Category Archives: Animal stories

Aurora Is Looking for a Loving Home

Aurora is looking for a loving home…

Aurora is a gorgeous and very affectionate 11 year old cat who is looking for her “furever” home. For 5 years before coming into CCN’s care she lived confined in a small place with a large number of other cats who would often bully her. In the 15 months she has spent in foster care, she has turned into a very affectionate and chatty cat. She loves rubs and to be brushed, and she loves some company. She is still a little nervous with strangers but also quite inquisitive. She is looking for a quiet indoor-only home with no other pets and no young children. She will be shy when first moving in her new home and you will need to give her time to get used to you, but every step forward is so rewarding and she really deserves to find a home where she can be loved! You can see more photos of Aurora here and read the story of her rehabilitation here.

Aurora is spayed, fully vaccinated, microchipped and has tested negative to FIV and FeLV. She had a recent health-check and apart for some arthritis for which she is being treated, she is healthy. She suffered from gingivitis when she first came into our care, but had a few teeth extracted and was successfully treated. To enquire about adopting Aurora, please read our adoption procedure and text 086 1583501.

After a few years being involved in animal welfare, I have come to see rescue as a three-phase process. Phase 1 is the actual rescue. It can be quite impressive or dramatic or it can be just picking up a kitten on the side of the road. You will often hear people say that they have rescued a kitten and then handed him/her to a rescue; in those cases, they often forget about the long process that is about to happen after. Phase 2 is possibly the most challenging. It is the long process of rehabilitation. At times it can be quite straight forward if the animal is friendly and healthy, but at other times, it might involve many vet visits and a lot of emotional and time investment on the part of the fosterer to rehabilitate the animal and get it ready for rehoming. Phase 3 is the rehoming phase. You need to find the right home for the animal, one where they will live a happy life. The new family will then finish the rescue process by welcoming the animal in their home, helping them to settle, give them time to adapt and do what they can to reduce the stress due to their change of environment. Although it may seem quite easy, in some cases it does take some effort and the new family needs to be patient and understanding of their new pet’s needs. Once the animal has settled, then you can consider the rescue as being successful. When Dawn and Aurora came into my care over a year ago, I was fully aware it would take time to rehabilitate these two female cats who came from a hoarding background. They were so nervous at the beginning! I remember Sinead shaking her head saying I definitely liked a challenge, well I do! Dawn’s slow-blinking kept encouraging me! Both suffered from Gingivitis and were treated for it. Once they were free from that pain, they began to make progress, taking a treat out of my hand, looking at me instead of going in hiding and finally we reached the stage when they would welcome me at the door with their chattering at dinner time and asked for rubs. Every little step forward was such a victory that it would bring tears in my eyes. A year later, Dawn found a home, a loving family who understand that it will take time before she fully settles with them. They have understood that they are part of her rescue and have taken up that challenge (quite successfully considering the latest updates). Now, it is time for Aurora to find her new home.

Help Aurora to find a home by printing this poster (Aurora) and placing on local notice boards (in Cork and surrounding counties).

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The Clonmel Carpark Cats

 

Over the past couple of months, these cats in a supermarket carpark have been brought to our attention by a lot of concerned people in Clonmel looking for help for them. We recently gained permission to proceed with a Trap-Neuter-Return project in the carpark and have made contact with some of the people feeding them. We’ve counted approximately 10 cats, some with injuries, but we expect some were hiding at time of assessment. To read the fully story and see the updates, click here.

We need help to raise funds to neuter & treat these cats. We appreciate any amount donated; big or small, it all helps!

You can donate on IDonate or by using Paypal. Thank you for your kindness and generosity!

More Than We Bargain for

It is a lovely Saturday afternoon in Youghal and the lady is in her garden with her children enjoying the rays of the warm sun of May when a little black and white cat walks in and meows. The lady has a humane reaction and offers this little cat some leftovers from the Saturday lunch. The following day, the little cat returns and waits outside the patio door until she gets fed. The lady is a bit concerned and takes some photos to put on social media to find out whether this cat is owned. That Monday morning, the little cat is still in her garden and the lady makes some phone calls to rescues to look for help, but the answer is the same everywhere: “sorry, we are full.” Kitten season has begun and the volunteers for all cat welfare organisations are already wondering how they are going to cope…

Then, one organisation gives a different answer: they can help to have the cat neutered and advertise her on their website for rehoming. It is not really what the lady was hoping for, but it is better than nothing. And so, that evening, the volunteer from Community Cats Network calls in with a cage. The cat is nowhere to be seen though and both caller and volunteer think she may have returned home, or… The volunteer leaves a cage with the lady and they promise to keep in touch. A few days later, the little cat shows up again hungrier than ever, and the following day again. The lady, kind and caring, feeds her and that Monday morning puts her in the cage to bring her to the volunteer. A few hours later, the little cat has been neutered but the reality they did not want to face has also been confirmed: she is just after having kittens. The area is searched, neighbours are called upon, but nobody has heard the small screams of kittens when they are hungry. Options are limited: the lady will have to keep feeding her until she brings her kittens so that all can be neutered and rehomed. That’s the plan anyway, but as we all know, nothing ever goes according to plans!

