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I have always lived with cats and love them to bits, but like us human beings, cats have different personalities as well as likes and dislikes. If you're considering adopting a rescue cat, it pays to consider the needs of the cat (if known) as well as your own- especially with regards to environment. Cats are known to be independent creatures and whatever your living environment, will need time to themselves and a place where they feel safe. If the cat is known to have been mistreated in the past, it may naturally be nervous or even aggressive around people, and time and patience will be needed on your part to build up the cat's self-confidence and trust again. As cats are territorial creatures (and can still be, even if neutered), taking them in to your home also means that they will need time to get used to their surroundings and build up their new territory. It's a good idea in my experience to keep the cat indoors for at least a few days to allow it to get to know it's base, before letting it explore outdoor territory. When letting the cat outside for the first time, its also a good idea to keep an eye from a distance, as it will be exploring a new area for the first time. I have found that female cats tend to be far more nervous initially when introduced to a new environment. We have two rescue cats at the moment who had grown up together, and while the male cat settled in instantly and enjoyed wandering around meeting people, our female cat (as others had done before her) hid behind the washing machine for about a week and had to be introduced to one person at a time. With gentle encouragement and time she became more and more confident, and is now a very friendly cat with lots of people. Rescue cats will need time and patience to get used to you and a new environment. It is important to find out as much as you can about your rescue cat before you take it home- especially whether it has been neutered, whether it's vaccinations are up to date, and anything you can find out from the shelter about it's background and personality. Taking in a rescue cat, while a big responsibility, is also incredibly rewarding and I would definitely do it again.
I do love kitty cats and thought I'd tell you a bit about my experiences of volunteering at a rehoming centre. Sadly because we've now moved house too far away and had a second child, at the moment I can't devote the Saturday that I used to, to helping out at the cattery but about five years ago I started and loved every minute of it. I'd been a cat fan for ever but as a child was never allowed my own, so when my husband and I bought our first home together back in 2000, a cat was our moving in together present to each other and along came Bertie, a gorgeous and cheeky tabby who we rehomed. Bertie was my baby and I really wanted to give something back to the rehoming centre where we got him from, and because at that time, before children came along I had time to give, I started out helping on a Saturday. Volunteering at a rehoming centre is extremely rewarding and can be great fun. There would be about 5 of us in on a Saturday and we'd get there about 8.30 to open up, say 'good morning' to the cats and get them cleaned up and breakfasted before the visitors would start arriving. In the main cattery, there were about 12 pens and all good sizes with plenty of room for a cat bed, litter tray, food and water bowls and a few toys. Some cats would take to cage life better than others, and it would usually take two of us to clean out each pen to make sure there were no escapees. It was also an excuse to have a chat with each cat and a cuddle. Once each pen was tidy, breakfast would be served. Choice of biscuits and meat in jelly. Never gravy for cats using litter trays:stinks far too much!! The same would apply next door where we would have the kitten room, with mums and babies, kittens ready for rehoming and the pregnant mums who needed some peace and quiet. Once everyone was clean, tidy and well fed, it would be time for us to clear away the buckets and mops, have a quick cuppa and open the doors at 10am. With a dozen pens we were nearly always full. A cat would stay in it's pen for no more than three weeks, in the vast majority of cases it would find a home within that time but if it didn't or if we felt the cat would not be suitable for rehoming for some reason, we would let it out and it would become a 'resident'. We had about 20 cats who lived around the cattery, free to roam around the grounds. We were down a track and backed onto fields so it was safe for them, and they would sleep around the office or snooze in the sunshine outside or on the worktops in the cattery. We often found that cats who had been very stressed in the pens and shy or aggressive towards people, once out and able to demonstrate their true characters, went on to find homes after being with us for months and months. Other cats who were residents were often real oldies, ones with behavioural problems who would not, or could not, settle in a home, or just our favourites. They all had names, and we would have a theme every month for cats who came in nameless. One month it would be chocolate, so we had a Twix, and a KitKat, another time it would be soap characters, and I remember a brother and sister who came in we named Ken and Dierdre. Visitors could come in and chat to the resident cats and see the cats in the cattery. If there was one they wanted to take home, although we didn'd do home visits, we would chat to them about home life, busy roads etc and also give as much information about the particular cat as we knew it. Each cat would have a name card on their pen with name, age, temperament, likes, dislikes etc. In some cases when a cat had been brought in by a previous owner, we could put info on the card, as it's useful to know if a cat is good with other animals, children etc.But where a cat had been brought in by a stranger or dumped at our door, we just had to use our judgment by what we had seen whilst the cat was with us. Each cat would be neutered/spayed before being put up for rehoming but if someone wanted to take the cat home and we were happy for them to take it, then an adoption form would be completed and we asked for a donation of £40 to go towards the upkeep of the centre. The cat could be taken home there and then. It was always exciting to wonder when we came in on a morning whose lucky day it would be that day. Some, especially the young cats and kittens, seemed to be with us only 5 minutes. So it was so special when a cat who had been with us a while finally found a home. We would get cats in from all sorts of backgrounds and situations. Some oldies who's owners had died and a lot from people who were moving and could not take the cat with them. Some people would bring them in because they were going to have a baby and couldn't have the cat anymore or had just bought a brand new leather suite which the cat had taken a fancy to. I never understood or had much patience with these people. But at least they actually brought the cat in to be cared for than just dumping it. We had some left in boxes at the gates, some brought in by neighbours knowing full well the owners had moved away and literally just left the cat behind. Very very sad. So when those went to a new home, it was the best feeling. Some people sadly think that once a cat is no longer a kitten, they are no fun, are too old and no longer cute. I think entirely the opposite. There is nothing more rewarding that taking an unwanted cat into your home when they ask for nothing more than a warm and cosy place to sleep, some good food, a stroke and a gentle word. But of course, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Cats can live to be 20 plus years old now, they do need feeding, they do need regular check ups and vaccines and yes, they can get ill. But pet insurance is a god send and no owner should really be without it. But the benefits far outweigh the cons. They can be adorable, if sometimes shy and skittish, cheeky and mischevious and you do have to earn their trust. I do hold true the saying that it is the cat that owns you, not you owning the cat. I thoroughly enjoyed the couple of years I spent at the cat rehoming centre, and when my children are bigger I will go back and help again. It really is so rewarding and I recommend anyone of a like mind to enquire at their local centre if they need an extra pair of hands, from fundraising, doing admin, fostering kittens. Whatever. And if you are thinking of adopting a cat yourself, do it. But do it for the right reasons. Don't get a cat as a Christmas present for someone, and remember you need time, patience, a bit of money to spend on their care but most important of all, a lot of LOVE!!
