Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare

Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare

by Joanne Volunteer (Chairman)
(Cheshire UK)

Poor cold cats

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Poor cold cats

At Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare in the UK we have been working - I, personally, for 25yrs - looking after feral colonies.

If we don't bother they have nobody to help and speak up for them. We have over 100 feral cats which we have neutered, wormed and flea treated.

We feed them everyday and are rewarded when we see the scraggy little bags of boned develop into beautiful cats. One of our colonies is sited on a Gypsy site. Luckily the site owner has let us put a 10ft x 10ft shed on the site.

We have had electricity put in and when the weather is bad they have heating on and nice warm beds plus they are now fed out of the rain and ice.

I have attached a picture of them in the ice and will try to provide one of their shed that is now their home and they love it! - update: see their shed below:

Our new home

If you go onto a site called www.catchat.org select area "Cheshire" and scroll down to near the bottom of the page and click onto the blue writing on our page, there you will see lots of photos of some of our cats.

Update..some more pics:

Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare recue cats

Here are some pics of 5 kittens from our main colony, I had to take them and bottle feed them as if they had been left mum would have moved them and we probably wouldn't have found them again.

I've included pictures of Holly our Jack Russell who helped to mother them. I bottle fed and she did the cleaning, always supervised! The picture of the ginger cat is entitled "Our big brother" and it is one of those kittens which I kept.

There is another pic of a litter we had last year from the same mum who took 2yrs to catch!! I had to befriend her as she would not go into the trap. There were 4 kitts in this litter I fostered 2 and our lovely treasurer fostered 2 which were all re-homed. They were from the same mum as our big brother.


Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare to Feral cats

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Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare

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Jul 07, 2010 To Gail (Installment 3 or 4)
by: Sylvia

(No paragraph) It’s also true I’m mystified by some of the e-mails from POC contributors who described their delight with their multitudes of cats and kittens. When I was up to eight or nine a year ago, my wallet was empty, and my sanity had stretch marks. Two of my friends haven’t gone on vacation in years because of their cats and dogs and hamsters and goats. I too would like to be free from some of this bondage. I’d like to drive to California for a few days. Yet I never understood how my coworkers could go out for a t.g.i.f. ‘happy hour’ and dinner. When I lived close enough, I would drive home during my LUNCH HOUR to feed, pet and comfort my animals. Nor would I ever go out in the evening before coming home for 90 minutes to feed and console my cats and dogs and parakeets. Whenever I came home after dark, Cluckalina, my Plymouth Rock hen, would explode from her coop, squawk with ecstasy and dance in the headlights when I pulled into the driveway. I’d throw open her door, and she’d follow me into the bedroom downstairs, where I’d built her a 4’ x 4’ cage draped with a pretty, feminine, flowered quilt. And no sleepy-bye for my cluckaroo girl before some flavorful goodies and a thoroughgoing pet fest.

Anyhow, I care about my cats – which doesn’t quite mean I enjoy them every hour of the day. They’re dear to me, and I’m sad when they die. Fact remains, after they’re gone, I don’t want any more. I want to pare down and simplify as much as I can, I want to save what little I have, instead of having to spend and keep spending. Guess I’m a Scrooge. But I’m wearing out.

Gail – I enjoyed hearing about your herb garden. I too scrape pounds of leftover cat food into a lidded compost bin, and my earthworms are the size of juvenile garter snakes. Are you sweltering on the east coast? After months of rain – our farmers in both eastern and western Washington have applied for federal aid to offset their crop failures – we’re finally having some summer heat. Not sure, but think it’s supposed to be close to 90 today, though our sea-winds cool everything down where I live, especially at night. I sleep year-round with three blankets and two quilts.

Keep cool, and pet Sadie.

Jul 07, 2010 To Gail (Installment 2)
by: Sylvia

My Tom & Huck strays, though their lives were short, enjoyed sunny days exploring the woods, hunting birds and mice and butterflies, flirting with the ladies and basking in the sun. They also fell victim to speeding cars, cougars and coyotes, to feline leukemia and other rampant contagious diseases, to fights and bites, fleas and intestinal parasites. If I could afford it, I’d double-fence a few thousand square feet of my yard, both the sides and the top, so my cats could enjoy the feel of earth, some grass and shady bushes.

My one remaining outdoor stray eats leftovers from my indoor cats' - McWee and Ethel’s - plates. Because his life is harsh and strenuous, he is not fussy – especially in winter. He suffers for months from the wind and rain, and stokes his Promethean fire with high-calorie cat food. He gobbles up leftover Fancy Feast with organic milk and cream twice a day – and he CLEANS HIS BOWL. Re your comments on prices: I agree this canned stuff is over the top, though Walmart has had a weeks-long sale on FF for 30 cents a can. Normally, though, it’s 70 cents at most stores, as it is in Boston, and – yes – there’s much less in a can than Friskie’s cat food.

I’ll end this already much-too-long e-mail by saying all the wrong things on a website dedicated to cats.

McWee has begun to vomit every few days. Louisa had the same symptom, and she had cancer of the liver. She regurgitated every two or three days for two years before she lost weight toward the end of her life. McWee is about 18, according to the vets, and will probably decline in another year or so if this problem persists. I can’t afford frequent visits to the vet, nor would I subject my cats to chemotherapy, etc.

To sum up my years with cats in a nutshell, I wouldn’t describe them as ‘richly rewarding.’ To the contrary, they’ve been disastrously expensive. Though I’ve grieved for months after they died, I’m not sure in what ways they’ve enriched my life. Maybe I’m not a ‘cat person.’ I’ve liked them best when they’ve left me in peace, when I wanted to read or write or paint (I paint oil portraits). And yet-----they’re irresistibly lovable.

Jul 07, 2010 Response to Gail
by: Sylvia

Dear Gail,

Kindly accept my long overdue thanks for your fabulous e-mail. I was touched and grateful for your response, as I know your time is amply occupied by your volunteer activities.