The weeks pass and the little cat calls down every day for food, but no sign of kittens. And then one evening, on the 8th week, a little head appears from the bushes, and a 2nd, a 3rd, and a 4th! The lady makes contact and trapping is promptly organised so that the kittens can be neutered and we can move onto the 2nd step: rehoming the feline family. However, the kittens are now nine weeks old and have had no human interaction so they are very skittish. Enquiries are made by both the volunteer and the lady and a rescue space is secured for 3 of the kittens so that only one is returned to the mother, making things a little bit easier for the lady who had never made the decision to take on a family of cats.

The friendly mum and her little kitten were advertised for rehoming, but nobody showed any interest. It was the height of kitten season and little balls of fluff could be found anywhere and everywhere and so the grown-up cat and her baby did not stand a chance. It is now October and the lady feels defeated. It is way more than she bargained for when she gave the first piece of chicken to that little hungry cat. All she wanted to do was to help her out, but now she realises that her whole summer has been dictated by the furry being living in her garden. She never made the decision to adopt a cat – she does not even really like cats – someone else did, but she ended up being the one buying food for that hungry mother, being the one who had to make arrangements when she would be gone for more than a day or two… All she wanted was to be kind and do the right thing for this little cat…

Now, let’s go back in time a few months, a year or two maybe. Where did this little cat come from? She was friendly and used to human interaction. A pet left behind, unneutered, when people had to move out? A cute little kitten taken off the pink pages as “free to good home” whose owner had lost interest in when she grew bigger? Or was she dumped by her owners when they realised she was pregnant and they did not want to deal with a litter of kittens? Whichever it is, she was “owned” at one stage and her owners did not take responsibility for her welfare and that of her kittens. Someone else had to pick up the pieces and do the right thing. Yet, they are not the only people responsible for this – or should we say irresponsible? Very likely, she too was rehomed as a little kitten, unneutered, to what seemed like a lovely and caring family. And so the vicious cycle goes, but the only way to break this cycle is by neutering. Everyone thinks they have found the perfect home for the little kittens they are adopting out. Of course it is a good home; it is a lovely family and they will do the right thing and they will have their new little pet neutered. Yet, the little kitten grew up and had kittens. One? Two? More litters? All the excuses in the world can be heard: “she escaped out of the window and when she came back it was too late, the damage was done”; “we decided to let her have just the one litter for the kids to see the miracle of life, but then she got pregnant again before we knew it, it was more than we could cope with”, “ we always found homes for her kittens, so it was ok”, “we didn’t know she could get pregnant at four months old”, “I really wanted to bring her to be neutered, but I didn’t have the money and my car broke down”, and on, and on… And so kittens keep being rehomed unneutered, and so the cycle goes and other are left to pick up the pieces. Meanwhile, kittens keep dying, unseen, because rescues are overloaded, because their mother did not find a kind and caring lady to look after them.

To all of you trying to help kittens, trying to help cats, or just trying to be humane, do the right thing: NEUTER! More and more vets practice early neutering (from as young as 8 weeks old for the most experienced vets), and so kittens can be neutered before being rehomed. This is the only way to break this vicious cycle! If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Read more about early neutering here: https://communitycatsnetwork.wordpress.com/information/neutering/

Tom or Harry? It’s Your Choice!

In memory of all the tom cats for whom we were too late…

“Hi guys! My name is Tom! I was a cute little thing when I was a kitten, well, that’s what the humans used to say. I wouldn’t let them touch me though. I would do like my mother and run away when they would approach and would only come back to eat the food they put down for us.

