Cat amazes Croydon firefighters by rescuing itself from a tree



The story of a cat getting stuck up a tree is as old as time itself. However, this particular story is more bizarre and unusual than you are likely to have ever come across before.

Firefighters were called to assist the RSPCA in rescuing a cat stuck 25ft up a tree on Harcourt Road in Thornton Heath, Croydon, on Wednesday (March 3).

To the surprise of onlookers, the cat then chose to take matters into it’s own paws.

The curious cat eventually decided to make its own way down – but only after firefighters pitched a ladder for it.

Firefighters pitched a 9 metre ladder and were preparing to go up and get the cat, when it slowly made its own way down the ladder.

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Station Commander Richard Hamilton, who was at the scene, said: “Firefighters went to the aid of the cat after the RSPCA requested our assistance as they didn’t have the equipment to reach it.

“Once they’ve pitched the ladder, crews would usually go up to try and retrieve the cat, but the RSPCA inspector advised us to stand back and sure enough, it made its own way down the ladder.

“We couldn’t believe it – I’ve been in more than 25 years and I’ve never seen a cat do that before.

“The poor cat had apparently been up there more than 48 hours, but seemed fine when it came down – it just ran off without so much as a thank you.

“The work of a firefighter is varied and involves all sorts of different incidents and we are ready, willing and able to assist distressed or injured animals.

“The last thing we want is for people to put themselves at risk rescuing an animal themselves – but we do encourage people to call the RSPCA in the first instance and we will assist if our specialist equipment is required, as in this case.”





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‘I thought there was a wolf in the garden’: Dad’s close encounter with ‘massive Black Fox of Isleworth’


A dad got the surprise of his life when he looked out the window of his West London home and saw what appeared to be a wolf in his garden.

Feroz, 38, whose backyard is frequently visited by kestrels, parakeets and three-legged cats, was shocked to see a “massive” canine-like animal strolling across his patio.

It was only after he saw the creature mate with an orange fox that he realised they were of the same species.

The furry family now have a black cub, who also likes to play in the garden.

Speaking to MyLondon, Feroz said: “It looked like a jet black wolf when I first saw it – I said bloody hell this is massive.

The fox has created a little mixed-race family

“I saw him mating with a fox and thought dogs and foxes don’t mate.

“On closer inspection,when he came up to the patio doors I realised what he was.”

The dad researched his garden visitor and discovered his colouring was likely to have come from a genetic mutation, which affects one in a thousand foxes in the UK.

The fox chilling in the garden with his partner

“I googled what it means when you see one and it meant to be a sign of misfortune,” he joked, seemingly unworried.

“My garden is like a Disney film, we get kestrel, parakeets, seagulls, three-legged cats, one-eyed cats, there is a lot going on.

“I think they like the garden as it seems like a safe environment with lots of places to hide – there is an abandoned shed at the back as well”.

The dad said its fur colour is a result of a genetic mutation

The secondary school cover teacher said he enjoys watching the little multicoloured family frolic in the garden, although at times they can be noisy.

“At night you hear the baby one crying for the dad and you see them running between the neighbour’s garden,” he added.

“The female and male also like to mate, we have a view videos of that.

“We have always had foxes but it was great to see such a rare one”.

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When he isn’t looking out the window, the supply teacher presents an online show where family members take part in karaoke duets and talk about relationships and mental health issues.

He added: “My stream is an inclusive environment which has attracted a large audience from around the world. People with talents perform in my guest box and we have discussions about relationships and mental health awareness.

“My stream has given its viewers a safe place to express their identity and grow in confidence in many social aspects”.





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Abandoned kitten called José found dumped in a cardboard box under bins near Tottenham Hotspur Stadium



A kitten was found dumped under a bin chute in a communal block of flats opposite Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium.

The cat – named José, after the Tottenham manager José Mourinho – was noticed by a resident on February 24.

The RSPCA was called soon after to inspect the poor female kitten.

Animal rescuer Siobhan Trinnaman found the cat in a cardboard box under the bins on Love Lane, just 0.2 miles from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

She said: “José is such a sweet little cat, it’s hard to believe someone would do this – maybe it was a ‘spur’ of the moment thing.

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“Sadly she didn’t seem to be bearing any weight on her back leg so I took her straight to our Central London branch who were able to look after her.”