Your letter was packed with great information. But here’s a comment. I’m not into debate – I’m not disputatious – so will merely repeat what one of my vets told me once.. She said it’s ill advised to use the ‘eat or go hungry’ tactic on finicky cats. According to her, they’re capable of going on a hunger strike for a couple of days - and a couple of days are all it takes to cause dehydration. When toxins accumulate in the blood, the kidneys shut down, and uremia can be fatal.

‘Well,she doesn’t know what she’s talking about!’ you might say. Don’t know if she does or if she doesn’t, though I suspect the practice of medicine is as much of an art as it is a science, and that there are as many differential diagnoses as there are practitioners.

Whatever the answer, here’s something I’ve noticed that confirms your advice. If I become less of a ‘Hovercraft Mom,’ if I leave the house for a few hours, the saucers - which were loaded with food the cats ignored while I was still here - are sometimes (not always) licked clean when I return. I think there’s some truth in your advice, and that my preposterous indulgence toward these cats has turned into a wasteful reciprocal neurosis. Thing of it is, I’m a fence-straddler. It hurts me to see them dislike their food, and the reason they do, presumably, is that it tastes BAD. This canned stuff is probably offal. Who knows what’s in it? I envision cauldrons of carcasses boiled into sludge. But what can be done? Whatever I try to cook for them is equally unacceptable. Granted I have no talent for cooking, the cats are disgusted when I offer them organic cooked beef and chicken and fish. I’ve tried a few of the recipes in so-called cat cookbooks, and the cats are dumbfounded by these concoctions. I’ve bought expensive high-protein, no-grain pellets for them, and the bags sit untouched.

Apart from the ghastly taste of these foods, my cats may reject them because they’re not hungry. And they are not hungry because they’re sedentary. Any parent who confined his child to the house for the rest of his days would be imprisoned for child abuse. Keeping an animal indoors for life is appallingly cruel, in my opinion. As much as you play with him, pet and talk to him, his life is one long monotony, so devoid of adventure he becomes senile years before his time. There’s little for him to do but sleep.

Jul 03, 2010 Gail (and Jo!)
by: Sylvia

Gail - You're extraordinarily nice to write me these e-mails crammed with helpful info. Jo is also writing some very good stuff to read.

Right now it's about 10:15 pm Friday, and I'm too bombed to answer your very kind messages. Have a stone-age situation here re computers: can't use my phone when on the Internet, and have had to keep my phone line open for the past several days. Have been waiting for a handyman to call and come out here to evaluate the situation (have had break-ins on my property), and offer some advice & suggestions. Can't comment on any of it, nor is it appropriate to do so on this website. Wish we could exchange e-mail addresses, but haven't a clue how to do that on a public website forum.

Anyhow, am bonkers from sleep deprivation, but wanted to touch base briefly, and thank you again for your thoughtful response.

By the way - you described my situation as 'worrisome.' You're a peach to worry, but my situation has improved 90 percent from what it was a few months back, when I was juggling and trying to feed nine cats plus Awesome, my residential opossum. Am now down to two housecats - and yes...they're finicky, and cost about $50.00 each a month to feed (also have one neglected cat who comes by twice a day for yummy leftovers), but other than that, the cat situation has calmed down considerably.

Have droned on unconscionably about myself, and want to reread the great e-mails from you and Jo and comment on all the work YOU'RE involved in -- will do just that in a day or two - but need to hit the sack right now.

Thanks again so much, and happy 4th.


Jun 30, 2010 FOOD
by: Joanne

The other thing with the food is putting too much wet out is only going to get covered in flies and I hate mine eating all the fly droppings! The flies do go on the dry food but not as much as the as the wet. They also don't tend to eat as much in the summer so I cut it down quite a bit.
Remember the good quality dry is a complete food in it's self. I use it all the time at home.

I realise I'm in a different situation than you as we get donations (It's a good job we do!) otherwise I wouldn't be able to feed the amount of cats on our colony's!

I've got quite a few birds and Squirrels I feed at my first site each morning.

I have a little boy who lives on a car park just on the outskirts of our town, he's my first stop. I ended up almost being mugged by about 7 mallard ducks not long ago, they were waiting for me on the car park every morning!

They were lucky they didn't end up Duck ala carte for the cat!!

Jun 30, 2010 Feeding
by: Joanne

I normaly have 2 sitting for the morning feed as there are so many of them. What I do is usually have a look who is around then get an equivalent amount of dishes out, we use the Whiskas and Felix pouches which is one per cat (It's easier and cleaner to use the pouches) there is also less waste. In the winter we do use tins, I also put dry food out for them we use PROPLAN which is around £45 per 15 Kilo (I go through 2 bags per month on the main site) Once I'm happy all have eaten their wet food - no matter what flavours you put out they are like kids! "No I want his dish" and they are all the same! I then put plenty of dry food out then they have plenty for the afternoon feed and any stragglers who missed the morning feed. Luckily with the dry there is no waste plus in the hot weather the dry is more hygenic! there is never any left when I arrive the next morning.


Jun 30, 2010 The Horrible people
by: Joanne

Hi Gail,

The horrible government people have certainly backed off as they don't have a leg to stand on now! As we are a Registered charity they know that we know what we are talking about. If they attempted to do anything now they know we would go to the Press and expose how they were breaking the law - plus they could be prosecuted! The laws here are, Feral cats are now protected - if there is no one looking after them IE; Neutering feeding and keeping them under control and they become a nuisance then the Environmental health would be able to find a way round "Removing" them. Fortunately because we are now involved and the colony is under our wing and being Controlled by Neutering, feeding plus wormed and flea treated they would not dare touch any of them! This is why I said in a previous post if I hadn't stopped that day those cats would now have been destroyed! We have just paid a vet bill for over £800 for the neutering, worming and flea treatment! I'm just trying to catch the one remaining kitten who is approx 7 weeks old but mum keeps moving it!

