Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings. – Laozi (Lao Tzu)

There have been very many comings and goings over the last few weeks.  For some reason I thought things would be quieter coming up to Xmas …. what with finishing work for a while and most other people being focused on festivities rather than cats.

Holly & Humbug went off to their new home the weekend before Xmas.  So sweet ….. there’s a bit of an age gap between them right now ….. he’s  probably twice her age ….. but they love each other, and in not very much time it will simply be that he’s a few months older than her.


Humbug & Hollly

Later that day I went out to Rotherham to pick up Milo & Mike. Their human had taken them in over the summer as kittens to save them from being dumped… but then had some difficulties herself and couldn’t afford to keep them.

We thought that was it for pre Xmas … but a message pinged into our inbox about Daisy Mae.  She was booked in to a vet in Leeds to be put to sleep the following day.  There was nothing wrong with her …..apart from the fact that the landlord had refused pets and she had nowhere else to go.   Not entirely happy to make a journey to the other side of Leeds off we went on the Sunday.   As I was approaching the pick up my headlights started to flick on and off .  They continued to go on and off as she bewailed her misfortune at being stuck in a carrier in the car.  I hadn’t the heart too point out the other misfortune she’d so narrowly escaped.  Her songs of sorrow were so loud that I missed what Seamus the Sat Nav was saying and ended up with flickering headlights in several lanes of ridiculously busy traffic presumably near the centre of Leeds.  You know that point where you think “it can’t get any worse than this”?   Well it was at that point that she poohed, turned around and around, padding at it and ground it into her hands and feet and into the wire of the carrier.  So then we had her singing loudly and tunelessly along to Carols from Winchester on the radio and the windows wide open to cope with the smell along with the fear of breaking down.


Daisy Mae cuddles

She kicked off big time when she realised she’d be rooming with the boys I picked up the previous day. Thankfully there’s another part of the story where she reveals herself to be a complete sweetheart.

Anyway, just three days at work then peace.    As Thursday, the precious first day off work approached it got busier and busier.  Milo & Mike had been booked in for neuter so vet runs early morning and teatime.  To which we added a health check appointment mid afternoon for Daisy Mae, and then a homecheck after we’d fetched the lads back from the vets.   Settling down in bed on Wednesday night the phone pinged.  Long story short …. we were fitting in a run to Bradford between first and second vet trip to collect a kitten who had been living behind a take away for a week.

Bradford Bessie

Bradford Bessie

The journey home with Bessie couldn’t have been more different from that with Daisy Mae. She settled herself in her carrier, had a good wash, and then by the time we were on M1(S) she was fast asleep. The day filled out more by taking her to the vets as well as Daisy Mae and then the person who was home checked coming to meet the kittens straight after the homecheck.

Phew … all done by 10pm Thursday evening …. we could settle for Xmas.   And then the phone pinged.   Email about a local cat who appeared to be homeless.  They’d taken our advice from earlier in the week and gone to the vet with him to be scanned for a chip.  No joy …. and he wasn’t neutered either.   I agreed to pick him up on Xmas Eve.  The following day though, was vile weather and ended up going for him late Friday evening.


mr sad face Tomte arrives

Our dream was of a festive home filled with the aroma of pine tree, cinnamon and good food.  The reality was a house completely engulfed in the pungent smell of tom cat.   At least he appears happy and unusually for a cat, a little grateful.

happier Tomte

happier Tomte

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we interrupt our holiday photos to bring you the latest news

We had a lovely quiet first week (not quite a week) home from holiday.  Well … “quiet” if you ignore the harsh reality of return to work, and the normal chaos of our resident cats and the little E Team.   There had been a few messages whilst we were away about cats looking for rescue places, but things seemed to have settled down.   Then last Friday we had a message about 9 kittens needing to come into rescue.  They’d been mentioned whilst I was away, but seemed to be sorted out, and now they weren’t and it was “urgent”.  So between appointments at work on Friday I was messaging about them and arranged to collect early Friday evening.  Rushed to supermarket after work to stock up on kitten food,  got the room ready for them.  Minutes before I  set off to collect them and I get a message to say they’d been given away.  One person had taken 4 and the other taken 5.   It’s not easy to think that they’ll be safe and neutered and cared for … but nothing else really that we could do.

e team class of the yaer

The E Team

So we had a room ready for kittens who weren’t going to arrive, and moved on to the next priority scenario:  Snowy had messaged us whilst we were away to ask for a rescue space.  His elderly human had sadly had a stroke and gone into a care home, and he was all at sixes and sevens not knowing quite what to do with himself.  He was being fed and could access his home still so he hadn’t been top priority, but now that the kittens who were outside didn’t need the space, he was offered it.  He got back to us saying that although he’d been looking for help for a few weeks, he now had someone who might offer him a furever home … so thanks … but he probably no longer needed us.

