Spring is on the way!

 

It is that time of year when some Spring cleaning is in order and some ‘out with the old and in with the new’ so here at Mama Cat Trust, in what is supposed to be a quieter time, I have been trying to catch up with everything I haven’t had time to do because there are always animals to be be rescued. As well as pulling out all the stops to re-home animals who have been waiting quite a while, helping with the neutering of many of the owned neighbourhood cats here in London and dealing with all the day to day animal problems of which there are as many as ever, I’ve been planning projects, reassessing things and freshening things up. I am in the process of designing a new logo and changing the website-and I am hoping to have a bit of a relaunch!

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I have also been trying to plan much needed fund-raising events but this gets pushed to the back when there are animal emergencies…which there always are! Fundraising really should be a priority as I cannot help animals without money and funds are always low-I am very resourceful and am quite proud that I can make a little go a long way but I am not a magician and there is nothing I can do about expensive vet fees. I am off to Spain soon but fear I will not be able to get much done as I do not have the funds-it is 70 euros for a cat spay for a start-that is with discount. I will do my best and will also try to meet up with as many of my Spanish contacts as possible to see if there is anything else we can do by working together but it’s the same story, without funds, it is almost impossible. The problem is getting worse out there with the recession combined with the general attitude to street animals.

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At the port

On my last trip, I was happy to find homes for a record number of cats but it was so stressful-so much so that I was wondering if I would be able to continue in Spain. I definitely won’t be able to do much neutering without the funds but will always do whatever I can including other veterinary treatment. I am dreading what I will see this time to be honest. Last time I ended up having to arrange for almost blind Carmen to be fostered and brought to the UK where she is now thriving and before that, two abandoned kittens who were causing mayhem in one of my settled, neutered colonies where they had been rejected. There was nowhere else for them to go and the same with Carmen and I just could not in good conscience leave them on the street as I would have been as bad as the people who had abandoned them in the first place.

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Of course, I have to leave many, many cats on the streets but when they are feral, this is best for them. This is also not a bad life even for friendly strays especially when they are in settled, safe, sterilised, fed colonies and certainly better than being stuck in a shelter with no chance of a home but for some, it is so distressing and hazardous. Many are in danger of serious injury, abuse and poisoning. The kittens that I have brought over have definitely been in that category. I have now found a great transport company who I can rely on and who give me a good rate so the costs in doing this are not bad at all-hello Chris!

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Thanks again to those who responded so positively by pledging to donate by monthly standing order-it is so reassuring to know that people care and that there is some regular money coming in. It really is invaluable and if anybody else would like to make a regular donation in this way, please contact me for the Mama Cat Trust bank account details.

Another way to donate is to buy something from the Amazon wishlist-I was delighted to receive several items from it soon after I compiled it!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/1MDQNDQIPCDT6/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_ws_Cj1htb0BXGHP8

Or there is a link to the list on the Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/MamaCatTrust

There is also the Paypal button on this page.

Carmen, who I rescued in Spain on my last visit is doing extraordinarily well after having her damaged eye removed in January. She went in for a simple procedure but when the vet examined her under anaesthetic, although we had tried so hard to save it, she said the eye needed to be removed. She was spayed at the same time, at about 4 and a half months of age, having come into season on top of everything else over the new year. People find it hard to believe that a kitten can become pregnant so young but they can and do so it is best to have them spayed at 4 months old. Some vets will do it even sooner now as they realise that is preferable to adding yet another litter of kittens for which there are never enough homes.

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Carmen was a ball of energy after her op and was racing around like a mad thing, demolishing everything in her path! Her remaining eye is cloudy but she has some vision which is really great news. She is always playing and ambushing the other cats and plays Fetch!

Over this last week, I said goodbye to my lovely pigeon, Red Legs who I have keeping an eye on and feeding for a few years. He always had damaged feet and although he was part of a small group of pigeons, was also slightly apart from them and would sometimes come to my window on his own for a treat. I don’t know what happened-I just noticed him in the distance seeming a little slow so made a note to try to check him out but the next day when I was going to do so, he didn’t come to my call so I walked over to the park opposite and found his little body immediately. I felt so sad and took him home and buried him in my front garden where he loved to hang out. I miss him.

On a happier note for this last week, I homed Miffy the cat who had been living as a stray in someone’s garden-she is such a sweet and laid back girl and settled into her new life immediately as if she had been there forever-she was sleeping on a human’s bed that very night, lucky Miffy!

