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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Gender identity

I kind of think of myself as feminist and a little above average in terms of rejection of gender stereotypes and acceptance of different interpretations of gender and relationships.  I have six purrmanent resident cats …. three girls … three boys … and I love them all to pieces.

It shouldn’t matter really whether cats coming into rescue are male or female …. so long as we don’t mix unneutered different sexes.  What’s the difference really?  other than a slightly higher cost for neutering if they’re female?

And yet…  And yet …… somehow it feels important to know which they are.   Choosing names is often what forces the issue for me.  Of course several cat names are gender neutral, many aren’t, some I think should be but aren’t.  There’s a whole other blog post I think in the naming of cats.  That aside, are we going to play with them differently or snuggle them differently?   No. Or at least not consciously/intentionally.

In the course of several years of rescue we’ve had a few cats whom we’ve believed to be one gender only to find they’re the other.  Only a handful … but its a strange feeling, and one I can’t quite get my head around.

Little Mogs came to us a few weeks ago.  A lovely pretty little girl.  We’ve had a disproportionate number of little boys recently …. Felix & Fritz, Relish & Raffles,  Merlot, Mr Tiggs & Figgs …. it’s not been intentional but its been marked enough for even the vets to comment.   Then we were asked to take another kit and told she was a little girl.   She seemed a pretty little thing.  We posted her on our facebook page and lots of people said how pretty she was.

She was friendly and affectionate, and after the usual hissy fit introductions to the other cats, settled in quite happily.   As we’d had the lovely Karis staying with us over Xmas and they were both long haired cats, we ended up comparing ….. and something seemed not quite right.

Same cat, different angle.  Just as adorable.  Just as lovely …. and we loved her … but somehow she had a face that reminded us of our Rufus.

A couple of days after she arrived, she was quite itchy scratchy so we put some flea stuff on her. Very shortly afterwards she was unwell, stiff legged, unable to climb into the chair, flopped on the floor. We rushed off to the emergency vets. One of the first things they do of course is listen to their heart/lungs …. and take their temperature …. which led to the surprise sideline diagnosis being that she had testicles! The vet took some bloods, and we each negotiated the tricky pathway of gender re assignment. It was easier for the vet, or at least appeared to be – she was being calm and professional and had only known Mogs for 10 minutes. I, on the other hand, was anxious, and with a poorly cat who had been fine a couple of hours earlier … and indeed supposedly female at that point 😉 She was poorly so I wanted to be close to her and at that point it meant knowing her as I’d always known her, as a little girl.  Equally we’d been unequivocally been told she was a boy, and I think maybe at some level suspected it already.   I was aware of switching back and forth between referring to her as “she” and then “he”.  By the time we came to pay the bill and leave Mogs was clearly a ‘he’.

I think we should have listened to what Flipper was saying at the start … she obviously knew … and empathised since everyone wrongly assumes Flip is a boy.

What changed as a result of this? What should change? Why does it matter? He still looks as lovely as ever … but somehow “pretty” is no longer quite right as a description. Why?   Somehow those good looks now need to be referred to as “handsome”.

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vets and snow and a proud mummy

We’ve had some interesting vet runs today. I dropped two little boys off to be neutered on the way to work this morning. Given the weather forecast I wasn’t sure if we were going to get there, and felt bad about starving them overnight when it may not be necessary. As Sheffielders will know, the “Beast from the East” turned out to be a bit of a pussy cat (at least for this morning) and was cleared with a flick of the windscreen wipers.

It got to lunch time at work and the snow started to fall heavily. I phoned the vets to ask about bringing pick up time forward in view of the weather. They were kind and helpful (as ever), made an earlier time, but also said um …. its sunny here. Sure enough I arrived back in Sheffield and its was bright and fine, so much so that I left my coat in the car on the vets car park. I was a wee bit early but only waited about 10 minutes. In that time the sky went dark and it started snowing …. horizontally. I kind of regretted only having my cardy on 😦

Little Mogs complained that he had more white bits than he had before. Patch did too .. but there’s a limit to how much time we wanted to spend taking photos in a blizzard 😉

We drove up Woodseats Road … and Scarsdale .. each inch of the way being thankful that the worst case scenario for the day .. having to abandon car and struggling up said hills with two frightened post op cats in carriers hadn’t happened … yet. Got home settled the boys in …. and the sun came out.