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Then I grew up and I started to get interested in girls, so I hit the road looking for some. Oh boy! These were the good times! Always on the road going from place to place to meet the girls. Sometimes, the humans would be nice and throw me a bit of chicken, but often they would just chase me with a broom, screaming ‘dirty tom’. It’s not my fault if I sprayed a little, I had to mark my territory for other cats. I used to love visiting the farm: there were plenty of girls and I would drink that nice white liquid; it tasted so good! But I wouldn’t stay for too long and would keep travelling. I didn’t even have time to go hunting during the summers; I was a busy boy! I got into some pretty bad fights though. We all wanted the same girls, so we had to fight for them. Sometimes I’d lose, sometimes I’d win, especially when fighting with the sick cats, they weren’t very strong and would quickly give up, but I got some bad bites. At the end of the summers, I would be exhausted and hungry from all the travelling. So I would just visit all my favourite spots to get some food and rest, and play with the mice a little. But as soon as it would get warmer and the days would get longer, I was off again! Back on the road!

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Then, one winter, I caught a bad cold. Usually, it would go away with food and rest, but I wasn’t very hungry. When the days got warmer, I started travelling again, but I was weak and didn’t have the energy anymore. I found a nice garden with some shelter and I sat there as I was in so much pain. The woman of the house started to give me all types of food, it smelled nice and I would eat a little, but it hurt my teeth and my throat. I could hear her say ‘skin and bones’ all the time.

One day, another woman came with some strange box with bars on it. She put a lot of nice smelly food in it, but I couldn’t eat. Then she poured some of the sweet white liquid we had at the farm, except that it came from a bottle. I forced myself to stand up to have a bit of that as it reminded me so much of the good old days. When I went in the box, I heard a noise. I turned around, but I couldn’t get out. When the woman approached, I tried to fight but didn’t have the energy. And then it was dark and I calmed down.

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The box moved and me with it. Then I heard the strange noise moving objects make. Next thing, there were other faces looking at me; I heard them say ‘Poor boy!’. I felt something stinging me and I dozed off. I could hear their voices though, words like ‘disease’, ’emaciated’, ‘not grooming’, ‘virus’, ‘aids’. Then the girl with the box was back. She started to rub my head. It was strange, I had never been touched by a human before, but I didn’t care. She was saying that it would be ok, that I wouldn’t be suffering anymore and that I would go to a better place (maybe she meant the farm?). I felt a prick and some tingling in my veins. Then, I couldn’t see the faces anymore, I couldn’t hear their voices and the pain was gone…”

***

“Hi folks! My name is Harry! I’m Tom’s cousin. I was like Tom when I was young, always running after the girls. I guess I was luckier than him though as I found a nice garden. The woman of the house would always give me some nice tasty food and would call me ‘handsome’. There were some girls there too, but they had no interest in me. Oh, it was ok, I would wander to look for others, but I would always come back to the garden with nice food, where I could have a snooze too.

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One day, a woman came, she had a box made of bars. She put some food in it. I went to check, but I wasn’t that hungry that I would go in that strange box. Then she put another box out, with more food. It was bigger and I started to feel hungry, so I went in. I heard something slamming. When the woman approached, I tried to run away, but I couldn’t escape. Then it got dark and I heard the noise moving objects make.

Next thing, I could hear new voices and I felt something stinging me. I went off to sleep. When I woke up, I was feeling really strange, a bit groggy and as if something was missing. I saw the face of the woman with the box and again we were in the moving object. When it stopped, it felt very familiar around me. The light came back and I could recognise the garden I liked so much. I ran away, but when the woman with the box was gone, I came back for some nice food. Tasty!

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I went looking for the girls again, but it wasn’t the same, so I lost interest and decided to stay in the garden with nice food. I would lie in the warm sun and if it rained I had a little house where I could stay dry. To pass the time, I would play with the mice. The woman of the house would bring me food a few times a day and I loved it, so I started to run towards her and would rub against her legs. One day, she moved her hand towards me and touched my head. It felt really strange. She kept doing it and eventually I got used to it and I even started to like it. Poor old Tom, he had such a rough life! It’s a pity he didn’t find a nice garden like mine!”

Don’t ignore tom cats; give them a chance to have a good life by having them neutered. By having tom cats neutered, you are reducing the spread of diseases and viruses, such as FIV (feline AIDS) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia). Neutered tom cats will live longer and are less likely to roam, fight and spray.

The Incredible Story of Tommy, the Lost Cat

16 05 LauristonWe were recently asked to post an ad about a friendly cat that had been hanging around an estate in Midleton to see whether he was a local making himself comfortable at other people’s houses or a lost cat needing to be reunited with his owner. Nobody came forward, so we decided to investigate a bit further and called down to the estate where two families had been feeding the cat. They told us that they were convinced that it was the same cat who had already been around about a year previously, but that they would like to make sure that he was indeed been looked after. The first step was to scan the cat. It is so rare to find a microchipped cat that when you hear a beep, you get really excited! The number was duly written down and we went to check some databases. The microchip was registered with a UK database and the details had been last updated in 2011. The lines were not open at that hour, so we would have to wait until the following day to find out more…

The following morning, I rang the UK company and was told that the cat was indeed registered at a UK address and with a UK number. I was beginning to be disappointed as it probably meant that the owners had never updated their details when bringing their cat to Ireland. I was told by the database company that they would try to make contact and keep me updated. Half an hour later, my phone was ringing from a UK number… It wasn’t the database company though, but the owner of Tommy!

