Tag Archives: animal welfare

Christmas Auction 2016

Shop from the comfort of your home and help raise funds for the cats!

Community Cats Network are having an online auction on their Facebook page with over 30 unique items to bid on, many of them are hand-crafted. You will find some original gift ideas to get your Christmas shopping started!

The auction will close at 8pm on the 5th of December. To take part, click here.

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We would like to thank all the supporters who contributed by donating items for this auction.

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Give Paw Campaign in Maxi Zoo Midleton 2017

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We are delighted to announce that Maxi Zoo Midleton have chosen Community Cats Network, along with Pauline’s Rescue, for the Give Paw campaign. During the month of October, you can pop in store and buy a paw to stick on a ball. You can write a message or the name of your own pet. For each paw, Maxi Zoo will donate a euro to their chosen charity.

We will be at the Midleton store on the 1st, 8th, 15th and 29th of October to raise awareness about the work we do. You can call in to meet our volunteers, as well as Prospero and Jasmin (formerly known as Madame Irma), two cats that were rescued by CCN.

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Christmas/New Year Appeal Raffle 2014

raffle poster_Xmas 2014As part of our Christmas/New Year appeal and in order to help us raise much needed funds to neuter feral cats in county Cork, Community Cats Network has organised a raffle with some fantastic prizes sponsored by local businesses and supporters.  Tickets are only €1 and €5 for a book of 6, but by buying one, you could make a massive difference in the lives of feral cats.  See the links below to buy your tickets online… The draw will take place on the 8th of January in Harty’s Pub in Cloyne.  Trad music will be on and all are welcome to join! Now, the prizes…. 1st prize is a trail in West Cork, including activities and accommodation (worth over €400). Close your eyes and imagine…  Your trail begins in Garrettstown where you will get a surfing lesson for two sponsored by Gtown Surfing School (voucher for 2 surfing lessons).  Next, you will head for a lovely lunch at Diva Bakery and Café in Ballinspittle before you keep driving West (€35 voucher).  You need to make an obligatory stop in Skibbereen where you will be able to stock up with suncream and other products you may need for your minibreak at the Drinagh Pharmacy (€25 voucher).  Once you have made your way to Cape Clear island, you will be welcome in one of the lovely cottages (voucher for a weekend at Cape Clear cottages).  During your stay on the island, you can treat yourself with a dinner at Try Thai, the local restaurant (€50 voucher).  After you leave the island, spend a morning Whale and Dolphin Watching (voucher for a tour for 2 people sponsored by Whale Watch Westcork).  After all those adventures, you might need to refresh your haircut at Karizma Hair Salon in Skibbereen (€20 voucher).  Before you leave West Cork, don’t forget to stop at Deelish Garden Centre to get a few plants to bring back home (€30 voucher).  Doesn’t this sound like a dream?  It could be yours if you win! Cover-460 2nd prize is a Waterford Inisheer Lamp (of a value of €300). Waterford Crystal Inisheer Lamp 300e 3rd prize is a commission for a pet portrait by Perpetual Portraits (worth €120). Perpetual Portraits 4th Prize is a Girlie Night-In Hamper (worth €100).  It contains candles, a DVD, lotions and creams, and many other little goodies to spend the perfect night in! Girly Hamper 5th Prize is a Johnson Hamper (worth €80). P1180398 6th Prize is a pet bed from Lazy Days Pat Beds. pet bed blue 7th prize is also for the kitties!  It is a hamper for your feline friend.  It’s a Royal Canin bag containing a Royal Canin cat bed, a bowl, a few toys and treats, as well as a sachet of our now infamous catnip (I have heard it being referred to as the best in town!). P1180449 8th prize is a €50 voucher for Debenham’s donated by one of our supporters.  That could help you to cure the post-Christmas blues! debenhams 9th prize is a Cat Lover Gift Bag. P1180454 10th prize is a Love Flowers Beauty Gift Set. P1170431 Special prize: this prize is only for the patrons of Harty’s on the night.  It is a mixed hamper: a bit of everything to cheer you up! P1180452 We would like to thank all the businesses and supporters who have sponsored this raffle, as well as Harty’s Pub for hosting the draw.  A huge thank you goes out to all the supporters who have bought a ticket and to all the volunteers who have sourced prizes and sold tickets for us. Tickets are only €1 each or €5 for a book of 6 and can be bought online or from one of our volunteers.   A photo of your ticket(s) will be emailed to you when buying online. Buy your tickets here.