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I also homed Dudley the rabbit who had been in a long term foster home where he had the sitting room to himself as a big bunny playground where he could do what he liked! He had not had much interaction recently so I wasn’t sure how he would react when I went to catch him but he was fine after his initial surprise that he wasn’t just to continue doing his own thing! He was so sweet and receptive to strokes and lap sitting-he had a sleepover here for a couple of nights before taking his trip up to his lovely new home in Hull where he will be an indoor rabbit with lots of freedom and lots of rabbit items in pink! He too has settled in wonderfully.

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Finally, I would like to thank the family of Doris James who died on Christmas Day-at her funeral, they requested donations instead of flowers to two charities close to Doris’s heart, one of which was Mama Cat. I had helped Doris with many cats over the years-all the strays seemed to find her, in fact we first met about 20 years ago because of a stray who I called Chico. I had been feeding him in my garden and did my usual trick to see if had an owner, of putting a collar on him with a label attached saying ‘if this is your cat, please call…’  Doris called to say he wasn’t her cat either but she was also feeding him! The rest, as they say, is history and we had a long history of lots of cats! The mum and kittens I took in from the grounds of  the church last year were due to Doris because the young cat had gone begging at her door. There have been many others who she gave shelter to or who I found homes for. RIP Doris-I will miss her a lot but so will the local cats and foxes who she fed every day!

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Merry Christmas from Mama Cat!

Well, what an adventure-Carmen is here all the way from Spain just in time for Christmas! In writing the title, it has just occurred to me that she is the same calico colour as the original, now sadly deceased, Mama cat who started it all. I like that! When I first picked her up from the streets, Carmen was blind and had a huge ulcer on one eye which looked like her eye was popping out but with careful nursing and medication, she can now see-it’s amazing! She doesn’t have 20/20 vision or anything like that and she still has a long way to go and more treatment but I was surprised that she could see so well when she arrived.Carmen on chair

She may still need to have one eye removed but we are trying to save it. I’m giving her medication and treating the eyes-she is such a feisty little thing now and wrestles with me when I’m doing it but forgives me and purrs and head-butts me immediately. It is such a delight to see her belting round playing and batting things all over the place. She can see enough to find hidden toys and ambush the big cats and antagonise them although they are mostly taking it quite well considering they are spoilt brats! There are lots of hisses and growls but she is not deterred in her quest to make them like her…and I think she will win. She slept with them on the bed from the first night and hasn’t looked back. I love that I can see how far she is come both literally and metaphorically-from blind on the street to a life of luxury where her wish is my command!

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Thank you to everybody who has supported us this last year and who has helped Carmen get to the UK. Special thanks to Alex Salvador, Victoria and all at El Jardinet dels Gats who were as fantastic as ever, to Miguel and Lorena for fostering Carmen so lovingly and to Chris Marshall at ALStrays for transporting her from Spain to the UK and magically sorting problems that others would have baulked at-brilliant!

Me and Carmen when first arrived

Thanks too to everybody who pledged to donate to Mama Cat Trust by monthly standing order-this is great news for continuing to treat as many animals as possible both here in the UK and in Spain. I have managed to help even more animals this year than before.

Over the festive season, please remember a few things that are a danger to cats and dogs-never give them chocolate, raisins, grapes, mince pies etc-they can be highly toxic. Poinsettias and lilies are highly poisonous to cats and you need to make sure pets do not chew holly, mistletoe and christmas cactus. If in doubt about something your pet has chewed-google it-it could save a lot of distress. Here’s my Cristina demonstrating not chewing christmas lights. (I had to buy new lights after she tangled them so badly last year, that they reached the point of no return!)

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One last thing-it is mating time for foxes now so if you hear the most terrible noises coming from your garden, they are just doing what comes naturally however unnatural it may sound sometimes! If you see a fox in trouble, please try to help. If they have mange, they can be successfully treated-it shouldn’t be left-it is very painful and ultimately fatal. Contact me or check out the Fox Project’s website for constructive advice.

Be kind and compassionate to animals and have a very Merry Christmas!

Happy stories and a cat called Halloween!

Well, it has been a stressful few months with lots of problems but so many happy endings which make it all worthwhile.

All the cats and kittens that I have homed have come up trumps with the very best homes-I am very happy! The church grounds kittens were homed in pairs and the lovely young mummycat is now chasing toys and playing ‘fetch’ much to the delight of her new family, when she drops the toy at their feet to be thrown and retrieved again-she’s having the kittenhood she never had and running them ragged!