P1240857 webShe explained that she had come to live in Ireland and in May 2015, a year ago, had moved back to the UK, but Tommy had escaped on Dublin port. We can only guess that Tommy jumped on a lorry and got transported that way to Midleton. The strangest thing of all was that the lady, who had not set foot in Ireland since, was spending a few days near Dublin and was flying back home that evening. The excitement and joy was so overwhelming, the owner said it was as if she had won the lottery, and we started to think of how to reunite her with her cat. She decided to rent a car and to drive down to pick him up. I went over to the estate to collect him, as the last thing we needed was for Tommy to go on a wander, and kept him safe for a few hours until he could be at long last reunited with his owner! Tommy was not able to go home that night as he needed his papers to be sorted, but a friend of the lady minded him until his pet passport would get sorted and he could travel back home.

We don’t often experience these happy-ending stories and I was over the moon to have been able to reunite a cat with his owner. Once more, this shows that microchipping your cat is really worthwhile and that we should never ever assume that a cat has just been dumped and we must thank the two families in Midleton for minding him and making contact.

In the Shadow of the Mill

in the shadow of the Mill

The cats would pour out of the old mill in a torrent of upraised tails when the women appeared. Every evening, after 6 o clock, when the businesses had closed for the day and things quietened down, the ladies would come with their meagre supplies of food, held in burlap, potato bags, to feed the forgotten cats. The cats were generationally wild. Litter upon litter of these cats were born in and around the old mill, which itself had been built just after the famine in Ireland. The nursing queens, the female cats with kittens, made their nests deep within the hidden places of the mill where humans would not discover them or their babies. From these dens a struggle for survival was forced upon the tiny kittens, born blind, born deaf, completely dependent on their mothers for life, these tiny creatures had to undergo a veritable gauntlet of challenges just to emerge from their nests. They were in danger of being attacked by rival Tomcats who wished to mate with their mothers. The rats that infested the mill were a considerable source of threat and would happily seize and eat any newborn kitten. Then there were the endemic diseases; cat flu that first blinded the babies and then sealed their nasal passages shut leaving the tiny, fledging cats, to starve to death, unable to smell their food source. Then there were the truly horrible diseases whose lethality was hidden by their innocuous acronyms; FeLV , FIV, FIE, an entire alphabet that spelled nothing but a miserable end for newborns that had not yet left the nest. But the single biggest danger the cats faced were human beings whose indifference, neglect, and downright cruelty, ensured that the suffering would continue in an endless cycle.

‘So as you treat the least of my creatures, so you treat me’ or words to that effect. How many times did I listen to the priest intone those words at Sunday mass. The congregation sat in various states of emotion, that ranged from utter and complete boredom, to rapt, face gleaming attention , as the weekly ritual of the catholic mass unfolded. The message was always the same; ‘Behave, Be Good, Be Kind towards those weaker than you’. And how often these admonishments were left behind in the church along with the Parish Bulletins and unread catholic papers. ‘Things were different back then’ or so it is said by today’s commentators. Ireland in the early 1960s. Back then we were all catholic, republican, and played GAA. Those that didn’t fit that description were all English. Rugby playing, Protestant, heathens, Communists, and Atheists. We all had to fit within very narrow job titles. To step outside the definition was to invite ridicule.

I was a very small child when I first noticed the Mother and Daughter. They quietly walked along the quay side by side. Clutched in their hands were potato bags filled with discarded food waste and scraps, collected from the Town’s businesses during the day. They always went to the high entrance gates of the mill where they distributed the food to the feral cats that boiled out of everywhere. To be honest the women frightened me at first. The Mother seemed to have a stern face, a ‘cross’ face as children like me would see it. Back then the ability to gauge the temperament of an adult from his/her face was a survival requirement for kids. Ireland was not a child friendly country then. The Daughter disquieted me even more. As a child I couldn’t articulate what it was, exactly, about her that made me stare so hard.

