Rescuing cats doesn’t only mean taking a cat off the street or out of a kill-shelter and giving it a home until you can find a forever home for it. There’s a great deal of behind-the-scenes networking going on, too, that doesn’t often get reported.
For a rescue like mine, that’s held together by a few very precious volunteers and even fewer foster homes, we can’t take on many cats because we don’t want to get into an overcrowded, unhealthy situation. We can’t expand until we get more foster homes so for now, we tap out at about 20 cats or less.
Add to that…adoptions are at an all time low. We’ve had Barney since he was BORN and he just turned a YEAR OLD. Other rescues, loaded up, report one or two adoptions every few weeks, when in past years they were always ready to take on more cats because enough were finding homes. When you do the math, between the rise in abandoned cats or owners who get evicted, the natural rise of the unspayed/neutered cat population and the economy and you have a disaster in the making that has ended up with the cats paying the price with their lives.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. His owner died. Family members promised they would come back for him, but they never did. Leaving him depressed and alone, wondering what he did wrong.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. “Can't Keep.” Why?
Though I can’t speak for every rescuer, I’d bet we’re all very exhausted, particularly this year. Our spirits are broken, too. We used to be able to call an associate at another rescue and beg a favor. After a few calls we’d usually be able to find someone to say they could help and take on a cat we couldn’t help. We’d offer bribes-we’d pay for vetting or we’d drive the cat to their door. We’d make jokes or promise to use our social networking chops to let everyone know that this one cat is at a great rescue to help that rescue get donations…whatever it took.
Today we can make the calls, but often they go unanswered or if they are answered we’re told; “I’m so sorry, but we just can’t take another…did you try such and such rescue?” We all strive to help each other out, but we’re just lost about how we can keep doing this if people don’t start adopting cats again.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How can this cat take the stress of living in this cage? When I approached him, he came over and wanted me to pet his head. Leaving him behind broke my heart.
I made my usual calls asking for help and surprisingly enough a group here in town said they could take on a few kittens if I could go get them. I was told to take five, but then I was faced with having to choose which lives to save.
I’ve done a lot of rescues from Georgia, but I’ve never been to the state. I’ve never gone to animal control and chosen a cat to rescue. I’ve used photos as a guide, but there were plenty of times I didn’t even have that much to go on. This was the first time I would go into a place where I knew if I didn’t help, maybe no one would. As I drove to Bridgeport my task weighed heavily on my heart, but I was also excited to be part of something good happening to these needy animals.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Those are adult cats in those dark cages. They barely can stand. Imagine what it would do to their psychological state after being in there for a long period of time?
I met with Melissa, who runs animal control along with her associate Jimmy. I loved Melissa right away. She was smart, cute with dark curly hair and funky glasses. She was expecting my arrival since I’d promised her help and was finally able to make good on my words. She walked me over to a room that was having some construction done on it and told me to pardon the mess, but mess or no, I was immediately taken aback by what I saw.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I desperately wanted to take these guys, too.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Do I chose this litter? YES!
Then there were the kittens-either all black or black and white. They were together as a litter, each clinging to the other, wide-eyed, looking at me, trying to decide if I was going to harm them or help. There were eleven kittens and I could only take five. One of the kittens, a sole longhaired black male, was sick, with green discharge from his eyes and his nose was runny. I asked to look at him and I checked his mouth for sores, the telltale sign of Calicivirus-which thankfully he did not have.
I had to consider what the rescue would want, not me. They would want the youngest, friendliest kittens. I went back and forth, adding up which combinations I could take. I started off with the sick kitten, but realized he could affect the others so he had to go back into his cage…and trust me on this…it was not a good feeling. I had to push through my emotions and make a choice.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The little sick kitten I thought I had to leave behind (who is now at a Vet getting the care he needs)
I called one of my friends who works with the rescue taking the cats and asked if I could, at least, take a sixth kitten since it would have been left behind when it was part of a litter. She said YES! I wanted to take three older long-haired black and white kittens, but the voice in my head said, no, take the younger ones. I felt the ones I left behind would easily be adopted as they were very pretty and friendly. I had to hope for the best.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. This kitten was so friendly I couldn't believe he came out of such a high-stress environment.
We packed up the kittens. In the end I chose two litters: one of two kittens and one of four. I borrowed a second cat carrier so they wouldn’t be together. I looked at the sick kitten and he reached out a paw, wanting to get out of the cage. I asked Melissa to promise to tell me how he was doing and when he got out, but I felt terrible leaving him behind.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
I drove the kittens to our new animal control where they would be quarantined for the day until the rescue could come pick them up.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
While I was at animal control, I mentioned the sick kitten and some of the others. I knew I did what I could, but the image of that little guy stuck with me as I drove home.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. These kittens turned out to be cheerful, friendly and playful once they had a chance to get used to their new temporary home.