I've been reading the posts about food you and Sylvia have been discussing. The first point I would like to take up is; when we say Feral cats these are not cats that have been abandoned by people, they are cats born in the wild - yes some do find little old ladies who will try to do their best to feed but they can't get them neutered e.t.c.
We don't take on cats that people have bought then decide they no longer want them, so out on the street they go. These then become STRAY'S if you start helping these sort of people they then aquire more animals and expect a charity to pay all their vet bills!
Will add another post RE; food

Jun 30, 2010 Clarification
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Hi Sylvia,

It dawned on me after re-reading the previous post that the feral feeding could be misunderstood. For every feral that gets fed (we now have only 3), each one gets 1/2 can of Friskies wet food and 2 large coffee-scoop sizes of dry (equals 1/4 cup) plus fresh water. I watch over the ferals as they eat, so one doesn't eat everybody else's food. If they try, they get a 'talking-to' and somehow they understand and retreat. I also try to give everybody the same flavor food per feeding so they're not trying to get something better from another dish.

There is also a bird feeder that hangs off the side of the porch with wild bird seed. We get all kinds of beautiful birds; a frequent visiting squirrel gets whatever the birds drop on the porch/ground, which is a lot! We're fortunate enough to have a discount store a couple streets away where we can purchase 20-pound bags of bird seed for $7(USD). When everyone's fed (Sadie eats 1st, so there's no jealousy), the final stage is to water the container plants. So far, I've got a hearty grape tomato plant and some a basil plant growing like gangbusters. I've since rooted another basil seedling and some mint. They'll go outside this weekend.

It's nice every morning and every night to go through this ritual. It soothes the mind/soul.

Jun 29, 2010 Joanne - update?
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)


What is the latest with those government people and the senior lady? Are they still terrorizing her and bothering the cat colony? People like this really get my dander up. They try to show how important they are by picking on those less fortunate. It is nothing more than a form of bullying. Some day they will get old. Karma has a way of evening out the score.

Please let us know how things are progressing. I hope you have (figuratively) taken them by the scruff of the neck and mussed them up!

Jun 29, 2010 Step Back, Take a Breath
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)


It sounds like you are totally overwhelmed with your situation. It also sounds like you need assistance. Is there a no-kill shelter in your area that may be able to give you a break? Our shelter has a TNR and Feral program. Volunteers come out to feed ferals twice a day. Is there anything like that in your area?

I only have Sadie at home and she is on prescription canned/dry food due to health issues. The ferals, on the other hand, get what I give them. If they don't like it, they don't eat - period. Trust me...they won't starve.

Fancy Feast is expensive for the size. In our area, it costs around 60-70 cents/can unless it's on sale (not often) and I use coupons whenever possible. Lately, I've been getting Friskie's brand - it's cheaper (40-45 cents/can), twice the can size and I still use coupons. I usually don't get anything in gravy - it's a waste and messy. The flavors are beef, chicken, liver, turkey, giblets and any combo - pate style.

I only put out 1/2 can (Friskie's) in the dish and add 2 scoops (coffee scoop-size) of dry next to it in the same side of a double dish. First come, first serve. That way, one can is used for 2 feedings. Fresh water is always on the other side of the dish. Sometimes I have leftover (plain, no spices) rotisserie chicken and I'll put that out. I refuse to allow the ferals to dictate food. What the ferals won't eat, the nocturnal oppossum will. On the very slim chance there's anything left next morning(seldom), it's mixed in a large dirt pot being turned into compost.

Sounds to me like you are allowing your furkids to be picky eaters. NO NO NO! Cats will NEVER allow themselves to starve - it's not in their makeup. Ever hear stories about caretakers passing on and the cats are found noshing on the dead body? Believe me, cats will never starve if there is anything resembling foodstuff - unless they're sick.

My dear woman, why are you opening up 5 cans of cat food each feeding for 3 cats? Again, NO NO NO! All kidding aside, we love our felines, but you are in charge. If they sniff it and refuse to eat it, after an appropriate time, pick up the dish and cover/refrigerate it and give it to them again next feeding time. Ignore the wails you'll hear in the beginning. Sooner or later they'll understand that this is it - eat or go hungry. Some people here may think that may be harsh, but in reality if you go broke or get sick, who'll take care of them? Why do you think the ferals out back line up every morning? They've come to realize - get it now, kiddo, or do without. Should the 1st one gobble everything up (seldom), I will refill the dish and shoo the 1st one away to be fair to the others.

You also cannot keep spending money on other's people's animals. You also need your health insurance. What happens if you get sick? It's not necessary to do without to care for your cats. You just need to stop spoiling them. Please, I mean no disrespect but your current situation is very worrisome.

Jun 29, 2010 To Gail (Iinstallment 2)
by: Sylvia

You suggested my little Louisa would’ve been pleased – as would Inspector McWee - if I adopted another stray. I wish it weren’t so, but the rest of this note will convince you I’m unfeeling. Here’s my own experience with cats.

In my opinion, people who want to adopt a cat need a substantial, disposable income. During a three-year period when I lived in Seattle, I spent about $7,000 on cats belonging to other people. Since moving here in 2005, I’ve spent almost $12,000 on food, vet bills and donations to a feral cat group whose members are almost killing themselves with overwork in their effort to find homes for orphaned cats. I realize that $19,000 is peanuts to some. But to me it’s macadamias.

I’ve recently lost more cats than Louisa. Since last October I’ve euthanized Bun, Clabby (Bonnyclabber, a white tomcat), Clint and Bertil – all of whom had FL. I’ve been a wreck ever since, as I cared about these cats.

During this time I dropped my health coverage so I could afford their upkeep. Which doesn’t mean I ‘lost’ anything. Though two of my friends have paid hundreds of dollars a month in premiums, their coverage paid only a fraction of their medical bills. End result? When they fell ill, they lost every dime of their life savings. And when that was gone, they lost their homes. Nowadays they’ve dying penniless in the back bedroom of their children’s houses.

