World Animal Week in images

This week we were celebrating World Animal Week.  We had a few events planned; however, as always with animal welfare, you cannot plan and our week took on an unexpected turn; not necessarily for the best.

On Sunday evening, Rita from the sanctuary had to be rushed to Riverview Vet where she was put on a drip.

Rita at the vet's

On Monday, after looking for an hour for two sick cats we never found, we started the Ballycotton TNR project.  We trapped four cats (one female and three males) who were neutered by Sinead at the Cloyne Veterinary Clinic and returned the following day.

Ballycotton TNR

Ballycotton TNR

On Monday evening, we tackled putting together the second issue of Furry Tales and Meowsings.  We never got a chance to tell you about it, but I have a surprise for you and will tell you more later.  Distribution has started and the booklet should be available in the usual places next week.

Facing the pile

2nd issue of Furry Tales and Meowsings

Meanwhile, we also had to find a fosterer for Carlo, a cat victim of a road traffic accident who was brought to The Cat Hospital the previous week.  We thought Carlo would become blind, but he regained his sight.  However, he has forgotten how to eat.  Fortunately, a good soul offered him love and time to reeducate him.

Carlo in the arms of Clare Meade

On Tuesday, Anne and Zdenka went to the rescue of a dog who was found in an appalling condition.  Angel has since been treated at Riverview Vet Clinic in Bandon, where she will remain for at least two weeks.


I don’t have any photo for Wednesday.  Let’s just say that it was enquiry day.  The amount of lost and found animals reported that day was alarming.  Moreover, there were a few cat enquiries.  We would love to be able to take them all in, but how can we?

On Thursday, we had a fundraising gig in Mr Bradley’s.  Although it was quieter than we had hoped, we still manage to raise €285 and we all had a good night!

Kate Kirwan

1st prize winner

Friday was devoted to the first photo shoot by Diane Cusack (Strike a Paws) for the Christmas cards.  I also worked on the Christmas party tickets and they are now on sale (more information to follow).

Leo, the poser (photo by Diane Cusack)

Saturday, we had an information table in Maxi Zoo Ballincollig.  It was a great day, but some cat issues needed to be sorted at the same time.

Some of our volunteers at the Maxi Zoo table

I came back home with Mishka, a little kitten rescued the previous day.


As I turned on the computer, I discovered an email regarding a two-week old kitten and the search for kitten formula began.   Thankfully, Facebook proved to be very helpful and the matter was resolved quickly.  Katrina, who had found Minka, also offered to foster the kitten, which was a huge relief.  You can read about her experience here and here.

Minka, now called Mika

It seems that I am missing an important photo.  I’ve been told about a new arrival at the sanctuary: a baby pot-bellied pig!

As you can see we were busy and you might understand why we sometimes sound tired and grumpy…

We don’t know what next week has in store for us, but what we’re certsin of is that we will be preparing for National Feral Cat Awareness Week, which starts next Saturday.  We will be raising awareness about the feral cat situation in \ieland, but also carry a few TNR projects.  One of our priorities are Jennifers’s cats and we would appreciate if you could show your support to this thirteen year old who has decided to make a difference in the cat world.  If you would like more information about this very special week, do not hesitate to contact us.  We might even bring a few interested people with us on our outings!


Jennifer’s Cats

Last week, on Facebook, I sent an appeal to help Jennifer and her cats.

Jennifer contacted me a little while ago about a queen who had given birth to a litter of two in her garden. This type of email is quite common and, even though we cannot take the cat and kittens, we are happy to give advice and support the person as much as possible. A conversation ensued between Jennifer and I about what could be done. Jennifer said she would do her best to rehome the kittens herself and insisted that the mum and her older kitten -now one year old- should be neutered and how could we help with that?

I was amazed when Jennifer told me she was 13 and gave me the number of her mum if I needed to contact them.  I was impressed that a 13-year old would show more maturity and have a more responsible attitude than many aldults.  I promised her we would help to raise the money to get the queen and older kitten neutered by doing an appeal.

I am hoping that this appeal will also show the attitude we should adopt towards feral cats and that many adult will follow Jennifer’s example.

So far, we have raised €73, but we need more to get the two older cats neutered.  Would you be willing to help Jennifer and contribute to the neutering of her ferals? If so, please visit her fundraising appeal on Facebook.  Alternatively, you can donate through our website, but make sure you send me an email explaining the purpose of your donation (

Jennfer, the cat community and I thank you in advance for your generosity!