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The recent trip to Spain was chock-a-block full of problems-everywhere I turned there was another. I was very perturbed to find that one colony where I had sterilised every cat, about twenty altogether, leaving it stable and healthy a few years ago, had new arrivals. The man and his son who feed the cats and who we have got to know over the years,  were exasperated as they had tried to avert a disaster and get help with neutering, to no avail-nobody answered their call. A mother cat had arrived then given birth plus two other females-it was all a bit confusing but there seemed to be 3 generations including tiny kittens scuttling about with no mother as she had been killed by a car. It is an off the road area but because of this, cars visiting the boatyard drive too fast and take them by surprise and many have been killed that way-it is very sad as it is a quiet place otherwise and they are fed by the two men there as well as fishermen. Over the years, numbers had gone down and they were down to just three recently-that is now up to about 10-15 again including kittens. They don’t mind feeding a couple but cannot cope with that number. I am trying to resolve it but it is difficult when I am here-I only found out just before I returned to the UK-too late to do anything. There were many similar stories. There seemed to be a real upturn in the number of friendly cats and kittens being dumped-they had obviously been living in homes only to be turned out into some quite dangerous areas.  I did feel very frustrated and downhearted but I will focus on all the good things that happened-there were quite a few.

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On my very first day, when checking an area where I have sterilised many cats, I looked over a wall and saw a tiny calico kitten curled up on a slab. I thought she was dead but when I reached through the wire and touched her, she jumped up and was thrilled and purring so loudly but I immediately saw that her eyes were badly ulcerated and she could hardly see.  It is a place where the cats are fed and someone had just left her there to take her chances. She was about 6 weeks old. I scooped her up immediately and she was delighted!

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There was another new friendly one there too, no older than a year and so snowy white that she couldn’t have been there long either. She was so keen for attention, she would chase me along the road meowing every day after that.

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I took the baby to the vets and had to give her a lot of different medications several times a day. She insisted on coming to bed and sleeping on or next to my head and although she couldn’t see, she worked out where everything was-she is the jolliest little kitten you could ever meet-she is amazing! She doesn’t let her lack of sight stop her-she plays like crazy-she didn’t at first but I got her chasing crinkly, noisy things and she soon got the hang of it and was belting around!

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After over a week of looking after her, we took her to Barcelona on the train where she is now being fostered by my fantastic friends at Jardinet Del Gats-she slept for the whole journey after an initial five minutes of frantically trying to grab me through the bars of her carrier!

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Her eyes are improving with treatment and it is hoped that we can save one eye and that she will see a little. Even in the week that I was treating her eyes, there was a big improvement. I have almost daily reports and photos and I am still trying to decide what is best for her-to come to the UK or to try to find a wonderful home in Spain-it’s a dilemma. thank you, as ever, to Alex and all at Jardinet-you are fantastic!

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I found homes for several cats on this trip for the first time ever. A few of the cats that I sterilised, I was not at all happy about putting back on the street as they were so friendly but more importantly, the area was not safe-there has been a lot of poisoning in the past as well as death from illness and on the road. One of the kittens I had neutered was the sole survivor from her litter-all had been killed on the road and the lovely, friendly mother cat still crossed it  a lot. I was so happy when they were adopted by a couple with a house and large grounds away from the roads-so lucky!

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Released after neutering, complete with blue antiseptic!

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I also homed another tiny kitten who I saw disappearing into a hole in a wall-when I shone my torch in, it was hissing and terrified. He hadn’t been around the day before-it was where cats are fed by my friend Luigi so again someone just decided to dump it there. I had to set my trap and keep some distance away as it was so scared but fortunately so hungry that it went in really quickly. Luckily, a kind lady, Annie, who worked next door said she would give the kitten a home and wasn’t put off by the hissing so we rigged up a makeshift litter tray etc and it went off to it’s new life newly named as Halloween! It immediately took up residence behind the fridge and has not been brave enough to venture out when she is there but Annie tells me that it has an excellent appetite! Hopefully, it will become more brave-thank you Annie!

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After I had the young friendly white and ginger cat sterilised, I had to take her to the apartment immediately after neutering when she was still under unconscious so she ended up spending another 24 hours there after which time I definitely did not want to put her back in the bad area. What a sweetheart! You have never seen such a grateful and well-behaved cat-she just sat on a little sheet and hardly moved except to roll over and purr when you stroked her. My friend Katri kindly offered to foster her for me and she found a lovely home-she will soon be going to live in Barcelona with another cat and her new mum and dad-wonderful!

