Fun(d)raising News

Give Paw Campaign in Maxi Zoo Midleton 2017

We are delighted to announce that Maxi Zoo Midleton have chosen Community Cats Network for the Give Paw campaign 2017. During the month of November, you can pop in store and buy a friendship wristband to show your support to animal welfare. For each wristband bought in the Midleton store, Community Cats Network will receive €1.50.

We will be at the Midleton store every Saturday in November from 11am to 5pm. You can call in to meet our volunteers and discuss the work we do, as well as give rubs to Prospero and Jasmin (formerly known as Madame Irma), cats who were rescued by CCN.

Prospero promoting the Give Paw Campaign!



Animal stories Animal Welfare

More Than We Bargain for

It is a lovely Saturday afternoon in Youghal and the lady is in her garden with her children enjoying the rays of the warm sun of May when a little black and white cat walks in and meows. The lady has a humane reaction and offers this little cat some leftovers from the Saturday lunch. The following day, the little cat returns and waits outside the patio door until she gets fed. The lady is a bit concerned and takes some photos to put on social media to find out whether this cat is owned. That Monday morning, the little cat is still in her garden and the lady makes some phone calls to rescues to look for help, but the answer is the same everywhere: “sorry, we are full.” Kitten season has begun and the volunteers for all cat welfare organisations are already wondering how they are going to cope…

Then, one organisation gives a different answer: they can help to have the cat neutered and advertise her on their website for rehoming. It is not really what the lady was hoping for, but it is better than nothing. And so, that evening, the volunteer from Community Cats Network calls in with a cage. The cat is nowhere to be seen though and both caller and volunteer think she may have returned home, or… The volunteer leaves a cage with the lady and they promise to keep in touch. A few days later, the little cat shows up again hungrier than ever, and the following day again. The lady, kind and caring, feeds her and that Monday morning puts her in the cage to bring her to the volunteer. A few hours later, the little cat has been neutered but the reality they did not want to face has also been confirmed: she is just after having kittens. The area is searched, neighbours are called upon, but nobody has heard the small screams of kittens when they are hungry. Options are limited: the lady will have to keep feeding her until she brings her kittens so that all can be neutered and rehomed. That’s the plan anyway, but as we all know, nothing ever goes according to plans!

The weeks pass and the little cat calls down every day for food, but no sign of kittens. And then one evening, on the 8th week, a little head appears from the bushes, and a 2nd, a 3rd, and a 4th! The lady makes contact and trapping is promptly organised so that the kittens can be neutered and we can move onto the 2nd step: rehoming the feline family. However, the kittens are now nine weeks old and have had no human interaction so they are very skittish. Enquiries are made by both the volunteer and the lady and a rescue space is secured for 3 of the kittens so that only one is returned to the mother, making things a little bit easier for the lady who had never made the decision to take on a family of cats.

The friendly mum and her little kitten were advertised for rehoming, but nobody showed any interest. It was the height of kitten season and little balls of fluff could be found anywhere and everywhere and so the grown-up cat and her baby did not stand a chance. It is now October and the lady feels defeated. It is way more than she bargained for when she gave the first piece of chicken to that little hungry cat. All she wanted to do was to help her out, but now she realises that her whole summer has been dictated by the furry being living in her garden. She never made the decision to adopt a cat – she does not even really like cats – someone else did, but she ended up being the one buying food for that hungry mother, being the one who had to make arrangements when she would be gone for more than a day or two… All she wanted was to be kind and do the right thing for this little cat…

Now, let’s go back in time a few months, a year or two maybe. Where did this little cat come from? She was friendly and used to human interaction. A pet left behind, unneutered, when people had to move out? A cute little kitten taken off the pink pages as “free to good home” whose owner had lost interest in when she grew bigger? Or was she dumped by her owners when they realised she was pregnant and they did not want to deal with a litter of kittens? Whichever it is, she was “owned” at one stage and her owners did not take responsibility for her welfare and that of her kittens. Someone else had to pick up the pieces and do the right thing. Yet, they are not the only people responsible for this – or should we say irresponsible? Very likely, she too was rehomed as a little kitten, unneutered, to what seemed like a lovely and caring family. And so the vicious cycle goes, but the only way to break this cycle is by neutering. Everyone thinks they have found the perfect home for the little kittens they are adopting out. Of course it is a good home; it is a lovely family and they will do the right thing and they will have their new little pet neutered. Yet, the little kitten grew up and had kittens. One? Two? More litters? All the excuses in the world can be heard: “she escaped out of the window and when she came back it was too late, the damage was done”; “we decided to let her have just the one litter for the kids to see the miracle of life, but then she got pregnant again before we knew it, it was more than we could cope with”, “ we always found homes for her kittens, so it was ok”, “we didn’t know she could get pregnant at four months old”, “I really wanted to bring her to be neutered, but I didn’t have the money and my car broke down”, and on, and on… And so kittens keep being rehomed unneutered, and so the cycle goes and other are left to pick up the pieces. Meanwhile, kittens keep dying, unseen, because rescues are overloaded, because their mother did not find a kind and caring lady to look after them.

