I AM SO PSYCHED!!!!!!!
I HATE KILL SHELTERS! It seems the SOUTH is rampant with them, not to say there aren't ones here, too, but the numbers of cats and KITTENS and dogs and PUPPIES put to sleep are shocking. Sure, maybe it's insignificant to think that saving ONE cat or dog from one of those places isn't going to make any difference...
...except to that cat or dog! They want to LIVE. They deserve a chance at a good life!
So get a load of this:
FRIDAY: A Plea Goes Out on Twitter by my friends at Kat5 to Help Zabby. I read the post. I looked at the photos (some are re-posted here). I ask about her age. She looks young. Maybe we can find a placement for here somewhere! I know I can offer to donate a few dollars, too, to help with her Vet bill, so I let the ladies at Kat5 know I'm working on it.
Photo: Henry County Animal Care & Control
Later That Day: I get an email from another one of mine, Jennifer, who works with the Feline Diabetes Message Board. She asked me if I could post ad Ad on Petfinder for her as she was trying to find a great home for a very nice kitty that was going to be euthanized by her "family" (what family would do that to their cat? not any FAMILY I know) for being mean. In actuality, this poor cat had never been spayed and had a nasty mouth full of dental problems. I'd be mean, too, if I felt like crap!
"Sure! I'll post an ad for you! Wish I could do more..."
So I post the ad for : LUCY And while I'm at it, I ask Jennifer if she knows anyone that can help Zabby. She says she'll post the info on their discussion group board and get back to me.
SATURDAY: Jennifer emails me that she has a placement for Zabby in South Carolina! WOOHOO! She's going to the Catnip Cottage in Summerville, SC! I let the Kat5 team know we have a placement, now we need transport from GA to SC.
SUNDAY: TICK TOCK
Zabby's paw injury (bite wound) is healing nicely. She's so very thin for a 4 yr old kitty. Poor sweetheart!
MONDAY: So far no luck. Kat5 is trying their best. Can't get a transport yet. Need to hurry!!!
TUESDAY, TODAY: YES! Jennifer's crew kicks butt! She emails me that she has a transport person! A wonderful person named Bobby (WE LOVE YOU!) has offered to drive the 4 to 5 hour drive up and back whenever we need it. Okay, I wasn't raised to believe in Angels, but I am starting to change my mind about that! WOW!
All Zabby needs now is a trip to the Vet, to get her combo test and this is where I get a stomach ache-she MUST be NEGATIVE for Feline Leukemia and, I believe FIV, too. After all this, if she's sick, it will be a bad ending to this story.
Photo: Henry County Animal Care & Control
Fingers and toes are crossed. Phone calls and emails and shutting back and forth. Zabby will hopefully be with her new rescue group soon. Of course, if you live in GA or SC and would like to ADOPT Zabby, contact me right away! This girl deserves a Happy Ending!
I admit I've been dragging my feet about writing this chapter. It means that the last few stories I'm able to share about Tweetie will draw to a close; even though there IS so much more to this story than I can tell here, right now. Reflecting on our last day together, too, will remind me that my relationship with one, very special kitten is also possibly coming to an end.
If you don't already know this, introducing a new cat into a home where there's already one or more cats, should be done with great care. As with people meeting one another, first impressions matter. Get off on the wrong foot, or paw, in this case, and it can set up years of discord, damage to the home and stress for all concerned.
When the new cat is about to meet a Celebukitty, there's even more at stake. Not only is their meeting going to be of concern to their new family, but to the Global Press at large. Will the headlines read: "Sockington Rebuffs Tiny Twin, Tweetie" or "Sockington Welcomes Ward Warmly"?
The answer won't be completely obvious for some time. You simply MUST be patient about how things will pan out. Be willing to give it time, whether it be hours or MONTHS, for your cats to all get along. They may never sleep snuggled together on your bed, but at least they should respect each other's space and not fight. You must NEVER toss the new cat into a room and "let them work it out" with the cats whose home has been usurped!
A Few Introduction Tips
The new kitten or cat must be separated from the group, in their own space, with their own litter pan, food, bed and toys. It will be their "safe haven" when the day comes that they're allowed the freedom to explore the rest of the home. It's from this separate room that the introductions are done, either by opening the door slightly or, in our case, by putting window screens across the doorway.
