Falkirk is about 120 miles
from Whitley Bay. It's a pleasant run through the Northumbrian
and Borders countryside if you discount the occasional drivers
with a death wish who also use those roads. Being overtaken at
70 mph on the blind side of a hill on a single carriageway puts
quite a strain on the nervous system.
Normally when I visit Falkirk,
it's purely social. I enjoy catching up with everyone and spending
time with all the cats including Anthony,
Spock and Dracs's adopted Siamese brother who is fostered by Rita
and Lisa. This time, I'd been invited to take the Catsup Stall
to Cat Register and Rescue's Annual Photo Show. Jen, who's adopted
Hannah, another of Rita and Lisa's foster cats came along with
me to help.
First stop is always Jan's
home where I get up to date with what's been happening since the
last visit. I particularly wanted to see Benjamin again. He was
an orphan who'd been taken in by CR & R when he was only a
day old. The last time I visited, he was 8 weeks old, with a bulging
tummy, a big personality and a fierce determination not to miss
a single thing that happened.
In the 8 weeks since that
visit he's grown up quite a bit and is turning into a happy, handsome
boy with a purr so loud it takes you aback the first time you
hear it. I've just heard he'll be going to a good permanent home
In fact, Benjamin was no longer
the baby of the house. Just a week and a half before our arrival,
CR & R had taken in a mother and her 4 two week old kittens.
The mother had eaten poison and was close to death when she was
found. Jan didn't expect her to survive, but, against all the
odds, she pulled through and has been dubbed their miracle girl.
She was in a pen with her kittens. Although she was unable to
feed them, she had lost none of her other mothering instincts
and it was good to watch her catch, pin down and give a thorough
wash to each kitten after a bottle feeding session. Once that
was finished, mother and kittens curled up in a cosy group and
had a well earned rest. I couldn't resist getting in on the bottle
feeding although, being a novice, I was pretty damp afterwards
and so were the kittens. They were still only 3½ weeks
old when these pictures were taken of my attempts.
I also wanted to see Boran.
More than any other of the many successes CR & R have, she
has a special place in my heart. I first met her over a year ago.
I thought she was about 8 weeks old. She was adorable, playing
on my lap, purring and generally succeeding in taking my attention
away from the computer session Jan and I were having. (Jan mistakenly
thinks I actually know what I'm doing with computers!) I was devastated
when Jan said that Boran was actually 15 weeks old and only half
the size of her two littermates. Jan was doing everything she
could, but past experience suggested that Boran wouldn't make
it into adulthood. It seemed so unfair that a beautiful and happy
young kitten had such a short future. Some 6 months went by before
I was at Jan's again. I'd been too cowardly to ask about Boran
in between times. My first sight when I went into the computer
room, which also doubles as the nursery, was of a truly magnificent
longhaired ginger and white beauty sitting on the windowsill.
With Jan's help, Boran had
confounded the odds. Not only that, she'd done it spectacularly.
At nearly 2 years old, Boran's still petite although by no means
undersized any longer. Despite showing every sign of having overcome
her precarious start in life, Jan still worries about her, but
I know she's in very good hands.
But I digress. The main event
of the weekend was the Photo Show. Like all charities, CR &
R has to work hard to bring in the funds to keep going and the
Photo Show is one of their big annual events. It's run on the
lines of a real Cat Show, with trophies and rosettes, but, instead
of the cats themselves being entered, it's their photos that are
exhibited. This I imagine is much to the relief of the participants
who, for the most part, are purely family pets with no previous
experience of cat shows.
At 9 pm on the Friday evening,
after the line dancing class had finished (I wanted to go early
to join in but was outvoted), CR & R hit the Church Hall where
the event was being held with a vengeance. By 10 pm, stalls had
been set up, display areas decorated and the place had been transformed.
Jen and I had it easy. All
we had to do the following morning was get ourselves up and be
ready in time for the start of the Show. Members of the CR &
R had to see to the many cats they have in care first. Some of
them were up at what I would class as still being the middle of
The event was a complete success.
There were some beautiful prizes
including some engraved glassware for "Best in Show"
and "Best Cat with a Disability". The lovely
silver plated frame was for "Best Rescue Cat".
The photo show was
well supported with over encouraged to buy from the many
and lots of spectators, who were
as well as stop for coffee and a bite to eat.
The Catsup Stall is growing. It's
difficult these days to fit everything onto just one table.
As you can see, we now have our own "uniform"
too. This is a closeup of the material from which our
waistcoats are made
Money's still coming in, but
to date, the Photo Show has raised approximately £1,800
($2,700). Anyone involved in fundraising will know just how magnificent
that amount is for a single event.
I'm proud to be associated
with CR & R and very happy to be able to publicise some of
the work they do to a wider audience. And finally, I couldn't
possibly write a page like this without including a thank you
for all the wonderful hospitality I receive whenever I visit.
to find out more about the Cat Register
if you'd like to find out how to join their
Adopt A Cat Scheme
Rita and Lisa, members
of CR & R and foster carers of the boys adopted brother Anthony,
sell their playmats in the Catsup
Shop. All their profits go
to CR & R.