Not to digress, I’m paying about $50.00 a month to feed each of my three remaining cats. This doesn’t include their vet bills (one last December cost $485.00). What hurts me more than anything else is the waste these cats produce. I cannot afford canned meat that costs more than Fancy Feast - and my cats dislike this stuff. But neither can they stand $4.00/lb. grain-free kibbles. I’ve offered them half a dozen flavors, and every one is detestable. (What they do like is cornmeal pellets sprayed with artificial flavor.) Nor will they eat home-cooked beef and chicken, fresh clams and fish.

Of course they DO eat - but only buffet-style. Here’s how it works. When I open four or five cans each morning and four or five more at suppertime, the cats take a sniff and taste a smidgen from each can. Then move on to the next.. The rest is discarded. If I set the leftovers out on a saucer, I’ll have every stray in the neighborhood, so I bury gobbets of cat food in the yard every day. Wrong of me, I guess, to feel the way I do, but this routine is breaking my bank, and eroding my morale.

Would you know of a food that cats ENJOY? Is there a brand you’d recommend, or a recipe you might share? I’d be grateful for any suggestions!

Thanks again, Gail.

Best wishes,


Jun 29, 2010 Howdy, Gail!
by: Sylvia

Thanks once again for your lovely e-mail. Dr. Doolittle was my hero, by the way, and you must have had a goodhearted mom. She certainly passed it on to you.

I envy you for living in my second favorite steeped-in-American-history city - although it's appalling to realize my memory is going down the tube. I have this vivid recollection of standing at the grave-on Copps Hill-of the firebrand theologian, Jonathan Edwards. Granted it was years ago, I remember the ground was sunken, the gray gravestone tilted, and a verdigris plaque nailed to a tree several feet distant, identifying the site as Edwards’s last resting place.

Well, so much for that pathetic hallucination. A while ago I was searching for his biography on the Internet, and was knocked flat to read that he’s buried in the cemetery at Princeton! Was it Cotton Mather’s grave I saw? No doubt this is also a figment of my atrophied lobes, but thought I once read that Edwards and Samuel Butler - when both were mere toddlers – received concurrent instruction in Hebrew, Sanscrit, Greek and Latin. Whether or not I imagine something that isn’t so, those subjects are humblingly far afield from kids’ current preoccupation with Harry Potter and ‘Sponge-Bob Square-Pants’ - don’t you agree?

* * *
I’ve read a few of your e-mails, and your furry folk are lucky to have you for their mom. As you remarked, it must be great to meet other compassionate people at the shelter where you volunteer.

Jun 28, 2010 Our Snowshoe
by: Joanne

Well we had to have one posh cat amongst them didn't we?

Jun 28, 2010 Not to blame
by: Joanne

Hi Sylvia,

What happened to Louisa was NOT your fault, you put your trust in an animal welfare (If that's what you can call it!) you were not to know what that horrible person did to her! My views are a rescue taking money and not giving a damn about the animals!!

Please don't think I'm wonderful, I really do not do what I do for praise, it's a vocation and I chose to do this work. I have to also mention the credit we should be giving to the other Trustees at Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare (Yes I am one of the Trustees) we have a lovely couple one is our treasurer and her husband is our business advisor. They care as deeply as me about Our Ferals and without their support and care I would not be able to manage.

By the way I wish there was some way of counting the amount of letters too! When I had my rant yesterday I had to cut it when I came to the end which is why it is in two parts!


Jun 28, 2010 Last Installment for Joanne
by: Sylvia

Some years ago, our headlines described a girl who was kidnapped and BURIED ALIVE with only a pipe running up to the surface so she could breathe. I thought of that girl when I drove Louisa home that day. And I was to blame for her torment: as mentioned to you, I was too ill to get up there the day she was captured. For all her misery, I was overjoyed to have her back, and was grateful for the more than four years I had in which to offer her, I hope, a very happy life. And yes – I know a manx is affectionate. We had another Louisa years ago, and she mothered our four chihuahuas as long as they lived. She was to them what your Jack Russell is to your pampered little kitties.

Thank you for your concern, by the way. Not to delve into details, but I’ve been vandalized and burglarized by prowlers at a loss how else to discharge their youthful joie de vivre. I’m fed up with their zero IQ antics, but managed to sleep three hours this afternoon. If I had knee-braces to keep them from buckling, I could sleep leaning up against a wall.

Incidentally, wish you or some other computer-smart person could walk me through something: it’s absurd to write e-mails in dribs & drabs, but I don’t know how else it’s done. Can’t Microsoft Word count characters?

Take care, Joanne, and thank you for being such a special gal.

Best wishes,


Jun 28, 2010 Joanne - You're heroic!
by: Sylvia

Your latest sizzler convinced me you deserve to be immortalized in bronze! Scientists say our addiction to the Internet is shrinking our brain’s capacity to focus on anything worthwhile. According to their findings,we’re headed for ADDville.

Though your news releases keep us fired up, your concentration is still beyond belief: you’ve been doing this work for a quarter century.

When I could afford it, there was a time when I sent my paychecks to Mother Theresa. Though I’m not a believer,I loved her for her boundless devotion to humanity. But I couldn’t do what she did for one hour, no more than I could enter the fray and do battle as you probably have done on more than one occasion.

The way you described them, that crew sounded like storm troopers swooping down on the poor lady, charging her a sum of money no elderly person has access to, then planning to round up her only companions and cart them off to the Death Camp. Three cheers for you, Jo, for your granite defiance in standing toe-to-toe with those thunder-faces! You even found time to muck up the cat doo.

You're an inspiration: the diametrical opposite of the 'me first, last, and in-between’ type - of which the world already has an overabundance. I’m filled with admiration for you, and also for that poor, defenseless, beleaguered lady – hope you’ll say hi to her! - who chose, or is forced, to live alone. It wouldn’t surprise me if her life were as good as a nursing home existence. In addition to which, the word is getting around that 70 is the new 50. Julie Andrews, Jane Fonda and other celebrities are proof of this. (At age 89,my best friend grows, freezes, cans and dries all her own vegetables. She also participates in anti-war marches, and a dozen philanthropic organizations.) HOpefully, 80 will be the new before long, and 90 the new 70, etc. Good for her for keeping her distance from the retirement industry.