Cats are one of those animals you either love or hate. Those who love them can't normally see past their pretty little faces and soft fur, while all those who hate them can see is the very sharp claws, the bad attitude and their general evilness. After all, Dr Evil had a cat. Blofield from James Bond had a cat. They are, in theory, the ultimate evil accessory. I have, personally, had around 20 cats at different points in my life, all of which have been rescue cats. At the moment, I have three - Shanks, Paisley and Merry, all of which have come from the cats protection agency near my house. They were all relatively normal in terms of Rescue cats, and in comparison to my own cats in general, but, as in many rescue cats, two of them do have a few problems. Shanks is the most ill cat I've ever owned in my life. He's a gorgeous long haired tabby cat-american cross (we think), who was kicked frequently as a kitten, and so now he throws up quite often. He pulls out his hair, and can't groom himself, so requires brushing on a daily basis. Paisley wont let anyone stroke her, and she wont sit on anyone's lap. Her nickname in my house is 'the scatty cat', because she won't let many people near her. She came from the same home as shanks, but is a basic type, just black and white shorthair. I love her to bits, but she is a bit off her rocker. Merry is actually really normal. He hisses at strangers occasionally, but that isn't too bad. The cat with the worst issues that I've ever had was called Pugsly - he'd been abused to the state where he wouldn't let anyone near him, and attacked everyone in the house frequently. We now think that he may have also had cancer, from the information the vet gave us after his death, bless him. As you can probably gain from the information I've given, all three of my cats require quite a lot of special attention. They're not 'collectable' cats, and very often they don't act in the manner you'd expect of a cat. But I honestly would not change them for the world. If you are thinking of getting a cat, I would recommend that you get a rescue cat. I know that given my nightmare stories of attacking cats and ones that throw up everywhere, you'd think I would be going to a breeder and buying the cats for £100, but there is literally no point. Most cats in rescue homes don't have the problem's I've described. My cats only have the problems they do because I am a complete softie, and they all had a really sad sob-story. The organisation I received the cats from homed them temporarily, and then you go to their temp home to choose/pick them up. I have a habit for going for the kittens who have the least chance of being re-homed - when I got shanks, I was told that he was incompatible with pretty much anyone - children, dogs, other cats, old people, loud people, or particularly large people (he's still afraid of those, I'm afraid). Yet, he's now really happy with people - my nan, Paisley, and he treats my dog (who's also a rescue animal, who was bred as a sheepdog but then locked in a shed and left to die by his owners after foot and mouth meant that less dogs were needed) as if he's a father, to the extent that he will often sleep next to the dog at night. What I'm trying to say is that if you can overlook the ones in dire circumstances, there are plenty of cats and kittens which are relatively normal, and pretty, and loveable. The only difference between these cats and those you'd find at a breeder is that they aren't 'collectible', but then wont come with the price tag, which can be as much as £5.000 for some breeds. Personally, I think that the point that my cats have come from rescue homes gives them a bit of character. Ok, they're not 'perfect', but if the story of a little kitten who's lived through hard times doesn't tug your heartstrings, I don't know what will. One thing I would like to say is that, ahem, "a cat is for life, not just for christmas". The cats like mine need at least an hour dedicated to them daily, more when they're kittens. Unless there will be someone at home for 20 hours a day, then do not go for the really soppy tales. The cats who have been through less do not need as much time, but I would say that you shouldn't leave them alone much when they're little. Rescue cats can be a bit more timid, and unless you are very used to cats then you should probably only have one. I personally live very close to my nan, who's been keeping cats for 70+ years, and was the one who stayed at home and helped Shanks get used to my dog and Paisley in the first place. I could not have done that part alone.
If you decide to take in a rescue cat, the chances are that you will make a fantastic difference to a little life. But you should take care where you start with this. We took four at once from a rescue cat sanctuary run by our local veterinary assistant. She runs a service out in the country and almost always seems to have a population of 10 to 15 cats needing new homes. They live in runs outside and are well looked after. If you decide to home a cat that has come in from the wild, then please be prepared to spend extra time, money and love, because that little animal might not be very well at all. But he or she does pull through, then you will again have done something truly wonderful. Of the four we took in, one sadly died quite early on, but the other three are now nearly nine. They are totally affectionate, especially one who got lost for two months about three years ago. So she has been rescued twice, and is doubly grateful. Costs? Rescue cats are free, but you must budget for the following: Food - between £3 and £5 depending on quality and your cat's taste buds - they can be qutie fussy Annual vets' jabs - £30 (much more if you live near London) Cattery fees if you go on holiday - about £100. Cats prefer someone to come in to the home twice a day to look after them Insurance is also about £100 per year - otherwise you risk vets' bills for any illness, which can easily mnount up Then there are one-off casts like somewhere to sleep and dishes to eat and drink out of, plus any toys or stuff like that that you might buy. Nbot major money here unless you're daft.
