CHAT is proud of its non-destruction policy. Once an animal comes into our care, it will be safe for life. The only exception to this rule is if the animal has no quality of life, because of a terminal illness, or if it is hopelessly injured. Under these circumstances, we would humanely put it to sleep.
Some animals coming into our care are elderly, disabled or have long-term health problems that require prolonged treatment. Prior to the opening of the London neuter clinics, the Sanctuary near Hastings provided a haven for all our 'unhomeable' animals. Many of these are still living at our Sanctuary under our sponsorship scheme, whereby people send money regularly for their food and treats. There are still some cats at the Sanctuary waiting hopefully for someone to sponsor them, so do please see our Sponsor a Cat page on this website for their photos and details.
Long-term and Retirement Fostering
Since the clinics opened there have been many more 'unhomeable' cats coming into our care and the Sanctuary is unable to provide homes for them all. The solution has been found with some wonderful, caring, selfless people taking these cats into their own homes to give them the love and care they deserve. If you live near one of our clinics or Sanctuary, perhaps you might consider being a retirement home for one or more elderly or 'unhomeable' cats.
Many people, who would take on elderly cats or those with health problems, may be deterred from doing so because of the likelihood of high veterinary expenses from the outset. Under our Long Term Foster scheme we continue to provide veterinary care via either of our London veterinary clinics. This may be for specified, pre existing conditions e.g diabetes, kidney disease or a skin allergy or for a wider range of ailments e.g in the case of very elderly cats with multiple ailments. Since we employ our own veterinary surgeons at our clinics the cost to the charity to provide this veterinary care is reduced to the lowest possible level. The long term foster scheme relieves pressure on our Sanctuary in that we do not have to take on more animals than can be realistically cared for, and the cats benefit from the individual care and attention they receive in a home environment.
Throughout kitten season - approximately April to December - CHAT receives countless emergency calls for help when abandoned cats give birth to kittens wherever they can - often in the most dangerous and unsuitable places.
Where possible, we prefer mother cats to be able to rear their kittens in a home environment. Alternatively, kittens have to remain with their mother in a pen with us until they are weaned at eight weeks. However much we play with them and try to keep them stimulated, it is preferable that they are socialised at this early stage of development within a home situation.
In this way, they will receive more handling and have more space to run around. Crucially, since they are not old enough to be vaccinated, they will be at low risk of catching cat flu, which is always a constant risk in rescue centres where a lot of stray cats come in and out. Sometimes we are lucky enough to find a new permanent home that will take on a mother and her kittens, until the kittens are old enough to be homed.
We always place mother cats where they will be allowed to keep one, or even two, of their kittens.
Foster homes are also very valuable in the process of taming feral kittens. Feral kittens need lots of handling and socialising. Although rescue staff do their best to play with these kittens, a foster carer usually has more time to devote to them on an individual basis.
If you think you could provide a short term foster home, please give us a call or email your nearest CHAT branch (contact details here). You will need a spare room to devote to the cat and kittens. This allows the cat peace and quiet and keeps small kittens from straying. It is also necessary to keep them separate from your own pets as a new mother cat is naturally protective of her babies and will not appreciate the curiosity of resident pets. Short-term fostering is offered by our Lewisham, Hastings and Canning Town branches.
Stubb Lane, Brede, Nr Hastings, East Sussex, TN31 6BT
Our Greenacres Rehoming Centre and Sanctuary is open every weekend from 1pm - 4.30pm on both Saturdays and Sundays.
The Sanctuary resides in over 100 acres of countryside - a mixture of woodland and meadows, providing a permanent home to around 120 resident cats - cats who for one reason or another have proved difficult to rehome. Resident cats are free to wander in and out of the main Sanctuary house, where our permanent Sanctuary staff live or to choose from numerous cabins and chalets dotted through the grounds. Many of our resident cats are older feral and semi-feral cats whose age leaves them difficult to home.
The Sanctuary also has a 40 pen cattery which houses cats and kittens whilst they await suitable new homes.
VOLUNTEERS - We need volunteers to help at the Sanctuary with cleaning and feeding, socialising shy cats and kittens, and helping maintain the grounds and buildings. If you can help please contact us.
Volunteer photographer Faith Lee has taken some beautiful photos of our sanctuary residents.....
Our Sanctuary is located in the countryside and is home to our 'unhomeable' cats, most of which are initially very nervous or feral. Over time in the safety of the Sanctuary some of the cats do become friendly with humans, whereas others remain wary and keep a distance from us.
Pictured above is Tangerine having a scratch on a well scratched post and Jack and Sawyer in the woods.
Cats who are permanently resident at our Sanctuary are free to roam the grounds as they wish.
"Ginger" (above) is taking a peek into the cattery at the cats in the cattery pens who are awaiting new homes, teasing them that he is free - hopefully they will find new homes soon.
Spragette and Tess are close friends who love a stroll together!
High or low there are a good choice of places to snooze!
Mika enjoys a rest in the sun, Vincent's not far away. There are plenty of cosy shelters too!
Fancy a drink? Could try a sip of the goats' water or Lizabelle likes some rainwater from an old bird bath!
.....and there are some nice staff and volunteers here too if you feel you need a cuddle!
Feeling hungry? Christopher is pinching someone else's dinner whilst others patiently await their food!
Just hanging around discussing the day; Tozzle and Xena like a high rise view and the cattery roof is just the right place to be!
Waiting for Supper!
Dotted all over the sanctuary grounds are sheds and chalets donated by our supporters especially for the rescued cats that have been released at the sanctuary to live their lives freely - they are all welcome to come into the main house if they wish, but some of the more nervous cats prefer to have their living quarters in the chalets with their chums!
Our 100-acre Sanctuary is a mixture of woodland and meadows. This is perfect for our cats to wander about in and play, but also acts as a peaceful haven and sanctuary for other wildlife. We regularly see foxes, badgers, deer, pheasants, woodcock and even boar at certain times of the year.
The sanctuary is simply beautiful in spring!
The Sanctuary also has lots of cats (both domestic and feral), kittens and adult cats of all ages in need of new homes.
In the centre of the Sanctuary grounds is the Cattery, which has 40 individual cattery pens which provide a temporary home for cats awaiting permanent new homes.
Are you looking for a Cat?
As always, we are keen to find homes for our many rescued cats, some of which are featured on the Hastings Animals Seeking Homes page.
Visitors to the Sanctuary are very warmly welcomed. We are open every weekend from 1pm - 4.30pm on both Saturdays and Sundays, or during the week by appointment.
SOME MORE PHOTOS OF OUR RESIDENT CATS......
Shouldn't every cat be able to enjoy life like this?
There's some lovely mature trees at our Sanctuary too!
Mmmmm someone's taking our photos!
Aren't we beautiful!
Just taking our time to enjoy the scenery!
Humans mean nice treats!
The perfect way to travel around!
Archive article re Olympic site cats rescued by CHAT pictures currently being added, PLEASE bear with us
OLYMPIC SITE CATS
2012 OLYMPIC STADIUM CAT RESCUE STRATFORD EAST LONDON
The Trust was contacted on the 9th July 2007 by the London Development Agency to remove four kittens that were trapped in one of the empty units on the Olympic site.
The site was due to be handed over on 10th July to the Olympic Delivery Authority who would not accept the site with cats in the buildings.
We attended the site to rescue the four starving kittens which were living in a pile of pallets stacked inside the building.
Whilst we were there we noticed approximately 15 other cats on the site, two of which appeared to have recently had kittens. They were going in and out of the buildings on site, many of which had open windows. We were told by people from the adjoining unit that the number of cats was approximately 20 to 25.
We offered to rescue the rest of the cats and asked to be given enough time to rescue the remaining cats. While we were there we were approached by various builders and people working on the site who told us that there were many cats roaming all over the Olympic site.
A frantic period of negotiating to try to extend the wholly inadequate time that we were given to complete the rescue then began.
We managed to rescue the first group of cats we saw but were unable to negotiate an extension of time to rescue other cats and were told to leave the site on August 5th.
After we were banished from the site on August 5th we contacted the local M.P. and other influential people were approached to attempt to get us back on site to complete the rescue work.
Whilst negotiations continued our rescue work carried on rescuing a large number of cats from two other areas. Firstly from cold stores destined for imminent demolition within the site. We also continued rescuing cats from the Waterden road which still had functioning bus garages and a chinese supermarket. Although the Waterden Road area was a secure site it was still under the control of the London Development Agency so we were able to access these areas.
Following intensive negotiation we were allowed back on the main site from 19th - 28th October and then banned again.
Further media interest helped us to regain access in the New Year to complete this enormous rescue project.
The rescue of 187 cats from the 2012 Olympic Demolition Site has been the most difficult and stressful rescue mission under the most difficult circumstances that the Trust has ever undertaken.
If you are interested in the full story of this rescue please continue to read on, here follows our website updates covering the rescue from July 2007 until the rescue of the elusive Blackjack in July 2008.
THE OLYMPIC 2012 SITE, STRATFORD, LONDON
Many cats removed from site now desperately needing homes and we urgently need your financial assistance to help fund this huge rescue mission
It is not only local businesses and residents that have lost their property and homes on the Olympic site, a huge tract of land covering approx 800 acres. Numerous cats and kittens are living in and around derelict/vacated buildings and across swathes of wasteland.