Snowy before coming into rescue

Snowy before coming into rescue

So then when another lady messaged to say she’d been living in a garden in S8 for quite a while, needed to get in out of the cold, and was off to the vets on Monday to check if she was chipped and had a human out there (though she doubted it) we said she could come and stay with us after the vets if she had nowhere to go.

And THEN Snowy messaged us, pretty gutted, to say that his dreams had crashed, his potential adopter didn’t want him after all, and could he please come in.  We had to say “no” because we’d offered it to the lady who was going to the vet on Monday.

But THEN, Monday came and went and the S8 lady didn’t get back to us.  If she had we’d have picked her up from the vet on our way home from work and she’d be here and safe.  Because she didn’t, we went back to Snowy and re-offered him the space.   I hate this kind of chaos… but so often people contact rescues wanting “urgent” rescue space, then resolve the problem in whatever way, and then never bother to reply to rescues offering help.  With so many cats needing care we just have to move on to the next one.

We went out to pick Snowy up on Tuesday evening.   He was obviously anxious, and had let himself go a bit since his human had been ill.  He got out of his carrier, cleared off and hid behind the chest of drawers in his room.

Then later (LATE) that evening we had a distressed call from a friend about a mum and her kittens who had been living rough.  A complicated discussion had occurred on facebook earlier, and a botched rescue plan which had left mum and kits trapped in a small carrier for several hours.   We were able to arrange to get  the little family safe overnight and I went up to collect them the following evening (Wednesday).   They arrived quite traumatised and terrified.  Sadly there is a fourth kitten who is still at large out there as he couldn’t be caught … so we’re still waiting for him… and will obviously need to slot him in if (please god) he is found.

new arrivals before they arrived

THEN the S8 lady who had been living in the garden got in touch with an update of her vet trip, revised to Friday this week. Heartbreakingly I had to say “no” to her and suggest other options.

THEN on Thursday we had a message about mum and 6 kittens living rough in another garden.  The finders planned to adopt the mum but needed rescue for the kittens.  My immediate response was to think “no”!  But as rain lashed against the window of my office and I turned the heating up … and thought of tiny ones living outdoors.  Another 6 would only take us up to the 9 I was expecting last Friday, and maybe more confident kits would help the terrified ones.  So we offered a space but then the finders didn’t seem to be proactive in responding / arranging to get them here.  I set a 10am deadline for Saturday after which we would cancel their rescue place. And since we’d been thinking that we could fit another 6 kittens in, maybe we could use that space to bring in the S8 lady who was living outdoors.   The deadline passed, various other “urgent rescue space” messages flashed through (two 10 year old cats about to be put to sleep because “owner” had had a baby; 3 young cats (one of them disabled) …  being given their marching orders because “owner” having another baby all considered … these are just the local ones)  but we decided the best option would be to offer to the S8 lady.  I was on the edge of writing to her when the 6 kittens messaged to say they were now 5 and could they come tomorrow?

It’s still touch and go whether the “6 now 5” kittens arrive, but the S8 lady has revised her vet trip while Wednesday.  I’m writing this not to criticise anyone … we all have pressures and limitations and lives outside of cats (um … well most people do) …. but just to give you an idea of what sometimes goes on behind the scenes with rescue.  I try to do the best I can with the ones who get here, and not think too much about the ones who don’t.  If I did I’d go completely crazy 😦

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Juggling kittens

You’d think it would be quieter and calmer now that the J Team have left, but somehow it just isn’t. Perhaps its because the remaining kittens are getting bigger. In some ways that makes it better … Shadow has been spayed and is now being allowed out for brief periods. She’s burning her kitten energy off in the garden, chasing up and down the lawn and launching herself at low flying insects. That’s sparing our curtains from low flying cats to a large extent.

shadow outside for first time3

She’s a bit of a bully with the little I-s though, mugging them and snatching their toys off them … and a nuisance to the adult residents who don’t appreciate her pouncing on their tails just because they flicked them.  So sometimes she ends up banished to her bedroom.  That should give us some peace … but then she cries because she’s lonely and doesn’t really understand why she’s been shut away.

