What we accomplished…

Over the years in Korea we accomplished a lot. We had a lot of different experiences, some of which were heartbreaking and others which were intensely rewarding and fulfilling.

When we went to the shelter to adopt Piper we had no idea that we would end up going back to the UK with five animals and three of them cats. But, we left with five animals and took them all home. We left with Piper our original dog and Baker our second rescue and then our three cats which weren’t adopted.

We ended up with a full house, it wasn’t always clean and tidy but it was a house filled with love and laughter and so rewarding.

The following passed through our doors, some never leaving:

Piper- Still living with us at home. She is loved and cherished by our family and very much part of the furniture.

Baker- Still at home with us, mothering all our animals and providing us all with love and laughs.

Clover- Living with her family in South Korea, she now has two younger siblings and a doggy sister.

Chandler- Incredibly spoilt in the USA with a stay at home dog mum and two doggy brothers.

Harper- Living the dream in the USA, swimming and traveling on his private boat with his new mum and dad.

Ryder- Living in the USA and staying with his new mum.

Baxter- Having lived in Korea with his new family he has since moved about 15minutes away from where I was brought up in the UK.

Hope- Living in the USA with lots of brothers and sisters and being spoilt at every opportunity. She has an extended family which adore her and she is HUGE! She’s grown up big and beautiful.

Wisper- This pup has travelled more than me I think. She moved to Scotland and has since moved back to the USA with her family and enjoys nothing more than helping her dad on the ride on mower

Aster- Living with her family and traveling around with them as they teach.

Jasper- Living in Texas and enjoying life with a goat as a companion.

Dobby- He is now a model pup. His new mum has showered him with love and lots of training. He is able to do umpteen tricks on command and is much more balanced now.

Amber- She is now a social butterfly who enjoys attending the bar of an evening and receiving all the love and attention from people there. She is balanced and very loved. Her mum treats her like the princess she is and she has come on in leaps and bounds.

Tinker- Living with her cat sister and doggy brother and human siblings in the USA.

Vesper- Currently in Scotland but she will be an international globe setter traveling to wherever her international family travel.

Timmy- Living in Aberdeen with his parents and his grandfather/dad. He is now causing mayhem there and causing havoc.

Archie- Living with us and very treasured. He is our extremely well behaved boy, he rarely does anything bad and keeps peace reigning over the house.

Arther- Still alive and still going strong. He lives here in the UK with us and is extremely vocal and quick to display both his pleasure and displeasure. He is the loudest cat ever who loves to snooze and purr loudly.

Cooper- Living here in the UK with us causing havoc. He does nothing but cause trouble and run us ragged. He causes trouble everywhere he goes and comes home specifically to spend time with the dogs only. He wakes me up every morning for a hug and a kiss.

Oliver & Walter- Living with their mum in Norway after leaving Korea. They are being spoilt and have a beautiful pampered life in which they are adored.

Simber & Bilbo- Living in Korea with their families. They are both having an amazing time with their new cat brother and human siblings.

Pepper- Absolutely adored by her new mum and dad and she will travel back to the US whenever they go back.

Kaleer- Living in Korea at the moment but one day she will move to South Africa or even possibly to Europe. No matter where her mum goes her and her sister will go with her.

Amy- Living in the USA with her new mum.

Scooby- Living in Seoul with his new dad and sister. They will move around the world with their dad and they will be treasured wherever they go.

Sparky- Living with his new mum in Korea. He is spoilt and still a little bit chubby.

Juniper- Another seasoned traveller. She has moved from Korea to London and now has moved to the UAE where she will stay with her new family until it is time for them to come home.

Demi- Living in Canada with her new family, lots of brothers and sisters to wreak havoc around and lots of fun places to play and adventure.

Gus & Sawyer- Gus sadly passed away but he lives on in his brother and his brother is going from strength to strength. He has turned super cute and is very cherished.

Sky & Summer- They have now left Korea and are living in the USA with their new mum and dad.

Luner- Living with her new big brother and her mum in South Korea. She will later head onto South Africa with her mum.

Elizer- Turned out be a boy (awkward realisation). Has since left Korea and is living in the USA with Bronn and her doggy brothers.

River-Living in the USA with her mum and sister.

Sarabi- Sadly passed away but not before she had a good life in the shelter surrounded by other cats well fed and content.

Pumpkin & Spice- Living in Korea with their new dad. They are happy, safe and at no risk of being dumped up a mountain again.

Baby- She left Korea with her mum and dad and moved back to the USA with them.

Parker & Ester- Living with their new family in Korea and have settled in beautifully. They have grown and are super happy and spoilt.

When I look at these numbers I feel nothing but pride. These are just the few that crossed our doors.

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Fulfilling a childhood dream

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When I was younger I always talked about all the animals I wanted. My dad laughed and said about having a rescue on a hill. It was said in jest, as with most childhood dreams, and discounted as not ever being a possibility.

I realised recently that I have achieved my dream. It was nothing much and nothing spectacular, but it made a difference and for those that passed through our doors we truly were a rescue.

If someone says rescue to me I think of a big facility with lots of animals, resources and hopefully staff. We were two people, one with no dog experience and one with a fear of cats and zero experience with them. We had no training and yet we achieved a lot!

We had no resources- instead we had an old one bedroom flat with a tiny bathroom and two laundry rooms. Those laundry rooms housed 14 dogs, approximately 36 cats/kittens, 45 TNR cats recovering after surgery , two guinea pigs and one injured magpie. They saw them transform into healthy animals able to be rehomed or released.

Our old and battered sofas were a spot for families to be introduced to one another. It was a space for children to meet their new furry friends and for new mums to curl up with their new babies before they took them home.

The years in Korea that I spent rescuing were some of the hardest I’ve ever had. It taught me a lot. It changed me.

I changed from a naive person into someone who hardened herself to the excuses and justifications. It didn’t always make me a good person but whenever I was on the brink of losing myself to cynicism someone would come along and change that. I made new friends through rescue and I saw who my friends truly were. They were the ones who helped no matter what. I met amazing people with the biggest hearts and I remain close to a lot of my adopters. And even the ones I don’t speak to often have a special place in my heart.

Rescue also taught me a lot about myself. I realised that it was right to fight for what I believed in. I gained confidence – I knew I was good at it and I trusted my instincts. There was no time to be indecisive. I had to trust my gut and go with it.  I worked hard and what I didn’t know I spent hours trying to learn. I asked for help from others and looked at different policies and ideas from all over to ensure that I was doing everything right.

