End of a long tail …..

At least that is, its the end of the tails in terms of 8 Lives input to these stories …….. its just the start of several other tails to be told by loving new families.

It’s a tail that for us started almost exactly 6 months ago with a long drive up to North Yorkshire to collect two terrified farm cats, both heavily pregnant.   They and multiple other cats had been cared for by someone who sadly was no longer well enough to keep feeding them.

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The Richmond 2

I can’t pretend there wasn’t a period of shock and anxiety when we realised how feral they were. Some communication issues had led to us believing they were friendly house cats when we offered the rescue space. When we learned they were in fact farm cats who had never been indoors we didn’t want to lose face by saying no. When we learned that one of them (I never clarified which) had bitten through the hand of the young man who caught her on the morning I collected them I worked hard to compose my face into an expression of someone who knew what they were doing.

richmond-2-thursday1

 

For a while the three of us stared at each other in horror whilst we tried to weigh up who was more afraid of whom.   After a little while we settled into an relatively easy truce …… I fed them, they didn’t bite me.    What happened next was one of the most lovely experiences I’ve had in cat rescue.   They gave birth within a week of each other, cared for each other during the births and then looked after both litters of kittens together.

Tabbytha & Mowse with kits

Tabbytha & Mowse with kits

Whilst remaining very wary of me, they didn’t stand in the way of their kittens making friends and having cuddles. I think they appreciated the care that they got and the safe space they had for raising their babies. In return, when we took in Simon, a very young kitten who had been found wandering outdoors on his own, they agreed to adopt him into their little family.

that's simon, chewing mowse's ear

that’s simon, chewing mowse’s ear

There was something quite heartbreakingly beautiful about their vulnerability and caution with humans, their bond with each other, yet their willingness to let their kittens socialise with the humans.

mowse-tabbytha-holiding-hands2

The time came to look for homes: Tomas and Tobias went off first

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Amazingly the mummies were the next to find a home. By chance it was back up in North Yorkshire though some distance from where they’d come from.

first-sight-of-tab-in-new-home

Then the rest of the kittens paired themselves off and left for pastures new. Simon & Minnie got themselves a lovely home in S6. Curiously, Simon, the most confident of the whole lot hid behind the sofa whilst Minnie – feisty but more shy normally – scoped the place out. Happily it wasn’t long before they were having cuddles together.

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It was a bit of a while before the remaining four found homes, but when they did it all happened at the same time. Two home checks on the same day, followed by two families coming to visit afterwards, and two rehomings the same day the following week.

Mickey & Millie went first …… and despite their arrival coinciding with hedge trimming outdoors …. they soon settled in

day one

day one

and then started stealing the human’s seat

day 6

day 6

and last but not least …… Timothy & Mocha went to their furever home

day one

day one

They’ve all got lovely homes. I’ve had little doubt that the kits would settle happily but I was anxious about Tabbytha & Mowse. Absolutely no doubt that they’d found one of the most lovely caring outdoor homes it could be possible to find … but what if they didn’t see it that way and took off as soon as they were given their freedom? It’s an anxiety I shared with their new humans, and my heart was in my mouth a couple of weeks ago when I was told that the stable door would be opened.

Clearly we needn’t have worried.

I’ve played this video over and over again …….. can’t quite put into words what it means to have seen them through this journey and know they’re happy and settled now.

Categories: cat, cat rescue, kittens, Sheffield | Leave a comment

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