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      Dora's Diary

Dora's Diary

             A monthly dog blog

Hi folks. It’s that time of year when many of us start thinking of doing something different during the long, dark winter’s evenings. I’m talking about evening classes. Learning a new language. Dabbling in painting. That sort of thing.

Bossman’s receptionist, Beryl, tried her hand at oil painting last year. The result was – to put it mildly – a mess. He and his colleague, Eric, were studying the oil painting Beryl had propped up on the office desk while she went and made coffee. In the centre of the canvas was a large swirl of orange with darker orange stripes radiating out from it. At its base were four similarly coloured blobs; and to each side, a bank of unsteadily executed lines in white paint, some thick, some thin. Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it?

What do you think it’s meant to be? said Eric, scratching his chin. A bowl of oranges?

Looks more like a Bagpuss pyjama case overstuffed with jimjams, if you ask me, said Bossman. Eric sniggered.

There was a sudden hush as Beryl bustled in with a tray of coffee.
So what do you think? She handed each of us a mug. Have I caught his likeness?


Sorry, Beryl. Eric had picked up the painting and was holding it between his hands. I’m not quite sure … He tailed off, his forehead creased in wrinkles as he swung the orange offering from side to side.

Beryl stepped forward with a loud tut, snatched the canvas from him and rotated it.
You were looking at it upside down, she snapped. Now can you see the likeness?

Bossman could see Eric turning red, his bald pate glowing. He guessed that like Eric, it made no difference whichever way the painting was held. It still depicted a shapeless swirl of orange.

Only now at the top of the ball and slightly to one side Bossman could see there were two blobs of green encircled in black. Maybe they were meant to be eyes? In which case, the four blobs at the bottom could possibly be paws. Making the straggly lines either side whiskers.

Bossman suddenly cottoned on as to what the painting was meant to represent.
Ginger, he said. Your cat.

Beryl beamed.
Yes, of course. Who else could it possibly be?

It was no surprise to Bossman that Beryl had chosen her beloved cat as subject matter for the art class she’s been attending. She was besotted by the fellow ever since he’d strolled in through the side gate to her cottage two summers back, demanding to be fed. Beryl obliged and when the cat then decided to set up home with her, she provided full board.

The effects of that full board were all too evident when Beryl presented him for a check-up and vaccination. He lay contentedly on the consulting table his rolls of fat rippling towards the edges. Bossman knew anything he said regarding Ginger’s weight would elicit one of Beryl’s laser-like glares, her head tilted to the side. But taking a deep breath, he took the risk.

Ginger’s a bit on the portly side, he said, levering up a large lump of fat in his scruff to give him his vaccination. Beryl’s head started to tilt.

Are you suggesting he’s overweight?

Well, he could do with losing a few pounds. We wouldn’t want him to go down with diabetes or problems with his ticker would we?

Beryl’s head tilted even more. Bossman was going to warn her of the likelihood that Ginger might develop hip problems carrying all that weight but felt it could end up with her head angled on her shoulder and him being vaporised by her glare. So he desisted. And tried another tact.

Guess he’s a hearty eater.

Beryl shrugged.
Only the best for my Ginger.
 
Actually Bossman already knew that. Beryl often popped down the road at lunchtimes returning to the hospital with goodies for Ginger’s tea. Pilchards and sardines were favourites. Invariably accompanied by full cream milk. He dreaded to think of the cat’s daily calorie consumption. Huge. And its effects were spread out before him now. Just as massive.

You think I overfeed him, don’t you? Beryl was saying. But it could be something in his genes.

No, Beryl, it’s in his food, Bossman wanted to say.

Beryl went on,
Or it could be to do with his hormones.

No … No … No … It’s food, glorious food, Bossman wanted to sing out. But it would have been futile. Beryl was never going to listen; and Ginger was never going to lose weight.

The proof of the pudding was in her painting.

If any of you are off to evening classes, may the creative spirit be with you.