When the two women reached the gates of the mill they were first greeted by the ‘waiters’ the cats who knew they were coming. But within a few minutes the cats and kittens poured out of the mill, from every direction, frantic for the food the women had to offer. These felines were the wildest of the wild yet they greeted the two women with great love and dignity every time. The Mother and Daughter went about their feeding amidst a forest of upright tails whose tips were turned over in that classic, inverted ‘J’ shape, of cordial cat greeting. I remember pausing to watch the women and the cats who rubbed up against their legs and twined sinuously around the women’s ankles. I was jealous of the obvious love the cats had for these two women because I never received any attention from any of these wild creatures. No matter how often I approached them, the cats either totally ignored me, or, worse again, hissed and spat, before running away into their dark and mysterious hiding places within the mill. The two women spoke to the cats. Called them by pet names and the cats responded. The big adult males, bruisers all, would get the first cut from the food supplies followed by the sleeker females. In between this roiling mass of women and cats would dart the kittens, braving blows and hisses from the adults, but determined to get their share of what was on offer. The Mother and Daughter did their best to control the feeding and to ensure that even the littlest kitten got something to eat. The big bullies would be chased away and space made for a kitten to get a morsel to eat but the bigger, faster cats, always got the lions share. When the feeding was done the two women would leave, side by side, and just as sedately, walk away back down the quay. The cats would linger by the gates awhile longer hunting for any remaining scraps before they too would silently merge back into the shadow of the mill.

I grew up with cats. We had a little grey Tabby called, ‘Puisin’ (Pro. Pusheen) which is Gaelic for, ‘Little Cat’. As a child, I discovered Puisin had given birth to a litter of kittens in the bathroom cupboard. My father promptly dispatched the kittens by placing them in a cotton wool lined shoebox that was impregnated with chloroform. I still remember the frantic cries of these newborn kittens and their puny efforts to escape their fate within the shoebox. Poor Puisin would run about the house crying for her kittens and trying desperately to free them from the box but the humans always won and the kittens died. I suppose this is shocking for some readers but in 1960s, rural Ireland, this was an outrageously expensive way of disposing of unwanted kittens. Why go to all that trouble and spend all that money when there was a perfectly good river nearby? Discovering bags of drowned kittens was a frequent childhood experience and one consequence of playing in the river. The county council street cleaners, a particularly villainous looking bunch of men who went around the town in a horse drawn cart always had a few dead cats tied to the side of their cart. Then there was the bodies of cats and kittens. They were everywhere to be found. Lying in hedges and ditches. In back alleys and side streets. A cat that was dying of disease or that was unable to move because of injury, was considered fair game for a sport of kill the cat. Cruelty didn’t come into it. This was the weak and unfortunate of society, the people of the margins, discovering something even more weaker and defenceless than themselves. They could cause pain and torment to an animal, secure in the knowledge that society wouldn’t seek retribution for their crime. Some might describe this as cruelty but it was the pain filled, and the tortured, inflicting suffering on another, ‘lesser’ living thing, in order to relieve their personal pain. It was tough at the bottom in those days.

It’s hard to break the era of a story but I have to jump forward many years to finish the tale. The two women continued to feed the feral cats at the mill. Year upon year, as the country about them changed, the Mother and Daughter made their daily walk of mercy bringing food and kindness to the abandoned and forgotten cats of the mill. I grew older and away from the town following my own path in life. The mother grew older too, inevitably, and then she passed away leaving her daughter alone to carry on the task. As a man, I passed the mill one day and there was the daughter, alone, feeding the cats. As always the cats milled about her feet, tails aloft, meowing and chirping, happy to see her and the food she brought. As usual a few ‘young fellas’who were passing, paused to shout some undecipherable catcalls at the girl as she cared for her charges. I was now big enough to shout back at them and told them to be on their way. They informed me that the Daughter was, in their words, “Fucking mad” . So what? That what was almost the entire town thought of the Mother and Daughter and used to go out of their way to let them know. Who but imbeciles would go to so much trouble to feed a bunch of useless cats? And do the task year upon year upon year? As I saw off the hectoring youths a series of images I had unconsciously collected through the years began to form a pattern in my mind. I looked closely at the daughter as she bent to her task, especially at her face. The same calm, almost serene smile was still there, as it always had been, but the face lacked the animation of thoughtful intelligence. The Daughters actions were stiff and slow. Even simple tasks seemed an effort. The girl obviously suffered from some sort of intellectual disability. Yet the love and kindness, both the abilty and desire to reach out to other creatures, that her Mother had inculcated in her, remained, even though her devoted Mother was gone.

