In May 2020 we received an email about cats living in a sofa. There were suspected 5 although the reporter couldn‘t confirm. What we knew was that they were starving and many had injuries. We were in the midst of madness at the sanctuary, wondering how we were going to help all those animals we were being contacted about.
We didn’t have a cat trap - nor did we have any volunteers who had experience trapping cats.
We reached out to other organisations without any success. Unfortunately many were in the exact same position - underfunded and overcrowded. Some just weren’t working due to the lockdown. We had reduced our own activities to a point where we could without compromising on the animals care.
In July we appealed for support to help us purchase a trap of our own. Within 24 hours of the appeal we had raised enough. We took advice from those with experience and ordered the best one for our needs.
One problem down - one to go... who to trap?
In July we received word that the cats had been joined by kittens. Our admin volunteer Carol set up a meeting to see the area and see how difficult the trapping would be.
I got so lost honestly, I never expected to be right beside the shopping centre. I was expecting somewhere out of the way.
The cats were truly living in a dumped sofa. Some of the staff from shops in the Fairhill centre had been feeding them for the past year.
I did a look around for the best place to set traps and monitor. Then I got into my car to head to the sanctuary to pick up the traps. While waiting to pull out into the traffic I saw one of the tiny kittens stumbling across the road - a car was coming up and I had a moment of sheer panic as the kitten stopped right in front. Only someone crossing the road caused the car to slow.
Fearing for the safety of them she started trapping the next day. Access was limited to daytime hours.
Day one was a learning curve but we managed to trap 6 - 3 kittens, a mother and two males. (Darla, Loki, Snips, Hissy Claire, JD and Boots)
We tried again that Thursday and caught a further 3 (Thor, Jasper and Joy) in the morning and a single kitten in the afternoon. (Ghost)
Another volunteer stepped in to help - and helped us catch two further kittens. (Ollie and Star).
In total 12 cats and kittens lifted.
We set them up in our quarentine area at the back of the lean to - we had to raise more funds to buy more crates to house them all. So many cats and kittens and we were out of space.
They were various levels of wild and nervous. The worst were so nervous they squeesed through the bars of the crate into the larger area. Sitting up in the eaves to avoid the people. This was JD, Joy and Boots. Boots realised quickly that humans meant food and it wasn't long until he was curling up near the door waiting for people to come in and get fed. He soon realised cuddles and pets were also good things too.
JD and Joy weren't so easily won over. Neither were the kittens, Hissy Claire and Jasper.
The ladies from the Fairhill who had first reported the cats and had who had assisted with trapping came up with food and treats and bedding one day and their hearts were well and truly stolen by Jasper who reached out to them.
Even though we didn't get a definate that day we had a good feeling that we knew where he was going.
With the sheer numbers to care for, we had some kittens going out to foster homes. 5 of the kittens from Fairhill headed off for fostering. It was a day later we heard one would be staying with the family, another two days and another was staying but they couldn't keep any others.
The volunteer who had trapped Ollie and Star decided to take Ollie home along with two others she was adopting from another rescue litter.
It was time to think Rehoming. As much tlc as we could provide would never match up to some one on one in a home.
So we advertised Boots, Ghost, Darla and Snips to begin with; these being the most handled. We got Jasper and Boots in for neutering, both went well, both boys coming around enough that crating and vetting wasn't a terrifying experience for them.
(Darla, Ghost, Thor (& Tiger), Snips, Boots, Star, JD, Jasper and Loki (with his dog!))
We were down to Claire, JD, Star and Joy in the quarentine area. Joy had been coming around bit by bit to the point we were able to see that she was definately female and she was in kitten.
We moved her across to the cabin on the Saturday afternoon as soon as we were able to catch her. Just in time for her to give birth on Sunday night to 6 babies.
So the Fairhill number rose to 18...
Not content with that though, Claire began to show signs she too was about to give birth; after giving birth to the other 7 kittens in May. She too gave birth, but due to her even wilder nature we left her alone to rear them.
Meanwhile Jasper went off to his new home, with the original ladies from Fairhill. Not like we assumed anything lol. He took to his new home life like a duck to water; swapping reguarly between beds and napping spots, and spending hours watching his own tablet with fish tv playing.
Boots was removed from the rehoming list when we discovered his limp that he had had at time of rescue was more serious than just a simple injury. He is still awaiting further tests to determine the best course of action to ensure a long and happy life. We hope to know soon what options he has.
To help with Boot's vet care we are running an art competition - sponsored by some of the shops from the Fairhill Shopping Centre. Learn more here - https://www.crosskennanlane.co.uk/events-1/clas-poster-contest
JD and Star finally got themselves crated and begun their handling just in time to head off for neutering. They have moved into the office space with Claire and Boots and some of the residents to continue their handling in hopes of finding them a home.
Darla, Snips and Ghost all found a home, with Loki and Thor - yes their fosterer is a terrible fosterer. All five are living the life in the countryside with dogs, cats, chickens, geese, ducks, goats, a pony and a donkey - and of course the requiset little girl to love them!
Kitten invasion: A kitten boom in CLAS left many of us struggling to count. These 5 little kittens came to mine to foster. Unfortunately my husband and me are terrible fosterers so they have come to stay. You can't say no to a swarm of fur and purr. These little ones may have been ferals but they have come round fast. Lots of work still to go on their confidence, we couldn't split the siblings or Tiger who snuck in with them.
Ollie is loving life with his adoptive Kitty brothers Timmy and Tommy.
Joy's kittens began their search for new homes this morning and in a couple of weeks we hope that Claire's babies will be ready to find homes of their own too.
So that's the story of the forgotten Felines from Fairhill.
To apply to adopt any of the cats and kittens at the sanctuary please fill in a form here - https://www.crosskennanlane.co.uk/cat-re-homing-application
If you can help us out, please donate. You can donate directly by PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or by Visiting our help page online - www.crosskennanlane.co.uk/help
Boot's Vet Appeal - Poster Contest