There is a 5 point Ecology Action Plan for endangered species, such as some newts, reptiles, birds and insects, but there is apparently no contingency plan for the safe removal of cats.
The area around the building and range of units pictured below was home to 19 cats and kittens. All have now been rescued.
We are so concerned at the scale of the problem. Not only the number of cats that need to be brought to safety - many are wandering, traumatised and disorientated, due to the destruction of their habitat - but the limited time available to us to try to make sure that cats and kittens are not injured or killed in the demolition process.
We urgently need homes for the cats and kittens we have already taken in. Some are nervous rather than feral as they were fed by the previous owners of businesses, but many will need to go to farms, stables and smallholdings. All will be neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and we will give advice and support to introduce them to their new location.
This building, and units to the rear were home to 19 cats and kittens.
All white and black and with similar markings they are clearly one family.
Twenty four hours ago a mother and kittens were sheltering in a hole at the bottom of this wall. They are now safe with us.
This was the loading ramp that the cats normally used as a passageway from one end of these units to the other. Now a place of huge danger, soon to be flattened completely.
The Trust has over the last year, removed many cats which we had previously neutered and returned where they were being fed, but it is impossible over such a vast area to know exactly where groups of cats are living. Despite our best efforts to locate as many cats as possible, many groups of cats only became visible through hunger after the departure of their food source, either via humans or edible factory waste.
The thirteen kittens pictured on the left were rescued from the site together with their mothers from beneath a huge pile of pallets about to be removed for disposal
Just some of the cats and kittens waiting for new homes from the Olympic site are pictured here
They all deserve a chance - can you help?
A DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT
Here is a picture of the 'cold stores' which gives an indication of the appalling conditions in which some of the cats had to try to survive.
A demolition site is a terrifying environment for cats for whom these vacated buildings were home. We have now rescued 24 cats from this part of the Olympic site.
While we were working there the adult cats ran to any surrounding cover (in this case minimal bramble bushes) and at night returned to creep around the scene of devastation.
However mother cats caring for young kittens cannot flee. Mother cats have extremely strong maternal instincts and will not abandon their kittens, they and their kittens remain huddled in the most dangerous areas.
Our rescue team have had to watch the cats and identify lactating cats and then carefully and patiently observe their movements in order to identify where kittens may be concealed.
On the 7th October we finally managed to rescue a black and white female cat who had previously been trapped, neutered and returned to the area by another charity a few years ago. She was very trap-shy and we are so relieved to have finally removed her to safety. The diggers were getting closer everyday to her 'den'.
A black and white cat had her litter of 7 week old kittens hidden under a pile of pallets and rubbish. A tabby cat also had a litter under pallets in the opposite corner of the same yard.
These probably seemed safe places when the cats chose them to give birth and rear their kittens. Fortunately we rescued both mums and their kittens.
PETER & PAULS' OLYMPIC STORY
THIS IS PETER AND PAUL.
This is why for us it's so worthwhile rescuing all these cats.
We have been told but "they are only feral and stray cats", "they are not an endangered species", "they will run away and find somewhere else to live"
We don't agree. Peter and Paul were in an empty warehouse with their three littermates (Bill, Ben and Pippin). Their mum thought they were safe there. She kept coming to one of our feeding points at one of the security gates. Obviously full of milk we could see her entering the site and disappearing to the right between warehouses.
After negotiation and before the ban we were eventually allowed to feed by the warehouse to entice the kittens and the family were rescued.
Their new owner tells us that:
"They are settling in really well, much better than I expected as they were younger than I'd intended taking!
I actually think they are the perfect age for us as they are still quite playful and young enough to adjust to our routines without feeling too much stress.
They are eating and drinking well (one bout of dodgy tummy responded to a half day fast and boiled chicken and rice advised by my vet and they are now on regular kitten food). I've registered them with my local vet and insured them with RSPCA.
They have settled into a routine and have found their favorite sleeping spots. My son Joe is completely besotted and spends hours playing with them in the early evening when they are at their most lively. They have both really come out of their shells and although one is slightly shy they are both coming running for petting and actively seek us both out for affection."
ALL WE ASK IS THAT WE BE ALLOWED TO RESUME OUR RESCUE WORK ON SITE TO BRING THE REMAINING OLYMPIC PARK SITE CATS TO SAFETY.
If you would like to write to the relevant people to request that CHAT is given access to continue rescuing the remaing cats on the Olympic site, Please click here for contact addresses.
We have been offered no payment or donation to help fund this enormous rescue mission and the cost of rescuing, neutering, vaccinating and microchipping the cats and kittens and providing essential veterinary treatment for injuries is a major drain on our finances.
£70,000 was spent by the O.D.A. on moving 150 newts to a new location but not a penny has been offered by them to help with this huge cat rescue project.
Please help by sending a donation, whatever you can afford, to assist with this huge project - there are still many cats on site in terrible danger.
Please do not believe Olympic Delivery Authority (O.D.A) claims that they are working closely with C.H.A.T and that they will notify C.H.A.T if kittens, lactating or pregnant cats are seen.
They are reassuring the public by letter, email, telephone and in their own Newsletter (Issue 3, November 2007), that "The ODA is working closely with the Celia Hammond Trust to capture these cats and move them off the site and into new homes."
THIS IS NOT TRUE AND THE PUBLIC ARE BEING MISLED. WE HAVE ONLY BEEN ALLOWED ON THE MAJOR PART OF THE SITE FROM JULY 10th - AUGUST 5th AND OCTOBER 19th - 28th.
They cannot exclude us from the northern section of the site as there are businesses still in occupation who have invited us to rescue cats from the surrounding area. The majority of cats have come from this area. We have never been allowed to research the remainder of the site to establish numbers and locations of cats.
Being banned from the Olympic site is hardly conducive to a good working relationship and no pregnant or lactating cats have been reported to us by the O.D.A. In fact, they recently prevented us from rescuing a pregnant feral cat.
Out of the 168 cats and kittens that C.H.A.T has already rescued, only 5 cats have been reported to us by the O.D.A.
The Olympic Delivery Authority (O.D.A) has gone back on the agreement brokered at a meeting with C.H.A.T on October 11th and confirmed on October 12th that C.H.A.T would be given night access again to the Olympic site to continue rescue work, with a review of progress in a month.
This agreement was confirmed to Sky News on October 12th by the O.D.A whose spokesperson told the Sky reporter,
"The last business - a salmon company - is about to leave the site, so we have arranged for Celia and her team - accompanied, and with the proper protective equipment to come and see if there are more animals to be taken off site. We look forward to giving them all the assistance we can."
On the night of the 12th October, the Head of External Relations at the O.D.A who had brokered the agreement, went on leave for 2 weeks, and our request to access the site that evening to trap the remaining cats at Formans, the Salmon Processors and the pregnant cat nearby was refused.
The following illustrates our frustration and despair at the unexpected collapse of the agreement:
Friday, 12th Oct - Request for access to trap cats refused. We were told we can start on Monday.
Saturday, 13th Oct - Request for access to trap cats refused.
Sunday, 14th Oct - Request for access to trap cats refused.
Monday, 15th Oct - We were told we can't trap tonight after all, but can start tomorrow.
Tuesday, 16th Oct - Request for access to trap cats refused. Told can definitely start Thursday.
Wednesday, 17th Oct - Request for access to trap cats refused.
Thursday, 18th Oct - Just leaving clinic at 6.00pm to get to Pudding Mill Lane Security Entrance when at 6.30pm we received a phone-call saying plans cancelled - no access to site allowed.,
Friday, 19th Oct - Access finally granted, but too late for the Formans cats, who had disappeared due to the amount of disturbance caused by earth moving machinery and the dismantling of the contents of the building.
The pregnant cat was last seen on 17th October by one of the staff, and has disappeared - whether crushed in the demolition or to have kittens, one does not know.
We were asked on the 19th October by the London Development Agency (responsible for acquiring possession of the Olympic Site) to remove cats from the Travellers' Site at Clays Lane, within the Olympic site before it was handed over to the O.D.A.
We were asked to complete the trapping of this colony of feral cats by Monday, October 22nd. In fact, we had to negotiate some extra days as all the cats were trap-shy, having been trapped, neutered and returned previously by another charity.
From 19th October, we were putting food adjacent to Formans Salmon Processors to try and encourage the cats back so that we could trap them.
We were horrified to be told in an email from the O.D.A, on the 25th October, that we would no longer be given access to either site after Sunday 28th October.
After the 28th October and return from leave of the Head of External relations, C.H.A.T emailed the O.D.A several times to try to find out what had happened to the agreement we had reached on the 12th October, and why things had gone so disastrously wrong
An email was sent to us from the O.D.A on the 14th November, not mentioning our agreement of the 12th October, but saying that they would be happy to discuss access to the Olympic site NEXT YEAR for the next phase of vacant possession. Not a word about the terrible danger that the cats on the site are already in with demolition all around them and no food.
Celia contacted the Head of External Relations on the 14th November to express her frustration and anger. She was told that a few hours were needed to review this.
On the 15th November, The Head of External Relations telephoned Celia to say that she had not been able to contact the Construction Team concerned but would try again the next day.