So vet trip three of the day also ended up happening. That was for Henderson’s booster / health check and review of his meds. Regular readers might remember that Hendo came to us last January … pretty much on death’s door. One thing and another its been a long haul but just recently he’s been looking really good. I’ve persuaded him to be brushed. He won’t let me do the more knotty bits around his hips but the rest of him has been looking so good. I’ve spurred him on saying how amazing Dr Tim will think he looks.

So back down Scarsdale, and he’s a bit shifty, and then we get to the lights to go over onto Woodseats and he does a poo in his carrier. It’s my fault. He’d been asleep before we set off to his appointment and I scooped him up and put him in the carrier and he didn’t have chance to use the litter tray first. So much for the beautifully groomed cat being presented … all I could do was pray he didn’t engage in some faecal body art before I could stop and sort him out.

It was tricky … but with all car doors securely locked we managed a bit of a turn around and scrub up. Note to self: make sure spare tissues, wet wipes and bedding are available in car.

The appointment was good. Hendo may have been a bit poohey .. but Dr Tim said his heart sounded really good for hyperthyroid cat and his coat look great. His weight has gone up quite a lot too. He’s within a few pouches of being 4kg! He was under 3kg when we first collected him. He grumbled his way through a mani pedi …. and tried to scare Dr Tim by reminding him that he was Jango’s mate … the cat all vets dread … but we were able to reason with him … the deed is done … and he’s had to admit this evening that its more comfortable having shorter nails.

Just to celebrate we went next door to Pet Company on the way home to see aunty Nic. She was thrilled to see him and could hardly believe it was the same cat! We’d gone in there after his appointments last year when he was so poorly, to buy a selection of tasty foods in the hope there might be something we could persuade him to eat.

Nic helped me choose some lovely food to tempt him … and then when we got to the till refused to take payment. It was so lovely to have that kind gift back then … and equally lovely to be able to take Hendo back a year later to say thank you. Well … a kind of grunty grumbly thank you …. you know what cats are like 😉

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A tail of growing confidence: Belle & Tyga

We took Belle & Tyga into rescue a few weeks ago. They were completely silent on the way here and that usually means that they’re either very chilled and confident, or too scared to protest. In their case it was the latter. They came out the carriers with wide eyes and proceeded to hiss and hide.

Initially they wouldn’t even eat. After day or two of being tempted with chicken and every other tasty thing they agreed to end their fast, but would scuttle out of eat when I left the room, disappearing when I came back with fresh water.

Gradually it came to be that Tyga would come out to eat whilst I was there, though Belle would still hide.  Then Tyga came into season.  It was a good opportunity to be more friendly with her .. and do lots of stroking ..  though it also felt a bit exploitative somehow when her behaviour was hormone driven.  However she writhed around like a pole dancer … craving affection … and when her hormones subsided, she remained friendly and affectionate.

tyga pole dance routine

Belle’s hormones didn’t take over, but she did become more confident and would come out to eat whilst I was there, and/or would allow strokes whilst she huddled in her hidey hole.  She then progressed to allowing herself to be tempted closer by treats.  Then started to join in with play time.

There’s something very rewarding about seeing them gradually grow in confidence like this.  It needs patience, but its soooo worth it.

The day finally came for them to be spayed … and not a day too soon, having listened to them howling love songs to a rather embarrassed Mikey in the next room for a couple of weeks.   In terms of being able to get some sleep myself it was wholeheartedly welcome, though I couldn’t help worrying that being at the vets for the day would set them back a bit.


Surprisingly it didn’t knock Tyga’s confidence at all.  It did affect Belle though … but in a positive way.   I don’t know if it was so awful that she was thankful to be home, or whether it was a day of facing her fears and realising she was safe and cared for despite her anxiety…. but she arrived back a changed purrrson.    She came for snuggles, was completely happy coming out for food, wanted to play.

From there they’ve gone from strength to strength. Now both waiting for me at the back of their bedroom door when I go in. Really to purr and snuggle, wanting to play.

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All they need now is a new home with a bit of patience whilst they find their paws.

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All change! (2)

After all the cats mentioned in part 1 had gone off to new homes or foster home we were without any rescue cats for a while.

When I say “a while” … it was the while it took to drive from Figgs’ foster home to the house where Tyga & Belle were living but unable to stay.  And then the while it took to get them home and settled into their new room before Mikey arrived.

They’re very different cats with different histories.  One thing they have (had!)  in common however was their unneutered status.  Mikey gently stank his room out with adolescent boy hormones, whilst the girls in their bedroom got all excited and sang him sweet love songs throughout the night.   I mention it because our bedroom is the one in between both of theirs … and most of us ended up downstairs sleeping on the sofa in an effort to escape it.

