if she can find somewhere for him to stay while she's away on her frequent short trips. Guess who volunteered? I'd have liked to have kept him but if she does decide to take him then I know beyond a doubt he's going to a good home, plus I get to see him quite often and it's one less cat in my cat-crowded house.
5. And that is it...
...for May, a month in which I've published a record number of posts in this blog.
Not quiet true, this post is about an operation on a cat's eyelids. At the bottom of the post, and I've left quite a gap so you don't see it accidentally, are post-operative photos and they could be quite upsetting to children or persons of a sensitive disposition. The poor cat looks like he's gone two rounds with Mike Tyson. I'll repeat this more simply.
Gruesome post-operative photos below! You have been warned and I'm serious.
The cat is called Rikki and he came with two others who have since been re-homed. He always looked down in the dumps and the longer he was with us at the re-homing centre the more obvious it became that there was something wrong with his right eye. Finally he was taken to the vets where it was discovered that the hairs on his lower eyelid were growing inwards against the eyeball and he already had some older scarring there. The vet decided to treat it with a medicated ointment to see if that could help which did, at least for a time, but perhaps inevitably it deteriorated again and so today I took her to the vets.
It didn't take Wendy long to decide that an operation to open up and stitch the eyelid (both eyelids as it turned out) so as to remove the cause of the problem. I left Rikki and went back to collect him around teatime and found what you will see below and, believe me, it is distressing. The good news is that in a few days he'll look better and feel better than he's done for some time.
Dept of odd coincidences.
While I was there, Maria Wilkinson of The Willows Rescue arrived with a kitten around 8-9 weeks old. This cute lively black and white sweetheart had a damaged eye which Maria was sure, correctly so, would have to be removed. Then, when I got back to Ferry farm, I was told that Andrea our dog rescuer was soon to arrive with an Akita (?, something like that anyway) which only had one eye.
Don't worry, in a few days I'll show you the 'after' photos. And it really looks far worse than it is. But there's more to cat rescuing than looking after cute kittens.
Correction: update from Andrea.
dog is a husky /collie cross which lost an eye after a fight with
another dog which was a bit possessive over food, he is coming soon
And if you don't know the answer to that then you're new to this blog.
The answer is, of course: Jeff's kittens.
And here are some new photos of them at five weeks and six days old.
They're coming along nicely now. The black and white and one of the tabbies actively seek me out to play with me while the other two are more reserved. They're still not eating much in the way of solid food, though all four do like tuna. Although they can be re-homed at eight weeks old, I think I'll keep them a little longer to see how they develop on the feeding front.
For overseas readers, a Bank Holiday in the UK is a Monday of which there are about 5 during the year, when the banks shut (or rather don't open after the Sunday, well they didn't used to), most shops are shut (well they used to do) and so do (yes, they still do) public facilities like libraries and swimming baths.
Before I retired I used to love Bank Holidays. Long weekend off work! Great! Fantastic!
Now it seems like just another Sunday and I don't like it. The reason for that is that it confuses me. You see these days I divide the week into weekdays when I can go swimming (which I may or may not do, but I can because I have a membership card for my local sports centre which says so) and days when I can't which means it's either Saturday (the day after I can't go swimming) or Sunday (the day before I can go swimming). Now I know I can't go swimming on a Bank Holiday Monday which then feels like a Sunday and therefore the next day, the first day of the week when I can go, feels like a Monday, even though I rationally know it isn't. So when I wake up the next morning it feels as if Wednesday has sneaked up on me and that it feels like Tuesday. So I'm confused.
2. Why I had to buy a new duvet.
The cat peed on it.
Normally that would be enough of an answer but this being my house you have to ask: firstly, which cat? and, secondly, why?
Well, I'm glad you asked me.
The cat was Gilgamesh the grey spotted ocicat who currently still lives in my large bedroom with windows overlooking the front and back of the house, one overlooking a main road, the other my garden and several neighbours gardens.
As for the time, it was 22.45, I'd locked everything up, turned off all the lights, and gone upstairs where Gilgamesh was having a spat with Frank the other new arrival. Frank, as I've learned, regards himself as an Alpha male and makes every attempt to make sure all the other cats in the house know this (which is why he's off to the re-homing centre as soon as he's had his second flu jab). I sorted it out, went into my bedroom, undressed (not a pretty sight), put my pajamas on and pushed Gilgamesh out of the way as he was sitting where I lie down. He seemed reluctant but he went and I got into bed right onto a very large wet spot.