The Hairy Auction in aid of Community Cats Network

Hairy house raffle pic CCN

The Hairy Project was set up to hopefully raise funds for Dog and Cat Rescue,
by holding Auctions with items that have been made by me here in The Hairy House and items donated by like-minded Animal Lovers.
The first Hairy Auction started on 13th February and was in aid of Coolronan Dog Rescue, raising €1,850 for the Rescue.
The second Hairy Auction was held on 16th May for 10 days in aid of two Wonderful TNR Projects involved in Rescue and Rehoming. -Greystones Kitty Hostel and The TNR Fundraising Page run by Debbie Hogan who helps out TNR projects around Wicklow, Co Dublin and Dublin Areas. This auction raised €1,500 for Greystones Kitty Hostel. €1,000 for TNR fundraising Page run by Deborah Hogan and €200 for Maeve O’Donoghue for her Mullingar Dogs that she helps to get out of the Pound. and €50 each to 3 emergency Cases.
The third auction was in Aid of Cats Friends Rescue and took place on Friday 25th July . This Auction Raised €2,070.50 for Cats Friends Rescue.
REMEMBER None of this is possible without YOU. So Come and Join in the Fun and Help Save Lives!
TOTAL RAISED AND GIVEN OUT SO FAR IS €6,770.50 since February 2014
The Next Auction will be held in aid of Community Cats Network in Cork on Friday 25th September 2014 at 9pm.

Please visit The Hairy Auction Facebook page on the link below to place your bids. Thank you Belinda Morgan for this fantastic fundraiser.

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/653491301356271/

Hairy house raffle pic CCN

When we grieve for a Loved Animal

If you are reading this because your beloved pet has died, I offer my heartfelt sympathy. To lose someone you love is very stressful, especially if it was unexpected. Only you know how deep your connection is to your Loved Animal and, the deeper the connection, the more profound your grief. That connection is not gone though. It is possible to maintain it in a different form, throughout the rest of your life, if you want. First, let’s look at what you might experience and what might help you deal with it.

What you can expect

Grief is our reaction to the physical separation from someone we love. It is a normal reaction that is experienced uniquely by everyone. So there is no right or wrong way to grieve (though it is possible to get stuck). Because grief is not really talked about, many people are surprised by the intensity of the pain, for example, and don’t know what to do to grieve. But everyone has grieving instincts that gently nudge them to express their grief. For example, one person might feel the urge to put away everything that reminds them of their pet (for now). While another person might want to keep everything close, as a tangible connection, until their pet’s absence is less of a shock. If you can, lean into your grieving instincts. They will guide you.

It is very natural to experience disruptions in more than one area of functioning because of grief. Your physical body may experience any of a wide variety of temporary changes, from early waking, to increased or decreased appetite, from headaches and digestive upset to numbness or tingling, even fatigue. Your social self might want different things, e.g., you might want to withdraw from others, for a while. Your mind might have some difficulty with standard tasks, such as concentrating or remembering. And depending on what you believe, your spiritual self might struggle with the fact that a loving God or Creator would allow this to happen.

These are all reactions to the shock your whole system has had. Each person will experience a different mix of these grief reactions. And there is no schedule for when they should end. The best thing to do is to be patient with this process and to be gentle with yourself. (It will also help you deal with the stress if you can eat nutritious food, get any kind of exercise and rest as needed. Your motivation to do these things might be low, but they actually help. Trust me.)