Tyga & Belle had lived in a home since being small kittens but both were very timid on arrival.

It was a few days until they would dare to come out of hiding when I went into their room, and longer until they’d actually eat whilst I was there.  Tyga then came into season and shamelessly pole danced around the chair legs whilst I watched.  She gained confidence that hasn’t been lost  since her hormones have settled.  Belle remains more wary but can be enticed out to play and to take treats from me.

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Mikey on the other had had been living rough and then camping in someone’s garden for a few months.  He’d spent some time on waiting lists at other rescues, but when kids started to kick him around the lovely people who were caring for him pulled out all the stops and tried rescues further away from them …. and fortunately we had space.

He was clearly also anxious.  Like a frightened dog he tucked his tail between his legs.   When he arrived he cowered close to the lovely people who had brought him to us, wondering what was going to happen next.    Very quickly though he decided it was ok here and was full of love and snuggles.  So much so that it was hard to get any decent photos of him – as he refused to stand far enough away to point the camera at him.

Even attempts at selfies were blurred as he’d head butt the camera.  Bless him.   I was heartbroken to find that when I raised my voice just a little “for goodness sake Michael … we need a decent photo for your adoption ad” …. he slunk away, tail between legs, and crouched under his cat tree.

It produced a good enough photo to get him a lovely new home that he’ll go to this weekend … but it hurt both of us.  Thankfully chicken and dreamies helped to restore him.   When his new family came to meet him he tucked his tail under again and stood close to me ……… but only for a while.  Then he decided they were the best thing .. and delighted in sitting on my lap being fussed by a family of four (soon to become five).   Hopefully he’ll never need to worry like that again.

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All change! (1)

Most of you will be aware of the adverts saying “a dog is for life … not just for christmas” … the same applies to cats of course.  I’m sure there are still people who get kittens for Christmas but thankfully we didn’t have to deal with anyone looking for a last minute ill-conceived Christmas present this year.  What we DID have was a collection of lovely people who were waiting until all the chaos of the festive period was over before they welcomed a new family member into their homes.

Lily was very quickly reserved …. and delighted to land a purrmanent home that complemented the colour of her jacket purrfectly.

The shy little F twins (Felix & Fritz) were reserved by a lovely young couple to go to their new home after their New Year celebrations.  They came several times to visit, bringing a large stash of chicken bribes.  The residents loved them!  When the little boys went to their new home they were scared and hid for a while, but after a few days started to realised they’d landed on their paws.

We’ve already told you about Merlot finding his furever home with Karis who came to stay over Xmas.


Figgs had a homecheck with a nice family .. but very close to a main road and we had to say no.  Then he had another homecheck  – a lovely couple in a good cat friendly location.  They came to meet him and it went well.  Figgs rolled around showing them his tummy and explained how gorgeous he is, whilst his room mate Mr Tiggs hid under the desk.   We thought the deal was done.  Figgs trundled off to sit on the windowsill, we talked about moving dates.  Just as we were about to leave, Mr Tiggs rushed out from under the desk and threw himself at them, proclaiming undying love.  It was an awkward moment.   A promise had been made to a confident “love anyone at the drop of a hat” Figgs, but a shy Mr Tiggs had sat and weighed it all up, thought about these people and decided he could trust them.

They went away to decide.   I thanked my lucky stars I didn’t have to make that decision.   We learned later that tears had been shed and “Sophie’s Choice” mentioned more than once.    Often where there’s a choice to be made I have a clear idea of which option I’m hoping for.  In this instance I didn’t.  Both cats quite different but either could have been happy in this home.  We weren’t left wondering for long.  A message came back that Mr Tiggs had won the home.   It kind of upholds our theory about shy cats …. they’re harder work, but there’s something very special and precious about winning their trust.

Figgs took it reasonably well … disappointed of course and worrying a bit about being black & white and his chances in the rehoming stakes in view of that, but we reassured him that he’s adorable and the right opportunity would come along.

It did!  Though it happened in the most surprising way!  Our cleaner (a previous 8 Lives adopter) came in the following week and it seems he poured out his sorry tail to her.  We came home from work to a message from the cleaner and the extraordinary sight of Fig hastily packing his bags.  After some discussion we all agreed that Fig would go to stay with said cleaner on a foster care basis … pending the agreement of resident cat and husband 😉   We advised slow and cautious introductions.  However the resident cat invited him to dinner on the first evening (bless him)

and Figgs seems to have been pleased to accept.  It kind of went from there really.