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One cat who definitely did not want a home at all was one of the most feral cats ever-she was absolutely furious when she was trapped and ran like the wind when released. I never saw her again but I expect she saw me and hid!

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I had meetings with a few animal-minded people that I hadn’t met before and who want to help the situation but feel equally frustrated and met up with various cat/dog people who I already knew from previous times-I hope that we can all pull together to find some solutions.

I saw my beloved Rodrigo at the port-the first time I met him several years ago, he was ill and I had to hand feed him and medicate him in the rocks. He is always a bit battered and scarred but so full of beans and  I always wonder if I will see him again next time but he is always there. Every time I go, I give him an injection of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory and a clean up-he’s come to expect it and it keeps him going until next time-I just wish he would stop brawling-he was neutered over 10 years ago and is too long in the tooth for all of that-silly boy!

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Thank you to Fernando for driving me to the vets, the airport and  and allsorts-it was such a help and made things less stressful than they would have been.

At the moment, I have just two people who make a monthly donation to Mama Cat by standing order.  It would be really great to get some more in order to carry on the work. Please email me at mamacattrust@googlemail.com for details. There is also the Paypal button on this page for donations which are always so gratefully received-every penny goes towards helping animals like the ones above. Thank you!

To stop receiving updates from Mama Cat, just drop me an email.

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Stray mama cat and babies need lovely homes!

A few weeks ago, I was called out to a young cat who was desperately begging for food in the neighbourhood. When I caught her, I checked her over and immediately spotted that she was nursing kittens so had to release her and try to locate them. This was easier said than done as after eating, she would hot-foot it over fences leaving me clambering after her, grazing my knees and ending up with twigs and leaves stuck in my hair! I managed to work out that she was in the grounds of the local church and spoke to those living in the vicarage but they were just about to go away so I could not easily continue my search. There were various locked gardens around the church-I did speak to the priest and others but access was difficult so I just had to just carry on climbing!

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Eventually just over 3 weeks ago, I was tracking the mum cat, climbed over a fence and she seemed to slow down and stop. She looked me in the eye, gave a half hearted hiss and kind of nodded her head towards a tangled heap of debris. I crept along and was relieved to find a pile of surprised looking kittens staring at me, eyes agog. It was as if she had decided to concede defeat and let me take over after all! I quickly bundled them up and had to trap her as she was quite skittish.

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Once home, she seemed to be delighted with her decision to let me bring them in and while I examined them on my lap and wiped their eyes, she fell fast asleep on the other sofa. After a good snooze, she came and joined them on my lap.

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Since then, they have learned everything and are bundles of fun, playing and rolling about then sleeping in cuddled heaps!
They are all now bouncing with health and ready to go new homes. This is always emotional for me but especially this time as I invested so much emotionally in finding them and bringing them to safety-I was really against the clock and was searching for them in between all the other rescues and animal traumas for about 3 weeks!

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So, the beautiful, sweet natured and so friendly mum needs a lovely home-she is hardly more than a kitten herself and my vet and I agree that she gave birth very young indeed-she is still well under a year old.

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The babies need to go in pairs-one pair is already going to live less than 5 minutes from me and very near to where they were living rough. I hope that I can find homes with people I know so that I can continue to see them forever!

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If you could offer a loving and safe home, please contact me on mamacattrust@googlemail.com

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So many cats, dogs and a fox with no tail…