Even though Sockington and Penny are famous kitties and it's really really cool that Tweetie looks a lot like Socks, their introduction is a serious matter. This is about their lives together as a new family, not a publicity stunt.
The Big Moment
I had a can of what I call "Kitty Crack." It's the one brand of cat food I've never seen a cat turn away from. I won't say what it's called (Solid Gold), but it's really expensive and if they want to ship me a crate, that would be awesome!
The plan was to feed Penny and Socks this delicious treat on one side of Tweetie's room divider, with Tweetie being fed on the other. This would help the cats to associate a positive experience with seeing each other. Using window screens, the cats could see and smell each other through the screen, but Tweetie would be safe from harm should one of the cats decide to lunge at him.
Food Lady, Mr. Scott, Sam and I stood breathlessly as Food Lady put down food for Penny and Socks.
Penny didn't even get close to the screen or her food. She figured out what was going on and immediately ran off. At least she wasn't aggressive. No tasty treat was going to change her mind. This left Socks to meet Tweetie.
Socks wasn't sure what to make of the creature behind the screen. His skinny tail puffed up while Tweetie looked eagerly at him. There was a sharp "hiss" from Socks, who wanted to lick at the yummy food, but was distracted by his tiny doppleganger.
Curious, Socks took a step closer. Tweetie, remained eager and friendly, with tail held high. Perhaps he hoped he could play with Socks soon?
Socks and Tweetie sniffed each other's face through the screen. Though Tweetie did nothing to provoke him, Socks hissed and Tweetie hissed only in retaliation. This cat may be big and look strangely familiar, but Tweetie wasn't gonna be no scaredy cat.
Food Lady reached down to comfort Socks, but shocked by the sudden distraction, he lashed out with another quick hiss, this time at Food Lady. This is not unusual and it's worth noting that when a cat is stressed, a comforting voice, staying neutral is great, but hands off until the cat is in a relaxed state. Yes, this is how I got bit-trying to handle a cat who was highly stressed and I assumed I could deal with him. Wrong! Sometimes it's better to let things cool off a bit, if possible.
Fortunately, Food Lady was only startled, but not hurt. Socks just wanted to let us know he was distressed at this visitor. Point taken.
Then Tweetie was given some food, which he happily ate, regardless of the giant cat towering over him with the rather silly attempt to scare him with his almost pouffless tail. We all had hoped that Socks would just eat and relax, instead of try to look menacing, but he ran off.
With a bit of cajoling, we were able to encourage Socks to return. Tweetie was still ready to be friends, but Socks wasn't ready for that. With a short, guttural growl and quick hiss, Socks ran off again, seemingly for good, this time. Poor Tweetie. He just wanted to make friends. He behaved far better than I could have hoped. He didn't run and hide. He didn't flip out. He was brave and confident. Gone was the fearful feral kitten I once knew.
Finally, Face to Face. Tweetie Wonders; "Are You My Daddy?"
Even though the introduction was far from a Hollywood Ending, it could have been much worse. Penny will need time to come around or she'll just stay in "her space" and avoid any interaction with Tweetie. Socks showed interest and although felt threatened by the newcomer, he returned, just moments after running off, with tail held high, looking as fabulous and calm as ever.
It was time for me to go. Enough excitement for all the kitties for one day. Time to let them all relax. I asked for a moment to say goodbye to Tweetie and everyone kindly left the room. I stepped over the window screens and Tweetie dashed behind the toilet. I called to him and he came right over to me. Unsure of what was going on in this new place, with new smells and a giant cat hissing at him, he was still willing to leave the safety of his hiding place. I picked him up, then was surprised to see a mirror on the wall in front of us. I hadn't noticed it before. Tweetie looked at the reflection just as I did. I took a mental portrait of us at that moment, sorely wishing I had my camera. It was the first time I ever saw myself with Tweetie and it made me tear up. I realized this may be the last time I ever hold this sweet little cat. The last time I feel his quick purr or hear his goofy burble. I got to this moment with a lot of hard work, patience, a few painful bites on my finger and a lot of love. Though my heart suddenly ached, there was nothing more that I could do other than to kiss his forehead and leave him to settle in his new home. I promised myself I wouldn't cry in front of his new family. It was a tough promise to keep.
