Thursday, 27 November 2014


1. Willow.

On Monday I get a call from a lady to remind me that Willow's second vaccination is due. I can't remember who Willow is at first but do so when she explains. Willow is a young cat (about one year old) whose owner, the lady's neighbour went into hospital and she looked after her for the duration. Then she had to go into a home but agreed to keep her for the three weeks it took for the vaccination period. Fine

Next morning I duly go to collect Willow. She has been spayed, I ask, just double checking. No, she hasn't. Ah. Change of plan needed. I ring the vets and arrange for her to be spayed tomorrow and decide, as the conservatory is free, to take her home.

She's very nervous and runs to hide but when I spend a little time with her, it's clear her nature is a very friendly cuddle-loving one.

That evening, Jack (who lives next door and put my cat stand together -see recent post) takes six month old Tomtom home for a couple of hours with a view to maybe adopting him. It doesn't work out that well as Tomtom spends most of the time under Jack's bed and his sister has to get him. I then think about Willow so they both come back to mine and look at her. Willow sits on a chair and let's them stroke her and they are both very impressed and want to try her out. We skip the following evening as she's just had her operation and is going round tonight. We'll see what happens.

2. My memory is failing me.

I'm sure I was at the vets on Monday but I'm blowed if I can remember why. Or maybe I wasn't.

Did a home check this morning for fostered out ginger kittens Bill and Ted. Happy to report that they are going to a great home. A mature couple with a long history of looking after dogs and cats, a nice enclosed garden, decent size house. They are going to be very happy.

Then there's something a little different. I was contacted by a 3rd year journalist student from Sunderland uni about college work she doing, specifically cat rescue and fostering. I answered a few questions by email and then invited her to Ferry Farm (plus friend -I might have turned out to be a psycho) so she could see for herself and I would answer any more questions. Which is what happened and it all went off very well. I've asked her to send me a copy of her essay as I'm interested in how others see us. Me, I was my usual charming, witty, informative self. Yes, I bloody was! And probably rambled on interminably too but never mind that.

Tomorrow morning I'm meeting a lady at the vets when she brings a cat for its second vaccination and it will then go to Ferry Farm. Saturday I'm doing a home check all the way down the coast to Easington Colliery, or E.Colli as I've wittily taken to calling it in emails. I know, I know, I'm just so darned impressive.

Saturday, 22 November 2014


Two weeks ago I took in a fluffy black cat whose owner was being made homeless.

One week ago I took in a 5 month old black kitten-cat rescued from a family who were going to chuck it out because it had committed the crime of no longer being a fully fledged kitten.

Fluffy black cat, Skye, by name, didn't like being moved and for three days attempted to violently attack me whenever I went near it. I let it out of the cage and it didn't make much difference. Not at first. Shortly after, however, she began to let me stroke her and then began coming to me when she saw me for more fuss-making. After a week she began to occasionally sit for a while on my computer desk whether I was there or not. She doesn't socialise with the other cats though she isn't aggressive towards them. Her favourite place remains my book room where she will sleep in a narrow cupboard which contains my boiler and on top of a spare printer, sometimes she'll sit on the window where I feed her, or hide behind flattened storage boxes propped up against another narrow cupboard door.

Tomtom the kitten cat was neutered on Tuesday, the day after Skye was spayed. For the first few days he kept himself to himself. He could have left the cage if he wanted to but didn't. Eventually I picked him up, put him on the bed and stroked him which he tolerated before heading for the windowsill. Over another couple of days he became more confident, albeit avoiding the other cats, and began to display a distinct friendly streak like cuddling up to me on the bed to be stroked and then staying and falling asleep himself next to me after I nodded off. Like Skye, only much sooner, he started to seek out my company and shows all the signs of being a very loveable friendly young cat.

There is, however, one thing that both have in common which has been giving me cause for concern. Neither seem to have been eating much. I've tried them on: dried food, Felix pouches, Whiskas pouches, microwaved fish, boiled chicken, and tinned tuna. None of these had much appeal. So I appealed on Facebook for help which resulted in a couple of good suggestions: scrambled egg and special diet tins which Dani of King's Road Vets had successfully fed Tomtom after he'd been castrated. So that is what I offered next and to no great effect. That was last night.

