Miscellaneous Links

Click on an organisation name to see it’s details.

Web Design & Hosting

There’s so many cowboys out there we thought we’d let you know the terrific organisations and individuals we’ve used. They’re all fantastic!

DIY Dog Grooming Help

Providing buckets of useful information to help dog owners rectify their errors and improve the lives of dogs through grooming.

Website: diydoggroominghelp.com

The Ralph Site

The Ralph Site has great information on dealing with the death of our companions, not least of which, dealing with making decisions that we never want to have to make. But we do have to, eventually. And we need to do what’s best for them, not necessarily what’s best for us. This site has had me in bits several times, but it’s so worth a look.

http://theralphsite.com/index.php?idPage=3

Tips & Bandit

Tips & BanditTips & Bandit came to us in early November 2006 from Sara Lane of the ACS in Mallow. Sara had rescued them from Cork at the age of 2 to 3 weeks and their sibling had died the first night – these two were very lucky to survive and Sara nursed them back to health before sending them down to us to stay until they were old enough for their jabs. They were about 5 weeks old and skinny as anything – still a ways to go to full health.

Neither were very well off, health-wise – both got cat flu and couldn’t seem to shift it and Bandit had an umbilical hernia (which could have been easily fixed when she was neutered) and some weakness in her hind legs. As with all the strays that pass thru our doors, we tended to them and loved them and they began to develop into healthy kittens.

TipsThey ate like horses – Tips in particular had a particularly charming way of pointing out her food bowl was empty – no miaowing or hassling, just quietly sitting by her empty bowl and gazing sadly at whoever passed by. Didn’t take her long to get one of us to fill it up!

Bandit got on well with all the living things she came across – she curled up beside adult cats, kittens and humans and was the most adorable friend. Tips took longer to take to others, hissing at other cats initially and took a few weeks to grudgingly accept affection from the others. Now, in March 2007, she’s the only kitten in the household and is fiercely affectionate, missing her other kitten companions.

February 2007 was horrific as Bandit’s weak back legs got worse, other symptoms developed and she was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a ghastly, fatal virus affecting cats. While many cats contract FIP only a very few go on to develop the fatal version of the virus, most throwing it off. Kittens and old cats (over 14 years) are most at risk. I’ve never come across it before and it’s ghastly. Bandit was particularly vulnerable because she also had FIV (check this link to find out more about FIV).

We did all we could for Bandit, as did Tom Farrington, Alternative Animal Care, our vet. But there’s no cure and she was becoming distressed so euthanasia was our only option. We’ve never had to euthanase a kitten before. It was a horrible decision to make. And it was horrible seeing her so ill and be unable to do anything about it.

The only consolation is that she would not have survived in the first place if Sara hadn’t rescued her and that she was cared for and much loved during her short life.

We were left mourning Bandit and were very worried about the other kittens and cats – enough time has passed now for us to be sure the others are okay and can only assume it’s the FIV that made Bandit so vulnerable.

_________________________________

FIP is a difficult disease to diagnose and to treat. Testing for this disease is not very accurate and the clinical signs are easily confused with a number of other diseases. The disease does not appear to affect all cats exposed to it in the same way. The only certain diagnoses are made at the time of a necropsy exam (autopsy). This makes FIP one of the most frustrating diseases for veterinarians and their clients.

You can find more info at the following websites:

 

 

 

Rianior & Rowan

The GangRianior (aka Reeny, male) and Rowan (female) came to us from Future Forests on 23rd December 2006. They both had cat flu and Christmas meant no heating where they were living so after the Rianior gig we popped them in a box and home they came. They almost didn’t need antibiotics – cleaning their eyes the first night just with warm water had them greatly improved by the next day – and they were fit, if somewhat skinny, in next to no time.

Both are black tabbies – we thought they were plain black at first but certain lights showed tabby markings which grew more distinct as they grew bigger. Truly beautiful cats, Rowan has only the tiniest bit of grey/white under her chin and eyes that change from green to amber depending on the light. I’ve no decent photos of her – just a blur of black with amber eyes staring out. Reeny has white nose, chest and paws and is much more photogenic.

Rianior & ShapolohOn arrival they showed absolutely no fear or wariness and settled straight into their new home. Reeny in particular is one of the friendliest kittens I’ve come across and snuggled up to anyone and everything. Note, in particular, him snuggling up to Shapoloh, our resident bad-tempered and extremely snotty black and white – absolutely unheard of!

While both thoroughly enjoy, even demand, plenty lap time they’re not always affectionate with it – more assume their right to comfy spots – and they’re not entirely keen on being picked up. However, they’re very faithful cats and follow me everywhere. Reeny has a particular fascination with the toilet flushing and will stare pointed at the flush handle waiting knowing full well that’s what gets the water flowing.

 

 

 

Tips

Dutchess & TipsMid March now and Reeny & Rowan have left for pastures new – Tips is the only kitten with us.  She’s sorely missing her companions and is fiercely affectionate, sitting beside me and purring as I type this.  She enjoys sitting on shoulders and will perch parrot-like for hours at a time.  She loves the outdoors and figured out the cat flap very early on (much to my horror). Baths fascinate her (so long as she’s watching and not participating!).

Sara is finding the perfect home for her – Tips had such a hard time of it she deserves the best.  In the meantime she’s stuck with the boring old adult cats and desperate for someone to play with.

Medical Histories
Name Tips Rowan Rianior
Tips The Gang Rianior
Description as at March 2007 White & black female. White tip to her black tail. Black tabby female. Amazing amber/Green eyes. Black tabby male with white bits.  Very earnest.
DOB Guessing born around Sept 2006 Guessing born around mid to late Oct 2006
Place Of Birth Cork City, Ireland Kealkill, W Cork, Ireland
Wormed & Defleaed 03/03/07 03/03/07 03/03/07
Nobivac Tricat 9781A Feb 07 Feb 07 Feb 07
Other Medications loads of antibiotics for recurring flu and sinusitus one antibiotic treatment for flu Dec 06
 Rehomed Cork City May 2007 Rehomed near Cork City March 2007

 

Bantry

Overlooking Bantry Bay in the heart of West Cork, Bantry town is situated just over 55 miles west of Cork city. It functions as a large Market town providing commercial, retail and tourism/leisure facilities for locals and visitors alike.

Website: www.bantry.ie

Bantry House

A privately owned stately home in Co Cork, Ireland.  The estate sits in an incredible location with amazing views over Bantry Bay. You could spend the whole afternoon browsing the house and gardens – and the tearoom supplies delicious cakes (as well as meals!) for when you need a wee rest. Well-behaved-dog friendly.

Website: www.bantryhouse.com

Jim’s Coffee House

Boutique Guesthouse & Coffee, Food & Wine Emporium. Based in Glengarriff, with lovely views and splendid food. Well worth a visit.

Website: www.facebook.com/TheBayviewBoutiqueGuesthouseAndJimsCoffeeHouse

Hagal Health Farm

Hagal Health FarmRelaxing breaks at Hagal Farm, situated in the beautiful natural landscape of West Cork Ireland. Health and pampering retreats, with alternative therapies and delicious vegetarian food. Also provides quality training in holistic therapies.

Nestled on the south slope of the Maughnaclea mountains, with breath-taking views over the Mealagh valley and Bantry Bay in the distance, Hagal Healing Farm is surrounded by nature and the beautiful, wild landscape of West Cork.

Website: hagalholistichealth.com

The Bamboo Park

The unique exotic garden in one of the most attractive areas of Ireland. Situated in the mild climate of Glengarriff in the southwest. Thirty different species of bamboo surrounded by palms and other tropical plants, amidst of romantic paths and breathtaking views.

Website: www.bamboo-park.com

The Ewe Sculpture Garden

The Ewe is a unique combination of nature and art – and Ireland’s only interactive sculpture garden. Such creative havens can be found in only a few places in Europe.

One of our very favourite places – take a picnic when you visit – you could be there for hours! They do provide tea and cakes though, if you forget the picnic. Animal welfare issues are one of their educational topics.

Website: www.theewe.com

West Cork Garden Trail

The West Cork Garden Trail has welcomed thousands of visitors to some of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland since 1994.  In association with the Harold Barry Trust the trail offers 15 gardens open to visitors.

On their website you can find information about these unique and special gardens and the many features and facilities on offer.  To help plan your visit each participating garden has given details of its opening times and directions, contact information and a guide to facilities.

Website: www.westcorkgardentrail.com

Food & Drink

This pic best shows how skinny Bruce was when he arrived at mine. He’d already been groomed so I can’t show you the extent of the matting he originally arrived with. For the first day or so I fed him little and often – he’d have eaten until he was sick otherwise. But soon enough he stopped eating when he’d had enough, so he moved on to having food left down all the time. Then he could eat his fill – and he put on weight quick enough, now a fine figure of a dog. This suggests he probably wasn’t starving for too long – I’d have expected the weight to take longer to return otherwise. He’s still getting food whenever he asks for it here, but is really a good weight and can easily move on to one or two meals a day.

Bruce does seem to drink an awful lot – more than 4 dog bowls of water a day. So the vet did a few checks but it seems there’s nothing wrong with Bruce – he’s just more thirsty than most!

Socialisation
People

Bruce lurvs people! In fact, he can get so excited on meeting new people that he has small accidents. Usually letting him out to do his business just before someone’s arriving sorts that out.

Dogs

The first time I was with Bruce when he met another dog was at the vet’s – another dog came out the treatment room while we waited in reception and Bruce raised his hackles and growled – not a good start. As a result I’ve been careful introducing him to other dogs, but there’s been no repeat experiences. In contrast, he’s always been delighted to meet and play with my friends’ dogs and dogs we’ve encountered on walks. All in all I’d say he’s great with other dogs, but I’d be careful because of that first experience, just to be on the safe side.

Cats

I thought Bruce was great with cats when he first arrived (I mostly foster cats and have several permanent residents) – basically he completely ignored them. But after he’d had a few days to settle in he started expressing extreme interest in the cats – staring, pointing, etc. His behaviour was very worrying and I haven’t left him alone with the cats as a result. However, I think it mostly comes from jealousy (his first expression of this behaviour was towards a cat I was paying attention to). He should be fine with cats so long as an eye is kept on him initially. Tonight, as I type this, he’s lying by the fire beside Barley, a gentle little caramel girl that stays with me.

Training

I would have guessed that Bruce hadn’t had any or had minimal training before he came to me. But he’s a quick study, loves the attention training gives him, is food orientated and is very eager to learn. He learned ‘Sit’ in about three lessons. He comes when he’s called – so much so that I let him off the lead when we went walking in the country – but I put him back on it when other dogs were around, just to be on the safe side. He hasn’t learned ‘Lie Down’, mostly because he seems to think I’m giving him a row when I try that one (see pic) – don’t ask me why!

He did jump up enthusiastically in greeting, and to get attention, when I first got him. Since he did this gently, I didn’t object immediately. But I’ve been discouraging him in recent weeks, and he’s getting the idea – though he’s not there yet. A bit of consistency and he’ll stop soon enough.

For a collie cross (usually very attention seeking) he’s surprisingly good and quiet – though he does come looking for attention (and prefers to be by my side at all times), he’s very good at sitting quietly when I’m busy.

Basically, Bruce is very trainable and will engage in training sessions with enthusiasm.

House Training

I think it’s safe to say Bruce wasn’t housetrained on his arrival. But he’s a quick study and, though he still has accidents, he’s nearly there. Most nights there’s no accidents, and no accidents at all during the day. He’s figured this out mostly on his own – I’ve let him out frequently and let him know to go out when I’ve caught him indoors, rather than crate training. And he’s caught on so quick!

When he moves to his new home you’ll probably have to keep an eye on him at first, to be sure he knows the rules are the same at yours as at mine. Do be prepared for the odd accident at first, but he’ll catch on quick.

Medical History
Name

Bruce

Description Male collie cross, mostly black with splashes of brown and white, with white paws.
DOB Around 2 years February 2013
Place Of Birth Probably somewhere in West Cork, Ireland. Picked up in Bantry.
Wormed / Defleaed 8/3/13
Vaccinated Fully vaccinated. Booster due 22/2/14
Neutered Yes
Microchipped Yes
Other Medications None. Healthy during stay.He has a couple of small bald patches from an allergy to fleas.
Other Details Loves people and other dogs. Very interested in cats. Extremely good natured, faithful and loving.
Emigrated to the UK 10/3/13

 

The Beginning

Well, the beginning really started in my childhood when my parents instilled a respect and care for animals in me, without my even being aware of it. When I was allergic to the kitten, Beauty, I’d begged to adopt, my mum took me to the doctor and got me antihistamines to sort me out. No ‘getting rid of’ a living creature for my mum, bless her.

Through my adult life, when work took up most of my time, I joined animal welfare organisations (amongst others) and donated money, rather than donating time. I always neutered my animal companions, and took them to the vets when they were ill, just like my mum taught me, and I would never walk past an animal in need. But I didn’t really get involved in animal welfare till I came to Ireland and Shapoloh was dumped on my doorstep.

Early in 2007 I lived in a terraced house in Bantry town with three resident cats (all rescued) and varying numbers of foster cats and kittens. Around then, Jennifer Carroll, the veterinary assistant for our local vet, Fachtna Collins, joined me in my fostering endeavours, helping with medication and kitten management generally.

Mid 2007, Jenni & I started a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program in West Cork. This involves moving into feral and semi-feral cat populations, trapping the adults, neutering them and releasing them back into their population once they’ve recovered from the operation. Often it involves neutering colonies that have developed because private individuals haven’t neutered their domestic cat.

Until we started TNR I’d just fostered 2 to 4 kittens or one family at a time. When we started TNR we came across kittens in every cat population that we couldn’t simply just leave – apart from anything else they would grow up and continue producing kittens, which would pretty much defeat the purpose. If that wasn’t a good enough reason the state of some of the kittens we found was appalling – see Titan‘s pic on the right.

So, in 2007, I ended up with 25 cats and kittens at one point. And I had to reorganise a bit. I used one room to keep ill or new kittens separate and the bathroom could also take a couple of kittens that need isolated from the rest. Apart from that they all ran round loose in the house and, once they figured out the cat flap, the garden too. It wasn’t ideal but there was nowhere else for them to go!

Towards the end of 2007, Filament brought Feline Leukemia (FeLV) into the house and Shapoloh, a permanent resident, contracted it. We couldn’t carry on introducing kittens without an isolation period and we renovated three bedrooms into kitten sanctuaries, sectioned off from the rest of the house. At the same time Jenni was able to house outdoor rescue cats and kittens in sheds designed for that purpose in her back garden.

The autumn of 2008 cursed us with Feline Infectious Enteritis (FIE) and we’ll have to fumigate and review our working (voluntary?) practice before we can take any more kittens into my place.

 

More Background

Cats and kittens arrive here by a variety of means; many are dumped – at the side of busy roads, in car parks, in the middle of nowhere, in the Tourist Office(!); some are reported by concerned neighbours; many are passed to RAWR by owners who promise to get their cats neutered – and then return with the next litter, and the next, and the next …; etc. Others arrive direct to my doorstep because word has got out – one starving 5 week old kitten, Mr Chumbley Warner, was dumped on the barren patch across the road from my old house and would have died there if a workman hadn’t heard him crying for his mum & told me.

Prime examples are, (see picture, from left to right): Duchess, at about 6 months of age, wandered into a house up the road from me and tried to take up residence – the householder knew I’d taken in cats in the past and appeared on my doorstep with her. I rescued Crusty from a house I used to visit regularly – of 3 adult cats and 4 litters of kittens he is the only known survivor. Shapoloh was dumped outside my old house at 5 weeks old. Right on a busy main road. They’re all lucky to be alive. For one reason or another they all ended up taking up permanent residence here.

Nearly every kitten & cat that has arrived at my house has a belly fat with worms (in contrast with their undernourished, skeletal body), is riddled with fleas and ear mites and, more often than not, can barely see for some kind of eye infection or other. Adult males are also usually raggedy with torn ears, patches of fur missing and/or numerous scratches from fighting. What breaks my heart is it only takes a few days to see an improvement and often the animal appears completely healthy and cared for after just a few weeks. Kittens we think are only 5 weeks old when they arrive blossom and have growth spurts which leave me wondering if they’re actually several weeks older. Males we neuter are much less aggressive and will live longer as a result. Neutered females also live longer – and won’t have to cope with scavenging for food for litter after litter that, despite their efforts, end up dying before maturity.

Food and care make such a difference; early treatment, before these problems get out of control needn’t be expensive and certainly isn’t time consuming – if caught at onset eye infections can be often be cleared up simply by regular bathing in water. But for some reason negligence seems to be the rule rather than the exception in this area.

Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

In 2008 I sold my business, burnt out from seven years self-employment 24/7 with very little to show for it, and from the emotional devastation of the FIE virus. With the house free of kittens for a while, I had time to think. We’d done a great job in difficult circumstances with the fostering, but we hadn’t made any long term difference for the animals in West Cork. We’d made a huge difference for the animals we’d rescued, but the numbers needing rescuing weren’t changing and animal welfare was no further forward.

But our TNR work, carried out mostly by Jenni by this point, did make a difference. A big difference. So, I finally sat down and started reading about animal welfare and rescue – and Trap Neuter Return (see our Recommended Reading). And boy do I wish I’d read up on the issues back when I started!

Like many before me, I came to the conclusion that Trap Neuter Return (TNR) was the way forward. While rescue helps the individual animals taken in and rehomed, it doesn’t make any long term difference to the animal welfare problems endemic in Ireland. TNR does. With Targeted Trapping all animals in an area are neutered, overpopulation is addressed. And less animals need rescued every day of every year. A real long term solution.

We simply don’t have and can’t get enough money to rescue every animal in West Cork that needs our help. But we can humanely reduce the numbers of animals that will need our help in years to come … through TNR, neutering of companion animals, increasing human responsibility and legislative change.

Jenni and I had several long discussions about it. And RAWR (Rural Animal Welfare Resources) was born. With the help of other dedicated animal welfarites, we set up a company with charitable status and set off to neuter every cat in West Cork.

Animal Advocacy

In the autumn of 2009 my mum had died unexpectedly, just a month before she was due to move over here. I was devastated on so many levels. Words can’t express.

Not long after, RAWR started heading in a different direction from my original vision. Large scale targeted trapping in West Cork came off the agenda and the focus turned to localised TNR, neutering vouchers for companion animals, inevitable fostering and rehoming and the humungous task of fundraising generally. RAWR’s remit was primarily TNR and my other animal welfare work (UK cat trips, fostering and rehoming, networking, information provision) were encroaching on my time, meaning I spent less time on the voluntary work RAWR needed from me. By May 2011, after working on RAWR for over two years, I had to regretfully step back from the organisation and I left that month.

I carried on fostering, rehoming, transporting animals around Ireland and to the UK for rehoming, TNRing, networking and providing information. And I’d been meaning to set up webpages to support my voluntary work for a not insignificant while. But I never seemed to quite get round to it. I called myself Animal Advocacy. And I worked with a variety of animal welfare organisations including AHAR, Almost Home, ARC, Community Cats Network, Cork CAT, CSPCA, Feral Cats Ireland, KLAWS Kerry, Limerick Feral Cats, RAWR, pethelpers.ie, SNIP and WCAWG.

 

CATalyst

Towards the end of 2012, Maureen from Feral Cats Ireland got in touch to give me the heads up about an exciting new TNR project being set up by Done Deal Animal Foundation (DDAF). They wanted to inspire TNR projects throughout Ireland by raising awareness through advertising, information provision and workshops, and by providing equipment to groups that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. They invited me to host workshops around the country. And I accepted with delight!

In the process of discussion we named the project ‘CATalyst – Community Action Trapping’ – a catalyst for community action trapping and TNR generally in Ireland. As part of my input I sat down to produce a variety of documentation and information leaflets for the project including CATalyst’s Vet Pack and TNR Manual for Ireland. And these webpages were born as a result – providing a location for the documentation as it progressed and allowing input, corrections and updates from DDAF and Feral Cats Ireland. It’s final resting place will be Feral Cats Ireland’s web pages, but Animal Advocacy will keep our own version on here for posterity *cheesy grin*

While these pages have started with a focus on the TNR Manual and it’s associated information sheets, we’re also using it to share our Fostering stories, our TNR experiences, our UK Trip information and all the other activities we get up to. In time we hope to provide you with all the information you could wish for on the TNR and animal welfare generally that we participate in.

We hope you enjoy!

Arrival

Ivor, a beautiful, long-haired male tabby stray, adopted a couple in West Cork for a few weeks before disappearing for ten days. He returned, skinny and dishevelled, with his left hind leg literally hanging off. Although the couple had been feeding him and were quite charmed by him he was ‘not their cat’. At least they took the time to take him to Jennifer Hedlam of West Cork Animal Welfare Group.

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Settling In

Ivor is sharing a room with Ralph. He’s kept in a large cage overnight to be sure he doesn’t hurt himself being adventurous. And, during the day, he either has the room to himself while Ralph has my room and the hall, or the pair of them are set loose while I’m working and can keep an eye on them.

Ivor’s still skinny as a rake, but is putting on weight and condition nicely, and is coping very well on just three legs. At the moment his ears look far too big for him and he’s still a bit scruffy – he’s like a cross between ET and Yoda! But he’s really going to be a stunning cat when he gets back to his full health. And, personality-wise, he’s just a babe. He’s another one I’d guess has been a house cat, he’s so well socialised. Maybe his person died, more likely he was dumped by the inhumane member of the family.

He is particularly wary of Ralph, however. My guess is Ivor knows he’s disabled and isn’t sure if he can stick up for himself, so he’s being particularly careful of things that might be a threat to him. So he yowls at Ralph when he comes near, and Ralph, bless him, is respectfully leaving him be. I’d say Ivor would be okay with other cats in the long term, though, as he’s already feeling much more secure around Ralph.

Ivor’s flat out on top of my linen box just now – it’s a good 3 or 4 feet high, so he’s not being particularly restricted by his disability. He’s fairly lively and doesn’t seem depressed. But he’ll do a lot better when he’s found a forever home to lavish attention on him in his time of trouble.

Related Links

Medical Update

Ivor had his first vaccination on Monday (14th) and had his stitches out at the same time. We’ll neuter him when he’s due for his second vaccination in a fortnight – we want him to put a bit more condition on before putting him through another operation. And we’ll FIV/FeLV test him at the same time, though he’s not showing any signs of being positive with either.

Because we usually house our fosterees in rooms, rather than cages, as a general rule we have room to let cats share the space. Most cats enjoy each other’s company, so we think the space and the sharing is a good thing for them. But it means we have to test for the viruses so that we don’t put virus-free cats at risk.

At the moment we house our FIV cats in one room. We’re down to two, Cranky and Mario, and they’re being rehomed in the coming week. And any cats that test positive for FeLV can stay with me in the main part of the house – my permanent resident Shapoloh is positive for both FIV and FeLV, and my other residents are vaccinated against FeLV or immune, so one more won’t hurt.

But I digress. There’s no reason to expect Ivor to test positive for either virus, but we’ll test him anyway to be sure. And then he can mix with Ralph without me needing to keep an eye on them both.

In the meantime, his hair will grow back over his op site, he’ll put on weight and strength and he’ll be ready for homing in next to no time. He’ll make someone an excellent companion! Could it be you?

It just remains to be said – I wish I could get a decent picture of him!!!

Ivor Has a Sad 🙁

Ivor and I have just realised it’s been two months since he came to us. And we’ve not found a home for him. We’re all very sad about this because he’s such an adorable, faithful puss. We haven’t had one call about him. It’s always more difficult to home adult cats and I’m really surprised there’s not been more interest. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t get a decent picture of him. And I’ve not put enough time into advertising him either.

He’s spent some time with Jenny C and had a lovely time being fostered by Bill and Hazel, but he’s really needing to settle somewhere permanent. He’s quite used to having only three legs now and balances himself before jumping. Though he still tries to scratch with his absent limb, poor thing. Though he was a bit depressed for a while after the operation, he’s come to terms with his disability now. He’s more sad that nobody wants him.

