SCOOTER’S INCREDIBLE JOURNEY

Fostering kittens for the DSPCA is always interesting but the kitten we took delivery of on last Wednesday has a particularly special story.

Last Monday (13th August), a woman left Edenderry, Co Offaly and drove (without stopping) to Dublin.  On arrival and when she got out of her car she was very surprised to hear a cat’s cries seeming to come from inside the engine.  She lifted the bonnet and sure enough there was a white and black, quite terrified kitten looking back at her.  The kitten had hung on and survived the journey the entire way.  Thankfully the driver contacted the DSPCA who took the kitten back to their HQ in Rathfarnham where they checked him out.

This is Scooter when he arrived at the DSPCA after his epic journey in a car engine

Miraculously the three month old kitty survived without injury.  When we met him on Wednesday, he was still a bit dishevelled and grimy looking.  We took him home for some rest and recuperation.

Although the DSPCA had called him Eden, he was immediately rechristened Scooter in our house and we think this name suits him perfectly. He didn’t take too long to relax and soon was relishing the comforts of a cosy blanket and a safe place to sleep. In the last few days he is regaining his looks as he grooms away the dirt and grime from his engine journey.

Scooter at home!

Scooter brings with him such a great story of survival, of the kindness of strangers and of hope in the face of the seemingly insurmountable odds.  And the amazing thing is that he seems to know how lucky he is and he is so grateful for a second chance.  He is the most affectionate cat you could meet.

We are due to return him to the DSPCA for rehoming on Friday!  Mmmmmmm… I think this is one kitty foster we may just fail on!

Kittens and adult cats can have a dangerous habit of climbing onto car engines because they (foolishly) consider them warm and safe places to sleep.  Most cats would not be as lucky as Scooter was.  If you have cats in the vicinity of where your car is parked it is a good habit just to bang the bonnet with your hand before you get into the car.  This should help dislodge a sleeping cat.  Cats in car engines can be a particular habit of farmyard cats!

OUR WORK IS DONE…. MAGGIE UPDATE



On Saturday we will be packing our Maggie’s bags and baggage and dropping her back up to the wonderful people in the DSPCA, from where we hope she will be adopted quickly to her new forever home. Our work is almost done.

As you know from my previous post Maggie was one of the wildest and most frightened little cats I have ever encountered. It took us 2 days to coax her out from under our sofa. Then another day or two to get her to start (very gingerly) to play with some feathers on the end of a stick.
It’s been one small step at a time and has been a team effort in this house, to finally gain Maggie’s trust. We have taught her that humans can be her friends and I hope that none of our species undoes that lesson. We had a secret weapon in our ‘taming’ of Maggie and that was Simba (fatcat).
I don’t want to take from the great credit due to Simba for playing his part but we all know that he was highly motivated by sharing Maggie’s dinner which came in jelly and is clearly a lot tastier than the cat biscuits he usually has. But it was amazing to watch Maggie relax almost immediately Simba arrived into the room. Animals never cease to fascinate me.
The first week we had Maggie was difficult. It required huge patience and I did worry that perhaps some cats are just wild and not tameable. But the joy in watching this little scaredy cat slowly make friends with us and learn the joy of being petted and sit on a knee is sublime! Really.
The DSPCA is snowed under in kittens and cats who are looking for homes – permanent and foster. Check out their website http://www.dspca.ie




MAGGIE


The August Bank Holiday weekend is the last hurrah of summer – next stop Halloween and sure then it’s Christmas. According to the Celtic calendar we are now in autumn and the August Bank Holiday roughly coincides with the ancient festival of Lughnasa, which marked the end of summer and beginning of the harvest. So how was it for you? Were you away? Did you have fun?

What’s that? Me? Did I enjoy my bank holiday weekend? Em, well, em…. it was busy and eh, different!

It is not the first time I have wondered what personality defect I have that insists on throwing complications into my life when things are chugging along just fine.

Regular readers of my blog will know that just over a week ago we fostered Hector from the DSPCA. Hector was only with us for 4 days and unfortunately was very unwell and had to be put down last Tuesday. So we were in mourning for him for a week but as we love animals and like to do our bit for their welfare, we offered our services again for fostering another kitten!

