Please donate to Feline Friends London: Cleopatra’s story

So far readers of this site have raised £2,150 pounds for Feline Friends London, a no-kill cat rescue organization that has become this website’s Official Charity®. I’ve put up a couple of appeals this week, and we have about 75 donors. Thanks a lot to all of you who have loosened your pursestrings and donated.

But I am more ambitious. My goal originally was to get $60,000, which is about $1 per subscriber. That’s not much to ask, is it? I figured we’d easily meet that goal if people could just cough up a buck in return for whatever they get from reading this site.

I was wrong. For reasons I don’t fully understand, most people can’t part with even a dollar. But I persist, and so here’s another appeal to those who haven’t given, one that shows the kind of work Feline Friends London does.

First a note from Barbara, who runs FFL:

Attached is our rescue story about Patsy [nickname for “Cleopatra”], who Irene, who wrote the story, collected from our vet when Patsy was only 2 hours old. Against all odds, and almost losing her several times, Irene successfully hand-reared her, as you can see from the enclosed photos.

Patsy’s mum had delivered a kitten a week before Patsy was born but the kitten didn’t survive. When I took Patsy’s mum to be spayed I told the vet I thought she might still be pregnant. When he went ahead and spayed her, he discovered the tiny kitten with her bent front paw. Patsy’s mum showed no interest in suckling her, so Irene became Patsy’s surrogate mum. Patsy and Julius, who Irene also hand-reared and of whom Irene’s son, Robin, is especially fond, are now part of the family, along with Boudika, their other cat, and Mei Mei, their dog, who Julius accompanies on walks.

And an illustrated story of one rescue, written by the woman who adopted this sad kitty:

Cleopatra’s Birthday

A year ago, on an icy International Women’s day, I cycled with a basket full of cosy blankets and a heated neck comforter to pick up Cleopatra.

The tiny, two-hour-old orphaned creature fitted snugly in the palm of my hand. She did not really look like a kitten, more like a mottled stubby-nosed brown mouse.  Safely home, I cradled her in a shoebox that I placed on my luke-warm Rayburn stove while I prepared kitten milk for her.

The next days were taken up with preparing formula, feeding and cleaning, the job her mum would have done, every two hours, day and night.

I had hoped to find a surrogate mum with a new born litter, but neither Feline Friends nor other cat-rescue organisations, had any available at the time, and pleas on Facebook did not help either. We needed, I knew, to take her life day by day. Missing out on the first days of colostrum – her mother’s first baby milk – meant that her immunity was compromised. I noted her tiny weight gains on a chart and hung it on my fridge. The line crept up, slowly but surely, bringing hope with every gram that she might survive her bad start.

Cleopatra, we called her, because tiny creatures who need to make big strides need big names. Whether her name helped is hard to say, but Cleopatra turned out to be a feisty little fighter. When she was 4 weeks old, she was joined by Julius, a cheeky black kitten of the same age. He arrived dehydrated, malnourished and screaming like a banshee. He was found alone, locked in a drawer in a shed in an allotment and the cat rescuer who brought him had little hope for his survival. But after some kitten milk and weaning food, that he gobbled up, he soon perked. Having got back his strength, his little ears perked up when he heard soft mewing coming from the box on the Rayburn. He ran enthusiastically across the kitchen and jumped into the box with Cleopatra and immediately made friends with her, becoming her playmate and protector.

Cleopatra almost died a few times but somehow she made it and grew up almost like a normal kitten, apart from her legs. I had noticed on the first day that she had three normal legs and paws and one that was twisted and bent in at the ankle. I tried massaging it and gently stretching her tendon. Although it helped a bit, it did not cure it.

We stopped worrying too much when we saw Cleopatra hopping happily on her three and a half legs. She chased mice, jumped at bees and even climbed trees, just like a normal kitten, and when she got stuck, she was guided down by her little friend, Julius, who would touch her gently with a paw, to let her know he was nearby.