Love and licks,

Dora

Pets Aplenty by Malcolm Welshman
 

P.S. My Bossman is Malcolm Welshman.

His latest novel, Pets Aplenty, is published by Austin Macauley Tel: 0207 038 8212 at £7.99, Kindle version £0.99 and available to buy from
www.amazon.co.uk  

Malcolm Welshman has his own website at www.malcolmwelshman.co.uk 

 

Fizzle Out Firework Fears for your Dog with Equafleece

Fizzle out firework fears for your dog with Equafleece

It’s estimated that 45% of the UK’s dogs are likely to show fearful behaviour when they hear fireworks. That means more than 3 million dogs display behaviour such as chewing their feet, barking with fear, hiding or trying to ‘dig’ a way out. The firework season can start as early as the beginning of October and runs right through to New Year.

Equafleece’s Dog T-shirts have been hailed as revolutionary by canine therapists and vets who have described them as a ‘protective portable hug’. They are even recommended by Internationally renowned behaviour specialist Sarah Fisher in her book Unlock Your Dog’s Potential.

The principle behind them is simple – when a dog is frightened he holds his breath. The comforting contact of a T-shirt makes him feel supported, more able to relax and therefore more able to breathe and cope with fears. There is no need to medicate your dog with sedatives or other drugs, and the T-shirt is a cost effective option too!

Rebecca Reeves, an Equafleece customer says, “I could not believe how incredible effective the T-shirt was in calming my very anxious greyhound, and how quickly. She changed from being a shaking drooling wreck into a snoozing relaxed dog in a matter of minutes the first time I used the Equafleece T-shirt. It continued to work brilliantly during fireworks and thunderstorms for the rest of her life.”

Equafleece Dog T-shirts are made from 100% breathable cotton stretch fabric

Equafleece Dog T-shirts are made from 100% breathable cotton stretch fabric. They were originally designed to combat contact allergens, photosensitivity and to keep dressings in place but owners were soon reporting that their dogs were much calmer and less anxious while wearing their T-shirts.

Don’t let a firework phobia ruin your dog’s winter. Pop an Equafleece T-shirt on him and watch his fears fizzle out.

The T-Shirts are available in 8 sizes and come in Black, Grey, Red, Blue, Brown and Camo Green. Prices start at £13 and they are available direct from Equafleece, www.equafleece.co.uk

You can also request a brochure or order by phone on 0845 123 5296.
 

Cat and Dog Body Language Books
Review by Jenny Itzcovitz

Cat Body Language by Trevor Warner

Want to develop a stronger bond with your pet? Find out why cats flatten their ears when scared, why dogs bury bones in the back garden, how kittens will try to mark their territory and more!

Cat Body Language and Dog Body Language deliver the answers to interpreting the 100 most common of your pets’ noises, body positions, behaviours and annoying habits correctly every time, helping you to better communicate and understand their needs.

 Dog Body Language by Trevor Warner

Split into clear chapters covering key aspects of pet behaviour (such as interacting with owners, marking territory, kittenhood and puppyhood, and mating behaviours), these books can either be used as reference texts to deal with issues specific to your pet, or as a flick-through read to better understanding your animal.

Cat Body Language also includes chapters on cats’ ear movements, their hunting instinct, and licking and grooming rituals, whilst Dog Body Language covers feeding time, the pack instinct, sleeping and more.

You can also enjoy plenty of snippets of fun canine and cat popular culture trivia: from which canine was Sherlock Holmes’ pooch of choice, to the true reason that male cats are called ‘Toms’.

Filled with ‘aww!’-worthy photography, these are the perfect gift books for the new pet owner or animal lover in your life.

As a cat owner who is convinced that my cat talks to me, I was delighted to receive Cat Body Language. This neat little book includes one hundred snippets of advice to help you read your cat's behaviour signals and understand how they are communicating with you and the world around them.

