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Blast from the Past Cats R Us

CATS-R-US Makes Headlines

In October 1998 CATS - R - US was threatened with legal action by T0YSRUS, we refused to change our name and T.R.U. graciously backed down and promised to take no further action.
Charity anger at 'bully' toy giant
The Northern Echo 20/10/1998

THE world's biggest toy shop chain has flexed its corporate muscle to force a tiny North-East charity to drop its name.

Toys 'R' Us, which has reported profits of 1m-a-week, has given the animal rescue charity Cats-R-Us two weeks to ditch its name - or face the threat of legal action.

The Shildon charity, which survives on £100-a-week, is reeling after receiving a letter out of the blue from the corporation's lawyers.

The company says that the R Us mark links the two organisations in people's minds - even though one is a struggling charity finding homes for stray and sick cats and the other a 1,500 mega-store enterprise scattered around the globe.

Cats-R-Us proprietor Marion Maychell said: "Toys 'R' Us earn billions every year. I am lucky to reach four figures. How can I take them on? "I can't see how anything I am doing can hurt a big company like that. I am sure that nobody associates us with them. It's ridiculous.

"Whatever I do I will lose out. If I change the name it will be expensive. I will even have to reapply to the Charity Commission which accepted the name without question when I registered in 1996." A spokesman for the Cats Protection League in Durham said: "This is absolutely stupid. Marion has rehomed thousands of cats and she does a wonderful job.

"She takes on the animals that nobody else wants. A lot of them have been bought because people think they are toys. When they step out of line they are thrown out." London lawyers Cameron McKenna have asked Marion to give an undertaking within 14 days to drop R Us from all her letters, phone listings and promotional material.

They wrote: "Our clients believe that anyone who sees the R Us mark associates it with them.

"Such confusion is likely to damage our clients' goodwill, giving them a right of action against you for an injunction to restrain passing-off and for damages and costs." Cameron McKenna told Marion that not even a change to Cats Are Us would be acceptable.

The bombshell could hardly have come at the worst time for the charity, as it was preparing to launch a pre-Christmas fund raising appeal.

Marion's budget is literally eaten up by hundreds of mainly sick and injured animals, which she finds homes for every year.

She has no money to launch a legal battle, so she has made a global appeal through the Internet for backing against what, she says, are corporate bully-boy tactics.

Cat lovers around the world have told Marion that they are so upset at the company's antics that they will boycott its stores.

Marion added: "Most people are outraged. They are promising me a lot of support. In the end it is the animals that will suffer.

"Our name just suits us. It has nothing to do with the toy store. No one seems able to help us and I thought people should know how mean Toys 'R' Us can be.

"The sort of money we need is nothing to them. It would have been more appropriate for them to have supported us because of our name instead of knocking us." Toys 'R' Us would make no comment last night because, said a spokeswoman, it was a "legal matter".

Charity urged to fight off toy giant
The Northern Echo 21/10/1998


CAT lovers have urged a tiny North-East animal charity to fight off a legal bid by the world's biggest toy chain to force it to drop its name.

Defiant Cats-R-Us boss Marion Maychell says she will stand firm in her David and Goliath battle with giant corporation Toys 'R' Us, even though they have offered to pay for the change.

The company's lawyers gave Marion 14 days to ditch the title she has used since 1994.

They said the R-Us mark linked the two organisations in people's minds and could damage the company's goodwill.

As calls from wellwishers flooded in to Marion's Shildon home yesterday, she said she would be letting her supporters down if she caved in.

And a transport company revealed that it had stood out against a similar move by the company against them.

Ipswich-based Trucks-R-Us, whose depot is one and a half miles from a Toys 'R' Us store, said it had been given the same treatment.

A spokesman advised Marion to stand firm. "She should tell them to get stuffed. They tried these bully-boy tactics on us but we are still here.

"We are a long-established family firm and we stuck to our principles. We refused to give in to the pressure and there was nothing they could do." Marion said last night: "I think if I gave up now I would be lynched. So many people have offered to help. At first I thought I had no chance against them but now I know I have." Yesterday Apsley Nailforth, public relations coordinator for Toys 'R' Us, contacted The Northern Echo to offer Marion an olive branch. "We are not bully boys. We are asking them very politely. They don't have to fight us. We are very reasonable people and we will look at this very sympathetically," he said.

"Obviously we need to protect our trademark. We understand that they are a charity and it isn't our intention to harm their work or let them incur any costs as a result of changing their name."

Sorry, says toy group
THE JOURNAL 22/10/1998

A TOY giant has backed down and made a donation after threatening a County Durham animal charity with legal action.

Global chain store Toys R Us claimed Shildon cat sanctuary Cats-R-Us, set up by Marion Maychell, 43, infringed the copyright on its name. But she refused to change the name.

Yesterday she said the company had apologised, had withdrawn its action, and offered a donation.

Toy giant humbled by little people
The Northern Echo 22/10/1998


IT was a champagne moment for the tiny North-East charity which left the world's biggest toy shop chain with egg on its face.

The full corporate strength of ToysRUs proved powerless against animal loving readers of The Northern Echo who came forward in their hundreds when a cat rescue service was threatened.

The American corporation, which reported makes weekly profits of 1m, tried to force Marion Maychell's Cats-R-Us charity, which survives on £100-a-week, to ditch its name.

Lawyers told Marion, who runs the charity from her Shildon home, that people might confuse the two organisations and ToysRUs might be harmed.

