cat rescue

Kitten season! part 3 – Jette and kittens make two dozen

So we’ve told you about Raven & Squiggle’s kittens, but Jette’s kits arrived here undercover … hidden inside mummy’s tummy.   She looked ready to pop when she arrived.


Then again …  we’ve had enough experience to know that when they look like they’re about to pop there could well be another week or more to go.  Perhaps because she was heavily pregnant and in a room on her own, she seemed to be the most stressed and anxious of the new arrivals.   Raven & Squiggle had each other for support and had to be ok for their kits.   On the one hand I wanted to take it slowly with Jette, on the other I was concered that if we didn’t establish a good relationship before the kittens were born it could be more difficult in many ways after the birth.

Jette – anxious and very pregnant

You may remember Hecate who arrived here with 4 x 3 day old kits almost exactly a year ago.  She was very scared and reluctant to allow us to interact with the kits, and her anxiety rubbed off on them.  It’s all good now … mum and kits all in loving homes and confident and settled .. but it was hard work and ideally not something we want to repeat.

Jette hid at first, but over a few days made friends thanks to some chicken.  She quickly became very friendly and affectionate.  We created a nice little cot with the “really useful box” that has served for all births here since Betty’s kittens.  Jette refused to look at it.  She alternated between her bed on a chest of drawers and perching on an almost ceiling height shelf.   I anxiously watched her on the webcam from work, though I’m not sure how I was going to help from miles away, or what I thought I’d tell my manager as I rushed out the building.

hopefully not in Jette’s birth plan

She was unsettled for a couple of days coming up to giving birth, moving from bed to shelf to widowsill to my lap and I spent hours with her thinking the kits were on their way.  However on Sunday 16 June, it was clear that things were starting to move.  Thankfully the high shelf went off the list of places to sit and she switched between my lap and her bed on the chest of drawers, and finally (thankfully) the cot.  As the birth got closer she settled herself in the cot, and I laid down on the floor at the other end of the room so I could give her some space but still be able to see some of what was happening and check she was ok.  I used one of the blankets she’d been snuggling on my knee on as a pillow since the floor was hard.   To my surprise, at the very last moment, she rushed out of the cot, threw herself onto the blanket I had my head on, and seconds later gave birth to the first kit within inches of my nose.

Kit number one born


She clearly felt safer with me than I’d hoped to imagine.   Things started to get a bit more complicated then though.  For one thing, it was just after 8.30pm when she started to give birth and the light started to fade.  I didn’t want to move and put the big light on, and didn’t really want to be shining phone torch at them either.  The other thing was that the babies were coming quicker than she could sort them out …. and as they weren’t in the confines of the cot they could go anywhere.  So whilst baby number two was being born, baby one had set off across the bedroom floor, dragging the remains of his placenta behind him.

I always avoid touching very newborn kittens unless absolutely necessary so was wary … but once off the blanket the floor was cold (hard to believe on the hot night I’m writing this … but a couple of weeks ago the room was chilly).   I didn’t want to stand up and scared her, but managed to reach a spare fleece from the shelf.   Jette seemed happy for me to sort him out and get him back on the blanket close to her.  As kit number 3 was born, I was left with the responsibility for kits 1 and 2 … and so it went on.   I gradually gained confidence with coralling kittens in the dark, and cheerfully managed 5 little ones as number 6 was born.  Sadly the happy mood evaporated when it was clear that number 6 was not ok.  Jette worked on him for some time, licking him and nudging him …. but he didn’t respond … and after a while we had to accept that however much love he’d been born into … he just wasn’t going to make it.

Once it was fairly clear that she’d finished we gathered them up an put them all safely in the ‘really useful box’.

In the morning I sobbed as I went up the garden to dig a small kitten sized hole.  Dasher came with me to comfort me.   Jette looked distressed to see her kit go … but was soon enjoying a clean fleece and getting to know her remaining five kittens better.

Apart from nipping out for a wee she never left them for the next 10 days.  I’d check in her several times a day, and watch her on the web cam from work, and every time I looked she was there snuggled up with them.

Her hard work has paid off as they’re clearly much bigger by one week old.   Kittens will normally double their birth weight in the first week and I’m pretty sure she’s achieved that.