José is making great progress, according to Siobhan, and they hope she will be placed in foster care while recovering and then be adopted into the forever home.

She continued: “It is never the answer to dump an animal – there is support out there from friends and family, and local charities – if you are struggling we would urge you to seek help.

“Poor José has been through a lot in her short life so let’s hope the rest of her nine lives stay intact.”

An appeal has been launched by the RSPCA to find out any more information about this incident.

The charity urges pet owners to ensure their animals are microchipped and that the details are up to date so they have the best chance of being reunited if their pet was to stray, be lost or stolen.

Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During the lockdown, there have been reports of a rise in people buying or adopting new pets, often for the very first time.

“Whilst it’s great that so many people have become pet owners and have found their pet to be a real source of comfort during these challenging times, we are concerned that some people may have bought a pet on impulse without considering how their lifestyle might change once the pandemic ends.

“The last thing we want to see is animals dumped and left out in the cold so we’d urge anyone who is struggling to care for their pets to please reach out to friends, family and charities for support instead.”

RSPCA advise anyone getting a pet to thoroughly research to make sure they can give them the time, money and care they need for the rest of their lives.

“As the impact of the pandemic puts a strain on people’s finances and as many people start to return to work or some kind of normality, the fear is that we will see a surge in abandoned and neglected animals coming into our care,” Mr Murphy added.

Already this winter, the RSPCA has received more than 82,000 calls. Last year there were more than 63,000 animals reported as abandoned to the RSPCA’s cruelty line.

If you recognise this cat ring the RSPCA’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

You can donate to the Central London branch who are now caring for José at https://www.justgiving.com/rspca-centralnortheastlondon/donate





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‘My lockdown walks take me past London Zoo and it’s been freaking me out wondering where the animals have gone’ – Hayley Clarke


I recently moved to right next to Regent’s Park, and obviously was very excited that I would see zoo animals on every daily walk.

I know it’s problematic. I don’t think they should be in cages either- but they’re just so cute.

The first day I ran past, to my delight, I saw a camel. Further on were two goats. What a fantastic day.

But then a thought struck me – where were all the other animals?

Obviously you can’t see the whole zoo from the park, or what would be the point in buying a ticket. But when I started my investigation, it was clear that there were fewer animals than I’d expected to see.

There were some enclosures that appeared to be completely empty, such as the gibbons’ enclosure.

This immediately got my imagination working on overdrive. Had they escaped? Had they been allowed a holiday during the pandemic, and were relaxing somewhere more akin to their natural, balmy climate? Had they been taken to a wildlife park with more space, until the tourists troop back into London?

The gibbons’ enclosure was empty

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I went back today, and this is the grand total of animals I saw:

My trusty camel friend, who is always there to say hello

I had many questions.

Where are the other penguins? Were they just hiding, or hidden from my view as I attempted to tiptoe to see?

Where are the other lions? Have they had enough, and are refusing to show themselves to the hundreds of gawkers in the park, taking this as much deserved time off?

Where are the painted dogs? I know I saw them in one enclosure adjacent to the canal the other day, and now they’re gone? Are they just inside having their lunch, at the same time I have mine?

Have they all been sent somewhere bigger, only to be brought back once the tourists return?

The painted dog’s were nowhere to be seen today, but maybe they were having lunch, or a snooze

As these thoughts clouded my mind, I got to the enclosure that brought more questions than any other – The Snowdon Aviary.

It’s a huge, metal geometric enclosure, which I had thought was meant to house birds. But there were none, and there was a clear gaping hole in the side of it.

Ah, clear escapees, I deduced.

There’s a clear hole in the enclosure, which I initially thought the birds had escaped through, before the zoo put me right

I asked a friend who has lived in the area for a long time, and he said there should be at least “a few birds inside”. I told him the news.

“Oh no,” he said. “That’s not good.”

Honestly, I saw more dogs in the park and zookeepers inside the zoo than I did animals.

I reached out to London Zoo to ask whether any of the zoos had been moved during the pandemic, for example the bird enclosure next to the canal.

London Zoo told me the Snowdon Aviary will be renovated this year

A spokesperson responded, saying: “[The] short answer to your question is no: I think you’re referring to the Snowdon Aviary, which has been closed for a number of years and will be renovated this year. The animals moved out of the aviary and into other areas of the zoo a long time before the pandemic.”