There was no further word until the 22nd November when C.H.A.T was offered four evenings on site (26th-29th November) to locate the cats, set up feeding stations to encourage them back to safe areas where they could be trapped and to complete the rescue of cats on site - a completely impossible and totally unrealistic proposal. These cats are petrified and have probably dispersed over the site, do the O.D.A think we can go on site and call them and they will come running?
WHY ARE WE BANNED?
The O.D.A has banned the Trust from the major part of the Olympic site on Health and Safety grounds.
This is despite the fact that all our rescue staff have CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) Health and Safety qualifications and we have two qualified First Aiders in the team. We are therefore as qualified to work on a construction site as unskilled labourers, and cannot understand why we are not being allowed to complete this rescue project. We submitted Risk Assessments, Method Statements and attended site inductions at Nuttalls, Morrisons and Bovis Lend Lease, the three contractors involved. Our trapping methods do not require us to go into demolition areas, as we encourage cats onto safe feeding sites to be trapped without danger to us or the cats. We operate the traps from our vehicles while parked on the roadways on site, the traps are always close to the vehicles so they can be seen in the dark. The security guards are constantly driving up and down these roadways, so we don't understand how this can be a Health and Safety issue. If it is safe for the guards to drive on the roads, then why not us? Our work is carried out at night so there is no delay to the workings of the site.
It's unfortunate that in the last three weeks of August, the whole of September and October (with the exception of the 19th to the 28th of October) and to date, during which period we were not allowed on the major part of the site to continue trapping, the remaining cats will have dispersed and may have bred.
If we had been allowed to continue our rescue work instead of being banned for the first time on August 5th, then all our rescue work would have been completed weeks ago. What a tragedy that all these unnecessary delays will result in continued suffering for these poor terrified cats.
The O.D.A say that they will notify us if any cats are seen, but that there is no evidence of any more cats. As the site is so incredibly noisy during the day it is not surprising that they haven't seen the cats that we know are there. The cats are hiding during the day venturing out under cover of darkness. We have been told by the O.D.A that all the buildings are inspected for animals before demolition and yet out of the 157 cats that we have rescued only 5 were notified to us by the Olympic authorities. They do not appear to have known that the remaining 152 that we have rescued so far were there, so we do not have any confidence in a system that relies on the O.D.A notifying us of cats that need to be rescued.
C.H.A.T has the backing of the R.S.P.C.A who have written to the O.D.A supporting our request for access and endorsing our capabilities, experience and expertise.
UPDATE: 22nd December >>> VICTORIA & GEORGE'S STORY
They were rescued from Waterden Road, the only part of the Olympic site the ODA cannot stop us from accessing as the bus stations are still in operation and they welcome our efforts to get the cats to safety. George had made his home a week ago in a bus that was out of use and his arrival was reported to us by Alan and Mark from the bus company - he must have taken refuge in the vehicle because of the demolition and devastation elsewhere on the site as he had not been seen before. Alan and Mark have both been very helpful identifying and monitoring movement of cats in the Waterden Road area, most of which we have now brought off site.
Victoria appeared 48 hours ago at a different bus station in the same road, where the many cats we recently rescued had been regularly fed by Larry, one of the bus drivers. She was all alone, terrified and crying pitifully. She was so ravenously hungry that it only took a matter of minutes to get her to enter the trap. Once we got her back to the clinic, we soon realised that she was completely tame and must have originally belonged to someone on the site. She was ear-tipped, so we knew she was neutered. Again, never seen before at that location, she must have been frightened away from her original environment on the site - probably by the huge earth-moving machines that are everywhere on site. We decided to put George and Victoria together as she seemed so distressed and from the moment they saw each other, it was love at first sight - she snuggled up to him, pushed her head under his and started purring and George, who had been almost feral when he came in, instantly became putty in her paws, even allowing us to stroke him.
Although George and Victoria are safe now and will be rehomed together, the heart-breaking thing is that so many other cats are still trapped on the southern part of the site, out of reach of our help, cold, hungry and frightened and struggling to exist in an alien and terribly dangerous world. The ODA repeatedly ignore our numerous requests to go onto the southern part of the Olympic site to rescue them - how long can these poor, traumatised cats survive with no food or shelter? Their avoidable suffering and deaths will stain the London 2012 Olympic Games forever.
END 2007 UPDATE: 168 CATS AND KITTENS ALREADY RESCUED FROM 2012 OLYMPIC PARK DEMOLITION SITE BUT REMAINING CATS DOOMED UNLESS O.D.A. ALLOW C.H.A.T. ACCESS AND ENOUGH TIME TO COMPLETE RESCUE WORK. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE GIVEN C.H.A.T. YOUR SUPPORT REGARDING THE PLIGHT OF THE OLYMPIC CATS. THE CATS NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER NOW THAT THE OLYMPIC DELIVERY AUTHORITY HAS GONE BACK ON THEIR AGREEMENT WITH C.H.A.T AND HAVE SAID THAT ACCESS WILL NOT BE GIVEN UNTIL SOME TIME DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2008. THE O.D.A. REFUSAL TO ALLOW US ON SITE WILL UNDOUBTEDLY RESULT IN THE SUFFERING, STARVATION AND PROBABLE DEATH OF CATS CURRENTLY ON SITE. IT HAS BEEN BITTERLY COLD AND POURING WITH RAIN, INCREASING THEIR MISERY. PUBLIC PRESSURE IS THEIR ONLY HOPE NOW.
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UPDATE: 5th December, 2007
The O.D.A are sending out what appears to be a standard response to members of the public and the media, saying that they have offered C.H.A.T "an extended period of access" on to the site but that we have declined this offer and that we have suggested no alternative dates. This "extended period of access" was only from 26th to the 29th of November from 6pm to midnight. This offer was made to me by the Community Relations Manager, O.D.A, on my mobile in the evening of the 22nd November, while I was trying to catch an injured dog that had been hit by a car. I said that four evenings to complete a rescue project involving cats which had dispersed over the site due to the recent demolition was a completely unrealistic timescale. I asked to be emailed with the O.D.A proposal as I was dealing with an emergency. However I did not receive an email confirming this offer and after C.H.A.T's previous experience of the verbal agreement of October 12th with the O.D.A which was not honoured, I wanted written confirmation of an offer and arrangements. I did not decline access and with regard to the suggestion that we did not offer alternative dates, we have been trying to negotiate access back on to the site since August 5th, with brief access granted from 19th to 28th October. A complete record of correspondence and emails, detailing the whole frustrating and sorry saga, is held by the Trust.
Although we have explained on countless occasions the necessity for setting up feeding stations to encourage the cats back to safe areas adjacent to the roadway for trapping, the granting of four evenings shows a complete lack of understanding of the technique of trapping feral cats. These cats are terrified and will only come out when the site is quiet and under cover of darkness. It requires enormous patience and skill which C.H.A.T's experienced rescue team have. There is no guarantee that, after four evenings on site, the cats would have even discovered the feeding points, let alone that we could have completed trapping them.
As we operate the traps remotely from our vehicles parked on the road side, we have no need to access any other areas as the cats will come to the feeding points. The roads are regularly patrolled by vehicular and pedestrian security guards, so it is difficult to see how we could be in any danger whatsoever.
We feel that the O.D.A offer was a token gesture to diffuse criticism from the public and the media rather than a real attempt to resolve a potentially tragic situation and to suggest that we have not requested alternative access is not true.
UPDATE: 17th January, 2008
On the 15th January a meeting was held between C.H.A.T and the O.D.A. to discuss access to the Olympic site.
The O.D.A. agreed to formalise C.H.A.T's access to the Waterden Road on the Northern part of the site. This is the road that C.H.A.T uses to reach the bus garage at the far end of the road, which is the last company still operating, but which closes on 26th February.
The O.D.A agreed access to the already closed bus garage at the entrance of Waterden road should cats be seen by C.H.A.T or site employees before or during the soft strip prior to demolition.
C.H.A.T has cleared the whole length of the Waterden Road area twice, as new cats are turning up and appear to be those migrating from the Southern part of the site, which now has so much site traffic and heavy earth moving vehicles on it, that any remaining cats will be constantly on the move as this alien environment changes almost daily. We have managed to recover a total of seven cats from just outside the Southern part of the site, by creating strategic feeding points beyond the security gates.
The O.D.A are adamant that C.H.A.T will not have access to the Southern part of the site but we are determined to keep trying to recover any remaining cats trying to survive in this terribly hostile environment.
WE HAVE RECEIVED REPORTS THAT A SMALL NUMBER OF CATS HAVE BEEN SEEN ON THE BOW INDUSTRIAL ESTATE IN THE VICINITY OF THE MAIN CONTRACTORS OFFICE. THIS IS ON THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE SITE AND WE ARE AWAITING A RESPONSE AS TO WHETHER WE WILL BE ALLOWED TO HAVE ACCESS TO RESCUE THEM.
It is in everybody's interests, particularly the cats, to bring this situation to a conclusion. If there is any hope of bringing the remaining cats to safety it must be done very quickly as every day that goes by reduces their chances of survival. With the impending kitten season upon us, those females which do survive will shortly be having kittens and the thought of kittens being born into this environment of demolition, excavation and earthworks is truly appalling.