Ps.  I’ve just realised I didn’t end the post by clarifying the title.  These little ones brought the total number of cats in our home to 24 … which is a record number of cats at 8 Lives … not to mention the few we have out in foster homes.

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Kitten Season! part 2: And mothers make 9.

Even here where we’re used to running between multiple cats it was a challenge to know where to go first with all the new arrivals.  We needed to check that Alice & Arnold were settling ok downstairs with the other cats, work out which of the 7 kits was which in the Squiggle/Raven family and make sure they were all eating for themselves or getting fed by one or other of the mummies, and then try to put anxious very pregnant Jette at her ease not least so if she needed help whilst giving birth we’d be able to get close to her.

Initially when I went into the kindergarten with Raven & Squiggle both mums would run at me all fluffed up and hissing.  Their attempt to intimidate intruders worked to some extent … I was certainly wary.  Very soon though they’d be purring and enjoying a snuggle, until I left the room and returned and we’d be back to fluffed up and growling.  It took a couple of days until I could confidently identify each of the kittens and the mummies could equally confidently identify me and not need to growl when I approached.

Thankfully Dasher took over with helping Alice & Arnold.  I’m sooo impressed with and grateful to him.  He may be so anxious that he hides under the sink when anyone new comes to visit but he’s turned things around for these two little ones.  Maybe it was because of his own fears that he was able to tune into theirs.  They’ve very quickly come to adore him and the purring starts as soon as he comes in the room.

Dasher with his kits

I was anxious about Jette .. on her own in the nursery.   Of all of them she was the most stressed with the process of being caught and put in the carrier to come here.  She hid at lot.  First in the walk in cupboard in her room, then on a high shelf.  I seriously hoped the high shelf wasn’t part of her birth plan.  A couple of days after her arrival she was happy to take chicken from me.  A day or two later she was very keen to have cuddles and I was less anxious about how we’d manage when the kits arrived.

Jette – anxious and very pregnant

Raven & Squiggle sorted their kits out.  Despite only being biological mum to only 28% of the kittens, Squiggle appears to have done about 95% of the work.

Raven does help with washing and will investigate if any of the kits appears to be distressed, but mostly it seems to have been Squig who sorts them out.  Despite still being heavily involved in mothering, Squiggle came back into season when the kits were only 6 weeks old, so if she wasn’t safely here there would be another litter of kittens on the way by now.  Raven has since come into season too.  Thankfully they’re both off to be neutered tomorrow.

There’s a bit of a feel of deja vu … it was only 6 weeks previously that Ailbhe and her 7 kittens arrived here, her kits born mid March, these  7 born end of April.   There are many similarities …. not least in the amount of mess they create in their bedroom!  Of course they’re all unique but the combined Raven/Squiggle family is now affectionately known as the Riggles thanks to their reluctance to pose for photos.   Ailbhe’s kits were supermodels and gave us some lovely photos.  This little gang are equally adorable … but models they are not 😉  Not yet 🙂

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Kitten Season! part 1

As the photos of the A Team in their new homes began to come in, so did the requests for help with other cats and kittens.

With the rest of the family gone, we didn’t want to leave little Alice & Arnold on their own in their bedroom.  It felt important to give them more opportunity to socialise and gain their confidence … and to be honest …. we needed their room!

So they packed their bags and moved downstairs.   It was scary at first and they were happy to hide in a large dog crate.  Uncle Henderson did his best to reassure them … but they weren’t convinced.   Surprisingly quickly though things started to change.   Arnold realised that if he could stay with his fear of being touched he actually really loved a tummy rub …. he simultaneously found his purr.

Alice has starting thinking of her future … and has decided that hair styling is her thing.  She’s certainly keen …. I’ll give her that …. she spends ages sitting on the back of the sofa, purring loudly and grooming me.  I’m kind of hoping she’ll refine her technique and not cause quite so much pain to future clients.

hair by alice

One of the main factors in making things better for these little ones is ‘uncle’ Dasher. It’s a bit of a delicate situation. You may remember that Dasher has been with us a while, waiting to find a pal to go to a new home with. He’s now found the love of his life in Alice … but she’s attached to her brother too. Arnold is also attached to Dasher … though not so much. He’s being very sweet and generous as this awkward love triangle plays itself out.