Are you also feeding some ferals in your back garden?  Now is the time to get them spayed/neutered.  National Feral Cat Awareness Week is beginning in six days and a few locals vets have agreed to practice discounted fees for the occasion.  If needed, we can help you with the trapping.  However, we cannot take the cats away.  This is what is called TNR (Trap/Nauter/Return).  The cats will go back where they came from and still help keeping the mice away…

Remember, a female cat can become active at four month old and produce three litters a year.  So, what are you waiting for?



A thank you from Little Red

It has been nearly a week since my first operation; I was so excited that I could eat again… yummy food! My belly started to hurt again so Clare did another operation on Monday night to fix me. She gave me cool leg warmers in pink and green colours and I had a thing called a drip attached. I have a lovely warm bed with a heat pad to keep me cosy.

Clare, Lesley and Nora in the Cat Hospital look after me and mind me so well; I love them all. My new mommy and daddy come to visit me and tell me that all my sisters miss me so much. My sister Tear has sent me her favourite toy to play with and to cuddle when I get lonely.

I need to eat more food ’cause it will make me big and strong so I can play with my sisters…but I’m not feeling too good.

Emilie and Albert put my story up on the web so everyone can see me and read my story… I’m just one little red kitten in a big, big world of many sick animals.

You can give me so much: food, shelter, healthcare, attention, etc. All I can offer in return is pure and simple… love. I will hang in there, I’ll try my best cause I can see that so many humans out there care.

I need to have a little sleep now, I’m really tired… But before I go to sleep, I want to say a big thanks to you for all your support…

Little Red x

Sookie in her forever home

We love hearing about the animals who left us to go to their forever home.  Here is an update on Sookie who has found a roof and a hammock, but above all she has found love.  I’m sure she thinks it is a lot better than the shed in which we found her!

What a cat's life should look like...

“Sookie is a very happy active kitty, she and our other young cat have become best buddies, always bounding around the hosue playing chase or play fighting over toy mice!
Our two other cats love her too, sniffing noses every time they see each other, and all sleeping together on the couch. When she is not enjoying her food, water and kitty milk and playing, she likes to snuggle up to our faces, and spend her time sleeping in the at hammock we have, playing on our cat tree with the others, or on her own, and sitting with me and steve on the couch.
She is happy and healthy and will never want for anything!
Tonight it’s raining outside, and we appreciate on her behalf how lucky she is, to have a warm loving safe home forever with people and cats who love her. I see a stray with a very bad eye pass by our house and I can never get him over to clean it, he has recently started to let me rub him so I hope I can at least try clean him before he goes blind next time I see him, which is never often, and not guaranteed. No doubt a result of not neutering a pet in which the offspring suffer endlessly everyday in their struggle in a hard hard cold world. But we have 4 cats who have been rescued, and Sookie is one of the lucky ones. She is a great little girl and it was meant to be that we found her with Ann. Sookie became an instant part of our cat family and it feels like she has always been here. Thanks Cork Animal Care Society and Thanks Ann Penny for bringing us our new little lady! x”

And thanks Jenny for writing this lovely story and taking such great care of Sookie.

A message from Little Red

My operation is over.

I’m in a funny place now; it’s called an oxygen tent because I can’t breathe for my self. My liver had attached itself to my lungs and Clare fixed me. My kidney, spleen and digestive system were all stuck up in my chest putting pressure on my little lungs. They are all back where they are supposed to be now thanks to Clare and her wonderful team at The Cat Hospital. I need to stay in my new tent for a few days until I can breathe on my own.

I did get a look at the rainbow bridge but Clare wouldn’t let me cross over just yet. I wanted to tell you all my story because I’m a little red kitten, who didn’t have a chance until I met humans. They didn’t eat me but who took the time to care about me, a little red kitten who will forever thank you.

Little Red is very grateful to all his supporters and so are we.  It is a very expensive operation and without you we wouldn’t have been able to afford the operation.  You can donate from our Facebook shop or from our website.

Many thanks!

My name is Red

My name is Red.

My mommy doesn’t like me and my four sisters eat all the food before I get there. I’m so little and my belly really hurts when I eat. I’m so,so, hungry.

Mommy bit me and hissed at me again today, she won’t give me any milk.

I don’t know why she wants to hurt me. I’m so scared to leave the woods. My
sisters are playing with mommy, they caught a mouse for dinner. I didn’t get
any dinner ’cause I didn’t help to catch the mouse. Why does my belly hurt so bad? The humans came today to give us some food. It’s a long walk to the humans and they scare me cuz they’re so big and noisy. My sisters said they want to catch us and eat us for dinner. The humans give us food, so I don’t understand why they would want to eat us. My sisters are tortie coloured and in the woods they are the fighters, they say I’m too lazy and silly to catch my own food. My belly hurts so bad now.