I tried to share what I learnt with everyone I met. I used my animals to teach my students about animal welfare. They all named my rescues and asked questions about how to care for them. I wanted to make children understand that street cats aren’t something to be feared but to be protected. I wanted them to understand the consequences of abandoning their dogs or buying that puppy in the window. I advised as much as I could online and my bus journeys were spent on the animal rescue pages or private messaging new pet parents.

I slept very little and didn’t see half the things I wanted to see. I spent countless nights on the sofa bottle feeding and early mornings applying ringworm lotion, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

A typical memory was getting glammed up for a charity event. We spent an hour getting ready and within ten minutes of being there and half a glass of wine we were getting a taxi home due to a noisy dog. But, that was made worthwhile by seeing that dog get adopted and find an amazing new home where they were loved and cherished.

As I sit here reflecting, I’m surrounded by my five miscreants. I have an old dog, Baker, snoring beside me and Piper curled up on my lap. The cats are chasing a moth and entertaining themselves, coming back for cuddles whenever they feel like it, and I realise I am so blessed.

I may not have seen all the sights of Korea but I did something which to me was far more valuable – I made a tiny difference. We had a different adventure to what I had originally planned,  I did it alongside my best friend even though he didn’t enjoy it most of the time. But, surely the fact he put up with it says something.

As I look around my room each one of the faces looking back at me remind me of my time in Korea and the challenges I faced. Each animal who passed through our home helped make me who I am today. That’s why I can never regret the work we did, the money I spent, the hours lost. I can’t regret it because I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

(A few before and after pictures of some of the animals we found homes for).

Arther- Our miracle boy…Because love really can mend a broken heart

Arther is a miracle from start to finish. When I found him he seemed hopeless but he has proven me wrong every time.

I was walking home on a Wednesday after leaving work, I always got off the bus and walked along the main road. This road was practically a dual carriageway with cars racing from one end to another.

I was walking home in a terrible typhoon with pouring rain and horrible winds. While I was on the phone to a friend and walking I heard a cry. It sounded like a hungry kitten. I looked around but couldn’t see anything. In the road though I could see a box. The noise appeared to be coming from there.

My heart sank and I walked along looking at the box, I couldn’t tell but it appeared to be moving. I couldn’t be sure if that was from the wind/ rain or because there was a kitten in it. The box was battered on one side where it had been thrown in the road and it was saturated.

I tried to get into the middle of the road but there were cars racing up the road and there was minimal visibility. After narrowly being missed by a car or three I had to stop trying. The box had split on one side so I hoped that whatever was trapped in there could escape.

I walked away heartbroken knowing that whatever was in the box was beyond saving. As I was walking back heartbroken I heard a weaker meow, I looked around frantically and found another smashed up bit of box flung onto the path inside a thorny bush.

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There was a tiny white paw hanging out of the box. I swooped in and grabbed the tiny little ginger and white kitten. He was soaked and very weak, I tucked him into my bra and ran across the road. I got him in and left some baby mousse hoping that he would eat and ran to class. I couldn’t afford to miss another class as I had already missed so many. I was already thirty minutes late for my student and couldn’t delay it any further. The kitten appeared stable just cold and wet so I dried him and left him there and rushed to my class already calculating the cost of an emergency vet appointment.

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I explained to my student what had happened and then he explained to his mum when she got home. After she understood what had happened she sent me away to rush him to the vet early.

We rushed him to the vet and they examined him. They found that he was malnourished, weak and covered in ringworm- cue a giant shower that night with bleach for me.

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They did a scan and noticed that his heart had been moved through the impact. It was on the wrong side of his body. He was weak and struggling to breathe. I had stupidly had thought that it was because he was cold and wet and that in the warm he would stabilise.

The kitten was too sick, I wasn’t confident that he would make it and neither were they. I decided that due to his size and how weak he was that euthanising would be the best idea, the kindest idea. I didn’t have the resources or the time necessary to save him and provide him with any type of care that could keep him alive. I spoke to them and negotiated with them explaining the situation and my concerns but they refused. They said that he would make it a couple of weeks, not much longer and he deserved those couple of weeks. They recommended keeping him in a cage and not allowing any play to help prolong his life.

 

I refused to do that, that isn’t a life for a kitten. Kittens deserve to play, chase one another and live a full life. I was concerned about the quality of his life if he was crated at all times. I didn’t want him to suffer anymore than he had to. Staying in a cage for his final weeks would not have been the best way forward for him. He had to due to his ringworm but I knew that if they could my other animals would spoil him with love and care. I hoped that he would make it far enough to meet the others and be loved.

I took him home and bottle fed him and he guzzled it down. After a few hours though cried non stop and appeared to be in pain. It was an unpleasant night for both of us, him because he was so ill and me because I spent the evening checking on him.

Over the next couple of days he stopped eating all together and was clearly extremely weak. He was unhappy, crying and lethargic. At this point I really started to panic- what would happen if he had an awful virus and I had brought it into my home? Were my quarantine rules strong enough? Had I risked my animals? I knew he had the heart problem but would it have deteriorated like this as quickly?

I took him back to the vet and left him there for a day of observation. While he was there they did more x-rays. During that point they noted that he had a broken leg as well which was causing his pain and discomfort. They put him on pain killers and he improved. We needed to keep any eye on him and if his breathing worsened bring him back. They agreed to euthanise him if it got worse but they wanted him to be on his last legs before making that decision.

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We started taking him in every week or so to be checked. His leg healed and eventually over time he was ringworm free. I gradually introduced him to the others and Archie and Cooper decided to adopt him as one of their own.

 

Archie had become the godfather of all of the cats in our family. He was super loving and attentive and completely devoted to Arther. Whenever we turned around he would be grooming him, or cuddling him. When they were separated he would check in on him.

Our vet visits carried on and we kept taking him to be checked on.  We took him for another cardiogram and the vet informed us that his heart function was down dangerously low. We needed to prepare ourselves.

We immediately adopted him, there was no way that he was going to die without a home or a family. He needed to be owned by someone or some people who loved him. He became Arther Little Fella Halfhide (Chris chose the middle name). He was ours and we were the proud owners of two dogs and a cat.

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I stopped taking things for granted and instead decided to make sure that he knew how much we loved him. I gave him a kiss every night and also I tucked him into bed between both of us so that he was nice and close. I didn’t want him to die alone.

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It became touch and go but still Arther decided to hang on. We took him again to the vet and did a cardiogram they decided to place him onto beta blockers. We gave him the pills twice a day and he took them like a pro. Still though he didn’t pass on, he kept going against all the odds.

