Congratulations to Bob and Barbara who formed Catwork in 1995 : it’s their 25th anniversary too!
CATWORK’S TEN YEAR ASSOCIATION WITH C.LA.W.S.
Catwork began around the same time as CLAWS, but our first contact was not until 2009, when Big Boy was getting stressed in rescue, having been in care for some time and not coping too well with being confined. As Big Boy had tested positive for FIV, CLAWS contacted us as we had become known for helping FIV+ cats.
Bev and her mum paid a visit to our sanctuary in Somerset bringing Big Boy to us. Fortunately, Big Boy seemed to like the freedom of the Fivery garden and mixed well with the other cats, so quickly became 'one of the gang'.
At this time, CLAWS began their production of calendars, and Big Boy was honoured by being included in the first of them - on the front cover, no less.
Big Boy had a few issues: in 2011 he needed a dental, and had a serous eye problem that needed intensive eye drop treatment (up to six times a day) which, thankfully, was successful, and his eye was saved. Big Boy stayed healthy then until spring of 2013 when he developed a neurological problem which affected his eyes and then his legs; sadly, he was put to sleep on Easter Saturday.
It was through the initial Big Boy contact, that Catwork and CLAWS began our ten year (so far) association with each other.
It was in early 2011 that CLAWS were asked by their vets to help an elderly, black, blind cat, who also tested positive for FIV. Recognising the potential difficulties in finding a home for this cat, we were asked for our help again - how could we refuse such a needy chap? We made a visit to Sue to collect the cat whom we called George - this name was chosen as, at that time, the film "The King's Speech" was all the rage, in which King George overcame his impediments; so George came to Catwork to overcome his issues, which he did by fitting in well in the sanctuary, finding his way round and overcoming his confusion and nervousness. George became a real favourite of ours.
George remained well until 2014 when he began to lose weight, and was eventual-ly diagnosed with liver cancer. Sadly for us, George's last day was Christmas day at the end of 2014. He had his breakfast as usual and took himself off to his heated bed, in which we found him when we returned from family festivities, that evening, having died during the day. This rather took the edge off Christmas for us, but was a good way for him to go, and at least he had had nearly four years of life that he may not otherwise have had.
It was then in June of 2017 that CLAWS asked for help with Rocky, who had gone into a trap set for another cat. At that time CLAWS were full to the rafters, "not even room for a mouse" as Bev said. Rocky was not well, and also tested positive for FIV. As they had nowhere for him, Rocky was sent down to Somerset without being neutered due to his not being well enough. We installed Rocky in our sick bay and continued his medication; he seemed really happy just to have somewhere comfy to sleep and be cared for. When he was well enough, CLAWS paid for him to be neutered by our vets, after which he settled into his own cha-let, and mixed well with the other cats during the day. (Rocky featured as January cat in CLAWS calendar 2018.)
Rocky flourished for a time, enjoying his chalet, the garden, the other cats and visitors, not to mention regular food!
The one thing Rocky did not enjoy was being put in a basket to be taken to the vet. We would have to devise cunning plans to catch him! Once at the vets, Rocky would curl up small - like a hedgehog in defence mode; the vets would not believe what a cheeky live wire he was back in the garden.
Rocky's trips to the vet became more frequent as 2018 wore on. He needed major dental work and developed very bad skin issues and began to lose weight, indicating something more serious going on. Despite his many issues, Rocky the resilient remained bright and active to the end, which came in February 2019. After a full supper, Rocky put himself in his comfy bed where he peacefully passed away.
We only had Rocky for a short while, but this little cat made a big impression; we really miss him.
Just two months after taking in Rocky, we received another plea for help from CLAWS. This time, a cat who had been fed by kind people but was unapproachable, was caught and tested positive for FIV. Still with no room, CLAWS requested our help again. Domino, as he was then called, was delivered to us in August 2017. When he arrived, we wondered what we had let ourselves in for as he seemed to hiss at everything and everyone he saw - because of this, we changed his name to Sid!
Well, in just a few days, Sid obviously decided that the sanctuary wasn't so bad after all, and he trans-formed into the sweetest, chattiest little cat ever!
In the summer of 2018, the couple who had been feeding 'Domino', were passing our way and they asked if they could come and see Sid; we told them he would be up on their laps, which they said was not possible as they hadn't been able to get anywhere near him in their garden. True to form, when they arrived and sat on the bench in the Fivery, Sid was one of the first to jump up and greet them; they were truly amazed.
Sid, being black and white, has quite a lot of white on his ears, which is often affected by the sun. During 2019, Sid's ears became scabbed and would often bleed, and were clearly uncomfortable for him; the only solution was to have the ear flaps removed. He seems much more comfort-able now, and has a very distinctive, streamlined look, and is as happy and chatty as ever!
Well, that brings us up to date with our associations with CLAWS over the past ten years. As we are no longer able to take in any more cats, we hope CLAWS will be able to find homes for any future FIV cats who come their way!