I want my mommy………

In the woods

I sleep on my own cuz mommy and the torties don’t want me around cuz they say there is something wrong with me. I can’t go anywhere. The human machines are on the road and they’re so loud I get so scared, the woods are full of strange noises and funny smells. I’m so tired, all I can do now is sleep, but it’s difficult to sleep when I’m hungry, I keep shaking from the cold and I’m so lonely.

The humans are here again, but there’s more of them today, they’re making funny sounds and pointing at us. Mommy told us to stay away from them. They have food. Loads of food! I can smell it. I’m so hungry…….. Mommy has gone
to talk to the humans…..I can’t see her, she has disappeared, but I can hear her call the torties. My sister Tear has gone to find mommy. Tear is so brave and she likes me and brings me food sometime and cuddles me when I’m cold…….Tear is gone…. Charlie goes next to see what is happening. I can hear them cry…..Oh what’s happening?.. My belly hurts…. Stripe and Adam Ant go together to see where everyone has gone…..No one comes back. I can hear their voices but can’t see them. I can smell the food. I’m so hungry….I have to see what’s happened to my family…….I can see Tear, she’s in a funny looking box. She tells me to run away. I’m so scared. I want to be with my sister…Oh! The big noisy humans have caught us all.

Little Red's first encounter with the humans

We are in the dark and we are all very quiet and very scared. Mommy and the torties are all huddled in the corner of the box we’re in. We are moving in one of the human machines……..Will they eat us soon? My belly hurts really bad now.

The machine stops and I hear the humans. They lift up our box and we enter a strange place. Its dark, but not very dark. It’s warm and it smells funny, not like the woods, it smells like humans…….It’s a nice smell. Oh my golly! There is so much food here, enough for a million hunts in the woods and there are furry things to sleep on. This is so wonderful….When will the humans eat us? I’m going to eat until I burst….. My belly hurts so much now when I eat anything….I think I will just lie down for a while.

In my new house

We are in the human machine again. Are they going to eat us soon? I’m so scared…….. We are in a strange place now, it smells funny, but nice…..The human is coming to get me…..She picks me up and holds me in her arms…..’What a lovely little Red you are…you’re so thin and your eyes look so big and scared’ Oh my belly hurts so bad…..make me better please lady.

I’m in a cage now….on my own, my mommy is gone, my sisters are gone. I hear other cats and the humans are talking. I hear a human, the same one that put me in the human machine……She’s coming towards my cage…She opens it and she touches me. I’m scared she is going to eat me…She rubs my ears….I like it, she rubs my back….I like it…..she kisses me…..I really like that, it’s like when mommy used to do it.

The human tells me that I’m really, really, sick and I need an operation to fix my belly so it won’t hurt anymore. I will need to sleep for a while and when I wake up everything will be ok.

I’m scared…..I want my new mommy, I miss my sister Tear….. The humans are giving me stuff to make me sleep, I feel really, really, tired. My belly hurts….I’m getting sleepy now, really sleepy.

Little Red at The Cat Hospital on the eve of his big operation

Little red is having an operation this morning on a Diaphragmatic Hernia in his chest cavity. The operation will be performed by Veterinarian, Claire Meade, at
the Cat Hospital in Glanmire with the assistance of her veterinary nursing staff. Little Red’s operation can possibly last between 4 and 6 hours  and he will be assisted by Leslie who will have to breathe for little Red using a hand ventilator pump.

Little Red’s operation is very costly, but the Cork Animal Care Society has decided that his life is more important than money.  Do you agree?  If so, you might be willing to make a €2 donation towards Little Red’s operation?  €2 is all we are asking for because we believe that if we pull our forces together we can be stronger.  Every little bit makes a difference and for Little Red, this could make a huge difference.  Please, help this little cat!  You can donate on our Facebook shop or on our website.

Thank you Maggie for writing Little Red’s story for him.  Little Red, our thoughts are with you today.  We’re thinking about you and sending you all the positive vibes we can.  You deserve a better life and we love you xx

Poor Tom

On Thursday, I received an email about a feral cat who was in a staircase in Cork city and needed help.  Natalie, who contacted us, explained that the cat had been there since the previous night.  He was very aggressive and looked quite poorly.  As a matter of fact, he hadn’t moved an inch since he had arrived there.

Poor Tom on the morning of his death

Her email alerted me and I immediately rang her back (thankfully, Natalie had left her number in the email).  After a quick chat to assess the situation, I called Trevor, our emergency rescuer.  I am still amazed at how fast Trevor reached the location.  Soon after, I received another call from him: “This cat is very wild and strong and seems very sick, but I’ve managed to catch him”.