A few hours later, I got a call. Our dear animal control officer asked me why I didn’t take the sick kitten, too. I told her I had no place for him to go and she told me to go get him and that she would care for him herself and get him placed! I called Melissa and told her I had to return her cat carrier and that I’d do it the next morning. She jokingly asked if I’d like to fill it back up with more cats and I replied, yes and that I was coming back for the sick kitten.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Twenty-four hours later, this little kitten is no longer depressed and fearful, but happy with a full tummy.
I had to wait to get my sick kitten and I got lost trying to find the room he was in. I walked past empty cages, then would see just one cat by itself. Confused I couldn't figure out what was going on, until one of the caretakers came up to me. I asked him about the empty cages. His eyes teared up and he said to me that in the nine years he'd worked at BPT Animal Control, this was the BEST DAY they'd ever had and that most of the cats were GONE. Gone? As in dead? He replied, no…gone as in rescued or adopted.
If only this story was being repeated across this country at every animal control and shelter…what a wonderful world it would be. Yet, I'm grateful I got to witness the breathtakingly beautiful power of what can happen when people come together to affect great change.
75 cats got to see the sunshine again, breathe fresh air, eat good food and be loved. It doesn't get any better than this.
The blue bathtub is empty. Once home to our little foster nuggets, it's now devoid of life, still lined with a soft thick blanket, a few motionless toys, and a tiny litter pan with kitten-safe non-clumping litter inside it.
As all kittens do and should do, they have grown quickly, and in their urgent desire to explore a slowly expanding world, the tub could no longer contain their curiosity.
But before that happened, let's take a look back on the last days of the Blue Bathtub.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Minnie's milk bar is still open for lunch.
As the kittens reached 4 weeks of age, the “drunk walk” they did began to become more confident strides. I was glad to see those days pass. Although endearing to see, it also reminded me of Fred's last days of not being able to walk at all. Seeing the kittens sure-steps gave me some relief, too. It meant their muscles and bones were growing stronger and more capable. With each day, another small miracle. Their weight continued to increase as their awareness of the world expanded.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Passed out pile of cuteness.
I placed a few simple toys in the tub with them, but they didn't understand what they were for. They were happy to use each other as a toy or alternatively a pillow when play time was over. They were still focused on mama-Minnie for everything and had no interest in any tempting foods I set out for them.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stan washes his face while brother, Joe sleeps.
With Minnie being so painfully thin, my hope is to get the kittens weaned as soon as possible, so she can work on getting her health back. She's a devoted, focused mother who is gentle and friendly, but fierce if threatened. My day-to-day relationship with her is very good and affectionate, but one night I learned Minnie's true colors when out of curiosity, I played a cat meowing sound effect on my iPhone that mimicked Minnie's own cry to her kittens. Minnie heard it an immediately went on alert. She jumped towards the sound, landing on the counter near the bathroom sink. She'd never jumped that high before and quickly began to growl, flicking her tail, anxiously looking for a threat. I played another sound, that of a kitten crying and she really flipped out-racing around the room, frantically searching for the intruder. Her behavior was quite startling.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Lil Gracey dreams her little kitten dreams.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Shhh..nap in progress.
Minnie's appetite has also been difficult to predict. One day she's ravenous and will eat what I give her, but most often she's picky and reluctant to take a bite. I've used all my tricks, warming the food, sprinkling dehydrated chicken on it, mixing in some raw chicken liver, but it doesn't often help. I'll even put some on my finger and rub it along her teeth to get her to lick some of the food and get a taste for it.
If she eats at all, she can take more than 20 minutes for her to get the idea that it's food and start to eat, some times even longer. I find myself running up and down the stairs to get the food back into the microwave to re-warm it up, thinking the warm food will help her smell it. I can't seem to find the perfect food or combination of food that she will eat each time. I've been adding goat milk to the food or bringing her a small bowl of it and she seems to like that a lot and I do know it's helped keep her hydrated and given her some extra Vitamin D.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Hey! Do not disturb!
The kittens seem to be doing very well. Their weights are all in line if not ahead of what I would expect them to weigh at their age. Petey was the smallest so I worried about him. Stanely and Mellie are the big boys, each hitting a full pound in weight before the others. I was grateful that none of them were so off the mark that I had to intervene with syringe feeding.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mel (left) and Petey (right)
The kittens are starting to get their teeth and their eyes are blue, instead of dark orbs. They're starting to sort out what a litter pan is-besides a fun place to play. They seem to be okay with me in the room, but I always wonder if I'm handling them enough or too little. I want to keep them safe and calm until they're another week older. Then I need to get more people to visit so they don't get spooked at newcomers.
I should try not to worry so much about being perfect with them and just enjoy these precious weeks. I can't believe how they've grown and how it seems like overnight they've become little cats racing to see who the first will be to explore the world outside the tub.
And not surprisingly, Gracey seems to be leading the way.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey, leader of the pack, begins her attempt to bust out of the blue bathtub.
Stay tuned for Chapter 6.—coming soon.