UPDATE: 3rd February, 2008
The Olympic Delivery Authority have allowed us a period of access on the Southern part of the site at the Nuttalls main site offices on the Bow Industrial Estate from the 1st of Feb to the 10th Feb, from 6.30 p.m until midnight. Good news! Tonight we caught a black and white cat which appears to be pregnant and matches the description of one that was reported to us a few weeks ago (see below). We are not yet sure if there are any other cats here so will be continuing nightly observation and trapping until the 10th. We are grateful to the O.D.A for this concession of access to the Southern part of the site.
It came to our attention that a mother and kittens had been seen recently at the Core Team Offices on the northern part of the site. We negotiated access to these offices and it turned out that the kittens had actually been seen last summer. Access was granted from the 21st January until 27th January and further extended until tonight 3rd February for us to try to trap whatever cats were there. However, the only cat that appeared to be in the immediate vicinity was a pregnant, long haired tabby cat of 7-8 months old, possibly one of the surviving kittens. We trapped her and she is now safe with us. Whilst on site we could hear male cats fighting, presumably over one or more females and by making enquiries we have discovered where this group are located close by. We must now negotiate with the O.D.A for access to rescue them and to have the midnight deadline for trapping removed as most of the cats are nocturnal and are not even seen until the early hours of the morning.
OLYMPIC SUCCESS STORIES
All the cats rescued from the Olympic site have been neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. Kittens not old enough to neuter have been homed with a signed adoption agreement to neuter them as soon as they are old enough.
Out of the 186 cats we have taken in, many have, with lots of TLC, been tame enough to place into homes with understanding new owners. The rest are only going to be happy in barns, stables & smallholdings etc where they are fed and have shelter. We still have 34 cats suitable for farms and smallholdings, so anybody willing to help with homing these ferals do please contact us.
Below is a story of one group of ferals that have found a new home at a stables near Dartford.
One of our rehoming team visited to collect the cats relocation pen and was happy to report how well the cats have settled in.
Although a little camera shy, 2 female cats rescued from Formans Salmon Processing factory turned up for breakfast. This black/white female was the most confident and clearly very content in the large haybarn. 2 other cats popped their heads out of the hay and also looked very well. Their new owners inform us that all 6 cats turn up regularly every evening for feeding.
When we consider the awful future the cats on the Olympic site faced, it is so rewarding to see them in their new homes.
Coming Soon pictures of more of the Olympic Cats in their new homes.
UPDATE: 21st February, 2008
179 cats and kittens have now been rescued from the Olympic Park. Another pregnant cat was caught on the Bow Industrial Estate on Thursday 7th February – fortunately she was rescued before she had to try to find somewhere to have her kittens on a demolition site.
The ODA have now given permission for CHAT to have access to one section of the Bow Industrial Estate until the end of February from 6.30pm until 5am., so we are trying to encourage any remaining cats to this area by setting up a feeding station there.
There is 24 hour working on site, 5 days a week, so it is getting harder and harder to locate remaining cats by persuading them to cross areas of intensive earthworks to reach a safe feeding area.
One of the guards and also one of our rescue team have seen a tortoiseshell cat in the vicinity of the security gates at White Post Lane, Hackney within the Southern part of the Olympic site.
It is a No Through Road, is very quiet and the gates are not in use, so hopefully we will be able to negotiate permission to park there to be able to catch her.
Tortoiseshell cats are always female so it is very important to bring her to safety before she has kittens. We will keep you posted with regard to our hope for negotiated access to rescue her.
We now have permission to access the Core Team offices, where cats have been seen, until the end of March, and have a feed site there to try to concentrate the cats into one area.
The bus garage, our last feeding site on the Waterden Road, closes on 23rd February and unfortunately is one of the best places for catching the cats as the drivers have fed cats there for years.
We caught a young female there last night which had not been seen before – we feel sure that cats recently caught at the bus garage are coming there to avoid the intensive site workings and constant heavy construction traffic on the Southern part of the Olympic Park, so hopefully we can negotiate some ongoing access after closure of the garage.
SEVEN MORE CATS RESCUED
Since our last update, we have rescued another seven cats - a pitifully small number when you consider the time and effort that has gone into this, but at least we have the satisfaction of knowing that seven cats that were petrified, cold, hungry and constantly searching for shelter from the elements and continuous heavy site traffic are now warm, fed, comfortable and have a bright future.
Thank you so much to all the people who have supported CHAT in their efforts for the Olympic cats, for writing letters in support of the cats, and for signing the Petition - we are so grateful. Until we tell you we think our work on the Olympic site is finished, please continue to support our petition to enable CHAT to complete this huge rescue project. Please keep checking our website for updates and "happy endings" stories - coming soon.
THE TORTOISESHELL CAT
Unfortunately, although we were granted access to the Bow Industrial Site until 29th February, the tortoiseshell cat that had been seen in the vicinity of White Post Lane on the southern part of the site, only managed to find our food station on the Bow site on 28th Feb - she was seen around 8pm that night but bolted at the noise of one of the huge lorries approaching. Howling gales and lashing rain all night on the 29th Feb meant we were unsuccessful in catching her. We tried without success to negotiate extended access over the weekend of 1st/2nd March to catch her and were unable to obtain permission to trap her in the quiet No Through Road section of White Post Lane. All we can do now is try, by strategically putting food and hoping she will find it, to encourage her to move around 500 yards to an area where it's safe to trap her. The food is being eaten but we have not seen her again. She will be pregnant by now, if she has not had kittens already. What a tragedy.....
One cat in particular has proved, so far, impossible to catch, in spite of all my 40 years experience. A large longhaired black cat we call Blackjack, has been seen just about everywhere on the site, and seems to constantly move around. In the past, whenever I was told he had been seen somewhere, by the time I got to the place he had moved on. He was seen at both bus garages periodically while they were still open, at the Clays Lane ex-travellers site, at the Core Team Offices site, at the back of the Hoo Hing Chinese supermarket, where cats feasted on Chinese delicacies out of the skips before the company closed, and at various points along the Waterden Road. He has always been trap-shy, and we think that he may have been trapped, neutered and returned at some point in his life. We obtained permission a few weeks ago to site a dummy trap in an area he had recently been visiting on the Waterden Road and put food put in it daily to accustom him to walking into it. He appeared to be gaining confidence with food being eaten from a couple of inches inside the trap but, a few days later, we were told to remove the dummy trap - for operational reasons. Blackjack then disappeared. We had to try to find him again - no mean feat on an 800 acre site. Eventually, we were told that he had been seen a few times under a bridge at the Core Team Offices and we concealed a dummy trap there. After about three weeks, food was going from the back of the trap but we didn't know whether it was Blackjack, or one of the numerous foxes, that was eating it. As Blackjack was so elusive the manual trap we normally use was not an option and we had to use an automatic - very much a last resort. On Friday night, 14th March, while we were catching a cat elsewhere on the Olympic site, the automatic trap was set and checked at first light Saturday morning. We had caught a cat, but it was not Blackjack - a terrified tabby stared wide-eyed at us from the trap, possibly a sibling of the pregnant longhaired tabby we had caught there previously. We put the tabby in the van, reset the trap and checked it later. We were horrified to find the trap closed, with all the food inside eaten. That could only mean one of four things - the trap had malfunctioned, the cat had eaten all the food and then somehow managed to open the trap from the inside (extremely unlikely, but not impossible), a fox had gone into the trap and, being bigger than a cat, had managed to back out of the trap as the door closed, or someone had released him from the trap, perhaps thinking we were going to put him to sleep. This was a complete disaster and we were right back to square one with Blackjack. For the next five nights food in the dummy trap was untouched. A little was eaten last night from the entrance of the trap, so we're going tonight to see if we can catch him, but are not hopeful - he has a long memory.
UPDATE: 19th March
Trapping the remaining cats on the Olympic site is now a very slow, laborious and labour-intensive process.
There are very few cats left and their behaviour and appearance at feed sites is erratic, to say the least.
The terrain changes almost daily, due to massive earth moving works. This is very disorientating for the cats and those we have caught recently have been very stressed and traumatised.
Many people have suggested that we should be satisfied with rescuing the 186 cats already caught - why worry about the handful that are left?
We cannot abandon them - we want to know when the Olympic Games take place in 2012 that we have done our utmost to ensure that every single cat and kitten has been rescued from site during the preparation for this momentous event.
UPDATE: 24th March 2008
Sadly, no luck with Blackjack - the food in the trap has been untouched for several days and we fear he may have moved on yet again. We'll continue to put food there, though, in case he returns.
We have had reports that a longhaired black cat has been seen a few times recently in the vicinity of Morrison's main administrative offices in Waterden Road. We're grateful to Morrison Construction and to the ODA for allowing us access to these offices - however, we have now been told that the cat has mostly been seen opposite Morrison's offices in the old bus garage, so we are trying to encourage the cat across the Waterden Road to the offices where we are allowed to have a dummy trap with food in it. This is not as easy as it sounds, as these offices are also the Headquarters of the security firm guarding the site and the guards often park outside with their dogs, which naturally bark a lot.
We are getting very concerned about the deadline of 31st March for completing all work on site. On current form, we have little chance of rescuing Blackjack by that date and are going to try and negotiate enough time on site to get him and any other cats to safety. This week we have a meeting with the ODA, which will also be attended by Dee Doocey, Chair, Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism. At this meeting there will be a complete review of the situation regarding access to areas of the Olympic site.
