Autumn Newsletter 2016

Autumn Newsletter 2016

As Summer fades and we slip into the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness, the cats here abandon the sunny patio in favour of warm radiators.  The nightly arguments about coming in as the summer light fades give way to a welcome committee, already home and waiting for their tea when I get in from work.  Much as I love the long summer days, snuggling down and getting cosy with them is a delight too.



Still full  but with fewer cats!

I think the main thing about the Summer was that it was “Full” as we said in the previous newsletter.   We had Tabbytha & Mowse with their kits, plus little Simon whom they adopted,  and Xin and her kits.  Despite there being a lot of black and black & white kittens we were reasonably confident most of them would get lovely homes …….. and they have!

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Phew!  The ones we were most concerned about though were Tabbytha & Mowse – the farm cat mummies.  For a little while there was some hope that they may settle enough to become house cats.   Mowse accepted some strokes, Tabbytha was happy to take chicken from my hands.  It wasn’t enough though for them to move into the realm of ‘pets’ though.  The other option was to look for a safe outdoor home.  There are some fab people who help with feral cats: they’re rescued from dangerous inner city areas, transport is arranged and they’re taken across the country to farm homes where people offer some shelter and food as a wage for rodent control duties.   For an anonymous feral – trapped, neutered and released into  a safe space with some ongoing care its wonderful.  Not quite so easy to accept this as the best option for Tabbytha & Mowse who were named and known …. and loved …… despite their fears around people.


We looked at a few possibilities but they fell through, and then a miracle happened.  Quite by chance we found the perfect option for them.  A lovely caring woman and her father …. up in North Yorkshire, their home county ….. offered a space.  It’s not a big anonymous farm ….. but a small stable with rescue horses and where the animals are very well cared for.  I could weep for joy and relief when I see the updates from them.   They’re loved and fed, but free to do as they please.

Hand rears

These little ones didn’t take up much room ….. but oh boy did they take up time!! They arrived over August bank holiday … apparently two weeks old but only a little bigger than the size of newborns and full of fleas.


The little boy quickly became the model hand rear kitten … he guzzled his bottle down, burped when I winded him, wee’ed when I washed his bottom and started to grow at the pace kittens should. His little sister Rosy flicked her head back and forth when trying to get the nipple in her mouth, and scampered off if not held tightly. It would take 10 times as long to feed her as her brother, but the milk went in and she wee’d and poohed and was active so we were hopeful.

One awful Wednesday night just over a week after she arrived, Rosy stopped fighting her bottle. I dripped the milk into her mouth and it ran back out again. Over the next few hours she became floppier until she passed away.  I was heartbroken, though if I’m honest I didn’t think she’d make it. It was awful to watch little Rufus trying to pat her back into life.   It looked like he was trying CPR at one point.  Poor little man.

rufus trying

rufus trying

We wrapped her gently ready for a funeral once it was light. She’s buried in a little patch of garden that holds baby Max and his still born sister Minim.


Max’s memorial

I’d have cried all day, but there was Rufus to take care of.   I’d arranged to go out to a weekly lunch date / craft group.  It had seemed ok when I planned it to just nip out and leave the pair of them between feeds for a couple of hours. Now Rufy was on his own it all seemed wrong. I’m not sure quite how I decided on the compromise …. but ended up packing Rufy up in his carrier with a bottle, lots of baby wipes and spare blankets and taking him off to Rileys & Co for lunch with me. I hoped they wouldn’t mind too much since he was so tiny and in a carrier.   To my amazement, not only did they not mind, they really welcomed us and took care of us.  It helped a lot with the pain of losing Rosy.


in the parlour at rileys … feeding rufy

That began the weekly tradition of Rufus going to Rileys for lunch and having cuddles with everyone there.   He doesn’t need to come with me any longer, he was weaned weeks ago  ….. but ……. well ….. he has friends to catch up with.

His besties are aunty Jenny and uncle Rog though …… without them having him (and his sister) whilst I was at work and over some long hard nights early on we’d never have made it.

Still full?

Yes …. though in a different way ….   We have two adult cats taking up single occupancy of the two rescue rooms which previously held 3 adult cats and 12 kittens between them:

Puddy arrived 6 months ago now: an older lad who should have been big given his frame, but was well underweight, matted jacket and a very very sore mouth.  His teeth are sorted out now, his jacket is glossy and lovely, and he’s put on nearly 2kg since he arrived.   He’s got on fine with some of the cats here … but not others ….. so we think he’d be best being the king of his own domain.


Nellie holds the other room.  She’s about 4-5 years old and played the “possibly pregnant” card to get her rescue space.  She wasn’t . … but we don’t begrudge her doing what she needed to do to get to safety.   She’s a sweet little cat, but anxious if she leaves her bedroom and starts to hear and smell the other cats.


We’re keen to get them both into homes as they’re fed up and lonely locked away in separate rooms here … and while ever they’re here we’re unable to admit any more cats.   Please if you have a minute and a place you can share their adverts … facebook, work noticeboard / intranet  we’d really appreciate it.  Their ads are under the “looking for new homes” tab here on the blog or on our cat chat page:


We had a fabulous night last Saturday at Rileys & Co .   Scrumptious Rileys pizza and other tasty bites.  The amazing Break a Leg played for us.   We had quizzes and the legendary stand up sit down bingo.   The best bit of it was seeing so many lovely lovely 8 Lives supporters there, lots of friends we’ve made along the way.   The worst bit was when Jenny our amazing fundraiser (yes its the same Jenny that’s Rufus’ aunty Jenny) said what a brilliant job I do and thrust the microphone at me for comment.  People who know me through rescue often think I’m confident as I’m happy to chat at length …. serious length! …. about cats.   People who know me well know I’m desperately shy.  I closed my eyes and waited for the floor to open up and swallow me.  It didn’t.  I waited a while longer, eyes closed, trying to just keep breathing.   All things will pass.  I’m hoping we’re now agreed that when it comes to rescue work  I’ll just do the cats 🙂

Break a Leg at Rileys & Co

Break a Leg at Rileys & Co

 We have our Christmas event on Saturday 3 December.  Only about 50 tickets will be available so please book early for a fab evening.


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

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