Summer's here; time to kick back, take a break and savor reading a good book. I'm always a fan of quirky summer romance where a crazy-haired, hard-working woman runs into (and sometimes over) the “wrong” guy (who, of course, is the “right guy” by book's end), but this summer I decided to try something different by reading Gwen Cooper's “Love Saves the Day.”
Love Saves…is Ms. Cooper's third novel following “Diary of a South Beach Party Girl” and her New York Times Bestselling book, “Homer’s Odyssey,” the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion.
Love Saves the Day, is a different kind of love story, segregated into chapters, each told in the voice of one of three characters: Sarah, her daughter Laura and Prudence, a cat. Initially, I was reluctant to read a book that included something written in a cat's voice. I've long-ago tired of reading cutesy misspelled words supposedly penned by a cat and I feared this would only end up in a lot of eye-rolling on my part.
From the first page, I was delightfully surprised by the perky and precocious tone of the feline lead. There were no cutesy misspellings. In fact this cat-character was charming, clever and insightful—who, from having had a few conversations with Ms. Cooper reminds me, is not much different than our esteemed author, herself. The world through Prudence's eyes was one I've not imagined before. Ms. Cooper definitely has unique insight into what her cat is thinking and how the world looks from five inches off the ground.
I devoured the story, quickly getting hooked on Prudence's journey because, in part, it reminded me so much of my own. Prudence is a bridge between her cat-guardian Sarah and Sarah's daughter, Laura. The challenging relationship of mother and daughter, the awkward discussions, the misunderstandings, the assumptions that can keep two people who love each other apart. This story is poignant and tender and some times funny, too. Ms. Cooper has a keen sense of what makes relationships tick and why they can so easily take a turn for the worse, even with the best of intentions.
This is a grand tale that had me giggling and in tears, too. It's the kind of book you can read again and discover something new and once you reach the last page, it leaves you wanting more. I hope we'll get to read about Prudence again one day, but for now it's good to know a cat can be entertaining and without being saccharine. Save the sweetness for the iced tea you'll enjoy as you read this fine work.
Thanks to Gwen Cooper being such a generous person, I'm able to offer one reader in the USA or Canada or UK or Australia (I hate leaving out folks outside of the USA so I will pay for the $$$ shipping this one time) an autographed copy of Love Saves the Day. To enter the contest, simply leave a comment below. Say something nice! Or "I want to win" or whatever you like. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON.
LEARN MORE & HOW TO PURCHASE COPIES OF LOVE SAVES THE DAY
If you'd like to learn more about Love Saves the Day or to order your own copy, just visit Gwen Cooper's website.
After you've read Love Saves the Day you can join the Facebook Fan Page and talk about it, as well as find out about Ms. Cooper's numerous book signings across the USA.
You DO NOT HAVE TO COMPLETELY FILL OUT THE NOMINATION FORM TO VOTE! Thank you for your support!
After careful consideration, from time to time I write product reviews. If you see it here, it's because, at LEAST I think it's worth you knowing about even if I have an issue with it and, at BEST, I think it's amazing and we should all have one, two or more of whatever it is I'm reviewing. I get NO reimbursement for writing these reviews, though to write a review I am supplied with the item, as I was in this case. This review is MY OPINION, ONLY. The result you experience using this product may differ.
Chloe’s been living with foster mom, Angi for six weeks. The fact that she’s in the same home is in and of itself a wonderful thing. With her aggression issues, Chloe could easily have been sent back to Animals in Distress and possibly been deemed unadoptable, leaving her to possibly face a grim future. Her former "guardian" had called around to the local Vets asking for a house call to euthanize the cat. Thankfully, though they are not bound by law to do so, all the Vets he contacted would not do a “convenience-euthansia,” especially for a cat they had never seen before. How did they know the cat wasn't aggressive due to an underlying illness? I was dismayed to learn that my own Vet said there are some Vets who will do anything for a buck. Sadly, cats are still considered personal property, which means that said property can be disposed of at the owner's discretion. Luckily for Chloe she has a few Guardian Angels looking out for her, especially her foster mom, Angi who has stuck by Chloe through thick (and we’re working on thin).
Since this is Angi’s story, then some of the words should be her own. Here are some excerpts from emails discussing Chloe’s ever-improving progress. We last left off with Chloe starting her life at Angi’s house and Angi having to protect herself from Chloe’s attacks as she entered the room. Angi had to have a cardboard shield in front of her just to get near Chloe. She could have become fearful and given up, but Angi kept at it, slowly gaining Chloe’s trust. After two weeks, I got this email:
©2013 Angi Shearstone. Chloe, relaxed and enjoying her toys.
“Chloe let me pet her, brush her, and play with her a bit with her catnip carrot. She purred throughout nearly the entire exchange, rolled around playfully, even, and I think I have identified her "pay attention to me" meyow over the "I'm gonna get you!" war-cry yowl.
She's still a bit nippy, I utilized the catnip carrot & brush a lot to give my fingers a little distance, but she's not as determined with the nipping as she was when she took that chunk out of my foot!”