I truely believe that the world is split into cat people and dog people. I'm not going to go into long debates about which animal is better, but I do think that the pet you choose should reflect the lifestyle you lead so that they, as well as you, are happy. I am a cat person. No question. It's not that I dislike dogs - they're fine - but they require far too much looking after to be compatible with my hectic life. Cats, apart from needing some food, water and the occasional tickle behind the ears, are generally happy to look after themselves and that suits me just fine. I've had cats before, all tabbies, but I rescued my current two moggies from the Cats Protection League shelter in Chelmsford eight years ago when they were three months old. When I first saw them, I thought they were adult cats, and big cats at that. When I found out they were three months old and had plenty more growing to do, I was surprised. Not as surprised, however, as I was a few months later when they had finally reached their full adult size. My cats are identical - they're from the same litter and are both male tabbies. They weigh six kilos each (just over a fourteen pounds in old money) and are just huge. They're not overweight at all, but are approximately the size of a medium-sized dog. Despite their gargantuan size, they are really friendly and extremely docile. I was quite nervous about how they would react to my kids, but they've been absolutely fine. Even when my kids crawl after them and start poking them and rubbing their faces, they just sit there patiently or walk off. They've never scratched or bit me on purpose and love nothing better than to snuggle up on my lap. My children love them to bits and my daughter's first word was 'cat'! They are very easy to look after - they eat cat biscuits, drink water and have a kennel outside in case it rains. If we need to go away overnight they are more than happy if we leave a bowl of food in their kennel for them. The fact that they are rescue cats is very rewarding. They were so gorgeous and good-tempered that they were never going to stay homeless for long, but it feels good that I'bve given them a happy home. And of course, they were cheap! We gave the shelter a donation of £30 to cover the cost of them being neutered and that was it. What you need to remember with rescue cats is that they are likely to be very confused and a bit shakey to begin with, especially if they've come from a bad home. Do not be surprised if they pee or poo in the house to begin with - it's a sign of stress - just make sure they have a litter tray nearby and they'll soon remember what to do. It's extremely rare for (neutered) cats to deliberately go to the toilet in the house. Introduce them slowly and calmly to any other animals you may have and don't let them outside the house for a couple of weeks in case they go wandering and get lost. Another thing to remember is that everyone wants kittens, so if you are set on havin a kitten you will probably have to join a waiting list. Instead, why not adopt a slightly older cat? You won't have to go through the fuss of litter training, they'll already be neutered and will generally be a lot calmer. A five or six year old cat will still have plenty of life and love left in it. As they are moggies, they have a very sound constitution. I think pedigree cats are beautiful, but I've heard that some of them can have health problems due to inbreeding and can be quite 'highly strung'. In all, I'd recommend rescue cats as a pet if you are looking for a low-maintainance animal, but to be honest, if you're not a cat person in the first place I'm unlikely to sway you anyway!
Ah well, the things you do for a friend eh? My cat, Din is a rescue cat, so far as I found her abandoned in St Marys hospital, 11 years ago. So far as to say, she has had a life of luxury and has been spoilt rotten since then, but let us go directly to Din and find out from a pets eye view what rescue cats are all about. So, tell me Din. Said I, What does it feel like to be unwanted? Unwanted, me? Pft, you stole me and now I am stuck with a northern car dealer who is never home! Ha, not so fast you ungrateful sack of shaggy black hair! I found you in the pouring rain, dejected, soaked through and totally confused. I stuck you in the back of my taxi, took you home and nurtured you back to health. I even paid for a VET, yes VET to heck you out and make sure you were healthy. Healthy, me-bloody-ow! I had only been to the vets a few days ago and had the me-bloody-ow op done, bald patch still showing and all! You gave me the name DIN which is Portsmouth slang for thick and make me wear a dog bone as an address tag and you think I am ungrateful? Ha, you were called DIN as you tried to jump though the closed window every time we took the net curtains down to clean them, lol. Me-Ouch, dont remind me. I still have the lump on my head. Well, there is the intro for Din my long haired cat who we found and have had 11 years. When I found her, I contacted all the vets, put an ad in the paper and contacted the cat rescue in Titchfield, just south of Fareham. We went along and had a chat with them and they showed us around and gave a lot of tips on how to look after her. The difference between a rescue cat or a cat you find is that they are often confused and either over affectionate or cautious. Din was very affectionate but a bit scared and we think her owner had been taken to the hospital with the cat and with her being a long haired pedigree cat, she had been treated with a lot of love. Despite a two week ad campaign, the only people who phoned up could not identify her collar, which was red tartan so I would not let them have her. When we took her to the vets, it was he who advised us to go to the cat rescue centre and chat to them. Now if you have ever been to a cat rescue centre, it is quite an emotional experience and when you leave you want to take them all home. However, they are not that quick to give their cats away. They come round to inspect your house and interview you first to make sure you are worthy parents for their children. You also have to pay a fee to cover vets expenses and a donation to the centre which is fairly hefty but can be a deterrent for wannabe time wasters. After the visit they will, if you pass of course, allow you to have the cat for a short time and then inspect and interview again to make sure everything is still okay. All this may seem like a lot of hard work and effort for a bundle of bird-chasing fur, but trust me, they have few re-offenders in the back on the streets cat gang. Once you get your fur bag home, and she tries to adapt to the new surroundings, be careful and loving with the beast and let her find her own paws before petting and spoiling. Get a few different tins of food and find out which one she prefers (The menu madame?) try to give her water instead of milk as milk forms mucus and is not easy for cats to digest. Make sure you have a litter tray as we found our little din using the Rubber Plat pot as a toilet! Try to let her sleep on the bed if possible so she does not feel alone, as you are never sure if their owner passed away or just did not want her. Taking her to the vets was fun though, she had just had the op so we knew she had been well looked after but to make sure we paid for a check up and that was the last time she went to the vets, 11 years ago! Pet insurance is advisable although we did not bother and have been lucky so far. Now Din is a funny cat and does the most stupid of things, such as sit in cardboard boxes when you open them and as we said earlier, try to jump through pains of glass. She gets her own back by dribbling on your face when you are asleep and climbing on to your chest and sleeping when you sleep on your back. She brings birds in during the night and chomps away so you can hear the bones crunching, and catches mice then makes a miaow noise like a baby crying until you get up, witness the mouse which she picks up again and runs back outside. We in turn get our own back by opening a tin of tuna and walking around the house, up and down the stairs with the cat following like the Pied Piper singing away in that same baby cry sound. Being a long haired cat, she needs a lot of grooming and fleas are difficult to remove so regular sprays and flea collars are required. I refused the flea course at the vets due to bad press and also the flu jab was giving a miss for the same reasons. Rescue cats make great pets if treated with love and affection but allowed to blend into the environment and unlike dogs they tend to be more docile once re-housed. If you are thinking of a cat, go and choose one from a rescue centre and you will not be disappointed. There you go, the big old miserable lump has a soft side.