Grieving requires actions

Every time we do something to express our grief we inch forward on what is known as our grief journey. Crying and telling your story to others are two of the most obvious, and probably, involuntary ways we grieve. But there are as many grieving actions as there are creative people in the world. Here are some ways that others have found meaningful:

  • Plant a tree or flower in honour of your cat.
  • Keep a journal to allow you to express your thoughts and feelings and to also track the course of your grief journey.
  • While they are still fresh, write down all the good memories you have of your pet, anecdotes and favourite traits in a nice blank book. These memories fade with time so it can be comforting to turn through the pages of such a book.
  • Put some of his or her hair in a precious box or locket.
  • Light a candle.
  • Frame photographs of him or her.
  • Make a donation to an organisation that works on behalf of animals.
  • Volunteer for an animal organisation.
  • Foster an animal who needs a temporary home.

 

There are many other ways to do something that is either comforting or meaningful. Just let yourself do the things that feel appropriate for you. We are all different. This is good to remember when people are giving you advice on how to deal with this big change in your life. What worked for your friend, might not work for you.

Finding support

It is vital to talk to people who can be sensitive to your loss. Even if there is just one person who seems to understand, make use of them. And the online community might offer a resource of support if there is nobody in your immediate circle. As human beings, we have a need to tell our story, usually multiple times. We need others to know what we are dealing with. It is part of the process of making it real. For at first, the shock usually numbs us and we just feel stunned. This is a protective response that gives us time to get used to this change.

Unfortunately, not everyone has experienced a strong connection with an animal and so, cannot understand that it is possible. This may result in insensitive remarks that make things harder for you, at a time when you are least able to deal with them. So, try to be selective about who you talk to about this very personal loss. Don’t feel obliged to tell anyone who asks why you seem to be different. This is not a grief that is universally appreciated as significant, but I can tell you, as a professional and as an animal lover, that loss is loss and grief is grief. We need support when we lose someone we love, no matter whether they had two legs or four. And we need to protect our grieving hearts from the possibility of thoughtless words from people who cannot understand.

Context

When your beloved pet passed away, there were other things going on in your life. Your ability to deal with this real loss is affected by whatever else you must deal with. You could be facing exams or dealing with caring for an elderly parent. You might have a health issue or be worried about money. As human beings, we can only deal with so much. I think of it as a battery that is charged that then runs down. Certain things recharge our batteries. You know what boosts yours. And stressful life events run them down. It’s important to know this as you deal with your loss and figure out how much charge is left in your batteries. Self-care is important all the time, but especially at a time like this. If you make time for the things that feel nurturing to you, it will ease your stress.

Staying connected

It is a common myth that we must forget those we have lost. To grieve someone we must remember them. You might remember your Loved Animal by thinking about him or her each morning as you start your day. You might just say their name from time to time. You might sit by the tree you planted in honour of this tender creature who gave you unconditional love. And though it might sound strange, you could try writing a letter or several, over the years, to express your thoughts and feelings directly to him or her. This can provide relief and there is no reason not to do it. If it feels healthy to you, listen to your grieving instincts. If you are concerned that you are not making progress or you are unsure about whether things are moving in the right direction, I welcome a call or e-mail.

Finally, one of the best ways to remember and stay connected to your pet is to think about the traits they displayed and incorporate one trait into your personality. For example, your pet may have been patient, and you find yourself lacking it. She may have been very loving, and you find it difficult to show your affection easily. Or he may have been compassionate, sitting quietly by those who were distressed, calming them by his presence. You know your pet like nobody else. So you will know of at least one trait that you admired. To adopt that trait for the rest of your life would be an enduring legacy for your Loved Pet.

For more information on grief counselling please contact us.

 

Rescuing Feral Cats

Feral cat keeping her distance from humans

Feral cat keeping her distance from humans

Very often we receive enquiries from the public asking us help to “rescue some feral cats”.  This is also a phrase quite often used by animal welfare organisations.  What do they mean by “rescuing feral cats”?  Most of the time, what prompts their demand is the fact that the cats do not live according to their standards.  They are concerned because the cats do not have the same comfortable lives as their own pet cats.  However, we are talking here about feral cats, not domestic cats.  Feral cats do not need rescuing, they need their lives to be improved and this can be done by having them neutered and offering them care (a better diet, suitable shelter and medical treatment when needed).