I was out of bed a lot faster than I got in feeling considerably more awake than a second earlier. I narrowed my eyes at Gilgamesh, sighed, stripped the bed completely and dried the wet patch as best I could. Then I rotated the mattress so the wet patch was at the bottom on the far side, took down a spare well-worn duvet from the top of the wardrobe, folded it in half and pulled it on top of me.
Surprisingly I slept quite well.
And next morning I went and bought a new duvet which, from Asda, was cheaper than having the old one cleaned.
3. The unlucky cat.
Some of you may remember me writing about Lucy, a nervous black and white cat. She was a stray being fed by staff at a local school who called me in when her tail got damaged. When she had it amputated, I fostered her for a few months. While not keen on other cats, she liked people and I found her a gentle loving little thing.
Eventually I found her a home with a guy, himself a little on edge due to a serious accident some years ago. But he was experienced with cats and, I thought would suit a nice quiet one. The first cat we tried didn't work out but then, after a gap of several weeks, he approached me again and I brought round Lucy.
Although I didn't hear anything for a few weeks, it had worked out for them. However, more recently Lucy began to develop what seemed like balance problems, suddenly falling over a few times a day. I took them both to the vets where Lucy was seen by Wendy. I can't remember what the precise diagnosis was and I've lost the piece of paper I wrote it on but, although serious, it is treatable and Lucy was prescribed two different kinds of pills and a liquid medicine.
Giving cats tablets is hard at the best of times and I offered to take Lucy back if it proved too much. It's over a week now so I'm assuming they're managing. I hope it works out okay because Lucy and her new owner are obviously suited to each other and both have had a pretty rough time. I'd really hate for Lucy to have to find a new home.
4. ...And other stories.
There are some but it's getting late and would involved transferring photos onto the hard disc and editing them in Picasa and it's getting late...
...and Gilgamesh had better not have peed the damn bed again.
(Some details have been changed or omitted because of the delicacy of this post's subject matter.)
Last week I received a call from Person A who alleged that a relative, Person B, was an alcoholic whose life was a shambles and that B was not capable of looking after the cats that B had adopted from us. A wanted to know if we would take the cats back. I said that we would and soon after A took them to our re-homing centre at Ferry Farm.
A couple of days later, Person B rang me and told me that the cats had been taken by A without B's knowledge, that they weren't neglected, and that B wanted them back. I asked B a few questions and said I'd get back in a while. I rang the re-homing centre and was told that the cats were in a good condition, something I verified myself when I went round the next morning. They appeared well-nourished, healthy, and friendly.
After some thought I decided to return them to Person B. A was wrong to have taken the cats without permission. They were B's property and what A did amounted to theft. Given the condition of the cats, I saw no reason to keep them at the re-homing centre and, besides, the law was on Person B's side. B had also alleged that A was very religious and judgmental which, if true and being neither, was not likely to endear B to me. A had told Mark of Ferry Farm that B went on binges every few weeks which lasted a couple of days but not mentioned this to me.
So I took the cats back. B's house was clean and tidy. Both B and B's teenage child were acceptably dressed, articulate and pleasant. The cats seemed happy to be back, wandering around and letting themselves be stroked. They showed not the slightest sign of distress. If it is true that B does go on an occasional bender, the cats seem no worse for it. As far as I could see they were being well cared for.
Person A is on holiday for a week and when A returns I shall inform A of what's happened and that if, in the future, A has concerns about the welfare of the cats then the correct procedure is to inform the RSPCA.
And there you go and I can go back to typing he he, she she and he she instead of trying not to identify the gender of the parties involved.
Talking of the RSPCA, I just had a call from them about something I reported last week. I won't go into details but, suffice to say, I got a call about an underweight abandoned pregnant cat which was frequenting the back yard of an empty house which had an open gate. I agreed to meet the person but shortly after got a second call in which it was outlined that the problem was more complicated and the caller felt a little intimidated. So, with her permission, I contacted the RSPCA and passed on the info.
Which brings us back to the call I've just received from them. They tend not to go into detail but did say there was a problem which they were attempting to resolve -I think it was a case of too many animals in a house.
But when they're as cute as these, who would want me to?
They're still not really on solid food yet but as they're healthy enough I'm not too concerned. A couple of them now positively respond to me, either seeking me out or rolling over to be tummy-rubbed. I've opened the conservatory door so they can start interacting with my other cats to help their socialisation if they end up in a multi-cat household.