To all of you trying to help kittens, trying to help cats, or just trying to be humane, do the right thing: NEUTER! More and more vets practice early neutering (from as young as 8 weeks old for the most experienced vets), and so kittens can be neutered before being rehomed. This is the only way to break this vicious cycle! If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Read more about early neutering here:

Fun(d)raising News

Give Paw Campaign in Maxi Zoo Midleton 2017


We are delighted to announce that Maxi Zoo Midleton have chosen Community Cats Network, along with Pauline’s Rescue, for the Give Paw campaign. During the month of October, you can pop in store and buy a paw to stick on a ball. You can write a message or the name of your own pet. For each paw, Maxi Zoo will donate a euro to their chosen charity.

We will be at the Midleton store on the 1st, 8th, 15th and 29th of October to raise awareness about the work we do. You can call in to meet our volunteers, as well as Prospero and Jasmin (formerly known as Madame Irma), two cats that were rescued by CCN.


Rescue Special appeals

Help Lily this Christmas

I knew the place well. As a child I played there. Bumbling around like all small kids do, inventing games,or just exploring the back gardens and alleyways. Finding dead cats and kittens was a common occurrence. Usually the adult cats would be found in hedges where they had crawled into to die. The kittens would be found in bags, dumped in the nearby river. Cats were more numerous ‘back then’. They were a largely despised species, victims of religious superstition and good old indifference. Fit only to act as pest controllers but never to be fed or cared for. The endless litters of kittens usually met with the same fate. Taken from their mothers before their eyes opened, placed in a strong paper bag, string tied around the top, and hurled into the river. As kids, hunting Minnows in the water, we would come across the partially decomposed little corpses, still entombed in their rotting bags. I suppose, in people’s minds, cats and kittens, were as common as the air and as cheap.

12 11 25 LilyMaggie took the call. A man feeding a colony of ferals spotted a new cat hiding in nearby bushes. The cat wouldn’t come out and appeared fearful of both him and the other cats. The man couldn’t be sure but it appeared to him that the cat had something wrong with one of its legs. An injury of some sort. A plan was concocted and eventually the little cat was coaxed out of hiding and brought to the vet for an assessment. The ‘injured’ leg was, in fact, an amputation. The front, right side, leg, had been surgically removed at some stage leaving an awkward looking stump. The cat looked reasonably well fed and was friendly. Obviously the animal had been cared for by somebody. The initial assessment was of a stray that had wandered from her home and had gotten lost. Upon closer examination the little female cat was found to have the most appalling case of infected, ear polyps, the vet had ever seen. Polyps are lumps that grow in the inner ear canals of felines, especially older cats, and this poor mite had them in spades. The polyps had become infected and were agonising for the little female cat as she constantly tore at them with her claws. Every now and then she would vigorously shake her head from side to side and a spray of blood and pus would shoot out. Maggie named the cat, ‘Lily’ and we brought her home for temporary sanctuary until her owners could be located.

Lily was installed in two, very large, dog cages, on our kitchen table. We had nowhere else to put her. We made Lily as comfortable as possible in the cages. She was given a cardboard box, lined with soft, warm, vet bed, to sleep in, within the cages. This gave her a place of refuge away from the attentions of our own nosey cats. Lily retired into her box and remained there, day and night. Within 24 hours, The walls and roof, of Lily’s box were coated in a spray of blood and pus from her constant head shaking. We made efforts to locate Lily’s owners. The posts went up on CCN and Munster Lost and Found. No response. It was a very busy time for us. We were dealing with a case of a feral colony that was suffering the effects of malnutrition. We were preoccupied with this and not able to give Lily the attention she needed. When, one evening, we finally got the chance to sit down with Lily and have a good look at her, we immediately noticed the telltale indentations around her neck. Lily had worn a collar for a long time.