Feral cats are different from domestic cats.  The majority of them are born outside and may be the descendants of many generations of feral cats who have learnt to survive in their environment.  Cats are clever and know where they can be safe, find food and shelter.  They have learnt to avoid the daily dangers their environment throws at them.  For instance, urban feral cats will tend to hide during the day or find safe gardens where they feel protected; rarely will they run in the middle of the traffic.  Farm cats will find a safe place to hide their kittens from the fox or the resident dog.  In fact feral cats have more chances of survival in their own environment than elsewhere.  Their lives can be greatly improved by having them neutered and by making small changes in their environment, for instance by placing warm shelters in a safe location.

Mother and surrogate mother protecting the kittens while they are eating.

Mother and surrogate mother protecting the kittens while they are eating.

However, rescuing feral cats may be more detrimental to the cats than beneficial.  What happens once the cat has been “rescued”.  More than likely, it will be placed in foster care in a cage or room with the aim of socialising them.  A cat who has lived free in an outdoor environment will obviously be extremely distressed by such a situation.  To increase their stress, they will be forced to interact with a human they have never seen before, so that they can become tame.  Feral cats have learnt to be wary of humans in order to protect themselves.  Although they may trust their carer, as this is the person giving them food, other humans will be seen as potential danger.  Attempting to tame a feral cat is therefore seen by the cat as a form of aggression.  You will often hear from “rescuer” that the cat is doing fine but that s/he is nervous, in fact the cat is probably terrified by the interaction forced upon them.  I am not claiming that a feral cat can never become tame, or at least friendlier, what I am saying is that this is not usually achieved by removing them from their environment and forcing them to become socialised.  Many people involved in animal welfare would be opposed to keeping wild animals behind bars in zoo, so why do the same to feral cats?  What may happened then is that the cat starts to lose its spirit.  It is as if they have lost their will to live.  Some may interpret the fact that a feral cat stops hissing as a sign of becoming tame.  In fact, hissing is a healthy reaction in a feral cat as it shows that the cat is protecting himself.

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Feral cat crouched down after a few days in confinement.

What happens when people try to rescue feral cats is that they are trying to fulfil their aptitude at taming them, but often ignore the welfare of the cat in the equation.  Of course, their intentions are good, but this is not necessarily the best route to take.  With kitten season being in full swing, appeals for foster homes for pregnant feral mothers or mothers and their kittens are not a rare occurrence.  These appeals come out of a genuine desire to raise the kittens in a safer place; a desire which is in itself quite understandable.  However, the mother is often forgotten about.  The kittens may be socialised, but what about the stress the mother has to endure during this long period of time?  First of all, she may reject her kittens because of the stress of confinement.  Then, what happens to her once her kittens have been rehomed?  It is impossible to return her to her colony after this length of time as she will not belong to it anymore.  Her nervousness will make her unrehomable as who would want to adopt a nervous cat when there are already so many friendly cats not able to find homes.  Instead of trying to rescue this feral mother, would it not be better to spay her or try to improve the conditions in which she has had her kittens by assisting and educating the carer?

We all have our own experiences when it comes to cats and each of them is different because each cat is different.  However, it is not because feral cats can occasionally be socialised that the lives of so many feral cats should be jeopardised in the expectancy that another socialisation might be successful.  More successes would be achieved if people adopted a more rational approach to dealing with feral cats and took into consideration the actual welfare of the cat instead of their emotional instinct of saving cats according to their own standards rather than those of the cats.

Colony of feral cats living happily.  The cat at the front was only 3 months old when she was neutered.

Colony of feral cats living happily. The cat at the front was only 3 months old when she was neutered.

Community Cats Network’s First Birthday Party

At the end of April, we will turn one year old (already!), so grab your sombrero and join us in Sober Lane at 8pm to celebrate Mexican style! 

We have plenty of surprises in store for you…

Chilli Bus poster

The party will begin with a Chilli Eating Contest (we would like to thank Khan Spices of North Main Street and Southern Fruit in Togher for sponsoring the chillies).  At 8.30pm, our 50 contestants will sit down and go through 5 rounds bringing them to new levels of heat.  Whether you want to take the challenge or just watch the pain on their face, you can’t miss it!

You think you can do it?  Then, we want you there!