Anyway … I digress. A couple of days before Ailbhe & Alix went off to their new home, we had a message asking if we could take in 25 cats from one home! We said we couldn’t possibly take that many but had a pregnant cat/nursing cat space and/or room for a group of kittens. We were a bit shocked by the reply which said that there was a heavily pregnant cat, two mums nursing 7 kittens between them and 4 five month old kittens. It was one of those rushed-in-between-appointments-at-work kind of email exchanges. We couldn’t take them all … and were aware that even then these were only 14 of the 25. It’s the nightmare game of Lifeboat that rescues are regularly asked to play. Pregnant cat v mums with young kittens v older kittens who may be pregnant soon. We agreed to take pregnant puss, plus the two mums with their 7 kits … but then started trying to get help for the others.

alice & arnold much more confident

On the day of their arrival I was up by 6am cleaning and getting the space ready.  Ten new arrivals was daunting …. we never had such a big intake of cats. Sure … Ailbhe and 7 kittens arrived a few weeks ago … that was 8. Years and years ago when we were fostering for another rescue, on one day we took in a mum with 5 kittens 3 days old, and another mum with 4 kittens a day old. Yes … I know … that makes 11 … but at the time we just had two or three other cats in the house, and 9 of the arrivals were very tiny. The recent ten were coming to add to a household of nine. And of course one of the ten had several more small cats inside her.

We took a deep breath … what else can you do? Drove up the motorway in the pouring rain, and yet again suffered the misery of sat nav crashing off the dashboard. Seriously … WTF! … how does anyone stop the suicidal plummet of sat nav mid journey? And finally arrived at the house. It was a strange experience. It’s rare (acutally never … unless I visit a bigger cat rescue) that I go somewhere that has more cats than we have here. A real insight into how friends/ neighbours/ tradespeople might view my own home … a cat on every surface … mega size food boxes piled high. This owner clearly cared about their cats … but sadly hadn’t been able to get them neutered before they multiplied exponentially.

We got the carriers loaded up … Carrier 1: Jette the pregnant puss. Carrier 2: Squiggle plus 4 kits Carrier 3: Raven plus 3 kits. It’s not exactly a fair share. We understand that Raven gave birth to 5 kits, and a few days later Squiggle had 2. It seems that Squiggle has taken them all on as her own while Raven has stepped back .. other than a few bath times. At their vet check we found that Raven has very little milk whilst Squiggle is full of it. What we’ll never know is whether Squig took over because Raven had no milk, or whether Raven has no milk because Squiggle is feeding them all. Perhaps what matters most is that its one big happy family.

Here they are arriving in their rooms and starting to settle in

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And Mother Makes Eight

You might wonder why we’ve not posted for a while.   There were at least 8 good reasons … and the clue is in our last blog post:

“So … 7 kittens, plus mum to some of them, arriving today … with no room actually available just yet”

They did indeed arrive:

two boxes full of them 🙂

If I felt a little overwhelmed I can only reflect on how poor Ailbhe felt.   You may remember that she and another cat had had 9 kittens between them prior to rescue.  The information was a bit sketchy but we think only three of the nine were Ailbhe’s and that prior to rescue the other mummy had done the bulk of the work.  We don’t actually know which of the kits were hers … so worst case scenario is that she was caring for 7 kittens, only one of whom she gave birth to.   I was anxious about how this might pan out … and had kitten formula and bottles ready … but thankfully didn’t need them.


It took a while to get my head around who was who … but gradually they emerged as individuals, each with their own purrsonality and prefurances.

I think I can honestly say that Ailbhe has been the gentlest kindest mummy cat I’ve ever known. We’ve had lots of lovely mummy cats here … but normally by age 6 weeks the joy of parenthood is wearing a bit thin and they’re swearing at the kits and slapping them about a bit. However, I’ve never seen her have a cross word with any of them.