The adoption papers will be signed this weekend 🙂

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one tail … two tails

People who know our rescue will know that we have a pretty firm policy of only rehoming kittens in pairs. It’s less daunting to go with a play mate, and more fun, and more cats find safe loving homes that way. We’ve made a couple of rare exceptions last year for specific reasons. One of them was Karis. She came into rescue on her own, found as a stray at only a few weeks old. We hoped to pair her up with another kitten in rescue and rehome them together.


You may remember over the summer that she struck up a lovely bond with little Sparkle, our disabled kitten. In our dreams we hoped they’d find a new home together. In reality, sadly, Sparkle became more poorly and went to Rainbow Bridge. We’d have tried again to find a buddy to go with Karis had the infamous tummy bug not struck.  On balance it was best for Karis to get away from cross infection and have time to recover. So off she went to a lovely new home who understood about her tummy and loved her none the less. Time went by, her tummy settled and her mummy needed to go abroad for several weeks to visit family. Not wanting to leave Karis all alone during this time we agreed that she would come back here for Xmas/ New Year.

It so happened that we had another single kitten here .. Merlot. He arrived at the end of kitten season and although we tried to find another single kitten to come into rescue and pair up with him .. we failed.

You might guess what we were thinking … especially in the season of goodwill. They met on the day we put the Christmas tree up:

The friendship was a little hesitant at first. Merlot had playmates already with the little F twins, and Karis is a little older and not sure she wanted to play with silly little boys. However Felix & Fritz, although friends with Merlot, could as twins be a little excluding of others and Karis knew a good game when she saw one …. so ….

It was possibly the magic of Christmas Eve, all sitting together watching for Santa that cast its spell on them and soon after they were playing happily together.

Happily Karis had already been told that if there was someone she liked here and they liked her, she could take them home with her, and that’s just what happened.

Here he is on Karis’ kitchen table (which of course is now also his) delighted to find that mummy’s favourite drink has been named after him!

And here he is finding Karis’ tail irresistible as a toy … and learning that on balance its safer to play with the rug.

Absolutely delighted for both of these kits that they’ve found a playmate at last.

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Merry Xmas Eve

Have you ever wondered what its like in cat rescue on Christmas Eve?  Every family is different I guess .. but we thought we’d share a few photos and stories of the preparations around here.

It’s the first Xmas ever for Felix&Fritz, Merlot and Karis.  They’ve been plotting Santa’s journey on the lap top, watching out the window and getting very excited.

Although the F twins are excited about Santa, they had their really special visitors last night. Two lovely people who are calm and patient and loving and who’s family they they will be joining in the New Year. We’re delighted for them. Karis was adopted in the summer but has come back to rescue while mummy is busy (I’ll not go into details save to say that its a completely valid reason and was thought about at the time of adoption). Karis was never intended to be an only child .. so if Merlot manages to get on well with her he’ll be going home with her in the New Year.

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Meanwhile the residents have largely been grumbling about all the cleaning and tidying. My suggestion that the bed should be changed was met by a group lie-in. I went to deliver last minute Xmas cards while they dispersed. On the whole they appear to be pleased to have me home for a few days but rather aggrieved that their rigorous nap schedule has been disrupted.

We’ve tried to keep Flipper out the way .. its her 6th Xmas here … we don’t want her to spoil the Santa magic for the little ones … though she’s clearly had a word with Rufus (2nd Xmas here) about Santa and what he does to naughty kittens. Here he is hiding in a litter sack

I do get where Flipper is coming from, Ru can be a little horror, especially to Henderson (lots of Xmas experience .. hate to think what .. but first one here) …. but not sure its right to respond to bullying with bullying. Meanwhile Henderson announced that he’s always enjoyed the odd mince pie at Xmas … and we reluctantly and probably ill advisedly agreed to him having a very small piece. Watch that litter tray 😦

Then there are the rescue cats who are in separate accommodation. They’ve had cuddles and chicken treats. Lilly enjoyed and felt confident that someone would be along to adopt her in the New Year .. after all she’s very pretty, very loving … what more could you want.

Then we went to the lads. They loved the chicken. We had a serious talk about photos and adoption adverts. Mr Tiggs had a go … but he’s struggling to keep himself from running lovingly at anyone who is interested in him, or simply cringing in the limelight. He did his best

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His pal Figgs went to some lengths to show how it should be done .. he may have missed a vocation as a pole dancer.

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We’re hoping for the best for these guys to get a new home after Xmas. They’re all adorable … despite how they come across on camera.