However, callers who contacted Marion and The Northern Echo were very clear whose side they were on, threatening to drop ToysRUs stores from their Christmas shopping list.

Red-faced company spokesman Apsley Nailforth apologised to Marion yesterday, withdrawing the demand and, as a gesture of goodwill, sending the charity a cheque for £500.

Marion said: "I can't wait to see the cheque from ToysRUs made out to Cats-R-Us. That will be really great.

"Now we are so well known our name is more important to us than ever. It is what we are all about.

"Thanks to The Northern Echo, we have stood up to them and won. I can't believe how many people have contacted me because they read the paper. I want them to know how much their support has meant.

"Once I knew so many people were behind me, I couldn't let them down." Until her story appeared, Marion had feared she would have to give in to the company because she simply could not afford to fight.

Mr Nailforth said that lawyers had written to Marion without telling the company. He said: We are very embarrassed. It is not our policy to go after charities."

Some Cats have needed the power of the Press to find them a home

Abandoned in shoe box

The Northern Echo 29/04/1995

EVERYBODY'S heard of Puss in Boots, but Puss in a Shoe Box? This little kitten was less than a week old when she was abandoned in Darlington's Market Square.

A 15-year-old schoolgirl found her last Monday lunchtime shivering inside a shoe box and alerted Cats-R-Us, a new animal rescue service based in Shildon.

Marion Maychell, who founded the group in January, said: "Tiny kittens need to be bottle fed every two hours otherwise they can dehydrate or die of the cold very quickly so it was important to get her here.

"When we went to collect her it was obvious she was the worse for wear and took to the bottle straight away.

"We got her on a hot water bottle and kept her warm and she's progressing really well." Marion, who has 12 cats of her own at her home and has saved over 600 cats in the last four years, has called the latest arrival Biddy.

"Well, people make bids at market don't they? So we thought it was appropriate."

Buttons needs a cosy spot

The Northern Echo 04/03/1996


A CAT who was mistreated by a gang of youths is in need of a caring home.

Buttons was rescued by a couple in Willington, County Durham, who found him being abused by the gang.

They took in the tabby for a time but can no longer care for him. He is now with cat rescue organisation Cats R Us in Shildon, County Durham.

He was taken for a check-up at a local vets and was found to have a wire in his jaw to correct a fracture.

Marion Maychell, who runs Cats R Us, said: "We don't really know if Buttons went missing from his home or has been abandoned. The wire operation is an expensive operation so someone must have paid for it." She wants anyone who might have lost Buttons or who can give him a home to call her .

Brought in from the cold and wet

The Northern Echo 05/01/1996

A TINY ginger kitten that was found cold, wet and abandoned needs a good home.

Marmaduke VI is the first pet The Northern Echo is trying to home following the launch of our Animal Sanctuary campaign.

The fluffy mite was discovered in Newton Aycliffe, in County Durham, a few days before Christmas and rescued by the organisation Cats R Us.

Marion Maychell, who is looking after the kitten, said he was looking much better after lots of good meals and the warmth of a caring home.

Mrs Maychell said: "He was found just before Christmas. He was in a right state, he was cold, wet, hungry and frightened.

"We have to presume he was abandoned because no one has been looking for him." If anyone can offer Marmaduke a home they should call us..

Homes needed for a couple of sweeties

The Northern Echo 08/02/1996

TWO kittens have been found shivering in an old shed and need a good home.

The ten-week-old female kittens were rescued from Spennymoor, County Durham, and taken to a Shildon rescue centre.

Marion Maychell, who runs Cats R Us, said: "The kittens were seen living wild and one of our helpers has been feeding them since Christmas.

"The kittens were caught and taken in.

"They were underweight and their fur was very tatty," added Marion, pictured right with the kittens.

The tabby kitten is called Sugar and the black cat has been given the name Sweetie and both are making a good recovery.

The kittens are quite nervous and in need a loving and quiet home without any other pets.

The last Cats R Us appeal found a caring home for Marmaduke VI.

The cat was the first animal to be highlighted by Animal Sanctuary and now has a good home in Ferryhill.

Anyone able to offer Sugar and Sweetie a home should contact the rescue centre as soon as possible.


The Northern Echo 09/08/1995

Animal lovers are asked to give a home to Tiny Tim a little kitten abandoned in a cardboard box.

The little mite was found by a teenage girl at the recreation ground at Cockton Hill, Bishop Auckland.

Tiny Tim is a black tom cat and is believed to be around six weeks old.

He is being looked after by Marion Maychell, of Shildon, who runs Cats R Us, an organisation that rescues strays and kittens and finds them new homes.

If anyone can give Tiny Tim a home they can contact Cats R Us

Rescue centre is caught on the hop

The Northern Echo 31/08/1998

THE newest arrivals to a cat shelter in County Durham are sending the residents hopping mad.

With their very long ears and twitchy noses it's quite obvious at Cats R Us in Shildon, County Durham, that the new bundles of fluff are not of the feline kind.

The nine baby rabbits, the product of an unplanned pregnancy, were brought to the home of Marion Maychell, who runs the cat rescue centre.

Marion said: "The person who brought them couldn't keep them but wanted them all to go to good homes so we are looking after them until they can find new owners." There are four males and five females, and they come in an assortment of colours including black, dark grey, sandy, brown and light grey.

Marion said: "They make very good pets and are becoming more and more popular as house pets, rather than kept in a hutch in the garden." Anyone who can give one of the rabbits a good home is asked to telephon