And it’s such a shame. Is the three-legged thing putting people off? There’s no reason for it to. He’s very agile, extremely attached to people and desperate to love someone and be loved in return. I’ve had a word with him, but he’s still not wanting to be homed with another cat, nor a dog. He’s too dominant and wants to be number one. Such a splendid, brave puss – who can blame him?

I’m going to revamp his ad and picture and we’ll try again. Cross your fingers for him!

Ivor Rehomed!

I dropped Ivor off at his new forever home yesterday. And I don’t think he’ll need a trial period in this one! Leslie’s place is wonderful for cats – lots of sunshiney spaces, including window sills with wee stairs for cats with only three legs! And the only other animal companions are tiny pigmy hedgehogs – too small for Ivor to feel threatened by and well able to look after their spikey selves if he does make any aggressive moves.

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Arrival

Marilyn wandered in to the garden of a couple in Ballydehob one day and decided to stay. She made herself at home and won the hearts of the couple almost immediately with her charming ways. She was a stray, but her complete acceptance of everything thrown at her and her friendly nature would suggest she’s been somebody’s pet. She’s probably been dumped.

Unfortunately for Marilyn, one of the humans she adopted was allergic to cats and his asthma exploded at her arrival. In addition, the couple were going on holiday and wanted rid of her before then. They called us a few days before they were due to head off and Marilyn came to us on Monday 13th May, 2010.

Bep, one of our fantastic fosterers, took Marilyn on board. The original intention was that Marilyn would have the bathroom all to herself … that didn’t last long and she now has the run of the house, and sleeps by Bep’s head at night. Bep’s totally bowled over by Marilyn and we’ll have a hard time persuading her to part company with her I think!

Note: Allergies to animals need not be a problem. I, myself, am allergic to animals but find I grow immune to the animals in my care (and I’ve had 25 fosterees at various points!) – and antihistamines keep me going till then. See, for example, PETA’s Living With Allergies to Animals factsheet.

Related Links

PETA’s Living With Allergies to Animals factsheet

How to Live with a Deaf Cat

We’re pretty sure Marilyn is deaf. Not as common in white cats as people think, but it does happen. As a result Marilyn would like an indoor home, or one with a restricted garden – she needs to be kept away from the dangers she can’t hear, such as dogs and traffic.

But her deafness isn’t a problem beyond that. In fact, there’s a few benefits – no problem with the vacuuming!

There’s interesting articles on the net about communicating with deaf cats – hand signals can be learnt by the clever creatures, and torchlight or similar can be used to call them in at night. And there’s even a hearing aid available for deaf cats!

Find out more about living with a deaf cat on our Deafness page.

Related Links

Fostering Funs

Marilyn was getting a wee bit bored at mine, so Carla volunteered to foster her for a while. I’ve been lolling at the emails Carla’s sent me, updating me on Marilyn’s explorations and settling ins. I have to include them here:

28/7/10 From Carla:

One verry happy cat, racing around like a greyhound. She clearly approves of the space and the views; playing with anything in sight, pens, brushes, toys. The young swallows are practicing their flying art and she is totally “into” birds; she likes to sit ON the laptop.

Not white anymore. the chimney was part of the circuit and up she went at great speed. I almost had another heart attack, but she came out with the same speed and repeated it a few times just for fun. One verry dirty deaf cat.

In short, we are having a ball.

29/7

Do you have any sleeping pills? feline and human. and maybe tracking devises for “lost objects” – she drives me mad, NOT a quiet cat. She got herself trapped in an empty suitcase, god knows how she got in, but she certainly knows how to alert you when she’s in trouble. What a voice!! She’s an expert now at switching on printers and better at the computer than meself, expect next email to be Marilyn’s, complaining that she wants to go outside and diminish the bird population.

Please explain to her cats are supposed to be sleeping 2 thirds of the day.

Marilyn 31st July

by Carla

Am exhausted, M is quite a handful, a bit like these ‘over active’ kids.

She’s very clever and knows 3 signs already!

She is:

  • active beyond believe, high strung and always on ‘alert’
  • very insecure and needy – follows me around, wants to be touching – on top of me, does not matter which part, all the time
  • panics and screams when I leave her sight
  • looks for hiding places all the time and any I try to provide are rejected. Favorites are: chimney, behind cupboards, plumbing spaces, etc
  • her voice is something else – she screams with no tone variation. Other animals might find this threatening and attack.

I think I might have figured out what spooks her so much; in a playing spell I threw a soft toy at her and she freaked, scared, from me. And straight away up the chimney (now blocked off). Could not get close to her for a day. She came to the bed late at night and got sick. There must have been bad experience there – people throwing (hard) things at her to get her attention or forbid her something, maybe. There are a lot of mirrored cupboards in the bed and bathrooms, she might be convinced there are other animals in the house. Only after I let her roam the house (bedrooms) this search for hiding started. Bedrooms are closed now and she is calming down.

There is more to her deafness than i thought. We take hearing for granted – it must be scary not to ‘hear’.

Am still thinking about better communication. Perhaps it could be possible to take a mobile phone apart and keep the ringing and vibrating function. 2 things achieved then, she knows you are calling her and you hear where she is. With food treats one can teach her the vibrating is positive. I know just the person to ask if this is possible.

Arrival

I’m not sure how long Skrootchie’s been hanging round my garden looking for food (I leave food out for strays). Yesterday he walked right up to Xak in the shop, walked out again and sat in the garden looking back at her – ‘Where’s the grub?’. Xak immediately called up to me, I popped out with food and a carry case and, with a bit of patience and persuasion, one Skrootchie, skanky cat, is now esconced in the bathroom.

Now I see the state of him I wish I’d made more of an effort to get him sooner. I’ve only seen him briefly from a distance and Joe Bones has been territorial about his new home (I’m going to have to do something about Joe cos I’m never going to get the local strays visiting if he’s going to run them off!). Skrootchie has hugely inflamed forepaws, one of them with a massive, sore hole in it; he’s missing the bottom half of his tail, which ends in a hairless stump; his eyes aren’t too bad but are a little bit watery; he’s completely flea- and lice-ridden; he’s covered in sores and scratches (I suspect from Joe Bones’ self-imposed guard duties); and his coat is skanky, his body emaciated. So he’s off to the vets in a few hours, defleaed and brushed, for a thorough checkup.

Skrootchie’s still not too sure of me, but it didn’t take long to get a rumbling purr out of him. He’s a classic example of a dumped domestic cat – he doesn’t know how to look after himself in the wild and has suffered quite horrendously as a result (what happened to him that he lost his tail like that???). He knows he needs people to keep him well but he’s scared of us too – probably with good reason.

He’s as safe as he can be now though. We’ll see what the vet says, but I’m hoping he just needs some food, medication and affection to turn into the handsome animal companion he should always have been.

Vet Verdict

We reckon Skrootchie’s only three or four years old and, on the bright side, his teeth and gums are in great nick. Apart from that he’s in pretty bad condition.

It looks like he’s got Pillow Foot, a rare condition that results in swollen paws (note the way he holds his swollen paw for comfort in the photo). I say ‘rare’ but we’ve come across three cases in the last three months. His tail is well healed – he must have lost it at least four months ago, maybe years. He’s been defleaed and dewormed, which should help his overall condition. But none of that is serious. What does worry us is that Skrootchi’s anaemic – it’s quite apparent from the whiteness of his third eyelids, nose and paw pads. The anaemia could just be a reflection of his general poor condition but we’re worried there’s something more serious going on with him.

So Skrootchie is on antibiotics to fight the infection in his paws and for anything else he might have, and he’s on anti-inflammatories for the paw pad swelling. We’re waiting-and-seeing how he progresses on the medications before we look any further.

In the meantime he’s eating like a horse and I’m feeding him little and often as I suspect he’d eat until his tummy burst if I gave him a chance. He’s a pathetic scrap of a thing and I’m feeling so sorry for him. He’s obviously had a hellish life, lack of tail notwithstanding. I yelled ‘No!’ at him when I saw him about to piss on the carpet and the cringe and run that he did left me in no doubt that he’s been abused in the past. I can’t quite describe it. I’ll certainly never shout at him again. But he’s been reminding me of someone or something since he arrived and it suddenly struck me – Dobby from Harry Potter! His ears flattened with fear, he’s a classic example of something that is hoping for kindness but expecting cruelty. I’m trying to show him as much kindness as I can. And he’s responding by coming out his cage to greet me, nuzzling me hesitantly and snuggling beside me when I sit in with him. If he is terminally ill we’ll make his last weeks as loving as possible. If he’s not, we’ll find a home that’ll reinstate his faith in human nature. He deserves it.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

I’ve been really lax at updating Skrootchie’s story but, a year after he first came to us, I’m finally back on the case.

Way back when he turned up, all tattered and torn, we tested him for FeLV/FIV, mostly because he was so run down. And he tested positive for FeLV. We were really worried then, but treated his various wounds and fed him up and waited the three months needed to retest … and he tested negative – Yay!!! Skrootchie had thrown off the FeLV virus!!!

There’s a huge amount of misinformation about Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) – lots of it complete nonsense. And Skrootchie highlights a lot of those issues. For example:

  • Cats testing positive for FeLV should be killed immediately because they are all in agony: NONSENSE!!!!
  • Cats testing positive for FeLV should be killed immediately because they’ll die soon anyway: NONSENSE!!!!
  • Cats testing positive for FeLV have no quality of life: NONSENSE!!!!

I could go on. The truth of it is that, of cats exposed to FeLV:

  • 30% will not pick up the virus at all, ie. they will not catch it at all
  • 30% will pick up the virus but throw it off within three months (eg. lil ol’ Skrootchie)
  • sadly 30% will catch the virus and will succumb to it eventually
  • 10% will catch the virus, appear to throw it off, but carry it with them and infect other cats

What this means is that cats testing positive for FeLV should be retested after three months, especially if they show no outward symptoms of illness or seem to recover from any illnesses they have.

And even cats that do test positive and don’t throw the virus off (only 30% of those exposed, remember) can have a full life for several years before the virus really kicks in. Look at Shapoloh, still going strong over two years after she picked up the infection. In fact she’s healthier than she’s ever been this summer!

Sorry for the rant – check out our Feline Leukemia Virus page for more details of our experience of FeLV.

Forever Home Found!

And the reason I’ve been really lax at updating Skrootchie’s story is because – he got rehomed with me!

Skrootchie had thrown off the FeLV virus and we were delighted. We thought his pillow foot problem might have been brought out by the FeLV (as it’s often an immune response) – it cleared up successfully after the op and has not resurfaced since (touch wood). He put on weight and condition … and kept putting weight on – he’s a tubster these days, looking quite the miniature freisian cow!

He turned out to be the peacemaker of the household, making friends with all the resident felines. Joe Bones (whose story I haven’t even written yet!) and he are best mates, and even grumpy ol’ Shapoloh has allowed Skrootch to sleep beside her from time to time – quite an achievement!

My residents are vaccinated against FeLV, because of Shapoloh and Skrootchie, and we don’t let our foster felines mix with the residents so there’s little danger of it spreading. I wouldn’t use the FeLV vaccination as a general rule because it’s not 100% effective, and there’s a correlation between the vaccination and cancer developping at the injection site.

Despite our relief at Skrootchie’s victory over FeLV he didn’t seem to shake off the anaemia, his nose and paws always a shade whiter than they should be, and he’s always drunk more water than you’d expect of a feline. So back to the vets we went a couple of months ago. We tested him for kidney problems – and sure enough it looks like he’s in the early stages of kidney failure. I find it hard to believe because he’s so rotund and healthy, but it’s not looking good for him. We don’t know the cause but think, perhaps, his kidneys took a beating when he was so ill. Jenni assures me it’s early days yet and he could have a good few years of life in him yet. I’ve a dietary supplement to give to him daily (protesting vociferously I might add!). We’ll try the supplement for a while and take him back for tests to see if it helps, and there’s a fair few things we can try in the future.

At the end of the day we didn’t look for another forever home for the Skrootch because he’s so settled here, and his medical complications would make him very difficult to rehome. And I’m rather attached to him! So here he’ll stay for better or worse – a far happier ending than we could have hoped for a year ago!

Skrootchie 2005 – 13th Nov 2011

My Skrootchie’s kidney failure finally kicked in last week. He’d been shaky for a while and we were trying different diets to see if he would pick up again. But on Friday he went seriously downhill and tonight he was becoming distressed with no hope of improvement, and he was euthanased.

He wandered in to mine in June 2009, trying to and succeeding in attracting Xak’s attention for a bit of food. He was a mess – emaciated, worm-, flea- and lice-ridden, pillow foot, positive for FeLV … the vet wasn’t too hopeful. But he tested negative for FeLV three months later, his pillow foot was treated and effectively cured and he scoffed his face off and put on … well, in time, he put on a fair bit of weight. But the pressures his body had gone through left him with kidney failure. The vet assured me he could survive comfortably for two years or so. And it’s been two and a half years since then. So he’s had a good innings.

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Arrival

Warning: Disturbing images

Gus came from Cavan pound to AHAR to me for fostering. We don’t know how he got to the pound – stray, abandoned, surrendered or cruelty case. He’s a wee affectionate JRT cross, about 1 year old, neutered (so someone cared about him once), emaciated (not just painfully thin, genuinely emaciated), mange ridden and with a chest infection. He must be in pain, poor wee, brave thing.

He’ll be staying with me for a wee while, needless to say. And he’s not eaten any cats yet – though Granny’s been looking hungrily at him! He’s being treated for the mange and the chest infection, he’s gettin lots of lovins and he’s getting a/d diet alongside his dry food to see if we can’t get a bit of weight on him.

Some of these pictures will be very painful to see. Sry. So I’ve included a few of the residents reactions at the end to cheer you up. They’re not bowled over with delight I have to say.

Gus is the sweetest wee thing. How anyone could let him get into this state is beyond me – even if he got into this state as a stray, how many people walked past him and did nothing?

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Settling in

In his bed by the radiator. He’s got an electric radiator in his room at night too to be sure he’s warm. He’s a bit afraid of the outdoors at the mo so not house trained yet. But he’s a bright wee thing and uses the newspaper no bother.

And guess how long he ended up in a room by himself? Night 2, thought I heard him whining (was actually the strong winds down the chimney but my hearing’s appalling), went thru to him and he was sitting on a stool gazing sadly out the window. So I brought him through with me. Willpower of an Essex girl I have. He snuggled up to me all night. And Scrabble and he are touching noses already.

Someone asked me after I’d posted this “How do they DO that?”, ie. inviegle their way in to your home and heart.

I kinda like the way my reply turned out, so am reposting it here:

“I think what they do is look at you like –

I’m sad and lonely and scared. Thx for dinner, I’m ever so grateful. But I don’t really expect anything at all. Really. This is how I’ve lived.

And your head explodes with sadness for them. And you wanna make it up to them and show em how different it can be.”

Asparagus Update

Note: Some of these photos may be distressing.

You might remember Gus came to me on the 20th Feb emaciated, mangy and coughing. He’d been pulled from Cavan pound and we didn’t know if he was a surrender, a cruelty case or a stray. He was a mess. He’s looking a lot better now! His mange was the stress-related kind (not infectious) and may return if he’s stressed – but then again it might not – it may just have been the severe stress he was under. Only time will tell. Anyway, the mange is mostly cleared up and his fur is growing back.

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Gus Visits Bantry House

Gus had a lovely time at Bantry House recently. It’s a great place to visit in Bantry – with a gorgeous covered outdoor area beside the cafe for enjoying the view without having to get wet. Fortunately the days we’ve visited, the sun’s been glorious. Gus and I didn’t go very far beyond the cafe but there’s plenty beauty just touring the outside of the house. We’d highly recommend folk visit!

Dogs are welcome, so long as they are kept on a lead and behave themselves. Gus wasn’t deliriously happy about the lead part, but behaved himself very well and thoroughly enjoyed his visit.

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Arrival

Kate, from Bantry House, called us on Monday 11th April – a wee kitten had turned up in their gardens the day before, could we help. We don’t really have the funds to take in rescue kittens but we couldn’t say no. And it’s always nice to visit Bantry House!

So I duly popped up to find the friendliest wee thing hanging out of Kate’s arms. Jack’s around twelve to fourteen weeks old (we originally thought six to eight months but he’s small for his age), white and black, neutered – and obviously once much loved. He looks like he’s been trying to look after himself for a wee while – skinny as anything, his white is grey and his tail is the brown of malnourishment, rather than the jet black it should be. And his tail has a wee kink in it at the tip – perhaps it’s been caught in a door at some point? We may never know. And he is bombproof – not phased by anything, delighted by any attention, interested in new environments (no fear factor) – a total delight.

So, although I’d normally assume he was dumped, the fact that he’s neutered and superfriendly makes me wonder if he’s strayed or had a wee road trip by accident. So we’re going to advertise him as lost before we look for a home for him (though anyone interested should get in touch, just in case!).

He’s being fostered by Jenny and Trinity for a few days and then will come and hang out with me till we sort him out to his old home … or his new one. Trinity decided his name was Jack – so Jack he is.

If you’ve lost a kitten matching this description, do email or call on 086 844 3244. Likewise, do get in touch if you’d like to adopt the wee fella.

Vet Visit

Jack and I headed down to the vets on Wednesday and it seems he’s a small 12-14 month old (rather than the 8 month old we first thought). He’s in good nick apart from being undernourished and he has burn on his hind paws. This could mean he’s been in a car engine – so he could be a distance from home.

He’s settled into mine without a bother and is a charming, affectionate wee thing – no fear, just curiosity and snuggles – he’s definitely had a loving home and is not used to looking after himself. He’s most likely been missing for one to four weeks, though it’s always possible he’s been missing longer.

If he was microchipped (which he’s not!) we could have found his home on Wednesday. He’s a really good example of why it’s so important to microchip your animal companions. He could be home by now.

And I’m feeling for him for what he’s just been through. Obviously much loved and cared for, he found himself alone in a strange environment. He’s probably got little idea how to fend for himself. Bantry Gardens must have given him such hope! All these people picking him up and saying how adorable he is! Hurrah! Yes, yes, I like you humans too, and all the affection, but would you ever please feed me! Poor wee mite. He’s grand now and has put on weight and condition already (another indicator that he’s not been lost long).

If he sounds like your missing kitten, or a kitten you know, please do get in touch with us on 086 109 8542 or email me. We can only hold him for a couple of weeks and then we’ll start looking for a home for him. We’ve vaccinated him, and we’ll be microchipping him so there will be a fee for his return equivalent to what we’ve spent.

Seeking A Loving Home

*** HOMED ***

Well, sadly there’s been no response to Jack’s ‘Lost’ postings and there’s no sign of anyone looking for him. I find it hard to believe he isn’t lost rather than dumped, but you never know these days. He’s settled into mine grand out, has the run of the place and has been the easiest foster I’ve had in a long time – perhaps ever! He’s not afraid of anything, is gentle as a lamb, affectionate, playful, soft as butter, perfectly house trained … a dream kitten – though I confess his table manners could do with a bit of refinement.

With no sign of anyone looking for him, and the predominance of people discarding their animal companions like so much unwanted baggage these days, we have to assume he’s abandoned and start looking for a real forever home for him. I don’t think we’ll have much trouble! But I’ll be sorry to see him go.

If you lose your animal companion there’s lots you can do to find them again:

  • Microchip and collar with tag before they get lost – if Jack had been microchipped he’d be home by now
  • Neuter – neutered animals are much less likely to roam. They’re also less likely to get involved in fights that might injure them to the extent they can’t get home.
  • Call the guards and report your friend missing. Call all your local vet surgeries and do the same.
  • Put up posters and flyer your neighbourhood. Include pictures, despcription, distinguishing marks, gender, etc. Display the posters in your local vets, supermarket, pet shop, etc
  • Post your friend on lost and found sites like Munster Lost & FoundLost & Found Pets Ireland and Irish Animal Shelters Lost & Found Pets Page
  • The internet is full of useful information – search it for other ways to find your friend
  • Don’t give up!
The Beaches Arrival

I brought the Beach Bums back with me from the UK in June 2012. I know, I know, I’m supposed to take cats over there, not bring them back! But New Start knew of a hoarding situation near them. The man had started with a few, had neutered none … and now had 120 felines in one house (please do note how this illustrates the importance of neutering!). Some were wobbly, most ill with flu and herpes. Vets had been called in and two cats were euthanased because they were so ill. 60 more were on death row because of their health and numbers – shelters just couldn’t take them all in and treat them.

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The Beaches – One Month Later

But the Beaches were incubating the FIE virus (Feline Infectious Enteritis – the best link I’ve found is here) – a deadly virus that is a nightmare for shelters. Two of these lovely felines, already compromised with flu, exhibited symptoms of FIE and died within days. Luckily the four remaining cats survived and have gone from strength to strength.

They’re still getting over the flu and will not be 100% healthy for a while. But they’re looking for their forever homes just the same. If you think you might be interested, do get in touch with me.

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The Beaches – Ready for Homing

*** Quilty & Fanora have been rehomed ***

I’m afraid these pictures are a bit dull – I really need to get a new camera!!! But the kittens depicted are far from dull – check em out!

These guys were rescued from a hoarder in the UK. I’m afraid they can’t speak Irish :( But they communicate beautifully and are the softest most beautimous young adults you could ask for, with very unusual caramel colouring.

They had flu when they came to me and have just had their first vaccination after recovering. Three of them still have slightly weepy eyes. That may clear up with time or they may have recurring problems that need treatment – so they need an understanding and sympathetic home. They’ll make it worth it, I can tell you!

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Arrival

Sometime in the winter of 2005/06, while Yoda and Dodger were still with us, I noticed that there was Never food left in the cat bowls in the morning. Usually I leave a pile of dry food to last a few days and it was very unusual for it all to disappear nightly. But I didn’t think too much about it…

Then one night, as I stayed up later than usual reading a particularly captivating thriller, I heard a noise by the cat bowls and looked up to see a streak of white and tabby dash towards the stairs. Not one of the permanent residents… Interesting…

Over the next wee while I saw more of this intriguing and shy visitor as I kept my eyes open for his visits in the wee small hours.

Trust

Slowly, slowly we built up trust till I could get within a yard of him but he was extremely easily startled and very wary of people. So we laid in wait, pounced on him and put a collar on him with my contact details asking his human companion to get in touch.

To be honest, considering the state of him (skinny, flearidden and obviously underfed) I thought he was a stray and didn’t expect a response. But I got a call that evening from one of my neighbours claiming ownership. I (gently) suggested she feed, flea and worm treat and neuter him and she readily agreed. But did nothing. So a few weeks later I offered to take him to the vet for her and told her the cost of the visit. At which point she asked me to keep him. Don’t know why I bothered trying to trace her in the first place really.

So I whipped him off to the vets to be neutered, checked over, dewormed and defleaed, and then kept him in for a couple of days to be sure he recovered from the trauma okay. He’d sit on my lap for a few minutes at a time but was extremely unhappy being kept indoors and melted against the windows at every opportunity so we admitted defeat and set him free.

But we’d made more progress than we realised and within a matter of days Tommy had turned into one of the most affectionate cats I’ve come across. And, surprisingly, extremely affectionate to complete strangers – once he’s been formally introduced!

Soap Operas

We realised he’d never been allowed in a house before, or at least severely reprimanded when he had previously entered one. When he realised he was allowed anywhere he wanted around here he swiftly made himself at home in the comfiest spots.

He’s a strange mix with other cats – he’s absolutely nuts about Duchess and follows her everywhere like a lovesick swain (she is not entirely happy about this). And he played happily with the kittens when he was first making tentative forays to the food bowls. But he really doesn’t like Shapoloh, chases her at every opportunity and tolerates her rarely. This is especially sad as Shaps seems to rather like him (the soap opera of cat-fostering).

It took a while to name Tommy for some reason – I would have preferred to call him Romeo due to his amorous pursuit of Duchess but I was voted down.

I’ve never seen him with dogs so no idea how he gets on with them, or other animals for that matter.