This is my life; to socialize feral kittens and to help find them good homes. I'd done my part. Now it was up to Food Lady and the rest of her family to decide if Tweetie will be a good fit in their home. Part of me wishes it wouldn't work out so I could take him back, but I realize I'm being entirely selfish and this just feels like the place where Tweetie was meant to be-I know again with my silly predictions!
I hope that Sockington and Penny will find their way to love Tweetie, as I have, and that their home is filled with a lifetime of joy. I really enjoyed meeting Socks. He's just awesome in every way. I'd love to get to know Penny. I feel badly we only had a moment to visit with her. She's really a beautiful girl. I wish I could tell them both that it's going to be okay. That they'll still be just as famous and just as loved, if not moreso than before.
Food Lady and Fat...err...Mr. Scott are both focused on what's best for all the cats. Their sincere desire to make certain the introduction is done in the most positive manner possible is truly impressive. They're very good people who I hope to become friends with as the days pass.
Here's to new beginnings-a new chapter, of either Tweetie's visit?...or Tweetie's rise to fame, alongside his older mentor, Sockington?
What will happen to this little fella? He no longer has to fear being released into the woods, but will Tweetie's visit turn into an adoption or will he come back to Connecticut to find a new home?
All I can say about that is, of course, stay tuned...and...shoot! I forgot to get a pawtograph!
Ten weeks have passed since Gabby, the feral mama, and her 3 surviving kittens came to live with me. So much has changed since that first day.
Gabby did a great job as a Mom, giving me little to do, other than make sure she got PLENTY to eat and stay the f- away from her! I tried a few times to sweetly coax Gabby to take food from a spoon or enjoy a treat, but she could only hiss her reply that she was not gonna come around-not one tiny bit.
As you know Gabby was eventually taken to be spayed, get her shots and ear tip, then was released to her caretaker Larry's property. I was told she was very happy to return to familiar surroundings.
The kittens have grown well and even though there were a few setbacks, such as Pixie's broken toe and Twinkles reluctance to eat, but by their last few days, they all seemed to be thriving.
As expected, the Spay surgery did take a lot out of little Twinkles. She was very thin when I got her back from the Vet, but quickly gave her lots and lots of good food, which she enthusiastically ate.
Since the Pre-Adoption forms had long since been filled out and approved, my last remaining task was keep the kittens occupied until their new families arrived. I can't believe how much they've grown! How they're starting to look more like adults, than kittens and also just how beautiful they all are. I was surprised to see that Sprinkles and Twinkles seem to have very faint tabby markings in their coat! Tre exotique!
The adopters arrived on the same day, not wanting to wait one extra moment after the girls were cleared to go to their new homes. I was glad there are still a few families out there who still want to adopt since our adoptions are dramatically lower than they were last year and we've got older and older kittens in the program as a result. Stinkin' economy!
Sprinkles is going to be called, "Ninja" and will be living with another kitty named Patches, who's not sure he loves his new playmate just yet.
Twinkles and Pixie were adopted together and will be renamed: "Cherry" (for Black Cherry) and Pixie will be named: "Sprite." They'll be enjoying their new home with Snowman the kitty, who seems to be okay with the new arrivals. The kittens will also have a very sweet little girl to play with them named, Chloe, who loves all animals and giggles like crazy at every one she meets.
I spent a good part of yesterday cleaning the room, sanitizing the litter pan, dishes, floor and bedding and got the place re-organized and ready to go for the next crew. I'd like to take a few weeks off, but it's Kitten Season and we are overloaded with kittens who need help. So I get the weekend off and on Monday I'll be taking in FIVE BIG KITTENS!
We're not talkin' newborns. These cats are between two and five MONTHS old. I fear they'll be too big and rambunctious. That they'll simply open the door and let themselves out. They'll hang from the ceiling and have kegger parties when I'm not home---or worse, when I AM HOME!