Packed with beautiful colour photographs, this helpful book shows you how to understand what your cat is trying to say to you. I was particularly interested to find out why they claw at the carpet and furniture, go in and out of the cat flap or back door for no apparent reason, wag or lash their tail, and give you the slow eye blink - know as the 'cat kiss'.

A delightful gift for cat owners. I keep it handy when I want to find out what my cat is telling me and keep him happy and contented.

Author, Trevor Warner has over twenty years of experience in the veterinary sciences and now runs his own practice in Melksham, where his practice included animal behaviour clinics. He is the owner of many pets, including five cats, two dogs, and a retired racehorse.

Cat Body Language and Dog Body Language by Trevor Warner are published by Collins & Brown, an imprint of Pavilion. Price is £6.99 each.

For more information about the books visit www.pavilionbooks.com
 

Pet Care  


Rescue Bunnies Gave Me My Life Back

Marley-Belle Quaid got her freedom and independence back thanks to two rabbits rescued by the RSPCA

 

 Marley-Belle Quaid got her freedom and
      independence back thanks to two
         rabbits rescued by the RSPCA


A woman has regained the use of her paralysed hands after caring for and grooming two long-haired bunnies saved by the RSPCA. Marley-Belle Quaid was left unable to move her hands after a string of painful operations on her wrists which left her unable to use crutches and confined to her wheelchair.

Despite crippling attempts at physio, nothing had worked for the 32-year-old - until she saw an advert for two abandoned and neglected bunnies, Woodstock and Wilfred, looking for their forever home.

Although she knew the pair needed daily grooming and frequent clipping, she fell in love with them and vowed she would do whatever it takes to give them the life they deserved.

Marley, 32, from Guildford says, “The first time I saw them I knew I would do whatever it took to have them in my life. They had been found dumped in woods by a woman running a race, who found them matted and neglected and one of them - Woodstock - was tangled in a bramble bush.

Wilfred and Woodstock

“The pair were rescued by the RSPCA but spent a year in foster care because no-one wanted the hard work it takes to keep them groomed and tidy. Although I had help day-to-day, I didn’t know how I was going to manage doing it myself when no-one was there because of my wrists but I wanted to make it work.”

It was painful at first but Marley found that the frequent brushing and care for the rabbits gradually led to increasing movement in her wrists and soon she was able to pick out scraps of hay and debris from their fur and even use scissors to give them a cut.

She says, “Within six months, I had full, malleable wrists, I was grooming Wilfred and Woodstock by myself on my own lap and I could use scissors again. My surgeon was quite astounded I had the use that I had with my wrists again. These bunnies were a massive part of my recovery.”

Gaining the use of her hands back had another benefit for Marley, who uses a wheelchair, because it meant she could use crutches again to help her get about.

Marley continues, “Before I had to use my wheelchair all the time, because I couldn’t use my hands to grip my crutches. That meant there were shops I couldn’t go into or places I couldn’t get to because I needed my crutches.

“Woodstock and Wilfred have given me so much more than love, they’ve given me independence and freedom.”

The much-loved bunnies, who are thought to be five or six years old and were adopted by Marley two years ago, now have the run of her flat which is kitted out for their enjoyment. They have their own bedroom and a room filled with play furniture, such as hides, tunnels to simulate warrens, jumps and a hay pit, to keep them stimulated and happy.

Woodstock was so badly matted on his back legs when he was rescued, his bones were misshapen and he had trouble hopping but since he’s had the freedom to explore and run around the flat, his legs have improved and he can hop up on to the furniture.

RSPCA rabbit behaviour and welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson says, “Marley’s story is a moving example of the power of pets to really change lives. When Marley adopted Wilfred and Woodstock she gave them the chance of a loving home and a happy future but these amazing rabbits have also given Marley her own life back. We know that the wonderful people who adopt rescue animals change the lives of those animals but pets have a real impact on our own health and wellbeing too, which is why the bond between owner and pet is so special.”

