Shad ponders the life of a foster cat

As I walked in, Jenny cocked her head curiously before continuing across the floor to a small set of steps.  She climbed the steps and a glimpse of a smile came my way before she hopped on to a large round bed placed neatly in front of the window.  I watched her turn round 3 times before sinking into the soft fibre of the brown stripy cushion and curling up for her mid-morning nap.  I was intrigued to find out more about this modest moggy so I trotted merrily up to the reception desk at the National Cat Centre with John to ask a few questions and was greeted by a lovely lady with dangly earrings.  I managed to contain my urge to swing at the shiny swaying objects hanging from her ears and found out that Jenny was a 14 year old tabby and white cat currently residing at the National Cat Centre in Chelwood Gate while she waits for a new forever home.

I looked around for another peek at gentle Jenny snoozing in the corner when another shiny object caught my eye.  Mesmerised, I wandered involuntarily towards the brightly decorated Christmas tree intent on claiming the string of glistening baubles as mine.  Thankfully John recognised the hypnotic look on my face and scooped me up before any tinsel-related incidents could occur.  As we ambled through the Centre I met many other cats waiting to be re-homed, like Duke a young ginger boy who pranced in front of the viewing window and gleefully played with the toy snake suspended in his pen.  It got me thinking about the life of a foster cat and I decided to find out more about their experiences.

To my delight, one cat inhabiting the pen was a fantastic fellow by the name of Marshall.  As you can see his long fluffy black and white fur and handsome set of whiskers are a joy to behold.  But this was not always the case.  When he arrived in the pen he was covered in fleas and his previous owner had sadly done nothing to help him with his flea allergy which left him itchy from nose to paw and covered in scabs and sore bits.  Now that he was safe and warm in the pen, the fosterer’s first job was to provide good food and fresh water and a dollop of flea treatment to get rid of those pesky biters.  The next morning there were dead fleas all over the shelves and the bedding and even floating in the water bowl so the fosterer got the mop out again and gave everything a freshen up.  Over the next couple of weeks Marshall got to meet the vet a few times and following a course of steroids and antibiotics, his dull patchy fur transformed into soft touchable goodness.  He had become more outgoing and friendly since the scratching had stopped and he was so grateful about feeling better that he had started hopping on to his fosterer’s lap to say thank you.

 

The charity pay for any veterinary treatment required as well as the cost of food, housing, heating, medication, blankets, bowls, baskets and toys.  Fosterers and other volunteers dedicate their time interacting with the cats, talking, stroking and playing as well as arranging appointments, providing transport, fund-raising, cleaning, arranging adoptions and seeking expert advice where necessary.  It’s easy to care for a cat like Marshall who is relaxed and confident but it’s more challenging with a cat like Mia the tabby and white who was previously teased by children leaving her unpredictable and defensive.  It takes an enormous amount of patience and understanding to care for a cat that hisses and scratches you.  But every good fosterer knows that each cat is the product of what the world has made it and even the nervous or angry ones given time and space can learn to trust and show affection, even if it is in their own funny way.   I show my affection to John every day with a rub and a purr and the occasional whack on the leg as he walks by.  He thinks it’s annoying but I see it as quirky!  Cat Protection never give up on any of the cats in their care and firmly believe that there is a home for each and every one.  By the way, Mia is settling well in her pen and has calmed down considerably now that she knows no one will bother her and Marshall has found a new owner who adores him and will no doubt cater for his every need.  Well done Marsh!

Shad and his mates

Here are some pictures of two very cute kittens that are currently residing in one of the Cat Protection’s pens in West Sussex.  Some of you may know that John takes photos of the cats for his friend who is a fosterer.  These two poppets came into care from a lady who had lots of cats that were breeding willy-nilly and had never received any veterinary treatment.  Unfortunately this type of situation has a terrible impact on the lives of the cats and the litters born to the females in the household, so these two cuties arrived in the pen with fleas, anaemia, cat flu and conjunctivitis.  Apparently many humans think cats that are related don’t mate but this is not true.  Nature has taught us cats not to be too fussy and it only takes an un-neutered male and female a few seconds alone to make the babies!  You’ll be pleased to hear that Teddy and Tinks are now flea-free, infection-free and feeling much healthier and happier.

 

The pretty black and white girl is a 2 year old domestic short hair called Jasmine who was surrendered by her owner because she was unhappy and refusing to come indoors, probably due to the noise levels in the house and the unruly children that were causing her stress.  She is friendly, gentle and playful, although a bit shy until she gets to know you.  She has a potential new owner coming to visit her next weekend so let’s hope she is lucky enough to find her forever home soon.

 

While John and I were in the garden, my mate Ginger came along to check out my photography equipment.  It was good to see my old buddy Ginge and he was very curious about my cameras.  So I started telling him about the importance of using light as a medium and how I store my digital image files, but he cheeky rascal fell asleep on my bag.

 

I also caught up with my good pal Muffin, the haughty black 5 year old who kept looking through my new binoculars last time I came to visit.  Muffin told me some bad news about my old chum Monty, a blue British Short Hair who was in the pen last year for about 10 weeks.  He was difficult to re-home because he has irritable bowel syndrome and can poop for England!  Fortunately, a nice lady saw past his dodgy tummy and fell for his charming and debonair personality.  Poor Monty was hit by a car a week ago and suffered some serious injuries.  To make matters worse, his owner who loves him very much did not have him insured.  Surgery, stitches, bandages, pain-killers, antibiotics and £2,600 later, he is now home but still not out of the woods.  His recovery will be slow and uncomfortable and his dedicated owner is caring for him while he is on cage-rest as well as working extra hours and taking in foreign students to pay off her credit card bills.  I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Monty every bit of luck and I hope he pulls through.