It’s been a whirlwind … a delightful, stressful whirlwind …  but Aric & Archie, and then Ash & Arran went off to their new homes.  Last night after work (mine not theirs!) Ailbhe & Alix went to their new home.  Alice & Arnold moved downstairs for remedial catting lessons … supervised by Uncle Henderson.

There was a brief pause and celebration last night … then up at six this morning to clean … and prepare for new arrivals.

And so the next story begins ………….

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End of an era

On Easter Monday I took Fingers & Bandit to their furever home … the second pair of the Norton 4 kittens … now young cats.

It marked the end of quite a long chapter in 8 Lives history.  We had the original message about the Norton 4 back in August 2018 – Four kittens around 5 or 6 months old had been living in a garden for some considerable time.  Intially mum had been with them … but she’d moved on .. sadly presumably pregnant again.   Kind people had fed them, but not really interacted with them … and for reasons that made sense, but won’t be disclosed here, had just let them be.

It was a more challenging situation than we’d normally tackle, but it was very close to home, other rescues were full and we could see that if something wasn’t done very soon, the Norton 4 would be the Norton 14!

You can read all the twists and turns in their story if you scroll down the blog a bit … but back to Easter Monday ….

In an almost exact paralell with the rehoming of Nancy & Dodger … Fingers came out the carrier and ran under a chair, Bandit was reluctant to leave the carrier.   In the Nancy & Dodger story, it was a cupboard rather than a chair … but it’s the same difference.   Eventually Bandit made a dash to be with her sister … and that’s where I left them.


Fortunately they are a little more confident than their brother & sister, that is Fingers is more or less as confident as Nancy … though she doesn’t quite express it in the same way, while Bandit is quite a bit less shy than Dodger.  So by the following day they’d put in an appearance at the food bowl next to the chair.

In terms of further exploration it seems Fingers was sent out to check the perimeter of the room whilst Bandit stayed close to the chair watching, cleaning herself and tapping a few toys.

It didn’t take very many days before Fingers was up on the sofa, checking out the cuddles.

Bandit isn’t quite there with cuddles yet …. but is enjoying sitting on the windowsill with her sister each evening … watching the world go by.

Couldn’t be happier for all 4 of them.  They’ve found two lovely families to give them the best chance possible in life.

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It’s complicated

After the failed relationship between Dasher & Dexi, she went off and found herself a lovely ‘only cat’ home.

Dasher had been longing to try again to find a pal … but we couldn’t do anything until Dexi had moved out as there was no space for another one … especially when we had Dexi complaining loudly about how many cats there were around here.

He was philosohpical about it and spent his time just chatting with uncle Henderson … and playing in the garden.

We started putting the word out again that he was looking … and heard that there were 5(!) kits needing somewhere … but they were only about 5 weeks old … so would need to stay with their mum for several more weeks. Five were rather too many to manage … but then Howard landed himself the offer of a foster home, so his bedroom was going to be free. So we agreed we’d take them … hopefully there would be two pairs and another who could be a mate for Dasher. Then we found out the place they were in seemed less safe and we offered to take them earlier so long as mum could come with them. Howard’s room would be free so it would be ok. Then we learned that there were actually 9 kittens and 2 mums … but 3 of the kits had homes lined up and the home they were coming from would only part with one of the mums. So the agreement became that we’d take one mum and six kittens. And we realised that through the long and complicated negotiations we’d started by looking for a pal for Dasher, but ended up agreeing to take a (part) family of 7 which meant there were 3 pairs of kittens, and an adult cat .. but in reality no one for Dasher to pal up with. They needed a place of safety though … so we sucked it up, laughed about it, and got on with making the plans.

The plan was that Howard would go to his foster home on Easter Monday, the room would be available from that evening. Then a couple of things happened. One of the three kits who had a home lined up had his offer withdrawn. Then there was a greater risk of tiny kittens being handed out “free to good home” … except these homes are rarely “good”. An odd number of kittens at last …. but who needed to move pronto if they were to be safe.

So … 7 kittens, plus mum to some of them, arriving today … with no room actually available just yet

backend clash between henderson & howard

Emergency plan was to move Howard downstairs with the residents for a couple of days until he goes to his foster home. He’s spent some time down here when there was a hope he might be integrated with them.  It went sort of ok .. though there’s a bit of a rivalry for my lap between Henderson & Howard.