A word on Louisa: I agree with your comments on how she was treated. Because they’re used to their freedom, I’ve read that rodents and weasels, et al. can die within hours, from claustrophobic panic, in a cage set by well-intentioned persons who meant to catch and release them unharmed. I’ve even noticed that occasional house spiders who fall into my tub - on dark and moonless nights - crumple with despair if I don’t rescue them early next morning. – which I do 99.99 % of the time.



Jun 27, 2010 More pictures of cats
by: Michael

Jo sent me some more photos. One is of a glamorous feral cat that looks like a Snowshoe purebred cat.

You can see them here: Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare Snowshoe Feral Cat.

Michael Avatar

by: Joanne

I was told they were just cleaning the house so I said OK but remember DON'T TOUCH THE CATS! after the first day the 2 girls had done the old lady's kitchen and said they would be back tomorrow to do her bedroom which is the front downstairs room. I said I'd be back trapping again tomorrow as once you start trapping you really need to keep at it until you finish. Unfortunately you can't say Oh I can only do one day next week - the job has to be done! When I arrived the next day I went in to see the old lady and let her know I was here, she was in a foul mood and told me when that lot come today they can get out I'm not paying £500 for cleaning. I went and set the traps and the girls arrived, after 10 minutes they were back out again, they said she won't sign the cheque for yesterday so we can't do anymore. I asked if they were going to clean the downstairs toilet which is off the kitchen area where most of the cat feces was but they said no not until she agrees to pay. I went back in after they had gone and cleaned it up myself.
The next day all the gang from Social services and Environmental health returned, they all piled into the old lady's house which I was disgusted at talk about over powering her! Again I had words with the same girl from Environmental health as she was speaking to me as if I was an idiot. I then took the opportunity to tell them what I thought, I told them if there were no cats here there would certainly be RATS and went on to point out various failures of care for a frail 97 year old lady. There were a lot of things I pointed out to them which were not anything to do with the cats! unfortunately I can't go into detail! I am now there every morning and the old lady will have the pleasure of the cats for the rest of her life and I will still be there to care for them when she has gone. I will send some photos in of this Colony that were about to be slaughtered needlessly! So what made me stop that day?

by: Joanne

I've just been reading some of the other pages on this site about Feral Colony's. Some I daren't even open! The intros are enough to get my back up. How dare anyone think it is right to what I would call SLAUGHTER a Colony of innocent animals! I am now fired up and so I'm going to tell you the story of our latest Colony which we have (Hopefully) completed. Let it be known when it comes to OUR Colony's I am fierce!!
I may have mentioned something already on my main write up.
I had seen these cats crossing back and too across the road on my way to our main Colony. I hadn't done anything about it as I was not sure that we could afford to take on another Colony. One day a couple of months ago something made me stop on my way back from the main site, I don't know what it was but something in my head said stop and ask if they are being looked after. There are 3 little houses opposite an abandoned farm so I asked one of the residents who told me they did their best to feed them but one of the most well known animal charities in the UK had supposed to have come and neutered them - they didn't! I said I would discuss with our Treasurer what we could do - yes of course we had to do something so I went back and took plenty of food for them and told them I would set things up with our vet then get cracking with the trapping. I found out there was an old lady living in one of the properties and bless her she loves the cats most of the time she is on her own and they are her only company.
It must have been 4 days later when several cars drew up outside the old ladies house, I had been told these people were coming from social services and Environmental health - because someone had reported the house as being dirty. It was not down to the cats - yes they had been naughty in some areas but nobody - including her friends had bothered to just clean it up. Most of the problem was down to nobody doing any cleaning in the house (the old lady is 97!) so how can she be expected to do the cleaning? I went and introduced myself to these people and told them We were now looking after the cats (we had put a laminated letter to confirm the cats were now under our care!)in the old lady's kitchen for all to see! I told them they must not touch the cats!! The next vehicle to arrive was PEST CONTROL I immediately introduced myself to the guy and told him the cats are under our care and you must not touch them!!! There was a silence between them for a moment until one of the "Girls" from environmental health asked me "who has involved you?" I replied I involved me! I have been watching the cats for some time now and asked who was caring for them so from about a week now they have been under Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare's wing! Her face was like thunder1 We are going to neuter, worm and de flea them all then I will be here daily to feed and check on them. The next day the Pest Control van turned up again followed by another one, again I said DO NOT TOUCH THE CATS!

Jun 27, 2010 You sound Harassed Sylvia
by: Joanne

Hope you are OK Syvia you sound like you are having a bad time!

Jun 26, 2010 To Joanne & Gail
by: Sylvia

Hey, Joanne and Gail!

It was so very kind and gracious of you to write. Can't thank you enough for your insightful comments, and will properly respond in a day or two.

Have a problem right now, though - although it's ongoing. Have a story-book, Hansel & Gretel house in a neighborhood I wouldn't recommend to HITLER. Won't delve into specifics on the Internet, but am at a loss to find a solution to any of this - i.e.,short of moving - and have driven around today looking at houses for sale.

I'd like nothing better than to contact every woman's group in Seattle and warn them what can lie in store for their members who move to where I've moved. Unless they have beefy husbands, grown sons, fathers, uncles or hulking bodygards, they'd do well to think twice before moving to this outpost. Many decent, respectable people live here, but there's also a high rate of ...oh man, it's too sickening to talk about.

I read and re-read your letters and will respond to them if I can get any sleep tonight -- which is a challenge.

Thank you again, and look forward soon to chatting with you about kitties, if you can spare a few minutes from your volunteer work.

Best wishes to you both,


Jun 25, 2010 Sylvia, Louisa's Rescuer
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Hello Sylvia,

Please do not sell yourself short. Only a woman with nerves of steel, grit and determination can go through what you have with respect to Louisa.