Recruiter poster_web

There are only 50 places, so hurry up!  You can register by calling in to Sober Lane, where the staff will take your registration, or by downloading the registration form (CCN_Chilli_Disclaimer form_Registration_Final), filling it with your initials on the first page and your full details on the 2nd, and returning it with your €5 fee to Community Cats Network, PO Box 50, Midleton Delivery Services Unit, Ballinacurra Business Park, Midleton, Co Cork.

Contest Disclaimer Readable_web JPEG

Our winner will receive a magnificient trophy sponsored by Gerald McCarthy Gifts and Awards.  The 2nd nd 3rd place will get a certificate.  All three runner-ups will get lovely prizes.  Every contestant will also receive a souvenir badge of the night to prove their bravado!

Our Facebook event will be updated on a daily basis to give you tips to learn the tricks of the trade.

Don’t worry if you’re not brave enough to enter the Chilli Eating Contest, you can still come along and have fun!

We will treat you with delicious food served to the sound of Mexican music.  There will be a guessing competition for all to enter (no, we won’t tell you what you will have to guess!).  We will also hold a fantastic rifa (Urban Dictionary: spanglish. literally means “raffle”. but used as saying a certain gang or area is “the baddest” or “untouchable”. mexican slang.) with prizes for all to enjoy!  If you cannot come to the party, you can still take part to the rifa by buying your tickets online and make this birthday a special one for all the feral cats in Cork (see here for more details).

And for all of you Facebook addicts, we also have a sharing competition on our page.  You could win a dinner voucher for two at Very Healthy Food (Douglas Street, Cork).

We would like to thank Colm and his staff at Sober Lane for hosting the event and offering great feedback, Gerald McCarthy Gifts and Awards for sopnsoring the trophies, Zia of Khan Spices (North Main St, Cork) and Jim of Southern Fruit for sponsoring the chillies and all the businesses that sponsored prizes for the night.

A massive thank you goes out to all our supporters who have followed us along the road to help the feral cats in Cork county.  Thanks to your support, we can change their lives, so here’s to the 2nd year!

Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats by Linda Elder

Fairminded Fran

The first thing one notices when picking the book Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats, is Kathy Abney’s illustration of three little cats.  These little cats, however, have a very distinctive feature: their left ear is tipped.  To people involved in trap-neuter-return (TNR), this might be a common sight, but not so for the general public.  This small detail is in fact reflective of the accuracy of this children book.

The book takes us into the journey that is TNR and teaches to respect the nature of the cat, in this case feral cats.  Fairminded Fran could be any of you, who one day discover a few feral kittens in your garden.  As many members of the public, Fairminded Fran wants to help them, but does not know how.  With her teacher, she finally finds support from the local TNR group and the kittens are neutered and returned to their environment where they are cared for by Dan, the maintenance man.

Although this little book is aimed at children, it is as much educative for adults as it is for kids.  A lot of people are not aware that something can be done for feral cats and, thus, do nothing.  Fairminded Fran shows that there are groups out there who can help and highlights how much a community can do for the cats by getting together. 

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From an animal welfare perspective, the book explains accurately what is TNR and how to care for feral cats.  Fairminded Fran does not succumb to her initial emotions and understands well that taking the kittens out of their environment is not the solution.  Instead of falling into drama, Linda Elder is rational and her story educates about the nature of feral cats and the care they should receive.

Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats should be owned by every library as a way to highlight the plight of feral cats to the general public and educate about what can be done.  It is equally instructive for people involved in animal welfare, who often forget to take into consideration the nature of a feral cat.

Win Fairminded Fran and the Three Small Black Community Cats by taking part in our January Photo Competition; you will also be helping some feral cats by doing so!

You can also order this book online by visiting the Foundation for Critical Thinking website.

3rd National Feral Cat Awareness Week; 11-18th of August 2012

National Feral Cat Awareness Week, an initiative from Feral Cats Ireland, is taking place from the 11th to the 18th of August.  The theme this year is “caring for a feral colony”.  The purpose of this event is to raise awareness for the plight of feral cats in Ireland, and, of course, to encourage the neutering of feral cats. 