Frank, the two year old black and white cat, I took in yesterday is doing well. After he howled so much about being stuck in the cage, I let him out when I went to bed but ready to jump at the first sound of trouble. There wasn't any. He wanders about the house as if he'd been here for weeks, comes up to me to be stroked, sits in my spot on the settee, and is completely none-aggressive towards the other cats. He's an excellent candidate for re-homing as I think he'd settle in anywhere.
He's just come up to me and miaowed to let me know he's there and wants to be stroked. Now he's jumped up onto the computer desk so I can do a better job. Definitely a very nice and very re-homeable cat.
His pee still stinks because he was only neutered yesterday but that will have gone by the time he leaves here. Thankfully.
Gilgamesh seems happy enough to stay in my bedroom. I'm thinking of changing his name to the more manageable Ossy as in Ocicat -Ossy Cat. Or should I spell it Ossi?
If I change Frank's name to Francis then I'll have two cats called Francis and Ossi! Oh well, Status Quo fans will get the joke.
I took these photos today and in the order they appear. With one exception, they were all first shots. I did edit them slightly in Picasa -a little judicious cropping and the occasional touch of lightening.I decided to do this because the number of cats in my house can change without notice. Though the number is the same as yesterday, one cat has gone and another arrived. Brief notes will indicate the status of the various little monsters.
Jeff's kittens, 5 weeks old. Available for re-homing in three weeks time.
Jeff, 10 months old, lovely friendly cat. Status: provisionally reserved for the time being.
Aoife, 5 years old. Status: available, to be transferred to the re-homing centre in three weeks.
Emma, 8 months old. Status: currently available but may stay here.
Aelfric, 4 years old. Status: will have to be prised out of my cold dead hands.
Gilgamesh, 5 years old. Status: depends on how he gets on with my other cats, faintly promising so far.
Fifi, 5 years old. Status: going nowhere.
Tilly, 1 year old. Status: same as Emma's.
Frank, 2 years old, arrived today. Status: available. First impressions: a nice friendly young cat who hates being in the cage in the bookroom but I've got nowhere else for him. Can anyone help him?
Right, I think that speaks for itself. Time I made my tea.
I'm going to see Godzilla tomorrow. For some reason that feels appropriate. (Apropos of nothing, I just love monster movies, always have. But that's a topic for a different blog.)
Yesterday I decided to give Gilgamesh the ocicat a chance to interact with my other cats so I left the bedroom door open. After a while I went upstairs to see what was happening. Nothing much as it turned out. Gilgamesh was sitting on the armchair, Aelfric, Emma, and Tilly were sitting in other parts of the room. All quiet so I went back downstairs.
But not for long as, moments later I heard a lot of loud howling. I raced back up to find Burnside ripping the holy crap out of Gilgamesh. Grey fur was flying and Burnside was on top of him, going at him with teeth and claws. I grabbed him off the smaller cat and even then he tried to get back until I threw a box of cat food in his direction, but not at him, just near enough to give him a scare; which it did.
I'm afraid that was it for me and Burnside. I decided it was time for him to go to the re-homing centre at Ferry Farm. This had always been a distinct possibility and he had been on the re-homing list for a few weeks. The possibility of keeping Gilgamesh didn't really enter into it as, although I'd like to, I'm still very much unsure of how he's going to get on with the others. To be honest, as I usually am in this blog, even at my own expense, I've been getting somewhat stressed out by the number of cats I have in the house. I'd already decided to send Aoife there. She doesn't like other cats and I think she'd be happier in a home without any (or kids come to that, as she proved when she was briefly re-homed last year. I'm also thinking about the two young females, Emma and Tilly, who could go in a pen together but I'm still not quite decided on that.
Monday morning and I packed up Aoife and Gilgamesh in separate cat carriers -of course, as having them together would be both unthinkable and incredibly stupid. Aoife was to have her first flu jab and be checked out mainly because of a flea allergy which has left certain areas covered in small scabs; Gilgamesh to be checked out, given his first flu jab and scanned. Aoife's check went pretty much as expected, but Gilgamesh wasn't micro-chipped which surprised me given he's of a special breed and Wendy the vet put him at the same age as Aoife -five, older than I expected.
All done, I went home and had to decide whether or not to have a coffee or take Burnside to Ferry Farm. Anyone who knows me will realise I opted for the coffee. I was just about to get my bum into gear when my next door neighbour called with an Amazon parcel (a 3kg bag of Purina pro-plan delicate optirenal turkey flavour dried food which is very popular with all my cats) and Burnside got out.