 

He got used to sleeping in the crook of my arm and loved to cuddle up close to any human who walked into our home. He was such a special boy and the thought of him eventually passing broke my heart. When he was having a good day he would chase the other kittens and scale the cat tree. He adored toys and he was spoilt with them, he was naughty but so , so loving. He gave kisses to everyone and would lick our noses whenever we put our face near him. It was almost as though he was saying thank you for all the love we were giving him.

 

When we went back for a cardiogram a couple of months later the vet was amazed that he had improved a little. Death was no longer imminent and instead it looked like we had bought him a little more time to enjoy his kitten hood.

 

We kept paying for his expensive medicine. Anything that gave him chance to be a kitten would be good for him. We kept going and it was clear that he loved life.

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We kept going back every couple of months and Arther kept going.  His heart fuction tests started to show improvements, less blood was oxygenized and his function was up. The vet finally said that he was stable.

This brought another issue, we would leave Korea eventually and what on earth would we do with this cat who we had adopted? We thought long and hard over what to do, we didn’t know at the time where to turn or what to do next.

We decided that we would try to take him home, he was so bonded with all of our animals that we didn’t want to separate them. He would sneak up to Piper for a cuddle, he would sleep on Baker’s belly, Archie licked him all the time and Cooper played wildly with him.

 

We also didn’t know of anyone else who would take care of him and love him for as long as it took. We were concerned that if his condition deteriorated that whoever took him wouldn’t be able to make the decision to euthanise if necessary. He deserved that kindness, he was too special to be in pain or uncomfortable.

We decided to take him back to the UK, we knew there was a chance that he would pass away on the flight. We were worried , but, if he did then at least he died loved and on the way to a family who missed him. He had vet visits beforehand and we heavily monitored his health, if we had thought for a second there was an increased risk when flying we would have delayed it further.

He stayed a few months on with our amazing friend who helped us with all of the cats, caring for them until we found a place to stay and bring them home to. She adored Arther and helped monitor his condition, keeping me informed of everything and watching over him.

We didn’t need to worry about the flight, he did incredibly and was very calm. He was difficult at first when home because he was missing his little friend at Michelle’s. He cried a lot and drove us crazy- he was a nightmare but we still counted ourselves as lucky that he had made the flight.

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Over time he has settled in beautifully, he has once again become part of our family and will give kisses whenever he gets chance. He loves everyone and happily sits on our laps when we chill on the sofa. Whenever he can he will kiss our noses and sleep behind us on the pillow. He still loves getting into bed with us and sleeping between us.

 

He’s been to a specialist who has advised that he no longer needs the beta blockers and that as far as he can see he is fine. He has come off the pills and has done brilliantly. He plays, he runs and he terrorizes the small area in which we live. He adores life and he is perfectly content, he is happiest of course when we wave the wand for him or when we cuddle up to him.

He never should have survived and when I think of all the things we saw in Korea he was truly our miracle baby. He is happy with his life. He has now reached nearly two years old and he is happy. He may not live forever but while he lives he is cuddling his sisters and playing with his brothers during the day. He is a lucky boy who adores life and says thank you every day for the chances we took on him.

I would have euthanised him as I truly believed that it was the right thing to do. But, I’m glad that we had to stick it out and persevere, it was hard, grueling even at times. But, as I feel his paws wrapped around my neck while I type this from his position on the back of the sofa, I realise how lucky we are to have him in our lives. He is our miracle baby and a gift which keeps on giving.

 

 

Cooper- A little slice of mischief

Cooper was not planned but the second I saw his little face on Facebook I knew I had to help. He came straight after Oliver and as far as I was concerned I was lucky that Oliver had made it. I was not planning to sign up for any more bottle babies.

 

He was found in a park being played with by old ladies, they had then left him outside and gone in. No mum came to get him and he was tiny and very weak. I spoke with the foreigner who had found him and asked him to take him to my vet. My vet would give him a health check and then feed him.

 

Super young kittens need regular access to milk and mum but he had none. The person who found him was unable to take him to a vet so I asked him to bring him inside and grab some kitten milk from a vet locally. I thought that he would, I would then pick him up after finishing my classes at 9.10pm and take him home as an emergency foster- i didnt want to do it permanently but I would for the weekend.

 

I rushed to the shop to buy some milk and Chris grabbed me from class. I called the guy on the way there and was pretty upset when I found that the kitten was still outside in a box. It had been about seven hours by this point. I was livid. I had zero faith in my bottle feeding ability and wasn’t down for starting at such a huge disadvantage.

 

When I picked him up though my heart melted, he was starving and weak. He desperately tried to scream for food and mum but didn’t quite have it in him. I decided to see what I could do. He had no idea how to take a bottle and was too weak to figure it out.

 

I spent that weekend setting my alarm at every 45 minutes to try to get a little milk into him at each feed. Within two days he got it, it proved to be a slight issue though with Oliver I was in the process of weaning him.and he.was unimpressed. He decided to demand milk again. He would wait until he saw Cooper had finished and then walk around screaming before I gave in and gave him another bottle.

 

Cooper didn’t want to eat, he didn’t want to sleep he wanted to scream all night. I had no cages spare and decided instead to use a box on top of our Chest freezer.

 

As if our house wasn’t manic enough already we now needed to move animals before trying to prepare food. He didn’t go to the vets after a couple of days as he was still weak. He also smelt of shampoo which confused me, a street kitten doesn’t smell of dog shampoo unless he had come from inside the house. I became increasingly sure that the old ladies had taken him home but then decided to return him.

 

After a few days I started to understand how they could have considered returning him, he screamed all the time and he seemed to be constantly in pain. He was always constipated- I tried everything and tried my best to get him to poop. I constantly failed.

 

It finally got so bad one night that I admitted defeat and we started to rush him to the 24 hour clinic. On the way there Chris had to do an emergency stop and poor Coop flew out of my lap.

 

I was sure at that point that he must be dead but as I scooped him up he let out the biggest fart in the world. Then the poop started coming, we had to pull over and I was catching it in tissues rather than it falling on my lap. After that moment he earnt the name ‘Poop Scoop’. He also saved us over 100 dollars in emergency vet bills.

After that we suddenly kept putting off returning him, he was definitely clear and he suddenly became a very sweet part of our family. He played with the other cats and he snuggled with the dogs. He adored Amber and he loved Baker and Piper was part of the family.