It's sad to hear that Louisa passed; however, during the time she was with you, Louisa knew she was loved and cared for in the best way possible. It's pretty obvious that you have a boatload of empathy. Feral or not, animals have that instinct as to who is worthy and who is not. The fact that this feral feline chose you to spend the final days of her life is a testimony in itself. You should be proud.

My mom was a female Dr. Doolittle and she brought us up to care for all living things. Wild animals instinctively approached and she loved them all. It's a privilege to know some of that rubbed off.

Volunteering at the local shelter has given me much joy, even during the difficult times. So many people give of themselves to help the animals; the rewards far outweigh the occasional downside.

Time will help soften the wound that Louisa's passing has left and the good times will overshadow the sadness. Your compassion for the ferals just may introduce you to another "special" one in dire need of help. I'm sure Louisa would approve, as well as McWee.

Jun 25, 2010 Louisa
by: Joanne

I know it's hard Sylvia, they become part of the family and if your anything like me each and every one of our ferals are my babies!

Unfortunately we have to loose them but you know you are doing the right thing by taking her and ending her suffering.

Jun 25, 2010 Louisa
by: Joanne

Hello Sylvia,

I'm so sorry you have lost little Louisa. I'm appalled by this woman who trapped her and confined her in such dreadful conditions - in her own urine and probably feces. That is NOT animal welfare! We are totally against caging feral cats unless they are recovering from surgery. We will only agree to trap and neuter a colony if the person who's land they are on agrees to have them back to which is their home. We also reserve the right to visit the cats to make sure they are all OK and are fed properly. If there is no feeder we then make sure that we feed them every day and look after them and also provide any further veterinary treatment they may need in the future. We now have over 100 little mouths to feed on various colonies so we are now limited to take any more on as we have to be sure we have the money to look after the ones we already have properly.

I'm not criticising you Sylvia you did what you thought was right and thank goodness you went back for her - she must have been terrified which would have made her less confident with the human race! If Louisa had lived longer you would have gained her trust, the Manx breed are quite affectionate (I have one at home) she was obviously just frightened - who knows what may have happened before she found you.
My personal opinion is rescues should not trap any animal unless they have the correct facilities to care for them properly, in the case of ferals they should not be caged or penned for months on end!

My Manx is called Manfred and he is so soft and affectionate. He came through our rescue in a mess! He unfortunately has all the problems associated with the Manx breed - incontinence of urine and constipation.

Just remember how much love and comfort you gave little Louisa and I'm sure in her own little way she loved you.

Kind Regards

Jun 25, 2010 Installment 7
by: Sylvia

I couldn't watch, so I stood outside looking across the valley. The sky was blue and the woods autumn gold. When it was over, the vet called me back into the room. My little Louisa - my little wildling - lay on a towel.I held and stroked her petal-soft paw. As I had in my dreams, I kissed her small face for the first and last time.

* * * *

Hope you'll forgive this long reminscence. My main purpose in writing was only to tell you how much I admire your tireless dedication to these neglected animals. I wish you could come visit and have a cup of tea!

Bless your hearts, and thank you both for your compassion.


Jun 25, 2010 Installment 6
by: Sylvia

Best of all, she doted on McWee. The two of them loved to lie side by side in the afternoon sun on a rug on top of the grand piano, her eyes closed with rapture, her head curved back as he groomed her cheeks and ears.

During her final weeks, she'd shown no symptoms of pain. Though her appetite declined, she played with McWee and seemed to derive some enjoyment from her life. Nevertheless, I could see her losing strength.

On her last afternoon, she crept over to him and laid her face against his, as if to say goodbye. But she didn't linger. She arose unsteadily after a minute, left him, and went to lie by herself in a dark corner. She knew she was dying.

In all the years I had little Weeza - my little noli me tangere girl - she never let me touch her. Yet I had this repetitive dream during her final two years: I dreamed she purred and sat in my lap while I pet her. It was only a dream, though I'd like to believe she knew I was her mom. She came when I called her, she knew when I sweet-talked her. She leaped and twirled when I ran from room to room, playing pull-toy with her. She curled up on a pillow at my feet when the woodstove was crackling. Late at night when I sat reading she always came up to me, asking for a treat.

Jun 24, 2010 Installment 5
by: Sylvia

Anyhow, as we sat in the parlor, all at once we saw a pair of phosphorescent eyes peeking out from the dark kitchen. I glanced down at McWee. Dogs know how to grin,but I've never before seen a cat smile as McWee seemed to smile when he saw her twinkling dots. Dark as it was, I saw his eyes sparkle. His apple-face BEAMED with joyful recognition! I grabbed him before he could jump off my lap, for all of a sudden the dots streaked like lightning past the sofa, and vanished into the hall closet.

The laundry-room-to-closet routine continued for another month or so. But then Louisa popped into view for a split second - behind a chair, through the potted palm fronds, under a bed - not just in the dark, but during the day. Even-tually, she grew to feel at home, and explored her new environment.

To end this note, my beloved Louisa died last Octobe. She had cancer, and I had her put to sleep. But for more than four years, I think her life brimmed with happiness. She and McWee had to stay indoors, but they had a sun porch where they lolled on summer days. She had a nifty attic to play in, cupboards and hidey-holes, nooks and crannies galore, an upstairs and downstairs where she and Inspector McWee played tag, and quilts and cushions and snuggy-loos, a warm woodstove on winter nights, and lots of good food.

Jun 24, 2010 Installment 4
by: Sylvia

She stayed up there for two months. All I saw of her during that time was her amber eyes staring down at me from the shadows of the cupboard. As far as I knew, she'd never been indoors before.Even so, during those months she was daintily fastidious, and always used her litter box. And every night,when we were asleep, she stole down from the cupboard, drank the water and milk and cream I set on the floor, and ate her Fancy Feast canned cat food, fresh shrimp, minced stew meat and Gerber's baby food,

Nevertheless, she wasn't adjusting. Nothing worked. After a while I resigned myself to the realization she'd never adapt to her new home. But I was wrong!One summer evening I sat in the sofa listening to the radio.The room was in deep twilight, and Inspector McWee, my a.h. Siamese (another stray I adopted years ago) was lying in my lap. During our many years in Seattle, he'd been turf-conscious, and delighted in terror-izing Louisa when she came into the yard. Once or twice he slapped her so hard she disappeared for days. Which is why, after we'd moved here, I kept him away from the laundry-room cupboard, where she'd hid herself away.

