2017 into 2018 news round-up

Rosie Mapplebeckcattery, frog, Specialcats News

Specialcats roundup 2017
25 years of service
Eeks, another year and its been Specialcats’ 25th anniversary. This kind of landmark figure necessarily leads to review, rebuilding and redesign in many ways.
Rosie focussed on health recovery, having ‘overdone it’ last year; Alan moved to building and maintenance as Katie took on wider roles then reined in when she found her own balance point. Rosie has been preparing training materials to pass on skills, now we need technology, time and people to share them. If anyone feels like starting a new career or in helping make cat care videos to share (or being a cat carer) do contact us.
With a view to this Rosie attended the launch of disability inclusivity at work (DICE) and an apprentice day plus we took several work experience placements: Abigail who loves to draw, Hannah who is heading to a vet career, Brenda who is still with us helping with grounds and garden.
Buildings and change:
One weekend when Rosie was away Katie helped Alan demolish the office! This was to make space to create a replacement cattery kitchen (progressing well, if slowed by other refurbs). It meant that reception had to move to the house porch and drying room. Can you see any slight issues?
Wetness has been an ongoing theme. Living near the foot of a hill in rain-washed Ayrshire plenty of water passes by. We expanded the water collection sump near the garage and Rosie made it pretty with crystals.

decorative stones area with a sculpture at the centre

Water drainage sumps can be pretty too

The wet weather also meant tree damage, requiring part of a huge willow to be felled behind the cattery, necessarily in the quiet pre-spring period. During this time Alan replaced the windows in the old block with eco double-glazing. The dampness also brought newts to breed nearby and show off their young at the cattery, great kitty fun!

tree being pruned

Timberrrr! A crack willow behind the cattery needed professional attention

Our own pets gave us heartache as we lost Spots then Tids. Corrie and Pops hung on, were joined by Whitebait the ancient hen who retired to the kitchen with them – thats a first for us.

The hens finally got their long awaited new henhouse- moral don’t buy big things on the internet without seeing them first. Trading Standards helped us get some of the goods but not all :-{

Somewhere amongst all this Alan found time to run up to 3 sessions of mental health support weekly and Rosie did her crafting, storytelling and poetry. Katie took up poetry too to fine effect, also passing her driving test.

The year ended with much painting, plumbing and grooming work plus Data Protection reviews in advance of GDPR coming in. On the website booking page you will find a new form about how we store and keep your data safe. This is especially pertinent in a digital world. Please take the time to review and sign and return as paper, jpg or to fetch in next trip if happy with it, or be prepared to be asked to do so.

Talking of the digital world, social media and Google have much positive influence within the marketplace so any reviews on Google or Facebook are much appreciated. If you find any other appropriate platforms do let us know. We keep up with some, its tricky to do too many and still focus on the most important things which is the care of cats, place and people.

Now to paperwork matters: proof of vaccine status is required for our business operation. Many vets will no longer give us pet’s details due to GDPR misunderstandings so the onus is on yourselves to furnish all relevant medical details to us please. If you want your vets to give us information this must be arranged in writing with them. So guess what? We updated our vet authorisation form, also online on the bookings page.
We will also add to records the name, address, email and phone number of a local emergency contact (who is able to take the cat if necessary) and if present, cat’s microchip number.
More paperwork: booking forms and deposits allow us to know which enquiries are now actual bookings and to double check the details. We will ask for these as a matter of standard operation. Its very sad to have turned people way and then have a booking cancelled or changed at the last minute. Both sides have a duty to honour agreements, by courtesy and contract.
And lastly hours. We have kept the same hours for 20 years (adding in Sunday afternoons) and we still have people turning up at random times. This makes it hard to run our full day, perform services such as collection, do the shopping, vets appointments, maintenance and unsettles the animals who like our stable routines. We realise there are some times you need to arrange to come at different times and that is always an option. Google will not display our split times however often this is entered but we open 10-12, 5-6 daily.
Update or postscript:
Since I wrote this in the winter our own pet situation has changed some more. Age brings inevitable failings and Whitebait our hen passed on after 3 months sojourning in Poppy’s bed. Did she miss her? Not exactly, her reaction was “Can I eat her now Mum?”!

hen lying on dog

Whitebait decided she needs a dog to cuddle in her old age

Corrie grew too weak to cope and was put to sleep in mid March. The house feels very empty without him. Its also much quieter as Poppy doesn’t move much, only occasionally barking for treats, passing skateboarders and – owls.

mongrel dog in crocuses

Remembering Corrie

A young CP re-homed feral cat who went missing from the village in December has turned up here so we will feed her and see if she wants to stay. Jimi cat seems to accept her presence.
The frogs are breeding well, the pond is full of spawn. I will be topping the pond up with rainwater ONLY as Ayrshire tap water is now toxic to amphibians and fish since Scottish Water changed their disinfection processes at less than 2 weeks’ public notice on 19th March. I have taken this to the Scottish Parliamentary Environmental and Climate Change Committee as we have not had adequate answers to questions from Scottish Water.
We are looking into collecting and pressure washing with rainwater in future to avoid hurting the adult amphibians and delicate flora about the cattery. The cats will continue to be supplied with filtered water but we are changing to a chloramine remover. Ordinary chlorine filters and boiling or standing the water WILL NOT WORK!

inside of a cattery unit

Refurb: undercoated, ready for flooring and shelves

parts of wooden building

The oldest cattery chalets were stripped back to their bare bones

Alan decided to fix a leaky chalet roof and this escalated into 5 new roofs, units stripped back to shells, new electrics, extra window, internal remodelling and a panic about being ready for Easter! With the late snow, winds and rain its been full on here. The cattery kitchen job was put on hold while we focussed on putting chalets back together in time. With a new rubber roof which I hope to have as a green roof, we are ready for the next 25 years of service to wee cuddlers and their families.