We examined her ears. We looked at her general demeanour. We saw how she hid away from everything and everyone. A brief discussion ensued and the conclusion was unanimous. Lily appeared to have been dumped because her carers grew tired of the veterinary cost of looking after her and treating her infected ears. We needed to deal with Lily’s ears. The infected polyps were causing her pain and discomfort. The constant pain from her ears, coupled with the amputated front leg, was inhibiting her from integrating into any household, let alone one as full of cats as ours. Our own vets felt unable to deal with the surgery required to fix the problem so we called upon the skills of Sinead Falvey, down in Cloyne veterinary practice, to assist. Sinead examined Lily thoroughly. We stood in Sinead’s surgery and watched as the vet’s skilful and sensitive fingers felt all over Lily’s little body. Sinead didn’t miss a thing. Lily’s ears were examined and a solution offered. Sinead would operate to remove the polyps. This would involve removing part of the ear canal as well. The operation was carried out and the polyps were removed. Behind the polyps in one of Lily’s ears was an unusual mass. Sinead Thinks this mass might be cancerous. The polyps have been there a long time. The mass has had the time to grow inwards towards Lily’s skull. Sinead took a biopsy and has sent it off to the lab. It will take about a week to get the results back.

P1180236 webSo we wait. This weekend, Lily will return home to us. She will be placed in her box within her cage. We will feed and care for her as if she was our own cat. Next week word will come back from the lab. It will be either, Benign, or, Malignant. If it is the latter, Lily will, yet again, make the journey from west cork all the ways down to Cloyne. And in Sinead’s surgery, Lily will drift off to sleep; never to wake up again to a world where a 12 year old cat, once accustomed to a home and care, was set adrift to fend for herself, partially crippled and in pain, lost, frightened, and bewildered, wondering what her ‘crime’ was, and desperately trying to make sense of it all. A little tabby too afraid to to push her way into a feral feeder even though she was starving. And this is Christmas, for God’s sake. Where was the love and fellowship for Lily when she most needed it?
I had thought that times had changed. I had believed that people no longer drowned kittens or treated cats like rubbish, fit only to be thrown out when there usefulness was over. I had hoped people had grown more sensitive to the suffering of another species. I had hoped in vain.

2014 has been a particularly rough year. We had hoped to end it with a good luck story. But Lily happened. Sometimes all we can do is reach out that final hand to stop the suffering of a wounded cat or kitten. We want them all to live. We want people to understand that cats feel the same things we do. Hurt, pain, abandonment, are emotions common to humans and cats. What does Lily feel today as she lies in her bed in Sinead’s surgery? There is the obvious discomfort from the operation but hopefully there is also the relief from the removal of the infected polyps. Lily is on pain relief medication. Sinead will see to it that Lily is as comfortable as possible. But what of Lily’s internal emotions? Can she make sense of the past few weeks. Lily had a home where she was comfortable. Those that cared for her cared enough to amputate a badly damaged limb. She had been fed and cosseted. Someone loved her once. But that all ended and Lily was abandoned. How does Lily process that? Now, put yourself in Lily’s mind. How would you feel if those you loved and trusted took you from your home one night to a strange place, put you on the ground, and drove away. There, in the dark and the biting cold, unable to properly move because you lost your front limb, and in agony from a terrible infection in both your ears, bewildered, confused, and alone, you must begin the fight for survival with all the odds stacked against you.

Please help Lily this Christmas time. The Cost of Lilly operation to take her pain away is over €300. Please help us to raise the money by donating on the links below.

Thanks, Jim 

Donate here.  Every donation will help.