Once upon a time the Mother was a beautiful young woman who married a man and together they produced a baby girl. I know the Mother was a beautiful woman because even as a child I could see the remains of that beauty. The child was born with an intellectual disability and into a time in Ireland when such births were viewed as a mark of God’s disfavour upon the Mother. The husband, unable to face the shame of such a thing and the inevitable public comment, abandoned his beautiful wife and baby daughter to their fate. Now, to add to the ‘shame’ of the baby was the humiliation of desertion and the desperation of being a single parent in a society that heaped opprobrium upon such families. Mother and Daughter lived in poverty for all of their lives. That poverty was evident in their clothes that never changed year after year, becoming more dowdy and repaired as time passed. The Mother and Daughter seemed to pass through the streets unnoticed and friendless. The shopkeepers knew them because they collected the waste food everyday but no passerby ever seemed to stop and engage in casual conversation with them. Yet every evening Mother and Daughter walked serenely along the dark quay, laden with potato bags that contained precious food, for the forgotten cats that lived such short lives in the old mill. Ignoring the taunts and jeers of the town they fed, and cared, for hundreds of cats.

A number of years ago I passed the mill and there was the daughter feeding the cats. She had a companion with her, another woman who appeared slightly embarrassed to be standing in the middle of a lot of cats. That was the Daughter’s carer, appointed by a state agency to look after the Motherless girl. Then, one day, the Daughter was gone as were the mill and all its cats. In its place was a block of apartments, the kind advertised as ‘Contemporary living in an historic setting’.

Today we have Rescue Groups and TNR groups. There is a much wider public acceptance of animal welfare issues. Animal cruelty is a crime as is any harmful actions towards children or those with intellectual disabilities. Single parents are no different from two parents. There are laws to prevent all kinds of injustices in our society. But I walk the quay now as an older man with memories of another time and another place. If I look hard enough I see them coming towards me, a woman with her daughter. The Mother has a kind, compassionate face and she walks with her Daughter at her side. They walk, bound by love, bound by sadness, to a place where their children await them, eager for whatever scraps of food and human kindness the two women can offer them. They walk unheeding of the taunts, and jeers, that greet them most evenings from townspeople whose tiny intellects cannot fathom that love itself is a journey all of us must walk, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. And if we can love something other than ourselves, no matter what the circumstances we find ourselves in, than something good and kind and eternal will emerge and live on after we are gone. For the Mother and Daughter, unknownst to themselves, and to me, planted a seed that lay dormant a long time. And then came the spring and the seed began to sprout. Community Cats Network will commence the neutering of every stray and feral cat in Bandon town in the memory of the forgotten mother and daughter.

” For one small act of kindness can inspire others to go on to do greater things”

The Bandon TNR project has been ongoing for some time and we have already neutered some 500 cats and kittens in the town and its hinterland. This project has been funded in part by the Hairy Project. We humbly and gratefully acknowledge and thank those of you that donated goods for auction and those of you that bid on the items for sale. CCN will be running its, PURRFECT AUCTION, soon, in order to raise the bulk of funds required to complete the Bandon TNR. CCN calculates it will take between 2-3 years to complete the neutering of the estimated 2000-2500 remaining cats.

Many Thanks

Our next Purrfect Auction will take place this coming Thursday the 30th of July to August 9th. Click here to join us for some goodies and fun. Our Chief Auctioneer will be Annie Brabazon again, we are all looking forward to some good fun and of course shopping!!

Click here if you would like to donate directly to this project.

Help Lily this Christmas

I knew the place well. As a child I played there. Bumbling around like all small kids do, inventing games,or just exploring the back gardens and alleyways. Finding dead cats and kittens was a common occurrence. Usually the adult cats would be found in hedges where they had crawled into to die. The kittens would be found in bags, dumped in the nearby river. Cats were more numerous ‘back then’. They were a largely despised species, victims of religious superstition and good old indifference. Fit only to act as pest controllers but never to be fed or cared for. The endless litters of kittens usually met with the same fate. Taken from their mothers before their eyes opened, placed in a strong paper bag, string tied around the top, and hurled into the river. As kids, hunting Minnows in the water, we would come across the partially decomposed little corpses, still entombed in their rotting bags. I suppose, in people’s minds, cats and kittens, were as common as the air and as cheap.

