Throw away elderly cats

It’s pretty apparent from info that we don’t want to share publicly that Oreo was dumped.   An older cat thrown away simply because he’s old.   Thankfully he’s settling happily in foster care with Aunty Jenny.  I messaged her a couple of days ago to check how he was doing and she replied that he’s getting his feet firmly on the table.  Aware of her previous fostering failure  I asked: “Um … do you mean getting his feet under the table?”  But no, he’s on the table cheerfully pinching chicken off Uncle Rog’s plate.

He’s clearly having a happy time and enjoying winding his humans round his little fluffy paws.  They think he’s learned to tap their arms when he wants something.   I suspect he knows that he’s taught them to do exactly what he wants as soon as he touches them.  He’s currently purring his way into their hearts by helping make book covers … which will shortly be for sale through 8 Lives.  Here he is with the first one.

 

Our other thrown away elderly cat, Henderson, is proving invaluable in helping with the kittens.  He’s been in permanent foster here for the last 18 months.  He’s not been without his challenges with health and behaviour, but he’s a lovely grandad to kittens.  Little Mathilde and Mollie are lucky to have paired up in rescue and spend most of their time playing or snuggling and snoozing together.  They also get lots of cuddles from the humans.  However when you’re a small kitten without a mum, what you want most sometimes is a big cat to cuddle up to.  The other residents on the whole vary between unhelpful to downright rude.   Grandad Hendo lets them cuddle.

And helps them with getting their supper.

He may have been someone else’s disposable item … but to me … and these babies …. he’s very precious.

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Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks here.  We started with a rare placement of a black and white cat in foster care … and have ended with the a black and white cat in a rare foster placement.

And … yet … so much in between 🙂

Paul has been in his foster home for nearly 6 weeks now.  The change in him has been phenomenal.  It’s what his feeder (whilst he was living rough) believed in, what I hardly dared hope for, but what his lovely foster family have made come true.  The grubby scared boy has grown incredibly in confidence and self esteem.

It’s hard to believe its the same cat who arrived with us a few weeks ago.

Paul anxious in rescue

However, I’ve been round to his foster home this evening and checked his microchip … and confirmed that it’s the same boy. I don’t normally go around checking chips but his foster family decided they don’t want to foster Paul any longer.

This isn’t bad news though … it’s good … in fact it’s awesome! The dirty, frightened stray cat whom we thought may end up needing to be re homed on a farm has got his paws under the table and his humans wound around his fluffy fingers.  They’re stopping fostering him in order to adopt him 🙂  Despite some tricky times with ear drops this is one loved up little family.

Mikey & Paul discussing house rules

Here he is with Mikey the resident cat who was adopted a few months ago. They appear to be discussing general rules of sharing the house and who will sleep where. They’re both big fans of rocking chairs. Thankfully this is a two rocking chair family … so everyone will be happy …. unless of course the humans wanted to sit in them.

 

Adoption papers signed. Everyone involved in this story is just so pleased.

Meanwhile about 10 days ago one of our lovely fundraisers contacted us about an elderly stray cat she’d found. She’d taken him to the vet to be checked for a microchip … and to everyone’s joy a chip had been found and the ‘owner’ was contacted. To everyone’s amazement and horror, the ‘owner’ said he was nothing to do with them and disowned him.

We don’t know how old this lad is … but records say he was micro chipped in 2003 so he’s 15 at least.  It’s easy to be angry with the ‘owner’ … and on one level I am! … but who knows what’s happened in 15 years to bring them and poor Oreo to this position.  Life can be tough for humans as well as cats.  Thankfully another of our fundraisers has agreed to foster him.

So here we are again with a black and white cat in foster care.  Foster placements are a rare luxury for us and prior to Paul finding a foster home it was July last year when we had a cat in foster care.  If you’d like to be part of changing that … and giving more cats like Paul and Oreo a better chance in life … please contact us at eightlives@outlook.com

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Foster carers – recruiting

We’re currently looking to recruit a few foster carers to join our 8 Lives family.    As a small rescue we’ve cared for 98% of our cats in our own home.   However as our funds become a bit more buoyant and the need for cats to come into rescue grows and grows … we’re looking for a few committed people to offer some space and love in their homes for cats who otherwise may not survive the circumstances they find themselves in.

