Thames Floods Feb 2014 (think of the cats)

Just a quick note about the Thames flooding. Here are a couple of snapshots taken yesterday evening of the Thames about a 15 minutes walk from where I live. They were taken with an iPhone. I live in Ham which is near Richmond Park. The Thames always looks awesome and beautiful but it can cause a lot of distress and chaos. Billions of gallons of water race by at 15 mph only feet from you.

Thames Floods Early Feb 2014

The water nearest the camera, this side of the tree covers a road.

Thames Floods

The water this side of the weeds covers a road that runs alongside the river. Behind me are houses.

Hundreds of homes are being evacuated along the Thames in places like Purley, Staines, Wraysbury and Shepperton. The Thames has burst its banks west of London, which is upstream. There have been countless government warnings urging people get out because there is a threat to life. People are seeing their homes severely damaged. Their homes will possibly become uninsurable (or they’ll pay much increased premiums) and unsaleable if this really is an example of global climate change which is what a senior employee of the Meteorological Office has stated that it might well be. People who just bought their home, having finally got onto the property ladder are seeing their dreams shattered under tons of water and mud or worse, raw sewage.

Many people are leaving their home with their cats and dogs but many others are staying because of looting. This is not very British, you might think. You’ll have to think otherwise I am afraid. People just move upstairs and get around on boats and tractors with trailers. In typical British stiff upper lip style they carry on as normal (well, not really) and treat the road as a river, and substitute the car for a boat.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

The truth is that if this is permanent climate change it will change the way of life for hundreds of thousands of people in Britain who live on low lying land including flood plains. The Somerset Levels in the West Country have been flooded since Christmas. These are flood plains as I see it. One has to ask, should people be living there? Thus far the answer is yes but now it may be the case that people will gradually migrate from these once attractive places to higher ground.

Properties along the Thames are extremely desirable. Often they are large detached houses worth many millions of pounds. They are actually on the banks of the river, within a few paces of it. Beautiful but now it is bad. Some of these majestic mansions are flooded. Their value slashed, I suspect.

How is this relevant to cats? Well it is because when a family evacuates a home they take their cat or dog. A cat may need rescuing having hidden somewhere or is trapped. There may be loss of life. Fortunately cats are good natural swimmers when forced to do it.

People understand what is going on and that probably makes it easier to accept and adjust although it is a nightmare. However, for the domestic cat who has to live in a strange place with a mass of disruption, noise, confinement and uncertainty it is the sort environment that can cause ill-health through stress and other hazards. The cat is more vulnerable I feel under these extreme circumstances particularly as their “owners” are extremely stressed themselves. Perhaps many cat caretakers will place their cat in boarding catteries. They may stay for a long time. For many cats living along the mighty Thames, this is a frightening time.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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35 Responses

  1. Pim Clieff says:


  2. Michael says:

    Here is another picture:


  3. kylee says:

    yea its truely amazing. Our winter was very warm this year. As i write this my younger cat ozzy has just mounted his brother rebel, just know ozzy trying to exert his young boss power so funny watching them. Poor rebel trying his best to not give in. Our lovely neighbour catches rabbits. He got our cats a rabbit. So im just cooking it up for them Hopefully they’re eat it.

    • Michael says:

      Kylee, my niece and her husband live in NZ. They went there about 2 years ago. I don’t know whether they plan to stay. NZ always looks beautiful.

      • kylee says:

        it is do you know where abouts in new Zealand they are im guessing they up north. Im in the south island near timaru in a small town called Oamaru. New Zealand is very beautiful. in a few weeks im going to Manapouri in Fiordland where new zealand true beauty is. Ill take some photos Ill get some photos of where i live to show you.

      • kylee says:

        do you know what area they live in?? im in the south island. I live in a small town near timaru called Oamaru. Will send some photos of where i am. Also in two weeks going to a lovely place called Manapouri in Fiodland, which is a beautiful bushland area Love your photos on flicker im on there too. Great to be able to keep in touch with you all.

  4. kylee says:

    just wandering if i could use your photo and make a scrapbook page and post it on here. its ok if not just asking.

  5. kylee says:

    oh michael and other people in u.k Its so horrible seeing not much help from the politicians. Its been well broadcasted over here ien New Zealand. Cant believe how flooded it is and that just now people are doing anything. Love the photos Hope the animals and cats are ok. Its such a hard time in flood times. Just goes to say you cant always trust people in government to do the right thing.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      I don’t think it’s ever been as bad here as it is now Kylee and we don’t know where it will end. The politicians don’t care about ordinary people, let alone animals.

