"Dave" makes herself comfortable in the kitchen sink!

The cattery began when Jane and Michael decided to take on work done previously by others and converted their conservatory in their Fiveways house to accommodate homeless cats. Cages were built and things bought and soon the Fiveways cat Shelter was born. Shortly after a run was added along the garden wall and the garden shed became a hostel for nursing mums. The uniqueness of this cattery was that most of the homeless cats were allowed the run of the house and for many cats it became a better place to be than where they had come from.

an older cat finds a new way of sunning himself in the living room

Group of "innocent" looking young cats enjoy the sofa bed.

In 2002 Michael found a property with more room and the task of moving, not only a household, but also approximately 50 cats as well! New cages were made, sheds and runs built, as quickly as they were done the cats were moved over with two workcrews working at both ends of the move to look after the animals whilst building new accommodation for them. The move took several months to complete. Experts were employed to deal with the electrics and some plumbing, however, the rest of the work was done by us novices.

Fundraising is done by Tin-rattlers, bric-a-brac sales and our infamous sponsored walk, often working quietly and behind the scenes, people keep the cattery going by keeping money coming in as well as the many people who kindly donate tins of food at supermarkets across town.



The building project

May 2002 saw the beginning of a new cattery in Coldean, Brighton. What started was a project none of us could have imagined would be quite so difficult. To date 6 skip loads of rubbish, 8 tons of concrete a ton of bricks and over a ton of wood have been re-distributed to make up 15 brand new, bigger cages, a base for the large shed that will accommodate the homeless cats and to make room in the garage and the smaller shed in the area to be used.

Bringing in experience and knowledge from my repertoire of jobs, Michaels' muscle and Ken's sensible plodding the cattery is beginning to take shape. Here are some photos showing the progress we have made, specifically with levelling the area for the shed.

The workshop:

In order to make the cages and other items we needed we needed to make storage areas and a workshop was created out of the mess that was the garage. Finding a range of tools which would proove to be most useful including a bench saw, a vertical drill holder and a mitre saw. I began making the pieces for the 15 new cages we need to make. This comprised making several jigs and employing a lot of the tools we had found. The drilling of pilot holes was now controlled and accurate rather than guessed and inaccurate. Soon all the pieces were ready. 30 cage doors, painted and wired 15 backs, 30 sides and 30 tops and bottoms, a fair amount of chipboard!

The Nightmare


This is what we were confronted with in the beginning, four vehicles including this van and in the background an ancient ambulance stuffed full of rubbish! The first job was to remove the rubbish and the council were brought in to remove the cars, first, however we had the task of removing all the rubbish in the vans!

The next task was deciding where and what we were to use for what. Picture 3 shows the area we are to use for the homeless shed. We had to remove yet more rubbish and a rather rickety shed that wouldn't have looked out of place in a horror movie! This took ages!

Here is an example of the rubbish in two skips filled in two days. Some of the material we threw away seemed a real waste, lots of metal and old tools. But in reality we had no time and no resources to do anything with these although we salvaged many useable tools and have been already much used.

Then it was digging time. This was to prove to be quite a problem.....

We found, having removed lots of old lino and all sorts of things that the lie of the land was very bad, considering it had already been concreted and had also accommodated the rickety shed. An interim wall was built to keep some of the re-useable material back and another wall was built to provide a level to work to (Foreground) Then it was days on end of hitting, cracking, lifting, groaning in order to kind of level what we could of several layers of concrete, stones, sand and even glass! Eventually it was level enough to be concreted and the Builders merchants were brought in.

The amount of material was really quite incredible as the 20 foot square yard swallowed barrow loads of concrete with amazing efficiency. But in just a week the two of us had completed filling the area and during the next week the retaining wall was built to accommodate a safer garden area for the house cats to hide in



What's next:

The shed has been delivered and Lino has been laid in the conservatory of the house, one side of the garage has been rendered and despite the challenge of a huge rainstorm the rendering has survived, this will make the cleaning of what will be the homeless run easier. An area in the garage will be lined and used as a reception area and the smaller shed will be lino-ed and turned into a hospital / kitten area. And apparently there are enough bricks to make a barbecue!

Back to top