Saturday, 27 September 2014


These are the two cats I took in at the beginning of the week. Both are extremely nervous and hide, though both like being stroked, AFF in particular who will, with a little coaxing and a lot of patience, come to me to be made a fuss of. 

I'm not happy about the amount of food they're eating because I have to leave it in their hiding place and hope they, rather than any of the other cats, actually eat it. 

The photos are all of AFF bar one.

 Yeah, I know, a bit samey. But she is rather sweet.

And Marcy May is a bit sad.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


They are still nursing from their mother but are all on solid food and aren't depending on her. Maisie herself is being seen tomorrow with a view to adoption. Actually I'm a bit concerned about her as she's been sick a lot today, though this may be due to me treating her for fleas and worms. I'm taking the kittens to the vets first thing tomorrow with a view to them being treated for the same thing and, depending on what I find in the morning, I may take Maisie as well.

Monday, 22 September 2014


About lunch time I dropped off the dog food I'd picked up at Sainsburys earlier (there was also cat food which I keep until it's time to take it where it's needed) at Susan's. More specifically her garage. She wasn't in but I still have a key and picked up her garage door zapper. Which I promptly forget to put back. Mid-afternoon I rang the shop to ask her if she'd collect it from my house whenever convenient and she mentioned the two kittens in the shop, so...

Also in the shop in the office was Dexter who'd been at the re-homing centre but moved to the shop to make it easier for Andrea to give him the medication for a massive scab on his neck he keeps scratching. When I got there he was described to me as a demonic devil cat which I found strange as that wasn't my experience. I went to see him and he was as friendly as I remember -he's a lovely boy. Joanna, who has just been round to collect some cat food (see above) agrees with me about him.

And then the kittens. Be warned, this is a sad story. They're about 3-4months old, incredibly friendly and just love human contact, look like my Squeak's (see previous recent posts) younger brothers, but have cat flu. One might have to have both eyes removed, the other possibly one. It's almost certain they'll both end up either blind or with impaired vision at best. Apparently a fosterer has already been found and I'm confident we'll find a very special person who'll take care of them both for the rest of their lives.

You can see clearly the discolouration in the bottom photo. It's less obvious in the top because both eyes are the same.


Monday and, apart from taking Amy Farrah Fowler (see previous post) to the vets, a quiet day ahead.

Yeah, right.

I decided to pop up the road to Asda for a few basics. While I was out, I thought, I could always go a little further up the road to Leechmere trading estate to pick up two 30kg sacks of cheap (£7.99 a bag) but decent wood chip cat litter. Having gone that far it's only another couple of minutes in the car to Sainsburys' to empty the bin of donated dog and cat food. About forty minutes tops, I reckoned and quite correctly so as it turned out.

Just before I left the house I got a phone call. A young guy was being summarily evicted from his one-room flat this very day and made homeless. He had a cat which needed taking in. Where? I didn't have anywhere in my house. Amy Farrah Fowler had just arrived yesterday and was a proper scaredy cat. I told him to call me back in an hour. I emailed Joanna our secretary who just might have space and headed off to Asda.

Got back and Joanna had no room. I sighed deeply. And sighed again. (I didn't really, this is me being writerly.) Okay, Amy Farrah Fowler would be let loose in the bedroom and the new cat would go in the cage. I could pick him up about 11.15 with AFF and take them both to the vets. Ah, but he had an appointment about his situation at eleven. Okay, I'll come now, pick up the cat, give him a lift into town, go back for AFF. Problem solved.

I was with him in about ten minutes despite having to call at Susan's to pick up the charity's van because I can't use my courtesy car for animals (see previous post). And he'd got himself locked out and was waiting for the horrible landlord to let him back in. Horrible landlord would only be five minutes. Half an later he arrived.

In the meantime, I chatted to the young guy who seemed quite pleasant. Early to mid-twenties, quite intelligent, had rescued the cat from a disused building where he found her with her young kittens which all died and had had her for at least a year (my memory is iffy on the details and I can't remember the name he gave her. By the time the landlord turned up I was getting quite twitchy about being late for my appointment at the vets as I hate -no, I  HATE -being late for anything.

Despite all that I did manage to get to the vets on time. Both cats appeared to be in good health. AFF was assessed as being about one year old, Marcie May about three. Both got their first flu jabs and, to be on the safe side, a dose of Stronghold a flea/wormer combo. Both are now safe in my house. Amy Farrah Fowler, now loose in my house, has hidden herself away somewhere. Marcie May (to be spayed on Thursday) is in the cage and has covered herself with the blanket that came with her. Now all they need is time to settle in.

I couldn't remember where the name Marcie May came from so I looked it up on Google a couple of minutes ago. There's a film I've heard of (obviously) but never seen starring Elizabeth Olsen as the title character Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011). Now I know.

And here she is.

Post Script.

Despite emphatically stating and very loudly so several times in the recent past that I was NOT fostering any more cats, I am currently fostering three adult cats, Maisie and her three kittens.

Is there no end to this madness?

Sunday, 21 September 2014


My third trip to Peterlee in a week, this time in the charity's van. I had to use it because my car, the Toyota Yaris I only got a few months ago, was being repaired following a scrape (yes: my fault) and I couldn't have animals in the courtesy car. So: no satnav. So: I got lost. More than once. My fault. Can't read a map as well as I used to do.

The cat was owned by a couple of genuine animal lovers who were moving but could only have one cat in their rented accomodation. The one they were taking sat on my shoulder while I was talking to the couple.

Jess, I was assured, was up to date with all its vaccinations though when I contacted their vets they could find no record of anyone at the address registered. As I dimwittedly didn't get their surname, I can only blame myself as the cat may have been registered at a different address. 