FIV

In April 2006, concerned about his general rundownness and the fact he just wasn’t thriving, I took him to the vet again for tests. And we found out he was FIV positive.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes an infectious disease in domestic cats and cheetahs similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV infection) in humans. It attacks and weakens the body’s immune system, making the animal susceptible to infections and diseases that don’t affect healthy cats. There is no cure for FIV, though I believe a vaccine is available (but it’s not great). Though eventually fatal, an FIV-positive cat can live for many years without any signs of illness. FIV is not transmissible from cats to people, and HIV is not transmissible to from people to cats. Check this link to find out more about FIV.

I’ve lived with an FIV cat before and know a bit about the disease. Tommy could live for several years without any problems but eventually he’ll pick up bugs and diseases and one of them will kill him.

Tommy’s a lovely puss, affectionate and charming, once he’s been properly introduced. And he’s a chatty wee thing, announcing his presence with a delightful, prolonged chirrup and wandering round the house letting you know he’s enjoying himself with short, high pitched purrs.

Tommy’s a lovely puss, affectionate and charming, once he’s been properly introduced. And he’s a chatty wee thing, announcing his presence with a delightful, prolonged chirrup and wandering round the house letting you know he’s enjoying himself with short, high pitched purrs.

We’re currently looking for a permanent home for him and whoever adopts him must realise that visits to the vets will become more frequent as the disease progresses and that losing a cat to FIV can be extremely difficult emotionally.

Tommy’s a joy to have around (for everyone except Shapoloh!). He’d be fine with other FIV cats but shouldn’t live with FIV-free felines in case of infection. He’s an excellent companion and deserves to live out his last few years cared for in comfort. We’ll miss him enormously.

In Memoriam

I wrote Tommy’s story in June 2006, six months after he moved in. We’d hoped to find a caring forever home for him but at some point, without thinking about it, we stopped looking. And Tommy became a permanent resident.

Despite his initial lack of condition and thriving, he seemed to have a turnaround at some point, put on weight and condition, and developed into a healthy looking puss. We had thought the FIV would get him pretty quick but he beat it for a few years and enjoyed a pretty good life with plenty of food, affection and sunshine. What more could a cat ask for?

He visited the vet fairly frequently in the intervening years as we tried to catch any bug before it could get a grip on him. But in the winter of 2007/08 he started to go downhill. He lost weight and condition and suffered from a variety of illnesses.

At around 12pm on Friday 18th January 2008 I found a fair quantity of blood underneath him. Jenni reckoned he was going into organ failure. He became terribly distressed and we rushed to Tim O’Leary in Rosscarbery to make Tommy’s passing easier. Many thanks are due to Tim for responding to our call of distress at that time of night. Tommy was euthanased early on Saturday 19th January 2008.

I deeply regret not euthanasing Tommy sooner and saving him the horrible agonies he went through. I was due to go on a UK trip on the Monday and had hoped he would hold out, and maybe have space to recover again with less kittens in the house. That hope and, basically, my selfishness made Tommy’s last moments horrible. It’s so difficult to make that decision, but so important to make it for the cat, not for ourselves.

Tommy was a charmer. He seemed eternally grateful to have found a caring home. And he easily worked his way into a warm space in my heart. Hopefully we’ll meet again, over the Rainbow Bridge. And he’ll forgive me.

Medical Notes

Description as at 15/06/06: White and tabby neutered adult male. Mostly white with tabby markings on head, back, legs and tail. Beautiful kohl round eyes. Too skinny but very attractive looking puss just the same.

DOB: Not known. Aged around 4 in 2006.

Place Of Birth: Probably Bantry, W Cork, Ireland

Tested FIV positive: April 2006

Died: FIV, complete organ failure, euthanased 19th January 2008

Arrival

I was back at my old house in 2002, redecorating my room before moving out, when my landlords called me over to their house, next door. A tiny kitten was under their porch, miaowing for her mum, but terrified of us humans. I put food beside the porch and for the next few hours popped over every so often, in between brush strokes, to see if I could catch the tiny, terrified thing. I can’t remember how I got her at the end of the day (a trap would have been nice, but I didn’t know anything about them then). But get her I did. And she was livid!

Eyes almost blinded by mucus, skinny, neglected and, I realise now, seldom if ever handled by humans, we reckoned this kitten was only about five weeks old. She couldn’t possibly have made it to our houses on her own – someone had dumped her by the edge of the N71. Lucky to avoid being killed on the road she was a clever wee thing to have found the porch to hide under.

So I took her off to the house I was sitting and left her loose in my bedroom. Lights out – and the loudest racket started.

‘Muuuuuum, muuuuum, where aaaaaaaare yooooouuuuu? I’m lost and alone and scared. Muuuuuuuuum!!!!!!’

This tiny kitten had the biggest cry imaginable! The phrase She Has A Pair Of Lungs On Her (a Scottish phrase meaning LOUD) sprang to mind and Shapoloh was named from the initial letters of the sentence.

(I’d no digital camera in those days so no cyewt kitten photos.)

Adoption

I was off to Scotland for three weeks a few days later and, not knowing the feline situation in Ireland, got in touch with a local animal welfare organisation thinking they would take Shapoloh in and rehome her. When I came back three weeks later she was still there. Imagine my surprise! I’d been sure an adorable wee thing like her would be gone in a flash. And that was my introduction to animal welfare in Ireland. Too many cats, not enough homes.

So I took Shapoloh home with me and introduced her to Crusty Reilly, my only resident puss at the time. She lurved her uncle Crusty! Though I would discover later she’d no time at all for other cats.

Fostering

 And Crusty remained Shapoloh’s only feline friend. She took a shine to Tommy in later years, but he only had eyes for Duchess. Apart from that Shapoloh had no time for other animals. Crusty was God, I was a faithful slave and everything else could go jump as far as she was concerned.

So when I started fostering in earnest, with kittens running round the house in numbers, Shapoloh was not well pleased! I tried to explain that these wee felines needed rescued and rehomed, just as she once had. That she should have sympathy and respect. But she was having none of it. She’d shoo them away from the food bowls, shoo them away from me, plomp herself in my lap with serious ownership attitude and glare at any furred body that chanced her way. She’d have been much happier in a household with me and Crusty and no-one else!

And maybe she was right.

Feline Leukaemia

In 2007 we unknowingly took in a foster kitten, Filament, with Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV). At the time we didn’t have the set up to keep the kittens isolated and had them all loose in the house. We’d started fostering with only one or two kittens, or a family, and when it snowballed into twenty five kittens in 2007 we’d neither the time, nor the expert advice, to realise we needed to do it differently.

When we found out Filament was FeLV positive we tested all the cats in the house. Shapoloh tested positive for both FeLV and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). She could well have had FIV her whole life, but I never got her tested earlier, so I’ll never know. The FeLV was obviously recently contracted.

Focus also tested positive for FeLV. But everyone else was clear. We read up on the disease (not having come across it before) and found it’s not as prevalent as some would have you believe:

  • 30% of cats who are exposed to the virus never pick it up at all;
  • 30% pick it up and throw it off within three months;
  • another 30% will contract the disease permanently;
  • and the final 10% will carry FeLV but not show symptoms.

FeLV is more infectious than FIV, however. It’s primarily spread through infected saliva – and while bite wounds would be a main source of infection (like FIV), sadly (unlike FIV) it’s also spread through affection (eg. cleaning each other and touching noses). Also like FIV, the virus only survives for a few hours outside the body. And, despite it’s ease of transmission, FeLV only affects 2-3% of cats in America (I can’t find stats for Ireland but it’s reasonable to suppose it’s similar). Sick and young cats are more prone to infection than healthy adults. And humans are not at risk from the disease.

FeLV causes immunosuppression in all cases, cancers in about 50% and severe anaemia in about 1%. There is no cure for FeLV. The prognosis varies considerably but 50% of cats diagnosed with the disease will die within two years. Secondary infections, contracted because of the lowered immune system, are often the death of the animal. Which is why it’s important to catch illnesses early in FeLV and FIV positive cats.

Incidentally, vets advised me not to bother testing Shapoloh when I first got her – not worth the expense, they said, don’t worry about it, they said. I’d now highly recommend getting your feline companions tested for these diseases – if you know they’ve got them you can make sure they stay alive and healthy as long as possible by being forewarned to keep on top of any illnesses they present. Kittens should be tested after sixteen weeks of age (as they may carry their mother’s antigens until then). Note also that FeLV tests can result in false positives and remember that one third of those exposed to it will develop immunity after initial infection. So any animal that tests positive must be retested after three months before a final diagnosis is given.

So we vaccinated Duchess against FeLV (we only use this vaccination in high risk situations as studies show that cancer at the site of injection is associated with long term use), renovated the top floor to accommodate three fostering rooms, one being an isolation unit for new and sick felines, and started to keep a special eye on Shapoloh.

I have to live with the fact that Shapoloh contracted FeLV through my fostering. Shapoloh has to die with it.

No 1 Puss

Shapoloh has been No 1 Puss in the household since Crusty moved to Suzanne’s in 2006 (we have a first come first served seniority plan here). As I’ve said, she’d prefer to be the only puss in the house and her mood swings between bossy and grumpy as a result. When I’d the shop she hung out with me all day and kept a distrustul eye on the customers. She’s sharp as a knife, the smartest puss I’ve hung out with. And she’ll vocally let me know how she’s feeling in no uncertain terms (her voice matches her mood these days).

Healthwise she’s doing not bad. She’s always had bad eyes, the tear ducts damaged by the untreated infection before I found her. Always a small cat, her body has shrunk since she got the FeLV, though she’s slim rather than skinny at this stage. Her coat’s still lush and shiney, though she has skin problems from time to time. She’s vulnerable to infections so I keep a close eye on her and rush her to the vet at the first sign of anything – the earlier an infection’s is caught, the more chance she has of getting over it.

Today there’s no sign of her – beautiful and sunny outside, she’s off appreciating the summer. But she’ll be back in tonight, demanding to see her write up and pointing out all the bits I’ve missed out or got wrong.

In Memoriam

Shapoloh was euthanased, peacefully at home today. We saw the vet again last Friday and were told that nothing specific was wrong with her. There was nothing to treat. My little shadow’s immune system had finally given up.

Deciding a day and time is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can understand why people are reluctant to help their friends on to the Rainbow Bridge. But I couldn’t risk a painful death for her. So I spent as much time with her as I could, and she used what little strength she had to follow me about, like she always has. I offered her tasty treats of tuna and chicken and white fish and cheese (dairy’s not good for her but she loved it). And she barely touched any of it. So I let her go on today. It’s so hard.

But I can see her at the Rainbow Bridge already, grumping and hissing at the other cats (she never understood why she had to share me and her space with other rescues). With any luck she’ll meet Crusty, the only cat she ever had time for. And she’ll sit in the sunshine she loved, and feel healthy and whole again. And eat as much dairy as she wants.

And I’ll stay here for a while longer, and miss her.

Collection

A gent in Cork had contacted West Cork Animal Welfare Group about his neighbours’ cats. They weren’t neutered and were producing litter after litter of neglected kittens. Sound familiar?

He was willing to get the adults neutered himself but was hoping WCAWG would take the latest litter of kittens once they were old enough to leave mum. And WCAWG asked us! I honestly can’t remember the timescales but by the time the man got the kittens to Rosscarbery they were around three months old. They’d been living wild in his neighbours garden, but he’d been handling them regularly and they were friendly, if somewhat shy, wee things. ‘They might have a bit of flu,’ he said. But he hadn’t taken them to a vet, needless to say.

So Jenni went down to WCAWG to pick up the tinies on Thursday 16th December, 2010. And while transferring them to their travel cage … Pitaya acted like a wild thing, escaped and ran up a cactus in her panic. Not the brightest kitten. We’d to pull three cactus thorns out of her wee paws. Ouch! And that is why we named the family ‘The Cacti’ – and not anything to do with their natures!

They were completely miserable with the flu – and even more miserable after being dewormed, flu-, ear- and eye-treated, as you can see from this picture!

Arrival

So Jenni brought the Cacti round to mine and we settled them into their room. And I rushed off the intertewbs to look up cacti and their flowers. Easy naming – lovely, lush black guy, Saguero; beautimous butterkist calico, Pitaya; typically aloof, aristocratic tortie, Selene (short for – don’t laugh – Selenicereus grandiflorus), Queen of the Night.

They were extremely wary of us, and I was a bit worried we’d more timid kittens on our hands. And a trip to the vets to sort out their flu didn’t help the situation any.

But within 24 hours Pitaya was butter, with Saguero melting all over me shortly after. Selene remained aloof but purred her heart as soon as I started patting her (glaring at me in outrage at the same time – hilarious). And their coats are of the softest, lushest fur I’ve felt in a long time. They’re the gentlest family ever, absolutely devoted to each other and affectionate substitute parents to the gang of foster kittens subsequently housed with them. I just adore these guys.

Medical History 1
Name Saguero Pitaya
Description Black male, white star on chest, softest furr, soft as butter. Calico female, bandit eye markings. Even softer than her brother!
DOB Not known, guessing around mid August 10 Not known, guessing around mid August 10
Place Of Birth Cork city, Ireland Cork city, Ireland
Felocell CVR Annual booster due 12/1/12 Annual booster due 12/1/12
Neutered No, too young No, too young
FIV & FELV Status not known, too young for testing not known, too young for testing
Other Medications Antibiotics and eye ointment for flu & associated eye infection on arrival, otherwise healthy. Antibiotics and eye ointment for flu & associated eye infection on arrival, otherwise healthy.
Best Companions Cacti clan, Arrullo, Ludo, Turk & Teaser Cacti clan, Arrullo, Ludo, Turk & Teaser
Emigrated to the UK 23/1/11 New Start Cat Rescue, Newent 23/1/11New Start Cat Rescue, Newent
Medical History 2
Name Selene (short for Selenicereus grandiflorus, srsly), Queen of the Night
Description Beautimous, aloof tortie. Grudgingly turns to butter when snorgled.
DOB Not known exactly, but approx 18/9/10
Place Of Birth Cork city, Ireland
Felocell CVR Annual booster due 12/1/12
Neutered No, too young
FIV & FELV Status not known, too young for testing
Other Medications Antibiotics and eye ointment for flu & associated eye infection on arrival, otherwise healthy.
Best Companions Cacti clan, Arrullo, Ludo, Turk & Teaser
Emigrated to the UK 23/1/11 New Start Cat Rescue, Newent
Arrival

by Susy

Susy’s Qs, aka the Trog Trio, Freddie, May and Mercury, were spotted by a friend of mine on a building site near Ahakista. These guys are pretty affectionate once they get to know you, so there’s no doubt they’d been dumped by uncaring guardians to await their fate once the machinery ground into action. The wee family had found a tiny cave in the rock face in which to hide. Starving and frightened, all with cat flu, I kept them safe for a few days until they could go to Muriel’s.

On arrival they were approximately 11 weeks old and will be available for rehoming as soon as their snuffles clear up.

Moving On

Susy’s Qs came to me on Friday 30th July. They weren’t completely housetrained, but got the hang of it in no time – though someone has a tendency to use the bath for their toilet – so I’ve put a litter tray there and that seems to have sorted it.

The two girls, Mercury and May, and the boy, Freddie, stunning long-haired tabbys, are all very gentle kittens. Slightly timid at first they are extremely food oriented and come screaming out to scoff delicacies of chicken or fish as if they hadn’t seen food in a week. May adores being combed – I’ve never seen anything like it. She was still a bit wary of me but as soon as I got the comb through her fur she turned into a purring mass of pleasure and nuzzled into me with delight. This is a great bonus as long-haired cats need regular grooming to prevent matts in their coats. Fortunately Mercury and Freddie have no problem with being groomed, they just don’t go into ecstasies quite like May does!

May has pretty much got over her cat flu already, Mercury is still sneezing a wee bit and Freddie’s eye infection will take a good few days more to clear up. Shouldn’t be long before they’re available to rehome!

All three kittens are very playful, affectionate and curious and promise to be lovely companions.

Forever Homes Found

Mercury is off to her new home in Drimoleague today. She’s delighted to have found a lovely family to share her life with and is looking forward to exploring her new environment and friends.

May and Freddie are going to be moving up the road, not far at all. Also to a lovely family, with a stay-at-home dad!! They’re going to have company all day and are delighted. They’ll be moving just as soon as Freddie’s eyes clear up, in the next few days.

Yoda

Yoda and his two siblings were born to a stray cat in Bantry town. All had cat flu and the mum and one sibling died before anyone paid any attention to them.

Yoda and the remaining sibling were rescued by a young local girl. Her boyfriend didn’t like cats so they were relegated to the bathroom (not the best environment for cats with flu). Within a couple of days her landlord said the kittens had to go or she had to move out. He gave her about two days notice.

She found a home for Yoda’s brother, who was in much better condition, and Yoda himself ended up with me towards the end of November. His eyes were so badly infected he couldn’t open them, his right eye was swollen to the size of a large marble, his breathing was uncomfortable and he sneezed constantly. He was around 6 or 7 weeks old.

On antibiotics and eye treatment he showed steady improvement. He must have had a strong consitution to have overcome the state he was in – I was extremely worried about his chances of survival a couple of times. I was also worried about his sight. Although he seemed to see just fine he couldn’t possibly have full vision because his eyes were closed with infection when his brain would normally be developing for sight.

Yoda was named for the Star Wars character – inspired when he first arrived by the appearance of his eyes and his gentle manner. A very easy animal to love.

Dodger

Dodger was dumped outside a school on the Beara Peninsula at the age of around 7-8 weeks in Nov 2005. His right eye was an empty, weeping socket. He was seen by loads of people but nobody paid him any attention for two days and he was on his own for that time.

Emma, a local animal rescuer, found him by chance when she visited the school and she brought him to me. His eye had been damaged in some form of accident – entirely possible someone intentionally hurt him. Certainly no one treated or cared for him. He was absolutely terrified – shaking with fear and extremely wary of people.

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Luka’s Story

Jenny rescued Luka and his sister Kia from a farm in West Cork on the back road to Caheragh, between O’Driscoll’s and Skibbereen.

A concerned passerby had reported the state of the kittens to Della who called Jenni – something dreadful wrong with their eyes.  Jenni got in contact with the woman who said they’d had bad eyes for two weeks but had disappeared.  Jenni asked her to contact her as soon as they reappeared.  And got a call a week later.  They were trapped on the 14th of September 2007, three weeks after their eye infections had been noticed.

Luka’s actual right eyeball was swollen, twice the size it should have been.  Not a virus, possibly an infection in the eyeball.  The eye was a purple, plum shade and looked incredibly uncomfortable.  I’d never seen anything like it.

Both kittens eyes were treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories but nothing could be done.  Kia’s left and Luka’s right eyes were removed in November.
Left with a pair of eyes between them the kittens went from strength to strength and their remaining eyes recovered fully, though Luka’s left eye suffers from weeping from time to time.

Kia & Luka recuperated at Jenni’s house alongside the Ms (Magic, Mischief & Magpie).  But as the lot of them grew there just wasn’t the room for them there and all 5 moved into my spare bedroom.  I was reluctant to take in any more foster kittens as I knew we’d ringworm loose in the house.  But there was nowhere else for them to go.  I linoleumed the spare room, defumigated it with bleach and various other products designed to kill ringworm and got it comfy with bedding, coorie holes and playthings.

And in November 2007 Luka & Kia (the One Eyes) and the Ms moved in.

Initially all the kittens were pretty timid, with Luka and Magpie being the worst.  Maybe because of that the pair of them really bonded and were practically joined at the hip.
I felt the kittens were pretty isolated up in the spare room on their own and tried to spend an hour or so up there with them daily as well as feeding and medicating them & litter changing at least twice daily.  But I just didn’t have the time and managed to recruit several marvellous volunteers to spend time with them – thanks go to Nuala, Dermot and Feargal in particular.

It took at least a week before Kia would approach and even longer before Luka realised that laps and belly tickles were well worth associating with the two legs that historically had neglected and abused him.

And, despite my fumigating precautions first Mischief, then Magic and Magpie and latterly Luka showed signs of ringworm.  I’ve learned more about this fungal infection that I ever cared to know this year.  It’s not really a problem for single cat households – the cats get over it quickly enough and are then resistant (though not immune).  But in a household like mine new cats coming in are at risk and nearly all seem to get it.

Anyway, the main reason for keeping this lot of kittens separate was to keep them ringworm free.  Now that they had ringworm anyway I decided to let them loose on the house.  They’d been confined for at least a month and I felt they just weren’t getting enough attention, the space felt small for such growing kittens and they’d no access to greenery at all.

And they were delighted to get out into the wider world and stretch their muscles to their limit.  Luka took a bit more time than the others to explore the whole house but figured out the cat flap pretty quick.  Delighted to be out in the fresh air and equally delighted to come back inside to the warmth once his inital euphoria got rained on.  He took over a week to stop cowering but it was well worth the wait as he’s another writher and loves getting his belly rubbed.

Sadly, when all the kittens Luka knew went to the UK in January he had to stay behind as he still had ringworm. Though he lost his best mate Magpie, who worshipped him, he didn’t seem to be too distressed and proceeded to come out of his shell and asserted his newfound dominance in the house by mildly bullying the two resident adult cats.

Socialisation at Justina’s – Xena

by Justina

Xena is a really lovely cat. Unfortunately like Lemony Snickett she has had a series of unfortunate cat-human interactions which have left her not afraid of people but rather with a real ‘yuck’ response to the idea of being touched by a human.

However she is not anti-people and actually is very interested in them. I’ve been Xena’s foster mum on and off since she came and feel that if she had been able to have consistent time with me she would by now be curling on my lap. But regrettably I had to go on holidays and so she has been moved between the two houses quite a bit. Also I clicked too late that I should have brought her best friend Luka with her from the start as she LOVES other cats, especially Luka and having him with her gives her someone to cuddle and fuss over. Right now though Luka is here with her and it’s given me a chance to observe just how special Xena is and how important it is for her to have another cat with her.

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Socialisation at Justina’s – Luka

Luka – what he’s like in a new place

by Justina

He is very timid and shy. He does like to be petted and will purr on contact but I find that he will break the contact as soon as he can. I think that he is just a slow adjuster and finds new environments very hard to handle. He adores Xena and she is the strong confident one of the pair. His real personality shines out in play when he is mischievous, fun loving and gentle. Unlike Xena he prefers cat/cat play while Xena likes cat/cat, cat/human equally. Also unlike Xena it is better to approach Luka (when he’s in an easy to reach location that doesn’t involve chasing him) and pet him, as, as soon as he feels the contact, he likes it. It’s also good for Xena to hear him purr, so the sooner he settles the better for both of them.

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Luka & Xena

Luka and Xena quickly became a pair after meeting, primarily at Xena’s instigation, and I’d recommend they remain together. Both are very wary of humans at first but have quite different personalities and require different approaches, as Justina has highlighted. I’d just like to add a coupla recommendations and comments…

When they first move in with you I’d recommend confining them to one family room where you tend to spend most of your time. This way they’ll get used to your presence quicker than if they have the opportunity to avoid you. Both are very food oriented so titbits will be good motivators once they’re settled. Both will almost definitely be timid for at least a week, maybe longer. It seems to me it’s new places that freak Luka out more than people (it took him a week to get used to a new room) so he will be very nervous with both new environment and new people. Xena just plain doesn’t trust people; she’s more outraged than scared.

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Medical History

Name

Luka

Xena

   

Description

White & black shorthaired neutered male.  White paintbrush tip to his tail. Missing left eye.

Pure black (very rare, very lucky) shorthaired neutered female.  Silky soft coat and stunning amber eyes.

DOB

guessing early July 2007

guessing early Nov 2007

Place Of Birth

near Caheragh, W Cork, Ireland.

near Glengarriff, W Cork, Ireland

Wormed & Defleaed

Milbemax wormer 6/6/08; Frontline fleaspray end Apr 08

Place Of Birth

near Caheragh, W Cork, Ireland.

near Glengarriff, W Cork, Ireland

Felocell CVR

near Caheragh, W Cork, Ireland.

28/1/08 due booster 28/1/09

Neutered

January 2008

May 08

FIV Status

FIV & FeLV Free

FIV & FeLV Free

Other Medications

Synulox & Prednisolone for eye infections. Also Fucithalmic and Chloromphenicol eyedrops.