Every year, many kittens are born in terrible conditions.  Most of them die at a young age; the ones that survive start reproducing very early in life (a female cat can become active at 16 weeks old).  It is a myth that all these kittens can be rehomed as too many are born for the number of homes available.  Too often, people do not realise at what rapid pace cats can reproduce.  They begin feeding one or two cats and quickly end up with a whole colony.  To prevent the situation to get out of control, there is only one solution: neuter.  Neutering may cost money, but it certainly costs less to neuter one or two cats than to feed an entire colony.  It is also the only humane solution to the problem of over-population.  Putting the cats to sleep is not only inhumane, but it also does not solve the problem.  It was shown that the culling of a colony creates a vacuum effect: the cats are soon replaced by other cats.  It is thus more effective to keep a colony under control by having all the cats neutered.  Moreover, neutering also prevents the suffering of many kittens and the spread of disease.  Cats become healthier and the risk of spreading infectious diseases such as FIV (feline AIDS) and FeLV (feline Leukemia) are much lower since these diseases are transmitted through deep bite, which occurs during mating and fighting.

In order to support this campaign, a number of vets in county Cork have agreed to offer a discounted rate to the public for the neutering of feral cats (see list below).  Local groups are available to help you to humanely trap the cat if you cannot catch it yourself.  Please contact us or Cork Cat Action Trust, Mallow Animal Rescue, RAWR (Bantry) and Animal Rescue Cobh for more information.

Community Cats Network will be holding a few information tables to mark the beginning of Feral Cat Awareness Week.  You can come to visit us at the following stores if you would like more information:

Please, help us to spread the word in Cork by printing the poster below and placing it in shops, work places, etc.

You can also show your support to feral cats by signing the petition asking to have all cats included in the new Animal Welfare bill.

List of participating vets in county Cork (please, call to enquire about the rates available):

City:

East:

North:

West:

Lieutenant Dan… A cat’s decision.

The latest news on the Lieutenant Dan saga

Claire Meade at The Cat Hospital oversaw Lt Dan’s treatment from the very beginning; first with the amputation of his seriously damaged leg, then with the lancing of the numerous abscesses that repeatedly formed on his head. Weeks passed when I had to clean the abscess every night to draw out  puss.

Necrotic flesh removed from Lt Dan Abscess

The  decision was made to operate to remove the dead skin around the wound in the hope that his head would finally heal.  This surgery was combined with Laser treatment from Emma Robertson,Veterinary Physiotherapist.

Lt Dan after his operation

Dan undergoing laser treatment

We hoped that Dan could finally be free from pain. Unfortunately this was not to be. Lieutenant Dan seemed determined not to get better. Lieutenant Dan’s abscesses started last October. He had numerous medical tests done, including a test for MRSA, but they all came back negative.  Although the laser treatment seemed to help Dan, he had a relapse in March. 

Lt Dan’s abscesses after his relapse

Claire Meade, however, did not give up hope. She had one last trick up her sleeve. After spending her own time to come up with an answer to Lt Dan’s problem, she treated him for Nocardiosis a form of bacteria that can be picked up from the soil.  Dan faced six weeks of antibiotics, twice daily, coupled with Emma’s Laser treatment.

Dan, all wrapped up and ready to receive his medication.

Within weeks of Dan receiving his new medication he was up and about like  a new cat.

Dan then decided to take the matter of his new life into his own hands. He figured out how to use the cat flap (something that he had never bothered to do before) and returned to his natural feral life. He spent eight months living with us in our house – without the need of a cage once his leg had healed – and played with our cats, but always suffered from his abscesses. He now spends his days in a feral box, or boxes, of his choosing, in our back yard.

Lt Dan peeking over the garden wall

Our cat flap is fixed to the window so I made a special ramp for Dan when he wants to come to visit. He comes in to the kitchen for his breakfast and dinner and, late at night, he sneaks in for a cuddle with Captain Underpants by the fire.

Lt Dan’s special stairs.

I miss him terribly, but I get the odd glimpse of his rear end disappearing around the corner of the house if he sees me.

Lieutenant Dan has made his decision to live his life the way he wants it and who am I to deprive him of this great joy?

Dan playing in the hedge.

Lieutenant Dan cuddling with Captain Underpants.