Yesterday I frantically cleaned downstairs, so there woudn’t be too much disruption if Howard moved down. Today I guiltily evicted Howard from his bedroom, cleaned my bedroom (next door to Howard’s room) and Howard’s room … ready for kits arriving and not having too much noise and disruption. It’s one of those situations that illustrate the warning to “be careful what you wish for!”. I’d wanted kittens for Dasher & Howard had been desperate to come downstairs. The reality was more stressful than either of us would have expected. Dasher hissed lots at Howard, Rufus started being a little b@gger again and slapping anyone and everyone … just to make his point.

Howard is trying to manage it by stealing my seat on the sofa.   I’m trying to manage it with a complicted algorithm of doors closed and open … and a few beers.  Tomorrow we need to find a way of separting them enough to manage any arguments … but be able to show Dasher off to his best to potential adopters (they also want him to come to his new home with a pal) … without him being able to run off and hide under the sink .. and without any embarassing family arguments in front of visitors.

Praying to the Easter Bunny for assistance 🙂

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Norton 2+2 – the remainers

Bandit and Finger were clearly a little unsettled when their siblings went off to their new home 3 weeks ago.  Whether that was because they missed them, or because they feared they’d also be shuffled into carriers I’m not sure.

Three weeks on and Nancy & Dodger are getting well settled


The nice suprise here is that Bandit has come out of her shell more. There was no suggestion that she was being bullied or intimidated by her siblings … but she whilst she wasn’t particularly scared of people, she wasn’t that bothered about interacting either.  Since the others have moved she’s been much more interested in approaching for snuggles.

Bandit was much quicker to come out to play when Rachel visited this weekend, and she’s been more likely to come to find me when their bedroom door has been open than ever she used to be. Shyly peeping round the bathroom door, and loving the fuss she gets when I spot her.

Since they’ve just been a twosome they’ve been accepting other feline visitors.   That’s not been so much initiated by their hospitality as my need to make the most of time and space.  We have Dasher downstairs, desperate to play with someone, and Dexi who sadly does not like him.  So Dasher has been up for a play date.  Bandit was a bit shy with him but Finger entertained him and showed him some smart hunting moves.

It also occured to me that I spend ages waving toys around for these girls, and then a similar amount of time in the next room with Howard firmly planted on my lap … If we could join up and multitask they could have twice the play time and Howard could have double snuggles.   That kind of went ok too.  The girls are lovely and friendly, Howard does his best, he’s not actively aggressive but bear in mind that he arrived in rescue very poorly .. and recovering from an abscess that we assume was the result of a cat fight.   He has a clear idea about purrsonal space .. and each time the girls breached it, said “How” ..  more assertively than aggressively.

There was an awkward moment where Finger had gone into his bedrooom whilst he was in hers.  As Howard returned to his own room, Finger decided to leave.  The shape of the landing forced this into being a bit of a confrontation.   Words were said, but no threats were acted on.

Less stressful moments were when Howard and I sat in his room,  watching Finger play with a rug on the landing.  She suddenly noticed that the cat in the bathroom mirror had an identical rug … and freaked a bit.

Today it’s been Rufus who went to visit.  No particular reason .. other than the fact that the girls have been here for months now, confined to their bedroom with occasional access to bathroom, stairs and landing.   I wonder if we might be able to get them coming downstairs a bit, so they have more interaction, and even a chance to play out in the garden.  However that means them interacting the the residents, as well as Dasher (who they’ve met) and Dexi (who I’m sure will not be pleased to meet them).  That meant we left the door at the bottom of the stairs open

We love our Ru to bits … but his social skills aren’t great 😉

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Norton 2+2 – the leavers

So it’s finally happened, two of the gorgeous Norton 4 have found their new home!

Nancy & Dodger

Just over a month ago we had an adoption enquiry from a lovely young couple who had just moved into their new home, and didn’t seem at all fazed by the prospect of shy cats.

