Tag Archives: RSPCA Ceredigion

This week, I am feeling important

These days, I tend to lead a quiet life as you know. I have, I suppose, largely retired as a public figure and enjoy my peace and quiet here on the yard. Lately, though, it seems I am in demand!

My Auntie Jane in the North sometimes asks me to send her some tail hair. I find this quite a personal request really – we have never met – but she says Auntie Jane is a good egg and does clever things, so I spare her some tail now and again. She uses it to do pottery. There is a technique called Raku and they use tail hair like mine to make patterns. Last year, Auntie Jane gave her a pot which had been decorated using my hair. Imagine! *whispers* There is a rumour that it may be awarded a place in the new kitchen as well.

Clever Auntie Jane!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, she asked for some hair again but here’s the thing: I need my tail! There are a lot of flies around at the moment, it’s hot, and our tails are really useful for swishing. And I also have another call on my valuable time -I am going to a show, so best tails are needed!

My local show is Cardigan County https://cardigancountyshow.org.uk/. I have been there before, in the coloured pony class, but this year there are special classes for Rescue Horses and Ponies like me! There are two classes, one where we are shown in-hand and another where the ridden boys strut their stuff. The classes are sponsored by my good friends at RSPCA Ceredigion.  They will be judged equally on history, condition and turnout, and conformation. Everyone has to submit a little story with their entry and then turn up for judging on the day. I am very excited because I love a day out!

As you know, I have a companion now. His name is William Bach.

William Bach

He is not a rescue pony but there are two classes which he can go in, so he will be coming with me. I will have to give him a few pointers on how to behave, trot nicely in-hand and how to leave me for short periods, but I am confident that we will have a great party. Come and join us if you can!


You see what I mean about being in demand?

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RSPCA Week and Me

I have had a bath this morning, because tomorrow I shall be making my annual contribution to RSPCA Week. This week happens every year and it seeks to raise money for the animals. I am going to attend a coffee morning, so come and meet me if you are in the area!

When I first met the RSPCA, I looked like this. I had been tethered by the hind leg for most of my life and the day this photo was taken, my owner had tied my legs together (tight) and transported me in the boot of a car.

I was a rather sad and poorly thing.

I was a rather sad and poorly thing.

I was glad to see the Inspectors and the kind policemen and especially her, when she brought the horse box to take me to safety. She kept me in the end and I became a mascot for the local RSPCA. It is fitting that, once a year, I express my wholehearted support for the work of the Society, which set me on my feet again and gave me a new life.

Tim browsing

I can do lots of stuff now and I do enjoy myself!

Anyway, come and say hello if you can. I shall be at Clynfyw Care Farm, Abercych, Ceredigion at 10.30 with my friends. Clynfyw is a wonderful place where people can go and stay; they host coffee mornings for lots of different charities and tomorrow is our day – and your opportunity to come and support. Here’s their link for you to have a look for directions and news of their work http://www.clynfyw.co.uk/coffee.htm.

Please share this message as often as you can – it’s all for the animals.

See you there, Love, Tim

The Stable Yard Cats

Some of the most important members of staff on my yard are the cats. Every stable yard is the same; we store hay, straw, feed and lovely warm horses and all of these provide a haven of comfort for a rat when the weather turns wet (and at any other time come to that). And there is nothing like a team of cats to deter those rats from joining your yard.

Cats are very singular creatures. They form their own likes and dislikes, friendships and habits. Some are domesticated and enjoy lives as wonderful family pets and undemanding companions; others are born wild and are therefore more tricky.

A kitten which is born to feral parents needs to be captured almost at birth, if he is to be tamed enough to become a pet or companion cat. If reared in captivity from a few weeks old and handled carefully (despite the protestations of his mother!), he may grow up to be tame and biddable. But at seven or eight weeks, his ancestry imprints itself indelibly on his mind and he will, like as not, be a wild boy for ever.

Winston out hunting

Given that there are thousands and thousands of feral cats at large in the UK, what is supposed to happen to them all? They are not popular when they populate gardens and the misguided often resort to cruel means of getting rid of these needy creatures, which are fighting and hunting as nature intended them to do. Sometimes they are trapped and taken to rescue centres, where their health needs are met and they are neutered. As long as they are not being a nuisance, many are re-released where they were originally trapped, so they can continue their lives without the consequences of constant reproduction. But large numbers of feral cats remain in rescue centres for ages and ages, because rehoming them is problematic.

This is where you and your stable yard come in! These cats can be an invaluable and low-maintenance asset to your menage, if you are prepared to give them a chance. There is a particular knack for settling them in to a new situation. They need to be confined to a large cage, with beds, feed, water and a litter tray for a fortnight. Most cat rescues will lend you the equipment to get started. Don’t expect affection from these moggies- they will swear and spit at you and rush to the furthest corner when they see you. But gradually, as they associate you with feeding time and a routine, they will become a bit calmer. Your cages will be situated in a closed stable or building, and after a fortnight, the cats can be released into that space as well – again, don’t expect tameness, but watch for signs that they are getting used to coming for their food.

Twice a day feeds keep the cats fit and strong

Twice a day feeds keep the cats fit and strong

After another fortnight, you can open the door to the big wide world. By now, the cats will know where their home is and they will begin to explore. You will be amazed at how their confidence will grow at this stage. A feral cat hates to be confined, so once he is free again, his true character will emerge. Some will remain completely wild; others will become tamer, though probably never quite up for a cuddle! The aim is that you can get close enough (at feeding time) to administer flea and worming treatment – and of course, to grab them if they need to go to the vet (wear gloves by the way).

All in all, this is great way to get a team of cats for your yard – and to help a very particular type of needy animal. Our three lovely cats, Winston, William and Tilly came to us two months ago as eight month old sibling kittens. Already they are bringing ‘trophies’ to the feed room and are proving to be delightful company during mucking out and feeding round. They are quite happy to be touched at feeding time and love to patrol the buildings and the woods around the farm. They were neutered, microchipped and vaccinated whilst in care, so they are healthy and strong.

Winston's first mouse was a cause of great excitement

Winston’s first mouse was a cause of great excitement

The foster carer has three more similar cats waiting for someone to understand their needs. They are called Tom, Dick and Harry. Meet them here: http://www.rspca.org.uk/local/ceredigion-branch/petsearch

 If you can help them, phone 01239 810595.

The next time you need a cat for your stable yard, please consider rehoming a feral one.