Marbocyl for slight bouts of flu.

Baytril 15mg Sid for 6 days for mild cat flu

Best Companions

Xena

Would be okay as a sole cat, sometimes bullies other adult cats when settled but seems to get on with shy young females (!)

Luka

Would be happy with another companion cat.

Other Comments

Both kittens very wary of people and need an understanding home.

Probably best not to be homed with children under 12 or so.

Emigrated to UK

14/6/08

14/6/08

Co Cork
The Ralph Site

The Ralph Site has great information on dealing with the death of our companions, not least of which, dealing with making decisions that we never want to have to make. But we do have to, eventually. And we need to do what’s best for them, not necessarily what’s best for us. This site has had me in bits several times, but it’s so worth a look.

http://theralphsite.com/index.php?idPage=3

DIY Dog Grooming Help

Providing buckets of useful information to help dog owners rectify their errors and improve the lives of dogs through grooming.

Website: diydoggroominghelp.com

Tips & Bandit

Tips & BanditTips & Bandit came to us in early November 2006 from Sara Lane of the ACS in Mallow. Sara had rescued them from Cork at the age of 2 to 3 weeks and their sibling had died the first night – these two were very lucky to survive and Sara nursed them back to health before sending them down to us to stay until they were old enough for their jabs. They were about 5 weeks old and skinny as anything – still a ways to go to full health.

Neither were very well off, health-wise – both got cat flu and couldn’t seem to shift it and Bandit had an umbilical hernia (which could have been easily fixed when she was neutered) and some weakness in her hind legs. As with all the strays that pass thru our doors, we tended to them and loved them and they began to develop into healthy kittens.

TipsThey ate like horses – Tips in particular had a particularly charming way of pointing out her food bowl was empty – no miaowing or hassling, just quietly sitting by her empty bowl and gazing sadly at whoever passed by. Didn’t take her long to get one of us to fill it up!

Bandit got on well with all the living things she came across – she curled up beside adult cats, kittens and humans and was the most adorable friend. Tips took longer to take to others, hissing at other cats initially and took a few weeks to grudgingly accept affection from the others. Now, in March 2007, she’s the only kitten in the household and is fiercely affectionate, missing her other kitten companions.

February 2007 was horrific as Bandit’s weak back legs got worse, other symptoms developed and she was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a ghastly, fatal virus affecting cats. While many cats contract FIP only a very few go on to develop the fatal version of the virus, most throwing it off. Kittens and old cats (over 14 years) are most at risk. I’ve never come across it before and it’s ghastly. Bandit was particularly vulnerable because she also had FIV (check this link to find out more about FIV).

We did all we could for Bandit, as did Tom Farrington, Alternative Animal Care, our vet. But there’s no cure and she was becoming distressed so euthanasia was our only option. We’ve never had to euthanase a kitten before. It was a horrible decision to make. And it was horrible seeing her so ill and be unable to do anything about it.

The only consolation is that she would not have survived in the first place if Sara hadn’t rescued her and that she was cared for and much loved during her short life.

We were left mourning Bandit and were very worried about the other kittens and cats – enough time has passed now for us to be sure the others are okay and can only assume it’s the FIV that made Bandit so vulnerable.

_________________________________

FIP is a difficult disease to diagnose and to treat. Testing for this disease is not very accurate and the clinical signs are easily confused with a number of other diseases. The disease does not appear to affect all cats exposed to it in the same way. The only certain diagnoses are made at the time of a necropsy exam (autopsy). This makes FIP one of the most frustrating diseases for veterinarians and their clients.

You can find more info at the following websites:

 

 

 

Rianior & Rowan

The GangRianior (aka Reeny, male) and Rowan (female) came to us from Future Forests on 23rd December 2006. They both had cat flu and Christmas meant no heating where they were living so after the Rianior gig we popped them in a box and home they came. They almost didn’t need antibiotics – cleaning their eyes the first night just with warm water had them greatly improved by the next day – and they were fit, if somewhat skinny, in next to no time.

Both are black tabbies – we thought they were plain black at first but certain lights showed tabby markings which grew more distinct as they grew bigger. Truly beautiful cats, Rowan has only the tiniest bit of grey/white under her chin and eyes that change from green to amber depending on the light. I’ve no decent photos of her – just a blur of black with amber eyes staring out. Reeny has white nose, chest and paws and is much more photogenic.

Rianior & ShapolohOn arrival they showed absolutely no fear or wariness and settled straight into their new home. Reeny in particular is one of the friendliest kittens I’ve come across and snuggled up to anyone and everything. Note, in particular, him snuggling up to Shapoloh, our resident bad-tempered and extremely snotty black and white – absolutely unheard of!

While both thoroughly enjoy, even demand, plenty lap time they’re not always affectionate with it – more assume their right to comfy spots – and they’re not entirely keen on being picked up. However, they’re very faithful cats and follow me everywhere. Reeny has a particular fascination with the toilet flushing and will stare pointed at the flush handle waiting knowing full well that’s what gets the water flowing.

 

 

 

Tips

Dutchess & TipsMid March now and Reeny & Rowan have left for pastures new – Tips is the only kitten with us.  She’s sorely missing her companions and is fiercely affectionate, sitting beside me and purring as I type this.  She enjoys sitting on shoulders and will perch parrot-like for hours at a time.  She loves the outdoors and figured out the cat flap very early on (much to my horror). Baths fascinate her (so long as she’s watching and not participating!).

Sara is finding the perfect home for her – Tips had such a hard time of it she deserves the best.  In the meantime she’s stuck with the boring old adult cats and desperate for someone to play with.

Medical Histories
Name Tips Rowan Rianior
Tips The Gang Rianior
Description as at March 2007 White & black female. White tip to her black tail. Black tabby female. Amazing amber/Green eyes. Black tabby male with white bits.  Very earnest.
DOB Guessing born around Sept 2006 Guessing born around mid to late Oct 2006
Place Of Birth Cork City, Ireland Kealkill, W Cork, Ireland
Wormed & Defleaed 03/03/07 03/03/07 03/03/07
Nobivac Tricat 9781A Feb 07 Feb 07 Feb 07
Other Medications loads of antibiotics for recurring flu and sinusitus one antibiotic treatment for flu Dec 06
 Rehomed Cork City May 2007 Rehomed near Cork City March 2007

 

Bantry

Overlooking Bantry Bay in the heart of West Cork, Bantry town is situated just over 55 miles west of Cork city. It functions as a large Market town providing commercial, retail and tourism/leisure facilities for locals and visitors alike.

Website: www.bantry.ie

Bantry House

A privately owned stately home in Co Cork, Ireland.  The estate sits in an incredible location with amazing views over Bantry Bay. You could spend the whole afternoon browsing the house and gardens – and the tearoom supplies delicious cakes (as well as meals!) for when you need a wee rest. Well-behaved-dog friendly.

Website: www.bantryhouse.com

Jim’s Coffee House

Boutique Guesthouse & Coffee, Food & Wine Emporium. Based in Glengarriff, with lovely views and splendid food. Well worth a visit.

Website: www.facebook.com/TheBayviewBoutiqueGuesthouseAndJimsCoffeeHouse

Hagal Health Farm

Hagal Health FarmRelaxing breaks at Hagal Farm, situated in the beautiful natural landscape of West Cork Ireland. Health and pampering retreats, with alternative therapies and delicious vegetarian food. Also provides quality training in holistic therapies.

Nestled on the south slope of the Maughnaclea mountains, with breath-taking views over the Mealagh valley and Bantry Bay in the distance, Hagal Healing Farm is surrounded by nature and the beautiful, wild landscape of West Cork.

Website: hagalholistichealth.com

Lost & Found
The Ralph Site

The Ralph Site has great information on dealing with the death of our companions, not least of which, dealing with making decisions that we never want to have to make. But we do have to, eventually. And we need to do what’s best for them, not necessarily what’s best for us. This site has had me in bits several times, but it’s so worth a look.

http://theralphsite.com/index.php?idPage=3

DIY Dog Grooming Help

Providing buckets of useful information to help dog owners rectify their errors and improve the lives of dogs through grooming.

Website: diydoggroominghelp.com

Tips & Bandit

Tips & BanditTips & Bandit came to us in early November 2006 from Sara Lane of the ACS in Mallow. Sara had rescued them from Cork at the age of 2 to 3 weeks and their sibling had died the first night – these two were very lucky to survive and Sara nursed them back to health before sending them down to us to stay until they were old enough for their jabs. They were about 5 weeks old and skinny as anything – still a ways to go to full health.

Neither were very well off, health-wise – both got cat flu and couldn’t seem to shift it and Bandit had an umbilical hernia (which could have been easily fixed when she was neutered) and some weakness in her hind legs. As with all the strays that pass thru our doors, we tended to them and loved them and they began to develop into healthy kittens.

TipsThey ate like horses – Tips in particular had a particularly charming way of pointing out her food bowl was empty – no miaowing or hassling, just quietly sitting by her empty bowl and gazing sadly at whoever passed by. Didn’t take her long to get one of us to fill it up!

Bandit got on well with all the living things she came across – she curled up beside adult cats, kittens and humans and was the most adorable friend. Tips took longer to take to others, hissing at other cats initially and took a few weeks to grudgingly accept affection from the others. Now, in March 2007, she’s the only kitten in the household and is fiercely affectionate, missing her other kitten companions.

February 2007 was horrific as Bandit’s weak back legs got worse, other symptoms developed and she was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a ghastly, fatal virus affecting cats. While many cats contract FIP only a very few go on to develop the fatal version of the virus, most throwing it off. Kittens and old cats (over 14 years) are most at risk. I’ve never come across it before and it’s ghastly. Bandit was particularly vulnerable because she also had FIV (check this link to find out more about FIV).

We did all we could for Bandit, as did Tom Farrington, Alternative Animal Care, our vet. But there’s no cure and she was becoming distressed so euthanasia was our only option. We’ve never had to euthanase a kitten before. It was a horrible decision to make. And it was horrible seeing her so ill and be unable to do anything about it.

The only consolation is that she would not have survived in the first place if Sara hadn’t rescued her and that she was cared for and much loved during her short life.

We were left mourning Bandit and were very worried about the other kittens and cats – enough time has passed now for us to be sure the others are okay and can only assume it’s the FIV that made Bandit so vulnerable.

_________________________________

FIP is a difficult disease to diagnose and to treat. Testing for this disease is not very accurate and the clinical signs are easily confused with a number of other diseases. The disease does not appear to affect all cats exposed to it in the same way. The only certain diagnoses are made at the time of a necropsy exam (autopsy). This makes FIP one of the most frustrating diseases for veterinarians and their clients.

You can find more info at the following websites:

 

 

 

Rianior & Rowan

The GangRianior (aka Reeny, male) and Rowan (female) came to us from Future Forests on 23rd December 2006. They both had cat flu and Christmas meant no heating where they were living so after the Rianior gig we popped them in a box and home they came. They almost didn’t need antibiotics – cleaning their eyes the first night just with warm water had them greatly improved by the next day – and they were fit, if somewhat skinny, in next to no time.

Both are black tabbies – we thought they were plain black at first but certain lights showed tabby markings which grew more distinct as they grew bigger. Truly beautiful cats, Rowan has only the tiniest bit of grey/white under her chin and eyes that change from green to amber depending on the light. I’ve no decent photos of her – just a blur of black with amber eyes staring out. Reeny has white nose, chest and paws and is much more photogenic.

Rianior & ShapolohOn arrival they showed absolutely no fear or wariness and settled straight into their new home. Reeny in particular is one of the friendliest kittens I’ve come across and snuggled up to anyone and everything. Note, in particular, him snuggling up to Shapoloh, our resident bad-tempered and extremely snotty black and white – absolutely unheard of!

While both thoroughly enjoy, even demand, plenty lap time they’re not always affectionate with it – more assume their right to comfy spots – and they’re not entirely keen on being picked up. However, they’re very faithful cats and follow me everywhere. Reeny has a particular fascination with the toilet flushing and will stare pointed at the flush handle waiting knowing full well that’s what gets the water flowing.

 

 

 

Tips

Dutchess & TipsMid March now and Reeny & Rowan have left for pastures new – Tips is the only kitten with us.  She’s sorely missing her companions and is fiercely affectionate, sitting beside me and purring as I type this.  She enjoys sitting on shoulders and will perch parrot-like for hours at a time.  She loves the outdoors and figured out the cat flap very early on (much to my horror). Baths fascinate her (so long as she’s watching and not participating!).

Sara is finding the perfect home for her – Tips had such a hard time of it she deserves the best.  In the meantime she’s stuck with the boring old adult cats and desperate for someone to play with.

Medical Histories
Name Tips Rowan Rianior
Tips The Gang Rianior
Description as at March 2007 White & black female. White tip to her black tail. Black tabby female. Amazing amber/Green eyes. Black tabby male with white bits.  Very earnest.
DOB Guessing born around Sept 2006 Guessing born around mid to late Oct 2006
Place Of Birth Cork City, Ireland Kealkill, W Cork, Ireland
Wormed & Defleaed 03/03/07 03/03/07 03/03/07
Nobivac Tricat 9781A Feb 07 Feb 07 Feb 07
Other Medications loads of antibiotics for recurring flu and sinusitus one antibiotic treatment for flu Dec 06
 Rehomed Cork City May 2007 Rehomed near Cork City March 2007

 

Bantry

Overlooking Bantry Bay in the heart of West Cork, Bantry town is situated just over 55 miles west of Cork city. It functions as a large Market town providing commercial, retail and tourism/leisure facilities for locals and visitors alike.

Website: www.bantry.ie

Bantry House

A privately owned stately home in Co Cork, Ireland.  The estate sits in an incredible location with amazing views over Bantry Bay. You could spend the whole afternoon browsing the house and gardens – and the tearoom supplies delicious cakes (as well as meals!) for when you need a wee rest. Well-behaved-dog friendly.

Website: www.bantryhouse.com

Jim’s Coffee House

Boutique Guesthouse & Coffee, Food & Wine Emporium. Based in Glengarriff, with lovely views and splendid food. Well worth a visit.

Website: www.facebook.com/TheBayviewBoutiqueGuesthouseAndJimsCoffeeHouse

Hagal Health Farm

Hagal Health FarmRelaxing breaks at Hagal Farm, situated in the beautiful natural landscape of West Cork Ireland. Health and pampering retreats, with alternative therapies and delicious vegetarian food. Also provides quality training in holistic therapies.

Nestled on the south slope of the Maughnaclea mountains, with breath-taking views over the Mealagh valley and Bantry Bay in the distance, Hagal Healing Farm is surrounded by nature and the beautiful, wild landscape of West Cork.

Website: hagalholistichealth.com

Neutering & TNR
The Ralph Site

The Ralph Site has great information on dealing with the death of our companions, not least of which, dealing with making decisions that we never want to have to make. But we do have to, eventually. And we need to do what’s best for them, not necessarily what’s best for us. This site has had me in bits several times, but it’s so worth a look.

http://theralphsite.com/index.php?idPage=3

DIY Dog Grooming Help

Providing buckets of useful information to help dog owners rectify their errors and improve the lives of dogs through grooming.

Website: diydoggroominghelp.com

Tips & Bandit

Tips & BanditTips & Bandit came to us in early November 2006 from Sara Lane of the ACS in Mallow. Sara had rescued them from Cork at the age of 2 to 3 weeks and their sibling had died the first night – these two were very lucky to survive and Sara nursed them back to health before sending them down to us to stay until they were old enough for their jabs. They were about 5 weeks old and skinny as anything – still a ways to go to full health.

Neither were very well off, health-wise – both got cat flu and couldn’t seem to shift it and Bandit had an umbilical hernia (which could have been easily fixed when she was neutered) and some weakness in her hind legs. As with all the strays that pass thru our doors, we tended to them and loved them and they began to develop into healthy kittens.

TipsThey ate like horses – Tips in particular had a particularly charming way of pointing out her food bowl was empty – no miaowing or hassling, just quietly sitting by her empty bowl and gazing sadly at whoever passed by. Didn’t take her long to get one of us to fill it up!

Bandit got on well with all the living things she came across – she curled up beside adult cats, kittens and humans and was the most adorable friend. Tips took longer to take to others, hissing at other cats initially and took a few weeks to grudgingly accept affection from the others. Now, in March 2007, she’s the only kitten in the household and is fiercely affectionate, missing her other kitten companions.

February 2007 was horrific as Bandit’s weak back legs got worse, other symptoms developed and she was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a ghastly, fatal virus affecting cats. While many cats contract FIP only a very few go on to develop the fatal version of the virus, most throwing it off. Kittens and old cats (over 14 years) are most at risk. I’ve never come across it before and it’s ghastly. Bandit was particularly vulnerable because she also had FIV (check this link to find out more about FIV).

We did all we could for Bandit, as did Tom Farrington, Alternative Animal Care, our vet. But there’s no cure and she was becoming distressed so euthanasia was our only option. We’ve never had to euthanase a kitten before. It was a horrible decision to make. And it was horrible seeing her so ill and be unable to do anything about it.

The only consolation is that she would not have survived in the first place if Sara hadn’t rescued her and that she was cared for and much loved during her short life.

We were left mourning Bandit and were very worried about the other kittens and cats – enough time has passed now for us to be sure the others are okay and can only assume it’s the FIV that made Bandit so vulnerable.

_________________________________

FIP is a difficult disease to diagnose and to treat. Testing for this disease is not very accurate and the clinical signs are easily confused with a number of other diseases. The disease does not appear to affect all cats exposed to it in the same way. The only certain diagnoses are made at the time of a necropsy exam (autopsy). This makes FIP one of the most frustrating diseases for veterinarians and their clients.

You can find more info at the following websites:

 

 

 

Rianior & Rowan

The GangRianior (aka Reeny, male) and Rowan (female) came to us from Future Forests on 23rd December 2006. They both had cat flu and Christmas meant no heating where they were living so after the Rianior gig we popped them in a box and home they came. They almost didn’t need antibiotics – cleaning their eyes the first night just with warm water had them greatly improved by the next day – and they were fit, if somewhat skinny, in next to no time.

Both are black tabbies – we thought they were plain black at first but certain lights showed tabby markings which grew more distinct as they grew bigger. Truly beautiful cats, Rowan has only the tiniest bit of grey/white under her chin and eyes that change from green to amber depending on the light. I’ve no decent photos of her – just a blur of black with amber eyes staring out. Reeny has white nose, chest and paws and is much more photogenic.

Rianior & ShapolohOn arrival they showed absolutely no fear or wariness and settled straight into their new home. Reeny in particular is one of the friendliest kittens I’ve come across and snuggled up to anyone and everything. Note, in particular, him snuggling up to Shapoloh, our resident bad-tempered and extremely snotty black and white – absolutely unheard of!

While both thoroughly enjoy, even demand, plenty lap time they’re not always affectionate with it – more assume their right to comfy spots – and they’re not entirely keen on being picked up. However, they’re very faithful cats and follow me everywhere. Reeny has a particular fascination with the toilet flushing and will stare pointed at the flush handle waiting knowing full well that’s what gets the water flowing.

 

 

 

Tips

Dutchess & TipsMid March now and Reeny & Rowan have left for pastures new – Tips is the only kitten with us.  She’s sorely missing her companions and is fiercely affectionate, sitting beside me and purring as I type this.  She enjoys sitting on shoulders and will perch parrot-like for hours at a time.  She loves the outdoors and figured out the cat flap very early on (much to my horror). Baths fascinate her (so long as she’s watching and not participating!).

Sara is finding the perfect home for her – Tips had such a hard time of it she deserves the best.  In the meantime she’s stuck with the boring old adult cats and desperate for someone to play with.

Medical Histories
Name Tips Rowan Rianior
Tips The Gang Rianior
Description as at March 2007 White & black female. White tip to her black tail. Black tabby female. Amazing amber/Green eyes. Black tabby male with white bits.  Very earnest.
DOB Guessing born around Sept 2006 Guessing born around mid to late Oct 2006
Place Of Birth Cork City, Ireland Kealkill, W Cork, Ireland
Wormed & Defleaed 03/03/07 03/03/07 03/03/07
Nobivac Tricat 9781A Feb 07 Feb 07 Feb 07
Other Medications loads of antibiotics for recurring flu and sinusitus one antibiotic treatment for flu Dec 06
 Rehomed Cork City May 2007 Rehomed near Cork City March 2007

 

Bantry

Overlooking Bantry Bay in the heart of West Cork, Bantry town is situated just over 55 miles west of Cork city. It functions as a large Market town providing commercial, retail and tourism/leisure facilities for locals and visitors alike.

Website: www.bantry.ie

Bantry House

A privately owned stately home in Co Cork, Ireland.  The estate sits in an incredible location with amazing views over Bantry Bay. You could spend the whole afternoon browsing the house and gardens – and the tearoom supplies delicious cakes (as well as meals!) for when you need a wee rest. Well-behaved-dog friendly.

Website: www.bantryhouse.com

Jim’s Coffee House

Boutique Guesthouse & Coffee, Food & Wine Emporium. Based in Glengarriff, with lovely views and splendid food. Well worth a visit.

Website: www.facebook.com/TheBayviewBoutiqueGuesthouseAndJimsCoffeeHouse

Hagal Health Farm

Hagal Health FarmRelaxing breaks at Hagal Farm, situated in the beautiful natural landscape of West Cork Ireland. Health and pampering retreats, with alternative therapies and delicious vegetarian food. Also provides quality training in holistic therapies.

Nestled on the south slope of the Maughnaclea mountains, with breath-taking views over the Mealagh valley and Bantry Bay in the distance, Hagal Healing Farm is surrounded by nature and the beautiful, wild landscape of West Cork.

Website: hagalholistichealth.com

Adopt A Pet

Adopt A Pet was established in 2013 to deal with the growing issue of many thousands of abandoned, lost and unfortunately stolen pets needing homes each year but no central portal in which to find them all. Our aim is to bring as many shelters as possible in Ireland together to advertise all their pets online with us. We will include dogs, cat, pigs, donkeys, chickens etc. If it is up for adoption it can be included!

Website: adoptapet.ie

All For Animals

A not profit organisation which is an umbrella fundraising project working with 12 regional animals welfare groups.

Website: allforanimals.ie

Alley Cat Allies Resource Centre

Alley Cat Allies, is the US nonprofit clearinghouse for information on feral and stray cats. For more than twenty years Alley Cat Allies has advocated Trap Neuter Return – the most humane and effective method to reduce feral cat populations. I have unashamedly yoinked a lot of their information for our TNR Manual and translated it for an Irish audience. Their site is packed with information for anyone interested in TNR. My gurus.

Website: alleycat.org

Allhorse.ie

Launched in May 2009 Allhorse.ie was established to advertise everything equine but more importantly we aim to raise vital funds for charities helping horses and donkeys in need, such as Dublin SPCA, Irish Horse Welfare Trust, Irish SPCA and The Donkey Sanctuary. The face of the Allhorse logo is that of a rescue horse and her plight became our incentive to highlight and fundraise for equine welfare. Don’t miss our regular prize draws for everyone who donates to any of the charities we support.

Website: allhorse.ie

Animal Advocacy

That would be me! Animal Advocacy is one not-for-profit person, nested in an inspiring network of charitable, government, public and networking organisations, volunteers and individuals. We’re all part of that network!

TNR and animal transport are our main focus, but we also do some fostering and rehoming. And networking! And information provision!!!

Website: www.animaladvocacy.ie

Animal Rescue Cobh (ARC)

ARCARC was founded in January 2012 when a group of animal lovers in Cobh realised the need for an animal welfare/rescue group in the town. There are so many people in Cobh who love animals and want to help them but do not know how to channel their energies. ARC’s objective is to harness this support and create a network of volunteers to help the plight of our town’s animals in need.

Facebook site: www.facebook.com/pages/ARC-Animal-Rescue-Cobh/162498457192374

Animal Rescue Site – Click to Give Daily

Click to give free food and care to rescue animals. You click, sponsors pay per click. Add it to your home page and help animals every day.

Website: theanimalrescuesite.com

Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN)

Ireland’s national animal rights group was formed by John Carmody in 2000. ARAN is a vegan based group working to end all forms of animal cruelty and to speak out for their rights.