12 11 25 LilyMaggie took the call. A man feeding a colony of ferals spotted a new cat hiding in nearby bushes. The cat wouldn’t come out and appeared fearful of both him and the other cats. The man couldn’t be sure but it appeared to him that the cat had something wrong with one of its legs. An injury of some sort. A plan was concocted and eventually the little cat was coaxed out of hiding and brought to the vet for an assessment. The ‘injured’ leg was, in fact, an amputation. The front, right side, leg, had been surgically removed at some stage leaving an awkward looking stump. The cat looked reasonably well fed and was friendly. Obviously the animal had been cared for by somebody. The initial assessment was of a stray that had wandered from her home and had gotten lost. Upon closer examination the little female cat was found to have the most appalling case of infected, ear polyps, the vet had ever seen. Polyps are lumps that grow in the inner ear canals of felines, especially older cats, and this poor mite had them in spades. The polyps had become infected and were agonising for the little female cat as she constantly tore at them with her claws. Every now and then she would vigorously shake her head from side to side and a spray of blood and pus would shoot out. Maggie named the cat, ‘Lily’ and we brought her home for temporary sanctuary until her owners could be located.

Lily was installed in two, very large, dog cages, on our kitchen table. We had nowhere else to put her. We made Lily as comfortable as possible in the cages. She was given a cardboard box, lined with soft, warm, vet bed, to sleep in, within the cages. This gave her a place of refuge away from the attentions of our own nosey cats. Lily retired into her box and remained there, day and night. Within 24 hours, The walls and roof, of Lily’s box were coated in a spray of blood and pus from her constant head shaking. We made efforts to locate Lily’s owners. The posts went up on CCN and Munster Lost and Found. No response. It was a very busy time for us. We were dealing with a case of a feral colony that was suffering the effects of malnutrition. We were preoccupied with this and not able to give Lily the attention she needed. When, one evening, we finally got the chance to sit down with Lily and have a good look at her, we immediately noticed the telltale indentations around her neck. Lily had worn a collar for a long time.

We examined her ears. We looked at her general demeanour. We saw how she hid away from everything and everyone. A brief discussion ensued and the conclusion was unanimous. Lily appeared to have been dumped because her carers grew tired of the veterinary cost of looking after her and treating her infected ears. We needed to deal with Lily’s ears. The infected polyps were causing her pain and discomfort. The constant pain from her ears, coupled with the amputated front leg, was inhibiting her from integrating into any household, let alone one as full of cats as ours. Our own vets felt unable to deal with the surgery required to fix the problem so we called upon the skills of Sinead Falvey, down in Cloyne veterinary practice, to assist. Sinead examined Lily thoroughly. We stood in Sinead’s surgery and watched as the vet’s skilful and sensitive fingers felt all over Lily’s little body. Sinead didn’t miss a thing. Lily’s ears were examined and a solution offered. Sinead would operate to remove the polyps. This would involve removing part of the ear canal as well. The operation was carried out and the polyps were removed. Behind the polyps in one of Lily’s ears was an unusual mass. Sinead Thinks this mass might be cancerous. The polyps have been there a long time. The mass has had the time to grow inwards towards Lily’s skull. Sinead took a biopsy and has sent it off to the lab. It will take about a week to get the results back.

P1180236 webSo we wait. This weekend, Lily will return home to us. She will be placed in her box within her cage. We will feed and care for her as if she was our own cat. Next week word will come back from the lab. It will be either, Benign, or, Malignant. If it is the latter, Lily will, yet again, make the journey from west cork all the ways down to Cloyne. And in Sinead’s surgery, Lily will drift off to sleep; never to wake up again to a world where a 12 year old cat, once accustomed to a home and care, was set adrift to fend for herself, partially crippled and in pain, lost, frightened, and bewildered, wondering what her ‘crime’ was, and desperately trying to make sense of it all. A little tabby too afraid to to push her way into a feral feeder even though she was starving. And this is Christmas, for God’s sake. Where was the love and fellowship for Lily when she most needed it?
I had thought that times had changed. I had believed that people no longer drowned kittens or treated cats like rubbish, fit only to be thrown out when there usefulness was over. I had hoped people had grown more sensitive to the suffering of another species. I had hoped in vain.

2014 has been a particularly rough year. We had hoped to end it with a good luck story. But Lily happened. Sometimes all we can do is reach out that final hand to stop the suffering of a wounded cat or kitten. We want them all to live. We want people to understand that cats feel the same things we do. Hurt, pain, abandonment, are emotions common to humans and cats. What does Lily feel today as she lies in her bed in Sinead’s surgery? There is the obvious discomfort from the operation but hopefully there is also the relief from the removal of the infected polyps. Lily is on pain relief medication. Sinead will see to it that Lily is as comfortable as possible. But what of Lily’s internal emotions? Can she make sense of the past few weeks. Lily had a home where she was comfortable. Those that cared for her cared enough to amputate a badly damaged limb. She had been fed and cosseted. Someone loved her once. But that all ended and Lily was abandoned. How does Lily process that? Now, put yourself in Lily’s mind. How would you feel if those you loved and trusted took you from your home one night to a strange place, put you on the ground, and drove away. There, in the dark and the biting cold, unable to properly move because you lost your front limb, and in agony from a terrible infection in both your ears, bewildered, confused, and alone, you must begin the fight for survival with all the odds stacked against you.