You may have seen the lovely story of the transformation of Paul in his foster home.  He came to us after living for months on the streets, grubby, wounded, not neutered, terrified of people.  He went to his foster carers neutered, patched up, slightly cleaner and with a little bit of confidence and hope.  His lovely foster family have given him a safe space, the opportunity to spend a lot more time around people than he was able to get here and lots of patience and love.  It’s been an investment that’s paid dividends …. he’s now so clean that he shines, his confidence is coming on in leaps and bounds, in fact … speaking of leaps and bounds …. he’s now playing for the first time since his feeder spotted him as a stray many months ago.

 

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It’s not just people like Paul who need foster homes, he’s just an example of the change that fostering can make: There are also  oldies who need a safe space out of the wind and rain, and a lap to snuggle on until they can find a furever home.

 

And young mums with tiny kittens who need safety and a roof over their heads whilst they bring the kids up and then have a chance to restart their lives.

There are older kits who are often dumped once they’re no longer tiny cute kittens: they need a safe space to crash, and to sort out their family planning options before their little lives go awry.

There are cats of all ages and abilities who fall on hard times, almost never of their own making, who need a safe place to stay while they get their lives sorted out.

What we ask of foster carers:
A secure room separate from other pets and away from external doors
Cats to be kept safely indoors through foster placement
Feed, clean, play with, cuddle, observe the cat/s
Communicate with rescue and send updates and photos
Take cat/s to Millhouses Vets4Pets as agreed for appointments
Welcome potential adopters coming to meet the cat/s.  [Potential adopters will have been homechecked by rescue prior to any visits]

What we offer:
Any equipment needed …. litter trays, food bowls, beds, toys.
Food and cat litter
Vet costs including routine flea and worm treatment
Support/ advice with any health/behaviour issues
Advertising cat for adoption, homecheck of any potential adopters.
All adoption paperwork and transfer of cat to new home.
The opportunity to be awesome and make a real difference to lives that were going off the rails.

Don’t just take our word for it … here’s the experience of one lovely foster family in their own words:

Having adopted a cat from 8 Lives a few months previously we kept up to date of other cats’ comings and goings via Facebook.  It was there that we read the story of one poor soul – so lucky to have been rescued by 8 Lives but desperately scared, anxious and withdrawn.  After a few weeks it became apparent that he needed a bit more time to help him come out of his shell and, at the very least, work out what sort of home would best suit him.  With kittens arriving at 8 Lives, that’s when we saw the message on Facebook asking for a foster family.

We could offer a spare room, safety, patience and most of all some time to spend with him.  Our teenage daughters joined in the challenge of making him feel settled.  Early days were slow with him hiding behind furniture and scurrying away when we walked in the room.  Over a few days and with some gentle coaxing he gradually started to come out for treats from us, then he started to eat food in front of us.  Still very anxious and wary, sometimes it was just a case of sitting in the same room watching television or reciting poems and Shakespeare in preparation for exams!  Clearly every cat is different but once he started feeling safe and trusting us he flourished.

We found we didn’t really need to adapt our routines or home-life when fostering – it was more about offering what everyday life is about: hearing noises, seeing people and learning to trust.  8 Lives is always there for help and information, and we felt very supported.  The reward you get is knowing that you are helping to bring out a cat’s true personality enabling 8 Lives to make the right choice of a forever home for them.  Alongside your foster cat getting the attention they need (and deserve) it also frees up space at 8 Lives to help some other desperate kitty.

We’d never fostered before but as a family we have shared the satisfaction of knowing we have helped improve a kitty’s future and have found the experience genuinely fulfilling, and we think others will too!!

There are other rescues who are bigger and better known and attract more volunteers.   We’re not so well known but because we’re a small rescue as a foster carer you will become part of our rescue family rather than just be A N Other volunteer.  If  you are interested in helping please contact us at eightlives@outlook.com.

 

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Delights and dilemmas

You may remember that Paul arrived in rescue a few weeks ago grubby and miserable and scared.

He made some slow but positive progress here  ….. however with all the other cats to care for we didn’t have the time to spend with him to properly grow his confidence.  We wondered if he might need to look for an outdoor / farm kind of home.  The young woman who had been feeding him before he came into rescue had felt he really wanted to be friends, but was just very shy.  I could see what she meant …. there was a real sense of a lovely character inside that hissy, grubby jacket.