The vet we saw said it was best to wait till she was fully grown before trying to straighten her leg through surgery. But a metal plate in her leg would mean she would lose some movement and above all, feeling in her paw, not something I wanted to do to her.

As she grew older, and heavier, her weight started to press on her joints and she seemed to be more uncomfortable. Another vet suggested stretching her tendon by putting a splint brace on her leg. It sounded a simple solution and Cleopatra bravely adapted to her bandaged leg. Her tendon stretched and her paw straightened. She was half-way there when, unfortunately, the brace rubbed against her skin and her leg and paw became infected.

We now had to wait till her wounds heal completely before the vet could put pins through her bones that would help her flex her paw. Today she spent one and a half hours undergoing surgery. [JAC: I’m told that “Patsy had some pins put through her ankle to help stitch the ligaments.”]

We are anxious for this brave little cat. And if it all works out, Patsy will continue her life on four functioning legs. If not, she will go on, as she has done until now, relying on her three good legs.

Here’s a photo of Cleopatra taken this morning after her long surgery. Poor thing has to carry that club-foot around! But she looks alert and healthy otherwise:


I may have more information on the surgery later today, as Mum is visiting Cleopatra in the vet hospital. Mum just added this, “That Cleopatra survived her first weeks was really a miracle, the vet said. And we could not correct her paw earlier in her life because of her weak immunity.”

Much of the money donated by readers has gone to pay vet bills, which include spaying and neutering as well as shots, flea and worm removal, and so on, so it’s being used well. And 100% of the money is used to help the cats; there is no overhead.

I ask you, if you haven’t donated already, to cough up a dollar or ten to help these moggies. You can donate, using your credit card, by clicking on this link or on the page below. The minimum ticked box is £10, but you are welcome to give less than that if you wish. But I ask you to help this worthy organization if you haven’t already.

Thank you!


  1. GBJames
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink


    • Posted March 17, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink


      • BJ
        Posted March 17, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Any update on how much they’ve raised now? Maybe keep the posts going through Tuesday? I imagine a lot of people read your site at work 🙂

      • BJ
        Posted March 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I forgot you mentioned the amount at the beginning of the post. Still, that’s nearly doubled from the other day. Perhaps you should keep these posts going. There may be quite a few people out there who simply don’t read every day, or wait until the first day of the work week to go through all the posts from the last week, etc….

      • BJ
        Posted March 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Also, to Aneris’ point below, maybe mention in future posts that, while the donation page doesn’t mention it, the donations are processed using Stripe, the biggest payment processor on the internet. It’s just as safe as using Paypal or purchasing something through Amazon.

        • Posted March 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          I’ve made all the suggestions to FFL, including PayPal and the tax thing. They’re working on some of this stuff now. Thanks.

    • Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I suspect it has in part to do with their donation process, which only accepts credit cards after asking for quite a bit of data. In the age of patreon, and paypal, that’s a very insecure, inaccessible way. Maybe if they’d allow at least paypal, then many more could contribute.

      • BJ
        Posted March 17, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        If you look at the scripts on the donation page, the donations are being processed through Stripe, which is the biggest credit card payment processor on the internet. It’s very secure.

  2. Christopher
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I think this could be a nice, semi-regular feature on WEIT. Maybe once a month share a story of a particular cat, do a whip-round…just a thought.

    • Posted March 17, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Yes, I intend to put these up from time to time. This week is Pledge Week, though, and today’s entry will be the last for a while.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    That amount is quite a bit in CAD: $3,821.32

  4. Hal Prentice
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    You got me, Jerry!

  5. Serendipitydawg
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    To those who gave me cash for my birthday: Feline Fiends has it 😀

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Weird donation form behaviour; when I entered the first line of my address it started prompting for places in the USA. The only way I could get it in was to set the country, postcode and second address line and then put the first line in. It still prompted for all sorts of exotic addresses in the USA but didn’t obverride what I typed when I submitted it. So, for those in the UK: fill the address boxes in reverse order.