Please help Lily this Christmas time. The Cost of Lilly operation to take her pain away is over €300. Please help us to raise the money by donating on the links below.

Thanks, Jim 

Donate here.  Every donation will help.

To the Unnamed Kittens, Killed on the Roads

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Finding dead kittens on the road is unfortunately a too familiar sight. Each time though, my throat tightens.
This little man wasn’t dead though. The woman who found him said he was trying to crawl, but could not use his back legs. How many people passed and saw him without stopping?
She picked him up and brought him to her shed before ringing Breda, who rushed to him despite being expected at work. Annie and Breda found the kitten where the woman had told them he would be. He was cold, so they wrapped him in a towel and Annie held him close to her on the way to my house. Annie may only be 6 years old, but she knows the realities of life. She handed me the kitten with a serene dignity.
I held him and touched his back legs. There was no response; he didn’t seem to feel anything on the rump either. I didn’t have any hope for him and just wanted to stop his pain. His breathing started to become worse and I guessed I wouldn’t even have time to bring him to the vet on-call in Youghal to end his suffering kindly. I believe this is the most distressing, feeling helpless. His breathing slowed down and then he gave a final, very soft sigh. I was holding him in my arms, close to my heart. This is probably the only consolation, that he didn’t die alone, on the side of the road.
I wrapped him up in a white sheet and buried him in the garden, next to the fern plant. I don’t believe in heaven, don’t believe in the rainbow bridge, but I believe in giving them some dignity when they live this planet we all share.
Sleep tight little man x

Oiche mhaith mo Croí

We constantly get calls from people that have sick cats. Following a process of elimination we determine if the cat needs emergency care or not. I arrived for a trapping last night and, low and behold, the carer had fed the cat two hours before I arrived. The probability of the cat coming around again was pretty slim. I was informed that he had
not been looking well for a while. I hung on a bit longer to see if he would show…and he did. The most amazing tom cat approached the patio, holding his head up high, walking tall with all the dignity he could muster. But unfortunately he was in a bad way. He had a large laceration on the side of his neck. He appeared dirty and dishevelled, and broken. Cats are amazing creatures. No matter what happens to them, what they have to go through to make it through another day, their dignity always remains. He looked at me with the two most glorious eyes I have ever seen on a cat. I swear to god he knew I was there to trap him. I put out the trap and filled it with food. He was standing about three feet away from me, saliva dripping from his mouth onto the ground. I turned to him and asked him to go into the trap so we could take his pain away. He looked at me and walked straight into the trap. I know this sounds silly, but it was the nearest thing I could describe to a spiritual experience. The handsome boy was taken home to the feral shed. Jim transferred him into the hospital cage with some warm vet bed and food.
I brought him to the vet today. Most of his teeth were missing and the others were rotting. He had Plasmacelled Pododermatitis on three of his paws, was covered in lice and positive for FIV.
He went for his final sleep today in the vets. I listened to his heart beat after the lethal dose injection was administered. His heart kept beating for a short while, slowed down, and then stopped. Oiche mhaith mo Croí. Maggie & Jim.Lavernes cat

Hello? I’ve Rescued a Kitten…

“Hello? I’ve rescued a kitten…”

We usually dread these calls as they end by asking us to take in the kitten as they cannot keep it in for a reason or another (kids, work, dog, cats, and so on). Since we are not a rescue and that most rescues are full, there is usually very little we can do.
P1150874 webBut this time, we were wrong! We were talking to a real rescuer, someone willing to take responsibility and to do what was best for the kitten. All she wanted was some advice. Well, when people are willing to make an effort, we are even more eager to help them. We explained the importance of neutering before rehoming, of doing a homecheck, of asking for an adoption donation to make the adopter responsible and so on, and offered to help with these as best as we could and to provide some supplies too.

P1150871 webTwo days later, we were picking up the kitten to have him neutered and microchipped. To our surprise, the little kitten was in the living room, when the house dog had been confined to the yard! We brought back the kitten after recovery, with a few goodies that she could give to the adopter. He has since been adopted by a nice family, whom the rescuer is confident will look after him well.

If there were more people like this lady, Ireland would definitely be a better place for cats….

If you too have rescued a kitten, please visit our private rehoming page for tips and to advertise.