      • kylee says:

        yea was shocking to hear about. Yes it so true. the summer over here has felt more like winter than summer. i guess global warming is here.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          We have a covering of snow in North East England today, the first this Winter! Last Winter it snowed from October.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Kylee. It is a real crisis in the south. In a way I am thankful the rich living along the Thames have been flooded because their voices will be heard and something done to help. It is devastating for families and companion animals when their home is flooded. Some homes are going to be condemned as dangerous because the damage is so severe.

  6. My city of Mumbai experienced such flooding on 26-7-2005 resulting in loss of lives and property. The main cause was the blockage of the “Mithi River” that drains excess flood water of Mumbai to the sea.Politicians woke up after this calamity and cleared up illegal slum structures that was built on the rivers embankment, also desilting the river. Could be that the River Thames has got silted over the years.

  7. Dee (Florida) says:

    What you show in pics is very beautiful.
    And, ofcourse, all animals are at risk.
    So many phenomenons happening today just makes me think. Although I am not christian, I was brought up on those teachings and wonder whether those folks might be thinking that the end is coming because of all the happenings.
    I think the bible says that the earth will not be flooded again (Ruth can correct me if I’m wrong), but I would be willing to help build the ark.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Dee. The USA is in the news over here quite a lot in respect of extreme weather: Californian hot spells (the hottest on record) and super hot areas in other states and storms etc. I worry about water problems in the US. Water could end up being a precious commodity.

      There are no water problems here except inadvertently drowning in it. What puts us at risk because our failings (if this is climate change) also puts our cats at risk.

      • Dee (Florida) says:

        So many calamities here. As you say, near droughts in California. Florida is, slowly, sinking into the ocean. Salt water is a poor water source for humans or cats.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      Strange you should say that Dee, I don’t know if the earth will be flooded again and as you say Ruth MM will keep us right as to that, but Babz and I were just talking the other day when it was teeming down and the garden flooding, about building an Ark.
      Her late husband John was a carpenter by trade and a great animal lover and I just said to Babz he’d have built a splendid Ark ready to rescue all the animals if very deep floods happened.

  8. Barbara says:

    Such a lot of water, all it’s been lately is floods, how come so much I wonder, is it global warming or is it silted up rivers or is it more rain than ever, whatever it is it’s awful for people who’s homes are full of dirty and often stinking water. Your photos show the devastating effect of water so well Michael, I just hope, as everyone else does, that cats and dogs and little furry things are being kept safe, especially cats who really don’t like to get wet or to have changes in their routine. I’m glad you and Charlie are well above the water level, keep dry.

  9. DW says:

    I hope your new place is up the hill Michael. Such beauty in those pictures…mother nature doing what she does. I hope no lives are lost. And that the animals are thought of in advance.

    • Michael says:

      You can feel the icy wet of dusky London in them. I can.

      Great comment DW because nature is just doing what it does and we should respect it much more. Nature will be the undoing of humankind. We almost totally disrespect it.

      I live not far from where the photos were taken but I am safe, I believe. I am probably about 15 feet above the water level. The Thames barrier is up. This is a huge structure designed to protect Central London. If the Thames breached its banks there there would be chaos and Britain would have another financial crisis.

      • Marc says:

        don’t tempt me to hope that happens just for a bit of action – it sounds too good: “The final collapse of the once great British Empire due to flooding” no less.

        I don’t hope for it but in this day and age I guarantee you most of the younger generations probably WANT collapse and ruin since they have NOTHING to lose.

  10. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    This is circulating on facebook

    • Michael says:

      Yes, the government and the quangos messed up, got lazy, assumed everything would be OK and then along came extreme weather which is what they should have been prepared for at all times. Excellent poster. We don’t believe in politicians do we? I wonder why.

    • Marc says:

      God I HATE Cameron and that slimy disgusting Teresa May. Truly an awful political party. They are all about making sure the elite in London get what they need at the expense of the rest of the country. I hope Scotland separates and succeeds as a perfect revenge. I also think that this Tory party have the ‘divide and conquer’ attitude. They are ripping up the country into separate groups/classes. They are taking money from people who don’t have it and giving to those who have too much already. It’s like the medievil ages.

      Basically the whole country used to be run and managed in a sort of North v South thing and now it’s the whole of England versus the Rich in London. All the public money and private wealth is going to these arse holes.