I explained how our amazing friend Rachel had come over just after Christmas and spent hours with the 4 of them until they finally came out to play and started to trust her.  The couple arrived prepared to do the same.  It was the same sort of line up as with Rachel, though things happened more swiftly, as they’d all built up a lot more confidence through her visits.  Nancy bounced out first of course … curious, friendly and full of hope for chicken treats.  Then Finger, and eventually Bandit emerged, cautious at first but then very sweet.  I’m sure they knew what was at stake because whereas Finger normally plays with her feather wand toy like a crazy mad growly tiger, on that day she and Bandit daintily batted the toy back and forth between them .. as though choreographed for enticing adopters.   Dodger as ever hung back.  Although the couple had initially expressed an interest in N&D, Dodger’s reticence and F&B’s cuteness nearly swung things in their favour.  Then the gorgeous Dodge put in an appearance, and deigned to accept Dreamies.



Nancy & Dodger won the day and I spent a week fretting about how to get Dodger into a carrier to go to his new home without stressing him too much. We practised each night going into the carrier for Dreamies and for most of the week that carrier was his favourite spot.

Annoyingly though, on D Day, I misjudged it … tried to push him fully into the carrier when he was only half way in, and that was the end of that ruse. In the end he chased the red dot into another carrier, and I slammed the door.

We had the opposite problem at the other end of the journey.   Nancy came out her carrier and ran under a cupboard.  Dodger refused to leave the carrier.  Yes, we could have forced him out, but we didn’t want to make it any more stressful for him than it already was.  So there he sat, in an enormous carrier, similtaneously blocking entrance to kitchen, lounge and the stairs.

I cried in the car on the way home.  I knew they’d got the best home they could ever hope for, and all would eventually be well.  However they’d trusted me for 6 months and now I’d done something that had made them scared again.

Thankfully their adoptive parents are amazing.  Not only do they understand the cats’ anxiety, they seem to get my anxiety too!  … and send lots of updates.

Our first update was the following morning.  No photos as both hiding.  Dodger had come out the carrier and joined Nancy under the cupboard.  Nancy had accepted a little chicken when being hand fed.

A couple of days later, a photo of Nancy under their cupboard.  And the reassurance that they were eating and using the litter tray, and exploring … though only when the humans were out.

Another day or two and they’re looking more relaxed, starting to be interested in the laser toy again.  And a day or two later, confirmation that they’re exploring the part of the house they have access to, as Dreamies left in various locations have disappeared 🙂   They’ve also been spotted exploring the landing when the humans have arrived home unexpectedly.


A week or so on and Dodger is starting to remember that he really likes Dreamies and playing with the red dot.  They’re not quite comfortable interacting with the humans but are getting used to sharing the space with them, and happier about exploring whilst the humans are home.

And not many days after that, Nancy came out, feeling much bolder and had some strokes from both humans.

She was fascinated watching mum cooking, even though there was quite a lot of noise and crashing around in the kitchen.

And then this!  Growing in confidence by leaps and bounds


They’ve been in their new home for 3 weeks tomorrow, and its lovely to see how much they’ve grown in confidence. It will still take some time and patience … but we have absolute faith in them and their humans that they’ll get there.

Well done Nancy & Dodger!

Huge thanks to their lovely adoptive parents, and to Rachel for helping to socialise them x

We’ll update about the other two in our next blog 🙂

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She’s just not that into you

The last few weeks have been a difficult emotional journey for little Dasher. He put so much effort into finding a potential bestie, and could scarcely contain his excitement when little Dexi arrived.

waiting for first sight of her

He’s worked hard at the relationship, chattering to Dexi, showing her how to climb curtains, suggesting all sorts of fun games they might play.

To be fair, the rules of some of the games have been a little complex and tedious, but he’s put the work in. He’d had dreams of moving to a new home together, with a garden and servants of their own. Sadly it’s not to be. Much as he chases around after her telling her she’s beautiful (and clever & strong too because he’s a 21st century kitten and doesn’t want her to think he’s only interested in her being pretty), her invariable response is “HISS OFF!”


We can all see it, but it’s hard for him to let go and move on. He remains hopeful.

His pal Rufus is being a good mate, and suggested they go out and play in the garden to take his mind off it.

