As Henry Ford once said, you can have any colour as long as it’s black!
Black cats and kittens galore have been taken in by us this year with most of them being feral. One of these was Liesel a cat we mentioned in the last newsletter after we saw her several times at Noirmont in February but had been unsuccessful in trapping her. We had noticed she had a slightly shorter tail than the norm and as this little cat was the same we knew we had finally caught her. Unfortunately in the interim she had given birth to kittens as on the same night we caught one of them, Moritz, who was a slightly fluffy black youngster around 12 weeks old. We are unsure how many other cats are still there but have been told of another black youngster and we have also seen a dark tortie at dusk so our work in this area is not finished.
In June we were called out to a farm where the owners were quite concerned as to the amount of cats that had just turned up and were now inundated with kittens plus a pregnant mum. These were all black or black and white apart from the tabby mum-to-be who was barely out of kitten- hood herself at around 8 months old. (See Jean’s article in the main newsletter on this story). Apparently the 5 girls and 1 male that were returned to the farm after neutering, follow the elderly gentleman around the fields and wait every morning and evening at the front door for their food. They have several barns and sheds to sleep in at night with cosy baskets and bedding. These farm cats are very lucky to be wanted and so well cared for.
Jerry, the 14 year black cat we mentioned in our last newsletter found in January and had been missing for 8 years (he was unable to return to his original owners) was adopted by our Fundraising Co-ordinator, Sam as she had sadly lost her old black cat earlier in the year. She wanted an older cat as a friend to her other cat, and even though Mischief initially was a bit standoffish with Jerry, he soon succumbed to Jerry’s gentle ways and Sam has reported that she has seen Jerry grooming him. He has quickly become part of their family where he is adored by Sam’s two daughters and it didn’t take him long to decide that the best place to sleep at night is on Sam’s bed. Don’t ever be reluctant to take on an older cat as they can still give many years of pleasure and most existing cats who “sulk” eventually give in and accept the new addition.
Jean also mentioned the four 7/8 week old kittens that were caught with their mum near a busy main road alongside a dense wooded area. Within minutes it was realised that there was more than the one kitten hiding in the bushes as two went into a trap together within seconds as they were so eager for food and another was seen running away. This third kitten took awhile to trap, being very light in weight but also very hungry, it kept running in and out of the trap desperate for food until eventually the trap door was released, just as a pair of large golden eyes appeared from the bushes to reveal their black mum. Mum was eventually caught and again another kitten was seen running away. This was going to take longer than at first thought but 2 hours later the 4 black kittens and mum were safely at Jean’s. The 3 tiny black kittens of around 4 weeks old that were found huddled together in a field on their own near where the above kittens were found were lucky enough to all go to the same home at 8 weeks old. We never found their mum so sadly something may have happened to her.
Four very young ferals, about 4/5 months old, a boy and his three sisters (3 tabbies and a black and white – for a change) were trapped on a private property near one of the golf courses along with their young mum (black!). Having made enquiries at the property the owners informed us that they had seen some cats/kittens in their orchard and were happy for us to start up a feeding spot on their property to encourage them to visit. This was brilliant news as their orchard was well away from the main house which meant we could come and go as we like with access from the main road. This also meant it was safer for the mum and kittens to be trapped on a private property. Thanks to Judith who helped us trap them as she had contacted us when she saw them near the golf course a few months ago.
The tiny black kitten that was receiving treatment at the vets was very poorly as she had very bad diarrhoea and had developed pneumonia. During those 2 weeks and despite her problems, Lola was very playful, ate well and became very popular amongst the staff as well as us. She had a lovely home to go to but sadly a week after leaving the vets she collapsed and died. We were all very upset as she had been such a little poppet but her heart was just not strong enough. We can only be thankful that for the short time she was with us she had plenty of affection, food and warmth and didn’t die in a cold and wet field on her own.
This year, Nikki and Carole attended the AGM in London (at their own expense) and thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with colleagues from around the UK. Unfortunately it is the same old story with all the branches, too many cats and kittens and not enough homes for them all. Irresponsible breeding for profit is a problem (as happens here) and kittens being dumped when homes cannot be found for them. We have taken in many young cats this year that appear to have been abandoned and most of them weren’t spayed or neutered. Despite advising the Animal Shelter that we had these cats and advertising in the JEP they were never claimed so once the obligatory 2 weeks was up they were re homed after being neutered and microchipped.
Our Facebook page continues to be very popular and is a great way of advertising the cats we have looking for homes. We even found the owner of a very elderly cat who was found some way from home after she had accidentally got into a vehicle. Mitzi had a micro chip but unfortunately it had never been registered by vets in the UK where she originally came from. Her picture on facebook was recognised by someone who knew her and this enabled her elderly owner to be contacted who was delighted to have his companion home again.
Our outdoor stall at the monthly Vintage Fair at St Aubin has been very popular throughout the year although we had to cancel a few due to the inclement weather. The inconsistent weather also meant that we weren’t able to do as many outdoor car boots. Our thanks once again go to Arthur and Sue who organise the Vintage Fairs each month for letting us have a free pitch as they have been a life saver for us, enabling us to sell our collectable items at a fair price.
On the subject of fundraising, Sam suggested we have a Christmas Fayre this year and this will be held on Saturday 1st December at St Ouen’s Parish Hall. We will have lots of stalls including new and nearly new gifts, some collectable items, jewellery, cakes, a wonderful lucky dip for the children, tombola, a raffle with lots of wonderful prizes, lots of “cat” items, guess the name of the Christmas teddy, guess the weight of the Christmas cake which has been made by one of our supporters and much more. We will also be having homemade soups at lunchtime with teas, coffee and cakes. We will advertise the event with posters, the media and on our facebook page so we hope many of our supporters will be able to attend at some stage throughout the day.
We have enclosed our 2013 Membership Form and Christmas Appeal for 2012 and hope you will be able to support us with this important fundraising event. Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout the year as without this help it would be difficult to continue our work.
On a final note, a story to make you smile J we had a call from one of the local pet shops telling us that a stray cat had been seen in their shop and wanted to borrow one of our traps. Apparently the cat kept helping himself to packets of food by opening up what he fancied, completely ignoring the food in the trap and then decided to help himself to some cat nip toys at night to while away the hours! “Lucky” was eventually caught and though he had no microchip, thankfully the Animal Shelter had a record of a missing cat in the area and 6 weeks after disappearing from his home, he was reunited with his owner – who promised to have him microchipped!