“Baby gate is going well. Rudie's popped in to be a minor nuisance a few times, but only minor. Some hissing, but everyone's keeping their distance. I have to pick up Chloe's food to prevent the oranges [note from Robin: two of Angi’s cats are called “the oranges”] from scarfing everything up (they're sort of garbage disposals!).
©2013 Angi Shearstone. Rudie checking out Chloe's room. Should he jump the baby gate or not?
Chloe meowed around mid-morning, and I decided to try something. I put the baby gate in the hallway, and closed off the other bedroom. If she got up to the gate, she'd just about be able to see me working at the desk but not able to come in, and would have access to about half the hallway, and the bathroom. She roamed the bathroom a bit, and then there was a bit of hissing with Rudie and she retreated back into the guest room. Figuring it might be just a bit too much too soon, I put the baby gate back in that doorway.”
“I'm actually starting to suspect she'll love anyone that plays with her a few times a day, as well as offers scritches. I really do think that being able to interact via some cat toys was key to her getting her "frustrations" out. Really, I think she was starved for quality interaction for a long time.
©2013 Angi Shearstone. Bring on the skritches.
I've been opening up the "baby gate" area to include the hallway and my office, but she's not really taking me up on it that much, not after the initial interest. The other day she wandered out, spent a little time in the office with me (I put a pillow out for her, but she left after spending a few minutes hissing at Smudge (who was up in the cat-basket at desk-top level) and retreated to her room - I've been trying to put some of "her stuff" in the hallway to help her explorations, but it hasn't helped so much so far.”
The next morning
“hah! I wrote this this morning & didn't send it immediately because I got distracted, and Chloe just wandered into the office while I was talking on the phone! She's on a cushion behind me! Rosie is in the basket, and they're both minding their own business.…”
©2013 Angi Shearstone. A happy kitty thanks to foster mom-Angi.
“Chloe is doing even more amazingly awesomely. So much so that I'm not taking so many pics & video anymore because it's losing the "OMG!" factor.
©2013 Angi Shearstone. While working, Angi looks down and sees Chloe, reaching up to get her attention!
I've opened up her room during the day and while I'm awake & around, she has the run of the house. She's stayed upstairs except for the one time she chased Rudie halfway down the stairs (I'm sorry, but it's crazy how fast she can move when she wants to), and will sometimes follow me around the house, if I leave the office to go make lunch or something. I can even "call her" and she'll come. I've got some low-laying cushions on the floor in my office, and she'll hang out while I work, just like the other cats (who tend to stay up high, on my desk, shelves, etc…). She's found some peace with Rudie & Rosie, which is good, but also not so good, as she no longer chases Rudie away from her food when he goes into her room (really, she scared the bejesus out of him on a few occasions early on, even leaping off the bed to chase him out of the room!). I'm tapering off leaving food out for her because of that.”
©2013 Angi Shearstone. Completely vulnerable with her belly up, Chloe lays on the sofa and watches TV with Angi. Is this love?
“…Chloe's even come up on the couch while I watch TV, or gone up there while I'm working in the office. The Oranges will keep some distance if I'm watching TV, but will sit on the back of the couch or on the other side of me. Even the nibbles are fading, and are even more "affectionate" than ever, and not mean. I can pick her up (slowly and supportively, as she's still so big!), pet her without worrying about my approach. She even lets me pet her kinda "roughly," I really don't feel like I have to be careful around her at all.”
“… the landmarks are getting smaller now that she's so much more normalized, but I thought this was worth mentioning:
©2013 Angi Shearstone. She's just a cat, doing regular cat things. That this happened is far from regular.
Today, very briefly, I caught Chloe playing by herself. She was in the office with me while I was drawing. There's a cushion I have on the floor that she likes, I keep it near my computer chair. There was one of those furry mousies half underneath it. She pawed at it to get it out from under the cushion, and then played with it for a bit. It was only for maybe 30 seconds, and she stopped by the time I got to the camera. But still. A sign of a much happier cat.”
When I met Chloe back in March I couldn’t even touch her. She was ready to attack me with whatever she had, claws or no claws. If I hadn’t seen her behave normally and confidently before she went into defense mode, I would have been hard pressed to even consider giving her a chance. In that glimmer of sweetness, I saw hope and we had to try to help her. I’m so very glad I stepped in to assess Chloe because if her former “owner” had his way, Chloe would have been dead by now. Instead, Chloe is finding out what it’s like to live a life without abuse or neglect, a life that has richness, love and companionship.
©2013 Angi Shearstone. Friends at last. Way to go Angi & Chloe!
Go Team Chloe!If you'd like to catch up on Chloe's story from the beginning you can check out these posts:
All photos and email-quotes Used with Permission.
Crazy Cat Ladies. In many circles that expression is not meant kindly. It connotates instability, excess (too many cats, obsessively talking about cats), wearing sweatshirts with cutesy embroidered artwork of kittens chasing after balls of yarn. We're probably fat. We're far from “cool.” We have no relationship as meaningful as the one we have with our cats. We're probably not married, maybe never even had a boyfriend.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The cat ladies dinner. Between everyone at the table we had or cared for (we counted ferals) 85 cats!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ever-smiling Angie with kitten.
