Tinker and all of his family have become great characters here, since their arrival to the sanctuary in the spring of 2021, but their journey form then to now has been far from smooth or easy.

We received a call from a lady regarding a group of ferals that she had been feeding in her garden,  after she had noticed that three of the four cats were pregnant. We set traps and we were very eager to catch them before they gave birth. Day-by-day we caught the cats, the fourth one was male and was one of the first to be caught. He went straight to the vets to be neutered and then came to the sanctuary. We quickly trapped all four of them and they went into one of our porta cabins around the back of the sanctuary, where they lived with our elderly blind girl, Jessica. Whenever we have pregnant cats in, we put plenty of Hooded beds in the room and open up cupboards, lining them with newspaper and vet bedding, so that they can feel safe and secure when giving birth. It was clear that all four cats were very close, so we assumed that the male had impregnated all the females and, shortly after their arrival, the females went into labour.

As the first female began to give birth, we were checking on her regularly and very quickly, it was apparent things weren’t right. All of the kittens were still born and not properly formed and it was as we feared, the pregnancies in the colony were all a result of inter-breeding. As the other to cats began to give birth we knew what was coming as indeed, the Manx one, produced mostly still born kittens but a couple of them were alive. The mother had a disastrous birth and required to go the vet immediately. We did what we could for the kittens but a couple of days later they died and the mother cat returned back from the vets having pulled through her surgery.

It was now the turn of the last pregnant female to give birth and we were dreading it. We were prepared for the worst and had the vets on standby. As with the others, her birth didn’t go well, and from seven kittens only one was alive. However at first sight, this one did look ok and the mother didn’t require a vet visit. During the coming days the sole kitten was doing well and as well as being with his mother, who was also doing well and feeding him, the other two females were looking after him as well. The male cat was also close to all of them and so he, the two females and the mother and kitten would all sleep in the cupboard at night together.

As the weeks progressed, remarkably, the kitten was doing well, was growing and seemed a normal, healthy little boy. He was a real cheeky cat and had good relationships with all the females but also with his dad who we had called Jerry. They also all got on with Jessica and she thrived on having them, even taking her turn being with the kitten in the cupboard! We introduced him to our Facebook followers and when asking for a name we mentioned what a ‘Tinker’ he was so effectively we chose the name for them as it was obvious this was to be his name. He had some really fun games with his Dad and we posted a video one day of this on our Facebook page which can still be watched now.

When Tinker was a few months old, and he and all the others had been neutered and spayed, they ventured outside. Tinker and his Dad, Jerry soon came around to the main areas and Tinker would follow us around letting us know very loudly that he was there! Tinker’s mother and aunty are friendly enough but have remained nervous but are now quite comfortable in the Willows, where Jerry also sleeps. The other female sadly has remained very feral and keeps herself to herself around the back but enjoys her comforts and food at night. It was documented on our page that we very sadly lost Jessica towards the end of 2021 but she played her part in Tinker’s upbringing and it was great to see her enjoy the company from this family in her last days.