Summer Newsletter 2015

Well this year has certainly seen a large number of ferals coming our way!! We have neutered/spayed nearly 40, most of which have gone back to their original sites, which has to be the best choice from the cats’ point of view as they know their surroundings, so no traumatic move to a location unknown to them. We will only return or rehome feral cats and kittens if they are going to be fed, provided with suitable shelter and of course their long term welfare needs met. At one of the sites we were asked to reduce their numbers, so we rehomed two 4 month old kittens to a small private stable yard – they are now completely tame, love being handled and are REALLY enjoying life!!! Three older kittens also went on to a smallholding where they too have settled really well. They did rather worry their new owners initially though because as soon as they were allowed out they disappeared!! So a few anxious days were had by all – including me – but once they had explored their new surroundings back they came, and all has been well ever since thankfully! We are waiting to trap another litter of kittens and spay their mother once she has started bringing them to the food source, and that will complete the largest colony we have done so far this year – 33 cats/kittens!

We have been called on several times this year when animals have been left ‘home alone’ after their owners have been admitted to Hospital unexpectedly. We have so far had two dogs, six cats and 18 pigeons, or was it 19!! No I am not exaggerating!! Thankfully Pat at Mill Cottage Boarding Kennels was able to help us with the two dogs. They were used to boarding ‘Barnie’ for the owner but when ‘Reggie’ needed help they very kindly boarded him until his ‘Mum’ was well enough to return home from Hospital. Jenny fostered some of the cats for us, all of which were elderly, and the pigeons were taken in by Sandy who runs a rescue centre for wild birds on the Island – the latter taking rather a lot of planning! There are sadly no facilities for ‘welfare boarding’ for people admitted to Hospital/Residential Homes, etc., who have pets but no relatives/friends/neighbours who can care for the animals in their absence. It is quite a worrying situation for the owners to be in, as they are not just anxious about their admission to Hospital but they do not know who to turn to, especially as their pet(s) have probably already been at home for several hours alone. I don’t quite know what the answer is really, but we will always do our best to make sure animals in these situations are cared for. If anyone would be willing to help by short term fostering we would love to hear from you. As we have found so far it can involve any type of animal and they all need alternative care until their owner can return home. We are at present looking after two elderly cats in their own home and Lindsey kindly spends plenty of quality time with them as she lives close by. More often than not, though, it isn’t possible to do this so most of the animals need to be looked after elsewhere.

If you do feel you can help at all please do not hesitate to contact us.

As a knock-on effect we quite often stay involved with the cats and their owners when they are discharged from Hospital. They are generally elderly, disabled or are suffering terminal illnesses and need help from time to time with Vet visits or support with the general care of their beloved pet, who quite often is their only companion. The Cinnamon Trust is very active on the mainland but sadly has very few volunteers here on the Island. If they could in fact increase fostering facilities on the IW it would help the situations I have already mentioned. If anyone has any ideas to try and solve these problems we would love to hear from you, but in the meantime we will try very hard to help all those who find themselves in this very upsetting situation, especially those being admitted to Hospital at very short notice.

Before I go any further I would like to pay tribute to the late Neil Phillips who sadly passed away in January this year. Neil had cared for our many less fortunate feline friends for many, many years – he was in the true sense ‘One In A Million’ – no other Vet will ever be able to replace the exceptional person he was – his dedication and his skills were second to none. He first joined Beckingham & Thomas in 1988 and he had a great deal to do with the planning and the move to what became the Riverbank. Neil worked tirelessly for all animals, and the support he gave to us was incredible – nothing was ever too much trouble, no – not even when he was officially off duty.

Neil’s passing has had a significant effect on many, many people. So much talent and so respected by all who knew him – a life cut drastically short. I feel honoured to have worked with Neil for so long, but greatly saddened by his loss.

We attended an RSPCA CPD Meeting in May which we found very interesting, as the subject was the National ‘Cat Crisis.’ There is a definite drive to bring the neutering of kittens down to 4 months of age. Quite often 6 months is too late as these kittens may already be pregnant. People in general think that 6 months is the acceptable age to neuter/spay but all the Rescue Centres Nationwide desperately want to get the message across to cat owners that 4 months is now the advised time. The kittens recover very quickly at this age and there are various advantages to early neutering too, some centres are actually neutering at 9 – 10 weeks of age. THIS is how bad the cat situation is now across the UK. It doesn’t seem to matter how much campaigning is employed, some cat owners STILL won’t listen. We promote our Special Neutering/Spaying and Microchipping Scheme constantly and we do get a response – we would prefer a greater response but everyone who comes forward for help is a bonus. We shall be repeating our ‘Spaying Blitz’ again in September, and it will probably run until the end of December. Last year we carried out 169 Spays and 41 Castrates through the ‘Blitz’ so we hope we can increase on these numbers this year. This offer is directed at the females 4 months and over, although we obviously don’t turn any of the boys away. Last year we only asked the owner to pay £20 towards a spay and £8 for the microchip – as yet we haven’t decided whether we can offer the ‘Blitz’ for this price again – a lot will depend on our bank balance at the time!! We shall only see our schemes working if we continue to keep our prices at rock bottom – we have proved that if the cost is within the reach of low income families they WILL get their cats/kittens neutered – some do need a little encouragement but on the whole most will come forward voluntarily for help. If you know anyone – friends, relatives, neighbours who may benefit from our help please ask them to get in touch – our contact details are on the front cover of this Newsletter.