Next morning I took her to Kings Road Vets as usual where Wendy checked her over and, after pronouncing her flea-free, gave her the first flu shot. Back home I added her to the needing homes web page. Although a bit nervous of the other cats, Jess seemed friendly -always happy to be stroked- and vocal -letting me know when she wanted to be stroked. Only a few hours after putting her on the list I received a show of interest and on Sunday (this) morning a nice young couple (ironically from near Peterlee) came and took her to her new home.

If only it was always that easy.

For one last time, here's Jess.

And now meet Amy Farrah Fowler.

But you can call her Amy.

And at the risk of spoiling a joke, the full name is that of a character in the popular geek sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Amy is a stray from Easington Lane. A young woman had been feeding her for a while and would have taken her in but her own cat kept attacking her. When I arrived (after knocking on nearly every door in the street because I'd forgotten the note with the house number, and previously getting lost on the way there) Amy was doing the best she could to hide behind the toilet. I spoke gently to her and picked her up. She didn't really struggle or even make a sound and went easily into the cat carrier.

She's been in the cage in my bedroom for about five hours now and hasn't used the litter tray or eaten anything, but that's not unusual for a newly arrived cat. Jess was the same. I'll get her to the vets as soon as possible, hopefully tomorrow, to be checked over and given her first flu jab. Initial impressions are promising: the lack of aggression, the soft smooth coat, the placid acceptance at being picked up and stroked. Hopefully I'll be able to let her loose with the others, maybe when Ted has gone to Ferry Farm on Tuesday.

Here's one last photo of her. She's bonnier than in the photo.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Ted White is the cat I took in nearly three weeks ago now when the people who'd been feeding him (he's a stray) found him covered in blood from what turned out to be a head wound caused a fight with another cat. They called him Ted and I've added the White to distinguish him from my much-loved Ted (a black cat) I left behind with Susan when we split up. It's also a science fiction joke as Ted White is also the name of an SF writer and editor. 

When the people who'd been feeding him called round to see him after they got back from holiday, they were very impressed by his condition. He'd changed from a scruffy street cat to a really quite handsome house cat. More or less. I've been trying to take a decent photo for several days and have never quite managed it. You can't tell from those below but he has a longish neck (for a cat) which gives him a very distinct appearance.

It's taken him a while to settle in and its only been in the last couple of days that he's actively started to seek me out for affection and showing his real character. He'll be off for his second flu jab next Tuesday and then I'll take him to our re-homing centre where, sooner or later, he'll find someone to love him.

Fifi and Emma on my couch.

Grey Girl -her real name is Tilly but I never use it.

Squeak in the conservatory (meetin'a kittin).

 Another two weeks and Maisie's kittens are up for adoption. The tabby is already spoken for.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


I don't make the best decisions when just woken up from a nap. Case in point: yesterday. Phone rings waking me up. I'm asked a question and I reply-

"Yes, I will take the stray cat and her four kittens you found a couple of days ago in the shed."

Even though I haven't anywhere to put them except temporarily in the cage in my bedroom. If I'd told them to ring back an hour later I might not have agreed. Then again...

The shed was locked so I had to wait until six before going there as the woman's partner was out at work. And it wasn't round the corner either but at Peterlee a sprawling new town ten miles down the busy A19. I tapped the post code into my satnav and set off. On the plus side the post-work traffic rush was mostly over. On the minus side, there was a mist thick enough for me to keep even more of a distance than I normally would between me and the car in front. No matter, I managed to keep to a steady 60mph on the A19 and the place was easy to find once I got off it.

The shed itself was built mainly to keep the rain off the bike and stop it being nicked and was partially open on one side which was how the cat the got in. Only she wasn't there being off foraging for something for herself to eat. The kittens, however, were. I checked them all out and, apart from fleas, seemed healthy enough and around 4-5 weeks old. There were also five of them, not four. They weren't feral and put up with me holding and stroking them with little more than the odd hiss. So their mother was obviously someone's pet and they'd been handled regularly by at least one person which meant that they and their mother were either tossed out by the owner or, for some reason, the mother cat decided she didn't want to keep them where they were. The fact that she hadn't been spayed meant to me that owner wasn't a responsible person. Or just plain stupid.

As the mother could be away for hours, I decided to take the kittens home. They were old enough that, if hungry enough, they would eat solid food and if not I could borrow Maisie from the conservatory and put her in with them as she'd almost certainly nurse them.

By the time I set off home, the mist had disappeared though along with a fair bit daylight and the traffic was lighter so I managed a steady 70mph for most of the trip home. I called in Asda for kitten food and cat milk and had just got back in the car when the phone rang. The mother was back and they'd got her in their kitchen.

I got the kittens settled in the cage and, with a sigh as I could have done without a second ten mile trip, headed back to Peterlee. The mother was fine, young as I'd expected, and friendly albeit not happy when I put her in the carrier. Still it wasn't long before I reunited her with her kittens. By this time I was knackered and had called in at the local fish and chip shop where I had to settle for sausage and chips as there wasn't any fish ready and I was too tired to cook anything. Eventually I got on to the computer and emailed Joanna our secretary to tell her what I'd been doing.

A little later she replied to say that Andrea, having moved a cat today to our re-homing centre, would be able to take them which suited me just fine as they'd be going to somewhere with more space than my small cage. And that's what happened just a few minutes later.

And that's, apart from the obligatory photos below, the end of the story.

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Carole O'Brien is an independent cat rescuer and re-homer. At the time of writing, all the cats and kittens below are available for adoption. Contact Carole on 079777 69109. A donation is requested.