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit www.rspca.org.uk/give

Or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

Avoiding Toxic Plants for the Autumn

Avoid toxic plants for your pets

 

Days are beginning to shorten, and over the next few weeks, signs that autumn is here will set in. Leaves will be turning that beautiful golden brown and parks will be filled with an abundance of rustic colours.

And while it’s important your pet enjoys the outdoors during the changing seasons, it’s essential to be aware of some of the harmful plants that can cause pets to become very unwell.

Pets are naturally inquisitive, especially if they’re young, so knowing what to avoid is crucial to keep them away from harm. PDSA Vet, Rebecca Ashman, provides her tips on keeping your pets safe from toxic plants.

It’s important to recognise which autumnal plants are poisonous as accidentally eating them can cause pets to suffer from sickness, and in severe cases, can be fatal. Steering clear of these plants will avoid any upset stomachs – or worse – from happening at all.

Poisonous plants to avoid:

Acorns – they are very toxic if eaten by pets, as their tannic acid affects the liver and kidneys. Unripe, green acorns are even more harmful.

Acorns are toxic if eaten by pets

Yew Trees – Every part of this tree is poisonous to pets and even eating a few leaves can be serious. They are often found in churchyards so keep your eyes peeled.

Horse Chestnut trees – their bark, leaves, flowers, and conkers are all poisonous to pets.

Autumn crocuses - have pale mauve, pink or white flowers in autumn and all parts of the plant are potentially toxic.

Crocuses are toxic if eaten by pets

Rebecca says, “When out walking this autumn, it’s crucial to be aware of any dangerous plants and trees that might cause harm to your pet. Keep a close eye on them, and try to walk your dog somewhere you know is clear of toxic plants.”

“Vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking and breathing problems are all signs that your pet might have eaten a poisonous plant”, adds Rebecca. “If your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, take them straight to the vets as an emergency. The quicker you act, the quicker vets can provide essential treatment.”

For more information about keeping your pet safe this autumn, please visit the PDSA website at www.pdsa.org.uk/poisons-and-hazards

RSPCA Appeal after Horse Crisis sees 55% Rise in Rescues

RSPCA launches stables sponsorship


RSPCA launches Stables Sponsorship following surge in neglected and abused horses last year
 

The RSPCA has launched a fresh appeal to horse lovers to help horses as new figures showed the charity rescued 55% more equines from cruelty and neglect last year.

As England and Wales’ largest animal welfare charity, the RSPCA has seen an enormous increase in the number of horses coming into its care - with almost three a day being rescued.

The charity is currently looking after more than 850 horses, donkeys and ponies and has launched Stables Sponsorship, asking horse lovers to help the RSPCA care for rescued equines until they are ready for rehoming.

Cathy Hyde, who leads a team of specially trained equine inspectors at the RSPCA says, “For several years now we as a charity have been picking up the pieces of the equine crisis, with our inspectors being called out to sick, injured, neglected or cruelly treated horses every single day. And despite our best efforts the crisis is not getting any better. Last year we took in 979 horses which was a 55% increase on the year before.

“For many of the horses, being rescued is just the beginning of a long road to recovery, and it can take many months for us to rehabilitate them to a point where they can be rehomed. The time and work during those months is absolutely essential but extremely costly, and we now find ourselves with over 850 horses in our care, so we desperately need the public’s help.

“Those who rehome a horse from us are doing something very special but for those who aren’t in a position to do so, this new scheme provides a unique opportunity to make a huge difference too.”

From foals suffering neglect to older horses cruelly treated or abandoned, the RSPCA has seen an enormous increase in the number of horses taken in.

The impact of the recession, over breeding, the high costs of vet bills and falling prices for horses have all contributed to the crisis, which has also seen a distressing number of horses dumped dead and dying like rubbish.

The poor state of the horses coming into RSPCA care means that the cost and length of their rehabilitation is increasing and as a charity, the welfare organisation is urgently calling for the support of horse lovers through the new Stables Sponsorship launch.