Last year we took in a very thin, dishevelled Maine Coon, he was PETRIFIED. He weighed less than 3kg, but now he is up to the weight he should be and is topping the scales at almost 7kg!! ‘Shadow’ took a long time to trust humans but he is now in a fantastic home where he will never want for anything EVER again. His confidence has grown incredibly and he really is now enjoying life to the full, which is fantastic. ‘Shadow’s’ life has been transformed just by offering him love and kindness – where he came from we shall never know, but his past can now be put firmly behind him; it is the future that matters now. Lindsey fostered ‘Shadow’ right up to the time he was rehomed, and it is really thanks to her that he has done so well. He went from a shivering wreck initially to the loving, confident boy he is now.

‘Lola’ and ‘Lucy’ waited a very long time to catch someone’s eye. Although they came from the same home initially they weren’t really a ‘pair.’ ‘Lola’ could get a little bossy at times so we thought it acceptable to let them go to separate homes, which has worked really well. ‘Lola’ is now living with a little dog and in a very short time they were curled up on the settee together!! Her new canine friend had lost his feline companion and was pining, but as soon as ‘Lola’ moved in he was happy once again – even though ‘Lola’ spat at him initially!! ‘Lucy’ went to share her life with ‘Charlie’ and settled almost as soon as she arrived in her new home! ‘Charlie’ had come from us a few months previously so we knew he would probably benefit from having a little friend. They really were MADE for each other!

‘Lenny’ came to us last year as a roaming un-doctored tom WITH ATTITUDE!! He very soon settled down, especially after we made the essential life changing alterations!! He became a soppy lap cat putting his previous nomadic lifestyle firmly behind him! He is now in a lovely new home, he loves his home comforts, wanders in ‘his’ garden, tolerates the neighbouring cats (apart from a recent interloper!!) and then can be found ‘lounging’ in one of his many sleeping places indoors! Again we have no idea where he came from originally, all we do know though is he wasn’t having a good life living on the streets – he MUCH prefers the life of luxury he now has!

We have known ‘Sully’ since he was a kitten – he is now 13. His owner sadly passed away last year so ‘Sully’ came back into our care. He is now living with Sue and Malcolm as a permanent foster and he has settled really well. I think he is half dog as he follows them wherever they go, chatting all the time needless to say! I think it is so rewarding to take on an older pet; they are generally very loyal and also usually very easy to care for. Sue and Malcolm had sadly lost ‘Tiggy’ a few weeks previously – she was 16 but suddenly became unwell and she had to be quietly laid to rest – a very sad time indeed.
‘Sooty’ turned up in someone’s garden and slowly moved himself into the house over a matter of weeks. He was first noticed as he was eating food put out for the birds, so this poor boy was obviously very hungry. No one reported him missing so we eventually took him into care when this kind lady was admitted to Hospital a few months later. ‘Sooty’ we believe is middle aged and he is such a lovely, gentle character. He had very bad dental disease which must have been causing him great discomfort, but after a brief stay at the Vet’s all was well once again – he now has his ‘Colgate smile’ back, even though he has very few teeth left!! ‘Sooty’ is being fostered by Lindsey at present and we are hoping ‘Amy’ will accept him into the fold on a permanent basis – she can be a little territorial but I think she has quite a soft spot for our gentle giant!

‘Sylvester’ and ‘Marley’ have gone to a lovely new home together. Although there is a 2 year age difference they share the same mother – ‘Jess’ – she in fact came to us with three kittens (then 4 months old) ‘Marley’ who was 2.5 years old and ‘Murphy’ 18 months. ‘Jess’ is also now in a caring new home and is enjoying the fact that we have put an end to her breeding days!! ‘Jess’ is now 4 – 5 years of age and is really enjoying being the centre of attention – she is such a gentle little girl and very easy to please, Bless Her.

