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.
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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.

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.

35 thoughts on “Thames Floods Feb 2014 (think of the cats)”

  1. 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.

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      • 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.

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      • 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.

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  2. 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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.

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    • 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.

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  3. 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.

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