So then there’s a dilemma:

A:  Try to move him on as quickly as possible and have an outdoor home.   There are some lovely outdoor homes as you’ll know if you’ve followed the story of Tab and Mowse.   Difficult to hope we could find anything near so good as we did for them though.

B:  Keep him here, moving desperately slowly towards being a timid house cat.  He seemed quite settled and not in any rush to get back outdoors so that perhaps wasn’t too bad (unlike Ozzy who is banging on his bedroom door, desperate to be out).  However it’s kitten season …. and not to put too fine a point on it …. Paul was bed blocking.  Obviously we love him and care for him and want the best …… but there are mums and kittens struggling for their lives outside … and we can’t take them because Paul has the room.

Rescue is too often like a real life game of Lifeboat.

We dared to hope for option C …… which was to find Paul a foster home where he could have time with people, and grown his confidence ready for a purrmanent home …. and we could then free up space here for other cats/kittens.   It was a big ask, given how Paul was at that stage .. but amazingly ….. Mikey’s adoptive parents stepped up.   I could have cried when I got their email asking if I thought they might be a suitable foster home.   YES YES YES!   Having seen how they’d welcomed a rather anxious Mikey into their home a short while before, I couldn’t think of anyone more suitable for the challenge.

It’s been a complete delight to get updates about him and see him getting cleaner, happier and more confident as the days go by.   He gradually dared to emerge from his cave and to not need to run for cover the moment anyone moved.  Then he’d approach his foster family for food and treats … now he comes to them just because he wants to come to them.   He’s also having a boost to his education as he listens to one of his teenagers quoting Shakespeare to him in preparation for impending exams.

So we had Paul’s room free and set about the next priority of trapping Stanlie. Stanlie is a stray who camps around our estate. We’ve been feeding him for a while and his trust in us (and our neighbour) has grown gradually over the last few months. He spends a lot of time sitting in our neighbour’s garden trying to fathom out my shift patterns … and as he’s got more confident, complaining loudly at me when I get back late.

Stanlie

Sometimes Stanlie seems to be in quite a bit of discomfort when he walks, other times he’s fine. He’s not confident enough for us to pick him up so would need trapping to come inside. That’s going to freak him out a bit I think. The weather is warm, he’s found a decent way of getting by. Should I try to trap him now and keep him indoors at least whilst he’s neutered and vaccinated. Is it fair to keep him locked up? Then again …. is it fair to risk him being on the loose and not neutered? I can sense he’ll be another Paul … wanting to be friends but struggling. Do I then keep him prisoner, or release him back to his previous life .. but no longer trusting me because of what I did. Having gone around in circles deciding what to do …. I took a rare decision to prioritise ME! I have the six residents with their various needs and squabbles, we’ve had Mathilde & Mollie needing hand rear help and lots of attention, and Ozzy who is adorable but completely fed up and crying in his bedroom (next to mine) a lot of the night because he’s lonely. I can’t let him out because that will inflame arguments amongst the rest of them. One way and another I’ve not had a decent nights sleep since Oz arrived a couple of months ago. The thought of Stanlie kicking off in a similar way in the bedroom on the other side of mine was just too much. I still have to be up in a morning for the day job.

The outcome of this dilemma was that because I didn’t trap Stanlie, I did in effect have a spare room. So when someone messaged me whilst I was at work on Tuesday to say that a cat had just had four kittens in her outhouse ….. Well if you know me you can probably guess.

Back to the Lifeboat game … she may have survived without rescue but her kits most certainly wouldn’t have. If she did survive she’d be pregnant again in no time. Stanlie hopefully will cope for a few more weeks. Right now … her room will be quiet because she’s focused on snuggling with and caring for her tiny kits.

Current dilemmas are more mundane. Is Hecate an acceptable name for a black cat … or will the witchy connotations put adopters off? Is it safe or acceptable to use tiny collars for her kits … just so we know who is who among the apparently identical quads?

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and then there were three

Regular readers will have got the gist of how stressful it can be around here.   It’s pretty much full on with caring for the cats … and when you add in the full time day job …..  well ….. it’s at hair tearing capacity much of the time.

“Why don’t you book a holiday?” they said … “it’ll be good for you”.