Trevor rushed Poor Tom to The Cat Hospital where he was delivered into the good hands of Clare Meade.

However, sometimes, there is nothing we can do to save a life.  Even the most expensive treatment could not have saved Poor Tom’s life.  Clare rang Albert and explained the situation: Poor Tom had been tested positive to FeLV (leukemia) and FIV (feline aids), moreover, he had an enlarged spleen.  His leukemia was far too advanced to be possibly treated.  Poor Tom would have only be able to live a couple more weeks and in extreme suffering.

It is a difficult decision to take, but sometimes we do not have another choice than euthanasia.  This is part of animal welfare.  We do our best to offer animals a happy life and to put an end to their sufferings.  Although we practice a non-euthanasia policy, here, there was only one way to stop the extreme pain endured by Poor Tom.

Poor Tom at The Cat Hospital. His face expresses the tough life he has been through.

Poor Tom was sadly put to sleep on Thursday afternoon and his sufferings came to an end.  The only consolation he might have had is that he received more love and care in the last hours of his life than he must have had before.  If it had not been for Natalie, Poor Tom would probably still be suffering in his staircase waiting for a sure and painful death all alone.

Had Poor Tom been noticed and looked after a long time ago, he would have probably been able to enjoy a better life, but it was already too late when Natalie found him.  Natalie showed humanity and compassion, but these are rare qualities to find in so-called “humanity”.  Feral cats are often given the bad eye.  They are rarely offered the opportunity to live the happy life every one of them deserves.  They do carry diseases and transmit them to other cats, which is why we insist so much on having all cats, even ferals, neutered and spayed (as well as to help controlling the cat population, which is increasing every year).

There are many cats like Poor Tom.  I hope that the next time you meet one of them you will stop to give him a bit of affection and love, as well as food and veterinary treatment.  Maybe you could also offer him/her a little place in your heart and your garden shed?  The theme of this year’s National Feral Cat Awareness Week is “Spay that Stray” (15th to 22nd of October).  Think about it, think about the difference you can make.  If each of us take the responsibility to have one feral neutered and checked by a vet, this world will be a much happier place for cats.

Thank you Natalie, Trevor and Clare for being there for Poor Tom.

Inko the budgie: a happy ending

One evening we received an email from a lady who had found a budgie three weeks previously.  She had been looking after him since and had put up posters in the local area, but could not find his owner.  We offered to help her and posted an ad on Facebook.  Not long after, Aileen commented on the post explaining that she had lost her budgie a few weeks before…

I asked both ladies to send me a picture of the budgie.  The finder, Nicola, sent me a picture of the budgie:

I waited with anticipation for Aileen’s photo, which soon came in….

The similarity between the two was striking and I put the two ladies in contact with each other.  A day later the good news came in and Aileen had been reunited with Inko.  I was told that the reunion was very emotional and I can imagine so.  I was so happy for the two of them.  It is such a great feeling when a pet gets reunited with his owner and this was my very first reunion.

Later, Aileen told us that Inko had gone missing for twelve weeks.  This means that he must have been fending for himself for about two months.  How incredible is that?  She actually thought she would never see him again has there had been some torrential rain a few days after he disappeared.  Nicola said that when she found him in a ball on the path near her house, he was exhausted and very very hungry, without her care he would surely have died.  What a brave little budgie!

Thank you so much Nicola for looking after him; compassionate people like you give us faith…

Nora’s fostering experience

Nora, who works at The Cat Hospital in Glanmire, recently fostered three kittens for the ACS.  She now tells you about her experience:

On May 13th, a Friday afternoon, I was relaxing watching Coronation Street! I had just finished college exams that day, bringing to an end an academic year that consisted of a 7 day a week schedule for me between school and work!

I was enjoying a glass of wine and dinner when I opened my laptop and saw an
appeal on facebook by Anne Fitzgerald. Three kittens had been found in Hollyhill and brought to her. Their mother had apparently been chased into oncoming traffic by youths, died, and her kittens were being tossed in the air! A gracious cabman took them to Anne.

At this time, Anne was stretched beyond belief with kittens. I sat for a few moments before I found myself writing Anne an email to say I would take these poor babies in!

Anne arrived within the hour, carrier in hand. We went to the spare room I had set up for them. She opened the carrier to reveal three handsome kittens. Barely three weeks old, they quietly began to stick their heads out to investigate their new surroundings. I piled them all on my chest and found myself falling deeply in love as they all stared at me with their gorgeous blue eyes.