Website: aran.ie

Animals in Need Donegal

Animals in Need DonegalAnimals In Need was founded in 2006 by a small group of like-minded people in Donegal Town who were individually making an effort to alleviate animal suffering. It is a non profit making organisation.

Initially we became involved in fund raising activities to help other animal welfare organisations. However, this was not sufficient to our needs so we had to become a ‘hands-on’ voluntary group, rescuing and re-homing unwanted pets and injured or abandoned animals.

We work mainly with cat/kittens and dogs/puppies but we also have had rabbits, ponies, donkeys and even a guinea pig looking for help. Our policy is a strict no-kill policy covering any animal in our care.

Also TNR.

Website: www.animalsinneeddonegal.com

ANVIL Ireland

ANVIL (Animals Need a Voice in Legislation) Ireland was a voluntary organisation dedicated to achieving proper protection for all animals, using the democratic process. They disappeared in January 2013. Gone but not forgotten.

Website: anvilireland.ie

Armargos Animal Sanctuary

The first rescue goats arrived here in 2004 and due to ‘good news travelling fast’ by the Autumn 2006 the calls from members of the public seeking assistance with goats they no longer wanted, had been dumped or were being cruelly treated, etc, started to become more frequent and it was becoming obvious that whether we liked it or not a goat sanctuary had been borne, so Sheena, who runs the Centre, took the plunge (after much convincing from others !!) and Armargos Goat Sanctuary was made ‘official’ with the main aim being to provide a safe haven for all domestic goats in need around the country…

Website: armargos.com

Best Friends Animal Society

Nearly 30 years ago, when Best Friends helped launch and pioneer the no-kill movement, over 17 million homeless pets were dying in US shelters. Today, that number is down to around 4 million unnecessary deaths annually – that is tremendous progress, but Best Friends is committed to reducing that number to zero. It’s a mission, called No More Homeless Pets. By partnering with local governments, grassroots organisations and passionate individuals, they are making big strides toward ending the unnecessary killing of shelter pets in the United States.

Website: http://www.bestfriends.org/

Blue Cross UK

The Blue Cross mission: Provide care, promote companionship, enhance animal and human lives. They have some excellent information leaflets on companion animal care. Well worth a look.

Website: www.bluecross.org.uk

Brookpark Vet Clinic

The Old Railway Station, Dunmanway, Co Cork; 023 884 5777

These guys have already been a huge help with low-cost neutering for our TNR projects. They’re terrific!

Website: brookparkvets.com

Cats Aid Dublin

Cats Aid Dublin are a cat welfare organisation with many prongs, one of which involves monitoring feral colonies and trapping, neutering/spaying and returning (TNR) cats to sustainable colonies. They would love to have more volunteers in all parts of Dublin and surrounding counties to help them with this vital work.
Website: catsaid.org

Cat Chat

An excellent web-based Charity, currently finding loving, permanent homes for over 5,000 unwanted and abandoned cats every year from rescues across the UK and Ireland through our ‘Virtual Cat Shelters’. Our homing services are given free of charge to all kinds of rescues, large and small, from the many hundreds of independent rescue centres and rehoming groups to branches of the larger organisations.

Website: catchat.org

Cat & Dog Protection Association of Ireland (CDPA)

Our principal work is for the welfare of cats, both feral and domestic. Our work with feral cats involves trapping and neutering healthy adults, thus preventing more kittens being born, and, where feasible, returning them to their colony. Since we do not have our own shelter, the unwanted or stray domestic cats and kittens are fostered until new homes can be found for them.

Continue reading

Celtic Animal Life Line

Celtic Animal Life Line is based in the Kildare/Dublin/West Wicklow area. Their work: To rescue, re-habilitate and re-home the unwanted, stray and abandoned dogs under our care. Their Philosophy: To match the right dog with the right home and vice versa, thereby fulfilling the needs of both dog and new home. Their Aim: To promote responsible dog ownership with the general public, to advance the importance of neutering, the benefits of micro- chipping and other aspects of dogs’ physical and psychological care.

Website: www.facebook.com/CelticAnimalLifeLine

Clare Animal Welfare

A small, voluntary animal welfare group whose TNR programme was unable to continue due to lack of funds (including lack of financial support from their local council who repeatedly called them for help with the abandoned domestic problem!). They will help communities with feral colonies but need contributions. They will also loan out traps for TNR (not for euthanasia) for a fee.

Website: clareanimalwelfare.net (FB)

Community Cats Network (CCN)

Community Cats Network is a charitable organisation promoting the welfare of community cats and the benefits of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return).  It was formed in April 2012 by a group of cat lovers dedicated to improving the conditions of life of feral and stray cats.

Website: communitycatsnetwork.wordpress.com

Compassion in World Farming – Ireland

Part of the international farm animal welfare organisation, Compassion in World Farming. They campaign and lobby for farm animals to be reared humanely, and for an end to the long distance transport of animals.

Website: ciwf.ie

Cork Cat Action Trust (Cork CAT)

Cork CAT is dedicated to the health, well-being and welfare of cats feral and domestic, stray, and abandoned. CAT Cork is a small group of dedicated volunteers. Our main objective is to reduce the suffering of and prevent unwanted breeding of feral cats by a programme of Trap Neuter Return (TNR).

Website: catactiontrust.com

Cork Dog Action Welfare Group (DAWG)

Founded and run completely by a network of volunteers concerned with the welfare of abandoned, abused and ill-treated dogs in Cork.

Website: dogactionwelfaregroup.ie

Cottage Rescue

Cottage Rescue is a Small Animal Rescue based in Longfield, Cashel, Co Tipperary that prides itself on being a Safe Haven for any animal that is needing help in finding it’s new ‘forever’ home and we are an independent voluntary organisation totally dependent on the goodwill of our members and the generosity of the public.

Website: cottagerescue.ie

Dog’s Trust Neutering Scheme

The Dogs Trust is an international charity currently piloting a Subsidised Neutering Scheme in Co. Cork, with the view to rolling it out to the rest of Ireland. The scheme entitles people who are presently receiving social welfare payments or pensions to have their dog neutered for a maximum cost of 20 euro by any participating vet.

Website: www.dogstrust.ie/az/s/subsidisedneutering

Donegal Pet Rescue

Donegal Pet Rescue (DPR) (North West Pet Protection Ltd t/a Donegal Pet Rescue) was formed to address the problem of unwanted, abandoned & neglected dogs & cats & to respond to issues of Animal Cruelty across County Donegal. A voluntary, non-profit organisation, we are committed to the rescue & re-homing of dogs & cats. We rely solely on the dedication & hard work of volunteers & heavily on public donations to fund our work.

Website: www.dpr.ie

Drogheda Animal Rescue (DAR)

Drogheda Animal Rescue (DAR) is a voluntary, non-profit organisation committed to the welfare of animals. They provide care and rehoming for stray, abandoned, abused, neglected and surrendered dogs and cats in the Louth, Meath, and North Dublin areas.

Website: dar.ie

Drupal

The open source content management platform I, a complete cowgirl, used to set up previous websites. I’ve used WordPress for this site, but it’s CMS functionality sucks in comparison. Drupal’s free and it’s fantastic, though a bit footery. Highly recommended for site developers like myself!

Website: drupal.org

DSPCA

DSPCAThe Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) is a registered charity, established in 1840 to prevent cruelty to animals and is now Ireland’s largest animal welfare organisation.

Cruelty, neglect, accidental injury and sickness to animals continues today – and we are still here dealing with these problems.

Website: www.dspca.ie

Fading Kitten Syndrone (FKS)

A downloadable PDF with comprehensive info on FKS (or Ill Thrift) from the site of DVM, an American veterinary medicine magazine.

Website: files.dvm360.com/alfresco_images/DVM360/2013/11/18/48492ec0-72f6-4cf6-b5be-e8077aa0688a/article-197291.pdf

Feline Diabetes

Saving diabetic cats since 1996.

Take a deep breath, and relax; we’re here to help you. Cat diabetes is a treatable, manageable condition. You can maintain your sanity and your cat’s health, all on a reasonable budget.

Website: felinediabetes.com

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

A good source of info on FIV including: Overview, Risk Factors, Transmission, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Treatment.

Website: www.healthcommunities.com/feline-immunodeficiency-virus

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

An excellent source of info on FIP from Glasgow University’s Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Coronavirus website.

Website: dr-addie.com

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

A good source of info on FeLV from the Blue Cross, UK.

Website: www.bluecross.org.uk/1957-2764/felv.html

 

Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)

A good source of info on Feline Panleukopenia from Mar Vista Animal Medical Centre.

Website: marvistavet.com/html/feline_distemper.html

Feline Socialisation

The optimum time to socialise kittens is usually between 3 and 7 weeks of age. Without positive human contact and experiences within this critical time kittens can grow up unfriendly and fearful. Although older kittens can often be tamed, it’s usually kinder to re-release older feral cats after neutering rather than trying to tame them.

Website: isabellevets.co.uk/cat-socialising

Feline Upper Respiratory Infections

A good source of info on Feline Pneumonitis (Chlamydia), Rhinotracheitis (Herpesvirus), Calicivirus, and a few others causes symptoms similar to those of a head cold. From Mar Vista Animal Medical Centre.

Website: marvistavet.com/html/feline_upper_respiratory.html

Feral Cats Ireland

Feral Cats Ireland is not a group, shelter or rescue. It is a Facebook page dedicated to highlighting the plight of feral cats in Ireland and promoting trap/neuter/return (TNR) as a humane effective solution. Every cat is precious.

Also check out their Facebook page for regular information. It’s an absolutely excellent networking site for anyone involved in TNR or feral cat work generally.

Website: feralcatsireland.org

Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland (GRAI)

An association of animal rescue and rehoming organisations in Ireland. All member organisations are dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of abused and abandoned greyhounds. We take in greyhounds from dog pounds, members of the public, veterinary surgeries and the police. We also help responsible trainers and owners re-home their greyhounds when they are no longer used for racing or breeding.

Website: grai.ie

Erin Hounds

Erin Hounds is based in the North of England and aims to help a few of the many abandoned and neglected sighthounds that fall on hard times in Ireland.

Website: www.erinhounds.co.uk

Greyhound Safe

A voice for compassion for Greyhounds, advocating an end to Greyhound racing. Raising global Greyhound issues, awareness and campaigns.

Website: GreyhoundSafeIreland on FB

Homeward Bound

My aim is to prevent the abandonment of dogs, thereby sparing the dog a potentially fatal week in the dog pound, or sparing overworked rescue groups another addition to their workload. My hope is to encourage owners to re-home their pet rather than surrender him to the pound or a shelter, and also to encourage people to adopt a dog rather than feeding the demand for purposefully bred dogs by purchasing one.

Homeward Bound is home run and on a small scale, with no government funding.

Website: homewardbound.ie

I Can Has Cheezburger

LOLcats and funny pictures of cats. We’re completely addicted to this site – it’s a hoot!

Website: cheezburger.com

Inistioge Puppy Rescue

The aim of Inistioge Puppy Rescue is to protect against and prevent animal cruelty and abandonment. They provide temporary care for many pound dogs, as well as other unwanted pets, until such time as the animals can be suitably re-homed. Inistioge Puppy Rescue has a strict no-kill policy.

Website: inistiogepuppyrescue.com

International Cat Care

Formerly FAB (Feline Advisory Bureau)

International Cat Care is a charity passionate about improving the care of all cats.

Pet cats, stressed cats, ill cats, homeless cats, free-living cats, old and young cats all have different needs, different problems and different approaches. And this is where we come in… 
For over 50 years we have been raising the standard of treatment and care provided to cats by veterinary surgeons, boarding cattery operators, those involved in rescue work, breeders and, of course, cat owners by providing the best information possible.

Website: www.icatcare.org

International Society of Feline Medicine

Helping cats worldwide by providing a feline focus for the veterinary profession.

Website: isfm.net

Irish Animals On The Web

Since 1996 Irish Animals have helped all Irish welfare groups work together. Features an extensive homes needed. Lists dog and horse pounds, welfare groups, and other animal-related services.

To be honest, there’s really no point in me doing a comprehensive links page when this website’s in existence. It seems to have everything you’d need to know about Irish Animals, and then some. Here’s how Denise, it’s creator, introduces it:

This Web site is run by one person, myself, denise cox, and it is not affiliated with any group, organisation or individual in Ireland. I started it as the ‘Animal Welfare Resource of Ireland’ in 1996. It remains my passionate aim to create a useful online resource – for all welfare groups, individuals and pet owners across Ireland, regardlesss of region, county or border.

Website: irishanimals.ie

Irish Blue Cross

The Irish Blue Cross runs a successful all year round low cost neutering scheme (Dublin only) in co-operation with private veterinary practices for pets of needy owners. Hundreds of pets go through our scheme annually at just one-third of the normal cost. The popular welfare scheme greatly reduces the level of unwanted litters of kittens and puppies.

Website: bluecross.ie

Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS)

Excellent group campaigning for legislation to ban blood sports in Ireland. Lots of information on their site including a listing of TD names by constituency along with their email addresses.

Website: banbloodsports.com

Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT)

The Irish Horse Welfare Trust was established in 1999 and gained charitable status in 2002. IHWT is involved in the following work:

  • Rescue, Rehabilitation & Re-homing of horses and ponies.
  • Racehorse Re-training for Re-homing Programme.
  • Campaigning on issues affecting Equines.
  • Promoting Equine Welfare Awareness and Education

IHWT operates from it’s a 68 acre farm in Woodenbridge, Co Wicklow.

Website: ihwt.ie

Irish Pet Crematoria

Irish Pet Crematoria offer a valuable service to pet owners who have just experienced the death of their pet. We partner with Veterinary Practices all around Ireland, so you can be certain our services are available near where you live. Dedicated to treating companion animals with dignity & respect.

Website: www.petcrematoriumireland.com

Irish Society for the Provention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA)

For nearly sixty years the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) has worked locally and nationally rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals. The ISPCA has continued to develop its facilities and staff functions in order to fulfil its core function, the rescue, rehabilitation and responsible rehoming of cruelly treated and neglected animals. To report cruelty to animals call their National Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515.

Website: ispca.ie

Irish Wildlife Matters (IWM)

Created to address the lack of easily accessible information on Irish wildlife rescue and first aid, IWM is intended as a reference tool, not a comprehensive guide, to wildlife rehabilitation. Anyone undertaking wildlife rehabilitation must seek professional guidance as soon as possible.

Website: irishwildlifematters.ie

iSeek

Seek Internet Solutions Ltd (iSeek.ie) is a 100% Irish owned company based in Cork and providing web hosting, domain name registration, website design/development, search engine optimisation and marketing services to the Irish business market. I’ve been with them since around 2004 and their customer care is fantastic. They’ve also given me hosting at charity rates, even though I’m not a charity. Love em. And Highly recommend them!

Website: www.iseek.ie

Kayleigh’s Sanctuary for Exotic Pets

At Kayleigh’s sanctuary for exotic pets our work consists of

  • Caring for animals in our care, both surrendered and rescued
  • Educating people on the needs and requirements of their exotic pet
  • Pre-purchase advice of exotic animals and equipment
  • Rehoming animals to suitable long term homes
  • Supporting legislation for the control of exotic pet purchase
  • Improving the standard of pet shop management and selling of exotic animals

We aren’t open to the public just yet but we are working on it!

Website: http://www.kayleighs-sanctuary.com

Kerry Greyhound Connection

Kerry Greyhound Connection exists to take in, rehabilitate and find homes for unwanted Irish racing greyhounds.

Website: kerrygreyhounds.ie

Kildare Animal Foundation

Our commitment to neutering is unshakeable, better beautiful creatures not be born at all than to suffer neglect and hunger.

Our focus is on the poorest of the poor. The ones who because of their condition, no one wants and we will take the time to get it right. We have our own concept of time here, “Animal Time”. When a volunteer asks when will a particular animal be ready to go to a new home, I reply “When it’s heart, mind and body are all three ready to face the world.”

Website: animalfoundation.ie

KLAWS Kerry

Established in 2006, KLAWS is a group of volunteers who are committed to raising funds to help as many unwanted and stray animals as possible.

KLAWS spay and neuter as many cats and dogs as possible and also treat sick or injured stray. We also re-home unwanted animals when good homes become available; this often involves sending animals to the U.K. where we work alongside other recognised animal welfare groups, such as the Dog’s Trust and the RSPCA.

Website: klawskerry.wordpress.com/

Last Hope Animal Charity

The Last Hope Animal Charity (LHAC) is a not-for-profit charitable, voluntary organisation dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of domestic animals.

We believe that every animal’s life is meaningful and each deserves a loving home.

Website: lasthope.ie

LM Training

Liz mainly deals with dogs but also works with cats, rabbits, and various household pets. Her aim is to help owners with their animals. She regards herself as a facilitator who shows people how to interact and communicate with their pets to achieve a balanced relationship.

Website: animalsolutions.ie

I Has A Hotdog

Pictures of Cute Dogs and Puppies to Help You Through the Day – the canine equivalent of icanhascheezburger.com.

Website: http://icanhas.cheezburger.com/dogs

Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW)

Rescue and rehome dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and many other animals when they find themselves homeless through no fault of their own. We have a no-kill policy. The animals remain in our care until we find the right homes for them.

Website: www.limerickanimalwelfare.ie

Limerick Feral Cats

A small group of cat-loving volunteers, dedicated to improving the lives of feral cats in Limerick city and county. We do this primarily by neutering and returning the cats. We also provide food and shelter for feral cats that have no one to look out for them. On occasion we have tame cats and kittens for rehoming. We don’t receive any funding from the local authorities or other public sources. We fundraise ourselves to meet all our costs.

Website: www.limerickferalcats.com

Lost and Found (Linked to IrishAnimals.ie)

Free and self-serve. Includes a ‘what to do’ checklist. Public, vets and welfare groups reference this site to help reunite people with pets.

Advertise your Pet you have lost of had found on this site. This site has links to irishanimals.ie who are an excellent resource for animal welfare in Ireland.

Website: lostandfound.ie

Lost and Found Pets

Whether you have lost or found a dog, cat, rabbit, rodent, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird or other pet, exotic or otherwise, this site’s mission remains simple. They aim to make reuniting lost pets with their owners in Ireland as quick and easy as possible.

Website: lostandfoundpets.ie

lovemypet.ie

lovemypet.ieYou’ve carefully considered all that is involved in having a pet and you’ve decided to get just the right one for you and your circumstances. Fantastic – you’ll have a great time and will derive immense pleasure from this wonderful relationship. Now learn in more detail how to care for the pet you love to the best of your ability to ensure a long, happy, healthy life.

Website: www.lovemypet.ie

MADRA (Mutts Anonymous Dog Rescue and Adoption)

MADRA is a volunteer dog rescue & adoption group run by qualified dog trainers. We have a variety of dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes ready for you to adopt. We are committed to the improvement of the welfare of dogs in Ireland.

Website: madra.ie

Monkey Sanctuary Ireland

In a tranquil, woodland nature reserve created by Willie Heffernan you could be forgiven for wondering what continent you are on – especially when catching a glimpse of the more exotic residents – seventeen Capuchin monkeys who are natives of the South American rainforest and a Sooty Mangabey, a native of equatorial West Africa.

These monkeys owe their lives to what is Ireland’s first and only sanctuary for unwanted primates. The best part about this unique project is how the lives of these monkeys have been totally transformed: monkeys that had spent their entire lives in cages are now are free to live on idyllic islands in a spring-fed lake at the Sanctuary, where they spend their days climbing and swinging on trees.

Website: monkeysanctuary.com

Munster Lost and Found Pet Help Line

Munster lost and found pets. Report lost and found dogs cats and other pets. Also reserve pets whose owners have not being found – information and advice. There is no fee for this service.

National Exotic Animal Sanctuary

NEAS is providing a solution for the growing number of unwanted and neglected exotic animals needing permanent expert care and specialised accommodation. They’re also caring for injured native birds, mammals (bats, foxes, deer) and amphibians at our Wildlife Hospital. AND they’re rescuing horses that have been abandoned, mistreated or their owners can no longer afford to keep them.

Website: neas.ie

New Start Cat Rescue

New Start started in 2010, with a group of like minded friends all wanting to help unwanted cats and kittens in the Gloucester area. But Jackie, one of the founders, has been in animal welfare for over twenty years. She’s been rehoming Irish kittens and cats for me since 2007, when I first met her. And New Start was partly founded to help Irish rescues and their delicate charges. An absolutely lovely group of people. And a very effective organisation.

Website: http://www.newstartcatrescue.org.uk

North West Pet Rescue (NWPR)

North West Pet Rescue has been formed in response to the overwhelming need indicated in the North-West area for additional welfare services for dogs and cats. The charity aims to meet the needs of ill-treated, abandoned and unwanted pets through offering shelter, care, veterinary treatment and a comprehensive and dynamic re-homing service.

Website: nwpetrescue.org.uk

Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act, 1965

Website: irishstatutebook.ie/1965/en/act/pub/0010/print.html

RAWR (Rural Animal Welfare Resources)

Rural Animal Welfare Resources (RAWR) is a grassroots animal welfare organisation run entirely by volunteers. Their mission is to reduce companion animal births and increase human responsibility. They focus on three main areas:

  • Trap Neuter Return (TNR) in West Cork.
  • Neutering of companion animals.
  • Empowering you with animal welfare information, support & resources.

Website: rawr.ie

Rescue Animals Ireland

From their volunteer work with a few rescues around the country Rescue Animals Ireland have seen the hard work that goes into helping the animals abandoned daily in Ireland. They decided to create this website to make it easier for people to find out information about animal rescues and pounds in their areas. Hopefully it will make it easier for people to adopt from them.

Website: www.rescueanimalsireland.ie

Ringworm

Excellent information on ringworm.

Website: fabcats.org/owners/skin/ringworm.html

Roscrea SPCA

A voluntary animal welfare group that has been providing a subsidised neutering scheme in their area since 1996.

Website: roscreaspca.ie

Save the Staffies Ireland

Save the Staffies FBThis page is both for proud staffie owners and those eager to help rescue those in need of a loving home. Please browse through our post down to see all staffies waiting for a new loving family.

Website: www.facebook.com/savethestaffiesireland

Socializing a Feral Cat

Excellent information on socialising a feral cat from Stray Pet Advocacy.

Website: straypetadvocacy.org/socializing_a_feral_cat.html

SpayAware

Spay AwareEvery year since it was launched in 2002 as part of a grass roots effort by animal welfare groups and individuals across Ireland, SpayAware has been highlighting the importance of spaying and neutering to address the pet overpopulation crisis.

SpayAware appeals for action to end the plight of the our unwanted animals by promoting the key message that it is time to kill the problems, not the pets.

Website: www.spayaware.ie

Spraying and soiling indoors

An excellent leaflet from The Blue Cross UK – also available to download as a PDF.

Website: www.bluecross.org.uk/1957-2768/spraying-and-soiling-indoors.html

Staffordshire Bull Terriers for adoption in ireland

Staffordshire Bull Terriers for adoption in irelandThe title says it all – Staffordshire Bull Terriers for adoption in ireland.

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Staffordshire-Bull-Terriers-for-adoption-in-ireland/315708568520484

Stray Pet Advocacy

Their website consolidates sources of information that pertain to issues affecting homeless, stray and feral companion animals and to provide the research and advocacy materials you need to achieve the necessary changes.

Teckels Animal Sanctuaries

Teckels is a charitable animal welfare centre, which was established in 2003 after the Gloucester based rescue kennels and cattery merged with another long established animal rescue centre based in Swindon.

Teckels has taken in and rehomed many animals from Irish rescue centres. They’re great for keeping us posted on how our fosterees are doing and where they end up!

Website: teckels.org

Three-Legged Cats

Three legged cats usually cope very well with their disability. This article from the Feline Advisory Bureau has some great information.

Website: fabcats.org/owners/disabled/info.html

UCD School of Veterinary Medicine

UCD School of Veterinary MedicineUCD School of Veterinary Medicine enjoys a long and proud tradition. This leading veterinary school provides excellent facilities for the care of animals and training opportunities for veterinary medicine and nursing students.