I was persuaded.

Having not had a day away from the rescue since October last year …. we set about looking for a short break.  The perfect option was found on airbnb near Ludlow: a quiet garden studio in the grounds of a house well off the beaten track.   A two night booking was made for ONE person and accepted, and the cat sitter booked.   I was excited to have the opportunity to visit an area I’d not explored before.  Started googling “what’s on” and walking options.

And then …. only a few days later … the first bank holiday monday in May ….  little Mathilde arrived in rescue.  I’d said “yes” to taking her without any calculation of dates or development… thinking only that she was a tiny kitten who needed someone to care for her and we could offer that.  Then realised she’d be about four and a half weeks at the holiday date and most likely not yet weaned.   It wasn’t clear if she’d survive at first so I held my breath and said nothing.  Thankfully with the help of aunty Jenny we managed to raise her to at stage where she was strong and viable.

Mathilde with Rufus

Hmmm ….. now what to do?  Cancel my holiday?  Take her on holiday and try to conceal her?  Cash in more than my fair share of child care points and ask aunty Jenny to have her?   I took the path that I thought would lead to being forced to cancel.  I messaged the people who owned the place I’d booked, explained the situation and that I thought I needed to cancel because of Mathilde …… though if they thought it was at all manageable  to bring her with me … then I’d still love to come.   Then kissed my deposit goodbye.

Amazingly I got a lovely reply saying the TWO of us would be welcome so long as she behaved herself.   So we started to make preparations.  A long long list of necessities was gathered together.  Some of the basics were easy – with her going back and forth to aunty Jenny’s every few days: feeding bottles, kitten formula, bottle brush, blankets, spare blankets, spare spare blankets, heat pad, litter tray.  The list assumed that aunty Jenny had a bowl to sterilize bottles in, poo bags, rubbish bags, kitchen roll, baby wipes, toys, towels, hair dryer etc.  but we couldn’t assume the holiday accommodation had any of these.   So the list of stuff got longer … and longer.

Then Mathilde started showing an interest in solid food …. so the packing list extended to baby rice, pouches of kitten food, kitten dry food, feeding bowls as well as bottles.

And then …. the day prior to leaving I had a day off, planned a leisurely day of gathering stuff together, chilling a bit and looking forward to holiday. Granted I got up rather late, but the phone pinged before I’d put the kettle on.

Before I’d finished drinking my coffee, little Mollie had arrived.

mollie

 

Weaned or not we could hardly leave a 5 week old kit home alone. Would she get on with Mathilde? Hardly time to find out before setting off so had to take a second play pen in case they needed to be separated … and double up on other stuff too.

Anyway, the day came and off we set.

I’m not sure if the journey properly qualifies as one of my all time worst journeys with cats … mainly because it wasn’t predominantly the cats who were the problem.  Vile weather, road works, bank holiday traffic and a temperamental sat nav were the worst of it.   Having timed their feeds to the last minute in the hope that there would be no need to stop, we were so delayed that we ended up in a service station somewhere on the M5 😦

The good news was that Mollie had taught Mathilde how to eat some solid food. The bad news was that it was just dry food and I was anxious they would dehydrate.   So had to prepare bottles of formula for them.  You know how awkward it is to manage your flask of coffee and mugs and milk in a small car?  Well its kind of like that but with more squealing!

Back on the road and finally within reach of our destination.   Living in the city I’m used to addresses with a house number and road name, however what we had was a cottage name and a post code.  The sat nav took us several miles down a very narrow windy lane then randomly announced “you have now arrived at your destination”   I swear I heard it mutter “good luck” and shuffle off leaving me to it.

Anxious to present a positive image of a good fur parent, and to break the news that the booking was now for THREE … I’d had visualised myself as capable, calm and organised, stepping out the car with two beautiful pristine kittens.  The reality, as ever, was different.  I’d been lost, tired and tearful.   The kittens had digested their service station snack, deposited the waste on the floor of the carrier and then rolled around in it.  They stank and were squabbling.