UPDATE: 30th March
The meeting with the ODA, which we thought was going to be last week, did not take place. Dee Doocey, Chair, Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism, who very kindly has taken an interest in the fate of the Olympic cats, was going to attend but, unfortunately, the date we have been given of Tuesday, April 1st for a meeting is too short notice for her to be able to come. The meeting is the day after our deadline of 31st March when our access on site expires, so it is essential that we can reach some agreement to be able to rescue what we think may be the last cat - the elusive Blackjack. He has not been seen now for several days, but we cannot bear to leave him behind. We will update you on the results of this meeting after Tuesday.
UPDATE: 7th April, 2008
***186 CATS AND KITTENS NOW RESCUED ***
Our meeting with the ODA took place on April 1st and we came away feeling quite positive about the possibility of being given some extended access.
We have had confirmation today that we have been given further access to areas we had requested until 24th April, when we will have a meeting on site to review the situation.
We are grateful to the ODA for this concession - it is a great relief that we have more time to try to track down Blackjack.
There has been no sign of him for several days but food is going sporadically from the dummy traps at the feeding sites and we are still hoping we can get him safely off site.
It really is the proverbial needle in a haystack situation as his behaviour is so erratic.
Please keep checking for updates.
Some happy news from two of the cats rescued from the bus garage on Waterden Road, the photo (above) shows Boycie and James relaxing in their new home.
UPDATE: 1st May
On the 24th April we had a meeting with the O.D.A in which it was agreed that our access would be extended to the 5th May to try to rescue Blackjack as food was sporadically going from the two dummy traps on the two small parts of the site we are allowed to access. Occasionally we knew it was birds that had eaten it because of the way the food was scattered about but we are sure it was not taken by foxes as the paper was not pulled out of the dummy trap as foxes typically will do. We told the O.D.A that we were using a spy cam camera but were having some technical problems with it and they offered to get their own I.T company to rig up a camera trained onto one of the traps. This seemed an excellent idea but we impressed on them that it was so important that the filming should be carried out over a long enough period -say, 7 days- to know whether or not he was coming to the trap. A few weeks ago he was so traumatised and terrified by the onsite workings that it would often be days between sightings at various locations. The camera equipment was installed Monday afternoon the 28th April and since then every evening there has been torrential rain, so trying to catch sight of him in this atrocious weather was extremely unlikely. We have received an email today from the O.D.A saying that the hard drive has been removed today for review tomorrow and that if there are no images of Blackjack then we will be required to finish work and leave the site tomorrow evening. Seventy two hours is absolutely not long enough to know whether he is in the area or not. There has been no response to our request to keep the filming going over the Bank Holiday weekend while it would be quieter on site with more likelihood of Blackjack coming to the trap, nor to our request to review the DVD footage ourselves. We have emailed the O.D.A this evening to ask again for the agreement for access until May 5th to be honoured and await a response from them tomorrow. If we have 7 days continuous filming at the K.I.C.C building with no sign of Blackjack then we will be satisfied that he is no longer in this particular location and we will continue concentrating on our feeding points outside the site in the hope that he can be encouraged off site. This website will be updated tomorrow.
UPDATE: 2nd May
Our appeals for Blackjack fell on deaf ears and today we were notified by the O.D.A that we must pack up our equipment and leave the site tonight.
We are attending an emergency tonight but will update you more fully on this situation over the weekend.
UPDATE: 4th May
Again, an agreement between CHAT and the ODA has not been honoured and Blackjack's chances of survival have been reduced by the O.D.A decision to refuse us access after the 2nd May. At our meeting with the ODA on 24th April, it was agreed that CHAT would have access until and including Bank Holiday Monday, May 5th, to try to rescue the elusive Blackjack - it was also agreed that the ODA would get their IT people to set up a camera to observe comings and goings from the dummy trap which was located approximately 200 yards from where Blackjack was last seen.The camera was necessary because, in spite of many long hours spent at the traps,the food often disapeared during hours we were not allowed on site so we needed 24 hour camera cover to know what was eating the food.
I stressed the importance of recording for a 7 day period - which would have taken us through to the end of the Bank Holiday - to allow for the fact that Blackjack would be terrified by all the workings on site and, if he was still around, might only be brave enough to come to the trap periodically, when he felt it was safe.
The holiday period would have been the best time to record footage as it would have been relatively quiet on site, so we were very upset and angry to receive an email on Friday, 2nd May from the ODA saying that they had viewed the footage over 48 hours, Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th April, there were no images of Blackjack recorded and we would have to remove all our equipment and vacate the site permanently that evening.
There was torrential rain almost non-stop Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and anyone who has any experience at all of trapping/ rescuing feral cats will know that it is virtually impossible to catch cats when it's pouring with rain - so, of course, the atrocious weather meant that no cat was seen in that 48 hour period.
When we collected our equipment on Friday night, the cameras were still in place, trained on the dummy trap, everything was still plugged into the mains and all that was needed was for the equipment to be reset and checked after May 5th - we had already been given permission to be there until then. What possible harm could there have been in doing this?
A cynical person might be tempted to think that, because the ODA refused to monitor the trap over the holiday weekend - the most likely time for Blackjack to be seen as the site would be much quieter than usual - there was no great enthusiasm on their part for him to be seen on camera. If he was seen, we would have needed access to rescue him and they do not want us on site. The beautiful weather, day and night, over the weekend makes it even more frustrating that the cameras were not recording at a time when, if Blackjack was still there, we had the best chance of him coming to the trap.
Being denied access from 2nd May means that we will never know whether Blackjack was still in the vicinity or not.
If he is still there, I can't help him now. Had I been given seven continuous days of monitoring without sight of him, I would have accepted that he was no longer there and would have concentrated on my feeding sites outside the perimeter of the 800 acre site. This we will do of course in any case and will report progress and hopefully some news that he has been sighted outside the site.
UPDATE: 12th May
Our requests to view footage taken at the location of the dummy trap have been ignored - obviously we are not going to be allowed to see this. Such good P.R, don't you think?
One of our rescue staff or volunteers puts food every night in non-operational dummy traps around the outside of the site to encourage whatever is there to exit, and every few days one of us does a 'stakeout' through the night to see what comes. In this way two more cats from an industrial estate very close to the Olympic Park - one of which was pregnant - have been caught but no sighting yet of Blackjack. This amazing cat has survived the whole demolition process over several months and if he is still alive, we feel that sooner or later he will find one of the exit points on site.
UPDATE: 9th June
Although we have been putting food nightly at targeted sites just outside the Olympic Park, there has not been a sighting of Blackjack since our last update and then suddenly, within the space of a few days, we have had two possible leads. It has been reported to us that a group of cats that had originally come from the Olympic site are living behind a building outside the security gates on the western side of the site- this information came second hand and we are trying to contact the original caller for more details.
We also have been told by an employee about a visiting black fluffy male cat at the site of a factory where we are currently trapping two mothers and kittens. The factory, although just outside the Olympic site, is very close to the general area Blackjack used to frequent, so we are daring to hope it might be him - his route to this place would be relatively simple.
We'll post an update when we have more news
BLACKJACK - Safe at last!
UPDATE DECEMBER 08 BLACKJACK HAS A LOVELY NEW HOME - MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW SOON
UPDATE 11th JULY : BLACKJACK IS SAFE!
Just when all hope seemed lost, Blackjack - the 187th and last known cat on the 800 acre Olympic site has finally been rescued.
Since May 2nd, when the Olympic Delivery Authority refused further access to CHAT to try to locate the elusive Blackjack, the Trust has been inundated by calls and emails from concerned animal-lovers around the world, wanting to know if he had been found. We never had any good news for them and were ourselves beginning to doubt that he was still alive.
It was just past 4am and we were waiting to rescue another cat at a factory adjacent to the canal bordering the Olympic Park: when suddenly Blackjack appeared, coming across the canal from the towpath on the other side, making his way to our feed site. We could hardly believe our eyes when he went to the trap and walked around it for what seemed an age.
Eventually, after a nail-biting wait, he couldn't resist the chicken inside it any longer and we caught him. We were ecstatic!
Blackjack is at our Lewisham Clinic and is recovering from his stressful and traumatic experiences over the last few months on the Olympic site, where he spent all his waking moments in constant danger and trying to stay alive on the largest demolition site in Europe. Pictures and an update on his progress will follow soon.
We'd like to thank all the thousands of people who have supported us in our fight to gain access to save the Olympic cats - for writing letters to their MPs and to the ODA, for signing our petition and for giving us encouragement and moral support when it was very much needed.
We are so grateful to you all.
Blackjack - happily settled in a new home!
Here follows an update from Blackjack's new owners as to his progress.
"Hi, We thought it was way past time that we gave you an update on Blackjack.
He's a wonderful personality and lots of fun to have around. He plays a lot and we very much enjoy this as we have laminate flooring so every now and then we see a big black blur sliding past us, brilliant! He also likes company and follows us around the house interacting with sound and occasionally jumping on us to remind us he's there. We now know this means it's playtime, but the sound of a rather large and surprisingly heavy footed mini panther running up behind you still makes us shriek (although now with hilarity rather than terror).