And so, the a new story dawns. I hear rumors that one of the kittens is very shy and needs my help. Will he bite me like Tweetie did or just hide in a corner? WIll I fall in love with him, too and accidently call two of my cats his name? (It's embarrassing to call your OWN cats the name of one of your fosters. Shame on me!).
I have no idea how this is going to shake out. I've never fostered kittens this old before. I better enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts. I have a feeling things are about to get a bit crazy and I don't need to be a psychic to know that!
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOCKING AND TWEETIE FINALLY MEET?!!
Tweetie was a marvelous passenger. Although he seemed a bit limp and sad, perhaps it was his reaction to the stress of highway sounds? Maybe it was just being a kitten and needing a nap? He settled down quickly. I offered him some toys to play with, but he wasn't interested. I didn't push it with him, instead just offered to pet him, which he seemed to give him some comfort. I could feel him purring through my fingers.
Within a short time, Tweetie was fast asleep on my hand. I didn't move it, figuring I have a spare hand, so if this one falls off due to inadequate blood flow, then heck, I'm mostly right handed, so no big deal. Somehow I managed to send out a few Tweets and the above two photos to everyone to let them know we were making progress and would be reaching Socks Army HQ soon. We didn't hit much traffic and the threatening looking weather moved on, only releasing a modest shower, instead of a torrent. We pulled into the driveway of...hey! I'm NOT telling you the TOP SECRET LOCATION OF SOCKS ARMY HQ! Are you kidding me?! I had to sign a blood oath never to divulge this secret!...
...and low and behold, who should walk out to welcome us, but Food Lady, herself! (no photos, please!)
As I got out of the car, I got slapped by hot, humid air. It was nasty! Socks Army HQ has so many different operations that only certain sectors of the HQ are chilled. When we entered HQ and were escorted to Tweetie's new temporary quarters, I realized Tweetie was going to be very warm, indeed. I started to worry. His quarters were small and sequestered from the lavish surroundings that Socks and Penny enjoy. I kept reminding myself that this was "just for a few days" and that the weather was going to break that night (which it did, thankfully and things cooled down and dried out nicely). Food Lady had everything ready. We released Tweetie and instead of hiding or hissing, he casually walked around and was a proper gentleman and showed Food Lady he knew how to use his new litter pan!
With fresh food and water laid out before him, we decided to let him rest a bit while we sought refuge in the cool chambers of the HQ's main conference room. I was trying to be polite and not demand to know where Sockington and Penny were. We met with, well he's called Fatty, but I would rather call him, Mr. Scott, so we met with Mr. Scott who told us to prepare for the meeting. That we should not expect a warm greeting, but if Sockington did honor us with his presence that we should be delighted-well of course!
He called Sockington on a Top Secret wireless device. Within a moment I heard paws landing on stair steps. I turned from my seat on the floor (my choice) and there he was...Socks!
What an elegant, sleek, regal beast! Socks came right over to me sniffed my hand. I was told he wouldn't let me pet him, but he did! He even gave my hand a few welcoming licks. I still haven't washed it! Maybe I can get the DNA from it and clone a new Socks? Mwwwaahahahaha!
So anyway, Socks is fantastic. He's quite tall and his tail is impressively long, featuring a "tail light" (white tip) as I call it. He was also very friendly with Sam, but I'm not sure if it was because he liked Sam or that Sam's hands smelled like the grilled chicken sandwich he ate in the car on the drive up?
Maybe Socks was just being polite?
He certainly seemed calm and relaxed in front of the camera. You can tell he knows he's famous! He posed carefully for me, making sure he gave me his good side forward (with Socks, though, all sides are good!). I couldn't get over how much Socks looked like Tweetie. I mean, Tweetie looked like Mr. Sockington, excuse me!
I did my best to be witty and entertaining, but in truth, I think I bored Socks. Though he tried to stay with the conversation, it was just too beneath his standards.
Eventually, he decided he'd had enough and wanted to have a wee nap.
But what about meeting Tweetie??! Should we do the introductions? I'd finally gotten Tweetie within a football field (Hey, Socks Army HQ is big!) of Sockington, but I KNOW introductions have to be done properly, or you open a whole world of hurt on yourself!