Website: www.ucd.ie/vetmed

Unmuzzle Ireland

Unmuzzle Ireland“We the people call on the Minister for the Environment & Local Government, The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas and the Joint Sub-Committee on Public Petitions to repeal and replace current legislation, namely the Control of Dogs Act in the Republic of Ireland, with legislation better suited to protecting the public from dangerous dogs without compromising another individual dog’s welfare. This proposal is based on the principle of ‘deed not breed’ and we oppose breed specific legislation in line with scientific peer-reviewed research and statistics world-wide which indicate the failure of breed specific legislation. As such we seek to place greater responsibility on dog owners and remove the welfare implications affecting dogs deemed to be a certain type”

Website: www.unmuzzle.ie

Veterinary Council of Ireland

Veterinary Council of IrelandThe Veterinary Council of Ireland is the Statutory Body established under the Veterinary Practice Act 2005. The Veterinary Practice Act 2005 was passed in July 2005. The Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Act was passed in July 2012.

The principal function of the Council is to regulate and manage the practice of veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing in the State in the public interest.

Website: www.vci.ie

Veterinary Ireland

Veterinary IrelandVeterinary Ireland is the representative body for veterinary surgeons in Ireland. Its role is to represent veterinary surgeons in Ireland and to facilitate the veterinary profession in its commitment to improving the health and welfare of animals under its care, to protecting public health and to serving the changing needs of its clients and the community through effective and innovative leadership.

Website: www.veterinaryireland.ie

Veterinary Ireland Journal

Veterinary Ireland JournalVeterinary Ireland Journal is a monthly publication that covers all aspects of veterinary science – with a special emphasis on the Irish veterinary profession. The Veterinary Ireland Journal carries veterinary news, focus articles, nursing features, business pieces, research findings, continuing education, clinical reports, and continuing education articles for large and small animal practitioners.

Website: www.veterinaryirelandjournal.com

West Cork Animal Welfare Group

The West Cork Animal Welfare Group was founded in May, 1999 in response to a desperate need to help unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused animals in West Cork. During the 8 years we have been in operation we have rescued and re-homed over 2200 animals.

Website: westcorkanimals.com

White Cats, Eye Colour and Deafness

A great source of info on the relationship between white cats, eye colour and deafness. Messybeast is a great source of feline info generally.

Website: messybeast.com/whitecat.htm

Wood Green Animal Shelters

Wood Green Animal Shelters is a registered Charity that has been taking in and rehoming animals since 1924. The Charity rehomes over 4,200 animals a year and has set national standards in animal care.

Wood Green takes animals from Irish rescue centres for rehoming and are truly fantastic. Their centres are a delight to visit.

Website: woodgreen.org.uk

WordPress

WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. They like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time. I have to winge a bit about it’s lack of CMS funcationality – it’s still really a blog rather than content management (unless you’re a developper). But it’s very, very easy to use, automatically backs up your work (which is great for me, as I’m hopeless at backing up) and has a fairly easy learning curve. I do recommend it if you’re looking for something more than just blogging software.

Website: wordpress.org

Goliath (pictured right)

Bob, a tenant at Kingston’s farm in the Mealagh Valley, just outside Bantry, Co Cork, was concerned about the state of the 26 cats at the farm and contacted us to see if we could help. His daughter, Ashley, was particularly concerned about the health of some of the kittens. We arranged to start a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program but we had no room for any more kittens. Ashley insisted that at least one of the kittens was blind and I figured we could always fit one more in. She brought us Goliath at the beginning of August 2007.

I was horrified. He looked like a concentration camp survivor. Skin and bone, snotty, eyes cloudy and white with mucus. I was nearly in tears just looking at him, never seen anything like it and I’ve seen kittens in pretty bad states before. And despite all that he had a fair bit of energy in him and was the friendliest wee thing towards the other cats & kittens and us humans alike.

So we dosed him with antibiotics, treated his eyes with gel and drops, fed him up and welcomed him into our home.

We kept him in the training cage for a day or so, much to his, very vocal, disgust. And when we let him out the Furrball Purrfest was complete. The Chocolates and Banjax took him on as their own, cleaned him, snuggled up to him, played with him and purred with him.

If you haven’t gathered already, Goliath’s only real problem had been malnutrition and lack of care. He was the same age as the Chocolates and yet half their size (see his Image Gallery for pics). Sometimes their play was a bit rough for him because of their size but he held his own and protested with outraged squeals. He went from strength to strength. His body filled out, his eyes healed, becoming clear as day, no sign of the blindness that threatened when he first came.

Now Goliath loves everyone and everyone loves Goliath. A more good natured cat you’ll not find often. He’s a real gent, incredibly polite, waiting patiently while the others eat if there’s no spare food bowl – I’d wonder if that was why he was so malnourished when he turned up if other kittens hadn’t been just as skeletal.

I’m ridiculously proud of Goliath and would love to know how he gets on in the UK. If you adopt him please let me know how he fares – you’ll get my contact details at the bottom of this website – or use our contact form!

Jupiter, Fell, Titan & Orion

And once Jenni and I had seen the state of Goliath we knew we couldn’t leave the other kittens we’d heard about at the farm, space or no space. So we set off the week after Goliath arrived and on our first visit picked up the worst of the survivors: Fell, Titan and Orion. All were in a similar state to Goliath and they seemed to respond well to treatment, as he had done. Of all of them Fell seemed not to thrive. He was the most timid and his third eyelid had grown onto his eyeball, probably from an old untreated injury. Although the milkiness of his eyes improved there was only so far they could go. We gave them all names they could grow into. Big names for tiny creatures who must have had great strength to have survived at all.

Then another week later we packed our trapping gear and went back to the farm. The first trip we only got 4 adults. One of them was Jupiter, a nine year old female with siamese-like markings. Ashley told us Jupiter had had flu symptoms as long as they’d lived there (several years) and she’d probably had untreated flu for most of her life. When it came time to release the neutered adults we decided to keep hold of Jupiter for a wee while to treat her symptoms, thinking she’d little chance otherwise. Again she was stick thin, rheumy eyed and sneezy/snotty. She seemed feral, hissed and spat and clawed at us when we went near but Jenni persisted and she soon settled. I was amazed at the change – it’s seldom that truly feral cats will tame down but Jupiter had obviously received some kindness in her life and responded to the domestic environment – she’s now as soft as anything, if a bit bossy.

In Memoria: Orion & Titan

Anyway, we put the three kittens, Fell, Titan and Orion in with Jupiter in a large cage and Fell was ecstatic. We can’t be sure of the exact kinships but this lot were definitely related to each other and we felt Jupiter was almost definitely Fell’s mum from his reaction to her. Titan was pretty pleased to see her too. And she took to nursing them all with great aplomb. Fell began to thrive. But Titan and Orion started backsliding.

First Orion went downhill. We put him on a drip but he developed a blocked bowel. He couldn’t pass urine or poo. Neither conventional nor homeopathic medicine seemed to help. I kept him beside me at night and the other kittens came around to see how he was doing and give him a wee clean and some comfort. Towards the end of August, only a few weeks after we got him, Orion died. I couldn’t believe we couldn’t save him. Goliath had gone from strength to strength and it didn’t cross my mind that our care couldn’t save the others too. Orion was buried in Jenni’s back garden.

At the same time Titan was starting to slide. Nothing specific to treat, just a general malaise and lack of thriving. See him to the right beside Goliath, both the same age, now Titan is half the size. Again we tried conventional and homeopathic medicines, loving care, plain diet. I kept him beside me at night. By this time I was wondering if Goliath had thrived because he was surrounded by warm, caring bodies from day one (the rest of the family had been kept separate from the house) and was determined that Titan should recieve the same care. But he died in his sleep beside me at 5am one morning.

Both he and Orion had been playful, friendly wee things. It broke my heart we couldn’t save them. Didn’t even occur to me we couldn’t until the last days.

I still wonder if we were wrong to have put them in with Jupiter, flu and all. If we should have integrated them in with the other kittens straight away. If there was anything else we could have done. But, as Jenni says, both deaths were a direct result of the malnutrition and lack of care they encountered in their young kittenhood, and undoubtedly the malnutrition of their mother during and after pregnancy. If we had left them at the farm they would have had no chance at all. At least their last weeks were in a warm, healthy environment with plenty food, treatment and care for them.

So I buried Titan in my back garden. I’ve never buried an animal before and it was amazingly cathartic. I had a tiny basket made of recycled newspaper that he fit right in, put some toys and flowers beside him and surrounded him with willow twigs, some straw decorations, a pipe for flowers and a candle for remembrance. I’ll plant more willow this winter and it’ll grow thick and fast in the spring, allowing me to weave a memorial around him. And now there’s a tiny area of peace in my garden.

Maybe you’ll think I’m barking mad but Titan is the fourth kitten to die in my care this year and the grave, for me, serves as a memorial for all the animals mistreated and killed so needlessly by human carelessness and cruelty. Looking at the pictures above, the state of these kittens when they first arrived, I can’t believe anyone with a spark of humanity in their hearts can look on such vulnerable creatures and not help them. How they can walk past them every day and not do something? How they can say they care (as the Kingston farmer does!?!!)?

Fell and Jupiter

While we were nursing and then mourning Titan and Orion, Fell was going from strength to strength. Absolutely devoted to Jupiter she seemed to give him the energy to grow and recover. I opened the rest of the house to the two of them and, as Jupiter became more and more friendly, Fell joined the Furrball Purrfest. His eye would never be perfect but he would become soft furred, full bellied, happy and healthy.

Fell remains devoted to his mum, Jupiter. He’s still very timid and took a fair while to tolerate me patting him. But he gets on extremely well with other cats and has even adopted two tiny wee kittens who joined the throng here recently. A lovely, good natured cat, he will take a while to win over but he deserves the input after the dreadful beginnings he’s come from.

We tested Jupiter for FIV and FeLV in November 2007 – and found her negative on both counts. We’re assuming from this that this family will all be free of the viruses – Jupiter looks after her territory very well and, by all accounts, was quite ferocious before she discovered the joys of living in a house. We’re assuming she’d have been in plenty of fights and that if FIV had been around the farm she could not have avoided catching it. For this reason we reckon all the kittens will be FIV & FeLV free too.

Jupiter is a proud mum. She’s not only nursed her own kittens but nearly every other small kitten that’s come in while she’s been here. She’s fiercely defensive of her home turf and has given short shrift to a couple of neighbouring cats that keep trying to come in, while at the same time keeping an eye on the kittens in her care (21 at one point). She is less tolerant of the resident adult cats but doesn’t bother about them much as she obviously considers herself queen of the roost. All the kittens love her.

She’s chronically snotty, we’re assuming from having untreated flu for so long, but has been very healthy otherwise and the odd sneezing fit doesn’t seem to bother her. We also think her sight might not be great, at least her peripheral vision, long term untreated eye problems taking their toll. We’re hoping UK vets might be able to help her more!

Timmy and Cleo

Back at the Kingston farm we had presented the farmer with a bill itemising the fees vets would normally charge for the neutering and treatment of all his cats alongside the much reduced, actual fees we would be forking out – all this not including our own free and voluntary services. We didn’t get a penny from the man. Not one cent.

When we returned to the Kingston farm again to complete the TNR program we were surprised to find very few cats and only four kittens. We can only assume the farmer had instigated a killing spree. We were told that in the past kittens had simply disappeared, presumably drowned or killed in some other way. Obviously much cheaper than our own, humane methods.

Cleo was sound asleep on a straw bale and, much to her disgust, I was able to grab her without any trouble. Timmy took a bit more time and was Furious at being trapped. Both were skinny and a bit fluey but nothing like as bad as the other kittens we’d found at this farm. Of the remaining two kittens, the farmer’s wife was keeping one and we hadn’t a hope of getting the other so we left them be, figuring that the remaining animals weren’t in too bad nick so might be okay now the numbers were diminished. Obviously we’ll go back and get them neutered when they’re old enough.

Cleo & Timmy were fostered by Lorna & Frank for a good while until the ringworm set in in the Autumn. It seemed more sensible for me to keep all the ringworm cats and try and keep it contained. Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a special group of fungi; it is not caused by a worm at all. In multi-cat households it can be a real problem to get rid of.

The pair of them joined in with the rest of the gang with no trouble. Timmy was pretty timid but has warmed up considerably – he’ll still need wooing when you first meet him but he’ll warm up into a wonderful companion. Cleo’s a deliciously affectionate wee thing but absolutely Hated being picked up when she first arrived. I’ve worked on this and she’ll tolerate being picked up if her forepaws are put on your shoulder and she’s getting better all the time. I don’t know them quite as well as the other kittens as they haven’t been with me so long. They both get on well with humans they know and with other cats but are timid of strangers (and who can blame them!).

Timmy has developed into quite the tubster – I presume he’s making up for lost time on the food front. Cleo is extremely chatty and keeps you up to date on what she’s thinking and doing. Both are very food oriented and the simplest way to make friends with them is to feed them.

Some Thoughts

The second time we went trapping at the Kingston farm we found, to our horror, a wee six month old puppy kept in a coal cellar – she was only let out when the tenant had time, the farmer didn’t seem to bother about her at all. Daylight only reached her through tiny holes in the door and she had less than four foot square to move around in. And further up from the barn we found the home of the collie you see to the right – a metal door leant against an earth embankment. She’s kept here when she’s not working. A bowl is available for her outside this shelter and she’s kept on a chain. There’s no drainage and the shelter is open at both ends. It rains a lot in Ireland, in case you hadn’t heard.

The dogs didn’t look in too bad nick, unlike the kittens and cats we found, but this shelter is far from adequate. And most people with half a clue would agree it’s inhumane. But if we report the farmer for cruelty we’ll be lucky if he gets a slap on the wrists let alone any serious come back – the law here is ridiculously lax when it comes to animal rights. One person, on hearing the story, suggested kidnapping the dogs and rehoming them – but the farmer will just get more and treat them the same way. If we do report him, none of the farmers will ever want us to come to their farms to carry out a humane TNR program (in case we report them) and we’ll never get on top of the huge overpopulation of cats in West Cork – and animals will continue to live horrific lives of starvation and mistreatment.

I don’t know where to go with this. Catch 22.

Addendum

All these cats are lucky to be alive and deserve the best homes. They get on well with other cats but are timid with strange two-legs – and who can blame them? I’ve had them for a long time now and am still shocked when I look back over these pages at the pictures of the state they were in when they arrived. The deaths of Orion and Titan still sadden me and I feel impotent fury towards the farmer who walked past these walking skeletons every day and made no move of compassion.

They all get on well with other cats and Jupiter, Fell and Goliath in particular adopted and cared for two wee kittens we took in recently, Fell perhaps most of all.

I’m sorry this story has been so long (normally I write less than an A4 page for a family) but I can’t tell one bit without the rest and I’d like you to know how special these kittens are and how proud of them we are and how much I love them (tacky but true, had to say it).

If you adopt any of these kittens please care for them well and let me know how they fare!

Co Cork

Animal Advocacy

Available to TNR feral cats in the west Cork area.

Contact: Animal Advocacy

 

Cork Cat Action Trust (Cork CAT)

Available to TNR in Cork city and surrounds.

Contact: Cork Cat Action Trust

 

Community Cats Network

Available to TNR cats in the Cork area.

Contact: Em: 086 158 3501 or Maggie: 086 467 6111; communitycatsnetwork@gmail.comCommunity Cats Network

 

RAWR (Rural Animal Welfare Resources)

Available to TNR feral cats in the west Cork area.

Contact: RAWR

 

Co Dublin

Aoife

Available to TNR feral cats in Dublin 3, 5, 13, 17 areas, as well as Howth, Portmarnock and possibly Malahide.

Contact: 087 961 2119 (please leave a message); dublinnorthanimalrescue@hotmail.com

 

Adeleh

Available to TNR in the south east Dublin area.

Contact: 085 812 2950; adelehghiassi@gmail.com

 

Kathy

Available to TNR feral cats in north/east Co Wicklow and south/east Co Dublin.

Contact: 086 840 6614

 

Tracey

Available to TNR feral cats in Wicklow & south Dublin.

Contact: 087 817 3510

 

Co Galway

Galway Cat Rescue

Available to TNR feral cats in Galway.

Contact: galwaycats@gmail.comGalway Cat Rescue

 

Co Laois

LSPCA

Contact: 087 688 3333

Co Limerick

Limerick Feral Cats

TNR in Limerick city and surrounds.

Contact: Limerick Feral Cats FB

Co Mayo

Mayo Cat Rescue

Available to TNR feral cats in Mayo.

Contact: 098 35920; momg@eircom.netMayo Cat Rescue

Co Sligo

Jutta Beinker

Available to TNR feral cats in Sligo areas:  Dromore West, Easky, Rathlee, Templeboy, Skreen, Ballisodare and Manorhamilton.

Contact: 086 775 9537

Co Wicklow

Kathy

Available to TNR feral cats in north/east Co Wicklow and south/east Co Dublin.

Contact: 086 840 6614

 

Wicklow Cats

Available to TNR feral cats in Wicklow town and Rathnew areas

Contact: 086 079 6625; Wicklow Cats

 

Catriona

Contact: 087 175 7395

Available to TNR feral cats in South Co Wicklow.

 

Tracey

Available to TNR feral cats in Wicklow & south Dublin.

Contact: 087 817 3510

 

Co Cork

Fachtna Collins

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, early-age neutering, eartipping

Contact: The Vet Clinic, Bantry, Co Cork; 027 53639

 

Clare Meade

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, early-age neutering, eartipping

Contact: The Cat Hospital, Barnavara Hill, Glanmire, Cork; 021 482 4601; clare@thecathospital.iewww.thecathospital.ie

 

Patrick O’Sullivan

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, eartipping

Contact: Reendesert, Ballylickey, Bantry, Co Cork; 027 51234

 

Riverview Vets

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, early-age neutering, eartipping, Charity Work

Contact: Riverview Veterinary Clinic, Distillery Rd, Bandon, Co Cork; 023 884 1503 / 086 874 0711; info@riverview.iewww.riverviewvets.ie

Co Dublin

Animal Hospital

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, early-age neutering, eartipping, Charity Work

Contact: 37 Main Rd, Tallaght, Dublin 24; 01 451 5930 / 6194; vet@animalhospital.ieanimalhospital.ie

Co Limerick

Dr Andrea Stuckenberg

TNR, Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, early-age neutering, eartipping, Charity Work

Contact: Castlefarm Veterinary Practice, Hospital, Co Limerick; 087 278 0949

 

John O’Dwyer

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, early-age neutering, eartipping

Contact: Henry St, Limerick; 061 314 203; www.johnodwyervet.com

 

Donal Ryan

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, early-age neutering, eartipping

Contact: Lord Edward St, Limerick; 061 419 760; reception@cityvet.ie; www.cityvet.ie

 

Co Wexford

The Veterinary Centre

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, eartipping

Contact: Gubbins, O’ Shea and Bramley Veterinary Centre, Distillery Rd, Wexford; 053 914 5755; theveterinarycentre@eircom.net; veterinaryhospitalwexford.com

 

Co Wicklow

Blacklion Pet Hospital

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, eartipping

Contact: Greystones, Co Wicklow; 01 287 5283, Out of Hours 01 260 9920; blacklion@vets.iewww.vets.ie

 

Greystones Veterinary Hospital

Feral Friendly, diagnosis & treatment, neutering, eartipping

Contact: Trafalgar Rd, Greystones, Co Wicklow; 01 287 2099; email via their websitewww.greystonesvet.ie

 

Abandoned Cat/Dog

A cat/dog who has been deliberately left behind during a move or taken to a place distant from the home and left. These animals initially are usually fairly well socialised.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Abuse

Willful infliction of distress. Intentional, an active process.

Animal Rights

The position that animals have certain moral and legal rights, including the right not to be harmed. Rightists believe that it is wrong to cause animals any pain and suffering, and that animals should not be eaten, used for clothing, held captive in zoos, subjected to painful experiments or used in most or any research.

From Bekoff, Marc (2007), Animals Matter, Boston: Shambala Publications

Other animal philosophies include: Animal Ethics, Conservation and Deep Ecology.

Differences in animal philosophies can often lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings in the animal welfare community. As can a misperceived association of violence with animal rights campaigners (in fact the percentage of violent campaigners is very, very small). Perhaps disputes could be minimised if everyone interpreted animal rights the way Marc Gold described the notion in 1995 (quoted in Waldau, 2011):

“The term animal rights is nothing more than a useful kind of shorthand for a movement based on the recognition that non-human animals live purposeful emotional lives and are as capable of suffering as humans … kindness and tolerance for those different and weaker than ourselves are amongst the highest possible human aspirations.”

 

Animal Welfare

A position concerned with the well-being of animals without conceding that animals have rights. Welfarists believe it is alright to use animals for human benefit as long as humane safeguards are used to ensure protection from unnecessary or undue suffering. Unlike animal rightists, they accept the humane use of animals in experiments and the slaughtering of animals as food for humans.

From Bekoff, Marc (2007), Animals Matter, Boston: Shambala Publications

Other animal philosophies include: Animal Ethics, Conservation and Deep Ecology.

Differences in animal philosophies can often lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings in the animal welfare community.

Caregiver

Caregivers in this context are humans who provide care to a cat colony, specifically through providing food and water daily, shelter, vet visits and medical attention when necessary, arranging neutering including TNR and monitoring colony members & newcomers.

See TNR for Caregivers and Working with Caregivers for more information.

Castration

To remove the male animal’s testicles; synonymous with ‘neutering’.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Companion Animal

An animal kept by a person for companionship rather than purely utilitarian reasons. Many people use the term companion animal because it implies a mutual, respectful relationship with an animal, as opposed to pet, which suggests that the animal is merely there to be petted.

From Bekoff, Marc (2007), Animals Matter, Boston: Shambala Publications

Compassion

An emotion associated with sensitivity to the suffering of others, combined with a desire to relieve their pain. Choosing compassion over cruelty toward animals is an important principale, along with offering them empathy and respect. Animals themselves also demonstrate compassion, as when a group of elephants patiently wait for a lame elephant to catch up with them, or when a mouse writhes in empathy with another mouse in pain. See also empathy.

From Bekoff, Marc (2007), Animals Matter, Boston: Shambala Publications

Cruel

Wilfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others.

Domesticate

To tame (an animal), especially by generations of breeding; to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses it ability to live in the wild.

Eartipping

Eartipping is painlessly removing a quarter inch off the top of a feral cat’s left ear while the cat is anaesthetised for spay/neutering. Eartipping is the universal symbol of and only proven way to permanently identify a feral cat who’s been evaluated, vaccinated and sterilized. It ensures that a sterile cat won’t undergo unnecessary repeat trapping and surgery.

Empathy

An emotional capacity that enables us to understand another individual’s feelings from his or her own point of view. If you know how another person feels, or can imagine what it might be like to experience the world of a bat, a dog or an eagle, then you are feeling empathy. (Empathy is similar to sympathy, althought the latter suggests feeling sorry for another individual who is suffering.) Empathy for animals is an important quality for us to bring to decision making about humans’ relationships with the animal world. Studies who that many nonhuman animals also display empathy for one another. See also compassion.

From Bekoff, Marc (2007), Animals Matter, Boston: Shambala Publications

Ethics

A branch of philosophy concerned with issues of rightness or fairness and how we should behave toward others. An ‘ethic’ (in the singular) means a set of principles or values that guide an activity; for example, the ethical values that govern how scientific research is conducted with animals would determine a research ethic.

From Bekoff, Marc (2007), Animals Matter, Boston: Shambala Publications

Euthanasia

Also called mercy killing. The act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme Medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, esp. a painful, disease or condition.

Killing a healthy animal is not ‘euthanasia’, it is ‘killing’.

Feeding Station

A feeding station is an area, usually including a structure protected from the weather, where a feral cat colony is fed. Building a feeding station and establishing a specific area for feeding can help camouflage where the cats eat and make colony management easier on the caregiver. The goal is for this area to not be visible to the public. Feeding stations help deter insects from the food by raising it off of the ground; having a roof protects the food from the elements. It also helps with Trap Neuter Return efforts, since cats are fed at the same place every day, making it easy to know where to trap. Also, you can gradually and easily move the feeding stations when needed to address neighbourhood concerns.