Last week I attended BlogPaws 2013, a conference for pet bloggers. I'll be doing a write up about my trip, my 90-minute session about our Kitties for Kids program and may even dish a bit of dirt, but today my focus is on the real reason why I go to these conferences-it's to spend time with my friends, who happen to write about cats and who love and protect them with the same passion I do.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Our dear friend, Kate from Hauspanther couldn't make it to BlogPaws so we got together and created the Cat Lounge for her.
When I was a kid I had a younger brother. We didn't get along very well, nor do we, today, which is why I used “had” referring to him. Our family moved around a lot and I was constantly uprooted and lonely. Making new friends was tough and it seemed that just as I made a friend, we'd move away and I would never see them again.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Deb from Zee & Zoey sharing a flirty smile (and wearing cat-ear tiaras!)
My Mother never had women friends. She had some interesting male friends, ones whom I'm not sure what their real relationship to my Mother really was. There was the Chief of Police, one of the officers in the Fire Department and another guy who worked doing construction who was like an uncle to me. I never had a role model for how to be friends with women. Women were always creatures you could not trust and who you were in competition with for the cute guys.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA of Paws & Effect with Sir Disco
My “best” friend in high school went behind my back and stole my boyfriend away from me (he returned a few weeks later claiming she smelled like wet cardboard..and I later dumped him). She claimed I should “move on because David loved her now”…some friend.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Tamar, Angie and Debbie from Glogirly
I wrote off being close to women. I just didn't know how to do it…
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Elegant Coco-and yes, she's dressed up. Coco has no problem wearing an oufit or prancing around. She's VERY well cared for, stable and loved. This little cornish rex has one of the biggest personalities I've ever met. Coco has style (and so does her mom, Teri!)
…until I started to do cat rescue and write my blog.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ingrid of the Conscious Cat with a kitten.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ingrid, the birthday girl, with Bernadette of The Creative Cat and ANGIE!
There's something magical about the cat ladies. Most of us compete for the same awards. Most of us compete for the same “eyeballs” on our blog or friends on Facebook. While there can be blips of mildly hissy behavior, all in all, those issues aren't issues. We have our own angle, our own stories. We can support each other without losing our readership. We can even be dismayed (to say the least) when a newcomer hits the scene and starts winning “our” awards. Our revenge—we reluctantly make an effort to make friends with her then find out she's too nice for us to hate and instead of shunning her, we adore her (you know who your are, Debbie G.!).
Where else do people retract their claws and extend a hand in friendship? Getting together with my ladies feels close to a sacred gathering where I'm accepted and accepting. Where even if I lose out on an award, I can still find a smile and hug for the winner, who is also a friend of mine. We're in this together. We're trying to raise awareness about cat wellness, behavior problems, nutrition. We make you laugh about your cat. And some (yours truly) make you cry about cats. Whatever we do, it's done with a deep and abiding love and devotion to our cats, not in an obsessive way, not in an unhealthy way, in a rational, clever, compassionate way.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. It's not a party until someone gets a tattoo. Here's Ingrid flashing her calf while big boy Disco photobombs the shot.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Teri of Curlz & Swirls with her girl, Coco.
Many of the Genus: Species: Feline Domina ARE married or are in long-term relationships. Most of us are in good shape mentally and physically. Many of us have friendly relationships with lots of people. We hold down jobs. We help others live better lives with their cats.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Teri and her boy, Disco Noferno. I LOVE THIS CAT. He's completely hilarious.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Winners of the Nose-to-Nose Awards: Karen of Mousebreath with ANGIE! and Debbie
I honor my ladies with this post. Your friendship means the world to me and without it I am a sad, lonely person. I love each of you and take great delight in your successes and I share your sad days, too. There are few things better than the comfort of sisterhood and I will never take it for granted.
©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. JaneA and me. This is what sisterhood is all about.
©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. My dear, Ingrid.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My hotel room full of cat ladies!
©2013 Debbie Glovatsky. Happy Birthday to Ingrid from all her cat lady pals.
I've been keeping some really exciting news under wraps. It would have been good enough to tell you that the Walker Art Center's (WAC) Internet Cat Video Festival is coming back bigger and better to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, August 28, 2013 at 7pm and that the crowds are expected to top 13,000 cat lovers from around the globe, but..there's more!
I'm deeply honored to be part of WAC's group of cat-centric writers, entertainers and cat behaviorists who will be reviewing thousands of videos, with one goal-to tease out top contenders in nine different CATegories. Winning entries get the coveted Golden Kitty (statuette, not a real cat!).
To enter your favorite videos fill out the Internet Cat Video Festival Nomination Form.
Tickets are only $10.00 and are selling fast so don’t miss out. Rumor has it there are going to be some VERY AWESOME CELEBU-CAT GUESTS!