Suddenly Penny entered the room and it was clear, as sweet and lovely as she is in person, she was also in NO MOOD to meet no stinkin' kitten!
I gulped hard. What had I done?! Was this just a foolish, selfish, idiotic move on my part? Clearly Penny was not happy. Socks didn't know what was waiting for him in the next room. Maybe I should just take Tweetie home with me and forget this ever happened! At least I got to meet The Most Famous Cat on the Internet and geez, everyone is going to be so jealous of me! Woohoo! Take that rich, creepy, materialistic, selfish, evil, elephant-eared family members, who shall remain nameless, but know who they are! Nyah!
What am I gonna do? What will become of Tweetie???
'til next time, World. 'til next time...
My journey with Tweetie ends today. Though I'll still be involved with his life, it'll be from a distance. I've been sick with some sort of stomach bug for a few days and my hormones are percolating at dangerous levels. I'm tired. A perfect day to drive a 280 mile round trip to Boston!
My brain isn't working. I hate being a woman sometimes. Get whacked out hormones, always at the worst possible time, then try to act like a "normal" person while under duress. Ugh.
At the last minute I told Sam I was in trouble and asked him what I should do. Instead of doing the trip solo, Sam offered to drive me. If the weather turned bad, which was likely, he'd have 4wd on his car and I'd not have the stress of the drive up. I didn't want to lean on him, but I had to admit it might be the best for most of us and I promised I'd buy gas and a load of Lox and Bagels at Rein's Deli on the way home. What that man won't do for fish, I swear.
The plan was to leave at 2pm to avoid the worst of Boston traffic. Before leaving, I spent some quality time playing and hanging out with Tweetie. All he wanted to do was sit on my lap, play while sitting on my lap or bite my pants. It was a true Hallmark moment.
I packed up some of Tweetie's favortie toys, a cat blanket that Food Lady brought us that smelled like Sockington, a few cans of food and Tweetie's Vet records. The last thing I packed was Tweetie's Adoption Contract.
Yes. Adoption. Contract. It seems that Food Lady has a bit of a crush on Tweetie to the point of feeling it may just be Kismet that Tweetie should come to live alongside his older twin, Sockington and his cohort in crime, Penny. I've known that this was a possibility since July 23rd. I even predicted it would happen! For some reason, I felt I needed to write down my gut feeling after I'd received a note from Jason, asking to come visit Tweetie. I sealed the prediction in an envelope and showed it to Sam to witness it. Now if I could only get my own Psychic Hotline, maybe I could afford my Vet bill!
I wasn't able to say anything about the possibility until enough time and meetings had passed so that everyone felt comfortable with the idea that maybe Tweetie was destined to be part of the family? Tweetie will be on probation once he arrives at The Socks Army HQ and it'll be up to Food Lady, Fatty, Socks & Penny whether or not Tweetie will stay on "forever."
Even if it doesn't work out, Tweetie can always come home to me and I'll find him, maybe not as an exciting home, but a home nonetheless. No pressure. No worries. There are NO villains here. First...let's get Tweetie to Boston and see what happens next.
We packed up the car and Sam put the car into "drive." Tweetie began crying hysterically. Within less than a block, I'd gotten out of the car and jumped into the back seat, where I stayed for the remainder of the trip. Tweetie was content once he had company. My hormones settled down once I started to pet him. I tried to push the thought out of my mind that this was it-this was the last few hours I was going to spend with Tweetie. I felt my gut lurch and tears well up in my eyes. Was it my tummy troubles returning or the inevitable sadness of letting go? I started this journey fully ready to be responsible for whatever the outcome: releasing Tweetie to the woods or finding him a home. It was never in the plan to keep him with my clutter, but I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be tough to say goodbye.
Ready or not, it was time to carry on; to leave Connecticut and make our way northeast.
There's been some BIG, LIFE-CHANGING NEWS for Tweetie over the last 24 hours. Some of it I can divulge and some must stay "mum" for now. I've got lots of photos and memories to share. Please stay tuned. I'll have something up for you to read later today!
My little furballs are off to be spayed today. I won't see them again until tomorrow afternoon. I miss them already!
:::Crossing fingers::: Hope they do well!