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Hello Friends

 

It’s is due to be the hottest day of the year so far, and I have done all my busy physical jobs, and am now planning to spend the day working on this newsletter, which is in danger of going out in time for Christmas if I don’t get on with it !

Our marvellous team had a good day at Caterham Carnival in June, with the toy tombola and pre-loved pet items raising a wonderful £563.35, which buys a lot of food. Thank you to our team and all who donated the various pet items.

       

 The Elm cat family has certainly increased the feed bill with pregnant mums and now growing kittens, but thank you so much to all of you who responded to my request to help them and sent a donation which helped keep their food bowls filled, and there is an update on their progress further down.

One benefit of this hot, sunny spell is that the solar panels have kept my electricity bill ridiculously ( and welcomingly ) low; and that was the point of using some of a legacy donation to install them. I’d like to thank anyone who has left the sanctuary a bequest as they really are an incredible help, both with vet visits and running costs of putting food in tummies, but also to get jobs done that benefit the sanctuary into the future.

However, with the heat comes the yearly horrors of seeing dogs being walked in the heat - will the message never get through to some people ! Even a day that is pleasantly warm to us, can be a real danger to our pets, and don’t      forget rabbits and guinea-pigs shut in a wooden box ( hutch ), often in direct sunlight, are also at risk. As a side note, it is important not to place nest boxes facing the sun as birds will rarely use them due to the danger of overheating, so put boxes up in shady, protected areas. Then clean the box out at the end of September time each year, put the box back up and enjoy watching chicks hatch next summertime.

We are surrounded by trees and lots of shade here, so naturally the dogs have a walk early in our grassy field, and the cats vanish into the cooler woods or like Jovi, find a cool spot indoors to let it all hang out !

 

I am aware of the temperature of the paving slabs here as like pavements, they heat up far more than the air temperature. If the air is hot, pavements will be VASTLY hotter.

 

Every year dogs die because an owner takes their dog out - and every year, many are safely left at home and don’t die through missing their walk !     

Do you know how to decide if a walk is safe for your dog?

Put the back of your hand ( or your bare feet ) on the pavement. If you can’t stay comfortably for five seconds, it’s too hot for your dogs paws.

   Photo uncredited from internet

How to treat heat stroke: it may sound daft, but move them into the shade first. Then use cool ( not icy cold ) water to wet them, particularly where there is less fur - armpits, groin etc - and even if they seem better, get them to the nearest vet practice asap because organ damage may have occurred.

Don’t forget cats can also suffer from sunburn which is a particular concern for white ear tips / nose as they can become cancerous, so should be protected with cat safe suncream - please speak to your vet for advice on what to use.

The dear old gent Muffin ( nearest the camera in photo ) is a little doddery on his legs so there are now rugs dotted around the floor to help him, and  others enjoy them too. Fagin, Heidi and Muffin seen here snoozing on them, plus Heidi loves using them as skateboards down the room or Maddie kickboxes them in to a trip hazard for me !

When I’m brushing a dog, others often try to push in for their turn - and the treat that goes along with it ! It is a particular pleasure when Jeeves or Fagin do it as they are the most severe fear biters here. Just to be clear, they have not bitten me but that is because I don’t push them and know how to be careful. Zeena even comes to see what is going on and it’s taken a year to be able to take her collar without her having a major panic fear fit and trying to bite me - she really is an interesting little girl now that I’ve learnt to read her ways. 

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I’ve had less time than usual to keep on top of admin these last few months as the Elm family of cats have caused a ridiculous amount of work - but also a ridiculous amount of smiles with the unplanned arrival of kittens.

Spending time letting the mums-to-be feel safe, and then getting their permission to handle their kittens was definitely a challenge. The CCTV cameras were so very helpful during birthing though, as I was able to watch while not stressing them by being in the room. Then it was balancing the ever changing needs of mums and kittens at different stages of development - the food / space needed etc. - while also caring for all the other canine and feline         residents here.

The kittens are coming along quite well though their genetics of caution / fear of humans is certainly noticeable, in some more than others, which gives me all the more reason to spend lots of time handling / trying to cuddle them. It’s a hard job !

Vaccinations have been started but kitten neutering will not be yet awhile, so Andrew built them a kitten porch on the back door so they can play outdoors in safety. This is working very well and also allowing the more cautious mums a chance to explore without getting scared and vanishing into the woods, while the wild boys are happy with their chosen life of freedom but know where and when mealtimes are.

Along with your response of lovely donations to help the Elm family, we received a generous donation from Animal Protection Trust for their vet visits, neutering and microchipping costs which has been a huge help too - thank you everyone. The adults have now all been neutered but it was like Fort Knox here when the mums were in season, but they are now at various stages of exploring life here, depending on their confidence.

As they realised they were safe, the terrified mums started to relax and began to play, as well as blending back into the family group of known relatives. Having the kittens approach to be stroked and a mum follow with curiosity   instead of protective attack mode is a rather wonderful moment.                 

Cardboard city has a new meaning in this household at the moment with every room having boxes and toys scattered underfoot. While sweeping the floor, the toys get piled out of my way but it didn’t take long for a box to be reclaimed by a kitten !                     