To their credit our lovely hosts showed me around like I was a valued guest and didn’t mention that the kittens were caked in poo.  I guess we all have those times in our work when we think we’ve seen it all …. and then something completely different happens.   I think we went on to be decent …. albeit unusual guests … (we may or may not share more about how the holiday progressed in a later blog).  If nothing else ….. I hope it gives them a story to tell x

 

 

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Bringing up baby

Last bank holiday monday we took in a tiny kitten, Mathilde. How exactly she came to leave her mum remains a bit of a mystery. She’d clearly been well cared for prior to her arrival as she was (is) a chunky little kit, and was (but isn’t quite so much now) very clean. There are a few things we know for certain: she’s adorable, she’s very well travelled, and she’s a little madam.

I collected her from Ilkeston on the bank holiday monday. She’d already travelled a long way to get there. The Tuesday, day after she arrived I had day off and had arranged to meet ex colleagues for a catch up. So she travelled to the Tara Buddhist Centre, south of Derby for lunch and back into the centre of Derby to natural therapy centre for afternoon tea. Whatever in deep and meaningful conversations we’d planned were scrapped in favour of cooing over her and sorting out her bottles.

It’s maybe not a bad thing that we were out a lot.  The residents are unimpressed to say the least.   Rufus (our last hand rear kitten … now almost two years old) is particularly put out. Having been mummy’s (and aunty Jenny’s) baby boy for a couple of years … the arrival of a new baby is hitting him hard.

 

Thankfully aunty Jenny has been there for us just as she was with Ru, and we’ve done the same pattern of shuffling Mathilde back and forth to fit around my work.   Who would have thought that one so small would need to travel with such an enormous amount of stuff?

The cats at Jenny’s aren’t too impressed either. The saving grace is cousin Oliver. Whilst cats are hard wired to do just what the hell they please, border collies are more able to think about the bigger picture and manipulate people by pleasing them.  He’s considerably better at cleaning her than I am, and Mathilde adores him.  Of all the furry people she’s met, Ollie the Collie is the only one who has been pleased to see her and happy to let her snuggle.

There have been some anxious times when its seemed she’s not putting on weight, but she’s an active and noisy little madam. She soon got close to climbing out of her baby cot and moved into a bigger bed … which she’s found she can climb just as well.

Her feeds have changed from gently trying to get the teat into her mouth and encourage her to have a few ml to her squealin when hungry, almost grabbing the bottle out of my hands and drinking it nearly dry before coming up for air. Check out the ears!

It’s fascinating to watch her gradually working out which limbs belong to her and what she can do with them.

It’s bedtime now though … night night Mathilde.

 

 

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Bank ‘holiday’

It’s been a fabulous weekend. Ruined all the cliches about miserable rainy bank holidays. The residents, and Ozzy (some of the time so long as he’s not too crazy kitten ish), and me (a little less of the time because I’ve been frantically spring cleaning the house) have been enjoying lazing around in the sunshine.

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On Sunday it was Flipper’s 6th birthday. She was the first kitten born in our rescue. I’m not entirely sure how she managed to end up staying here … but she did …. and she’s adored.

Also on Sunday it was our fundraiser event at Heeley Institute. Many people put in a huge amount more effort to make this a success than I did. Jenny, plus Zhany & Steve, and Noel are the stars of our fundraising …. plus all of you of course.

We all had a lovely time. I was only a grunt in the process … but came home exhausted from that on top of the cleaning.

The plan for today was to chill, finish the last bits of cleaning, but mainly just flop and read my book. It started well enough. Had a bit of a lie in, fed and cleaned everyone and then flopped on the sofa with book and second cup of coffee. Flipper settled down to snooze on my tummy. All was right in the world.

Less than half an hour later a rescue friend tagged me in a post and my phone pinged the alert.. You know how your phone pings, but you’re comfy and you think you’ll have a look later? This time it felt like I should look NOW.

There was a 10 day old kitten about an hours drive from here, looking for safety and someone able to hand rear. Our house is cat dominated, and cats move slowly …. and we follow suit. On this occasion however, we were out of the pjs and into the car within about 20 minutes of the ping.

Mathilde is now home and safe with us

Mathilde is the small one ………. the big ginger is the last kitten we hand reared …. who is having some jealous issues right now. He’ll get over it when he realises that there’s still plenty of love to go around all of them.

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Shuffling gently forward

So we’ve ended up with three tom cats, all at different stages in the rescue process but all gradually moving towards their happy furever afters.