He loves finding the highest point in the room to climb up to and sleep, currently our new 6ft fridge! He's very affectionate, when he wants to be, and is such a big cat that he doesn't tend to fall asleep on us for long as he slips off our laps!
He's also rather contrary/difficult – we have the cat flap in the front door (leading onto a pedestrian area) but he always insists on being let out the back door then walking round.
Some people have suggested that Blackjack should be an Olympic mascot for London 2012 - that was until it was pointed out that a black cat is generally seen as bad luck!
Thanks to all of you for dealing with him and persevering even when he was terrorising your staff, he was definitely worth the effort and is a pleasure to be around.
All our best
Sarah & Andy (& Blackjack)"
Alice and William
Mercury was left in a cat carrying box on our Lewisham Branch doorstep in December. We discovered that she was microchipped but when we phoned her owner they told us that they had given nine year old Mercury away. They said they didn't have a contact number for her new owner so we don't know why she was unwanted. She now has a lovely new home with Carol and her husband.
I thought you might like to see some pictures of Mercury in her new home. She's settled in really well & is the perfect fit for us. She likes nothing better than to stretch out on the sofa & have her back rubbed or to look out the window at all the activity in the nearby park.
Beanie and Jelly
Beanie and Jelly were discovered in a box at a London bus stop, aged just two weeks old last year. After such an awful start, they luckily recovered from their ordeal at our Greenacres Rehoming Centre in East Sussex, and have found a home with their new friend, Sprout.
I thought it was time we updated you on the trio's progress. All the girls are doing well. They all love their food and they've not become picky - yet.
They still love their glitter balls - definitely their favourite game - and they enjoy racing around. Sprout and Beanie particularly love climbing up the curtains and balancing on the curtain rods and fanlights. We've got them a tunnel which they've been having fun with, ambushing one another.
They all play together and they sleep together, although mostly in two's. They all like having laps and their purrs are very loud. It's like having a river of black and white felinity as they flow round the house together. Sometimes it's more Keystone Cops as they chase each other along the corridor and all you see is a couple of blurs of black and white. They're hilarious.
Cathy & Andrew
Aster and Vesper
It's been almost a year since I adopted Aster and Vesper from your Lewisham branch (and a year since I first saw them on your site and fell in love with their adorable faces). They're about to experience their first real Christmas and they love sneaking under the Christmas tree and swatting at the decorations from the inside. They sleep on my bed every night and Aster wakes me up every morning when it's time for breakfast; she's a chatty little cat who loves chasing shadows and lights reflecting off shiny things. Vesper is still a bit shy and runs under the sofa when the doorbell rings, but she will headbutt me and ask for cuddles and roll on her back for tummy rubs while purring like a motorbike engine.
Here are a few recent photos of them getting into the festive spirit—thank you again for the sweetest cats in the world!
Just to let you know, we took Kitty Cat home on Saturday and she is settling in really well. She has been very gentle with my little boy Douglas, and he loves her already. Here is a picture of him presenting her with some of his toys!
Thank you so much. She already feels like one of the family.
Dusty and Sid
Dusty was found wandering around a garden, looking very disorientated. After she came into our Lewisham rescue centre, it became apparent that she is blind (our vets think she was born without any retinas). She found a loving home with Paul and Eva, and a few months later the couple took in Sid, who had sadly lost his sight after being in a serious road traffic accident.
Dusty has settled in really well! She's playful, mischievous and so loving! You would never know she is blind when we watch her dart around the flat. We are enjoying every day with her and watching her grow! smile emoticon
Sid has finally had his last operation, having his wire removed from his jaw. He is amazing considering what he has been through and such a loving and happy cat! He and Dusty are slowly getting used to one another; they just make each other jump as neither can see the other coming.
Thank you again for giving us yet another wonderful and special cat!
Eva and Paul
Lottie and Bo
Dear staff at Celia Hammond,
Just to update you on our two lovely pussycats adopted a year ago today - tabby Lottie and b/w Bo. They are doing brilliantly, and as you can see from the photo they are growing up into demure young ladies.
Lottie loves the great outdoors and spends hours outside, but sleeps at the bottom of our bed. Bo is a homebody who loves her creature comforts, snuggling up in one of her many beds, preferably next to a radiator! They are both absolutely adorable and we are completely in love with them. Thanks so much for letting us bring them home - we can't imagine being without them.
All the best,
Jo and Peter
Mowski, Wacky-cat and Slinky Malinky
We originally rescued these three feral cats from the East End of London, before transferring them to our Greenacres Rehoming Centre & Sanctuary in Brede, East Sussex, for homing. They have found a happy, loving home together.
The cats are doing just fine. We have named them Mowski, Wacky-cat and Slinky Malinky. They wander around the whole 30 acres, but they always sleep in their cabin and always turn up for breakfast. They have become quite tame, especially the male Mowski.
Darrell, Stuart and cats
Rolo and Wilson
Rolo and Wilson were rescued separately last year by our Canning Town Branch. Both were injured when they arrived (Wilson was saved by our wonderful supporters, who donated funds for his life-saving specialist surgery). While recovering in our centre, they became good friends and found a home together.
Just thought you might like another couple of pictures of the boys.
They've settled in so well, and Wilson has become a very loving boy, and Rolo continues to get into everything.
Alex & Nick
Cleo and Macey
Mother and daughter, Cleo and Macey were cared for by Katie, one of our volunteer fosterer carers, along with Cleo's latest litter of two kittens whilst they awaited a new home. The younger two kittens soon found a new home, but as adults Cleo and Macey took a little longer. It's great to see them happily settled in their permanent home with Rebecca.
I’ve been meaning to get in touch for ages to let you know that the two cats I adopted from you in November have been just fantastic. They settled immediately into their new home, coming straight out of the box to sit on my lap. They are relaxed and friendly, and provide great entertainment as they chase each other around the house.
Many thanks for looking after them so well before they came to me.
Lexie and Lola
Lexie and Lola are doing great, they are both lovely cats.
Lexie, the mum, is going outside - I have a cat flap and she is in and out at the weekend and evenings. Lola is a bit scared to go out, so I will see if that changes when the weather is warmer and I am out in the garden more. I am not pushing her; she will do it when she feels ready, but if she is destined to be a house cat, that is fine too.
Lola is a funny thing; she loves taking things out of my bedside drawer, so she is a 'cat burglar' - she has hidden credit cards that were in there and it took a while to find them! I don't mind, as she is happy. Plus it is funny when I come home to see what is lying on the floor waiting for me!
I have attached a picture of them in a box (Lexie decided it was not for underwear, it was her bed!). Mum looks like she is laughing but I think in reality it is a yawn; still a funny picture though.
Thanks & regards,
Tiggs' story starts with an uncaring owner who moved away and left him behind to fend for himself. Local people fortunately noticed him, fed him and came to his aid when he suffered a nasty infected abscess wound.
We received an email from Rachel to say Tiggs had gone missing from Catford, and could we let her know if he had been handed in? Rachel was particularly concerned as he had a nasty abscess wound on the side of his face. She had taken him a few days previously to an emergency out-of-hours vet, where he had been prescribed antibiotics which she had been putting in his food, but now that he was missing he wasn't getting his medication.
The next day, we received an email from Sophie, also from Catford, reporting a stray ginger cat with a wound to his face who needed help. We immediately matched the two calls, and yes it turned out that Rachel and Sophie lived in adjacent streets so we were sure that Tiggs would soon turn up in one of their gardens.
However, when Kelley from our rescue team met Sophie that evening, Tiggs hadn't turned up. We were all very worried as the wound to his face sounded like it might be infected. Fortunately, Tiggs turned up at Rachel's home the next day. He then came to our Lewisham clinic where our vets were able to treat him - his abscess wound was cleaned and stitched and he was neutered, wormed, defleaed and checked over.
Rachel has very kindly given Tiggs a permanent new home. His injury has completely healed, he has gained weight and has settled in brilliantly with her own cat. It is so nice to see Rachel's photo of Tiggs looking so happy and well.
At CHAT we provide a vital rescue service for animals in need. In the areas surrounding our two London clinics - South East and East London we are the primary charity carrying out rescue work with stray, sick, injured or feral cats and kittens. We also respond to requests for assistance from Housing Associations, Council departments, the Police, Social Services, and other charities in situations involving the collection of pets where people have been evicted, died, hospitalised, arrested, sectioned or in other welfare situations. Our skills working with feral cats and kittens are specialised and were originally developed by Celia about 40 years ago at a time when pest control firms were the normal way to deal with feral cats which were considered vermin in those days. Our Sanctuary team are similarly busy with the task of responding to assist cats in need in East Sussex and parts of Kent.
On this page we tell you about some of the rescue cases we have undertaken, stories which illustrate the variety of situations that we are called to rescue animals from.
Feral colonies..... Ford's of Dagenham
Our Canning Town Branch rescue team worked with with Ford's car manufacturing plant in Dagenham to neuter dozens of stray and feral cats that live on the 800 acre site.
Stray cats had been breeding uncontrolled leading to several different colonies of feral cats living at different points on the site.
