There’s no doubt that this year’s Hampton Court 500th birthday celebrations are spectacular featuring a five-tier cake, fireworks and Henry VIII strutting around the Palace.
But the Henry VIII I’ve just met is rather different. Named after the king because when Hounslow Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) picked him up, he didn’t have just six, but twelve wives, he’s not strutting anywhere.
Henry VIII and his wives are very beautiful but are feral cats.
They are frightened of humans. You can’t touch them. This is likely to be because when they were kittens aged two-eight weeks, during their socialisation period of development, they did not have friendly contact with people.
HAWS were alerted to the presence, in Ealing, of Henry VIII and his entourage by social services.
But by the time HAWS was contacted, the colony had escalated to 25 cats.
The message HAWS wants everyone to understand is that if you have a stray or feral cat living near you, please tell an animal charity such as HAWS as soon as possible. It is much easier for them to help one or two cats rather than wait till they’ve multiplied to 25.
Animal charities, such as HAWS, undertake a trap, neuter, return scheme whereby they humanely trap feral cats, neuter them and then, as long as they have a reliable food supply, return them.
HAWS have neutered and microchipped all 25 cats they collected from this garden.
Unfortunately, in this case, circumstances were inappropriate for the cats to be returned so some have been homed but Henry VIII and six remaining wives still need homing.
They are looking for homes in London or the country where they can receive shelter and food in return for being a mouse deterrent.
A barn, stable, smallholding or garden centre would be like a palace to them. If you know anywhere suitable, please call HAWS on 020 8560 5443.