Monday, 26 April 2010

Snotty Noses

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The kittens are still recovering from their colds. I have never seen cats with proper snotty noses before, but I've felt like I've had 5 two year olds this week. Trouble is when you wipe kittens' noses you can't tell them to blow, they just look at you as if you've gone even madder than normal!


I felt really bad for them as they have had a really bad dose of it, and I resorted to putting Vicks on towels on the radiators to try and clear their noses. The illness hasn't affected their eating or playing though, and my poor old curtains which have lasted through multitudes of kittens have really suffered through the clambouring and climbing!
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Because they have colds they are not able to go back to the RSPCA to be rehomed in case they pass their germs on. This means they are much later going back than they should be.

Because it's only the beginning of the kitten season they will still find homes really quickly as anything under a year is snatched up at this time of year. But I do feel as though their future owner is missing out on the very best of times.

I don't think you can beat the feeling you get when you are walking in from a hard day at work and open the door to be greeted by 5 eager little faces all absolutely ecstatic to see you and the melody of purrs when you sit with them to play. Who can be stressed in the midst of simple pleasures like these?
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Sunday, 18 April 2010

History of Cats - The Black Death

Due to my love of all things feline, I decided to do a bit of research on the history of cats. I am no historian and rely on the internet for my facts - please forgive me if I've made any glaring mistakes :)

I hope you find the results interesting.


1. Cats and the Black Death

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The Black Death or Bubonic Plague raged throughout Europe during the early 14th Century and hung around until the 19th Century. Around a third of the population of Europe died..

Before this time, cats had been associated with Satan and witches, many seeing their aloof nature and the fact that they were independent, not subservient, as proof that they were in league with the Devil. Pope Gregory the IX had stated that cats were "diabolical" in the early 13th Century and it became a very popular pastime for cats to be killed en masse. Their population levels dropped significantly.

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When infected rats started to arrive in grain cargo from Asia, they flourished due to the lack of predators, infecting more rats and increasing in population. This is considered by some to be a large factor in the spread of the disease.
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As the plague gained strength, the cat started to be associated with God’s wrath against sin, and even more were killed in the hope of appeasing God and stopping the plague. Dogs were not safe during this time either, and they also started to dwindle in number. Ironically, the very creatures that could have helped contain the disease were blamed and killed.

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Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Old and the New

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It's been a very busy week in the JoeyGrey household. The mum cat started sneezing last week, the day after my last blog post, and it gathered momentum until she was constantly sneezing by the evening. She had no runny nose or eyes, so I wondered if perhaps she was reacting to my automatic air spray rather than getting cold or the dreaded cat flu. So the air spray was demoted to front room duty, but by the next morning one of the kittens was sneezing too.
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A quick call to the RSPCA and they came to fetch them and zoomed them off to the vet. The vet allayed my fears of cat flu and said mum just had a bit of cold and need antibiotics. The kittens would get the treatment through mum's milk, so nothing too terrible.
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The RSPCA close at 4.30pm and I work till 5.30pm, so couldn't meet them at home, therefore they brought the cat and kits to my work. I had to leave the office for 20 minutes so left them in my colleague's capable hands, safely in their cat baskets but with lots of attention. When I came back into the office, there were 5 other people laid, sat and crammed into different nooks and crannies in my office, all with a kitten on their various laps and chests and mum cat strolling round the office desks and laying happily on my work!
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Everyone spent a very pleasant hour doing absolutely no work whatsoever and the kittens got more attention than they've had in their whole 6 weeks!
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When I got them home I got another call from the RSPCA to let me know that Thomas had been reserved and was off to his new home the next morning. I was a little choked up but so very pleased for him that he had been picked out so quickly and was off to his new life. It makes it all worthwhile.
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Sunday, 4 April 2010

A Pile of Kits

So, I've had the kittens for a full day and they really are the cutest little things. They are quite small for their age - they will be 6 weeks old on Thursday - but what they lack in size they make up for in energy. They are just at that age where they are chasing things and tumbling over each other and doing the sideways crab-walk attack on their mum's tail.
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For all their energy though, they are very chilled out kittens, just like their mum. It's the first time I've seen this many kittens happily take feeding time in shifts. When I go into them, there are often just two feeding and the others are either happily playing or sleeping in a pile until it is their time.


Whenever I get new kittens to look after I bring down the basket of toys for them. They get a couple of days to explore it and decide which are their favourite and then it gets reduced to a smaller more manageable basket. Their favourites this time are a piece of netting that they pounce on and hide under and the tunnel, nicely modelled by the little cherub above, at the moment named Kitten number 2.



They are great at climbing - here is Kitten Number 1 looking very proud after climbing Mount Cat Basket. And below is the Pile of Kits after a hard hour's play.


Friday, 2 April 2010

Out of the Frying Pan

So I went to see Thomas today. It was 5 days since I last saw him and I felt a lot calmer about the whole thing - I was pretty sure that Thomas would be settled and hopefully someone would have fallen in love with him and reserved him already.

When I got to his chalet there were people in with him. Thomas was in the corner being stroked and purring his head off. Once they came out I went in and sat with him. He wasn't clingy or needy like he was last week. I played with him and tickled his tummy and he came and sat on my knee. But then he wandered off and sat in the corner cleaning himself. I quickly realised that he wasn't going to be upset when I went, if he noticed at all. The people who had been looking at him before came back after 10 minutes so I left him and he didn't give me so much as a glance.

I had very mixed feelings as I'm sure you can imagine. I want him to forget me and to settle with someone new, but at the same time I did feel a little bit snubbed.


When I got back to the reception and told them what had happened they laughed and sympathised, and generally made me feel better.
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Then they asked how soon I would be ready to foster again. To cut a long story short, I left half an hour later with a young mum and her five x 5 week old kittens!!!!!
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Thursday, 1 April 2010

Goodbye Thomas

Thomas went back to the RSPCA to be rehomed last Thursday lunchtime. I have been trying to prepare myself for this - it is always a wrench when you have had a cat or kitten for a while, but I bonded with Thomas as soon as I met him, and because of his injuries I've had him for longer then normal. So I knew this time it was going to be particularly difficult.
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The RSPCA driver knows me well by now. He left me alone to say goodbye and stayed at the side of his van while I gave Thomas a last cuddle. I had the biggest lump in my throat as I took Thomas out to him, but managed to hold the tears back.

I stayed remarkably upbeat about it all for the rest of the day, and only got upset when I got back home and he wasn't on the windowsill to greet me. The RSPCA had asked if I would like to visit him on the Saturday to help him settle in and I jumped at the chance. When I got there I was so excited I actually felt quite embarassed at myself!

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He was hissing and spitting at everyone - possibly because that is the first place he went after being found injured and he associates it with the pain he was in at the time. His picture is now the screensaver on all of the pcs at the shelter as an example of when NOT to approach a cat!

Within a minute he was back to the big purry tractor that I know so well, we were both so glad to see each other. I spent 20 minutes with him and then I went back again on Sunday and this time spent nearly an hour with him. He never stopped purring the whole time I was there. I hope it helped him to start associating the place with nicer feelings. I really want possible new families to see him as a big purry cat, not as a scary demon cat!
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I'm going back tomorrow and feel like I'm visiting an old friend. I hope when I get there he is happy and doesn't need me anymore. But I'll be gutted if he doesn't.