      Of course, it could just be me 🙂

  6. Malcolm
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The form does not allow a gift aid donation. If they added this to their site they would get the tax back on the net donation – i.e. each £10 would be worth £1.25

  7. Art Rigsby
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Got me!

  8. L Delaney
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Used the link from your post. Hope it works OK.

  9. Andrea Kenner
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    What a precious baby!

  10. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Lovely story so far. I await updates on the kitty [lovely colours too]

  11. Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    “…most people can’t part with even a dollar.” Or, im my case, there are man animal/other orgs I already support on a regular basis.

    But you persist, and so will I.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Hell, I’ll pitch in another quid if, after her recovery, we can buy Cleopatra a barge ride down the Nile to meet her Mark Antony.

    • BJ
      Posted March 17, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      That story…um…did not work out so well…

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 17, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Et tu, Beej?

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I think most of us can do a tenner as they say over there however I wonder about the numbers. 58 or 59 thousand who have joined – that goes all the way back to 2009 I assume. Surely some of those people have moved on, some even dead. If you have data that kind of tells you how many hit the sight regularly, maybe weekly, that would be a better number. We want a high percentage but is needs to be realistic.

    My thoughts are, if you go to a site that takes donations you should donate. If you go to one that is free but has a charity, same deal.

    • Posted March 17, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      No, these are current subscribers, not the whole history. When someone unsubscribes the number goes down. Given the number of hits, which can be high on some days, I think 15,000 pounds is a realistic long-term goal.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted March 17, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Okay. Medical care for cats is not cheap folks. It’s not like they have insurance or free medical care. Money is usually the easiest thing to give.

  14. Robert Grossman
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    OK – you convinced me. I just gave the couple of bucks to the shelter. The poor kitten with the bad leg was too much for me!

    • Posted March 17, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      This is why charities for children always put in pictures of the children who need aid! I’m glad it worked, and thank you, and thank all of you in this thread, for your donation. I know Barbara is delighted with the sudden influx of money.

  15. Ruthann L. Richards
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful cat–I’m sure she is worth every bit that has been invested in her, both in money and in love. Thank you to all those who have cared for her and all the other cats around the world who need our help so badly.

    Finally managed to get my donation through (25 pounds), but had to go to the bank first to find out why it was being blocked. That was because the intended recipient was outside the US and the bank wanted to ensure I really meant to do that!

  16. Posted March 17, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink


    A small beef, nothing to do with their work. If a virus has infected the server site, the only protection against it is something like the service “Verified by Visa”, where Visa sends a code to enter on your telephone. They should ask their donation server to do this. Thanks.

  17. Clive
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Donated, and mentioned your site.

  18. Scott
    Posted March 17, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I donated! I couldn’t say no after looking at all those pictures of Cleopatra! 🙂

  19. Posted March 18, 2019 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    The skill and ability of modern veterinarians is something Pinker might have included in “Enlightenment Now” as an example of amazing progress. Cleopatra obviously benefited from it. So did our Jack Russell terrier. She suffered the equivalent of ACL injuries, first in one hind leg, and then the other. Our veterinary surgeon repaired them in an operation that involved insertion of titanium plates in both legs. She had to be almost magically skilled to do so. Daisy is a small dog with short, but extremely muscular hind legs. I don’t see how the operations could have been done without some kind of a magnification apparatus. They succeeded beautifully. Daisy chases the local squirrels and rabbits as if nothing had ever been wrong with her legs. Unfortunately, one thing the operations couldn’t do was make her as cool as my daughter’s cats. They still treat her with barely concealed contempt whenever we visit.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 18, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Need pic for caturday of “dual glaring barely concealed contempt cats + Daisy Russell”

  20. Posted March 18, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    How do I donate in USD?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 18, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think you can. I just asked google what the cost was in CDN and then put the equivalent I wanted in pounds.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 18, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      As per Diana – you have to donate in GBP “£”

  21. openidname
    Posted March 20, 2019 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    I just donated. Frankly, though, I wish you’d pick a U.S. charity so it would be tax-deductible and so I wouldn’t have to pay a foreign currency exchange fee.

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