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Winter Newsletter 2017

Oh my goodness … is it really almost Christmas?   It’s been a strange year here.   Quite quiet on the rescue front for the first 6 months or so due to building work, and then ridiculously busy after that.   So much so that we didn’t even notice until a couple of weeks ago that we completely forgot the Autumn Newsletter!

Summer turning into Autumn was chaotic.  The kits we wrote about in the the Summer Newsletter brought in a tummy bug that affected the whole house.  I’ll spare you the details other than to say that much washing was done, disinfectant was used in abundance, vet bills soared and tensions ran high.  Thankfully those kits are happily settled in lovely new homes now … all but one.  We gave little Sparkle as much love and care as we possibly could but in the end it wasn’t enough and her casket sits in the hearth with our other lost babies.

Sparkle   xxx


With illness comes vet bills, and our chief fundraiser Jenny has been working amazingly hard this year.   Jenny has written the following section for us describing some of the amazing work she’s been doing:

It’s been a very busy few months for the fundraising team at 8 Lives .. lots of money raised thanks to our brilliant supporters . 😺
Huge thanks to Victoria Butterell , her “Chat Noir “ and the more recent “Chat Orange “ cards continue to be very popular. Several local shops sell them and also “The Walkley Press” on South Rd .

The 8 Lives Bags and pens are also selling well and have been posted to various parts of the country and Florida !! Yes we’ve gone transatlantic 😺

As for our fundraising events .. the highlight of October was our fantastic fundraising evening at Rileys & co , featuring vintage singer Hattie Bee . Quite simply , she was brilliant !! What a lovely evening we all had 😺 As ever the food , cooked by Mr and Mrs Riley was delicious , we had a fun quiz , stand up-sit down bingo ( an 8 Lives favourite ) bottle tombola .. Thank you Julia and Tesco’s for the generous donations ,and a good old fashioned singalong with Hattie rounded of the successful evening. Thank you to everyone who came and also for the lovely feedback.. we really appreciate it .

Another big thank you goes to Sure Technologies Ltd who very kindly paid for us to have a stall at Norton Church Autumn Market. We had a great afternoon and made a fair few pounds for the furries ..We also met a wonderful lady -Zhany Hughes who I am delighted to say is now helping with fundraising .. watch this space for an exciting event in the new year .. hosted by Zhany !

As Christmas approaches we’ve had 4 Saturdays , doing what we do best … selling cards , reindeer poop , reindeer noses , lucky lollipop etc etc and having lots of fun and meeting people . It’s been well worth it and it means that the cats can be given the very best care before they go to their fur ever homes .

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Next year brings more fundraising events .. A new one for us is a “ non valentines “ Italian taster meal at Rileys on February 10th .. tickets for the 5 course meal cost £25 .. but wait for it … we’ve actually sold out before it was even advertised 🙀, so apologies to people who missed out on this but as I said earlier … Zhany has big plans for a Bulgarian Meal .. details will be published in the new year .. we’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile …. for those last minute presents: Bags (£4) / pens (£2) can be bought from Pet Company Cards (£2) from .. Rileys , Rounds News,  Pet Company , Walkley Press.  Or you can contact us directly on our facebook fundraising page

This just leaves me to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2018.

Jenny xx

And back to the cats

We’ve taken in a fair few since the summer, mostly stray / abandoned cats – all of them adorable to the extent you wonder how on earth anyone could leave them.   People who follow us on our facebook page  (non facebook people …. I think you can still follow the link to see them ) will have seen our Catdvent calendar.  Each day during December we’ve featured a different cat (or cat family) that we’ve rescued this year.   Most are already in their furever homes and we’ve had some lovely comments and updates from adoptive families in response to the posts.  Hearing from furever families and seeing photos of our cats enjoying their new lives is what helps us keep going.  People often imagine that cat rescue is all about cuddling sweet kittens … some of it is … about 2% of it maybe.  Mostly its about scooping shit out of litter trays, cleaning up vomit, fitting vet appointments around the day job, worrying about funds, dealing with difficult people (NOT adopters!) and their ever shifting plans, stressing about sad and anxious cats and trying to make a difficult confusing time as good as it can be for them.  Weeks and months of stress over a cat dissolve when an adopter messages to say that Fluffy (or whoever) is settling well in their new home, and generally running rings around them to get exactly what he or she wants. Often the photo they attach says it all!  Here’s some of them:


We’ve listed them more or less in order of arrival so the ones featured in the last days before Xmas are still looking for their happy ever after tails.   Lilly’s family moved abroad and left her in the garden, cold and alone and wondering what on earth she’d done wrong.  Mr Tiggs & Figgs had tough starts in life some years ago but found themselves a nice home.  Then circumstances changed, their family had to move and the new landlord wouldn’t accept pets.   The F twins had either been bred for profit or picked up off the street and sold at a ridiculous price to a lady with special needs.  Either way, they’d not been handled and the poor woman couldn’t manage two terrified kittens.  Weeks/months of hard work later, they’re  affectionate happy young cats.