Meanwhile the I-s are getting bigger, and whereas at one time they’d have their bottle and then go to sleep on the sofa, they’re now venturing upstairs and bouncing on my head when I’m trying to sleep.  I’m enough of a crazy cat lady to roll over and shrug that off a lot of the time, but between Shadow crying in the room next door to my bedroom, and the I Team pouncing on me I’ve not been getting enough sleep to properly get up and go to work in a morning. So during the week, Indie and Inky are now being confined to the conservatory at night.  Of course it’s getting colder in there, so we’ve taken the Flat Cat screen from the E Team’s window and put it on the kitchen window, so that some warmer air goes through into the conservatory.  Then we make them a hot water bottle and tuck them in for the night.  There are always bedtime stories about lost little kittens finding their furever homes and living happily ever after of course.

cc inky & indie

Whenever possible we’re trying to let Shadow and the I-s mix in with the residents and have lots of cuddle and play time.  Sometimes that goes well …. Shadow, Indie and Inky can share a meal

shadow with the I team1

Or we have the wonderful sight of black cats in 3 different sizes sharing the space

Before anyone gets excited about adoption …. the large black cat is one of my residents and isn’t going anywhere!

Then of course there are the growing E Team …… but that’s another story.

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an epistle from Lord Merlin

We’re delighted that Merlin has stayed in touch with us since he went to his new home. He’s gone from strength to strength really, delighting in now being called “Lord Merlin” … though we can’t help but still think of him as Merlibops. Whilst most cats leave here with basic IT skills, he’s been polishing his over the last few months and today took control of his dad’s lap top to send his latest missive.


It’s me again, Lord Merlin.

Listen, while I’ve got control of the
keyboard I thought that I’d get in touch.

Things are going well here, I’m
enjoying the rather clement weather and my dad has put some nice garden
furniture and parasol out for me which I like to take advantage of at the
moment. We had something called a “barby” the other day and that involved me
eating lamb chops outside which I quite enjoyed, it was certainly different!

We’ve got a Spanish student called Miguel staying with us at the moment, he’s a
nice guy but I can’t understand a word he’s saying and when my dad talks to him
he speaks in this strange language too? What I have found though is that Miguel
seems to understand me, because when I meow at him he gives me Dreamies, he’s a
right soft touch. Don’t tell my dad but I’ve managed to get two breakfasts a
few times by conning Miguel!

I’ve still not persuaded my dad to put the
Archers on for me, so I’m right out of touch with developments in Ambridge.
I’ve spent the past month watching and listening to the World Cup and Wimbledon
and now he’s got me watching something called cricket. I sort of understand it
but I just can’t get to grips with the complexities of the LBW law, my dad’s
tried explaining it to me but in all honestly he may as well be speaking
Ancient Greek or indeed Spanish!

merlin july 2014

Right I must go I’ve just noticed that my arch
enemy across the road is out and about and I want to make sure that he doesn’t
get any ideas about going in any of MY gardens. I’m getting ever so brave these
days and scared him off the other day, I’ve attached a picture to prove it!

Speak soon

Lord Merlin ”

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Happy Anniversary?

We’ve been thinking about anniversaries just recently.   Thinking how it would be nice to have a proper anniversary date to celebrate the start of 8 Lives.    We were feeling sad that the start date is unclear as we just kind of gradually evolved.   Then the residents pointed out that uncertainty could be a good excuse to crack open the beer and catnip on not just one but several days every year.

my lads on the nip

my lads on the nip

We didn’t actually sign our constitution until 23 September last year, just one day off being 3 years to the day that my precious Midgecat died and catapulted me from being a one-cat-human to getting up to my neck in cat rescue. Here she is, my darling girl:

life was easier then

life was easier then

However we’d already started thinking of ourselves as 8 Lives in early August 2013 when we took in Bracken, discovered 20 minutes later that he was chipped, and were able to reunite him with his family whom he’d lost 5 years ago!

Bracken our first and shortest stay cat

Bracken our first and shortest stay cat

The first 8 Lives cat who actually made it home with us was Jake on 7 August. We’re delighted that he re-homed himself close by, continues to visit, and now sends his small human to child proof our kittens.


If we rewind a bit from that though, there was a fudgy period going right back to April where we were taking in cats who weren’t under the care of any other rescue. So that’s the anniversary we’re celebrating right now. Rocky came to us on 19 April, our first independent cat, followed closely by Morris on 24 April.





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spot the difference

For those of you who remember this

jak, very frightened in emergency rescue

jak, very frightened in emergency rescue

and this

jak & jenni hiding

jak & jenni hiding

we think you’ll enjoy this

jak and jenny


With huge thanks to Wizz Catz who helped me to start to get them settled, and to their amazing new humans who were willing to give a couple of “less easy to home” cats a chance.