                             

Early one quiet Sunday morning, I was sitting with my first cuppa of the day, gently awakening while watching kittens start their days with enthusiasm. The tiny kittens were learning they had a top gear to run but didn’t have control of steering and braking as they were racing and chasing each other. I’m sure a herd of elephants are quieter than two kittens racing past, it’s amazing the sound they made for such small creatures as they charged up and down the lounge / in and out the bathroom ( nursery ) and it made me think of the nursery rhyme - Goosey goosey gander, Whither shall I wander? Upstairs and downstairs, and in my lady's chamber.                                                                        

Here’s the Chaldon kitten version !  Kittie, kittie cats, Where shall you roam?  Lounge, kitchen, fireplace, and everywhere in the home.

  On another slow weekend morning and with lovely sunny weather after the long grey winter, I sat out in the kitchen porch watching the kittens starting to explore the outside world, with the instinct of danger when a bird flew overhead, but also the joy of rolling in the dust, finding things to play with such as a cobweb or leaf, their various toys and boxes or a brother or sister to surprise – leap in the air and tear off in the other direction. The morning rounds waited a little until they tired themselves out and went back to bed - there are worse ways to start my day !

  It’s been a complete and utter joy meeting all these new little personalities, born into safety, and watching kittens is a good way to spend time I think you’ll agree ! The matriarch of the colony was obviously a pet originally, who did need urgent veterinary help and it’s sad that if she had still been living rough on the streets, her survival would have been unlikely. Knowing that now all of the adults are safe, neutered, microchipped, being cared for, fed and given the opportunity to live life as they chose to, is very pleasing.     

We can’t help them all but with your help, we have made a difference for the Elm family - from rough city survival to easy country living.

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Here are a few “what are they?” photos with answers further down the page ***** 

       

 

During afternoon rounds one day, I went to top-up the bird feeders out the front, and realised I’d just walked past a pigeon sitting on a dustbin holding the fox food, by the front door - and it hadn’t flown off. I did an about turn to look and sure enough, there were rings on the legs indicating s/he was a homing pigeon. I finished feeding the cats, caught the pigeon and rang the owner for a chat. He instantly knew who the little bird was and was surprised as she had flown in the opposite direction to home, against the prevailing winds to get wildly lost in Surrey. I expressed a concern that she would fly in the wrong direction and get lost again if, after a few days rest and recuperation, I released her to fly home. To my delight, a few days later, he travelled down to collect her. So instead of Dustbin ( nickname I used ) flying home, she had a few days holiday with me and then a lift back home in the caring owners car - clever girl !

   

*****  ANSWERS.

The first photo is Peach, the little white speck on a fence post in the distance one foggy morning - and then outside the kitchen waiting for breakfast.

Next is a tail - not a wig - and it belongs to little Dinky, here eating breakfast.

The third photo of a “hole” is a close up of Crusoe’s pretty spotted nose.

 

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The ground maintenance here is an on-going job of course but when a fox started stealing the feral boys meals, it was obvious there was a new hole in the oldest fencing ( much has already been replaced from a kind              benefactor ). It took quite a lot of tracking down due to the summer growth of nettles etc, but we did get this view of Peach squeezing through before the hole was blocked.     

                

  Rather belatedly, I’m back to working on this newsletter ( I blame the Elm family and kittens ! ) and am sitting in the lounge with the dogs pottering or snoozing as they choose, and the sounds of   Rosa snoring, a purring Ruby cat and birds outside singing. Then I heard Nikki barking up by the field and checked the CCTV camera monitor and sure enough, she was by the closed gate. The gate was closed due to it being the  weekend and lots of people walk on the footpath behind our boundary fence which makes the dogs bark of course. It is now later in the day so clear for the dogs to go back into the field, so from my armchair, I pushed the remote on the electric opener on the gate and it “magically” opened to Nikki’s request to enter - clever girl.

  This was my washing line before our toy tombola in June and Gails’ was the same as she does a marvellous job of collecting toys and running our toy tombolas. Our next fundraising stall is August Bank Holiday Monday at Chaldon Fete, followed by Quality Street Fair the next weekend - dates and addresses just below.

If you have any good condition pre-loved pet items ( bowls, bedding, etc ) please consider donating them to help raise further funds for the furries here, thank you. Also wanted before the end of August, if you’re local ( and we can collect if needed ) are bottles for the popular bottle tombola being run, alcoholic or not, thank you.

Chaldon Village Fete is at Six Brothers Field off Willey Broom Lane, CR3 5BN on Bank Holiday Monday August 28th, 1- 5pm                     

Quality Street Fair is in Merstham, RH1 3BB on Sunday, 3rd September, 11am - 4pm.

As always, we’re hoping for, and often have, good weather to encourage everyone along to support these events.

We are still collecting used stamps and recently received £88 so at the moment, they are still worth saving, thank you.

  We have received the latest Easyfundraising payment of £93.66 - thank you for your support when you are shopping online through their site, as you average raising £25 - £30 monthly. Easyfundraising partners with over 8,000 brands who donate a percentage of your spend - it doesn’t cost you extra and it doesn’t cost us anything either, a winning combination.

  As well as the posted donations and on-going monthly standing orders we receive, after our Spring newsletter went out,  I came back from a vet trip to find this pile of goodies from our Amazon Wishlist on the doorstep - what a lovely time I had undoing all the items you so kindly bought, thank you.

My continued thanks for all the effort of so many friends, who help the sanctuary help the animals.

With enormous gratitude and purrs and woofs from all of us,

Liz & Furries