Tag Archives: Feral cats

Shoe Box Appeal

Could you get a little shoe box ready to treat feral cats and cats & kittens in foster care this Christmas?

Collection Points:
Douglas Village Shopping Centre – 2nd storey carpark – 9th Dec. 1-3pm
Mitchelstown – Supervalu – 8th Dec. 10am-4pm
Fermoy – Lidl carpark – 20th Dec. 6-7pm
Clonmel – Tesco carpark – 11th Dec. 6.30-7.30pm
Youghal – Perks carpark – 16th Dec. 11-12pm
Midleton – Maxi Zoo – 9th, 22nd & 23rd Dec. 2-6pm
Bandon – Glasslyn Vets – From 9th to 22nd of Dec.

Wish list: Wet food, toys, treats, small blankets, tinned tuna and sardines. We also welcome bag of dry cat & kitten food!

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Christmas/New Year Appeal Raffle 2017

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As 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 or €5 for a book of 6 tickets, but by buying one, you could make a massive difference to the lives of feral cats.

The draw will take place on the 5th of January in Harty’s Pub in Cloyne.

Tickets are only €1 each of €5 for a book of 6 and can be bought online or from one of our volunteers.   Photo of your ticket(s) will be emailed to you when buying online. For alternative payment options, please email us.

Now, the prizes….

1st prize is an activity/entertainment pack of a value of €350. It consists of a family pass for Fota Wildlife, a voucher for Electric Cork, 2 passes for Midleton Jameson Distillery, a pass for two for Gate Cinemas and vouchers for Awesome Walls.

Winner: Sarah Beausang

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2nd prize is a Ballymaloe Cookery Demonstration for two kindly donated by one of our supporters (value €150)

Winner: Eleanor Fitzgerald

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3rd prize is a canvas print by Caroline Stephenson (value €140).

Winner: Therese Barrett

 

4rd prize is a luxury dining set worth €120. It contains a Newbridge candle holder, a Newbridge pastry set and a Paul Costello set of pearl napkin rings.

Winner: Henry Ward

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5th prize is a Jewellery Set.

Winner: Brian Walsh

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6th prize is a Ann Geddes Doll

Winner: Davey Leahy

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7th prize is a remote control toy car

Winner: Douglas Lorgan

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8th prize is a bottle of Dingle Slow Gin.

Winner: John O’Neill

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9th prize is a catty gift box

Winner: Tadgh Curtin

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10th Prize is a MP3 player.

Winner: Siobhan Lonergan

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11th Prize is a French Connection gift set for women

Winner: Lisa Roynane

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12th Prize is a Corvette Blue gift set for men

Winner: Neil O’Sullivan

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13th Prize is a gift set for cats

Winner: Katie O’Sullivan

14th Prize is a voucher for Connections in Glanmire

Winner: Marian Burke

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In-House Prizes (reserved to Harty’s clients buying tickets on the night)

We also have a number of prizes for people buying tickets on the night in Harty’s pub!

Prize A: Bottle of French Bubbly

Prize B: Pass for two for Gate Cinemas

Prize C: Toiletry Gift Set for Women

Prize D: Toiletry Gift Set for Men

Prize E: Four Star Pizza Voucher

Prize F: The Real Godfathers DVD Box Set

Prize G: Fancy Desktop Mouse

Prize H: Watch

Prize I: Travel Fund Jar – to take you anywhere in the world 😉

Prize J: Frame

Prize K: Handcrafted Jewellery Set

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 of €5 for a book of 6 and can be bought online or from one of our volunteers.   Photo of your ticket(s) will be emailed to you when buying online.

Garda permit issued by Midleton; District Serial Number: 87/2016

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.

Feral Cats in the Spotlight – 96fm Interview

As part of National Feral Cats Awareness Week, two of our main volunteers were interviewed on Cork’s 96fm Opinion Line to discuss feral cats and the importance of neutering. You can listen to the podcast (at 1:46).

Launching National Feral Cat Awareness Week 2016

feral cat weekFrom the 8th to the 14th of August, we will be celebrating National Feral Cat Awareness Week, an initiative from Feral Cats Ireland. Throughout the week, some vets across the country will offer discounted rates for the neutering of feral cats. Most importantly, this is a week to raise awareness about the plight of feral cats and about the solution to the issue of cat over-population: TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return).

The small group of volunteers at Community Cats Network will, as always, be busy trapping cats for neutering, but throughout the week, we will attempt to post some information about caring for feral cats and about how YOU can make a difference and help to solve the problem. Raising awareness is key as, at the origin of the problem, is not only a set of old-fashioned attitudes towards cat care, but most importantly a lack of information about how feral cats can be helped and enjoy better lives. It is down to every one of us to spread the word about TNR programmes and about the benefits of neutering and we count on you in this endeavour.