‘Bertie’ was straying at a holiday camp on the Island – in fact it was a holidaymaker who alerted us to his plight. ‘Bertie’ is probably middle aged + but he too has a fantastic temperament. He went to his new home several months ago now and he settled in and took over almost instantly!! He follows his ‘Dad’ wherever he goes (even if it’s only upstairs!!). Again we will never know how he lost his original home but all that matters now is that he is dearly loved, and he will never want for anything EVER again. HOME AT LAST!

We seem to have on-going problems with some families on the Island. They have numerous cats, all un-doctored needless to say, so you can imagine the situation without me having to go into detail! This year 4 cats have come into our care and one way and another all have problems. Poor ‘Oliver’, although probably only 4-5 years old, had advanced kidney disease. He was with us for 3 months and during that time he had LOTS of TLC – we wanted to make up for what had gone before, and I feel we managed to turn his little life round even though it was sadly only for a very brief time. He loved all the attention and we obviously tended his every need. We had hoped to mix him with our permanent residents but it wasn’t to be. Due to his renal disease we gave him the dignity he so dearly deserved. That last little episode of his life WAS worth living – if we could have helped him sooner it may have been a different story, but neglect had probably attributed to his condition.

‘Bonnie’ is in some way related to ‘Oliver’ – she is probably about 2 years old and frightened of her own shadow. She has progressed really well over the last few months but will always be nervous of people she doesn’t know. She was in early pregnancy when she came to us, and almost definitely would have been mated by a close relative. We have decided to keep ‘Bonnie’ as a permanent resident – she loves the other cats and I think they help with her confidence. Like the other 3 cats all she had to live in were outhouses/greenhouses before coming into care. Why oh why is this allowed to happen? The reality though is that they are not breaking the law, but they won’t listen to reason and they won’t accept help…

‘Chocy’ is a really affection boy but he came to us with a damaged eye. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all, but he is unable to open the eye fully. We are hesitant to remove the eye as his sight is not affected, but maybe over time we may have to. He, like ‘Oliver’ and ‘Bonnie’ really like the company of other cats, and he is also REALLY enjoying all his home comforts. Lorraine and David are fostering ‘Chocy’ and every day he shows them how grateful he is for all the love and care bestowed on him. They don’t ask for much do they, so why can’t just their basic needs be met – it is beyond me, it really is…
‘Clyde’ may possibly be from the same litter as ‘Bonnie’ – he too is timid initially but also very loving once he knows you. He like the others was un-doctored but that was very quickly remedied!! ‘Clyde’ is now ‘sharing’ with 4 other cats, who are also looking for new homes. None are related but they all get on really well together. ‘Ebony’ is very tolerant of them all as long as they keep their antics away from her!! If any overstep the mark they get a quick left hook then, satisfied, she goes about her business as if nothing’s happened!

We do have many adorable cats looking for loving, permanent new homes. We do try to keep our website up to date so you can always visit our Adoption Page where you can meet all those waiting patiently to catch your eye. We always come and visit you in your own home so we can see whether the cat or kitten you have chosen will suit you and your lifestyle; we also carry out a follow up visit to make sure all is well. We do stay responsible for all the cats and kittens, both domestic and feral, that we rehome, so if at any stage during their natural life the owner is unable to keep them we then take them back into our care. This is very important to us as it gives us peace of mind knowing where our cats are and that all is well. We do have various pages on our site which may appeal to you and, hopefully, you will find some of these helpful – or at the very least interesting!!
As always Liz, Doug and Vanessa are always on the lookout for good quality items to sell. It is getting increasingly difficult to get enough items to sell to raise much needed funds for our less fortunate feline friends. You can contact Liz and Doug on 298882 (answer machine at times but you are welcome to leave a message) If you are unable to deliver your donated goods they will be happy to collect from you. They all find that the following items are the most popular: DVDs – CDs – unwanted gifts – clothes (adult & children) – good quality bric-a-brac – gift sets – toiletries – jewellery – children’s toys etc. We do have two Fayres a year – one generally in July, the other at the end of November/beginning of December, and as well as items for our stalls we would also be very grateful for any donations for our Raffle and Tombola. We offer refreshments at these events so any cake bakers out there may be able to help us out – maybe?

If you would like to help us in our work please do get in touch as there are many ways you can do this. If you don’t have a great deal of spare time but would like to help socialise the cats/kittens in our care we would love to hear from you. Jenny spends most of her spare time with the cats/kittens we have in care – this is a MASSIVE help to all concerned – the furry people also realise there are other people about apart from me! The nervous little characters benefit greatly by the individual attention, in fact they all do, so Jenny’s help is invaluable. She also does short term fostering for us on occasions which enables us to help those in greatest need.

We are always grateful for any help you are able to offer us so please do get in touch.

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