Finger even invited him upstairs for a playdate with her and Bandit. In the event, Bandit wasn’t so keen, but Finger listened patiently to him and showed him a few ‘special’ hunting techniques.

Dasher obviously felt a bit more valued after that and practised posing like Dodger in their bedroom. We think it was a pretty decent attempt.

Both Dexi and Dasher and lovely kits, but we will all have to accept that the love affair we hoped for is simply not going to work out. Dexi wants a home where she can live the single life with no other cats, Dasher wants to have some mates around.

Aunty Honey isn’t pleased that her boy has been snubbed .. and would like to know just what the problem was

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Howard’s Tail

When we went over to my rescue friend to collect Dexi a few weeks ago we bumped into Howard.  He’s an older chap who had arrived with her that day.  To our knowledge he’d been living rough for some time (rumours suggest for 2-3 years, after his humans moved house and didn’t take him with them), but had come to more urgent attention just then as he had an abscess on his foot.   He’d been to the vet earlier that day, had an antibiotic shot and been discharged with some metacam.  He was sitting in a large crate looking sorry for himself, but still purring.   This was Wednesday, I knew Skye was off to her new home on the Saturday, so offered for him to have her bedroom from the Sunday.



He duly arrived and settled himself in.  Having eaten ravenously for a few days, I was told he had been off his food from that morning.   We tried every sort of food possible and he wouldn’t eat.  Then a day or two later he was eating ravenously,  drinking enormous amounts of water, and peeing with his sights on a world record.

His first vet appointment confirmed that his abscess was healing  nicely but his foot was swollen, and he had a temperature.  There were also the concerns about fluid intake and fluctuating appetite.  He complained a bit about Dr Fran poking his sore toe, and about where she put the thermometer … but on the whole he thought she was wonderful.

Then there was an anxious wait for blood tests. The first batch came through in a few days, revealing that he had anaemia and that there was a kidney problem – which we’d suspected because of his fluid consumption. A longer wait for results of FIV/FeLV tests. As an unneutered stray who had clearly been in fights Howard was a prime candidate for these viruses. [It’s hard to imagine Howard in a fight, he’s a sweet placid sort of chap. I’m sure it must have been the other cat who started it! I did offer for us to drive round the area he came from and see if we could spot the offending cat] Thankfully and amazingly the tests came back negative. So the next thing was a scan to see if anything sinister might be causing the problems. The various blood results suggested there might be something else going on. We decided to combine this with a little contraceptive advice, so Howard was in for the day at the vets. This was bliss for Howard … lots of lovely people fussing over him … though he has expressed a wish to pop back and check their “lost property” box at some stage.

Thankfully the scan didn’t show up anything awful … it was ‘just’ chronic kidney disease. He was told he’d need a special diet, lots of good quality food … just for him … which he was happy about. We went to see our friend Nic at Pet Company on the way back to the car. With the shop door safely locked he came out for a little snuggle. There are some lovely tasty sausages and treats on Nic’s counter. It was at that point that reality hit home – the special diet was ALL he was going to have … no sneaky nibbles of sausages. You can tell by the look on his face how pleased he was with this turn of events.

A few days on and we’re starting to get the hang of it. Ordered several different lots of specialist renal food. It’s tricky to tell whether the times he doesn’t eat it are because he doesn’t like it or whether its a spike in his kidney problems and he’s feeling rubbish and not wanting to eat.   Have to say I’m impressed by Royal Canin renal food. They do a special palatability pack … with samples of different flavours, wet/dry food, different textures of wet food.

To be fair, Howard has also enjoyed Hills Science kidney diet pouches … but there’s something reassuring about having lots of different options in one big box to offer him.

Currently resurrecting nearly 40 year old memories of A level biology to understand what’s going on for him. Our vet nurses have been hugely helpful too. This book loaned by one of them is really useful … enough info for it to feel like I can start to get my head around just what is happening inside Howard … but still gentle and “cat mom” friendly. Definitely recommend.

Meanwhile, Howard is zoning out on the nip

No prizes for guessing who is most stressed about the diagnosis 😉

Categories: cat, cat rescue, CKD cats, Sheffield | Leave a comment

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