CCN TNR Info poster

We will be launching the week with two information stalls in Maxi Zoo on the 6th of August, one in the Midleton store, the other in the Douglas store. We hope you can join us for a chat on the day and will be happy to share information about the work we do with you.

Win Two Tickets for Sharon Shannon’s Concert

How would you like to win a pair of tickets to see Sharon Shannon live at Cyprus Avenue in Cork on the 15th of April 2016?

16 04 10 Mitchelstown

To enter the draw, just make a donation here (€2 per line or €5 for 3 lines). The draw will take place on the 10th of April at 9pm and the winner will be announced on our Facebook page. All proceeds will go towards the cost of neutering of stray and feral cats in Mitchelstown.

The more lines you buy, the better your chances to win and the more cats we can help!

We thank you in advance for your support! We would like to thank CARE Rescue for their kind donation to help cats in Mitchelstown!

Christmas/New Year Appeal Raffle 2015 – The Last Call…

As the draw for our Christmas/New Year Appeal Raffle is approaching, we are appealing to everyone to support and buy a few tickets. We will accept oline orders until 9pm (GMT) on Thursday night. Tickets are only €1 each of €5 for a book of 6 and can be bought here. Thanks in advance for your support!

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As 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 or €5 for a book of 6 tickets, but by buying one, you could make a massive difference to the lives of feral cats.

The draw will take place on the 7th of January in Harty’s Pub in Cloyne.  Trad music will be on and all are welcome to join!

Tickets are only €1 each of €5 for a book of 6 and can be bought online or from one of our volunteers.   Photo of your ticket(s) will be emailed to you when buying online.

Now, the prizes….

1st prize is a Gourmet Trail of a value of €350. It consists of several restaurant vouchers kindly donated by Annie’s Restaurant in Fermoy, Garryvoe Hotel, Skinny’s Diner in Ballycotton, Pier 26 in Ballycotton, The Café at Stephen Pearce Pottery and The Boothouse in Glanmire (sponsored by one of their kind customers), as well as some culinary books and a bottle of whisky and of gin for your night caps!

Winner:

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2nd prize is Living Room Decoration Set of a value of €250. It contains a pair of giant cushions, a Belleek frame, a set of Kilkenny Design casual candle holders and a Tipperary Crystal flared bowl by Louise Kennedy.

Winner:

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3rd prize is a “Treat Yourself” Hamper of a value of €150. It contains a bottle of Powers Whisky, Foot care gift set, Dream Alone bath & perfume set, Yankee candle, €20 Dunnes stores gift card, CCN mud, Snuggie & Pillow, Kitens calendar.

Winner:

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4rd prize is a Pet Portrait Commission sponsored by Perpetual Portraits of a value of €120.

Winner:

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5th prize is a framed photo print.

Winner:

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6th prize is a gorgeous cat tea set.

Winner:

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7th prize is for the kids!  It is a giant Garfield plush.

Winner:

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8th prize is a Forever Living Clean 9 Detox pack.

Winner:

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9th prize is a Luxury Cat hamper from CCN.

Winner:

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10th Prize is a chain with pendant.

Winner:

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In-House Prizes (reserved to Harty’s clients buying tickets on the night)

In-house Prize 1: Dr Who BBC Book

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In-house Prize 2: Jardins Florals Body Bath Set

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In-house Prize 3: Movie Junction Pass

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More prizes to be announced…

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 of €5 for a book of 6 and can be bought online or from one of our volunteers.   Photo of your ticket(s) will be emailed to you when buying online.

Garda permit issued by Midleton; District Serial Number: 95/2015

Christmas/New Year Appeal Raffle 2015

raffle poster_Xmas 2015

As 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 or €5 for a book of 6 tickets, but by buying one, you could make a massive difference to the lives of feral cats.

The draw will take place on the 7th of January in Harty’s Pub in Cloyne.  Trad music will be on and all are welcome to join!

Tickets are only €1 each of €5 for a book of 6 and can be bought online or from one of our volunteers.   Photo of your ticket(s) will be emailed to you when buying online.

Now, the prizes….

1st prize is a Gourmet Trail of a value of €350. It consists of several restaurant vouchers kindly donated by Annie’s Restaurant in Fermoy, Garryvoe Hotel, Skinny’s Diner in Ballycotton, Pier 26 in Ballycotton, The Café at Stephen Pearce Pottery and The Boothouse in Glanmire (sponsored by one of their kind customers), as well as some culinary books and a bottle of whisky and of gin for your night caps!

Winner: Ciara Kelly from Tralee

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2nd prize is Living Room Decoration Set of a value of €250. It contains a pair of giant cushions, a Belleek frame, a set of Kilkenny Design casual candle holders and a Tipperary Crystal flared bowl by Louise Kennedy.

Winner: Clare Byrne from Dublin

Xmas_2nd prize

3rd prize is a “Treat Yourself” Hamper of a value of €150. It contains a bottle of Powers Whisky, Foot care gift set, Dream Alone bath & perfume set, Yankee candle, €20 Dunnes stores gift card, CCN mud, Snuggie & Pillow, Kitens calendar.