 

I put him up for adoption and hoped that he would find a home. I had no serious emails and no one wanted him as he didn’t come out so cute in the pictures. During the time I had him and Archie I adopted out countless other cats but no one seemed interested in them despite them being two of the friendliest cats I had ever fostered.

They started to grow bigger and I started to aggressively campaign them, but, as always the problem was that I had other cats who were in more desperate need. I had to choose between kittens who were about to be homeless or the cats which fit so seamlessly into our family and who I had promised a home as long as they needed.

Cooper has to be one of the most affectionate cats I’ve ever met. He loves human touch and company. He is most content when lying in your arms and in the morning he wakes you up by rubbing his face against yours while curling into the crook of your arm. He adores everyone he meets and is brilliant with children. He hasn’t met a dog he doesn’t like, even though they don’t all like him and he loves people who sometimes don’t love him.

Towards the last three months of our time in Korea I had to make a choice, what to do with him and the other unadoptables. I could have put them in a shelter where I knew that they would be safe but the thought of doing that broke my heart. I would keep them as adoptable until the end but I had to make sure they had a forever home.

I adopted Cooper and planned for him to come back to England with us. He stayed with our amazing friends and terrorized their house demanding snuggles whenever he got chance. Finally he came back to us and caught his flight. He flew in cabin with Kate and behaved himself by sleeping for the first 11 hours. The staff waited on him hand and foot. When he finally woke up he startled the passenger in front as they had no idea that there was a cat nearby.

When we were reunited he immediately stuck his nose out for kisses with his mum. He knew me straight away and was happy to see me. He settled in beautifully and when reunited with the dogs he squeaked and purred for about three solid hours. He then finally stopped after getting into bed with them and curling up between his sisters. At that point I realized how much he must have missed them.

Since then he has done brilliantly in the UK. He walks the dogs with me often in the field. I stand in the middle of the field and shout for the dogs and then Coop and he comes bounding after them , following his sisters. He plays beautifully with everyone and loves to chase a wand around the living room. He has settled in better than I ever could have dreamed.

Looking back now I’m pleased that he never got adopted, he is part of the glue that meshes our family. He is the naughty middle child who causes mischief. If anything bad happens you can almost put money on the fact that Cooper is behind it. But alongside that mischief he brings an abundance of love and laughter.

Archie- Because every home needs an ear tipped panther

Archie is a special boy. When he came to me he was sick and his mum sent him over to be taken care of. He was one of Belle’s litters and I first saw him in the park. He was tiny and he was covered in gunk and very wheezy. His eyes were glued together and he was dangerously underweight. I was sat on the way home from work when I saw him first. His mum Belle threw him at me and then walked away. I tried to have a look up closer at him but he was pretty wild and ran away. I knew that I should help him but I couldn’t, it wasn’t possible he was wild and tiny.

I put him to the back of my mind until later I heard a tiny voice crying. It was in the middle of a typhoon and the rain was pouring down and there was a tiny kitten malnourished. The kitten looked awful and I realized it was the same kitten as before. Every time he moved away from our car port Belle picked him up and put him in our car wheel arches. I realized that she was asking for me to help him. I put the trap out and hoped, then I heard a cry and a crash with the trap door closing.

When I got him inside he screamed the house down. We were banned from having cats in the apartment so I was worried about the neighbours hearing him. I had the bright idea of letting him out of the trap so he had more space. It was the worst idea I have ever had and I don’t know what possessed me. I couldn’t catch him again, it was hopeless he may have been small but he was wild. I had no chance of catching him again, he climbed onto the cabinet and every time I got close he went to fly towards me and attack.

Now, for a normal person I like to think that it would have been scary, but, for me with my slight fear of cats it was terrifying and I had no idea what to do next. I panicked-massively. I decided to try to trap him again and I finally managed it after 12 hours. When I caught him I immediately took him into the vets and asked him to TNR him.

My vet tnr’d him and then told me that I would need to keep him in for a few days to recover. He told me that under no circumstances could I keep this cat. He was wild and he was a danger to my dogs, this made me think twice as my dogs always came first. They were my first commitments and what I had to prioritise.

I put him in a cage and wondered what I would need to do next to help him. I decided to try to hold him-another mistake. I dressed up in jumpers and thick gloves and wrapped a towel round him. He didn’t try to bite me but scratched a lot. He was something else and I carried on being petrified. I would give him a week and see how he did. I don’t like it when someone says something is impossible and will fight even harder against it.

I was a little scared but I tried feeding him wet food, he was such a little piggy that he scoffed down the wet food. He kept eating the wet food and was super happy. He still didn’t like me touching him but he was starting to tolerate it for the wet food. I wasn’t willing to term it a success until he started playing. Then one night he reached for the wand toy hanging in his cage and then all night I heard the bell jingle. Half the battle of taming a feral is getting them to relax enough to play.

It took ages but eventually he was friendly enough to allow to meet the dogs. In a supervised setting, to say he loved them within thirty minutes would be a pipe dream. He was cautious but fascinated by them, if they drank water he drank water after. If they jumped on the bed he waited thirty minutes and jumped on the bed too. Within two days he was found in their dog bed between the two of them cuddled up and snoring happily.

He was definitely not the feral cat that my vet had warned me about. He was quickly becoming a joy to have around, a good boy. He was good with every other animal in my house and as fosters came in and out I would have been hard pressed to find a gentler cat. He welcomed every animal in and out but was still cautious of people. He loved me and to a certain extent he loved Chris but I was clearly number one for him.

He settled in and it was through him I learnt the most about cats. He was good tempered, rarely scratched and had never bitten anyone or anything other than toys. He would sit at night and watch the outside betore crawling into bed with us. I started to fall in love with my tipped boy. I knew that I couldn’t keep a cat as adoptable as him, besides cats had never been part of the plan. Two dogs weren’t part of the plan, to add a cat to the mix would be crazy.

I advertised and advertised him. People just weren’t interested in him, he didn’t catch anyone’s eye apart from a few people who wanted him delivered to their house and were unwilling to even fill in adoption forms. I wasn’t willing to give him to a home that was less than perfect, he deserved more than that. He was the first feral that I had rehabbed and that was a big deal. He was my accomplishment and I was proud and wanted someone else to recognize how special he was.

To cut a long story short no one wanted him, we resigned ourselves to now being cat owners and invested in more and more cat supplies. I bought a big cat tree and a good cat litter box as well as more food bowls and a cat fountain. He was here to stay. He stayed adoptable until the second we left Korea but not one person seriously applied to him. By the end though I doubt he would have been able to leave our family unit, he was so bonded to the girls.