This morning Tomtom walked into the kitchen where the other cats were eating (Felix pouches), found a spare dish and began to tuck in.

I took a sachet upstairs for Skye who was hiding behind the cardboard boxes (see above) and put a plastic bowl next to her. A little later about half of it had gone, though this may have been one of the other cats stealing it literally from under her nose, but I hope not.

Saturday, 15 November 2014


I've always wanted a decent piece of cat furniture that my cats could climb on, sit on, scratch, and hide in but they've always been a bit too large for my relatively small house. Then I decided to get rid of a wooden corner unit and began to think I might be able to squeeze something in its place. About the same time, Kings Road Vets put up a link to a cat furniture manufacturer and I saw something which might be suitable. When KRV actually started selling them I thought I'd I get one.

Here's the box.
Grey Girl couldn't wait to get started on it.

Checking the instructions, they informed me I needed a power screwdriver which I didn't have. Joanna, having some experience in putting up cat furniture offered to help and I accepted (nearly taking her arm off in the process) her kind offer.

J and Andrea arrived, did the flea and worming business with my cats, and then we (Joanna) set about putting it together and didn't get very far. I went next door to my nice neighbours and borrowed their power screwdriver. I was back a couple minutes later to tell them I er didn't actually know how to work it so Jack, the 19 year old son of the family, came round to show me and ended up putting it together while A & J (made their escape) went on to do something else.

Eventually, after nearly an hour and a half, Jack gave up and took it home to work on when he had the time and brought it back a day later. To say that I appreciate everything he did is an understatement. My previous experience of putting cat stuff together is that it's relatively straight forward with large rods that screw in and large bolts that screw on. This thing involved over fifty screws to screw in, umpteen things to slot in, it had to be put together from top to bottom (rather than the other way as you'd expect) and while instructions did show you what you needed to do they weren't exactly idiot-proof which they needed to be in my case.

However, now it's done, it's been worth it. It's small enough that I can have it in my living room without it overpowering everything else but big enough to accomodate at any one time, and should they wish which is debatable, up to four cats -in practice, two is not uncommon, three more unusual, but it's certainly been a hit with them.

First photo is of a cat bed I also bought from KRV which ended up me needed to hammer one end in and is also a success with the little monsters. Emma, sitting next to it, is currently curled asleep in it. In the next photo is Skye the recent fluffy black arrival who, for the first few days, threatened to strip flesh from my bones, but is now quite sweet.

Then the rest of the cats joined in.

Bits and Pieces.

The cat which broke out of my conservatory has been found, without anyone realising it until photos began to circulate, not that far from my house and is currently being fostered in an escape-proof home.

Burnside the tough old ginger boot of a cat is currently very happy on a long-term foster but has, alas, been diagnosed with a kidney problem and may not have too long.

I've just taken in this afternoon a 5 month old male black kitten-cat who was rescued from a family about to chuck him out -not a kitten any more.

Fifi, my eldest, now being prevented from chewing HDMI cables because they are properly protected, has started nibbling on the tip of the tail of my collectable Godzilla (2014) figurine. She is really pushing her luck.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Cirrus has gone to his new and hopefully permanent home. While she was here he cuddled quite contentedly in his new owner's arms. Her partner's mother who accompanied her turned out to be a regular reader of my blog, identifying Maisie and Aelfric by name immediately. Now if only the unmet partner doesn't turn out to be allergic to C then we'll all be happy.

 Yesterday morning I signed over Aoife to her new wheelchair-bound owner. Aoife is quite happy to sit in her lap while the chair is buzzing around the house, though she does hide from the carers who regularly help out. After that I did a home check which was satisfactory and Felix may have a new home by now.

Skye, the fluffy black female I took in last week, the one who attacks me on sight, seems to be calming down. I can now stroke her for several minutes without her turning on me, though she still makes the odd warning sound even while her tail is sticking up and she's purring. This only applies when she has an escape route though. If she's on a bookshelf with no room to manoeuvre it's slashing-biting time. Still, a definite improvement.