That happened before, a few days after I got him (see appropriate post for details) and I expected him to behave the same as he did then which was to hare off up the road and disappear. Instead he ran into the middle of the road, stopped, then ran into my neighbour's front garden where he stopped again and didn't move until I picked him up. Which proved that he'd settled in my house more than I realised but, sorry B, too little too late. I took him to Ferry Farm (where an observant visitor pointed out I had a bleb on my passenger side front tyre), left him there and proceeded to pay fifty quid for a new tyre to be fitted at a garage.
So, lunch (yesterday's leftovers), potter on the computer, then nap.
I woke up at a quarter to three and went downstairs to try and sort out some computer problems (see recent post) when the phone rang, answered it, got back to the computer, phone rang, repeat several times.
Could you take my two cats as I'm moving in a few days. No, not enough notice. Need flu jabs, two three weeks apart.
Hello, I've been looking after a poorly stray cat and been getting help from Feline Friends. Would you possibly be able to re-home her? This was a longish chatty and friendly conversation with a genuine animal lover which covered several possibilities, but I definitely could take the cat after it had the flu jabs. I said I'd like to call in and see the cat, probably later this week. The lady and her daughter lived at Fulwell on the other side of the river.
Skinny stray and pregnant cat hanging about and abandoned house with broken back door. I said I'd meet the caller and check it out around five. She later rang back to say she thought she'd traced to someone who lived very nearby who had several cats, kittens, and dogs in the back lane. I didn't like the sound of that, took the details and called the RSPCA. They may or may not tell me if they do anything or not.
Volunteer dog walking? Referred to Phil.
I'm going back to Italy in two days can you take this stray friendly un-neutered male cat? Argh! Crap! Very Rude words! (Thought, not spoken.) Thinks: I could put in the shed in a cat cage. Argh! Crap! More rude words! Yes, I'll come and get it now and haven't I enough rude word on my plate without getting into this? So I did. In the car I rang the vets and asked if I could drop the cat off for neutering and first flu jab tomorrow. Yes, I could. Good. And did. And here he is. (Mind you, I think he's as much a stray as Gilgamesh is.)
Our vets is at Southwick on the other side of the river and only a mile and a bit from where the lady with the poorly stray cat lived. I rang her and asked if I could visit a bit sooner than I'd expected. I could and did.
Very nice people with four other cats and an elderly ailing scotty dog. The nervous cat, only two years old, was being kept in a very large cat carrier. The carrier was behind furniture and placed so I could only just touch the poor cat. I didn't seem very strong and had large patches bare of fur.
There's no question we'll help where we can. We had a good conversation of the kind that only kindred spirits can in that we both knew where we coming from and I think they felt reassured, though, as I was told several times, they were very appreciative of the help given by Gillian of Feline Friends. And, if she or anyone from FF is reading this, I don't want to tread on their toes and take over their work. I'm offering support if it's needed. Either way, I felt there was a good contact made today.
Tomorrow afternoon I'll pick up the other cat from the vets and we'll see what happens then.
For fans of Jeff's kittens, they are thriving. I saw one eating dried kitten food today. The ginger one is turning into a gorgeous fluffy bundle. And they zoom around the conservatory playing with each other. Absolute joy to watch and handle.
Don't ask me when Barnes Park was first opened. I could find out but can't be bothered to look it up. I can tell you that the playing field, including the surrounding trees, has remained unchanged since I used it as child, either to play in throughout my childhood (I lived not far away) or walk through it to get to Bede Grammar School via the back gate from 1959-1966. I haven't, however, been there in a couple of decades and can't remember the last time but the park itself remains a nice place.
The dog show was a modest affair, only a handful of stalls, one belonging to Animal Krackers, and a show that didn't last all that long -it was all over by 12.30. Still, those who attended seemed to enjoy themselves, the people as well. See for yourself.
Me with Sam, a canine friend of Susan's.
Susan and Sam
A dog rescued by AK with his new owner
Sam failing to place in the Friendliest Dog Section.
I stayed about 45 minutes then went home. After pottering about in the house for a little while, the phone rang. An enquiry: have you got any cats for re-homing? Duh! Does the Pope say mass? Are kittens the cutest things on the face of the planet? I told them where it was, they got lost (not unusual) but still turned up. A nice chatty couple with a nice chatty 9yr old or thereabouts granddaughter. Oh yes, I thought, very suitable. Sometimes you just know people are right as soon as you see them. They took Tink, a nice ginger boy. The granddaughter, after first wanting Bruce a big black boy, approved.
Altogether, what with getting a couple of packets from Amazon (book and DVD), quite a nice morning. Plus it was warm and sunny which always helps.