Next came my big challenge coming back to the UK with him. I didn’t have a clue what to do so an amazing friend stepped in and fostered them all for six months. He adapted to her home beautifully and was well behaved and settled like he had lived there forever. He was happy there and all of my fears about him and people were disproved.

When it came time to fly him back to the UK I started to panic. What would I do if he reverted to feral? What about if our bond was gone? What if he hated me? All of these were normal concerns but with Archie they were amplified. I started having nightmares about him being wild, he had been away from the dogs for six months what happens if he had forgotten them and wanted to attack them? What would I do? I had to try.

Well, the second he heard my voice after coming off the flight he moved his little head to the front of the carrier and meowed at me, he recognized me straight away. He then stayed silent until we got him home.

The next day the girls returned and after one hiss he hopped into their dog bed and purred so loudly that his whole body shook. He was home with his sisters and he had clearly missed him.

He came from wild roots but I doubt that he would have survived. From that litter the only two that survived were the two I took- Archie and Walter. They are both in homes now, Walter with his new mum and brother Oliver. Archie with me and my mini zoo.

Archie has something special about him, whenever I look at him I see determination and also reinforcement that anything is possible if we are willing to dedicate time and energy to it. There is no way that he should be as friendly and as loving as he is but he breaks all the rules. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body and while is shy of strangers he doesn’t hiss or show any attitude, he just bides his time. He is the first cat to jump on my bed and get comfy every ngiht ready for bedtime and a cuddle and he will sneak into the dog bed at any chance to get to cuddle up with his sisters. 

My vet never admitted that he was wrong and instead said it shouldn’t have been possible. But, to me Archie is one of the jewels and a constant reminder of what a little TLC can do for even the wildest of panthers.

TNR- My heart’s true calling

Living in Korea was an amazing experience and it exposed me to so many different things and introduced different ideas and ways of life to me. Back in the UK when you see a street cat outside you presume that the cat has a home and they usually look in a good condition.

The cats in Korea aren’t so lucky, when you see them outside you know that they have either been abandoned or they are wild. They need to survive on the streets and make it on their own. They don’t have it easy and they continually go between the stage of pregnancy and then of rearing their kittens or constantly mating. They look battered and haggard and they rarely live past 3-4 years.

There are caretakers , random people who take on the cats and provide them with food and if they are lucky provide water during the scorching summer months. It is not uncommon to find dead animals everywhere, especially on the roads where they have been hit by cars or they have dropped down. These cats have practically the worst existence imaginable.

They face cruelty on a daily basis- it is normal for people to put down poison for them and to throw rocks and kick stones at them. The cats are street smart for the most part and avoid all human contact, they come out when the streets are empty and forage for food. There was also a situation in my city where a man trapped over a hundred cats and cruelly made them into traditional medicine. Another cat feeder was killed when feeding her colony as someone threw a rock out of a window and hit her on the head and killed her.

Of all the things I miss in Korea my street cats are probably way up high there. They became part of my family and I had names for each of them. I knew their personalities and their quirks and I loved them for it.

I never wanted to adopt stray cats. It was not my scene- I didn’t like cats and I didn’t like scary street cats who didn’t like me…These cats hissed at me, wouldn’t come close to me and were extremely ungrateful.

It all started with Goyangy (Pepper Potts) and then Belle and then suddenly I ended up with a ton of street cats that I was responsible for. There is very little that you can do to help these cats, they aren’t friendly, they don’t need homes all they need is shelter and food and water. Life is extremely hard on them and it is hard to find a way to help.

Belle led me to TNR, I couldn’t bear to watch her suffer each summer. While I was trapping her I came across a few others who climbed into my trap. It was at that moment I got the bug. I could make a difference to those cats’ lives and I could change their lives for them.

Then it became an addiction- I couldn’t go somewhere new without scoping it for stray cats. I noticed more and more cats near where I taught. I saw more cats suffering the more I opened my eyes. The more I saw the more I realized that I needed to help as many as I could. I set my sights at fifty.

I kept feeding the other cats in the meantime, I had to make sure that they were all taken care of even the ones who were proving hard to trap. While I was rehabbing some other cats I heard of someone else who had a huge colony of cats that he was taking care of. I went the first time he trapped two cats and helped him take them to my vet. When he left I took over his colony and kept going back to fix them all. It wasn’t easy as it was over 20minutes away. Chris however was amazing, he would drive me there and either pick me up or wait in the car reading his book.

We took the cats in and they were then released back outside. They thrived once neutered and I slowly built up the numbers.

I knew the risks of TNR and I knew that not every cat I trapped would have a positive result. There was the chance that not all of them would make it on the operating table. My concern was that a lot of the cats who showed up were in bad condition, we were then about to do surgery on them straight away without any fixing up

But, I kept going. We lost one and with another it was touch and go but he survived, but the one we lost hit me hard. His name was Riley- all my street cats had a name. He had shown up with Belle one day. She had found him with his eye hanging out. He showed up on my door step and I had tried to catch him but failed. I kept trying to catch him but I wasn’t  successful. He then became best friends with Nora and they buddied up. He took care of her and would become her carer and provider and then later her kittens’ dad. When he died I wanted to give up, I couldn’t face risking another cat but then I thought of the kittens’ I had found dead and the others I saw starving to death.

I knew what I had to do and I kept going. I decided to trap in an area which I had seen which was extremely over populated. I started taking three traps and trying to fill them all. I set three traps in a row on a certain street and would walk between each street checking on them. As soon as I caught one I would throw a sheet over it and put it in the car and wait for the others to fill up. Most nights I only caught one or two and I would then have to lift up the cage to see if the cat was lactating. If she was lactating then I would have to release her with a heavy heart.

Halfway through trapping I ended up changing vets and the new vet I found was incredible. He had done Belle’s surgery and he was very diligent. If the cat came in sick he would administer meds and treatment. For feral street cats he would make sure that they were as healthy as possible before allowing me to release them.

I carried on trapping. I would go out in my pjs or in tracksuit bottoms and try to catch cats. I would eat my dinner sat on steps. When it was super hot in August I would walk in between the shops buying iced drinks at each place. I would literally have sweat pouring off my face and the extra exertion of carrying a trap with a cat in didn’t make it pleasant.

Whenever I caught a cat it felt like a victory, I was always so pleased. I knew that the following morning I would take the cat and they would have a life changing surgery and a chance at living a few more years safely. I cleaned up each area, I was determined to neuter the main population from each area and it got harder. There were days when I wouldn’t trap anything and others when I would leave with three full traps.