Find out more about feeding feral cat colonys here: Providing Food & Water.

Feral Cat

A cat who is too unsocialised to be handled and placed in a typical pet home. The cat may have been born to feral parents or may be a stray or abandoned cat who has become unsocialised.

The ‘feralness’ of a cat should never be judged in the first 24 hours of capture as many domestics will respond with fear to being trapped and may appear feral.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Find out more about feral cats here.

High Volume Spay/Neuter

High volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinics abound in the States. Sadly there’s not to many of them in Ireland, but they can be arranged. High volume simply means spay/neutering in high volume – the clinic is set up to neuter cats quickly and efficiently, with no loss of quality and care. Thus a high volume of cats can be spayed in a short period of time. Obviously very useful for TNR projects.

Maltreatment

Actions (or inactions) that threaten a dependent individual’s welfare. Includes abuse and neglect.

Neglect

Failure to fulfil the dependent individual’s needs. Unintentional, a passive process.

Neutering

The surgical removal of the testicles in male animals, rendering them sterile. Can also be used to refer to either male or female surgeries. Synonymous with ‘sterilisation’.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

No-Kill / Low-Kill / Kill Shelters

[From Wikipedia]

“A Kill shelter is an animal shelter where animals are killed if they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be suitable for adoption or due to lack of shelter space. No-Kill shelters reject killing as a means of population control.”

Low-Kill shelters use killing as a means of population control but minimise such killings using a selection of programmes and services.

Socialised

An animal who is not afraid of people, particularly in a familiar environment; often used synonymously with ‘tame’.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Find out more about socialised cats here.

Spaying

The surgical removal of the female reporductive tract, including the ovaries and the uterus (womb).

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Sterilisation

The general term for spaying or neutering animal companions so that they are unable to reproduce.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Sterilisation, low-cost

Surgery performed at an actual cost low enough to be affordable to a large percentage of the local population, i.e. if a surgery costs the owner/caretaker €35 and it costs the veterinarian €30, then it is a low-cost spay or neuter. Commonly used incorrectly to refer to inexpensive surgeries.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Sterilisation, subsidised

Spay or neuter surgery in which the difference in cost between what the caretaker/owner pays and what the surgery costs the veterinarian is paid for by someone other than the caretaker/owner to make the surgery affordable to a large percentage of the lcoal population, i.e., if the owner/caretaker pays €20 and it costs the veterinarian €35, then the veterinarian or some other group must pay the difference. Most spays and neuters referred to as ‘low-cost’ are actually subsidised.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Stray Cat

A currently or recently owned cat lost from the home. The owner may be looking for the cat and the cat may or may not be reunited with the owner. Such cats are usually fairly well socialised.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Tame

A typical pet who is friendly towards people, especially familiar ones.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Targeted Trapping

Targeted trapping is trapping within a specific targeted area, be it a single colony on a farm, or all the cats in a village, a townland or a county – or the whole of Ireland! Basically, it’s a method of TNRing an entire colony at a time before moving on to the next surrounding colonies in a specific geographic location. Newcomers entering completed colonies are immediately TNRed. Find out more on our Targeted Trapping pages.

Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

A general approach to controlling fereal cats that includes sterilisation of the cats and return to their original location. Other health care may or may not be provided and ongoing care, while usually available, may not be present.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Trap, remove and kill

A completely different approach from trap, neuter and return. Cats are killed after removal from the colony. This doesn’t solve any problems.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Trap, Test, Vaccinate, Alter, Return, Monitor/Manage (TTVAR-M)

A specific level of care under the general trap, neuter, return approach. ‘Test’ means that cats are tested for feline leukemia (FeLV) and/or feline immunosuppressive virus (FIV). In many situations where cats are tested, positive cats are not returned to the colony. Testing the component of TTVAR-M which is mostly likely to be omitted. Vaccination, at least for rabies, is required (except countries, like Ireland, that are rabies-free). Vaccination for the respiratory and distemper viruses and for feline leukemia are optional.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Vasectomy

A surgical procedure in male cats that makes them unable to fertilise a female but does not remove the testicles or alter the typical male cat behaviours.

From Slater, Margaret R (2002), Community Approaches to Feral Cats, Washington: Humane Society Press

Vivisection

The action of cutting into or dissecting a living body; the practice of subjecting living animals to cutting operations, especially in order to advance physiological and pathological knowledge.

 

Just For Fun!

DIY Dog Grooming Help

Providing buckets of useful information to help dog owners rectify their errors and improve the lives of dogs through grooming.

Website: diydoggroominghelp.com

The Ralph Site

The Ralph Site has great information on dealing with the death of our companions, not least of which, dealing with making decisions that we never want to have to make. But we do have to, eventually. And we need to do what’s best for them, not necessarily what’s best for us. This site has had me in bits several times, but it’s so worth a look.

http://theralphsite.com/index.php?idPage=3

Tips & Bandit

Tips & BanditTips & Bandit came to us in early November 2006 from Sara Lane of the ACS in Mallow. Sara had rescued them from Cork at the age of 2 to 3 weeks and their sibling had died the first night – these two were very lucky to survive and Sara nursed them back to health before sending them down to us to stay until they were old enough for their jabs. They were about 5 weeks old and skinny as anything – still a ways to go to full health.

Neither were very well off, health-wise – both got cat flu and couldn’t seem to shift it and Bandit had an umbilical hernia (which could have been easily fixed when she was neutered) and some weakness in her hind legs. As with all the strays that pass thru our doors, we tended to them and loved them and they began to develop into healthy kittens.

TipsThey ate like horses – Tips in particular had a particularly charming way of pointing out her food bowl was empty – no miaowing or hassling, just quietly sitting by her empty bowl and gazing sadly at whoever passed by. Didn’t take her long to get one of us to fill it up!

Bandit got on well with all the living things she came across – she curled up beside adult cats, kittens and humans and was the most adorable friend. Tips took longer to take to others, hissing at other cats initially and took a few weeks to grudgingly accept affection from the others. Now, in March 2007, she’s the only kitten in the household and is fiercely affectionate, missing her other kitten companions.

February 2007 was horrific as Bandit’s weak back legs got worse, other symptoms developed and she was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), a ghastly, fatal virus affecting cats. While many cats contract FIP only a very few go on to develop the fatal version of the virus, most throwing it off. Kittens and old cats (over 14 years) are most at risk. I’ve never come across it before and it’s ghastly. Bandit was particularly vulnerable because she also had FIV (check this link to find out more about FIV).

We did all we could for Bandit, as did Tom Farrington, Alternative Animal Care, our vet. But there’s no cure and she was becoming distressed so euthanasia was our only option. We’ve never had to euthanase a kitten before. It was a horrible decision to make. And it was horrible seeing her so ill and be unable to do anything about it.

The only consolation is that she would not have survived in the first place if Sara hadn’t rescued her and that she was cared for and much loved during her short life.

We were left mourning Bandit and were very worried about the other kittens and cats – enough time has passed now for us to be sure the others are okay and can only assume it’s the FIV that made Bandit so vulnerable.

_________________________________

FIP is a difficult disease to diagnose and to treat. Testing for this disease is not very accurate and the clinical signs are easily confused with a number of other diseases. The disease does not appear to affect all cats exposed to it in the same way. The only certain diagnoses are made at the time of a necropsy exam (autopsy). This makes FIP one of the most frustrating diseases for veterinarians and their clients.

You can find more info at the following websites:

 

 

 

Rianior & Rowan

The GangRianior (aka Reeny, male) and Rowan (female) came to us from Future Forests on 23rd December 2006. They both had cat flu and Christmas meant no heating where they were living so after the Rianior gig we popped them in a box and home they came. They almost didn’t need antibiotics – cleaning their eyes the first night just with warm water had them greatly improved by the next day – and they were fit, if somewhat skinny, in next to no time.

Both are black tabbies – we thought they were plain black at first but certain lights showed tabby markings which grew more distinct as they grew bigger. Truly beautiful cats, Rowan has only the tiniest bit of grey/white under her chin and eyes that change from green to amber depending on the light. I’ve no decent photos of her – just a blur of black with amber eyes staring out. Reeny has white nose, chest and paws and is much more photogenic.

Rianior & ShapolohOn arrival they showed absolutely no fear or wariness and settled straight into their new home. Reeny in particular is one of the friendliest kittens I’ve come across and snuggled up to anyone and everything. Note, in particular, him snuggling up to Shapoloh, our resident bad-tempered and extremely snotty black and white – absolutely unheard of!

While both thoroughly enjoy, even demand, plenty lap time they’re not always affectionate with it – more assume their right to comfy spots – and they’re not entirely keen on being picked up. However, they’re very faithful cats and follow me everywhere. Reeny has a particular fascination with the toilet flushing and will stare pointed at the flush handle waiting knowing full well that’s what gets the water flowing.

 

 

 

Tips

Dutchess & TipsMid March now and Reeny & Rowan have left for pastures new – Tips is the only kitten with us.  She’s sorely missing her companions and is fiercely affectionate, sitting beside me and purring as I type this.  She enjoys sitting on shoulders and will perch parrot-like for hours at a time.  She loves the outdoors and figured out the cat flap very early on (much to my horror). Baths fascinate her (so long as she’s watching and not participating!).

Sara is finding the perfect home for her – Tips had such a hard time of it she deserves the best.  In the meantime she’s stuck with the boring old adult cats and desperate for someone to play with.

Medical Histories
Name Tips Rowan Rianior
Tips The Gang Rianior
Description as at March 2007 White & black female. White tip to her black tail. Black tabby female. Amazing amber/Green eyes. Black tabby male with white bits.  Very earnest.
DOB Guessing born around Sept 2006 Guessing born around mid to late Oct 2006
Place Of Birth Cork City, Ireland Kealkill, W Cork, Ireland
Wormed & Defleaed 03/03/07 03/03/07 03/03/07
Nobivac Tricat 9781A Feb 07 Feb 07 Feb 07
Other Medications loads of antibiotics for recurring flu and sinusitus one antibiotic treatment for flu Dec 06
 Rehomed Cork City May 2007 Rehomed near Cork City March 2007

 

Bantry

Overlooking Bantry Bay in the heart of West Cork, Bantry town is situated just over 55 miles west of Cork city. It functions as a large Market town providing commercial, retail and tourism/leisure facilities for locals and visitors alike.

Website: www.bantry.ie

Bantry House

A privately owned stately home in Co Cork, Ireland.  The estate sits in an incredible location with amazing views over Bantry Bay. You could spend the whole afternoon browsing the house and gardens – and the tearoom supplies delicious cakes (as well as meals!) for when you need a wee rest. Well-behaved-dog friendly.

Website: www.bantryhouse.com

Jim’s Coffee House

Boutique Guesthouse & Coffee, Food & Wine Emporium. Based in Glengarriff, with lovely views and splendid food. Well worth a visit.

Website: www.facebook.com/TheBayviewBoutiqueGuesthouseAndJimsCoffeeHouse

Hagal Health Farm

Hagal Health FarmRelaxing breaks at Hagal Farm, situated in the beautiful natural landscape of West Cork Ireland. Health and pampering retreats, with alternative therapies and delicious vegetarian food. Also provides quality training in holistic therapies.

Nestled on the south slope of the Maughnaclea mountains, with breath-taking views over the Mealagh valley and Bantry Bay in the distance, Hagal Healing Farm is surrounded by nature and the beautiful, wild landscape of West Cork.

Website: hagalholistichealth.com

The Bamboo Park

The unique exotic garden in one of the most attractive areas of Ireland. Situated in the mild climate of Glengarriff in the southwest. Thirty different species of bamboo surrounded by palms and other tropical plants, amidst of romantic paths and breathtaking views.

Website: www.bamboo-park.com

The Ewe Sculpture Garden

The Ewe is a unique combination of nature and art – and Ireland’s only interactive sculpture garden. Such creative havens can be found in only a few places in Europe.

One of our very favourite places – take a picnic when you visit – you could be there for hours! They do provide tea and cakes though, if you forget the picnic. Animal welfare issues are one of their educational topics.

Website: www.theewe.com

West Cork Garden Trail

The West Cork Garden Trail has welcomed thousands of visitors to some of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland since 1994.  In association with the Harold Barry Trust the trail offers 15 gardens open to visitors.

On their website you can find information about these unique and special gardens and the many features and facilities on offer.  To help plan your visit each participating garden has given details of its opening times and directions, contact information and a guide to facilities.

Website: www.westcorkgardentrail.com

Food & Drink

This pic best shows how skinny Bruce was when he arrived at mine. He’d already been groomed so I can’t show you the extent of the matting he originally arrived with. For the first day or so I fed him little and often – he’d have eaten until he was sick otherwise. But soon enough he stopped eating when he’d had enough, so he moved on to having food left down all the time. Then he could eat his fill – and he put on weight quick enough, now a fine figure of a dog. This suggests he probably wasn’t starving for too long – I’d have expected the weight to take longer to return otherwise. He’s still getting food whenever he asks for it here, but is really a good weight and can easily move on to one or two meals a day.

Bruce does seem to drink an awful lot – more than 4 dog bowls of water a day. So the vet did a few checks but it seems there’s nothing wrong with Bruce – he’s just more thirsty than most!

Socialisation
People

Bruce lurvs people! In fact, he can get so excited on meeting new people that he has small accidents. Usually letting him out to do his business just before someone’s arriving sorts that out.

Dogs

The first time I was with Bruce when he met another dog was at the vet’s – another dog came out the treatment room while we waited in reception and Bruce raised his hackles and growled – not a good start. As a result I’ve been careful introducing him to other dogs, but there’s been no repeat experiences. In contrast, he’s always been delighted to meet and play with my friends’ dogs and dogs we’ve encountered on walks. All in all I’d say he’s great with other dogs, but I’d be careful because of that first experience, just to be on the safe side.

Cats

I thought Bruce was great with cats when he first arrived (I mostly foster cats and have several permanent residents) – basically he completely ignored them. But after he’d had a few days to settle in he started expressing extreme interest in the cats – staring, pointing, etc. His behaviour was very worrying and I haven’t left him alone with the cats as a result. However, I think it mostly comes from jealousy (his first expression of this behaviour was towards a cat I was paying attention to). He should be fine with cats so long as an eye is kept on him initially. Tonight, as I type this, he’s lying by the fire beside Barley, a gentle little caramel girl that stays with me.

Training

I would have guessed that Bruce hadn’t had any or had minimal training before he came to me. But he’s a quick study, loves the attention training gives him, is food orientated and is very eager to learn. He learned ‘Sit’ in about three lessons. He comes when he’s called – so much so that I let him off the lead when we went walking in the country – but I put him back on it when other dogs were around, just to be on the safe side. He hasn’t learned ‘Lie Down’, mostly because he seems to think I’m giving him a row when I try that one (see pic) – don’t ask me why!

He did jump up enthusiastically in greeting, and to get attention, when I first got him. Since he did this gently, I didn’t object immediately. But I’ve been discouraging him in recent weeks, and he’s getting the idea – though he’s not there yet. A bit of consistency and he’ll stop soon enough.

For a collie cross (usually very attention seeking) he’s surprisingly good and quiet – though he does come looking for attention (and prefers to be by my side at all times), he’s very good at sitting quietly when I’m busy.

Basically, Bruce is very trainable and will engage in training sessions with enthusiasm.

House Training

I think it’s safe to say Bruce wasn’t housetrained on his arrival. But he’s a quick study and, though he still has accidents, he’s nearly there. Most nights there’s no accidents, and no accidents at all during the day. He’s figured this out mostly on his own – I’ve let him out frequently and let him know to go out when I’ve caught him indoors, rather than crate training. And he’s caught on so quick!

When he moves to his new home you’ll probably have to keep an eye on him at first, to be sure he knows the rules are the same at yours as at mine. Do be prepared for the odd accident at first, but he’ll catch on quick.

Medical History
Name

Bruce

Description Male collie cross, mostly black with splashes of brown and white, with white paws.
DOB Around 2 years February 2013
Place Of Birth Probably somewhere in West Cork, Ireland. Picked up in Bantry.
Wormed / Defleaed 8/3/13
Vaccinated Fully vaccinated. Booster due 22/2/14
Neutered Yes
Microchipped Yes
Other Medications None. Healthy during stay.He has a couple of small bald patches from an allergy to fleas.
Other Details Loves people and other dogs. Very interested in cats. Extremely good natured, faithful and loving.
Emigrated to the UK 10/3/13

 

The Beginning

Well, the beginning really started in my childhood when my parents instilled a respect and care for animals in me, without my even being aware of it. When I was allergic to the kitten, Beauty, I’d begged to adopt, my mum took me to the doctor and got me antihistamines to sort me out. No ‘getting rid of’ a living creature for my mum, bless her.

Through my adult life, when work took up most of my time, I joined animal welfare organisations (amongst others) and donated money, rather than donating time. I always neutered my animal companions, and took them to the vets when they were ill, just like my mum taught me, and I would never walk past an animal in need. But I didn’t really get involved in animal welfare till I came to Ireland and Shapoloh was dumped on my doorstep.

Early in 2007 I lived in a terraced house in Bantry town with three resident cats (all rescued) and varying numbers of foster cats and kittens. Around then, Jennifer Carroll, the veterinary assistant for our local vet, Fachtna Collins, joined me in my fostering endeavours, helping with medication and kitten management generally.

Mid 2007, Jenni & I started a Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program in West Cork. This involves moving into feral and semi-feral cat populations, trapping the adults, neutering them and releasing them back into their population once they’ve recovered from the operation. Often it involves neutering colonies that have developed because private individuals haven’t neutered their domestic cat.

Until we started TNR I’d just fostered 2 to 4 kittens or one family at a time. When we started TNR we came across kittens in every cat population that we couldn’t simply just leave – apart from anything else they would grow up and continue producing kittens, which would pretty much defeat the purpose. If that wasn’t a good enough reason the state of some of the kittens we found was appalling – see Titan‘s pic on the right.

So, in 2007, I ended up with 25 cats and kittens at one point. And I had to reorganise a bit. I used one room to keep ill or new kittens separate and the bathroom could also take a couple of kittens that need isolated from the rest. Apart from that they all ran round loose in the house and, once they figured out the cat flap, the garden too. It wasn’t ideal but there was nowhere else for them to go!

Towards the end of 2007, Filament brought Feline Leukemia (FeLV) into the house and Shapoloh, a permanent resident, contracted it. We couldn’t carry on introducing kittens without an isolation period and we renovated three bedrooms into kitten sanctuaries, sectioned off from the rest of the house. At the same time Jenni was able to house outdoor rescue cats and kittens in sheds designed for that purpose in her back garden.

The autumn of 2008 cursed us with Feline Infectious Enteritis (FIE) and we’ll have to fumigate and review our working (voluntary?) practice before we can take any more kittens into my place.

 

More Background

Cats and kittens arrive here by a variety of means; many are dumped – at the side of busy roads, in car parks, in the middle of nowhere, in the Tourist Office(!); some are reported by concerned neighbours; many are passed to RAWR by owners who promise to get their cats neutered – and then return with the next litter, and the next, and the next …; etc. Others arrive direct to my doorstep because word has got out – one starving 5 week old kitten, Mr Chumbley Warner, was dumped on the barren patch across the road from my old house and would have died there if a workman hadn’t heard him crying for his mum & told me.

Prime examples are, (see picture, from left to right): Duchess, at about 6 months of age, wandered into a house up the road from me and tried to take up residence – the householder knew I’d taken in cats in the past and appeared on my doorstep with her. I rescued Crusty from a house I used to visit regularly – of 3 adult cats and 4 litters of kittens he is the only known survivor. Shapoloh was dumped outside my old house at 5 weeks old. Right on a busy main road. They’re all lucky to be alive. For one reason or another they all ended up taking up permanent residence here.

Nearly every kitten & cat that has arrived at my house has a belly fat with worms (in contrast with their undernourished, skeletal body), is riddled with fleas and ear mites and, more often than not, can barely see for some kind of eye infection or other. Adult males are also usually raggedy with torn ears, patches of fur missing and/or numerous scratches from fighting. What breaks my heart is it only takes a few days to see an improvement and often the animal appears completely healthy and cared for after just a few weeks. Kittens we think are only 5 weeks old when they arrive blossom and have growth spurts which leave me wondering if they’re actually several weeks older. Males we neuter are much less aggressive and will live longer as a result. Neutered females also live longer – and won’t have to cope with scavenging for food for litter after litter that, despite their efforts, end up dying before maturity.

Food and care make such a difference; early treatment, before these problems get out of control needn’t be expensive and certainly isn’t time consuming – if caught at onset eye infections can be often be cleared up simply by regular bathing in water. But for some reason negligence seems to be the rule rather than the exception in this area.

Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

In 2008 I sold my business, burnt out from seven years self-employment 24/7 with very little to show for it, and from the emotional devastation of the FIE virus. With the house free of kittens for a while, I had time to think. We’d done a great job in difficult circumstances with the fostering, but we hadn’t made any long term difference for the animals in West Cork. We’d made a huge difference for the animals we’d rescued, but the numbers needing rescuing weren’t changing and animal welfare was no further forward.

But our TNR work, carried out mostly by Jenni by this point, did make a difference. A big difference. So, I finally sat down and started reading about animal welfare and rescue – and Trap Neuter Return (see our Recommended Reading). And boy do I wish I’d read up on the issues back when I started!

Like many before me, I came to the conclusion that Trap Neuter Return (TNR) was the way forward. While rescue helps the individual animals taken in and rehomed, it doesn’t make any long term difference to the animal welfare problems endemic in Ireland. TNR does. With Targeted Trapping all animals in an area are neutered, overpopulation is addressed. And less animals need rescued every day of every year. A real long term solution.

We simply don’t have and can’t get enough money to rescue every animal in West Cork that needs our help. But we can humanely reduce the numbers of animals that will need our help in years to come … through TNR, neutering of companion animals, increasing human responsibility and legislative change.

Jenni and I had several long discussions about it. And RAWR (Rural Animal Welfare Resources) was born. With the help of other dedicated animal welfarites, we set up a company with charitable status and set off to neuter every cat in West Cork.

Animal Advocacy

In the autumn of 2009 my mum had died unexpectedly, just a month before she was due to move over here. I was devastated on so many levels. Words can’t express.

Not long after, RAWR started heading in a different direction from my original vision. Large scale targeted trapping in West Cork came off the agenda and the focus turned to localised TNR, neutering vouchers for companion animals, inevitable fostering and rehoming and the humungous task of fundraising generally. RAWR’s remit was primarily TNR and my other animal welfare work (UK cat trips, fostering and rehoming, networking, information provision) were encroaching on my time, meaning I spent less time on the voluntary work RAWR needed from me. By May 2011, after working on RAWR for over two years, I had to regretfully step back from the organisation and I left that month.

I carried on fostering, rehoming, transporting animals around Ireland and to the UK for rehoming, TNRing, networking and providing information. And I’d been meaning to set up webpages to support my voluntary work for a not insignificant while. But I never seemed to quite get round to it. I called myself Animal Advocacy. And I worked with a variety of animal welfare organisations including AHAR, Almost Home, ARC, Community Cats Network, Cork CAT, CSPCA, Feral Cats Ireland, KLAWS Kerry, Limerick Feral Cats, RAWR, pethelpers.ie, SNIP and WCAWG.

 

CATalyst

Towards the end of 2012, Maureen from Feral Cats Ireland got in touch to give me the heads up about an exciting new TNR project being set up by Done Deal Animal Foundation (DDAF). They wanted to inspire TNR projects throughout Ireland by raising awareness through advertising, information provision and workshops, and by providing equipment to groups that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. They invited me to host workshops around the country. And I accepted with delight!