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a rather special young man

Whilst cruising on facebook late on Sunday evening, I noticed a post from a good friend of mine who does a lot for cat rescue, asking if anyone had a space for a kitten.   It feels impossible to take another adult into rescue at the moment because of the situation with Mog, however I think we can always squeeze a kitten in.  So it was that after we’d dropped Bramble off at the vet for spaying, and before we took Leo to his new home, I went up to collect this little bit of smelly fluff.  My friend had been about to go to bed on Sunday when she heard a cry at the door, opened it and found little Stinky, soaking wet and ravenous on her doorstep.   He spent the night in her bathroom, not a bad place for him really, given the state he was in: living rough, being very young, having long fur and an upset tum are just not a good combination.

fresh out the bath .. and still purring

fresh out the bath .. and still purring

We put him in the wash basin, and to our amazement, once we’d explained to him what we were going to do and why, he sat and purred whilst we bathed his back end.   I say “he” only with the knowledge of hindsight, at the time he was so matted and mucky back there it was difficult to tell.  He also bravely endured having to go in a crate when he first arrived here.   He’s a sweet and good natured young man in spite of all he’s been through.  He’s not chipped and no one appears to be looking for him.  We suspect he may have been roughing it for some time.

settling in .. our 100th cat

settling in .. our 100th cat

Not only is he special because he’s him and adorable, he has the dubious honour of being the 100th cat I’ve taken in since my Midgecat died in September 2010.


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Bramble – the blurriest kitten ever

Bramble came to us yesterday, after  us following her on free and cheap pet sites on facebook right through Christmas.   There’s a whole ethical and emotional roller coaster ride to be had from following these kind of pages.   That’s maybe a post for another day.  What got me was that Bramble looked like my Midgecat …. what I could see of her … the photo that was posted was so blurred it wasn’t easy to tell.    I saw her offered to everyone who said they wanted a cat … on lots of different groups …… her price gradually decreasing ….. until yesterday I could bear it no longer.


My feelings towards the family who were advertising her, and not even providing a decent picture of her, changed a little when I met them.  I’ll not go into detail, that’s not the point here.

She’s a little sweetie …. but ……. I can see why they didn’t manage a decent pic of her!  I must have taken well over a hundred in the last 24 hours … and can I get a decent one?  Every time, just as its about to fire, she moves!  She’s a very pretty kitty, but she’s not going to let anyone know it.

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2013 ..

It’s been a mixed sort of year.   The cats at the start of 2013 were fosters from another rescue, then a collection who for various reasons came through the local cattery, and then after August the cats who came were 8 Lives Cat Rescue cats.  Amidst all the angst and upheaval of the year, there are a couple of things that remain constant:

  •  There are a frightening number of cats and kittens out there who need help
  •  There are a surprising number of very lovely people who are willing to offer the above cats spaces in their hearts and homes.

Here are some of this year’s cats chilling in their new homes

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Some are photos of when they’ve first arrived, others of when they’re more settled.   Panda and Dunlop went to their new home in January this year, they didn’t stay hiding under the sofa for long.  Jak and Jenny went to their new home only a few days ago – we hope they don’t continue to look this worried.   It’s been lovely seeing photos of our kits getting to know their new older brothers and sisters, feline and bunny, and to see them relaxing, being spoiled stupid with toys and treats, and knowing most of all that they’re now loved and cared for.

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sneak preview for 2014

What’s coming up at 8 Lives for 2014?   Well, for one thing …. Leo is!

This Xmas’ heart throb arrived yesterday.   Because he came at Christmas Sooty wanted to call him Cheeses, Flipper wanted him to be Rudolph, I’d vaguely entertained the idea of Santa or Claus …. but when it came to it, we called him Leo, the name the lovely lady who brought him into rescue would have given him had she not been afraid to name him in case she couldn’t part with him.   She’s a fantastic person who helps lots of strays in Birmingham, and spotted Leo living amongst them when he was only quite a small kitten.  She took him in and cared for him but hasn’t had any luck re homing him.

leo arrives, greeted by honey and flipper

leo arrives, greeted by honey and flipper

We met half way at a service station, he had a narrow escape from being called Donny as a result of that.   He slept most of the way home.   In fact he was so quiet that by the time we got to Chesterfield I was wondering which vets might be open at that time on a Saturday.

leo & the shoe rack1

I needn’t have worried, he hopped out of the carrier once we were home, and after a brief interval of being overwhelmed by the other cats and hiding under the shoe rack, he bounced out and was fine.   I wasn’t going to bother with putting the tree up this year, but with it being his first Christmas and all, I trudged up to the loft to get it.   Leo took on the challenge of helping to assemble it very calmly.   Flipper feigned indifference, “been there, trashed that”, and sat on the scratch post supervising him.

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Today he looks like he’s always lived here.   Jango is clearly his super hero and role model.  You won’t go far wrong having Jang as your role model …. indeed you won’t go very far at all!   He’s happily finding all the best places to sprawl himself out.

Leo is going to be just such a catch for some lucky person / family.   He’s about 6 months old now, used to living with cats and dogs.  His keyboard skills aren’t brilliant … though for an excited youngster they’re not bad.  We’re also concerned he may have a slight alcohol problem ….. but hopeful that in the right home he’ll be able to work through that.

leo with my beer2

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