Order by phone at 800.514.3849
If you can't come to the Festival, you can still get a COOL t-shirt (Spencer not included!). ORDER HERE.
You can get more details or sign up to let them know you'll be attending the event via the Internet Cat Video Festival's Facebook page. To find out what other cool things WAC has up their sleeve pop over to their Facebook page. (hint: one of them is specially designed MINI-GOLF COURSE!)
Let me know if you'll be attending the Internet Cat Video Festival and we'll have a special Covered in Cat Hair club gathering! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you in August in St. Paul, Minnesota!
I just heard from Lisa, our friend at SPCA of Wake County in Raleigh, NC. She gave me an update on the 9 cats (an additional 3 cats went to another rescue) they rescued from Iredell Animals Services last week. If you recall, these cats were subjected to being caged for 2 YEARS due to an animal cruelty investigation and subsequent court case. Once the cats were free to go, they still faced being euthanized because many have minor health issues and some are senior-aged.
©2013 SPCA Wake County. Tabitha enjoying life out of a cage.
SPCA Wake County didn't balk at taking on these cats. They didn't pick out the prettiest ones or easiest to adopt-they TOOK THEM ALL and my hat is off to them for their good deed.
From Lisa's email, this is what we have learned:
©2013 SPCA Wake County. Brian, still a bit scared, but slowly coming out of his shell.
“Benson, Brian, Cougar and Tabitha are the first ones available for adoption. You can see their photos and listings at www.spcawake.org/adopt by clicking on the "view cats available for adoption" icon and scrolling through the alphabetical list. Attached is a photo of Tabitha and Cougar lounging in one of our communal cat rooms.
Leroy, Max and Jethro all turned out to be intact. They will be neutered tomorrow and available for adoption starting on Friday.
©2013 SPCA Wake County. Cougar, tail up, happy again!
Tori had a cyst on her chin and we're waiting for lab results before we put her up for adoption.
©2013 SPCA Wake County. Tabitha (back) and Cougra (front) relax in their comfortable new shelter. All they need is to be adopted!
All nine cats have done just fine with us so far and I'm so glad we've been able to help them by giving them a high-volume adoption center to call home until the right people come along.”
200 Petfinder Lane
Raleigh, NC 27603
Twelve cats I reported about a week ago who were caged for TWO YEARS at Iredell Animal Services due to a legal dispute, had their dream come true today. EVERY SINGLE CAT HAS A RESCUE. ALL OF THE CATS ARE SAFE AND SOUND. NONE OF THEM WERE EUTHANIZED!
Please visit their FACEBOOK PAGE and tell them THANK YOU from Covered in Cat Hair and LIKE THEIR PAGE!
If you feel so inclined MAKE A DONATION in honor of these cats so that SPCA of Wake County can continue to help cats like these in the future.
SPCA of WAKE COUNTY-YOU ROCK. You took on all the cats. You didn't “cherry pick” out the “good” ones. You're helping them all.
IF YOU LIVE IN OR NEAR RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, stop by SPCA of Wake County and ADOPT ONE OF THESE KITTIES! They've had a Hell of a long ride and deserve loving homes. If you know of anyone looking to adopt, send them to SPCA of Wake County!
Brian is aNeutered male, short haired white/orange tabby. He's a LARGE cat. Good appetite! Brian is good with other cats, but is a little shy. Not aggressive at all with cats or people, just nervous. Would probably come out of his "shell" once in a calm and quiet home. Does have eye and nose drainage. Has upper resp. issues.
Poor Brian! He sits in his cat litter pan because the scent of it is his only comfort. Brain looks depressed or angry, but he's a nice kitty. He's emotionally exhausted from the stress of living in a cage for so long. Can you love this big lug?
Cougar is a short haired female (underbelly indicates possibly spayed). Good temperament. Possible slight upper resp. symptoms.
Rarely do black cats have a happy ending once their in a shelter. Cougar is a nice cat who just needs a break.
Intact male, 3-5 years of age. Medium haired Tabby/White. Temperament was very good, but in last few months has been slightly temperamental (they believe once out of "caged" environment temperament will once again improve). Possible slight upper resp. issues, but overall seems healthy!
Look at that FACE! Jethro is asking you to bust him out of that cage. He's so handsome and friendly, I'm sure he would make a great addition to any home.
Intact male, short haired gray/white. Very friendly. Seems ok with other cats. Cat is slim, but not too underweight. Cat has good appetite. Slight upper resp. issues. Owner had as 10 years of age, would not guess that old in age.
What do you think? I think Max wants to play and have fun! What pretty eyes, too!
Medium haired, neutered male orange tabby. Approx 7 years old. Cat is overweight and has a great appetite! Very friendly with other cats and with people. Have not noticed any eye or nose discharge, but still possible to have slight upper respiratory issues. Teeth are yellowing and are "worn".
Red Boy is an older kitty. Those of you who know this blog well, will notice that he looks too much like my guy, Bob Dole. Red Boy is too adorable to stay in a cage any longer.