Last year, the national call centre received over 30,000 calls about horses and already this year alone more than 500 equines have come into the RSPCA’s equine centres.

Prince came into the care of RSPCA Lockwood Centre for Horses, Ponies and Donkeys last winter

These include four-year-old horse Prince (pictured above) who came into the care of RSPCA Lockwood Centre for Horses, Ponies and Donkeys last winter, after he was found abandoned, suffering with a horrific leg injury that was so severe, it exposed parts of his tendon. Prince was understandably very unsure of people but the grooms at Lockwood worked tirelessly to rehabilitate Prince and treat his severe injury and help him to trust people again. Thankfully, Prince is now healed and is ready to find a new home.

You can help horses like Prince by giving just £10 sponsorship per month which will help provide our equine centres with everything from shavings and straw for the horse’s bedding to feed and hay, grooming brushes, rugs and of course veterinary treatment for those who are rescued from the most appalling conditions by RSPCA inspectors.

You will receive quarterly news and updates about some of the horses who have been taken into RSPCA care and looked after in the stables along with letters from the staff at the RSPCA equine centres with updates on the horses they have helped.

To sign up to sponsor our stables, please call 0300 123 0346.

Or visit www.rspca.org.uk/stables

Hedgehog Census

Take part in the Hedgehog Census

 

The first national Hedgehog Housing Census has been launched by Hedgehog Street with charities, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), to help combat the decline in native hedgehogs. The survey is in partnership with the University of Reading and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

Between now and the 31st October 2017, the Hedgehog Housing Census will dig a little deeper into the world of hedgehogs, and aims to answer several questions about how they live and in particular, their use of artificial hedgehog houses. The information will be gathered via an online survey, and the data then analysed by scientists at the University of Reading.

The results will help the Hedgehog Street team find out what the best type of hedgehog house is and how they can be used to support the conservation of these animals, enabling wildlife enthusiasts across the UK to further help their spiky garden residents.

Since its creation in 2011, Hedgehog Street has over 44,000 volunteers, known as Hedgehog Champions, pledging to help save the nation’s favourite mammal by making small steps in their gardens. This census will answer questions such as: is your hedgehog house used? Is it used for summer nesting, as a maternity nest, or for hibernation? What materials is it made from? Is it homemade or shop bought? Where is it located? What’s the best design?

If you'd like to take part in the survey click on www.hedgehogstreet.org/housingcensus 

   Sixtyplusurfers Competition 

   Win a Hagen Catit
  Senses Food Maze


Win a Hagen Catit Senses Food Maze from Feedem


Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Feedem to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a Hagen Catit Senses Food Maze.

The Hagen Catit Senses Food Maze is the smart way to feed your cat treats and dry food.

This eyecatching maze stimulates a cat's playful nature and beats boredom. Offering different levels of difficulty, your cat is challenged to move its food throughout the maze until it falls to the bottom, ready to be eaten.

The maze encourages your cat to eat in moderation, promoting healthy digestion and avoiding an upset stomach which can often happen when eating too quickly.

It also entertains while engaging your cat's sense of touch, taste and sight.

The Hagen Catit Senses Food Maze is available from Feedem. Price is £17.80.

 

For more information about the Hagen Catit Senses Food Maze visit www.feedem.co.uk

  For Your Chance to Win

Tell us what type of cat food should be dispensed in the Hagen Catit Senses Food Maze?

       a) Cat Treats
    b) Grilled Fish
    c) Meat in Jelly
    d) Fresh Water


 To Enter the Competition

Tell us what type of cat food should be dispensed in the Hagen Catit Senses Food Maze? Then send in your answer together with your full name, postal address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address as shown below:
sixtypluscomp@hotmail.co.uk

* Please label your entry Cat Food Maze Competition

* This competition is open to
our UK readers only

 

     Coping with Pet
       Bereavement

Memory Bloom

     By Johanna Buitelaar, founder
       and owner of Memory Bloom


We are a nation of animal lovers, making pets of all types truly part of our families. It’s no surprise then that the death of a beloved pet can hit many people as hard as the passing of a human family member.

