Our Cats Shop

Cat Chat By Chris Stalker V.N.

Keeping in touch
It is lovely to hear from OUR CATS readers and for this issue’s column I had contributions from Ann Mott, Jayne Wood and Rita Quick. Please feel free to send in your photos, stories, news, jokes, tips and comments.


Maggie Chitty
I also spoke to Maggie Chitty this week. Maggie was an OUR CATS regional news reporter for many years. She now lives in Sheltered Housing in London, following her extended hospital treatment last year. Maggie has unfortunately mislaid her address book containing her friends’ telephone numbers. She would love to hear from anyone in the Cat Fancy for a chat as she is housebound and cannot visit the shows etc anymore. Maggie’s number is 0208 3407543.

Another Maneki Neko Fan!
In answer to my request for pictures of readers’ Maneki Neko cats, I heard from Ann Mott of Jandouglen Birmans. Anne wrote, “Here is a picture of my lucky cat, he is a money box and has his paw on a pile of money.

Both my stud cats have curtains in their stud houses with the lucky cat on and we have a big one at the kitten nursery window. I shall be visiting Japan again in January, so might bring some more of them back with me!”

Thanks to Ann for sharing her photo – any more out there?


The Cat and the Mynah bird
My thanks to Jayne Wood of Blitzkreig Devon Rex who sent me the following photos… “Every picture tells a story!”

That's my cage

Out please

If you don't get out

I will poop on your head
(that got her out!)

Jayne explains, “Zebedee is our Mynah bird that lives with our five Devon Rex cats and a Siamese. They generally don’t bother with each other, apart from Skye our Seal Point Devon Rex who keeps wanting to go into Zebedee’s cage - much to his disgust!”

Cat Security
By Rita Quick
Just over two years ago a friend of mine had two of her Persian females stolen from their locked quarters. Her cats’ quarters cannot be seen from the road and the property is only overlooked by her neighbours to the left and the right. The cats were taken in broad daylight and no one saw anything unusual. Despite an advertising and poster campaign, contacting all the local vets and rescue centres, my friend was unable to trace her cats.

After a time one forgets these incidents but recent reports in national newspapers have made me stop and think. Are my cats safe and secure?

A few weeks ago I read a report of a couple being disturbed late at night by people in their garden. Men with dogs had chased the two family pet cats up a tree – “for sport” was their explanation (!) – and they also said they were “professionals” – professional what, I would ask? Fortunately the cats were only frightened.

The incident was reported to the police but it seems that there was nothing they could do, but they were aware that these things happened.

Last week a similar report appeared in another national newspaper but this time the outcome was not a happy one. A child’s pet was taken and was savaged by dogs that were being encouraged by their owners. A passer-by rescued the cat but its injuries were so severe it could not be saved.

I was horrified when I read this. My own granddaughter lost her beloved Persian Tabby neuter after a German Shepherd dog had entered her garden and attacked Jupiter. Hayleigh was so traumatised that she has never spoken Jupiter’s name since that day.

After reading these reports I looked at my own security. We lock our gates, my cattery arrangements cannot be seen from the road but we do have fields behind us and the fields back on to country roads. I keep the cattery doors locked at all times.

I then looked at my website. I removed my surname from the site as I realised my address could be traced from a telephone directory as we have never bothered to go ex-directory. I also ensured that none of the photographs featured on my site gave a clear picture of my home.
We live in a Neighbourhood Watch area but neighbours are used to seeing cat baskets going in and out so they wouldn’t necessarily be aware of an unauthorised person leaving my premises with a cat basket. I am sure this applies to many, many cat breeders.

I e-mailed a number of breeder friends about this and found the response puzzling. Some were being very vigilant, others said they lived in a quiet area and felt that no-one was going to take their cats, as someone will notice! Well if anyone tries to steal their cats I hope someone does notice, but for me I shall continue to take every precaution possible – I owe it to my cats to keep them safe from harm.