So there’s my answer. Maybe there are no missing animals, and I let my imagination run away with me. Maybe they’re all inside, hiding from annoying, nosy Londoners like me, getting their peace whilst they can.

But I think I’m going to hold onto the fantasy that the birds escaped, to become London’s infamous wild parakeets for a little longer.

Have you managed to spot more animals at London Zoo than me? Do you have the answer to any of my questions? Let me know at hayley.clarke@reachplc.com





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Why there are cattle troughs scattered across London and where you can find them


Everyday thousands of people pass London’s cattle troughs without a thought for their history and under the belief they are just flower beds.

And they would be forgiven for thinking that because that’s exactly what most of them are now used for, flower beds.

However, like so many random and peculiar occurrences in London there was a thoughtful and brilliant idea behind them.

Across London dozen of water troughs were erected for the thousands of horses and cattle roaming around in London during the 19th Century.

Written on most of the historical troughs if you look carefully you will actually see the words “Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association” carved into the granite.

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The cattle troughs can be found across London

The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association was an association set up in London by MP and philanthropist Samuel Gurney along with his associate Edward Thomas Wakefield in 1859 to provide free, clean water to London.

A hugely noble act at the time the association was originally known as the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association before teaming up with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in 1867 to provide troughs for horses and cattle too.

A strange notion now but at the time cattle were still brought to markets in London and horses were the main method of transportation.

Samuel Gurney believed that everyone should have access to clean water and in many ways without his vision London would have simply ground to a halt.

By the 1930s the association stopped building troughs as using horses was being phased out by the growth of cars and lorries.

The cattle troughs are now mainly used as flower beds

The association still lives on today helping to provide water to those that need it and as you will see across London the troughs and public fountains still remain as a reminder of its great work.

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Here are the locations of some of the drinking troughs scattered across London:

  • Richmond Park, Richmond
  • Beresford Square, Woolwich
  • Christ Church, Tower Hamlets
  • Serpentine, Kensington
  • Finchley Central, Barnet
  • Finsbury Square, Central London
  • Chalk Farm, Camden
  • Clapham Common, Lambeth
  • Teddington, Richmond
  • Winchmore Hill, Enfield
  • Mornington Crescent, Camden
  • Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets
  • St John Street, Islington
  • Clerkenwell Green, Islington
  • St Pancras, Camden
  • Stamford Hill, Hackney
  • Albany Street, Camden
  • Streatham Common
  • West Street Harrow
  • Smithfield, City of London
  • Green Lane, New Eltham
  • High Street, Hornsey
  • Queen’s Avenue, Muswell Hill
  • Southgate, Enfield

  • The Avenue, Chipping Barnet

  • South Park Gardens, Wimbledon

  • Moorland Road, Croydon

  • Uxbridge Road, Hanwell

  • Goldington Crescent, Camden

  • Grove Park, Chiswick

  • East Heath, Hampstead

  • Bayswater Road, Bayswater

  • Pitfield Street, Hoxton

  • Hyde Park

  • Clay Hill, Enfield

  • Lauriston Road, Hackney

  • Mare Street, Hackney

  • Uxbridge Road, Southall

  • Wood Green, Haringey#

For mores stories on the History of London visit our nostalgia web page here.





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The mystery of the walrus found in a human grave under a London Underground station



It seems like every other week that some shocking new discovery is made under our streets.

Experts were left scratching their heads in 2003 though when excavations of an old cemetery during the Eurostar extension at St. Pancras International station revealed the bones of a four metre long Pacific walrus.

Even more bizarrely, the walrus remains were found mixed in with the bones of as many as eight humans, all in one coffin.

The gruesome find is thought to date back to the early 19th century, when the rapidly growing city of London was riddled with a number of infectious and often fatal diseases such as cholera, typhus, and smallpox, causing an alarming rate of deaths.

As a result cemeteries like the one under St. Pancras became so overwhelmed that neat single plots soon became grisly jumbles and mass graves.

From 1822 to 1854 around 44,000 people were buried in this single cemetery, which could explain why standards of ceremony started to slip, to put it lightly.

But none of this explains how a sea creature the size of a minivan ended up in the same pit.

