Our year with Toby: A Christmas Tail

With Lyn Gardner Swansea Cats Protection

To round off another busy year at Swansea Cats Protection, I thought you’d like to hear about one very special cat we were privileged to help on his journey to a wonderful new life with Margaret and Craig. Toby’s plight was brought to our attention some time before we could actually intervene to help him. Sadly, we don’t have the same power and authority as the RSPCA, but we make up for it by being tenacious and determined to help any cat in need. Toby was in a shocking state when he finally came into our care and needed expert veterinary treatment, along with as much love and fuss as he could ever wish for from his volunteer fosterers Amy, Victoria and Kaan.

But let’s not dwell on the past, we’re nearing the festive season so let’s sit back and hear from Margaret and Craig, his besotted and truly wonderful adopters, about their year with Toby.

Our year with Toby

Toby, is the most beautiful, loving, playful, messy, time-consuming, mischievous, aggravating, comical, adorable, moody cat. He gets in the way when you are doing something; gets to the chair you want to sit on first; likes to sit on the keyboard; trips you up on the stairs….I could go on for hours about him.

It had been four months since our lovely Mog’s demise. The house felt empty and so did I. Then I saw his face looking back at me from the Swansea Cats Protection website. It seemed to say, “Here I am”.

I read that he had a cleft palate and other undisclosed health problems and decided that I really shouldn’t choose him. So, I did. My husband sighed and a few days later we collected him on a hot summer’s evening.

Toby was as good as gold on the journey home and when we opened his carrier he just walked out and looked about the house. Within the hour he was on our laps in front of the television trying to eat our vegetarian ham! Sorry boy but you will have to make do with your biscuits until tomorrow.

Racing up and down the stairs was a novelty for him and he examined every inch of the house. He bashed the pompom on his scratchy post whenever he passed it and ran around the tiled floor with squeaky mousy, skidding all over the place. Every now and then he would go brrrrrum, brrrrrum, brrrrrum in a questioning way to find out where we were. He can’t eat ordinary wet cat food so, we spend about 15 minutes each mealtime handfeeding him his thinly sliced meat which has to come from only one supermarket! He has a bowl of biscuits and a bowl of water at all times in the kitchen, but he will only drink from the bath tap. Afterwards, his little eyes are watery, and he sneezes all over the place and his nose is a bit drippy. This is because of his cleft palate. We have to follow him about with a damp cloth but what the heck, he is as happy as a sandboy.

On the second day he went outside for a look around and sniffed all the flowers and rolled about on the ground and lay in the sunshine.

Long haired tabby cats have very dense fur. He likes his chest being brushed but trying to brush the rest of him is a very risky business unless you have gloves on. He gets really cross but later he is all smiles and purrs.

When the radiators are hot he tucks himself underneath one but at 9pm on the dot he comes and sits on my or Craig’s lap in front of the TV. At bedtime he takes up most of the bed and we hang off the edges!

As the winter passed and the days warmed up, he started going out more. One day in April he climbed up onto a wall….and vanished. We looked just about everywhere. Posters went up, people were stopped in the street and leaflets were pushed through 50 doors. Two lovely young lads who became known as Toby’s Heroes cycled about and looked everywhere for him and reported back to us with every clue but still no Toby. It was awful. Four days later at 6.15 a.m. the phone rang and a lady said, “He’s in my greenhouse.” It was my birthday and sure enough there he was. Tears and thank you’s and Toby was back home. He had a torn ear and looked lost but after a long sleep seemed none the worse for his adventure and we got to know quite a few neighbours. The boys raced round when they heard and still come to see Toby.

He sleeps a great deal but when he is awake he wants to join in with everything. A quiet read with a book on my lap? No – a cat on my lap with an aching arm holding up a book. Typing? No. First field off a fat, fluffy cat that wants to sit on the keyboard and takes real offence when I move him. Eating at the table? First shift said cat, who knows he is not allowed on the table but will then sit grumbling behind me on my chair. If he is awake, then he wants to be included. He is very photogenic and looks as though butter wouldn’t melt, but if he doesn’t get his own way he goes off in a huff. Hence his name “His Royal Huffiness”.

Kind people restored him back to health and cared for him until the day I saw his little face looking back at me from my screen saying… “Here I am”. He is a little rascal, but we love him. Has it really only been a year?

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful cat from his simply wonderful adopters (you can never have too many wonderfuls where homing cats is concerned!). We can’t thank Margaret and Craig enough for giving their hearts to darling Toby and sharing their experiences with us here. We are so very grateful to ALL our wonderful adopters who choose to give a loving home to our rescue cats and kittens. And a BIG thank you too to all of our thoughtful, kind and generous sup-porters, fosterers and volunteers…we simply couldn’t do it without you.

Happy Christmas and a joyful New Year!😺 

2 KITTENS LOOKING FOR A LOVING HOME (Pics left from the top down) Cherry came from a feral colony on Gower. She’s a shy, gentle cat. She loves to play and likes other cats and would love to have a friend in her new home. Rupert was found in bushes and was covered in fleas and suffering from cat flu. The flu affected his eyes and he is now partially sighted. He needs a safe home with an experienced owner, not suitable for children.


If you are interested in adopting or fostering one our lovely cats or kittens, please get in touch and arrange to come and meet the cats waiting patiently for a safe, loving home. We can be contacted via our Helpline 0345 260 2101 or email us at swanseacats@hotmail.co.uk. Please note our helpline is answered by a messaging service and we will respond as soon as we can, but please be patient and remember that we are all unpaid volunteers trying to do our best for the rescue cats and kittens of Swansea.


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