Where children are concerned the loss of a pet is often their first experience of death and grief and therefore very important to deal with as sensitively – yet realistically – as possible.

Remember that grief is a very personal thing and of course all individuals will react differently but no one should feel ashamed about how they feel, or believe that it’s not appropriate to grieve for an animal friend.

Ultimately we take animals into our family homes and they in turn provide companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love. If you understand and accept this bond between humans and animals, you've already taken the first step toward coping with pet loss..... knowing that it is okay to grieve when your pet dies.

Here at Memory Bloom we have put together some tips to help you deal with the grief of losing a pet.

· Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel - Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.

· Reach out to others who have lost pets - There are a number of pet loss hotlines, and support groups. If your own friends and family members are not sympathetic about pet loss, find someone who is. Often, another person who has also experienced the loss of a beloved pet may better understand what you’re going through.

· Seek professional help if you need it - If your grief is persistent and interferes with your ability to function seek medical advice from your GP in the first instance.

· Rituals can help healing - A funeral or memorial service can help you and your family members openly express your feelings and help bring some feeling of ‘closure’.

· Create a legacy - Preparing a memorial, planting a tree in memory of your pet, compiling a photo album or scrapbook, or otherwise sharing the memories you enjoyed with your pet, can create a legacy to celebrate the life of your animal companion. Remembering the fun and love you shared with your pet can help you to eventually move on.

· Look after yourself - The stress of losing a pet can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly to release endorphins and help boost your mood.

· If you have other pets, try to maintain your normal routine - Surviving pets can also experience loss when a pet dies, or they may become distressed by your sorrow. Maintaining their daily routines, or even increasing exercise and play times, will not only benefit the surviving pets but can also help you too.

Above all remember that sorrow and grief are perfectly normal and natural responses to death. Like grief for our friends and loved ones, grief for our animal companions can only be dealt with over time.

Grieving is a highly individual experience. Some people find grief following the loss of a pet comes in stages, where they experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that their grief is more cyclical, coming in waves or a series of highs and lows.

For many the grieving process happens only gradually and it cannot be forced or hurried – and nor should it be as, throughout life, there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

Please also bear in mind that trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. By expressing your grief, you’ll likely need less time to heal than if you withhold or “bottle up” your feelings. Finding ways to cope with your loss can bring you closer to the day when memories bring smiles instead of tears.

About Memory Bloom

Memory Bloom


Memory Bloom is the only product of its kind designed to help mark the passing of a pet by providing a living, flowering memorial and providing everything needed for holding a simple ceremony.

The kits contain bio degradable containers, compost and seeds as well as a special story book and little notes and markers to personalise your own memorial. The idea is that some of a pet's ashes or small memento (name tag/collar) can be placed into the compost along with the seeds to provide a focal point for remembrance as the flowers – a mix of beautiful Anemones, Forget-me-nots, Californian Poppies and insect and bee friendly wildflowers - begin to grow.

It should be kept indoors until green shoots start to emerge and then planted outside where the containers will simply degrade and break down into the soil and the flowers will bloom each year from spring to late autumn.

Johanna Buitelaar, Memory Bloom’s founder and owner, came up with the idea originally because of her own experience losing her Jack Russell Grooby when she was a teenager. Years later the idea became reality because of another elderly Jack Russell and family pet, Jasper, and her realisation that sooner or later she would have to explain to her young children that Jasper was no longer with them.

Johanna says, ”In the end Jasper lived to the ripe old age of 21 and when I had to have him put to sleep I was absolutely devastated. The children and I made a memory bloom for Jasper; I couldn’t believe how much easier it made things. I explained what had happened through the book that I’d written and the children had something physical to do to enable them to gain closure.”