I don't know how old my cat is. The local vet checked her teeth and thinks she may be five or six years old. This suprised me at the time as she still spends quite a lot of time acting like a kitten. From a distance, she looks black and white, her face and chest are white, with a black patch over one eye, her paws are white too. She's a really good ratter, catching one most weeks. She politely leaves the carcasses at the end of our drive. I think she feels that its a good exchange for the food we give her. She provides rats for us to eat, we give her nice things from tins. I think she may have the better half of the bargain! Buster isn't from a rescue center, she's more of a refugee cat, but she was living rough when we 'rescued' her from her life on the streets. I was living in an extortionately expensive flat in London when she made her first appearance into my life. I was getting ready for work one morning, when I saw a big black thing streaking across the lawn. She was hiding in the bushes at the end of the garden we shared with the other falts in the block. I was curious, so I made lots of gentle squeaking 'puss puss!' noises. She came out of hiding and with her eyes all big and black, nervously began to edge towards me. My boyfriend came out of the flat, and like the scaredy cat she still is around new people, she ran away again. I saw her quite often for the rest of that week. One of the neighbours said that she was living in the greenhouse in the garden. She was still wandering around and sleeping in the greenhouse at the end of a fortnight. I realised she was probably lost, and began to take action to see if I could find out who she belonged to. I started to put out food for her too, as she was looking quite skinny. She accepted the food, in the same way that royalty would accept a tribute, as no more than her due. We left notices in post offices and in the vets in our area. Even sticking notices to lampost s didn't bring forth any owners. In the end, she began to come in our door, and eventually, after a month or so, she moved in with us. We got her checked over by the vet, he gave her booster shots, and made sure she had been spayed, and gave us advice on her care, as neither of us had lived with a cat before. She's a very polite cat, she spends much of her time outdoors, and so has never needed to use a litter tray. She likes company but has never been a particularly cuddly animal, although she does get very interested in whatever you happen to be doing and likes to follow you around the house. The only problem she has is that she's not very bright- she got used to coming and going in and out of windows when I was in London, and now I'm staying with my parents again, in a two storey house, she hasn't managed to work out that the windows upstairs are higher from the ground than the windows downstairs. After experiencing the shock of seeing her flying past the lower windows from a great height, we've become a lot more careful, and try to leave the upstairs windows shut as often as possible. She likes Cornwall, there's more wildlife to kill down here, and also quite enjoys her on going feud with the dog. It gives her a hobby, and she is more than capable of holding her own. She's much fatter these days, and tends to use brute force to climb things, arm over arm, rather than the usual graceful leaps that most cats try for. She climbs up the slats of the fence in the garden this way, using her front paws to grab the next slat up, and heave her body upwards, shoulder muscles bulging. That's why we call her buster. She's not a girly cat at all, although when she's in a playful mood, her favourite toy is a silver paper ball, which she will happily chase for hours as long as you keep throwing it for her. She's a colourful addition to the family, and I'm glad we met. She tend to fight with other ca ts, and has cost me a fortune in vets bills as a result of this, but its worth it. She's great company and very entertaining. I was never really a cat person, but then again, Buster isn't really a typical cat. I'm not sure if she feels that we rescued her, or if she rescued us, but whichever way round it is, I'm really glad she's here. I also feel that getting a cat fully grown, with its own fully formed personality, is a much better idea than getting a kitten, which would need a lot more time and attention. Buster hangs around us when she wants our company, lets us know if she wants to be stroked or petted, and ignores us when she doesn't. Its more like having a fully formed adult move into your house, rather than having a toddler which you have to keep an eye on all the time. When she moved in with us in London, we were both working full time. She was perfectly happy to come and go through the windows as she pleased during the day, and then wait at the end of the road for us to come home in the evenings. If she had been a kitten, I don't think that we would have been able to keep her.
They say that there are cat people and dog people, but I believe that in reality everyone is a cat person but some people just haven’t discovered their love for them yet! Cats, cats, cats. What can’t they do? Well, use a computer for one thing. But really there is nothing like having a purring cat asleep on your lap to make you feel warm and happy. They don’t require walking, or poop scooping or bathing but they do give you company and affection. They also bring you dead mice occasionally but I’m concentrating on the positive factors. Cats obviously all have different personalities. Some are better than others. If you have had a bad experience with a cat in the past then don’t give up – there will be a cat out there who you will get on with! Smudge, the younger of our two cats, has a wonderful personality and would get on with anyone. Jasper, the older one, is more fickle and doesn’t like strangers. Get a cat and give it love for long enough and it will at least tolerate you! I advise feeding cats dry food as it doesn’t go off like wet food and can be left out for a cat to eat when they want. You must remember to always provide fresh water! We have a reasonable garden so our cats are allowed out, and I’m not comfortable about keeping cats indoors in flats and the like. It is ok with kittens who are raised with it but it would be cruel to suddenly stop a cat from going outdoors. Remember to play with your cat. This is how you bond. It will give you both exercise and stop the cat being bored and therefore destructive. Cats are the most beautiful of creatures – just stroking them is therapeutic and calming. I would say try cat sitting for a friend before you get one and never give one as a present. If possible try to re-home a cat, and unless you want to breed them get them done at the vet! There are enough poor unloved cats without good homes already. Give a cat a hug toda y!