Neutered/Male, Medium haired Orange Tabby/White. Approx 5 years old. Cat is friendly, but VERY nervous. Not aggressive. I believe once out of a "caged" environment will be an independent calm and happy cat. Weight is good. Possible slight upper resp. issues.
Sammy looks so scared, but what a knockout! He's another cat who will blossom once he's safely out of the shelter.
Medium/Long haired, dilute calico/tortie markings. Approx 3 years old. Very friendly with people, but does not like being scruffed. Would do best as an only cat (seems to be agitated by other cats). Cat seems to "talk" instead of meow! Loving girl. Does have issue with hair balls, but I believe once in a home and groomed regularly will improve. Possible slight upper resp. issues. [Note from Robin: I find it tough to agree that the cat needs to be an only cat. She should be evaluated in less stressful environment. She can probably get on with other cats if introduced properly.]
I don't have to convince anyone that Suzie needs to be rescued. Look at her!
Short haired, black/white cat. Has some dental issues. Very friendly and seems ok with other cats. Good body weight, but poor hair coat (dull coat). Has slight upper respiratory issues.
Sweet Tori. It's easy to overlook a cat who might have some minor health issues, but none of them are her fault. With good food and some vet care, this kitty could be your best friend.
Short haired, gray/white cat. Slightly underweight. Very friendly. Has started to defecate outside of litter box in past couple months. I believe once out of a "caged" environment cat will return to using litter box. Fur is dull.
This photo arrived distorted so I tried to fix it. Working on getting a replacement image.
Journey is a senior-about 12 years old. She's a short haired, black/white cat. Cat has no teeth and has been on canned food only. Cat has upper respiratory issues. Cat appears to be losing weight and appears to have stopped grooming regularly. Poor fur coat. Cat is friendly and seems ok with other cats, but is "high energy". Possibly spayed.
This is the initial notes from the shelter. I personally had this cat for a week in my office. She was beyond kennel stressed, and just letting her out in my office to stretch was the best thing for her. She is absolutely hilarious! In the mornings she would greet me at the door, and proceed to stand on my desk in front of my computer screen and paw at me until we had our morning “hellos”. She would only then go and lay in her bed. Wonderfully loving and sweet cat!
She's a SENIOR and a wreck. Of all the cats this one cuts me the deepest. I hope we can find a way to get her OUT. I know she can recover from her difficult time in a cage, but we need help to make it happen.
Benson is an approximately 5 year old, neutered male tabby cat. He has URI issues with an unknown cause despite treatment. [Note from Robin: He may have bartonella which is an easy test to do and 3 week course of antibiotics-not a big deal if that's the case. Just being out of this environment may be all he needs to get better. Cats get SICK if they get STRESSED.] He is friendly to humans and is good around other cats. His left ear slouches, and we suspect that is from an old hematoma.
This guy is a big, friendly dude. Sure he's a bit rough around the edges, but with a little polishing he'll be a treasure. He just wants to make friends and love his family.
Tabitha is an approximately 5 year old female tabby cat. We suspect she is spayed due to her body condition, but we cannot be sure. She is friendly with humans and other cats. She has a chronic URI issue, with an unknown cause, despite medical treatment. [Note from Robin: she may also have bartonella which is an easy test to do and 3 week course of antibiotics-not a big deal if that's the case. Just being out of this environment may be all she needs to get better. Cats get SICK if they get STRESSED.]
She's a sweet tabby who has not only suffered confinement, but illness. She CAN get better and it may take as little as getting out OUT of the shelter and into a loving home. Please don't overlook this little sweetie.
Dee reads my blog (Thank you, Dee!). She bugged her friend, Angi to give Chloe a foster home since Angi lives in Connecticut, has cats and LOVES cats enough to take on one more (and she's also an awesome artist). Dee already fosters cats and knows that Angi would do a great job so she used whatever secret powers she has to urge Angi to give Chloe a home until she's ready to go to her forever home.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Chloe. Feeling scared was not a surprise, but what happened next certainly was.
I would call this “finding a foster home in a haystack,” because I thought there is NO WAY we're going to be able to find a LONG-TERM foster home for Chloe. Color me surprised.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. A little self-soothing foot bath before she explores the room any further.
Angi is awesome. She's vivacious and cute with a funky-cool haircut and an easy going attitude. I did a home visit to make sure she had a good space for Chloe to pass the next few months, recover from her abuse and to lose a bit of weight (she's already lost a pound). Angi had a perfect space-a guest room in the corner of her home that overlooks her yard. It's a far cry from the bathroom where Chloe has been staying with Katherine and it's almost as big as the entire living room where Chloe once lived with her former guardian.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Katherine brings out Chloe's favorite brush.
Everything went well with the home visit and today Katherine and I delivered Chloe to Angi's home.
Chloe didn't protest too much in the car, but Katherine and I both worried what she'd do when she got out of her cat carrier. Would she completely revert to being aggressive with Angi? Would she try to bite her? Would she growl and lash out?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Chloe's FAVORITE-Cat Grass!