Stanlie is the furthest away in some respects. He’s not even officially an 8 Lives cat. We’re pretty certain he’s a long term stray. He arrives every day for food and has gradually progressed from only agreeing to eat if we’re the length of the drive away, to being happy to eat whilst I sit next to him, to taking treats from my hands and allowing me to stroke him a little whilst eating.

We’ve not been able to find any record of anyone missing him, and the limited view we’ve had on him suggests he’s not neutered. So is unlikely to be chipped. When he’s a little more confident we’ll scan him for a chip but don’t want to scare him away for something that is unlikely to be there.

Paul is kind of running neck and neck with him …. though on a different race track. He definitely doesn’t belong to anyone and is officially an 8 Lives cat with his own bedroom here. However for a couple of weeks he was much less confident around people than Stanlie. Perhaps ironically that’s partly because he is indoors … and maybe feels a bit trapped.

Paul at vets

 

He managed to be brave at the vets though, and came home from being neutered feeling more hopeful and positive.   That was a bit of a turning point, when he agreed to accept chicken treats from hands.

And then moved on to agreeing to be stroked .. a little …. on his own terms

He went back to see Dr Fran this week to start his vaccinations and was so much braver than last time. He didn’t need to hide under his towel whilst being examined. Not only braver . … but bigger! He’s put on half a kg since arriving in rescue. Days of lounging around, sleeping peacefully without fear of danger, and being fed regularly.

Ozzy is a different story all together: stuff of confidence and bursting with the desire to meet and greet people. Since his “little op” he’s singing fewer bawdy songs and starting to think about settling down and being part of a family. Since his ear drops, he’s got rid of his ear infection but gained some rather dodgy greasy looking sideburns. Sorry Oz … they’ll clean up/grow out very soon.

He’s had a few times of mixing with the residents and “doing outsides” and has been fine … but rather too boisterous for the laid back resident crew. Even the dog in the next garden reported feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sight of an excited Oz on the shed roof.

Oz just needs the right forever home and he’ll be sorted. His adoption advert is here

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Don’t say the Q word!

Things were a little quiet over Easter.  We’d held on to a rescue space for a couple of weeks in the hope of taking in a pregnant cat and enjoying the patter of tiny feet.   For various reasons that didn’t happen, and for a short, bizarre time through Easter week we had no one asking for rescue space.

It all changed last Sunday when the rescue friend through whom little Sparkle and her siblings arrived, contacted us about another poor stray cat.   We shelved the hope of a pregnant female and took in a grubby, battle scarred gentleman from Leeds.

Paul

He’d coped remarkably well with his lovely feeder getting hold of him and taking him indoors overnight ready to come to rescue the following day.   However the M1 and then other cats outside his bedroom door freaked him out a bit and he retreated into his shell …. or rather a cardboard box … and refused to speak to me other than the odd hiss.

Paul at vets

It was a bit touch and go whether Paul would agree to attending his vet appointment.   Thankfully he decided he liked Dr Fran and let her have a reasonably good look at him.  It was rather surreal as we had a photo of a wound from his feeder but didn’t know where it was on his body …… which led to several minutes of rummaging around hoping his patience would last.   We found it and it  appeared to be healing so we decided that checking his temperature would be an unnecessary pushing of our luck.  We did however agree that a long acting antibiotic jab would be a good plan just in case.   Paul decided to wait under his towel whilst Fran went off to get it.

Of course just as we’d filled the rescue space our occasional (believed to be) stray visitor became a regular.    Aunty Jenny and I first spotted him a couple of months ago …. mud wrestling with another unneutered tom cat in a neighbours garden.  It coincided with when Tyga & Belle had arrived here …. unspayed …. and were going through their pole dancing phase.

Stanlie the stray

A few weeks later my other neighbours asked me if I’d seen this tabby and white cat and were worried that he was limping. I soon spotted him and tried to engage him in conversation … but he didn’t want to know. It’s taken some time to make friends with him but we’re getting there. I invited him for a meal and he accepted … with the proviso that I sat the other end of the driveway whilst he ate. Then he started letting me closer, and sitting waiting for me at tea time, and then letting me stroke him a little.

Stanlie

We’re working towards him being confident enough to let me check him for a chip or even put a paper collar on to see if he’s going home somewhere. I doubt it though. He seems to spend most of his days on my neighbour’s lawn, looking through the hedge to see when I’m around to feed him.