I found a group of students who were caring for some former street cats. They had two adult cats and a kitten. I asked them if we were able to neuter them and prevent any other pregnancies from them. I did them, I was pleased to stop the mum from having those issues again.

I had four different areas I was working and then I found a dog in the street. The dog had an owner and belonged to the garden center. When I walked into the garden center I found another dog who was in a horrific condition and when I walked through a different way I noticed a sea of kittens.

There were two mother cats nursing their kittens. Each of them had around three or four kittens. There were also older kittens clearly from another litter. They were cute, super cute but I didn’t want to take them away. They appeared to be owned as there was food and even a cat litter box. But, they seemed to be living as feral cats despite being friendly.

I eventually got around to speaking to the owner of the garden center and tried to persuade him that it would be a good idea to let us tnr them all. I took a friend of mine who translated  for me, she helped me persuade him and finally he gave us permission to neuter whoever we could catch. I ended up catching all but three males, they were older and kept wandering. There was no hope with regards to catching them, not with the limited time I had. It was too hard and it was more important that I caught the females and got them sorted before they filled up the garden center even more.

I spent the summer there in the mornings before I would go to work. I would get there early, before the owner was even up. I caught as many as I could and then when dripping in sweat I would take them into the vet. The garden center was practically a greenhouse and the temperature was in its thirties with high humidity. I would then rush home and grab a shower and rush off to work. It was horrific but I didn’t want to quit, if I had taken a break he wouldn’t have let me come back.

While I was there I spent time rehabbing his chained dog outside. It was a beautiful husky that was approximately 14kg if that. I have never seen such a skinny dog in all my life nor one that was so scared. He said he had found him in a field- a story which I doubted but I didn’t want to argue over it. I instead took high protein food and different high calorie treats. The owner fed him the food I provided and I took him snacks as well, he gained a tiny amount but it didn’t help. The dog was still skin and bones. Then every time I heard a trap close I would cover it and place it in the shade to prepare to take them to the vet.

Trapping was my personal challenge. While in Korea I managed to trap 46 cats. I didn’t hit my fifty despite in my last weeks desperately trying to ensure that I did. I kept trying but it didn’t work. I ended up on 46 cats and 7 kittens which were too young to be snipped.

During that time I rehomed at least ten of them. It was a rollercoaster I would have to stay in areas late at night on my own and wait for cats to climb in the traps. I would often be either cold or too hot. I had a limited time so the weather wasn’t able to be a concern for me. I spent hours and hours pacing up and down streets often lingering in the shadows. I loved every minute of it. It was the most instantly gratifying experience I had. Each time I helped one of them I considered the impact that it would have. I saw a graph of the numbers that cats could produce and it stuck in my mind.

Out of all the things I did in Korea TNR was the best part of it I believe. I moaned and I hated it a lot of the time as the cats on the street didn’t deserve it. We had former cat mill cats, pedigrees from pet shops thrown away, kittens struggling to survive and goodness knows how many females with pyometra. They all didn’t deserve the cruel fate they had been dealt. By doing something as little as neutering them we were able to change it a little. A lot of them probably didn’t survive what we would class as long fulfilling lives but for the ones who have I would like to think that their sterilization helped them with that.

Nothing will ever compare to seeing an adult female cat safe and happy and not pregnant or desperately hunting for scraps. Or watching two neutered males play together in the park instead of having to fight for territory. My personal favourite though is looking out at a park and noting that each cat in it has an ear tip and knowing that you have stabilized that area, if only for a short time.

Those little ear tips that so many people don’t like symbolize everything- hope, freedom and most of all that someone cared for them enough to help them.

 

Belle- A beauty with a pure heart

In my area I had been feeding Pepper Potts and along with her came a striking calico. She was aloof and scared of humans but she was also curious.

She gave birth outside my house which is how I got Tinker – our first kitten. After I took her baby I felt bad and started to keep an eye on her. I became her feeder and she would let me get close. I knew I had to get her neutered but had no idea how at the time.

She started showing up on my walk home , walking behind cars next to me. I nicknamed her Belle because she was so beautiful. I fell in love with her, I didn’t need to stroke her I would just admire her and talk gently whenever I was near. She started to trust me but I never pushed it. Her aloofness and fear of people kept her safe, the streets are a dangerous place to live in any country South Korea especially.

As I spent more and more time with her there was something about this girl that touched my heart. I needed to help her and the only thing I could do was neuter her.

I decided to research and upon my research found out about TNR. I finally managed to get a trap after a year. I baited the trap sure I would catch her…Long story short I didn’t… Failure didn’t mean I gave up, it just made me try harder but she was smart. Then I watched her belly start to swell…I knew I had missed my chance for a while. She showed back up skinny and I waited to see if any had survived.

Then a month and a few weeks later she brought some kittens down to meet me. She paraded them through the park crying anxiously. I sat and watched there was a ginger kitten or two and a stunning mini Belle. One kitten lagged behind (my Archie).

She was an incredible mum and took care of them all but kept trying to give Archie to me. I kept an eye on her but one day the kittens were gone. She came back sore and skinny. I kept trying to trap her but to no avail.

Cue another litter of kittens. One she led me to crying and let me trap him- Simber. She also brought home the injured strays- a few cats showed up weak and unwell. I did for them what I could but she never objected to sharing with others in need.

I would sit and stare at her watching her , her watching me. I prayed and prayed that I would end up trapping her. Then one day she showed up hungry (it had been heavy rain so she hadn’t been out for two days). I ran upstairs and grabbed the trap and set it. I went back upstairs- my flat was over the car park and waited with my windows open. I could be downstairs in less than 40 seconds.

I knew it was unlikely that I would ever trap her but I couldn’t give up. Then I heard the door close and when I got downstairs I sobbed as I realised it had finally happened. I threw a towel over the cage and sat before my legs gave way. I couldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t breathe , after two years and umpteen kittens I had caught her.

The next morning we rushed early to the vets to get her snipped and found that he was closed. I couldn’t keep her in the cage for 3 days without surgery. I had to either release her or pay for the surgery myself. It was 450$ but as far as I was concerned worth every penny. I went to a different vet and he took one look at her and said TNR. He took her in, spayed and treated her.

When I went to pay he said no charge and he had also taken care of some minor injuries she had picked up outside. While she was under, before he spayed her I took the chance to stroke her and hold her. It was my only shot and I was going to make it count.

Then came the release date- i knew she wasn’t friendly and that I couldn’t bring her inside. She was smart outside and when living on the streets that was half the battle. I opened her cage and watched her flee, ear tip in place and with an increased chance of of survival and with hope.