We covered her cat carrier and rushed her into Angi's house, before Angi's three cats knew what we were up to. We got the room set up with Chloe's things while Chloe watched us from the safety of her crate.
Then came the big moment-opening the door.
We all took a collective deep breath as Katherine opened the crate. Out walked Chloe, planting her face directly into a small container of cat grass. Content to munch on her favorite treat, we all relaxed. At least Chloe wasn't going to charge us, guns blazing.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Or is Chloe's favorite thing being brushed?
Chloe, energized from her treat, surprised us by getting up and casually began to examine her new home. She rubbed her face onto Angi's outstretched hand, the table, the edge of the cat carrier. She rubbed up against ME, which at first scared, then delighted me, leaving me sitting there with my mouth hanging open like an idiot.
Chloe continued exploring the room. She didn't go very fast or very far. She had to take a break and sit down every so often, but she wasn't hiding. She was simply curious. So far, so good.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Happy Buddha-kitty!
Katherine got Chloe's favorite brush out and that put a smile onto this kitty's face. Chloe loved being brushed and it helped her relax.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Reaching up to be brushed. More, please!
Chloe got a bit irritated from all the attention. Perhaps it was a bit too much, too soon. She gave Katherine and Angi a “love bite,” but nothing worse. Katherine stopped brushing Chloe and decided it was time to go over the instructions for taking care of her with Angi.
Katherine and I left Angi's, feeling happy and hopeful that Chloe would finally have a chance to flower.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. A little love from Katherine.
A few hours later, Angi wrote that she was have a bit of hard time getting BACK into the room with Chloe and that Chloe attacked her ankles. I guess I shouldn't have made a joke about the boots, but then I realized maybe someone had kicked Chloe and that's why she was upset? When we let her out of the cat carrier, we were all sitting on the floor, which made us less intimidating. Now what was Angi going to do?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. A few skritches from Aunt Angi.
Angi took it in stride. She knows this is going to be a long process and now Chloe will have to learn to trust her, too. She's prepared to give Chloe every chance, if Chloe will just allow her into the room once in awhile so she can water her plants.
When I first met Chloe and assessed her for rescue, I had serious concerns that her behavior would change any time soon-that I'd be putting my friend, Katherine into a tough situation because ultimately Katherine would be responsible for this cat's future. I was clear with Katherine that right now Chloe was not adoptable, but I had a glimmer of faith that this cat COULD turn around. We just didn't know if it would take months or years to do so. In cat rescue it's rare to have the luxury of time when there are so many other cats who are just as deserving and who also need help. It's a constant dilemma.
©2013 Katherine Reid. Chloe's back is finally free from mats
The good thing about smaller rescues is that sometimes they can take that time. They aren't faced with the crushing demand big shelters get for space-not that they aren't always busy, but it's not as severe. Even here I've been able to hold cats for over a year when necessary. Is it the best thing to do? No. For those cats, I'd guess they'd beg to differ.
©2013 Katherine Reid. Chloe knows there's a treat on Katherine's leg, but will she try to reach it?
Chloe has made some astounding changes, almost overnight. Katherine has worked tirelessly to offer Chloe everything she can think of to enrich Chloe's life and give Chloe a good reason to bond with Katherine. Katherine tried all sorts of grain-free treats, different types of canned and dry food. Two days ago Katherine brought Chloe an offering of cat grass-something none of us had thought to try. Within moments Chloe was greedily chomping the grass. She was having SO MUCH FUN that Katherine was able to brush away Chloe's matted fur. Chloe was too happy to care about being brushed and the mats came out easily.
©2013 Katherine Reid. Treat gone! Cat on lap-almost!
Katherine persisted, always giving Chloe space and passed only short periods of time in the room with her.
©2013 Katherine Reid. First pets-no growling or hissing, too!
Once Katherine began to pet Chloe, a new cat shyly emerged, one who may have been beaten down, or simply ignored for so long that she gave up, we'll never really know. What we do know is that Chloe is blossoming, instead of retreating. This cat has the heart of a warrior, this chubby siamese mix, and so does her foster mom.
©2013 Katherine Reid.
©2013 Katherine Reid. Katherine tried a number of different brush types on Chloe until she reacted positively. Look a the HUGE change in Chloe's expression.
Katherine and I are cut from the same cloth. We NEVER want to give up on ANY CAT and Chloe was no different. We couldn't know she would begin to trust again, but when I saw that glimmer of joy the moment I met her, fleeting though it was, I had a feeling we needed to try and I'm so grateful that Katherine agreed.
Chloe still has a long road ahead of her, but now that her mats are brushed away and her ears have finally been medicated, each day Chloe will feel more comfortable and confident.
©2013 Katherine Reid. This is the moment all rescuers live for. Thank you to Katherine for sharing it with all of us.
Animals in Distress is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. If you'd like to make a donation to help with Chloe's long-term care, you can use this LINK to their PayPal account. Thank you!