Fun(d)raising News Online Auction

The Hairy Auction in aid of Community Cats Network

Hairy house raffle pic CCN

The Hairy Project was set up to hopefully raise funds for Dog and Cat Rescue,
by holding Auctions with items that have been made by me here in The Hairy House and items donated by like-minded Animal Lovers.
The first Hairy Auction started on 13th February and was in aid of Coolronan Dog Rescue, raising €1,850 for the Rescue.
The second Hairy Auction was held on 16th May for 10 days in aid of two Wonderful TNR Projects involved in Rescue and Rehoming. -Greystones Kitty Hostel and The TNR Fundraising Page run by Debbie Hogan who helps out TNR projects around Wicklow, Co Dublin and Dublin Areas. This auction raised €1,500 for Greystones Kitty Hostel. €1,000 for TNR fundraising Page run by Deborah Hogan and €200 for Maeve O’Donoghue for her Mullingar Dogs that she helps to get out of the Pound. and €50 each to 3 emergency Cases.
The third auction was in Aid of Cats Friends Rescue and took place on Friday 25th July . This Auction Raised €2,070.50 for Cats Friends Rescue.
REMEMBER None of this is possible without YOU. So Come and Join in the Fun and Help Save Lives!
TOTAL RAISED AND GIVEN OUT SO FAR IS €6,770.50 since February 2014
The Next Auction will be held in aid of Community Cats Network in Cork on Friday 25th September 2014 at 9pm.

Please visit The Hairy Auction Facebook page on the link below to place your bids. Thank you Belinda Morgan for this fantastic fundraiser.

Hairy house raffle pic CCN


Hello? I’ve Rescued a Kitten…

“Hello? I’ve rescued a kitten…”

We usually dread these calls as they end by asking us to take in the kitten as they cannot keep it in for a reason or another (kids, work, dog, cats, and so on). Since we are not a rescue and that most rescues are full, there is usually very little we can do.
P1150874 webBut this time, we were wrong! We were talking to a real rescuer, someone willing to take responsibility and to do what was best for the kitten. All she wanted was some advice. Well, when people are willing to make an effort, we are even more eager to help them. We explained the importance of neutering before rehoming, of doing a homecheck, of asking for an adoption donation to make the adopter responsible and so on, and offered to help with these as best as we could and to provide some supplies too.

P1150871 webTwo days later, we were picking up the kitten to have him neutered and microchipped. To our surprise, the little kitten was in the living room, when the house dog had been confined to the yard! We brought back the kitten after recovery, with a few goodies that she could give to the adopter. He has since been adopted by a nice family, whom the rescuer is confident will look after him well.

If there were more people like this lady, Ireland would definitely be a better place for cats….

If you too have rescued a kitten, please visit our private rehoming page for tips and to advertise.

Kittens Rescue

Meet Spica, born 6th of April 2012

It's a sign! Both Maggie and I have a weakness for tabbies...

Spica holds a special place as s/he is the very first kitten officially rescued by Community Cats Network.  Spica came into our care as a new born kitten and her/his umbilical cord was still attached.  S/he was born in a garden in Ballincollig, but the mum got a fright as the lady of the house opened the coal bunker, where she was hiding with her kittens.  She moved them to another location, but seemed to have forgotten one behind.  The lady waited, but as the mum didn’t come back, she took the last kitten in. 

Spica's umbilical cord

As usual, these things happen at night and during the weekend.  Thankfully, we had some kitten formula in stock and drove over to Ballincollig to feed this tiny kitten.  As the lady’s lifestyle wouldn’t have enabled her to keep feeding the kitten, we took her/him with us. 

Meet Spica!

As we were driving back, we were trying to think of a name for this little one.  We wanted a name that would evoke a new beginning, a new life, and would be suitable for both a male or a female, but nothing nice could come to mind.  The Easter moon was full and Maggie was admiring Jupiter and the bright star next to it.  The bright star in question is called Spica and it became the name of Community Cats’ first kitten.

Camilla bottle-feeding Spica

We had only bottle-fed few-week old kittens, but sometimes you have no other choice but to learn and the internet now provides a great source of information.  However, neither Maggie nor I would have the time to look after such a young kitten for more than a couple of days and we had to find a fosterer.  Thus, the following day, we placed Spica in the care of Camilla, who had offered to help us whenever we’d need.  As she had looked after a three-week old kitten before, she was already familiar with a few things and Maggie explained the rest to her, giving her some instuctions and a chart, where the feeding times and the weight could be recorded. 

Tiny baby, but perfect weight for a new born 🙂

A kitten was born, a life was saved and a new group was born.

Spica is two weeks old and already a character!

Spica is doing really well.  S/he is putting on weight and behaving normally.  I went to visit her last week as s/he turned two weeks old and had the pleasure to feed her/him.  She is adorable.  So far, so good and we hope that Spica will grow up into a strong and healthy kitten thanks to the good care of Camilla and Alan, who are doing a fantastic job!

Sleep well Spica!

And here are a couple of videos for your enjoyment!