And since then we’ve been inundated again with requests to take cats into rescue … all the usual excuses … mainly allergies and landlords …. but also one wanting rescue because the cat was scratching the wallpaper! We offered a space to another cat because they’d come via a friend. Then kind of wished we hadn’t because he turned out to be quite a bit older than ‘advertised’ …. full of hormones … singing pornographic songs from dawn to dusk.

Ozzy

He’s a nice lad … but sooner he has his snip and chip the better for the whole family.

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Spring Newsletter 2018

Well I hope its really Spring now and we’re finished with the snow [Nope – we’ve had more snow – Editor]. We’re in that lull between the rush of cats needing to come into rescue because the Winter is coming and they’re living rough and the avalanche of mums and kits that Spring and kitten season brings.

We were fortunate to have the usual post-Christmas rush on adoptions. The little F twins landed themselves a lovely patient home with a dad who was happy to build cardboard fortresses for them to play in. Lily found herself a beautiful home that purrfectly colour co ordinated with her lovely fur.  Merlot hooked up with Karis when she came to stay for Christmas and went home with her.  He was delighted when he discovered mum had named her favourite drink after him!  Poor Figgs thought he’d got himself a home lined up and then at the last minute was gazumped by his room mate Mr Tiggs. It all worked out well in the end though when Jenson’s mum fell for him and he went to live with Jenson and the bunnies.

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Mikey’s story

Mikey had been living rough in someone’s garden for a few months. He was one of the lucky ones who land in a garden that belongs to someone who cares.  They fed him and gave him some shelter and contacted Beverley who went out to scan him for a microchip.  Sadly he wasn’t chipped and no one was responding to “Found Cat” adverts .  Beverley got him on waiting lists for several local  rescues … and they waited .. and waited.   So many cats find themselves in similar or much worse situations.   This one got a whole lot worse when local kids started to push poor Mikey around, so she spread the net wider to include rescues that are further away.   The amazing facebook cat rescue network did what it does so well and found space here.

mikey on his way to rescue

We’re too small to realistically hold a waiting list so just  take the first needy cat we’re asked to take whenever a space becomes available … so long as we have the appropriate skills and resources to help him/her.  It just so happened that we received the message about Mikey the day before we were taking Lily to her new home.   The following morning I helped Lily settle into her new home and then came home to clean her room whilst Beverley drove Mikey over here.   She clearly cared very much about him and although he may have set off with nothing, he arrived here with two mega sized packets of dreamies and a lot of hope.   A week or two later a large tuck box arrived for him packed with toys and more treats and  dreamies.

We know that all cats are unique. Mikey was unique in a rather special way though that reminded us of a dog.  When he arrived he had his tail tucked firmly between his legs to the extent that we were concerned (it turned out unnecessarily) that he was injured. In his anxiety he huddled close to Beverley and kept his distance from me.  He soon realised he was fine, his tail relaxed and he started enjoying cuddles with me.  A few weeks later when his furever family came to meet him for the first time,  he tucked his tail in and huddled next to me whilst he weighed up his potential new staff.  That makes a lot of sense on one level .. but its mostly not what cats do!  I’ve known plenty of dogs who snuggle close when scared but mostly however much cats are loved, when they’re scared most cats hide or push us away. Remember the last time you tried to help Tibbles down from the shed roof, or unhook Fluffy when her claws were stuck in something?   When I took him to his new home it was the same – he tucked his tail in and huddled next to his new mum, then shyly went to the outstretched hands of his other new family members.  Then as his confidence grew he escorted his new dad to the kitchen to check out what was in the fridge ….. and then took him back to get seconds!   There were tears in my eyes as I watched this last stage in his transformation from an abandoned piece of rubbish to king of his little castle with doting servants.

A few hours after I left he sent the above photos and this lovely message:

“The last four hours have gone very quickly. I’ve eaten, used the litter tray, played, had a brush and got lots of cuddles. I know I had two beds to choose from, but as you can see from the picture I think I’ve chosen the best seat in the house! Can’t wait for my chicken dinner.

A huge thank you and purrrrrs to all the kind people that rescued me and helped me find my forever home, I won’t forget how generous and caring you have all been.