I never had a cat as a child, and although I have always loved them it was deemed sensible to avoid them due to an allergy. I used to be besotted with the Persian next door and used to make a great fuss of it. Stuff the allergy! Consequently I grew up with dogs. The first, a beagle, died aged eight due to being hit by a car. That dog should have been called Houdini, he escaped continually, and ultimately paid the price. After that we had the love of my life, a beautiful, hunking great Old English Sheepdog called Suzi. What's that, this is supposed to be a cat op? Just hold your horses! Suzi had to be put to sleep at the age of four, when I weas pregnant with my first child. She had come to live with me at that time and I was devastated. I vowed never to have another animal. There were then several fallow years on the pet front. Then a few years ago I began keeping rabbits, something I had always wanted to do and the odd hamster for the kids. Five years ago, my father made a decision to sell one of their houses. They had two, one was by the sea on the South Coast and it had been our holiday home when we were growing up. Latterly, Dad had rented it out and the last tenant had completely trashed it. In consequence, my entire family gave up three months to put it back into a selling condition. When we had been there for a few days we noticed that a ginger cat kept trying to get into the house. If we didn't let it in it stared at us through the Frech window with huge eyes, mewing pitifully. My Dad has always been a sucker for cats and he started to feed it, as it seemed very hungry. We mentioned it to the people next door and they told us that the cat belonged to my Dad's tenant. She had moved, and just left it behind. Dad did not believe it initially as it said in the contract that there were to be no animals. He can be a bit naive like that, my Dad! We contacted the woman and she said that she had been unable to catch the cat, whose name is Peanuts, and that she would come again at the weekend to try again. Excuse me- how did she think this poor animal was eating? Several weeks passed and still she did not take him. We pestered her relentlessly to no avail. She said he was not a friendly cat and would run away as soon as he saw her. That's as maybe, but none of us ever saw her, so we are not convinced that she even tried. Peanuts was, and is, a very friendly cat. We let him in and played with him each day and made sure he had a decent meal. Time marched on and we were nearing completion with the house. Mum and I went and made a fuss at the letting agency about them not checking that the tenant was looking after the house properly and mentioned the cat problem. They were now on the case and assured us the woman would definitely collect her cat that week before we left for good. Guess what? She didn't. I cannot understand people who treat animals like that, it is appalling. In the end we gave her a written ultimatum saying if she did not pick him up from us within 48 hours we would be left with no option but to take him to the RSPCA. On the day we were due to go home finally, I told my Dad that I would take Peanuts with me to the local RSPCA in Basingstoke. I thought that way I could visit him until he was re-homed. So, armed with anti-histamine tablets and a rabbit carrying basket (my rabbits are a giant breed, before any of you start accusing me of cruelty!) The lady's deadline came and went. There was nothing for it then. My sister and I then attempted to put Peanuts into the basket. That cat went mental! All four of us were ripped to pieces and he went rigid with all four legs splayed out so he would not fit in! Eventually, after much blood had been spilt, we got him in there! Phew. I put him in the car and off we went. Then it started, firstly a low moaning and then a hide ous howling which would have done the Hound of the Baskervilles proud! After an hour and a half of this I thought I would go mad. He was one unhappy cat! Eventually I arrived home and let him out in the sitting room. He was very forlorn by now. I decided that it would be grossly unfair to take him to the RSPCA that night, as he was highly stressed and I felt it would be kinder to calm him down a bit. Well, the next day came and the kids kicked in. They were younger then, cuter and more persuasive! You can imagine the pathetic wailing "Oh Mummy, you can't send Peanuts away!" When it came to it, Mummy could not,in fact do it. Peanuts stayed. He is so much part of the family that there is no way I would now be parted from him. Shortly after he arrived here Peanuts disappeared. We were frantic and did all the usual things, put up posters , called all the vets etc. After six weeks we had not found him and had given up all hope. I felt so guilty, thinking he might have been better off had I left him where he was. We were all very sad. One day, a neighbour came round and said she thought she had seen Peanuts fishing in a local school pond. I despatched the girls with a blanket. It was Peanuts. He allowed himself to be caught quite easily.Other than being thin and having a chunk of ear missing, he was remarkably alright. He settled back into the house gratefully and never strays far from home anymore! I have always thought it strange that he would not be caught by his owner, but we did notice that if you lifted your arm quickly he flinched and cowered, so we thinbk he might have been mis-treated. The woman phoned the RSPCA and said we had stolen her cat, my father informed me. When the RSPCA heard what had happened they decided to leave him here. The woman did not want the cat, apparently, just to get us into trouble! Peanuts has now been joined by Millie. Millie is a black and white tabby who di d in fact, come from the RSPCA. She was originally "rescued" by my daughters partner, but when he lost his home she had to come to me. The two cats fight sometimes, but on the whole they get on alright. Millie is more frightened of the rabbits than she is of Peanuts, but one or two of them are bigger than her!She also saw Peanuts get chased across the lawn and caught by a bunny who bit his bum! Why is the cam-corder never running during classic moments like that! Peanuts wasn't hurt just a bit humiliated! So, what does a person with a cat allergy do when living with two cats? Funnily enough, I became immune to Peanuts after a few months. To begin with I streamed, red eyes the works. One day it just stopped. It comes back if I am away from them for a few days and I am wary with other peopls cats and still take anti-histamine if I know I am going somewhere where there are cats. Strange, isn't it. WHY RESCUE A CAT? Rescuing a cat is really rewarding. It seems to me that with so many unwanted pets in this country, it is only sensible to try and offer an unwanted animal a home. Many are on death row if they are not re-homed and that saddens me enormously. Like us, cats (and dogs) that have had previous relationships come with baggage.It is very important that you discuss this very carefully with the rescue centre. Some animals are not suitable to be with young children for instance. Normally the rescue centre will know the history, and they will be equally careful that you are the right owner for the pet! The RSPCA send out their cats micro-chipped, neutered and vaccinated all for about £50. It is much cheaper than starting from scratch with a kitten. I feel sad that I didn't know my cats as kittens, but very glad that they have come to share my life. If you are into pedigree cats don't discount the rescue centre, they do sometimes have them. Do think about rescuing if you are thinking about cat ownership. It is very rewarding knowing that you have helped a cat back to an independent life
I have two cats who were born in a garden and were rescued by a woman who saw them in a cardboard box in a pub where there was a dog. When they first came, they were very nervous, but now they are 3 years old and really friendly. Cats make the best pets, because they don't rely on you as much as dogs, but they're still company. They can be really affecionate and they're like little hot water bottles! You should get a rescue cat, you often don't have to pay, just make a donation to the charity if you get them from one. There are loads of unwanted cats out there, who need homes, so you should get a rescue cat if you can, you will be so glad you did, when you love them and treat them well and they love you back.