I had done all I could to help her. She eventually forgave me and came back. She was a different cat. She got chubby and was more active and more content. She stopped roaming so far and was content with the park. She started to walk me to the shops and I would give her a treat on the way home. I wondered if I could touch her and promised myself that if I could she would come back to the UK with us. I never touched her again after her surgery. She was truly feral and now a content feral.

She was what I was dreading about leaving Korea. Kaleer’s mum promised to feed her but I knew I would miss her terribly. When it came time to say goodbye she was nowhere to be seen. She spared us that so instead I left food for her. I left crying knowing that I wouldn’t see her again.

Then her feeder didn’t see her for months, I messaged all the time from the UK asking if she had been sighted but nothing. I got a message on Christmas day saying happy Christmas look who just showed up. It was Belle. It was my Christmas miracle and had made my day.

She may have been feral but it’s hard to find an animal who has touched me to the extent that Belle had. Without her and Tinker I wouldn’t have rescued kittens, I would never have gotten involved in TNR without her as my inspiration. She was the one street cat that made it all happen.

Parker and Ester- Two bundles of perfection!

Sarabe had two of the most beautiful kittens- Ester and Parker. Both of the kittens were stunning and by the time they were four weeks old we started to advertise them. They had stayed with their original foster who had helped to raise them, bottle feeding while their mum wasn’t able to. She cared for them and toileted them and kept an eye on them for their mum, even when they fell through the bars of the crate they were staying in.

When their mum was hospitalized they went with her and they stayed in the vet surgery feeding from her. They were super cute and everyone was extremely fond of them. But, they had to be moved as they were taking up valuable space in the vet surgery.

The same day I dropped their mum off they moved back  into my house and they swiftly settled in.

In the beginning they mirrored their mother’s behavior but they started to improve swiftly. They moved into my house with my kittens and pets and they immediately adapted and became very sweet.  The bonus of having a madhouse is that new animals can mirror their behavior. I am very fortunate in that I have an older dog  (Baker)who shows everyone how to behave and a cat (Archie) who makes everyone welcome and shows them how to fit in amongst the chaos.

Ester looked pure Norwegian and was absolutely stunning, her brother Parker was a little shyer and looked more like his dad. He had the fluffy side of his mum with normal orange and white markings. Ester was a silver and a bit of a character, she had the fearless resilience of a kitten and within a couple of days started to copy my cats who were the perfect role models in so many ways.

She began to learn how to play and would play all day. Her and her brother would play hide and seek around the kitchen jumping out from under cushions and behind them on the sofa. Everyone who met them fell in love and they were very loving.

It was strange that Ester came out so Norwegian and Parker didn’t, it worried me as I wanted them desperately to stick together. They weren’t the kind of cats who would be content on their own and instead they needed to have company. I hoped that they could stay together but I didn’t hold out much hope as it was even harder to find a home for two kittens in an already saturated market. Ester I knew would get adopted but poor Parker I wasn’t so sure.

We advertised them and had a few families interested, I declined some because I knew that they weren’t the right ones. I had to hold out hope that I could find the best possible home for them.  It was on the final stretch of going home and I was swimming in kittens and it all seemed impossible.

It was extremely stressful and it was hard to hold out especially while we were packing and getting ready to leave Korea forever. Then a couple applied for both Parker and Ester. It was amazing- they sounded perfect. They had had Norwegians before and were desperate to have more. It was love at first sight and it was clear that they would both be very cherished. Their new mum came along to collect them, their brothers and new dad were eagerly awaiting their arrival.

Over the following months they got bigger and bigger and they now live perfectly content with their new owners. They have each attached themselves to a parent, they adore their new siblings and have settled in and become much adored parts of the family.

For me I felt a sense of joy, they were the last remnants of their father- a sweet older injured tabby cat who fell in love with a pedigree. They have a lot of his nature in the sense that they take care of each other and are not solo cats. They are also the symbol of the end of their mum’s career as a breeding cat. She would never again be having more kittens and no more earning her living being subjected to a life of only breeding and no medical care.

They were destined to have a fantastic life as loved and cherished cats which was the only thing that anyone could ask.

 

Scooby- Sometimes when a cat is ready they are ready!

While Sparky was living the high life in foster care his brother was still outside. He was still unfriendly and didn’t seem to care about me.
Then one day he changed, the same as with Sparky but even quicker. I knew that he had the potential to be a house cat but we just had to get him there.
I decided to TNR him and keep him in my house for a week or so. I eventually caught him and he came home to my house to recover. I have never been so wrong about a cat- he was scary.
He howled 24/7, he was hissing and lunging whenever I got close and I couldn’t even touch him anymore. We were at a loss at what to do and decided that the kindest thing was to release him. He had a constant food source between myself and our neighbour and we took care of him.
He was so aggressive that we had to carry his cage down the stairs to release him (by cage I mean a giant metal dog crate). When we did he shot out with a yowl climbed all the trees and skipped in the grass. He was an outdoor cat through and through.
Months passed and I still spent time with him, he forgave me for his incarceration and started coming for cuddles. I started reading outside with him on my lap him crying when I didn’t do what he wanted (pet him).
Then he started showing up at my door, sitting on my apartment stairs waiting for me, walking me to the shops. There was a child opposite who had been bought a BB gun as a present, he played in Scooby’s park. As time went on and trees got boring he started shooting closer and closer to the cats. I was ready to go to war, but, instead I spent all my free time outside.
At this point I had 7 kittens- five of whom were being bottle fed and the other two were being socialized. I was sleeping about 4 hours a night and packing up our life to go home. This was all on top of my jobs.
Scooby was getting more and more demanding- he would walk around howling if i wasn’t outside or come up to the second floor of my apartment and cry for me to let him in.
Once again my quarantine spaces were gone but I knew that he could be friendly. I decided to try to work out a plan. I needed a foster who would be committed- not anyone who would give up.
I contacted a cat shelter- the one who took in Sarabi and asked if they could help. They hesitated as they were full but I begged. I needed their help and I had no other options. I had to travel up the country that weekend and if they could take him we would drive him there. They said yes! The plan was underway and I knew he would be safe when I left.
The morning we were leaving I went outside immediately, it was the first morning that scooby wasn’t there. I ran around the neighbourhood in my pjs and slippers shouting his name. I felt as though it was hopeless and then I heard an answer to my cries.
I followed the noise and found him curled up with one of the kittens from the previous season. They were curled up in a box of rubbish. The second he saw me he jumped up and ran to me chirping- i promptly burst into tears which made him run faster. He followed me home and jumped into the carrier we had waiting for him. He knew!
I locked the door and sat him in the front of the car, my boys in the back. He sang the whole way to the shelter- it was a 2.5 hour drive. I took him in and settled him quickly, I gave him a kiss and told him I would find him a home. I promised that I would get it sorted for him and then I cried on the way up to drop my boys off.
I was saying goodbye to everything. When I got home that night it was silent, there was no Scooby to read to, no punk waiting outside my house excited to see me. It really was the end.
Scooby stayed at the shelter for months. During that time I had started helping a man with his street kitten. When I first got the message asking how to make her more friendly I wondered how dedicated he would be.
She was very young but also very independent, most people give up. My answers were short and concise but not fantastically giving, I had been burnt before. When you help someone you invest in them and that animal. You start their animal to one of your animals and then ultimately you are disappointed if it doesn’t work out.
Well, I have never been more wrong. This guy was 100% invested in his kitten and determined to get everything right. The second I suggested something he made it happen. I’ve never seen such commitment.
Then months later when his kitten was lonely he talked about getting her a friend. We suggested Scooby, it was a long shot but we knew that Scooby was paternal at the shelter with the kittens. He loved them. If this worked out it was his shot at freedom. Not many people had wanted him, an older black and white cat didn’t have the same allure as a pedigree cat or a kitten.
His new dad didn’t care about aesthetics , he cared about making his girl happy and giving another animal a shot at a home.
He picked him up from the shelter after carrying out all the adoption protocol and he went home. Over time he introduced them slowly and they eventually became best friends. Scooby had a home and a sister.
To say they are both adored would be an understatement, they are spoilt rotten with lots of love. Scooby loves having a family and sticks to them. His favourite place  is either  glued to his dad receiving love or laying on one of his new scratcher sofas . When I had taken him in he wasn’t ready but afterwards he proved how ready he was. He had found the perfect family and a forever home.