I am juggling cats and dogs like crazy at the moment, not literally-that would be very wrong! It is non-stop with the phone and inbox and it is quite frustrating to invest a lot of time and energy trying to help those who contact me for help to solve their animal problem for it to suddenly go quiet. There is a big flurry of fevered activity then nothing. Phones and emails not answered and no explanation. I just hope all those animals are now ok.
I have had several calls regarding dogs being mistreated and beaten-maybe the hot weather brings out the hot tempers in some people but this behaviour is so sickening and should be taken very seriously with proper punishment and convictions. There is a definite proven correlation between animal abuse and violence towards humans. It is so sad.
Meanwhile, this last week or two, in between administering insulin injections, eye drops, pills and allsorts of medications, I have been trying to deal with several tricky customers. There is the very young cat, hardly more than a kitten herself who has been begging for food in the neighbourhood. I was called out again to her at 8am the other morning and managed to catch her and by 8.15, had released her again as by the look of her underside, she was nursing kittens of her own. I then had to hot-foot it after her as she ran down the street and into the church grounds. It took a lot of climbing around and notes through doors but I think if she does indeed have babies, they are in the hugely overgrown vicarage garden. I managed to gain access but it was impossible as the undergrowth was so thick. I can’t really do anything now except keep clambering around after her to spy on her and wait until she leads me to the kittens.
The lady who called me about this cat has always taken in various strays over the years but is now in poor health and also needed help with her two semi feral ex-strays who are pretty much untouchable but both need to go to the vet quite urgently. The female, Smidge, has become obese and matted and was obviously suffering with a sore mouth. She was the priority and I managed to take her by surprise when she was snoozing in a box and whisked her to the vet. When the other one got wind of this, he would not let me anywhere near him and I had to give up after an hour. I set a trap but he wasn’t having any of that either…..I still need to get him, by stealth!
Poor Smidge ended up having 10 teeth out due to peridontal disease and also had her massive fur clumps removed plus all her tail hair. She was a bit sorry for herself but was pleased to get home after being described as ‘fractious’ at the vets! Smidge alone cost me £375 and if anybody would like to make a donation towards her bill-that would be so helpful. The paypal button is on here.
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The other night I watched a fox with no tail cautiously tiptoe past a cat that I know-the fox was terrified! I am keeping an eye on him too to make sure there is no infection from where the tail is gone.
As usual, if anybody can help with fostering or fundraising ideas, that would be great.

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Marlon needs a home

Super-urgent! Please find a place in your heart for poor Marlon who lost his owner in a tragic house fire. He’s been wandering aimlessly ever since with no owner and no home-I need a home by tomorrow-could you foster? He needs a permanent loving home but for now, just needs love and shelter-could it be you?marlon-smaller

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Goodbye to Queenie

It is one long and heartbreaking week today since I had to say goodbye to my lovely Queenie, just one month off her 21st birthday. She was the only one of my cats who was kind of normal, that’s to say, not a feral, stray or unwanted cat-she was wanted from the second I saw her being born in the middle of the night, several hours after my ex-partner’s little boy cat, ahem, gave birth to two boy kittens! We had met just before Stanley gave birth-a little too late to point out the error!
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I have dealt with all sorts of sad and horrendous things during my time in rescue on a daily basis and I have had to have many cats put to sleep when they came to the end of their lives but it never gets easier-it just gets harder. I am absolutely grief stricken-Queenie has been around from the beginning of my years in rescue and has been there as a long serving member of my family. I spent more years altogether with her, day in, day out, than I did with my actual family from birth to leaving home-it is amazing when I think of it in that way! It makes it less surprising that I am finding it so difficult to get used to her not being around and why I miss her so much.
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Queenie put up with the resident cats as well as all the other rescues that have passed through-she never really liked any of them much! There were one or two over the years who were so sweet, they forced her to like them and so she did, after a fashion but basically she was the boss who didn’t approve of other cats and everyone knew it…and dogs…she wanted to kill all of them and would ambush them and try. Last Christmas, she was more wobbly and was liable to fall over if she took a lunge at a cat or a dog so Alfie, my mum’s dog who came to stay, got away with receiving just the one swipe-a triumph for him!

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She was such a feisty girl but had been getting more and more ailments over the years-she had fought off mammary cancer and had her ear canal removed a couple of years ago-although she was totally deaf, this made her more comfortable. I’m sure she knew that I sang songs to her every day anyway! She also had an ulcer on her eye-none of these things really bothered her-it was me who caused her the trouble as I had to do different procedures/yucky stuff on her each day which meant I had to give her treats each day too. She liked this a lot! Every day, although stone deaf, she ‘heard’ the fridge open at lunchtime and would sidle through for a few blobs of dairy free spread while I had my lunch-she absolutely loved it and this was no exception on her very last day. I always said it was the secret to her longevity and I told her every day, that she was to live to 32! I wish she had.

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Because she has made such an impact on my life and been such a massive part of it, I want to commemorate her in some way which will also help Mama Cat Trust. Unlike so many cats living on the streets all over the world, she lived a charmed life from the minute she was born and wanted for nothing and it would ne nice to be able to help other needy cats in her name. I’m not sure just yet how but for now, rest in peace Queenie-you made my life more fantastic and so much fun.
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