Dora is going to a new fosterer tomorrow thank goodness. I can't take much more of her constant snuggling up to me, her loud purring, and her going to sleep against my shoulder. The fosterer apparently already has two young cats. I would not want to bet against her very soon having three permanent young cats. She doesn't know what she's letting herself in for.

On Friday, Maisie and Bronia are off to the vets for their second vaccination and from there to Ferry Farm where they will, I'm sure, find their new permanent homes. Tina the torty in the conservatory will follow a week later. This means that on this Friday I'll be down to two foster cats and to one a week after.

Helen is transferring four (update: 7) cats over the next week to Ferry Farm and by sheer coincidence I have photos of (4 of) them taken by her.

Here are a mother and son being fostered by Joanna, also available (the mother & son, not J). Full details on all six cats can be found on the cats needing homes webpage.

Angela, one of our cat cuddlers and organiser of Animal Krackers Facebook page, is going to spend a month in Africa on a lion park. Is that the sound of seething jealousy I hear?

Friday, 7 November 2014


And I'm not just talking about the weather. Or today. Its been a bit of a grey week all round.

Today, or rather early this morning as it's still only 8.44 as I'm typing this, I went swimming, went to check on Susan (which I'll be doing for another couple of months or more following her knee replacement), then home to put a cat in a cat carrier to take to the vets for spaying, and followed this with a call to the vets to cancel the appointment as I couldn't safely get anywhere near the cat even with a towel and wearing gloves.

But let's backtrack to Tuesday evening when this all started and I received a call asking if I could help out with a distressed cat found not far from the Queen Alexandra Bridge. It would have to go in the cat cage but I agreed and a lady duly brought it round. I took some photos and put them on Animal Krackers Facebook page where there'd already been some discussion about it.
And someone was pretty sure she was theirs so arrangements were made for her to call round at lunchtime on Wednesday. This happened. The cat was hers. Great. Not long after that I got a call from the mother of a young lad who was being evicted and had nowhere for his cat. Take another sigh and agree.

Now a couple of months ago, or thereabouts (crap memory, too lazy to check details), I did the same for another young lad who was being evicted by a scumbag landlord. Well, surprise surprise, it wasn't only the same scumbag landlord but also the same building, and even the same crummy bedsit. I picked up the cat and stroked it without incident until I put it in the carrier and it went berserk. Took it home, put it in the cage and it attacked anything or anyone (me) that went near it from the moment of its arrival to right now. Also hasn't eaten anything yet. 

A few minutes after I first arrived home with Sky, I received an email from the lady who'd taken the cat at lunchtime to tell me it wasn't her cat after all and could I take it back. Er, no, sorry. She did eventually find someone to take it.

Meanwhile, back to this morning, and a few minutes later I had to go out of the house to turn my car lights off when a neighbour called to tell me I'd left them on. When I opened the door to get back in, Dora the four month old black and white and adorable kitten ran out, but not too far so I was able to catch her. Going back in, Cirrus the mad and delightful fluffy 18 month old male also ran out and again I caught him. Don't know what's got into them as they've never tried that before. I can see I'm going to have to be very vigilant. Here's Cirrus.

Now what else could go wrong today? I'll let you know.

Saturday, 1 November 2014


Oh, it has been. Okay. Well I've been busy. And putting stuff on Facebook rather than blogging. So this is a hotchpotch of original material, Facebook stuff, and expanded/re-written Facebook stuff.

This cat was found on Rotherham Road, Red House last Saturday. She's between 3 and 4 years old, has white paws, is very friendly, and has a hernia (lump). Since then I've had her operated on yesterday to remove it and she seems fine. She's a nice friendly little thing but then most of them are. I've called her Tina.

Burnside the big tough old ginger monster has been re-homed on a long-term foster basis which, after a week, seems to be going very well. He's happy, his new owner's happy. All is well.