In the process of discussion we named the project ‘CATalyst – Community Action Trapping’ – a catalyst for community action trapping and TNR generally in Ireland. As part of my input I sat down to produce a variety of documentation and information leaflets for the project including CATalyst’s Vet Pack and TNR Manual for Ireland. And these webpages were born as a result – providing a location for the documentation as it progressed and allowing input, corrections and updates from DDAF and Feral Cats Ireland. It’s final resting place will be Feral Cats Ireland’s web pages, but Animal Advocacy will keep our own version on here for posterity *cheesy grin*

While these pages have started with a focus on the TNR Manual and it’s associated information sheets, we’re also using it to share our Fostering stories, our TNR experiences, our UK Trip information and all the other activities we get up to. In time we hope to provide you with all the information you could wish for on the TNR and animal welfare generally that we participate in.

We hope you enjoy!

Arrival

Ivor, a beautiful, long-haired male tabby stray, adopted a couple in West Cork for a few weeks before disappearing for ten days. He returned, skinny and dishevelled, with his left hind leg literally hanging off. Although the couple had been feeding him and were quite charmed by him he was ‘not their cat’. At least they took the time to take him to Jennifer Hedlam of West Cork Animal Welfare Group.

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Settling In

Ivor is sharing a room with Ralph. He’s kept in a large cage overnight to be sure he doesn’t hurt himself being adventurous. And, during the day, he either has the room to himself while Ralph has my room and the hall, or the pair of them are set loose while I’m working and can keep an eye on them.

Ivor’s still skinny as a rake, but is putting on weight and condition nicely, and is coping very well on just three legs. At the moment his ears look far too big for him and he’s still a bit scruffy – he’s like a cross between ET and Yoda! But he’s really going to be a stunning cat when he gets back to his full health. And, personality-wise, he’s just a babe. He’s another one I’d guess has been a house cat, he’s so well socialised. Maybe his person died, more likely he was dumped by the inhumane member of the family.

He is particularly wary of Ralph, however. My guess is Ivor knows he’s disabled and isn’t sure if he can stick up for himself, so he’s being particularly careful of things that might be a threat to him. So he yowls at Ralph when he comes near, and Ralph, bless him, is respectfully leaving him be. I’d say Ivor would be okay with other cats in the long term, though, as he’s already feeling much more secure around Ralph.

Ivor’s flat out on top of my linen box just now – it’s a good 3 or 4 feet high, so he’s not being particularly restricted by his disability. He’s fairly lively and doesn’t seem depressed. But he’ll do a lot better when he’s found a forever home to lavish attention on him in his time of trouble.

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Medical Update

Ivor had his first vaccination on Monday (14th) and had his stitches out at the same time. We’ll neuter him when he’s due for his second vaccination in a fortnight – we want him to put a bit more condition on before putting him through another operation. And we’ll FIV/FeLV test him at the same time, though he’s not showing any signs of being positive with either.

Because we usually house our fosterees in rooms, rather than cages, as a general rule we have room to let cats share the space. Most cats enjoy each other’s company, so we think the space and the sharing is a good thing for them. But it means we have to test for the viruses so that we don’t put virus-free cats at risk.

At the moment we house our FIV cats in one room. We’re down to two, Cranky and Mario, and they’re being rehomed in the coming week. And any cats that test positive for FeLV can stay with me in the main part of the house – my permanent resident Shapoloh is positive for both FIV and FeLV, and my other residents are vaccinated against FeLV or immune, so one more won’t hurt.

But I digress. There’s no reason to expect Ivor to test positive for either virus, but we’ll test him anyway to be sure. And then he can mix with Ralph without me needing to keep an eye on them both.

In the meantime, his hair will grow back over his op site, he’ll put on weight and strength and he’ll be ready for homing in next to no time. He’ll make someone an excellent companion! Could it be you?

It just remains to be said – I wish I could get a decent picture of him!!!

Ivor Has a Sad 🙁

Ivor and I have just realised it’s been two months since he came to us. And we’ve not found a home for him. We’re all very sad about this because he’s such an adorable, faithful puss. We haven’t had one call about him. It’s always more difficult to home adult cats and I’m really surprised there’s not been more interest. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t get a decent picture of him. And I’ve not put enough time into advertising him either.

He’s spent some time with Jenny C and had a lovely time being fostered by Bill and Hazel, but he’s really needing to settle somewhere permanent. He’s quite used to having only three legs now and balances himself before jumping. Though he still tries to scratch with his absent limb, poor thing. Though he was a bit depressed for a while after the operation, he’s come to terms with his disability now. He’s more sad that nobody wants him.

And it’s such a shame. Is the three-legged thing putting people off? There’s no reason for it to. He’s very agile, extremely attached to people and desperate to love someone and be loved in return. I’ve had a word with him, but he’s still not wanting to be homed with another cat, nor a dog. He’s too dominant and wants to be number one. Such a splendid, brave puss – who can blame him?

I’m going to revamp his ad and picture and we’ll try again. Cross your fingers for him!

Ivor Rehomed!

I dropped Ivor off at his new forever home yesterday. And I don’t think he’ll need a trial period in this one! Leslie’s place is wonderful for cats – lots of sunshiney spaces, including window sills with wee stairs for cats with only three legs! And the only other animal companions are tiny pigmy hedgehogs – too small for Ivor to feel threatened by and well able to look after their spikey selves if he does make any aggressive moves.

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Arrival

Marilyn wandered in to the garden of a couple in Ballydehob one day and decided to stay. She made herself at home and won the hearts of the couple almost immediately with her charming ways. She was a stray, but her complete acceptance of everything thrown at her and her friendly nature would suggest she’s been somebody’s pet. She’s probably been dumped.

Unfortunately for Marilyn, one of the humans she adopted was allergic to cats and his asthma exploded at her arrival. In addition, the couple were going on holiday and wanted rid of her before then. They called us a few days before they were due to head off and Marilyn came to us on Monday 13th May, 2010.

Bep, one of our fantastic fosterers, took Marilyn on board. The original intention was that Marilyn would have the bathroom all to herself … that didn’t last long and she now has the run of the house, and sleeps by Bep’s head at night. Bep’s totally bowled over by Marilyn and we’ll have a hard time persuading her to part company with her I think!

Note: Allergies to animals need not be a problem. I, myself, am allergic to animals but find I grow immune to the animals in my care (and I’ve had 25 fosterees at various points!) – and antihistamines keep me going till then. See, for example, PETA’s Living With Allergies to Animals factsheet.

Related Links

PETA’s Living With Allergies to Animals factsheet

How to Live with a Deaf Cat

We’re pretty sure Marilyn is deaf. Not as common in white cats as people think, but it does happen. As a result Marilyn would like an indoor home, or one with a restricted garden – she needs to be kept away from the dangers she can’t hear, such as dogs and traffic.

But her deafness isn’t a problem beyond that. In fact, there’s a few benefits – no problem with the vacuuming!

There’s interesting articles on the net about communicating with deaf cats – hand signals can be learnt by the clever creatures, and torchlight or similar can be used to call them in at night. And there’s even a hearing aid available for deaf cats!

Find out more about living with a deaf cat on our Deafness page.

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Fostering Funs

Marilyn was getting a wee bit bored at mine, so Carla volunteered to foster her for a while. I’ve been lolling at the emails Carla’s sent me, updating me on Marilyn’s explorations and settling ins. I have to include them here:

28/7/10 From Carla:

One verry happy cat, racing around like a greyhound. She clearly approves of the space and the views; playing with anything in sight, pens, brushes, toys. The young swallows are practicing their flying art and she is totally “into” birds; she likes to sit ON the laptop.

Not white anymore. the chimney was part of the circuit and up she went at great speed. I almost had another heart attack, but she came out with the same speed and repeated it a few times just for fun. One verry dirty deaf cat.

In short, we are having a ball.

29/7

Do you have any sleeping pills? feline and human. and maybe tracking devises for “lost objects” – she drives me mad, NOT a quiet cat. She got herself trapped in an empty suitcase, god knows how she got in, but she certainly knows how to alert you when she’s in trouble. What a voice!! She’s an expert now at switching on printers and better at the computer than meself, expect next email to be Marilyn’s, complaining that she wants to go outside and diminish the bird population.

Please explain to her cats are supposed to be sleeping 2 thirds of the day.

Marilyn 31st July

by Carla

Am exhausted, M is quite a handful, a bit like these ‘over active’ kids.

She’s very clever and knows 3 signs already!

She is:

  • active beyond believe, high strung and always on ‘alert’
  • very insecure and needy – follows me around, wants to be touching – on top of me, does not matter which part, all the time
  • panics and screams when I leave her sight
  • looks for hiding places all the time and any I try to provide are rejected. Favorites are: chimney, behind cupboards, plumbing spaces, etc
  • her voice is something else – she screams with no tone variation. Other animals might find this threatening and attack.

I think I might have figured out what spooks her so much; in a playing spell I threw a soft toy at her and she freaked, scared, from me. And straight away up the chimney (now blocked off). Could not get close to her for a day. She came to the bed late at night and got sick. There must have been bad experience there – people throwing (hard) things at her to get her attention or forbid her something, maybe. There are a lot of mirrored cupboards in the bed and bathrooms, she might be convinced there are other animals in the house. Only after I let her roam the house (bedrooms) this search for hiding started. Bedrooms are closed now and she is calming down.

There is more to her deafness than i thought. We take hearing for granted – it must be scary not to ‘hear’.

Am still thinking about better communication. Perhaps it could be possible to take a mobile phone apart and keep the ringing and vibrating function. 2 things achieved then, she knows you are calling her and you hear where she is. With food treats one can teach her the vibrating is positive. I know just the person to ask if this is possible.

Arrival

I’m not sure how long Skrootchie’s been hanging round my garden looking for food (I leave food out for strays). Yesterday he walked right up to Xak in the shop, walked out again and sat in the garden looking back at her – ‘Where’s the grub?’. Xak immediately called up to me, I popped out with food and a carry case and, with a bit of patience and persuasion, one Skrootchie, skanky cat, is now esconced in the bathroom.

Now I see the state of him I wish I’d made more of an effort to get him sooner. I’ve only seen him briefly from a distance and Joe Bones has been territorial about his new home (I’m going to have to do something about Joe cos I’m never going to get the local strays visiting if he’s going to run them off!). Skrootchie has hugely inflamed forepaws, one of them with a massive, sore hole in it; he’s missing the bottom half of his tail, which ends in a hairless stump; his eyes aren’t too bad but are a little bit watery; he’s completely flea- and lice-ridden; he’s covered in sores and scratches (I suspect from Joe Bones’ self-imposed guard duties); and his coat is skanky, his body emaciated. So he’s off to the vets in a few hours, defleaed and brushed, for a thorough checkup.

Skrootchie’s still not too sure of me, but it didn’t take long to get a rumbling purr out of him. He’s a classic example of a dumped domestic cat – he doesn’t know how to look after himself in the wild and has suffered quite horrendously as a result (what happened to him that he lost his tail like that???). He knows he needs people to keep him well but he’s scared of us too – probably with good reason.

He’s as safe as he can be now though. We’ll see what the vet says, but I’m hoping he just needs some food, medication and affection to turn into the handsome animal companion he should always have been.

Vet Verdict

We reckon Skrootchie’s only three or four years old and, on the bright side, his teeth and gums are in great nick. Apart from that he’s in pretty bad condition.

It looks like he’s got Pillow Foot, a rare condition that results in swollen paws (note the way he holds his swollen paw for comfort in the photo). I say ‘rare’ but we’ve come across three cases in the last three months. His tail is well healed – he must have lost it at least four months ago, maybe years. He’s been defleaed and dewormed, which should help his overall condition. But none of that is serious. What does worry us is that Skrootchi’s anaemic – it’s quite apparent from the whiteness of his third eyelids, nose and paw pads. The anaemia could just be a reflection of his general poor condition but we’re worried there’s something more serious going on with him.

So Skrootchie is on antibiotics to fight the infection in his paws and for anything else he might have, and he’s on anti-inflammatories for the paw pad swelling. We’re waiting-and-seeing how he progresses on the medications before we look any further.

In the meantime he’s eating like a horse and I’m feeding him little and often as I suspect he’d eat until his tummy burst if I gave him a chance. He’s a pathetic scrap of a thing and I’m feeling so sorry for him. He’s obviously had a hellish life, lack of tail notwithstanding. I yelled ‘No!’ at him when I saw him about to piss on the carpet and the cringe and run that he did left me in no doubt that he’s been abused in the past. I can’t quite describe it. I’ll certainly never shout at him again. But he’s been reminding me of someone or something since he arrived and it suddenly struck me – Dobby from Harry Potter! His ears flattened with fear, he’s a classic example of something that is hoping for kindness but expecting cruelty. I’m trying to show him as much kindness as I can. And he’s responding by coming out his cage to greet me, nuzzling me hesitantly and snuggling beside me when I sit in with him. If he is terminally ill we’ll make his last weeks as loving as possible. If he’s not, we’ll find a home that’ll reinstate his faith in human nature. He deserves it.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

I’ve been really lax at updating Skrootchie’s story but, a year after he first came to us, I’m finally back on the case.

Way back when he turned up, all tattered and torn, we tested him for FeLV/FIV, mostly because he was so run down. And he tested positive for FeLV. We were really worried then, but treated his various wounds and fed him up and waited the three months needed to retest … and he tested negative – Yay!!! Skrootchie had thrown off the FeLV virus!!!

There’s a huge amount of misinformation about Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) – lots of it complete nonsense. And Skrootchie highlights a lot of those issues. For example:

  • Cats testing positive for FeLV should be killed immediately because they are all in agony: NONSENSE!!!!
  • Cats testing positive for FeLV should be killed immediately because they’ll die soon anyway: NONSENSE!!!!
  • Cats testing positive for FeLV have no quality of life: NONSENSE!!!!

I could go on. The truth of it is that, of cats exposed to FeLV:

  • 30% will not pick up the virus at all, ie. they will not catch it at all
  • 30% will pick up the virus but throw it off within three months (eg. lil ol’ Skrootchie)
  • sadly 30% will catch the virus and will succumb to it eventually
  • 10% will catch the virus, appear to throw it off, but carry it with them and infect other cats

What this means is that cats testing positive for FeLV should be retested after three months, especially if they show no outward symptoms of illness or seem to recover from any illnesses they have.

And even cats that do test positive and don’t throw the virus off (only 30% of those exposed, remember) can have a full life for several years before the virus really kicks in. Look at Shapoloh, still going strong over two years after she picked up the infection. In fact she’s healthier than she’s ever been this summer!

Sorry for the rant – check out our Feline Leukemia Virus page for more details of our experience of FeLV.

Forever Home Found!

And the reason I’ve been really lax at updating Skrootchie’s story is because – he got rehomed with me!

Skrootchie had thrown off the FeLV virus and we were delighted. We thought his pillow foot problem might have been brought out by the FeLV (as it’s often an immune response) – it cleared up successfully after the op and has not resurfaced since (touch wood). He put on weight and condition … and kept putting weight on – he’s a tubster these days, looking quite the miniature freisian cow!

He turned out to be the peacemaker of the household, making friends with all the resident felines. Joe Bones (whose story I haven’t even written yet!) and he are best mates, and even grumpy ol’ Shapoloh has allowed Skrootch to sleep beside her from time to time – quite an achievement!

My residents are vaccinated against FeLV, because of Shapoloh and Skrootchie, and we don’t let our foster felines mix with the residents so there’s little danger of it spreading. I wouldn’t use the FeLV vaccination as a general rule because it’s not 100% effective, and there’s a correlation between the vaccination and cancer developping at the injection site.

Despite our relief at Skrootchie’s victory over FeLV he didn’t seem to shake off the anaemia, his nose and paws always a shade whiter than they should be, and he’s always drunk more water than you’d expect of a feline. So back to the vets we went a couple of months ago. We tested him for kidney problems – and sure enough it looks like he’s in the early stages of kidney failure. I find it hard to believe because he’s so rotund and healthy, but it’s not looking good for him. We don’t know the cause but think, perhaps, his kidneys took a beating when he was so ill. Jenni assures me it’s early days yet and he could have a good few years of life in him yet. I’ve a dietary supplement to give to him daily (protesting vociferously I might add!). We’ll try the supplement for a while and take him back for tests to see if it helps, and there’s a fair few things we can try in the future.

At the end of the day we didn’t look for another forever home for the Skrootch because he’s so settled here, and his medical complications would make him very difficult to rehome. And I’m rather attached to him! So here he’ll stay for better or worse – a far happier ending than we could have hoped for a year ago!

Skrootchie 2005 – 13th Nov 2011

My Skrootchie’s kidney failure finally kicked in last week. He’d been shaky for a while and we were trying different diets to see if he would pick up again. But on Friday he went seriously downhill and tonight he was becoming distressed with no hope of improvement, and he was euthanased.

He wandered in to mine in June 2009, trying to and succeeding in attracting Xak’s attention for a bit of food. He was a mess – emaciated, worm-, flea- and lice-ridden, pillow foot, positive for FeLV … the vet wasn’t too hopeful. But he tested negative for FeLV three months later, his pillow foot was treated and effectively cured and he scoffed his face off and put on … well, in time, he put on a fair bit of weight. But the pressures his body had gone through left him with kidney failure. The vet assured me he could survive comfortably for two years or so. And it’s been two and a half years since then. So he’s had a good innings.

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Arrival

Warning: Disturbing images

Gus came from Cavan pound to AHAR to me for fostering. We don’t know how he got to the pound – stray, abandoned, surrendered or cruelty case. He’s a wee affectionate JRT cross, about 1 year old, neutered (so someone cared about him once), emaciated (not just painfully thin, genuinely emaciated), mange ridden and with a chest infection. He must be in pain, poor wee, brave thing.

He’ll be staying with me for a wee while, needless to say. And he’s not eaten any cats yet – though Granny’s been looking hungrily at him! He’s being treated for the mange and the chest infection, he’s gettin lots of lovins and he’s getting a/d diet alongside his dry food to see if we can’t get a bit of weight on him.

Some of these pictures will be very painful to see. Sry. So I’ve included a few of the residents reactions at the end to cheer you up. They’re not bowled over with delight I have to say.

Gus is the sweetest wee thing. How anyone could let him get into this state is beyond me – even if he got into this state as a stray, how many people walked past him and did nothing?

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Settling in

In his bed by the radiator. He’s got an electric radiator in his room at night too to be sure he’s warm. He’s a bit afraid of the outdoors at the mo so not house trained yet. But he’s a bright wee thing and uses the newspaper no bother.

And guess how long he ended up in a room by himself? Night 2, thought I heard him whining (was actually the strong winds down the chimney but my hearing’s appalling), went thru to him and he was sitting on a stool gazing sadly out the window. So I brought him through with me. Willpower of an Essex girl I have. He snuggled up to me all night. And Scrabble and he are touching noses already.

Someone asked me after I’d posted this “How do they DO that?”, ie. inviegle their way in to your home and heart.

I kinda like the way my reply turned out, so am reposting it here:

“I think what they do is look at you like –

I’m sad and lonely and scared. Thx for dinner, I’m ever so grateful. But I don’t really expect anything at all. Really. This is how I’ve lived.

And your head explodes with sadness for them. And you wanna make it up to them and show em how different it can be.”

Asparagus Update

Note: Some of these photos may be distressing.

You might remember Gus came to me on the 20th Feb emaciated, mangy and coughing. He’d been pulled from Cavan pound and we didn’t know if he was a surrender, a cruelty case or a stray. He was a mess. He’s looking a lot better now! His mange was the stress-related kind (not infectious) and may return if he’s stressed – but then again it might not – it may just have been the severe stress he was under. Only time will tell. Anyway, the mange is mostly cleared up and his fur is growing back.

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Gus Visits Bantry House

Gus had a lovely time at Bantry House recently. It’s a great place to visit in Bantry – with a gorgeous covered outdoor area beside the cafe for enjoying the view without having to get wet. Fortunately the days we’ve visited, the sun’s been glorious. Gus and I didn’t go very far beyond the cafe but there’s plenty beauty just touring the outside of the house. We’d highly recommend folk visit!

Dogs are welcome, so long as they are kept on a lead and behave themselves. Gus wasn’t deliriously happy about the lead part, but behaved himself very well and thoroughly enjoyed his visit.

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Arrival

Kate, from Bantry House, called us on Monday 11th April – a wee kitten had turned up in their gardens the day before, could we help. We don’t really have the funds to take in rescue kittens but we couldn’t say no. And it’s always nice to visit Bantry House!

So I duly popped up to find the friendliest wee thing hanging out of Kate’s arms. Jack’s around twelve to fourteen weeks old (we originally thought six to eight months but he’s small for his age), white and black, neutered – and obviously once much loved. He looks like he’s been trying to look after himself for a wee while – skinny as anything, his white is grey and his tail is the brown of malnourishment, rather than the jet black it should be. And his tail has a wee kink in it at the tip – perhaps it’s been caught in a door at some point? We may never know. And he is bombproof – not phased by anything, delighted by any attention, interested in new environments (no fear factor) – a total delight.

So, although I’d normally assume he was dumped, the fact that he’s neutered and superfriendly makes me wonder if he’s strayed or had a wee road trip by accident. So we’re going to advertise him as lost before we look for a home for him (though anyone interested should get in touch, just in case!).

He’s being fostered by Jenny and Trinity for a few days and then will come and hang out with me till we sort him out to his old home … or his new one. Trinity decided his name was Jack – so Jack he is.

If you’ve lost a kitten matching this description, do email or call on 086 844 3244. Likewise, do get in touch if you’d like to adopt the wee fella.

Vet Visit

Jack and I headed down to the vets on Wednesday and it seems he’s a small 12-14 month old (rather than the 8 month old we first thought). He’s in good nick apart from being undernourished and he has burn on his hind paws. This could mean he’s been in a car engine – so he could be a distance from home.

He’s settled into mine without a bother and is a charming, affectionate wee thing – no fear, just curiosity and snuggles – he’s definitely had a loving home and is not used to looking after himself. He’s most likely been missing for one to four weeks, though it’s always possible he’s been missing longer.

If he was microchipped (which he’s not!) we could have found his home on Wednesday. He’s a really good example of why it’s so important to microchip your animal companions. He could be home by now.

And I’m feeling for him for what he’s just been through. Obviously much loved and cared for, he found himself alone in a strange environment. He’s probably got little idea how to fend for himself. Bantry Gardens must have given him such hope! All these people picking him up and saying how adorable he is! Hurrah! Yes, yes, I like you humans too, and all the affection, but would you ever please feed me! Poor wee mite. He’s grand now and has put on weight and condition already (another indicator that he’s not been lost long).

If he sounds like your missing kitten, or a kitten you know, please do get in touch with us on 086 109 8542 or email me. We can only hold him for a couple of weeks and then we’ll start looking for a home for him. We’ve vaccinated him, and we’ll be microchipping him so there will be a fee for his return equivalent to what we’ve spent.

Seeking A Loving Home

*** HOMED ***

Well, sadly there’s been no response to Jack’s ‘Lost’ postings and there’s no sign of anyone looking for him. I find it hard to believe he isn’t lost rather than dumped, but you never know these days. He’s settled into mine grand out, has the run of the place and has been the easiest foster I’ve had in a long time – perhaps ever! He’s not afraid of anything, is gentle as a lamb, affectionate, playful, soft as butter, perfectly house trained … a dream kitten – though I confess his table manners could do with a bit of refinement.

With no sign of anyone looking for him, and the predominance of people discarding their animal companions like so much unwanted baggage these days, we have to assume he’s abandoned and start looking for a real forever home for him. I don’t think we’ll have much trouble! But I’ll be sorry to see him go.

If you lose your animal companion there’s lots you can do to find them again:

  • Microchip and collar with tag before they get lost – if Jack had been microchipped he’d be home by now
  • Neuter – neutered animals are much less likely to roam. They’re also less likely to get involved in fights that might injure them to the extent they can’t get home.
  • Call the guards and report your friend missing. Call all your local vet surgeries and do the same.
  • Put up posters and flyer your neighbourhood. Include pictures, despcription, distinguishing marks, gender, etc. Display the posters in your local vets, supermarket, pet shop, etc
  • Post your friend on lost and found sites like Munster Lost & FoundLost & Found Pets Ireland and Irish Animal Shelters Lost & Found Pets Page
  • The internet is full of useful information – search it for other ways to find your friend
  • Don’t give up!
The Beaches Arrival