One year ago, I decided to get a cat. I was in a permanent home for the first time since university, financially stable, and desperately missed having a cat around the place as I had always had cats around me. Living in a flat with a roof terrace but no garden I knew it was going to be difficult to find a cat that would be happy living with me. First of all, I thought of a kitten, and thought that if he or she grew up in a garden-less home they wouldn't know any different. But kittens need to go outside, climb trees and chase butterflies, so I quickly discarded that idea. Besides, the thought of him or her leaping off the roof terrace was too horrible to consider. I work with someone who does a lot of volunteering at a local animal shelter, and she suggested a blind or deaf cat because they shouldn't go outside for their own safety. This seemed sensible so I started ringing around the local shelters to see if there was a cat available that would be happy in the home I could provide. Although they were no cats at that time that were in this position, one shelter I spoke to suggested a cat she had in her care who was extremely nervous. She thought that this cat probably wouldn't ever want to go outside and suggested that I come in and meet her. So off I went, a bit apprehensive about the idea of taking on such a troubled cat. True to form, Rainbow (as she was then called) wouldn't come out for about an hour. The lady at the shelter told me how Rainbow generally hid on one the shelves in the indoor section of the cat home. She also told me a bit about Rainbow's history, which was completely shocking. No wonder she hid for most of the time. Eventually, she came down, tempted by some food (typical!) and I sat very still and watched as the lady picked her up and showed her to me. She was the most beautiful little cat, a ginger spotted tabby, and although her exact heritage wasn't known , she definitely appears to be of good breeding. Just looking into her terrified eyes, I know that she would need an awful lot of love and patience, and we arranged for me to meet her again in several days so I could think about it. The second visit was much the same in terms of her behaviour but I'd been thinking about her for the few days that had passed, and I'd decided that I could provide her with what she needed. About a week later, after all the necessary formalities, Rainbow came home with me. At first, she hid in various places around the flat, wouldn't come out to eat or drink or use her litter tray or anything. unless I was asleep in bed. Eventually, she began to be a little more outgoing but she still wouldn't use her litter tray or eat in front of me, and the slightest sound sent her running off again to hide. It's taken a year for my little girl (I renamed her Mymy) to learn to trust me. Now, she comes running if I call her name, and is all over me, particularly when I'm at the computer and not giving her the attention she feels she deserves! She sleeps on my bed, sits on my lap, plays constantly, and is the happiest little thing. The transformation I've seen in Mymy is incredible, friends have commented that she doesn't seem like the same cat. She'll always be a little jumpy, and she occasionally has 'cat nightmares', when she'll make little yelping noises and shudder a little (which is horrible to watch - I stroke the back of her neck really gently, which seems to calm her). But she's my girl and I love her to pieces. Basically, I'm sharing this because it can be a challenge taking on an emotionally damaged cat. He or she will need Herculean levels of patience and commitment. But, if you're prepared to invest the time and love, you will reap the rewards, and your new friend will be the most devoted companion you could ever ask f or. (And for those worried about the lack of a garden, the closest she wants to get to outside is sitting on an open window sill, and she gets special indoor cat food and loads of toys. She is very healthy, and I promise, very happy.) Oh and her pic is now on my profile page :) PS For further info on rescue cats and their requirements etc, BizzyB's op in this section is absolutely invaluable. Likewise, her submission on animal behaviourists is brilliant. I couldn't possibly add anything to or improve on what she has to say, so I may just as well direct you there!
I went to Battersea Dogs Home 4 years ago just to have a look - I had a hankering for a rescue dog, although it was an impractical idea, I worked full time and wasn't really at home enough to have a little rescued dog. By chance I stumbled upon the rescued cats' wing. This is a small wing in Battersea, just one room with about 20 compartments for cats. When I went in, all the compartments were bare, because there had been a bout of the very dangerous cat 'flu (a big killer unless the cat has been vaccinated) and they'd stopped taking cats in until it had been cleared up. I vowed to return, and 3 weeks later was back in the Battersea cattery, now full of cats, anything from the cuteypie little kittens with their spikey tails to 14 year old cats whose owner had died. I wanted a Tabby, just because I did, but right at the end came upon a compartment with two cats in, who had ended up in Battersea because their owner's neighbours (small children, we believe) had been pretty vindictive to the cats - that was all that was known. These two were called Fizzy and Foggy. Fizzy, a slinky black young tom, about 5 months old, saw us and climbed over the other cat to get to the front of the compartment to see us. It was love at first sight on both parts. We already had a 6 yr old female cat at home, who could be quite a bully (she was a rescue cat herself, given away because she was terrorising the other cats in the household). We discussed the situation with the staff who were incredibly helpful and recommended a young male cat, of about Fizzy's age, that could stand up for itself but would not mind being dominated by an older female. We had a handling session with Fizzy and he was wonderful, half Burmese and very chatty, and that was that, we made up our minds to take him home. Once you have chosen your cat, you are asked to fill in a questionairre to determine your suitability as an owner. This covers things such as how much do you think it costs to feed a cat per week? How much are you at home? How much do vaccinations cost? Do you have access to a garden? You then have a short interview with a member of staff to find out more details - can you have a catflap, do you have any other pets, are you renting and eligible to have a pet? If you get through this screening satisfactorily, then you arrange to take the cat with you. Fizzy (who we renamed Taj after the Blues singer, Taj Mahal), came home with us that day. We paid a fee of £25 - for this you get your pet, a week's supply of food, free neutering/speying, and a free microchip (a tiny implant under the skin of the pet's neck which is like a barcode, and means that any vet can scan your pet if it is lost, and find out who it belongs to). We took Taj home with the instructions to bring him back for neutering a week later - unfortunately, although he had been innoculated against it, he developed cat 'flu after a couple of days. I rang Battersea for advice and they were excellent, advising me on how to get him to eat, how to keep him warm, to try holding him over a steam bath and to wipe his poor little nose - a week later he bounced back and was in full health again within the fortnight. Our other cat, Ziggy, did not take kindly to this little princely upstart in her territory, they fought like cat and dog for 3 months - the first time we left them on their own with the run of the house we came home to find one of Ziggy's claws sticking out of Taj's head and we worried about our decision. However Taj was not a pushover and stood his ground over one particular room, absolutely refusing to let Ziggy enter it, and gradually over time, with alot of patience and space, they grew first to tolerate each other and then to get quite close, sleeping curled up together on the bottom of the bed and playing around the house. They are now almost inseparable and Taj, still a fighter 4 years later, but not a great o ne, relies on Ziggy the bruiser to back him up in any tricky situation. Taj has never properly got over whatever happened in his kittenhood, he is the friendliest cat you could meet but absolutely bolts when small children come towards him - as with most rescue animals, you need to work with them and if you cannot get them over their fears, try and avoid putting them in scary situations. A bit of love and affection goes a long way with them! Battersea is a fantastic place for dogs and for cats - they are professional, caring, always put the animals first and give excellent advice. If you want a dog or a cat, and live within travelling distance of this place, I highly recommend you give it a go.