Sparky- Because nothing has character like a Korean street cat

Sparky was one of two new cats who showed up in our local park. I found him collapsed in the road one day and had to try to give him food. I was scared of him as he was super aggressive but when I saw him collapsed I slipped him some wet food and he recovered over time when I gave him more and more water. He was beautiful but also very difficult.

I caught him in a trap and took him to the vet to be checked and to also be neutered. He was a friend’s birthday present – I said I would catch him and I did on her birthday.  Then I released him and as with most cats when released he disappeared for a few days. He finally reappeared though and the change was colossal. If I hadn’t known it was Sparky I wouldn’t have believed it.

It took a few days but suddenly he was friendly. He looked terrible but then later he started to improve over time. Over time he gained weight and he got friendlier and friendlier. Before long he would walk me to the shops and sit outside our apartment singing to us. He then started coming inside the entrance of the building and sitting on the stairs trying hard to come in. He wanted a home and a family.

Every day when I got back from work Sparky was waiting for me, he wanted cuddles and kisses. He didn’t care about anything else, he had food regularly but he wanted attention. I started to spend more and more time with him, it got to the point where I would sit with him and read a book while fussing him on the step. I kept having to change my trousers and bleach wash my hands to keep the risk of infection away from my boys.

I was desperate to take him in but it was impossible, we were once again at capacity with nowhere safe to quarantine him. I felt sorry for him but there was very little we were able to do. My only rule stood unfortunately, we would not ever take in more animals without the adequate quarantine space. The situation was just escalating with Sparky outside. He was very bonded to the other cat who he had been found with. He was very attached to the cat we had christened ‘Scooby’. They played together every night after eating dinner. But Scooby was reluctant to become friendly with me and was hesitant whenever I approached. Sparky was the opposite and just wanted our human companionship.

Sparky started to become a menace whenever I was trapping. He refused to leave me alone and would stick close to me and steal the food from the traps. He was hilarious but also an absolute pain when I was desperate to catch other animals.

I started to spend more and more time outside with him. I was loathe to leave him and every spare minute (there weren’t many) I would try to fuss him. I was sat with Sparky once in the summer replying to emails when I suddenly heard a bunch of older teenagers coming. I didn’t bother moving, there was no point they were just walking home from school. I was sat back on the stairs behind a bush not visible to anyone apart from the cat.

Then suddenly I heard a shout, Sparky was sunbathing in front of me. He was chilling, when the boy shouted he looked up but didn’t bother moving. Then the boy came running at him aiming  a kick like Sparky was a rugby ball. He aimed his foot at him and I screamed loudly at him and jumped up from behind the stairs.

I lost my temper like I have never lost it before. I shouted words that I shouldn’t have shouted and chased them down the street. The boys fled. After checking Sparky was okay I called Chris to drive and pick me up from the park. He came and we drove around the streets to find them. I wanted a picture to take to their principle the following day, I was planning to go to war over their treatment of Sparky. He had done nothing wrong and to the children it was a sport.

That kind of behavior is what brings down the progression of animal welfare in Korea. There are so many people fighting together to make a better future and already you can see the improvements that have been made in society. The younger generation will evolve and eventually change animal welfare I hope but it will be the throwbacks, the children like those boys who hold it back.

I searched for the children for just under an hour, we drove all the neighbouring areas, I even checked the parks and then when we kept drawing blanks. I went to McDonalds and ended up walking up to each group of school boys and staring them down hoping that I would see the boys who tried to hurt my Sparky. I failed and then I went to spend more time with Sparky.

I knew straight away that he couldn’t stay there any longer. I moved him urgently into a foster home and he didn’t do very well there. He was good with the woman but not with the man. It became hard for him to stay there so we moved him to another friend who took him in. While he was there we advertised him like crazy everywhere but we couldn’t find the right home. He just wasn’t finding his home, he was fat and older and he urgently needed a home.

I didn’t want to leave for England and leave two cats behind (the second cat was Scooby- that is the next story) but I had no choice. I had rehomed all the kittens and my house was empty, I had to try to get the two adults rehomed but there was only so much I could do. While I was back in England my friend helped me network her. We ended up finding an adopter who sounded perfect, the same friend who was taking care of my boys helped liaise the adoption and Sparky finally went to his new home. He was amazing and immediately settled with his new mum despite there being an unscheduled move very quickly after. He immediately went onto a diet and he then continued to thrive. He had found his forever home filled with love and care. It took me forever to find him a home and he went through two foster homes during that time but he definitely taught me that it was worth having patience because the best is yet to come.