Tonight a cat breeder friend e-mailed me with another horror story, this time about a puppy. A German Shepherd puppy was taken from its home. It was tormented by guys on motorbikes and when it was too exhausted to run, they drove their bikes over it – outcome, the puppy is still alive but now only has two legs!

Let us all be on our guard!
Have you any ideas on how to improve security for your cats? Please let me know by writing (or emailing) to me at this address - Chris


AHT celebrate the Queen’s birthday
The AHT and Newmarket Town Council are joining forces to organise an event in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 80th birthday. Her Majesty is Patron of the Trust and she very kindly selected the AHT to be one of only four charities specially chosen for 2006, to benefit from fundraising events throughout her birthday year.

The celebration event is to be held in the AHT grounds at Lanwades Park, Kentford on Sunday 8th October 2006. This will be a fun day which will include a sponsored dog walk and cycle ride, and an Animal Blessing Service will be held in the Trust’s private walled garden at mid-day. The Essex Dog Team will put on an entertaining and exciting display in the main ring, and there will be a range of events and activities such as a dog show, “Have a Go” dog agility course, and a treasure hunt running throughout the day.

The day’s events will commence at 10.00am with the dog walk and cycle ride setting off from the Trust, and conclude at 3.30pm with the cutting of the birthday cake and the National Anthem. Entry is free to all.

If you would like to participate in the cycle ride or dog walk, or join us on the day, please contact the fundraising department on 08700 502380 for more information.

Effort helps control campus cat population

The following article contains extracts from Erica Molina Johnson’s recent article, published in the El Paso Times…

Mirian Cabrera graduated from UTEP in 2003, but she keeps returning regularly to campus. She does not take classes anymore, and her interest is in the feral cats that make the University of Texas at El Paso their home.

“They are all over campus - you wouldn’t notice if you’re a student, as they usually come out at night, when everybody is gone,” she said. “You feel really bad for them.”

Cabrera is a member of Cat University Rescue Effort, or CURE, a group of current and former student volunteers. They have worked for about five years to trap UTEP’s feral cats and then take them to veterinarians for spaying or neutering, vaccinations and testing for feline AIDS and leukaemia. The volunteers find homes for any new litters, and they return treated adult cats to the university.

Robert Moss, UTEP’s director of environmental health and safety, said the university has had its own catch and spay or neuter program since 2001 and treated about 120 animals in its first two years. “We haven’t seen a whole lot of kittens, so we have some control on the population,” he said. “The CURE folks have done their part, and we’ve done our part.”

CURE’s trap and neuter program is similar to another run by Pets Alive and many others in the nation. “The idea is to get enough animals who are sterilized where they kind of act as drones,” said Mark Lenox, a veterinarian at Crossroads Animal Hospital who performs some of the surgeries on CURE’s cats.

Cabrera said the group is looking for help, particularly people to help raise money to pay veterinarian bills. She said volunteers are also needed to help trap cats and to find homes for kittens. She estimated the number of feral cats at UTEP to be around 100.

Feral Cat Manual
The above article about controlling a feral cat colony has prompted me to tell you that I recently reviewed FAB’s new book, the Feral Cat Manual, for one of the veterinary journals. It is an excellent book and I can recommend it to anyone who is involved with feral colonies at home or abroad.

FAB say, “Many people are drawn to help feral cats and usually they haven’t planned to do so! They come from a variety of different backgrounds and often have the passion and drive to get involved but not the knowledge or experience to know where to start or how to deal with the inevitable problems which arise. However there are those who have mastered both the art and the science of working with these wonderful animals and have made a huge difference to their welfare.

“Working with ferals is not the same as rescuing and rehoming pet or stray cats - it needs a very different attitude and approach and a new set of skills.

“Under FAB’s banner, the various authors of the Feral Cat Manual bring together a unique mix of expertise and experience in an effort to pass on years of knowledge and tried and tested methods.

“This manual aims to provide the best information to those who want to help feral cats - so you don’t have to learn the hard way.”

The Manual is available from the FAB Office, price: £20.00 (inclusive of VAT and p&p) – see http://www.fabcats.org/publications.html#feral