Friday, 11 May 2007

Tilly is the remaining member of a group of nine cats who came to us towards the end of last year.

They were found living in a garden - a very long winding garden - and enquiries by the new owner of the house to which the garden belonged, revealed that the previous owner had had a long haired black and white cat who he had threatened to leave behind.

Sure enough, amongst the cats was a longhaired black and white cat.

The new owner of the house not only felt sorry for these cats, but had a cat phobia and knew that she could not cope with a colony at the bottom of her garden. Mustering her courage and a group of friends she borrowed a trap and managed over the period of about 5 days to catch all the cats and bring them to us. This was an incredibly brave thing for her to do, given her phobia.

All nine cats were terrified, dirty and hungry and would not let anyone near them at first.

Gradually we managed to work out who we had in this little group. There was the long haired black and white cat who turned out to be mother to all the others. The others comprised two litters, one litter of three cats aged about 5 months who were completely feral, and a second litter of five kittens aged about 6 weeks, who were very very nervous but able to be handled.

Mum, Mitsi, was also tame once she had calmed down and reassured herself that she and her family were safe. We gradually began to handle the cats to assess them, and once the kittens were old enough to leave their mum, we put them in short term foster homes to get them used to being inside and being handled. All five were neutered and rehomed just after Christmas.

Of the older litter, one tamed up and again he was neutered and rehomed, and Mitsi too was neutered and rehomed and is settling in well.

That left two of the older kittens, Shadow and Tilly. We were able to find an outdoor home for Shadow, but Tilly is still with us, still hoping for a home. She loves to play and she loves to chase insects. She is incredibly curious and she will sometimes let us stroke her. She loves having the end of her tail held - she walks up and stands facing away from us with her tail in the air, and we just have to hold the end of it. But she does bite, a curious not aggressive bite, but a bite nevertheless. We hope to find a good outdoor home for Tilly, maybe with another semi-feral cat we are caring for - a stables or a farm or a similar environment, where she can take her time to get used to people. We think it unlikely that she will settle in a house.

Whilst we celebrate the lives of Tilly (who is pictured above) and her siblings and half-siblings, we fail to understand the mentality of anyone who when moving house would leave their cats behind. And worse, leave their un-neutered female cat behind. It is a population explosion waiting to happen.

Sadly, we hear more and more cases of cats left behind when their owners move. Perhaps some responsibility could be shared by landlords - maybe allow your tenants to have pets, particularly if they pay an extra bond to cover damage. Or like Persimmon Homes, who had an article in this week's Wakefield local paper, offer suggestions to help people move house with their pets.

Perhaps if owners realised that it is illegal to abandon an animal, and that they could be prosecuted for doing so, fewer people would resort to this type of behaviour, and fewer cats would be left at the mercy of their surroundings in situations where they may not cope and may not, therefore, survive.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Chasing our tails

Just a quick update entry today, with promises that we will post another entry later in the week.

Zelda's kittens are all doing well, all seven are still going strong. The kitten pictured was 12 days old at the time the photo was taken (they're 15 days old today).

All seven have their eyes open and are starting to look around. They are still very wobbly on their feet, but can navigate from one side of their box to the other.

We have been lucky enough not to have to feed them supplementary meals yet, Zelda is a fantastic mum and is coping marvellously, although she is eating copious amounts of food - three large tins a day plus supplementary dried food!!!

Our main job at the moment is to make sure all the kittens seem fed, and to make sure that their eyes don't get sticky. The kittens vary in size, there are two very small ones and two much larger ones, but all seven are growing well and none are looking thin.

More about the kittens on a later blog.

We're also delighted to say that we have rehomed Snatch, the diabetic cat who featured in our blog a few weeks ago, and we have also rehomed Max, our lad who came in as a stray.

There was an excellent article about us in our local paper - you can read it here. We hope to have a good response to this, both from new volunteers and people wanting to adopt cats.