Jun 24, 2010 IiInstallment 3 (Another Microscopic Segment)
by: S ylvia

It was wrenching to see her plight, so I drove at top speed to our new home a hundred miles away. I talked to Louisa all the while, trying to assuage her misery. She didn't respond, though: she lay hunched and motionless in that cat coffin,half-dead with fright.

As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I set her down in the laundry room and opened her cage door. She went ballistic! She exploded out the door of that cage! Her fur was caked with urine, her bones protruded from hunger and thirst, and in transports of terror she leaped seven feet into the air, directly into an open cupboard near the ceiling.

Jun 24, 2010 Installment 2
by: Sylvia

I was aghast to leave her behind. Next day, I long-distance phoned a feral cat society in Seattle and begged them on bended marrowbones to to help me if they could. They told me they had a woman on their staff who could catch Louisa in two minutes flat. I said that wasn't remotely possible - Louisa was wild - but I'd pay them $250.00 if they succeeded. Next day they telephoned.The woman had driven out to my house that morning, spotted a very hungry Louisa huddled near the fence and INSTANTLY trapped in in a baited cage. I was ill with the flu and unable to drive back to Seattle for three more days, but finally got up there, and drove to the woman's house. She took me into a large building that held other caged cats...and there was Louisa, cramped in a carrier smaller than a breadbox, her saucer eyes staring out at me. The woman was very well-intentioned,and had wanted to put her in a roomier cage, but was afraid she'd escape during the transfe from carrier to cage.

Jun 24, 2010 Installment 1 (from a Fan)
by: Sylvia

Dear Joanne and Gail,

Both of you are immensely good-hearted in your endeavors. You must be strong to do what you’re doing, and committed to your work. I can see the rewards, but also imagine you’ve witnessed much suffering. I lack your nerves of steel – mine are limp vermicelli – though I’ve adopted a few feral cats.

In 2005, before moving from Seattle to where I live at present, I’d been feeding a feral manx for six years. .At some time in her history she must have been owned by someone and spayed, as I never saw her in family way. Every morning she crawled under my fence and looked for her breakfast, and every night she reappeared for supper. Once in awhile she slept in my tool shed during the winter, but she was often so soaked and bedraggled she had a rusty meow.

Jun 23, 2010 Carl the Pach Tortie
by: Joanne

Hi Finn, I've just been looking at the cats on your page - they are absolutely beautiful! Carl is what we call a Patch Tortoiseshell - if you ever got one that was male it would be worth a fortune! I was looking at Ivanhoe your Somali, he was so beautiful, how sad he picked up FIP. We had a Somali through the rescue several years ago and he was just like Ivanhoe.
We never allow any of the cats that we have or re-home to have kittens we insist they are all neutered as there are so many unwanted cats and kittens in the UK. Plus the risk of viruses such as FIP and FIV are so easily spread by mating.
Going back to the ginger cats there are so many throw backs in the genes you just never know what you are going to find when a litter is born. We once had a black moggy mum who gave birth to a litter of 3 black & white kittens and 1 who was white when he was born- after a week he started changing colour to a sandy body with brown ear tips, mask and tail, he had bright blue eyes and you would have thought he was a seal point Siamese!
We have one who we call the Oriental boy on our main feral site who is the image of a Birman! he is a beauty, he has beautiful big blue eyes and he is such a large boy. Luckily he allows me to stroke and fuss him! Obviously we have had him neutered. I did send Michael a photo with him on it surrounded by some of the others on the colony, he may put it on at a later date.
Holly our Jack Russell is wonderful with kittens but I would say to people no matter how much you think you can trust your dog you should NEVER leave them unsupervised!
Kind Regards
Jo at MCAW

Jun 23, 2010 Ginger kittens
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Hi Joanne. Thank you for the extra pictures. What a beautiful litter - and growing up with a dog can only be an extra plus when looking for suitable adoption homes.
It's funny to see so many ginger kittens as usually it is not so common among mixed breeds. But when the right genes are present in a population, that coulour seems to dominate more than it's usual share.
Many years ago I saw a similar example, when my elder brother adopted an ginger Tom. Before him the little village had had no ginger cats, but "the Big Red" surely set his mark on the cat population down there for many years to come. I have a picture of one of his tricolored daugters at http://www.raarup.eu/carl-en.html 😉

Jun 22, 2010 Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare
by: Joanne

Hello Kathy

Thank you for your comments, what we do is so worth wile. I'm just glad we can give some feral cats a little bit of love and attention. They deserve it! As said in a previous post we can't save all the cats in the world but those we can help get the very best of everything.


Jun 22, 2010 great
by: kathy

I love what youre doing. This is great. Im so happy to see whenever anyone helps out the poor forgotten and thrown aside felines. I have one wild one that Im feeding right now. I call him Mr Grey as he is solid grey. Our Patches disappeared and never came back. We hope someone took her in. We found out our other wild one or so we thought, cat has a home somewhere in the neighborhood. He is just one of the many neglected cats in the world. His name is Rascal and we had named him Rusty. We supected he had a home because he was nowhere around in the winter but back in the spring. A girl cutting through the yard informed us he is her cat. I guess he is just looking for some affection and a little bit of canned cat food, since he is in not so great shape. Mr. Grey is feral and I had seen him around for the last couple of years. I just now have gotten him to come for food. If I call him between 5 and 6 oclock he usually shows up. He will sit and let me talk to him for a little bit and one time even came close to the patio. He is extremely feral and I am just glad to provide him with the meals that I can. You people are angels on earth.