Mikey
xx”

It is a rare thing indeed to find a cat who pauses to say thank you 😉    It’s rare too to meet a human who is so grateful for finding a rescue space.  A  few weeks later Beverley returned …. with a wonderful collection of things we could sell to raise funds.

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So lovely to not only rehome a gorgeous cat, but also make a friend.

The day Mikey moved out was another quick turn around day … and the gorgeous Pearl & River moved in to take his place.  They’re also now delighting in their purrever home.

Bulgarian Feast

We feel so fortunate to have randomly made connections with Zhany & Steve Hughes through one of our  fundraising stalls.   People often come to our stalls or contact us and say they are interested in helping fundraise only to disappear into the mist, never to be heard of again.  So I’m hoping I can be forgiven for being skeptical initially.    Zhany turned out to be completely different.   We’d had an Italian meal fundraiser in February …. she raised us a Bulgarian one for March … and followed through with it.  Wow … just wow!

We’ve also found a lovely new community venue in Heeley Institute …  it invites those with a sense of adventure to find their way through the one-way road system …. and once there to enjoy lovely surroundings, and excellent facilities.

It wasn’t so great when I arrived on the night …. the night of “The Beast from the East Part 2 :The Revenge” …  snowing a blizzard …. people climbing up the hill from the match at Bramall Lane looking like abominable snowmen.   If it had been down to me I might have cancelled.  Thankfully the amazing aunty Jenny and our chefs were made of sterner stuff.

It was a fabulous feast … not to mention the Rakia which was included.  Mind you … we needed it in that weather.  Grateful to the amazing people who turned out regardless  … and then pitched in with helping to clear up as our washer uppers were snowed in.

The meal was excellent and people were amazed to learn that Zhany & Steve aren’t professional chefs …. they’re actually teachers of English to people who’s first language isn’t English.   That’s awesome because with connections like this we can have some fabulous international food events.   Our next one is French on Sunday 6 May.   If you’d like a ticket you need to be quick as we’ve almost sold out.

Please note: our main place to advertise events is our facebook fundraising page.  If you’ve missed out because you’re not on facebook and don’t want to miss the next one please let us know.

Snap!

When little Mogs arrived alone but keen to be friends with the other cats here we knew we needed to find another kit to pair with him so that they could go to a new home together.

mogs

We put feelers out to lots of rescue people across the area offering space for a single kit between about 4 and 12 months old and went to collect the first one that we were offered.  Imagine our surprise when we found they were almost identical.

patch

Thankfully they hit it off really well and are enjoying their new home together now

mogs & patch in new home

Fabulous stuff to sell

Our amazing and creative fundraiser Jenny has really excelled herself these last few months with more and more lovely ideas.  So as well as the gorgeous hand knitted toys made by Beverley we now have some amazing ‘Firefly Bottles’ for sale.   The ones below are just a small selection of an ever changing stock.  We’re delighted to have the support of Ralph & Dave’s mum who owns the Gin Wagon and The Gin Bar at Vintedge  and The Ale House for donating bottles…… and of course the lovely Noel (Daisy’s dad) in creating the lights.  [You need to check your punctuation so that people don’t think that Ralph & Dave’s mum owns all three establishments – Ed]

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They’re £5 each ….. though we’ve had such a rush on the Henderson’s bottles that if you’re wanting a Hendos you may need to bring your own bottle  🙂

We’re also developing a rather smart selection of drawstring bags which I understand are  called slipper bags.  Not only do  these come in several different sizes & designs they also come in waterproof option so great for toiletries, swim/beach stuff etc.

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They’ll be priced between about £5 and £8 depending on size.  If you’re interested in buying lamps or bags please either contact us at eightlives@outlook.com or call Jenny directly on 07743675747.

Still looking for their furever home: Tyga & Belle

These gorgeous young ladies arrived in rescue the same day as Mikey.  He’s been in his new home for weeks, and Pearl & River  who moved into his room the day he moved out have also been in their new home for weeks.  For some reason these two have just had people messing them around – people who live on a very busy road, people who don’t want to adopt for several months, people who live miles and miles away, people who want to split them apart or even mix and match them with another pair of cats.  They deserve so much better than that.

If you think you could give them a loving settled home please contact us …… their adoption advert is here.

Categories: cat, cat rescue, kittens, Sheffield | 1 Comment

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