Winner: Michelle Walsh from Cork

Xmas 3rd_Hamper

4rd prize is a Pet Portrait Commission sponsored by Perpetual Portraits of a value of €120.

Winner: Katherine Buckley from San Francisco, US

Perpetual Portraits

5th prize is a framed photo print.

Winner: Linda Emmett from Cloyne

Art_Print

6th prize is a gorgeous cat tea set.

Winner: Mary Mollica from Limerick

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7th prize is for the kids!  It is a giant Garfield plush.

Winner: Michael O’Connell from Cloyne

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8th prize is a Forever Living Clean 9 Detox pack.

Winner: Marta Roszek from Fermoy

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9th prize is a Luxury Cat hamper from CCN.

Winner: Cian Dowling from Ballyhooly

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10th Prize is a chain with pendant.

Winner: Mairead Browne from Douglas

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In-House Prizes (reserved to Harty’s clients buying tickets on the night)

In-house Prize 1: Dr Who BBC Book won by Ritchie

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In-house Prize 2: Jardins Florals Body Bath Set won by Kitty

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In-house Prize 3: Movie Junction Pass won by Graham and Faye

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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 of €5 for a book of 6 and can be bought online or from one of our volunteers.   Photo of your ticket(s) will be emailed to you when buying online.

Garda permit issued by Midleton; District Serial Number: 95/2015

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.

Volunteers in the Spotlight: David

We have asked our volunteers to tell us a bit about their experience of volunteering with CCN: what is their motivation, what they do and whether they find it rewarding.

Here is what David has to say…

I have been a cat owner and lover since the age of 12 and to date have had 5 different pet cats (Sparky, Fergie, Kiko, Smudge and Sooty), all with their own unique personalities. Smudge and Sooty (pictured) were my most recent recruits, coming from a loving country house on the border between South Tipperary and Kilkenny in 2012. Smudge was initially a lone pet, but we decided to get her a partner in Sooty, and after a short time Smudge accepted her and they became inseparable (One of Smudges sibling’s was also Sooty’s mother so maybe they sensed the family bond). Unfortunately life threw up a tragic path for Sooty as she became seriously ill in 2014 with the rare disease Primary Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anaemia. She fought the disease admirably for some time but eventually her condition and quality of life deteriorated to the extent that we had to let her slip away. I, personally will never forget the bond that I had with Sooty, and even on her sickest days she still had so much love to give. Also, to see how Smudge very obviously grieved for her when we lost her reiterated to me the affection that cats have for both their owners and their feline companions. This, I think is often lost on many people who view cats as being selfish animals devoid of emotions.

I had heard about CCN through a friend, and did some research into what they did. I had always had an interest in animal charity work, and did some fundraising work for the marine conservation charity Sea Shepherd Ireland previously, but had never really had the free time to commit to it, and donating clothes to the various animal charity shops was my way of contributing because of that. As is often the case in life in many ways, it took the tragedy of losing Sooty to kick start my interest in working with CCN. I had witnessed at close quarters the love that my cats had to give on a daily basis, and also the health and behavioural changes in Sooty during her illness, which were remarkable. Initially she had hidden the extent of her condition so well (a common ability in cats) that she was almost on deaths door when it got bad enough to rush her to the vet.  It is now clear to me that there are cats being neglected and suffering in this manner, in addition to losing their lives needlessly every day simply due to the issue of overbreeding and a lack of food and healthcare. These cats are born into this existence through no fault of their own, without the care of a loving home, and they deserve the care and protection of their communities, just as their domestic cats enjoy.

I was successful in gaining the newsletter editor and writer role with CCN in March 2015. I believe that the camera lens is one of the most powerful weapons in the modern world, and many animal welfare organisations have made significant strides due to getting their stories across into the media and the public’s consciousness. Since I joined CCN, I have been extremely impressed with the stories which I have read of their Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) work, which keeps the cat populations under control. These are always accompanied by a set of informative photographs which provide the reader with a clear idea of the dedication, patience and care which is needed to complete these projects. It is great to see people give up their own time to travel around (sometimes to several counties) with the sole aim of reducing the suffering and improving the health of Ireland’s feral cats. I am delighted to get the chance to put these stories in writing to educate the public on the overbreeding issue, and the potential solution which is available to them through TNR. To date, I have found it both interesting and rewarding to work on the first newsletter and Emilie has been very helpful at all times. I look forward to contributing more in the coming year and I would recommend CCN to anyone thinking about volunteering. “RIP Sooty. Gone but never forgotten”

Smudge and Sooty David Kelly

There are many ways to volunteer and support us to help the cats.  For more information, visit our volunteering page.  You can also join our “Helping Hands” Facebook group to keep updated of our various appeals.