Jun 22, 2010 Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)


Your work may be neverending and expensive, but oh, the joy of it all! The fullfillment of one's soul cannot be measured knowing a small bit of a feral's world is that much brighter.

I have a small feral colony that lines up for breakfast on the back porch every morning. I say "small" because our shelter's TNR program is working! When I began feeding them many years ago, there were about 8 of them.

Over the years, a couple were re-homed, a kitten and one adult (mom and offspring). The caretakers were given certificates from our shelter to have them fixed. A couple passed, one from old age and one from an auto. One I haven't seen in awhile so I don't know what happened. The other 3 line up and wait patiently whilst feeding commences.

Only the tuxedo tom will allow me to touch him and what a snuggle bug! The fluffy tiger female (I call her "Big Fur") will come very close but will shy away when approached; however, she will wail at you until food is put down. The last is a newbie in the neighborhood - don't know his story.

Over the winter, a makeshift 'house' was put out on the porch but the only one who really used it was the oppossum mom and her couple babies. This year will be a better setup.

If everyone did just a little bit, this world would be a much nicer place. Looking forward to seeing more of your photos!

Jun 21, 2010 Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare
by: Joanne

Hello Gail,
Thank you for your kind comment. I'm going to try to put some pics of our latest colony.
It takes so much time and patience to win the confidence of feral cats, to be honest some of them really make me laugh. They spit and hiss at you until they see what you have in your bag for them! Once they have had their fill whilst purring their little heads off they look at me again to give me a hiss it's as if they are saying "thank you very much but don't think it means we like you"!
Over a period of time they do start to trust, and some love being stroked and fussed. Sometimes I can see others watching, you can almost read their minds - "well if he's having a fuss I want some too"
I personnaly think it's a good thing that they won't accept other people because you nver know who may come along and delibaretely want to hurt them, I'm the same with my own cats at home who are all from feral colonies, they were kittens which we managed to get at a young age.
People need to remember if we don't get the kittens at an early age we are unlikely to be able to calm them for domestic re-homing. Often people love to watch the kittens playing and then call us when the kitts are around 16wks old, we then don't stand much chance of re-homing them! thenit's back to waiting for them to become old enough for neutering plus trying to get them into the trap!
It's never ending and quite costly for all the neutering, flea treating and worming plus any other veterinary treatment they may need in the future. Worm tablets and flea pippets are quite expensive too, but they are worth it!

Jun 21, 2010 Wonderful Work
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)


Your work with the ferals is to be commended. It is obvious by the pictures that your work has created a warm and loving atmosphere from which the ferals can thrive. Who knows? Perhaps some will actually give up their feral ways and want to be part of a human family.

Tracey, the reason it seems that you hear a lot of stories about animal abuse in the U.S.A. is because the land mass is much much greater than all of Europe combined; ergo, more people. It is not fair to those of us who are very active every day in the neverending fight for animal rights to have to continually be bashed by those of other countries who do not know what goes on.

Jun 20, 2010 Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare
by: Joanne

Thank you all for your kind comments. My colleagues and I appreciate them very much. We do this work because we all are very compassionate towards feral cats. There are so many rescues who take in and care for domestic cats and kittens but not enough is done for ferals who are often left to scavenge for food and live a pretty miserable life. Often people complain about feral cats but at the end of the day IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT! The cats on display were in a dreadful state when we first arrived at the site plus they were little devils, now most of them are waiting to greet me every morning for a cuddle and COME ON WE WANT FEEDING! There were 2 who had a paw each missing, we think at some point they had been caught in a snare! Their paw-less legs were red raw (how they had survived without septicemia is a miracle!) We had the offending legs amputated and they are both the most affectionate little darlings. All are now neutered, flea treated and wormed regularly.
I have 2 on this site, one who is called Big Daddy and his best mate who are such characters, the cheeky little devils think nothing of going and sitting on the bonnet and roof of my car (as if they have every right to do so!)

Finn the answear to your comment about a big ginger is yes there are quite a few gingers on this site. The colony we have just neutered e.t.c which is just up the road are nearly all gingers! I have 3 ginger cats at home who were bottle fed kittens from the main site. I will try and get a photo displayed of our Jack Russell (Holly) mothering and helping to keep the tiny kittens clean. NOTE: she was never allowed near the kittens without me around and she is still put in a seperate room from the cats when we are out - I would never trust leaving them alone with her (even though she loves them so much and they love her!)

Kind regards
Jo at MCAW

Jun 20, 2010 A great service to cats and community
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Hi Joanne. You and the other volunteers are doing a wonderful job providing food and shelter for those poor ferals. And at the same time turning them into a controlled and healthy group is a great service to your local community. I wish there were many more people like you.
Btw. some time back there must have been a big orange tom with some strong genes around in the area with all those beautiful orange cats in the clowder. The blotched tabby is truly remarkable... 😉

Finn Frode avatar

Jun 19, 2010 How lovely for them!
by: Tracey (England)

How lovely to hear of one as caring as you and your group.

Those cats are so lucky to have you; they must be so much happier now.

I often wonder when I've experienced ferals how they manage to rear their kittens in the winter without shelter. Its a miracle.

I stumbled across a little feral family a few years ago in the hospital grounds where my mom was. The kittens were tiny and the snow was on the ground. I alerted the staff and they provided a shelter and fed them every day.

I love to hear stories of human kindness it restores my faith especially after I hear about the (hopefully) isolated incidents in the US like kids caging and setting fire to cats for example. I could weep when I hear of things like that.

Is it just me or does it seem that in America cats are hunted and treated like wild pests? They just seem fair game and no one seems to care; they live their lives on the streets hunted, scared and hungry. Just awful.

Thats why I feel so much better when I hear of your ferals.

Jun 18, 2010 Fantastic work
by: Michael

Hi Joanne, thanks for telling us about Mid Cheshire Animal Welfare.

You do fantastic work and I admire you and your colleagues for it.

If you have some more photos you might send some to me: my email address.

Michael Avatar

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