So having welcomed a new student to our home on Sunday, on Monday off we went to Mount Venus Road to collect our latest project. We were told that this kitten was in need of socialisation for two weeks and was approximately 12 weeks old. Maggie was clearly a nervous kitty but seemed OK in her crate as we gingerly carried her to the car for the journey home.

We set Maggie up in the kids TV Room which is bright and has a view of the road. We thought that she might like to watch out (cats love looking out windows – did you know that?). I took the lid off her cat box and braved her spitting at me to pet her very gently on her back. She spat and hissed and I gently continued, trying to reassure her in a low soothing voice. Meanwhile Dylan da Dog was exploding with excitement in the hall and started banging the door down. I got up slowly and went out of the room leaving Mia with Maggie. As soon as I was gone, Maggie apparently darted out of her box and under the sofa. And that is where she spent her bank holiday weekend.

So me, where did I spend my bank holiday weekend? Well most of Monday I spent feeling like a failed foster mammy, as I lay on the floor with my bum in the air as trying to understand why I could not see Maggie under the sofa. We then worked out that as the sofa was a recliner, she had climbed up into the innards where she was perched on one of the bars. So we were all afraid to sit on the sofa in case we inadvertently decapitated her.

Hours passed as I tried to talk her out. In the end my eyes hurt from the dust (you should never look under the sofa) and I had a sneezing fit which did nothing to ease kitty anxiety. Our poor bewildered student who speaks very little English arrived home to find dinner late and her host covered in dust with a red nose from all the sneezing. I did my best to explain about the kitten in the sitting room and how she was welcome to go into the room but to make sure doors were left closed and to not sit on the sofa! A look passed over her face as I am sure she fought the urge to phone Mama in Lyons to report that her Mammy in Dublin was a nutter with delusions of kittens in the sitting room!

By Tuesday we had decided to adopt a patient approach. My girls asked me endlessly what if she never came out? “Em, I replied” I guess we would have to phone the DSPCA for help.” I had visions of my sofa being ripped apart in order to retrieve Maggie from its bowels. I will admit that I was slightly worried. I will admit that I did call on St Francis for some help.

That evening I had a small brainwave. We are the slaves to four cats already. The largest of these moggies is called Simba (or more usually FatCat) and he has brought disgrace on our family on more than one occasion. He has attacked Granny when she was calling in to feed him while we were away. The blood stained trousers were kept as a souvenir of his occasional lapse in how to be a good domestic cat behaviour.

When the girls were younger their parties were fraught with danger. Simba generally had to be locked in the utility room for the duration from where he howled the house down – scaring the life out of the little girls of a more delicate disposition.

We tried behavioural therapy under the supervision of the vet who suggested feline valium in order to teach him to relax. I was instructed to give him quarter of a tablet once a day for three weeks leading up to a particular party by which time his behaviour should have been adequately modified. I don’t know if you have every tried to quarter a valium but it’s well nigh impossible. Having festooned the kitchen floor in valium shards and having nearly sliced my finger off in the process, I gave up. We decided to give Simba a valium on the day of the party. It worked a treat.

He slept through all the festivities, albeit snoring loudly and with his tongue hanging out.

He remains a cat I love dearly but whom I cannot trust especially with older people or small children. I have been known to sprint out the front door because he has wandered in the garden and is ‘making friends’ with an elderly couple or a young family with toddlers. “Sorry” I mutter under my breath “he is not allowed talk to people” as I struggle to lift his bulk and transport him back indoors. His teeth haven been filed and his nails kept short in order to reduce any possible damage!!!

However Simba is the only one of my four kitties who welcomes stranger cats into the house. So – back to the original story here (keep up) – I decided on Tuesday that I would bring Simba into the sitting room in an attempt to show Maggie how (nearly) domesticated cats behave.

Simba understood the brief exactly. He identified the sofa as being Maggies hiding place and lay on the floor emitting “it’s so relaxing here” vibes. It worked. After about 15 minutes a little black and white head poked out from the edge of the sofa.

It took about an hour for her to come out fully and then she was always alert and would race back to the sofa at any movement or sound. But this was progress.

So Maggie has started her rehabilitation from wildcat to domestic moggie!

We have a long way to go …. I will keep you updated!