I am absolutely desperate to home Dora the kitten. Not because she's horrible, precisely the opposite. She's most loveable affectionate kitten I've ever had and I want rid of her before I give in and keep her.

My cats have a favourite song. Here it is. "Food, glorious food! Food, glorious food! Food, glorious food!" They don't know any other words, these are the only ones that matter to them. Apart from the food I give them they have also taken the opportunity to deprive me of the remaining four custard doughnuts in a bag on the kitchen bench -actually found a cat eating one of them- and the bag containing a loaf of sliced white bread was been ripped open and the contents partially devoured. Last night I did a stir fry of pork mince and onion  with noodles. There was too much for one meal so I left about a third of it in the saucepan, placed a plate and a glass dish on the top and went to eat the rest. While I was doing that, the cats removed the glass dish and plate and devoured the portion I was going to have for today's lunch.

Winston the Rag Doll has been re-homed but not in the way I expected. The previous owner's cousin came back from holiday not previously knowing what had been going on and asked to have him. As she had the owner's approval we couldn't refuse. So there you go.

If you're religious, say a prayer, if you're superstitious cross your fingers, if you're neither hold your breath, cat cuddlers and anyone else, but long-stay at our re-homing centre preceded by 9 months in my house, five year old all-black Aoife may have found a home with a wheelchair-bound lady. That was two days ago and I haven't heard anything yet so I'm cautiously optimistic.

And then there are times when I can get (insert a coarse emphatic adjective of your choice here) irritated with people.Earlier in the week I got a call from an elderly lady about a female kitten at risk. It had just appeared in her street so I went round only to find it had gone. I made the arrangement that if she could get it in her kitchen she'd call me. A couple of days later I got a call from a guy had to find a home for two ten week old kittens his cat had given birth to but, when I asked for his address, couldn't make out what he said so asked him to spell it out. He was on the bus he said and would call me later. Except he didn't.

Two days after that the lady got on the phone to say she had the cat in her kitchen. I went round, took one look at it and said: that's not a kitten! I still took it because she was elderly and stressed out, though I had a job getting it in the carrier -a new small one I'd just bought to use for kittens and small cats. I'd barely got home when the phone rang and it was guy from a couple of days ago who didn't realise he'd spoken to me before. Although I now couldn't take his kittens, I tried to help him as best I could by offering a couple of suggestions. How much he took in I don't know because it was obvious he was thick as a brick. He even rang me twice later that same afternoon, neither time realising...

As for the cat, I took it to the vets for a checkup a couple of hours later when I went round to pick up Tina (who I'd dropped off that morning) after her hernia op. The six month old female kitten turned out to be a grey intact male aged 18 months-2 years who would have to spend the next three weeks in an unsuitably small cage in my bedroom. He's a fluffy grey with white bits and after asked for suitable names from the vet staff -no I'm not going to call him Smokey just because he's grey- came up with Cirrus after the wispy grey-white cloud formation. He's since started to settle down and I'm beginning to get good feelings about him. After an initial defensive/aggressive reaction towardsw the other cats he seems to have stopped so I may be able to let him out. Maybe after he's been neutered on Tuesday.

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that my ex Sue Hardy, joint founder and director of Animal Krackers, and who I consider the engine that keeps our charity running smoothly, has had a knee replacement. It may not sound much but it's considered to be ten times worse than a hip replacement. Susan also has a problem in that pain killers upset her stomach so she's having a pretty hard time, even worse than it should normally be. I've been going round two to three times a day to feed her cats, get her breakfast, and do anything else she wants. She's also getting support from other people, particularly her brother and sister in law. The hospital are keeping an eye on her, Age Concern has provided some support ,and a nurse calls round. I'm going to print a photo which she'll hate but it's intended as a tribute to her in my own oddball (her description of me) way.

Animal Krackers Statistics of Cats & Kittens Re-homed.
October: 26
Yearly total to date: 138.
It's too early to thank everyone but you are all in my thoughts.

And once the current five monsters I'm fostering have gone then I'm not fostering any more. Seven is enough, more than enough, in my modest house. I know, I know, I've said that before.

But this time I mean it.

Said that before too.