Head archaeologist of the 2003 dig Phil Emery said: “It’s a bit of a mystery. We did some research to see if we could find any record of a walrus being dealt with, for example, by the London Zoological Society, but we drew a blank.”

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The best guess suggested has been that the walrus, along with the unfortunate people sharing its coffin, were subjected to medical dissection. But even this begs the question, why a walrus?!

With no other evidence to go on we may never know the full explanation, but the St. Pancras walrus is definitely a contender for one of the weirdest things found under the streets of London.





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The Only Fools and Horses star who appeared in only one episode and ‘had an affair’ with David Bowie


Eva Mottley, the Only Fools and Horses star who appeared in only one episode of the famous sitcom, reportedly had an affair with David Bowie before her death.

The Barbados-born actress appeared in a 1983 episode of the sitcom ‘Who’s a Pretty Boy?’ as the character Corinne Tulser, the wife of regular character Denzil, with talk of her becoming a recurring character in the show until she died in 1985.

The episode sees Corinne’s husband Denzil asking Del Boy, Rodney and Grandad to paint his house.

She had multiple quick-witted one-liners in the episode, being unimpressed with their painting efforts.

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One particularly funny moment Only Fools and Horses fans will remember is when Del Boy replaces Corinne’s dead canary with a living one, and she is surprised to find it chirping when she comes home.

She says: “When I woke up this morning he was dead!”

Eva reportedly had a two year relationship with David Bowie, meeting him in celebrity circles and having quite the affair with the legendary singer.

Unfortunately, their relationship fizzled out, and Eva’s life turned to drugs and debt in the months leading up to her death.

She was found in her home in Maida Vale on February 14, 1985, having died by overdose.

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After Eva’s death, John Sullivan chose not to recast the role of Corinne out of respect for her legacy.

Do you remember Eva’s character Corinne? Let us know in the comments.





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Only Fools and Horses star who went on to appear in Hollyoaks and Doctor Who


Only Fools and Horses fans will know that Rodney Trotter was a man of many talents, but smooth talking the ladies was not one of them.

However, before eventually falling head over heels in love with his wife Cassandra, fans will remember his previous girlfriend in the show – Nervous Nerys.

Nerys only appeared in two episodes in the late 1980s, but what became of Trotter’s former love interest?

She was played by Dartford-born actress Andrée Bernard, and appeared in the episode Dates and again in the episode Sickness and Wealth, between 1988 and 1989.

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Outside of Only Fools, Andrée started acting in her early teens and landed a role on the legendary sketch show The Two Ronnies in 1983 at the age of 17.

Just a year later Andrée’s career took another leap as she was cast in one the leading roles on the television Sharon and Michelle.

While Andrée’s time on Only Fools and Horses was short-lived, the actress really made a name for herself as Liz Burton in the popular soap opera Hollyoaks between 2003 and 2006.

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After a series of smaller roles, Andrée made an appearance in Doctor Who alongside David Tennant and Freema Agyeman in 2007 as Dolly in an episode called The Shakespeare Code.

Do you remember A ndrée as Nervous Nerys ? What are your favourite roles A ndrée Bernard roles? Let us know in the comment section here.





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Feel More Comfortable Around Animals Than Humans, Says Adah Sharma


Actress Adah Sharma says she is more comfortable around animals than humans. Animals, she adds, are uncomplicated and easy to interact with.

“I’ve always felt more comfortable around animals than humans. I’m the most uncomfortable in social places like parties with people I don’t know. But put me in a jungle with animals and I feel at home! Animals are uncomplicated, easy to interract with. They live in the moment,” Adah told IANS.

The actress recently rescued an injured bird while shooting and named it Twitter! The bird fell from a tree in a jungle close to Hyderabad where she was shooting for an upcoming project.

“I asked my audience on Instagram what they would like to call the bird. Twitter was one of the answers. Since I like tweeting and making bird sounds I thought Twitter would be a nice name!” she explained the name.

Adah is also worried about the issue of birds dying due to mobile network, air pollution and other man-made problems which are damaging our environment. The actress shared: “Birds becoming extinct is sad. They are a part of mother nature and she deals with humans for pollution and other issues in her own tough ways.”

The actress recently featured in the short film Chuha Billi, co-starring Anupriya Goenka. She recently said she has signed five new Telugu films.





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