Before Christmas, I had two cats, who had been acquired from a rescue centre in Yorkshire, a brother and sister who just didn't get along. After various consultation and discussion we decided to bring a third cat into the household – someone for the brother to play with and leave his sister in peace! So we decided to get a kitten, and felt we'd wait until after the busy Christmas period when the house was a bit tidier and calmer before looking around. Having experienced welcoming a new cat into the household before, I knew that the pre-Christmas tidy-up was not an ideal time! Having prevaricated around for a few weeks, about a month ago I happened to be passing our local cat charity shop. I happened to be looking for costumes for the show I was in, and said to my better half 'shall I ask them about getting a kitten?'. OK was the reply so I asked them about taking on a cat. They were naturally delighted - apparently they had about 70 cats that needed homing, so they gave me a telephone number to call. We got home, unpacked our bargains and made the call and left a message for someone to ring me about homing a kitten. When the phone rang about an hour later, the woman was very pleased that I was interested in rehoming. However, that's when the joy stopped as the conversation went as follows: "Where do you live? Are you in [town name]?" "Yes, I'm in [road name]" "Oh. How far down do you live?" "Not very far - very easy to get to." At this point I was thinking they may want to come round an inspect the suitability of the house... "Well, you see that's very close to [nearest main road] which is very busy..." "Oh, that's OK. I have two cats already who I don't allow out, so that won't be a problem." "Oh, are you in one of the flats then?" "No, I'm not that far down. I' ;m in one of the big houses." "Oh, well you see we can't help you. All our cats are strays and they couldn't possibly be kept indoors all the time. They'd need to go out. Sorry." Ah. So even though I had a big house they could run round to their little heart's content, I couldn't have a cat because they were stray. And being stray they were used to being outdoors, and I lived far too close to the main road to have one. Well, one word sprang to mind, which I will not for decency sake print here. I have worked with several animal rescue people, and have friends and relatives with upwards of 20 cats and I've never heard such a thing. Yes, there are some out and out strays, but lets face it give most cats a warm bed and a bowl of food and they won't want to go out. At the end of the day, if I took a cat that was obviously not content with staying indoors I would not have made it suffer, but I wasn't even being given the chance. I was told to try another local organisation, Caring For Animals. So I did. I knew the manager/owner from when she previously owned the charity shop nearby and doing street collections etc. She was overwhelmed that I wanted a kitten, although she only had two at the time. She had no problem with me keeping them in, because most of her work is with feral kittens where domestic unneutered cats have bred and had kittens in the wild. She understands the importance of controlling your pets. The two kittens were available, both black although one had a tremor which meant it probably couldn't be released. She also had a pair of 4 year old cats coming in the following day from a couple who were having a baby and had been warned against keeping the cats. Please come tomorrow lunchtime, she said, and see if any of those are suitable. So come Sunday lunchtime, and off we went. She doesn't have a fancy cat rescue centre, far from it. As most work is done with ferals some of them live in the woods behind her house. Those who are kept captive are in her converted garage, and she has given up most of her own house to home strays. However, despite it not being 'spick and span' it was clearly apparent that all the cats are well looked after, cared for and loved. We met the one kitten, who was lovely but was developing the sniffles from cat flu - it would be a couple of weeks before he would be available. We said that it didn't HAVE to be a kitten, but we thought that might fit in a bit better than an older cat, but had a look around at some of the other cats anyway. 'Peter' was a lovable big black tom, but he had arthritis and we didn't think it fair to put him in a home with two manic 6-year old moggies who love to chase around! We also looked at the returned pair of 4-year olds, but we didn't really have the resources to take on two cats. As far as I know these have now been successfully rehomed! As we were looking at some of the other cats, we were introduced to 'Annie' a black cat with a white 'bib' who was their longest stay cat. She basically lived in the garage but pretty much roamed around the garage as she fancied, although she tended to stay either curled up on a blanket or sat in front of a heater! She was ever so friendly towards us both, and came over for a fuss and a stroke, rolled over etc. The owner was taken aback by how friendly she was and said that she was a lovely cat but possibly a bit older than we were looking for. She didn't know how old Annie was but thought probably around the 10 or 11 mark at least. We chatted. We stroked Annie. We talked some more. She purred a lot. And we decided we'd take her and see how she got on with us. We couldn't take her there and then, but agreed to come back the following Saturday with cat box to take her. By the time we got back the following week, Annie had been taken to the vets for a once-over before she came home with us, and the vet had said she was in perfect health, with lovely white teeth and probably wasn't actually that old. The rescue centre didn't want any money from us as she just wanted to see her longest stay cat in comfort in a household that loved her. So how did she get on? Well there was a fair bit of hissing, growling and spitting from all three cats for a few days, although not as much as I had expected. They're not all best friends still, but she's settling in nicely. We decided to change her name too, as Annie conjures up images of the musical! We didn't want to change it too much and opted for 'Ami' which sounds quite similar, and is short for 'Amidala' (character from Star Wars Episode 1) which she has rather taken to. She is a very playful cat, which is why I'm convinced she's not that old, probably similar to the other two, but above all adores laps. If you're sitting hunched over, she will poke you until you let her sit on you, which is rather endearing! All in all, I am glad that I took her in. I know that the conditions at the rescue home aren't that bad, but they can never compare with the comfort of a home and a lap. And in response to the 'it's stray - it will want to go out' - she has absolutely no interest in going outside. She sleeps, eats, and gets on your lap, doesn't even look out the window at passers-by! I have also got involved with helping out the rescue centre on a more regular basis now. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past three weeks redesigning the logo and stationery, and compiling a newsletter to encourage others to home or sponsor some of the cats. They are particularly keen for people with stables who want feral cats to live there to contact them, as ferals are impossible to home in a normal household - they will literally run away from people when you get too close. And it doesn't matter whether yo u live in Kent, Cornwall or Scotland, there's nothing to stop you sponsoring a cat or becoming a friend of a rescue group. Caring For Animals costs a minimum of £5 a year, which these days you can't even withdraw from a cash machine. I work in London and my daily lunch often costs nearly that! If enough people can provide sponsorship and help, the dream is to open a nice sparkly new rescue centre! All I know is that I made the right decision that day, and that when I get home tonight there are going to be three happy cats to greet me with a loving meow and rubbing around my legs. What a shame they are only doing it so I'll feed them! :o) Useful websites: www.caring-for-animals.org.uk www.cats.org.uk www.everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-cats.com