      In 2013 Londoners enjoyed public investment of £2,731 per head, far more than the north-east received which was a measly £5 per head. I can’t believe that – I just read it this morning. We are all sick of right wingers because they create so much hate and unfairness in the world. Just because they have good jobs and they are healthy means they can be all right wing or republican – I bet you every republican/conservative tard out there would change their mind in 10minutes if they lost their job and suddenly got very sick and it WOULD SERVE them bloody right. How a society deals with it’s vulnerable is a major part of the true measure of it’s sustainability.

      David Cameron even LOOKS just like alot of the pricks I went to school with. What total twot – he really looks the part doesn’t he. He is exactly what everybody hates about England (except for those who own houses in London as part of their investment portfolio – of course they don’t even live there – who said London was for Londoners anyway – it’s not) – the old colonialist emipire mentality. Cameron wants England to be the big player – but slowly it’s just starting to look like England is punching above it’s weight (Trident for example – or billions in ‘aid’ that ends up in the pockets of 3rd world elite) and it should maybe start giving a bit more money to the poor and a bit less to the rich to balance things out. OTHERWISE there will be a complete collapse of everything and war. Why can’t they at least do a better job of pretending to care about the poor.

      I’m not suprised the Swiss voted on immigration caps. This is another huge problem with Europe. Too many countries joining who aren’t ready and alot of people unhappy about having their jobs taken and wages forced lower. At least Switzerland is a democracy – the people decide. Not just the political classes and the rich. The vote is a good thing. Because it won’t ever happen – but it will force everybody to confront the fact that there is a serious problem. If a few other countries gave it to a vote they would also vote similarly no doubt. There’s too many problems – I have to just stop caring.

      • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

        All we get up North is cuts, cuts, cuts. Today our local council have been and taken down our street lamp bulbs and put in dim ones because they have to save money because they get less and less allowed. You already take your life in your hands going out after dark here with desperate unemployed people turned to drugs and stealing to keep up their habit. Our pavements are uneven, potholes in the roads, hedges clipped and the clippings left lying because of being unable to pay staff to do necessary routine jobs. Boarded up shops as businesses fold, public facilities closing, old people neglected, their carers hours cut, while all the time the bankers thrive at our expense and the Windsors and MPs get a rise. Now we find our council tax will be rising this year, times are very bad indeed!

      • Michael says:

        I wonder if one day in our lifetime there will be a revolution in Britain 😉 We get close to it sometimes.

        We, the common man, are sick of the masters of the bloody universe walking all over us. Nothing changes. No matter how badly the establishment and the rich behave they carry on and are immune.

        I enjoyed reading your comment. Very entertaining.

  11. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    Your photos are so poignant Michael, I hope everyone stays safe and all their pets too.
    We heard about all your flooding down South, it’s awful! We know only too well, our kitchen was flooded twice last year and we were lucky compared to some whose whole downstairs was flooded.
    Water is beautiful in its place but it can be devastating, we have houses here by the river dropped in value since all the flooding we’ve had over the past few years and it’s terrible for people who have made their homes nice but some have even been flooded twice.
    I think if our whole downstairs became flooded we would live upstairs. It must be truly dreadful to have to move out, especially with cats in the family.

    • Michael says:

      Thanks Ruth. I think the fact that the Thames has broken its banks is important because the flooding affects wealthy people living in beautiful houses on the Thames. There will be lots of lobbying of politicians now to do something even if it is very late.

      It seems there was little preparation for flooding like this by any of the government agencies. It is chaotic and people are managing on their own. And the Brits manage damn well on their own.

      • Marc says:

        I remember a train being cancelled from London to Winchester because of, get this: “leaves on the track” – if there’s one thing the Brits are no good at it is weather. If it’s sunny for a week there’s a hosepipe ban. The whole of Hyde Park is brown, not green, and all the people are red from sunburn lol. If it drops below minus 15 all hell breaks lose on the roads. God forbid there be a snow storm like you get in the US and Canada – the whole of London would literally stop.

        I agree – it’s good those fancy houses are in trouble because it will have an affect on the political class.

        • Michael says:

          Agreed. We are hopeless on weather. We could better and we got lazy and complacent again. More could be done and we should building homes on flood plains for a start. I bet a few house builders are worried having bought land for house building that is doggy.

  12. Michael says:

    P.S. Windsor Castle, a place where there Queen stays sometimes, has got a new moat! Some of the playing fields of Eton school are under ankle deep water. These are the playing fields where Wellington developed his spirit to win the Battle of Waterloo.

    Many home a long way from the Thames are flooded or in imminent risk of being flooded.

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