The cats are well fed and cared for by staff working at the plant, but because the cats had bred rapidly there was concern about their welfare as the numbers continued to increase. By neutering the cats we have prevented the birth of more kittens and have been able to stabilise the population. The staff at Ford's will continue to feed and care for the cats and will contact us for assistance should they ever become unwell or injured.
Our rescue teams routinely respond to trap, neuter and return colonies of feral cats. Feral cats that we neuter and return are "ear-tipped" - the tip of the left ear is clipped whilst they are neutered. This does not cause the cat any distress but is done so that anyone can identify at a distance that the cat is neutered. Ear tipping is a standard practice carried out by animal charities around the world. The cats are also micro chipped and registered to ourselves so that if they are ever picked up again we can locate which colony they belonged to and their feeders details.
Injured cats - attacks by dogs on cats is a problem in many areas...
Attacks by dogs on cats is a problem in London. Irresponsible and inexperienced owners allow their dogs to roam the streets off the lead and when their dogs chase cats they are unable to control them. Many of the dogs do not just chase cats but are catching them causing serious injuries or death. In some cases dogs are jumping front garden gates and attacking cats in their own gardens. Some witnesses have report deliberate attacks where owners have encouraged their dog to attack cats.
Kermit's story: A lady ran into our clinic to tell us that a cat had just been attacked by a dog in the side street and then as he escaped had been run over. We raced to the scene but couldn't find him, we continued an extensive search of the area over the rest of that day and night and distributed over 100 posters in our search for him.
Five days later he was discovered in a garden, he was virtually collapsed suffering with multiple infected bite wounds to his legs and bruising. After initial urgent veterinary treatment Kermit was cared for at our Canning Town veterinary clinic where he required a long course of antibiotic treatment and daily wound cleaning and dressing. We named him "Kermit"
Kermit was very frightened but soon became relaxed and very friendly,
he had clearly once been a pet but no owner came forward to claim him and once he recovered he was rehomed.
We advise that cat owners do not let their pets out on to the street or into communal areas but instead try to encourage them to stay in back gardens.
Abandoned Pets: Cats dumped in the woods...
These cats and kittens were discovered in this cage in woods near Ilford by a dog walker.
They were off the footpath in deep undergrowth and were only discovered by her dog who was barking frantically at the cage. The frantic dog walker had no transport and called a friend who came with a car, between them they managed to get the cage out of the woods and drive to a local P.D.S.A (another charity veterinary clinic). The P.D.S.A are unable to take in animals for rehoming so they called us.
This photo shows the cats just arrived at our clinic. After being neutered, vaccinated and microchipped they all found new homes. Cats being abandoned in baskets, boxes etc is an increasing problem, many are abandoned on our centres doorsteps but others are discovered in parks, by bins, outside shops or just left in the street.
This kitten (right) was discovered in this box on the pavement outside C.H.A.T's Canning Town Veterinary Clinic.
POPPY - an emaciated dog abandoned on the street
This dog was found wandering the streets of East London
She was in an emaciated condition and had clearly been starved. The end of her tail was really sore and we think she had been kept in a small space where her tail had been hitting a wall or hard surface when she wagged it.
Poppy as we named her is such an adorable good natured dog - we just cannot imagine how anyone could be so cruel to her.
After weeks of care Poppy made a full recovery and found a wonderful new home. Poppy's new owner told us: "Poppy is an absolute darling and has such a lovely temperament - so different from the trembling skeletal wreck we took in just a few months ago. She loves to run and run and to play with other dogs but would be happy`on her own so long as she had someone home during the day and had a garden to play in. She loves everything, including cats, but we feel she would be too lively to actually live with cats and small children as she wants to jump up and kiss everything and everybody and is quite a big girl!"
Benson - an abandoned dog
"Benson" was brought into Canning Town Branch by a resident of a block of flats, trembling, shaking with fear - he had been wandering around her flats the previous night howling and whimpering all night.
He only has one eye and cringed when anyone lifted a hand to do anything - we are sure he had been badly treated and is particularly wary of men. He is only 7-8 months old and deserves a second chance in life.
After just 24 hours Benson had perked up and enjoyed a cuddle, he was very lucky to find a wonderful new home with a member of C.H.A.T staff.
Breeding out of control.... Twenty three cats and kittens
We received a call asking us to take in three cats and a litter of kittens because their owner was returning home the following day to the Ukraine as his employment in the U.K had ended.
We attended and found that he had 23 kittens and six adult cats! On arrival in the U.K he had acquired two kittens one of each sex which he had not neutered, they soon produced a litter of kittens and then this year the parents and four of the female 'kittens' had given birth!
None of the cats were vaccinated either and the kittens were suffering with terrible cat flu.
We brought them all into our care where it was a round the clock marathon task nursing the sick kittens back to health. The kittens had severe conjunctivitis and were very congested, after gently bathing their eyes and noses several times a day we would then apply antibiotic eye ointment. They all required courses of antibiotics and the sickest kittens also needed hand feeding and/or syringe feeding because they couldn't smell their food and were not eating enough.
Sadly two kittens were too weak and did not survive, the others made a full recovery and found new homes.
Did you know that if a female cat was to mate every time she came into season, and all her kittens were to survive and breed, then there could be up to 21,000 extra cats in just 7 years.
Cats can live 18- 20 years and dogs almost as long, so it's not surprising that there is a shortage of good homes when so many people let their pets have litters without a thought as to what will become of the kittens or puppies in the long term! Neutering as many cats and dogs as possible is the only humane solution to the pet over population problem.
From one cat to a colony of nineteen......
We received a call to rescue a cat with a broken leg at a freight yard. On arrival we discovered there were 19 other semi-feral cats living there and they were all unneutered.
We have now neutered and returned the colony and are treating the cat with the broken leg. The cats are well fed and welcomed at the site.
One older female cat was friendly and we were told that she was the first cat to turn up at the yard and is the original mother of the colony.
She must have once must have been someone's pet who was abandoned or got lost - if only they had neutered her!
She is middleaged and required treatment for Horners Syndrone which was causing her eye to droop. She has made a full recovery, and has been neutered and has now found a new home.
A Feral Experience.....
The neutering service we offer for pet cats and dogs is helping to reduce the numbers of unwanted pet kittens and puppies being born, but unfortunately, it does not take many irresponsible people to continually create new feral cat colonies on the streets by abandoning their unneutered pet cats. Literally, every street is home to feral and stray cats in the most deprived areas of East London. At night, when driving to sites where we are rescuing cats, we continually see cats crisscrossing the roads. Many are ragged looking tomcats dodging cars or ransacking rubbish bags. Often we arrive to rescue one mother and kittens, only to find many more cats which have not been reported to us but are in urgent need of help
For instance, whilst attending to collect a stray cat having difficulty giving birth on a doorstep, we were beckoned across to help with a mother and five feral 7-week old kittens in a back garden and a tame heavily pregnant cat living in another front garden. At the other end of the street, at the rear of a small food shop, more cats were popping in and out from under a gate.
We returned that night, parked the van, and watched. In the early hours of the morning three scrawny tabby cats came and snatched at the food we put out to tempt them. One had a badly injured eye. A tatty black and white male joined them. He was thin, battle scarred and had an abscess on his cheek. Then a tabby kitten, with a grossly infected eye, ran out to try to get some food. It wasn't brave enough to push between the adults and ran back under the gate. Another feline shape could be seen creeping along in our direction under the cars. Out came an emaciated black cat, fur turning brown, due to his poor condition. He only had one ear. A fourth tabby cat appeared, obviously a female. She was very thin and had patches of fur missing. Another kitten, black and white, appeared from under the gate. This time, both kittens got some food to eat and then darted back.
We left a leaflet for the shopkeeper, and returned the next day to speak to him. He didn't want the cats, and didn't feed them they just scavenged rubbish at the back of his shop. Full as we were, we decided these cats could not be left in this situation. The point of telling you this story is to show that one evenings work, supposedly to collect one cat having kittens on a doorstep, resulted in the Trust taking in 15 cats and kittens.
Appalling Problem ....In some areas, stray cats and kittens are everywhere and, rather like the large urban fox population, very few of them are fed, so their numbers are similarly controlled by disease, starvation and road accidents. However, cats breed even more rapidly than foxes, so the situation is desperate in many areas. The only way to solve this appalling problem is to control the domestic cat population through neutering, and to neuter and return ferals where there is a food source or a feeder. Where there is no identifiable access to food and the cats appear starving, we remove, neuter and rehome them, having restored them to good health.
By humanely reducing the cat and dog population through intensive neutering, we feel that the status of these animals will improve, and they will be seen to be worthy of respect and consideration.
More Abandoned Dogs....
It is not only cats that find themselves on the streets. Dogs are also abandoned by heartless owners.
Some greedy uncaring owners breed their dogs to try and make money by selling puppies.
Bonnie (left) was found scavenging from a bin, she was emaciated and was so weak that her legs were buckling under her. She had clearly recently raised a litter of puppies, her owner may have been able to sell her puppies but not an adult dog in poor condition.
Canning Town Branch nursed Bonnie back to health (as you can see in this photo of her - right) and she found a new home. Bonnie's new owner told us: "She's a loving, affectionate family member, and we wouldn't be without her."
Poppet (left) was found dumped in a box along with some rubbish. An adorable elderly dog, we wonder what had happened that this could have been her fate. Poppet had a mouth full of rotten teeth which our vets soon sorted out and then she was rehomed.