Nora and her three foster kittens

Needless to say I had a few sleepless nights, syringe feedings, etc. Thankfully my amazing husband adores cats and works nights so took over early morning feeds when he would get home. The boys quickly melted our hearts. we named them Bobo, Harvey, and Baby. Bobo was extremely inquisitive and a loving boy. Harvey way a tough brute that demanded to be fed first! Baby lived up to his name, adorable, sweet, tiny, and cheeky!

Full of love!

Our time with them was amazing. Over 10 weeks, it had its ups and downs. Seeing them grow and discover new things was entertaining. When they all became sick with suspected girardia I was beside myself. I quickly took them to The Cat Hospital, where luckily they were quickly put on the right track.

It's not always easy to look after a tiny baby...

As they grew it was time to start looking for homes. My mother, a long time cat owner, happened to be looking for a new kitten to join her household of two other rescue kittens at the time. She adopted Baby. he was so cheeky and flirtatious at that stage, I knew he’d settle in well. He has! Delighted with his new home…spoilt beyond belief!!

In late July we went on a week holidays and left the two remaining boys in The Cat Hospital to be looked after by Clare and Lesley. On their last day up there they caught the eye of an amazing family. A lovely lady and her three gorgeous kids fell in love with Harvey. They wisely decided to talk about it over the weekend. When they came back they had decided to take them both! They took all of our advice from the Cat Hospital on how to introduce them slowly to their
existing cat. At this stage, they had already been vaccinated and neutered for the ACS by Clare at The Cat Hospital so they made ideal pets.

Will you adopt us? Of course!

To say I was heartbroken saying goodbye is a massive understatement! These
boys touched my life in a way I simply cannot describe. I truly miss them. Still, when ever I hear a high pitched squeak in the house I think it is a three-week old Harvey demanding his milk!

I feel honoured and blessed to be one of Anne’s last fosterers; she was supportive and encouraging throughout. She would be proud of the boys today.

At last count they are absolute terrors, causing mayhem around theirs homes and enjoying life thoroughly.

Nora's foster family

I would highly recommend the fostering experience. And, although I am clearly biased from working at The Cat Hospital, I would strongly urge any fosterer to avail of the FREE nurses clinics we offer there for any health checks / advice.

Thanks for writing your story, Nora!

A diet of bread and tea

When the phone does not ring, it is the email box!

A couple of days ago, we received an email from Niall regarding a colony of ten cats and especially a female cat and her kitten.  Niall explained to us that the colony lives on the land of an old gentleman, whom he visits regularly.  As well as looking after the gentleman, Niall looks after his cats, dog and chickens, making sure that they receive proper care and good food.

One of the two female cats of the group had two kittens in June; however, one got killed by one of the male members of the pack.  Thoughtfully, Niall put the mother and her remaining kitten safely in a shed.  When Niall came back this week, he found the shed in an awful state and the mother and kitten looking thin, pitiful and miserable and with no access to fresh water.  He told us that the kitten had failed to grow and looked as if he were four-week old.

Tea, a very small kitten for his age

Niall took it upon himself to help the mother and kitten and contacted us for advice.  Of course, we offered to help and recommended that the cats should immediately be brought to a vet to be examined, and should receive proper food.  As it happens, the cats were fed bread and tea since the old man thought that if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for the cats; something that might seem logical, but is very different from reality.

Cats and humans are different beings and have different nutritional requirements and one of the essential element a cat needs is taurine.  Neither bread nor tea contain taurine.  A dog will survive for a long time on bread but in the end his pancreas will go as the lack of protein will destroy it.  For a cat, the end comes much more quickly and lack of taurine will destroy the cat’s nervous system.  Taurine is an essential dietary requirement for feline health, since
cats cannot synthesize the compound.  The absence of taurine causes a cat’s retina to slowly degenerate, resulting in eye problems and (eventually) irreversible blindness — a condition known as central retinal degeneration (CRD) –  as well as hair loss and tooth decay.  Moreover, decreased plasma taurine concentration has been demonstrated to be associated with feline dilated cardiomyopathy.  You might understnd now why we always insist on the fact that cats should receive a proper diet.

Bread and Tea

Niall brought Bread and Tea, as they are now nicknamed, to Clare at The Cat Hospital where they received a check up.  They were later collected by Albert to go to the sanctuary where they feasted on cat food.

Bread and Tea enjoying a good meal

Both mother and kitten are doing well and regaining forces, enough forces to play with Nicole, our little helper at the sanctuary.

Tea playing with Nicole

Hadn’t Niall been there, these two cats would have suffered a painful death.  Niall did not stop at this since he has offered to adopt them and will welcome them as soon as they are neutered and in full health.  As for the other cats, they will also be looked after and neutered.  If you would like to help with the cost of their neutering, please visit here.