It just remains to wish you all a Very Merry Xmas … and every good wish for 2018.

May it be filled with tasty treats and comfy warm spots to snooze in x

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

There and back again (3)

I said I was looking forward to missing the cats here whilst away .. and I did!  Oddly enough it put me in mind of people who give up smoking and say part of the problem is just not knowing what to do with their hands if they don’t have a cigarette.   What DO you do if there aren’t any ears to scratch or toys to wave? and when you don’t have to protect your food / drink / keyboard / pen from being messed around with?

 Jess our cat sitter was really good at keeping in touch.  I think she pitched it just about right.  If there’s too little communication its easy to worry what’s happening, too much communication and it doesn’t feel like a break.   I loved that each message started with “all is well” or some variation on that theme, so I could enjoy reading the message without worrying.  There were a few messages just checking out the best way to do something which gave the reassurance that things were getting done and she was thinking about and caring about what she was doing.   Most messages were just day to day sort of updates about what the cats were up to.  I loved them!  They were so obviously from someone who was taking her time with the cats and making a point of getting to know them.  About Honey grooming Flipper, and Flipper barging in on a snuggle session with Honey.   About Henderson and methods for giving him his thyroid tablets.   About Amber and her wariness of strangers, and of course the crazy kittens and their antics.

We heard about who had been sick … its strange what you miss when you’re away from home.   And who had stolen a packet of treats and ripped the plastic packet all over the floor (no mystery who that was … Flipper!).   Jango had staged a battle with his usual opening tactic … sitting on the stairs and not allowing anyone past.  Well done for managing that one Jess!  it takes a brave and gentle soul to diffuse that situation.

Jango spoiling for a fight

What made me giggle was the little Fs.  Much as I’d tried to plan things around the holiday it was only after I’d booked Felix & Fritz in for their first vaccination that I realised their second would be due while I was away.   Aunty Jenny volunteered to come over and take them for that.   They were very timid at that point so I wondered how she’d manage with catching them.  I logged into kitty cam at some point and their bed was on the floor and the cat carrier gone.   It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the scuffle in the scenario.

Well done aunty Jenny! Not the easiest task to have delegated to you x Delighted to arrive home to find little Fs had grown in confidence and although still a bit hand shy now love it when they’re stroked and purr like little helicopters (ok ok helicopters don’t purr .. you know what I mean!)

Sadly (and perhaps just a little happily) the day came to return home. Another long long flight in the direction of multiple breakfasts, a stressy drive home over the snake in quite thick fog and we were back! Jet lagged and exhausted we prepared ourselves for the mess that would await us. …… and ……….. well …. it wasn’t there! No dirty dishes in the sink, no grubby litter trays … not even the ever present carpet of cat litter on the floor.  Just a collection of happy cats waiting for cuddles and to help unpack.

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I’ve always been fortunate to have cats who are pleased to see me come home rather than ones who sulk that I’ve been away. Not sure who I thought would be first on my lap for a cuddle (I kind of hoped it would be Jango no no no I didn’t say that …. I don’t have favourites) but wasn’t quite expecting it to be Flipper. She makes out she’s big and tough most of the time. Rufus thought about fighting her for first place but then opted to exchanging scents with his penfriend Mr T on the suitcase. Honey and Henderson piled on for hugs. Amber waved shyly from a distance. Jango firmly planted himself on top of the case and announced that the human would not be going anyway again for a long time.

Very grateful to Jess for caring for them and keeping them in order and for not running away with Raffles or Henderson who both fell in love with her. Once we were safely home and she’d had chance to get over the shock of them all she posted on her 3 Strings page about having cared for the 10 cats in our household. A lovely post about getting to know their different purrsonalities and the joy of caring for kittens. But also something that made me think:

So that’s been 208 litter trays de-lumped; 130 bowls of water changed, and 130 packets of cat food opened, 26 tablets administered and 1 litter tray washed out due to a ‘pebble-dashing’ incident…. Phew!

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

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