Our London Branches facilities are not really suited for caring for dogs that need new homes for any length of time.
If you could help with fostering a dog whilst a permanent new home is sought please do get in touch.
This emaciated Staffy boy, weighed only 9.2 Kg, when he was left tied to our rear fence on a freezing January night.
He was as cold as ice, trembling and terrified - God knows how long he had been there.
If we had not found him, we don't think he would have survived the night.
We named him "Lucky".
Lucky required small meals every hour or so, because he had been starved and had to fed very carefully over the first few days.
He loved his first comfortable bed - he'd obviously not had a bed before as he had callouses on pressure points where he must have been lying on concrete.
Lucky was fortunate enough to be adopted by the mother of one of our veterinary nurses and made a full recovery.
Suffering strays...... Bagpuss a stray who suffered terribly because his eyelids were rolling inwards.
Bagpuss was a stray and came to us suffering with a condition called 'entropion', this is where the eyelids are rolling in, this means that the cats fur is constantly rubbing the surface of the eyes. This is very painful and can damage the eye's surface as well as causing permanent watery eyes and eye infections.
Our vets have operated to correct his eyelids and Bagpuss is now much more comfortable. In the photo the fur around his eyes is still growing back after being shaved for his operation - soon he will be truly handsome again!
Bagpuss has now found a new home. Many of the strays we rescue have been surviving on the streets with health problems and old untreated injuries.
Tatty was stray when his eye was injured and prolapsed.
Tatty was a shy young cat who was living stray, he suffered an injury to his eye that left his eye prolapsed.
As a nervous stray no one could catch him to take him anywhere for help. We were called and were able to trap Tatty and bring him to our clinic for treatment. His eye could not be saved so it was removed. Tatty was also neutered, microchipped and vaccinated.
After a few weeks Tatty gradually relaxed and became much more friendly and has now found a new home.
Abandoned and stray mother cats and their kittens....
Stray unneutered female cats give birth to their young where ever they can and our rescue workers are kept very busy responding to calls to rescue litters of kittens that have been discovered living in often quite dangerous situations.
The mother cats have often managed to hide their kittens until at 6-8 weeks old the kittens become more adventurous and begin following mum in search of food. At 6-8 weeks old because they have not been handled and socialised by people the kittens are nervous of human contact and are generally known as feral. Our rescue workers are trained and know how to humanely and safely catch feral kittens.
It is also very important to rescue or in the case of older kittens that would be very difficult to tame up to at least neuter and return them as left in an unneutered state they too will be capable of breeding from four months old and a feral cat colony will rapidly grow.
The mother cat pictured left had been shut outside by her owner....
We were called out to a house, where a man had had an operation and the doctor advised him to not have any animals in the house. He therefore promptly put his heavily pregnant cat outside permanently. She gave birth to 5 kittens in the drain at the front of the house.
Kittens rescued from under decking
We received a call about some kittens that were trapped under some garden decking.
Their stray mother had been popping in and out to feed them but had disappeared and the kittens were crying pitifully.
We attended and managed to pinpoint the crying and carefully prise the decking boards up.
Sadly for one kitten we were two late but the other two were still alive.
They were approx 2 weeks old required hand rearing but both survived their ordeal.
Their mother never reappeared, cats are such good mothers that something must have happened to her to prevent her being able to return.
The photo shows (far left) the hollow under the decking that the kittens were in and (right) one tiny and hungry but alive kitten.
Olive and Pip's Story!
We rescued Olive whilst she was giving birth to premature kittens on a pavement - sadly only one of her babies survived - Pip a tiny male kitten.
Pip had a congenital defect where his back legs were splayed - it's known as 'Swimmer' kitten. However it is correctable, the treatment involved keeping Pips back legs tied together with surgical tape to hold them the correct distance apart and to allow his leg muscles to strengthen. Treatment took several weeks but Pip became able to walk normally. Olive and Puip have since been rehomed.
Watch a video clip of Olive and Pip....
This poor cat was after she suffered horrific injuries which were presumably the result of a dog attack.
She was a nervous stray that had been neutered previously and returned to a woman who continued to feed and care for her in her garden and she occasionally ventured indoors.
One afternoon to her horror she found Puss Puss, who had been missing for a few days in her garden with her front legs terribly injured, the terrified cat struggled as best she could into the house and the woman called us to come and help.
On arrival at our Canning Town Veterinary clinic both of Puss Puss's injuries were so awful - effectively one front foot had been torn off and all that remained of the other was one toe and a pad. It seemed as though nothing could be done except to put her to sleep but one of our vets examined her first and decided that she could operate to save Puss Puss's life and give her a decent quality of life.
The foot with one toe had enough pad to form a short but usable front right leg. The remains of her left leg has been amputated to form a short stump.Puss Puss required intensive care but has recovered well and adjusted to living with her disability.
Three months after being rescued Puss Puss found a new indoor only home.
Whiskas and Snowbell's story
Snowbell (standing in photo) is a friendly female cat, she was living stray at the bottom of some flats.
A kind person was feeding her but her life was a made a complete misery by local children who pelted her with stones whenever they saw her.
Whiskas (hiding under Snowbell) had a really hard time. He was 'rescued' by a man from some people who he told us were badly treating him. He took Whiskas back to his home and let him out of the cat basket, Whiskas promptly disappeared under the kitchen sink unit and was there for the next 8 months!
If this wasn't bad enough the house was completely filthy - in an absolutely appalling state. The kitchen was squalid and running alive with *bleep*roaches.
We were asked to rescue Whiskas from under the sink. His skin was covered in sores which are probably due to lying in such unhygienic conditions for so long - this has now completely healed.
Whiskas was very shy but when we sat quietly with him after ten minutes of gentle stroking he would start to relax and even purr.
Whiskas and Snowbell have now found a caring new home.
Injuries caused to cats by shootings with air guns are sadly common.....
This poor cat had been shot in the face three times with an air gun.
Our vets operated to remove the pellets and he is now recovering from his terrible ordeal.
Colin - a stray rescued with terrible injuries caused by a cat collar.....
Cat collars can be very dangerous, the term 'collar wound' refers to the often terrible injuries that are caused when the cat gets a leg, two legs or a jaw through its collar, if not promptly freed from the collar the collar will start to cut into the flesh.
If a cat is stray and does not have an owner to remove the collar, it will continue 'sawing' into the cats flesh, the wound then becomes infected and in the summer months will attract flies and become fly blown.
We frequently rescue cats that have got one leg caught through a collar and have a deep wound under a leg which requires surgery and a relatively lengthy time to heal as it is an area where there is a lot of friction as the cat moves around.
Colin's case is the most shocking 'collar wound' cat that we have ever come across.
We debated whether this was too shocking to share with you, our supporters. It is cases like this that really hit home why our work to help stray cats is so important.
The collar was cut out under anesthetic and Colin was treated with antibiotics until the infection was under control and we were able to close the dreadful wound which encircled his whole body.
Colin's wounds healed very well and Colin found a loving new home.
Multi-cat households..... cats breed very quickly and cat owners can find the situation gets out of hand very quickly....
East London: We received calls from concerned members of the public reporting a large number of hungry cats that had appeared and were trying to get into houses through windows and via cat flaps.
It was not difficult to locate the source of the cats and we visited to offer assistance.
It turned out that the cats owner had got two cats - one male and one female, both unneutered, two years ago. The cats had kittens and then the cats kittens had kittens and he now had 24 cats.
The property was rented and the Housing Association had taken out an injunction against the cats owner banning him from keeping them, so he had put all the cats outside his flat and shut the window.
The hungry cats had little shelter and some were wet through as it had been raining. Many were just waiting patiently, hoping the window would be reopened so they could get back into the flat.
The cats were all very thin and had been without enough food for some time.
The owner explained to us that he had tried to get help and showed us a list of places he had tried. He could not afford to feed or care for them properly and the situation had got out of control.
Most of the cats were quite friendly and we were able to pick them up and put them into cat carrying baskets. A few of the more timid cats had to be trapped. They were all taken brought to our Canning Town clinic where they were all neutered, vaccinated, treated for fleas and worms and microchipped.
They were all thin but once provided with regular meals and sufficient food began gaining weight. They are mostly very pretty semi-longhaired cats and although some of their coats appeared rather scrawny initially they soon become beautiful looking cats again.
The cats were transferred to our sanctuary near Hastings (East Sussex) in order to find homes.
South East London: 18 cats and two kittens - rescued after a week without food or water
18 cats and two kittens were rescued after their elderly owner was taken into hospital but her cats were left without food or water for a further week!
The cats owners was hospitalised and the police arrived later in the day and secured the property, several cats ran into the garden but the rest were shut in the house without food or water until seven days later when someone from Social Services went to the house and heard kittens crying.
Lewisham rescue team attended the house with a social worker and it immediately became clear that it was not just a matter of calling the cats and putting them in baskets, the whole house was stacked high with piles of old clothes, heavy boxes, rubbish, and very heavy furniture that the cats could hide behind.
There was cat faeces everywhere - and the cats were completely unapproachable, flying into the piles of rubbish and disappearing.
It took several days to ensure that all the cats were caught and brought safely into our care. They were all rehomed.