By reading the Story Book and planting the Memory Bloom bulbs a sense of closure can be achieved and the gravity of the loss can be eased by giving a treasured pet the send off that they deserve. The living, flowering memorial then offers a focal point for everyone to be able to remember and celebrate the life of their beloved pet.

Memory Bloom offers the perfect way to remember your beloved pet or a thoughtful gift for a grieving friend. The kits come with a choice of 3 different pot colours (red, pink and yellow) and retail at £38.95.

For more information about Memory Bloom visit www.memorybloom.co.uk 

Or Telephone 01790 754 670.
 

   Missing Cat Returns
        after 12 Years

Sue Hopkins with her children and their cat Hermione

When Sue Hopkins’ young cat Hermione disappeared she didn’t think she’d ever see her again. Little did she know that 12 YEARS later she’d get a phone call out of the blue to say the RSPCA had her long-lost missing puss…

Sue was living in Redbridge, London, in 2004 when she brought home little tortoiseshell puss Hermione. “We got her when she was a kitten from our childminder whose cat had had a litter,” Sue explained. “But unfortunately she didn’t get on with our other cat, Snowy, so we asked someone to look after her for a week while we made some arrangements in the house to keep both cats happy.”

But, sadly, after a series of events, Hermione went missing and Sue was devastated. She didn’t think she’d ever see her family pet again. The family moved from their home in Redbridge and went on to move three further times before settling in Walthamstow, but each time Sue contacted the microchip company to change the contact details on Hermione’s microchip - just in case.

“My daughter would always ask me why I kept calling to update the details,” Sue said. “But it only takes 30 seconds to pick up the phone and update the details so just because of that one in a million chance I thought I would keep doing it.”

On 23rd August the RSPCA were contacted by members of the public who were concerned for the welfare of a cat who they believed lived with a man in Billericay, Essex, who had sadly died around a month earlier.

Officers went to check on the cat and, a few days later, were finally able to catch her. She was suffering from fur loss and a flea problem. When they spoke to the daughter of the homeowner who had passed away she explained that the female tortoiseshell had not belonged to him. They scanned her for a chip and, sure enough, she was registered to an address 27 miles away in London.

Together RSPCA inspectors Rebecca Benson, Mitchell Smith, Karl Marston and Adam Jones managed to figure out Hermione’s story and return her home - to Sue.

The mother-of-three explains, “We were astonished, we couldn’t believe it. We are so happy to have her home. I’m so glad that the person who found her reported her to the RSPCA, I’m really grateful to everyone who helped get her home.”

Sue’s daughter, Emma, who was in primary school when Hermione went missing is now 20 and was amazed to have her home. The family have also been joined by 10-year-old Isabel and Leo, four, since the puss went missing. The family still have Snowy - who is now aged 20 - and also own another cat, Toffee, so they are hoping the trio will get on better now they’re older.

“It really upset me when I saw the state Hermione was in. She looked very aged and all the fur was missing from her tail, it looked like a piece of string. She is hoovering up her food so she has obviously been scavenging to survive for some time.

“If she hadn’t been microchipped she could well still be scavenging for food or she could have even starved to death. It just goes to show you should always get your cat chipped and keep your details up-to-date - and you should never give up hope!”

RSPCA cat welfare expert, Dr Samantha Gaines, says, “This is an incredible story which shows Sue’s dedication and commitment to never give up on seeing her again.

“It also illustrates perfectly why it is so important to get your pet microchipped and to update your contact details. While it is heartbreaking to lose a pet, if they are microchipped there is a small part of reassurance that should they be found they will make their way back home to you. I’m so pleased to hear about Hermione’s miraculous story and that this tale has a happy ending.”

While it is a legal requirement to have dogs microchipped it is not against the law to leave other pets - such as cats - without a chip. However, the RSPCA would encourage everyone to get their pets microchipped.

For more information about microchipping visit www.rspca.org.uk/microchipping

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit www.rspca.org.uk/give 

Or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).