My family never does anything by halves. I have 21 Ranch Chinchillas; my aunt has a dozen or so horses; this is the story of my sister-in-law and her tribe of rescued cats. Pat is a widow living on her own in a Council owned terraced property. She has lived there for over thirty years. Her home and garden are neat and tidy, unlike her neighbours (on both sides) whose gardens are full of scrapped vehicles and car parts - doors, engines etc. The story starts about five years ago when one of the neighbours decided to move home. Apart from leaving behind all of their scrapped vehicles, they also left behind about seventeen feral cats. They asked Pat if she would feed them and they would return to collect the cats in about three weeks time when they had settled into their new home. My sister-in-law agreed to do this. The cats all look alike - tabby and white and are probably very inbred. There seemed to be one dominant male cat and the rest of the cats were young and middle-aged females and kittens. None of the cats had been spayed or neutered, so the females had produced one litter after another. None of the cats were tame; it was not possible to get close to any of them. They were also thin and in very poor condition. After several months, Pat's former neighbours contacted her again. They wanted the dominant male cat, but did not want any of the other cats. In the event, when they came to collect him, they could not catch him, so left without taking any of the cats with them. My sister-in-law was now left with a problem. What to do with seventeen or so cats and kittens? It was spring and the cat population was about to increase - a number of the female cats were pregnant again. She had decided to keep one cat, which she called Elsa. Elsa was allowed in the house and was the only one that had become tame. Elsa was duly taken to the vets for spaying and necessary injections. I visited at this time and remember seeing lots of tabby and white cats leaping about in the garden. Pat had provided a dog kennel and had waterproofed a tea chest for the cats. It was still not possible to get close to any of the cats, apart from Elsa that is. I had enquired why she did not leave her garage window open to provide shelter from the bad weather for the cats. Pat had tried this, but had caught her next door neighbour red handed escaping through the window. Several of her late husband's tools were missing. She had called the police and they had searched the neighbour's home, but nothing had been recovered. Hence, windows had to be kept firmly locked. I think that it is very sad when you have to protect your property from your next door neighbour. My sister-in-law is unable to work through ill health and lives largely on benefits, so she is not rich by any means. Feeding seventeen cats was eating into her savings. She contacted the RSPCA. She would, of course, keep Elsa, but wanted them to take the rest of the cats for re-homing. In fact, she contacted them on a number of occasions. Initially, they would not collect the cats until they had spoken to the legal owner of the cats (who to all intent and purposes had abandoned them!). Then they agreed to collect the cats, but never turned up. Finally, they told her that they were unable to re-home feral cats and they would be destroyed. My sister-in-law was extremely upset by this; she had, by this time, fed and cared for these cats for nearly a year and had hoped that they could be found suitable homes on farms or stables. So she came to the decision that she would keep all of the cats. She contacted the Cats Protection League who have helped her with the costs involved in spaying and neutering all of the cats - all that is except the dominant male cat - as once again, he could not be caught. So five years on what has happened? ********************************** Wel l, the neighbour from hell has moved. Apparently he did a moonlight flit. Rumours have it that he was wanted by the police for questionning following a number of burglaries in the area. The Council removed all of the scrapped vehicles and rubbish and Pat now has new neighbours on either side of her property, who she gets on well with. As for the cats - there are now thirteen. Twelve of these, including Elsa, are now tame and live in her home. Fat and contented tabby and white cats can be found on chairs, on the settee, curled up in front of the fire or sharing the dog's bed with her dog. As for the thirteenth cat - yes, you've guessed - the dominant male cat is still feral and is still not neutered. Pat puts old blankets inside the dog kennel in the garden for him. He is now old and very thin, disappearing for weeks on end, but still comes home for food from time to time. If the coming winter is severe, he may not survive it. I am quite sure that most of these cats would not be alive now if it had not been for the care and dedication given to them by my sister-in-law. It undoubtedly has been a strain on her finances, but it must be very rewarding to see them as fit and healthy as they are now. ~additional information~ Did you know that in five years a female cat could be responsible for 20,000 descendants? The Cats Protection League operates a Neutering Scheme to assist cat owners who cannot afford the veterinary fees with the cost of the operation. For further details of this organisation, check out: www.cats.org.uk Janna 7th December 2001
This is the story of my cat Timmy who we got from a rescue home. Timmy's Story My name is Timmy, I was born in May 1999, but I don't know what date. I am a tabby and white long hair cat. Oh and I am male, but you probably guessed that already. I was neutered by the rehoming centre, but I do not like to talk about it! When I was little I lived with another family, but they moved and could not take me with them, so I was sent to a re-homing centre. A family with two small children adopted me, but they only kept for two days because I kept hiding and would not be friendly. Jane and Rob then adopted me when I was 9 months old. I like living with them I have a comfy bed, and Jane's grandma crocheted me a blanket too! Jane has a bigger crotcheted blanket which I frequently nick when she is not looking and she has just bought a nice cream fleecy one which looks very comfy to me and will look great with a few muddy paw marks on it! I have lots of toys, icluding furry mice, plastic balls and a fish on a line, but my favourite is a screwed up piece of foil. I can carry this around in my mouth and p[ush it under the furniture. There is quite a stash of them under the fridge which no one can get out, so then I have to ask for a new one! When I first moved in with I chewed things and my teeth marks are still evident on cables, books, and a jewellery box! The Internet on the computer stopped working when I chewed through the modem cable! I don't do it as much now, but if something doesn't work they always check to see if I have chewed it! I do not do it much now, but there is a problem with one of the telephone cables at the moment and I am the prime suspect, but I would never admit to it. Much more fun is gained from tearing the wallpaper in the living room, it has only been up for 15 months and my claw marks are evident in many places including about 4 feet from the ground where I ju mped up and then slid down the wall! I do get myself into bother every so often. One morning I got in to a fight with a fox and the next door neighbour came out to scare it away. I ran away too and the neighbour came round later to see if I was ok, I just had a couple of scratches on my nose! I tease the dog next door and try and get him to follow me, he then gets into trouble for leaving his garden! One day when Jane and Rob were out I got into the study and managed to shut myself in, so while I was there I tore up most of the service sheets they had printed for their wedding, they were not happy!! A few weeks ago I scared Jane by returning home for my dinner covered in something purple, she has a bit of a panic as it looked a bit like blood, but then when she calmed down she chased me round with a wet cloth, yuk! I thought I looked rather cool with purple spiky hair! My daily routine mainly consists of waking everyone up about 5-30am to see if they will let me out! I go out for a couple of hours and then return for breakfast, then either go out again or sleep until lunch time, then I sleep until tea time. After tea I sometimes go out or I sleep on the sofa. When Rob and Jane are away I go to the cattery. I actually like it there, but I pretend I do not want to go and make a fuss whilst in the car. I have a good time catching up with the other cats, we sit up late at night talking! The cattery used to be owned by a nice lady who fed us tuna fish every Saturday, I liked her a lot. The new people seem nice too and I even let them brush me, not something I usually tolerate, but they did call me handsome! Well I had better go now, all this story telling has worn me out, it is time for a nice long snooze. Bye for now Timmy XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX