“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ― Jean Cocteau

Saturday, 13 December 2014

I found Snickers in a tree

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“Snickers! Snickers!” “Oh man! Where is he?” I cried. “Mom did you see Snickers?” I asked. “No,” she said. “I’ve told you a million times to keep the door closed and now the cat is out again,” she said, as she rolled her eyes in disgust. I really didn’t know what she was talking about, she never tells me to close the door and I didn’t have the door open this day, but she did have her bedroom window open and I bet Snickers jumped out of her window. “Now go outside and find him, and hurry up because dinner is almost ready!” she said.

cat stories


So I left out, fearing Snickers was gone forever. He had never been gone this long before and I tried everything. I put food in his bowl on the front porch, jingled his favorite toys and even wound up they toy mouse that made mom yell at Snickers all night, and nothing. I went over to Frank’s house. Sometimes Snickers liked to run through Frank’s yard and tease his dog Tiger. Sometimes I liked to tease Tiger too, it’s funny when she gets mad and barks all crazy. I surpassed the front door. I mean Frank is my best friend he doesn’t care if I’m in his yard. I wondered the back yard and as soon as I turned the corner of his basement door I heard a growl. “Huh,” I thought. “Tigers never loose,” so I kept going.

All of a sudden, I felt heat swelter from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head, my eyes opened so wide I could feel my eye lashes almost touch my forehead. There was Tiger, no chain, no collar and a look of revenge on her face. “NOOOO!” I yelled as I dashed the opposite direction. She was hot on my tail, nipping at the back of my paint legs. Not only did I lose Snickers, but I might lose my life too! I grabbed a hold of a tree and climbed as fast and as high as I could, while Tiger looked up trying to figure out how to get up the tree. “Oh please, I hope she can’t climb, I don’t want him to catch us,” “Us?” I thought. “Wait a minute… huh?” I looked to my left… “Snickers!” Snickers must have been teasing Tiger and she chased him up the tree. She jumped in my arms. “Yes!” I thought. Then I looked down. Tiger was still there, she killed two birds with one stone; well a boy and a cat with one stone.

cat on tree

Now I’m stuck in a tree, with Snickers, a revengeful dog and an irritated mother at home. SNAP! “AAAHH!” The tree branch snapped, I held on to Snickers as tight as possible, grabbed another branch with my loose hand. I could still see Tiger, now she had her head cocked to the side in confusion. Worse just got worse! I had to do something and quick because my hand was hurting and slipping; I knew if I survived my hand would sting forever, but who cares right now? I let go! I heard Snickers let out the biggest fear filled “Meeeooow,” ever known to man! Tiger scrambled away, I fell on my bottom, but it didn’t hurt.

I was still alive. I looked up. I turns out I didn’t climb high at all, it felt like I climbed twenty feet, but it was only five. I looked at Tiger, she looked at me, and Snickers looked at both of us. Snickers and I took off running! I heard Tigers feet scramble on the ground as she struggled to start running. We raced across the street, slammed through the door and quickly locked it. Fell to the floor searching for just a smidge of air. Snickers looked at me then jumped in the window sill to watch Tiger. After catching by breath, I grabbed Snickers and went to my room. My hand was still stinging and my pants were ripped, but I found Snickers. That’s all that matters.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

PIPER - the orange cat

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In ,  
Winter can be a beautiful time of year . . . snowmen, icicles, trees hanging heavy with piles of glittering snowflakes . . But, along with all that beauty comes cold, sometimes frigid weather. The average temperature in Finlay, Ohio in January is about 25 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not seem like the coldest place to be in the winter but, when you are stuck in a wet, icy drainpipe with no blanket and no food for a few days . . . then it probably seems like the coldest place on earth.

Susan Orians was passing by Donnell Middle School in Finlay, Ohio on a Wednesday evening in January of 2014 when she heard a noise coming from the downspout on the school’s wall. Upon closer inspection she realized it was the faint meowing of a cat. Susan went home and returned with tuna to try and coax the cat out. Other bystanders had gathered and they also tried to help free the crying cat. One helpful bystander even tried a cellphone app that meowed. But, nothing could lure the cold, scared little kitty out. Finally, the small group of would-be rescuers made the decision to contact the school first thing in the morning. The concerned group disbanded but not before vowing to return the next day and try and help with the rescue.

When the school received Susan’s call early Thursday morning they quickly contacted the Hancock County Humane Society. Employees and volunteers of the humane society arrived on the scene and began working to save the cat.

PIPER cat storiesA hole was cut in to the downspout then food and catnip were placed in to try and entice the cat out. After some time had passed with no sign of the cat, a camera was placed in to the downspout. They soon discovered that the cat was too big to fit through the downspout and gain freedom. After exhausting all their efforts, workers left the scene around 8:30pm on Thursday evening but vowed to return the next morning with a solution to save the poor feline. Early Friday morning the workers returned to the school and began digging out the buried portion of the drainage pipe. By 10am on Thursday, the cat was finally freed from the pipe.

The orange male cat was very muddy and emaciated. He was quickly taken to the local veterinarian where he was found to be suffering from hypothermia. Upon further inspection, the poor cat was found to have a broken leg and other injuries that indicated more trauma than what the drainpipe could have done. Though he was battered and beaten, he was expected to make a full recovery.

The loyal group of volunteers who helped rescue the stranded cat decided to name him “Piper” in reference to his time spent stuck in the drainpipe. They learned that Piper most likely crawled into the pipe through a drainage basin located on a nearby street. Most likely hiding from whatever threat had injured him in the first place.

The positive side of Piper’s story is that his rescue made headlines and garnered much attention. Many people came forward with requests to adopt the cat and give him a forever home. Happily, Piper won’t need to worry about being caught out in the cold, harsh winter any more.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Friday, 31 October 2014

Mario’s Smile Won them Over

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cat storiesIn 2011, a married couple had just made the agonizing decision to put their long-time cat companion to sleep due to health issues. Their house seemed quiet, empty and lonely without the sweet “meow” of their loving fur-daughter, Misty. They decided to make a trip to the local Humane Society to see what cats might be looking for homes. They walked in to the cat room at the Humane Society and were greeted with about 15 cats walking, lounging, playing and napping. Immediately a black cat walked up to the gentleman (Don) and started rubbing against his leg’s, purring as loudly as he could.

Don’s wife was busy eyeing up a calico kitty named Princess who was busy ignoring all the visitors in the cat room. Don told his wife that he was certain the black kitty was “the one” and was ready to sign the adoption papers that day. His wife, however, talked him in to waiting a few days. She explained that she didn’t want to rush the decision, especially after losing their dear Misty such a short time ago. Don agreed to come back to the shelter in a few days and see if they felt the same connection to the black cat.

Don and his wife returned to the shelter two days in a row and each time they entered the cat room the black kitty walked right up to Don and began purring and rubbing against his legs. By the third visit, both Don and his wife were convinced that the black kitty was meant to come home to live with them. They could no longer deny that the cat had a very strong connection to them and needed to become their new companion.

After signing the adoption papers and placing the cat in a carrier, the couple was on their way home when they decided to stop at their vet’s office to make sure the feline didn’t have any known health issues. They had already decided on the name “Mario” and, so, introduced him to the staff at the vet clinic as such. Don and his wife were retired and lived on a fixed income so they were happy when the vet declared Mario to be a healthy cat except for one issue . . . he needed to have his teeth cleaned. The vet estimated that Mario might need one tooth pulled during the cleaning and also informed the couple that Mario had an active infection in his mouth (probably due to needing a cleaning).

The couple scheduled Mario’s teeth cleaning straight-away and all went as expected except that Mario developed another infection after it was done. The vet prescribed antibiotics to clear it up, however, one infection lead to another . . . then another . . . then another! Several rounds of antibiotics later and their vet finally referred Mario to an Animal Dentist about 50 miles from where they lived. The dentist diagnosed Mario with stomotitus and said that he needed to have all of his teeth pulled over a 5 month period. The couple was devastated!

After all of the surgeries were completed the total they spent on Mario’s teeth was over $10,000! They had to dip in to their retirement fund to cover the cost.

The silver lining?

Mario’s wonderful family doesn’t regret for one moment adopting the black kitty and bringing him in to their lives. They consider his adoption to be the best decision they have ever made. Mario now uses his story as a teaching tool on Twitter and encourages other feline pals to see an animal dentist whenever he hears they have infections that never clear up. Stomotitis is a very serious desease and can eventually cause death or very serious health problems. Mario was one very lucky cat to find such a loving family!


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Cat Stories - Bingo's Big Adventure

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Bingo was only eight weeks old when she was adopted by a nice young woman named Sarah. Sarah took the adorable little calico kitten home to meet her husband and twelve-year-old son. Bingo loved Sarah’s son immediately and they played together for a long time on the floor. It was a good match.

The family enjoyed getting to know Bingo over the next few weeks and frequently found themselves laughing at her crazy antics. She would attack their feet when they walked around the house which they all found quite hilarious because she was so small. Despite her size, she would put everything she had in to her “attacks”, kneeling back with a swishing tail only to pounce vigorously like a tiger on top of any moving foot.

Cat Stories Bingo

Bingo had full run of the home but hadn’t yet found the courage to venture out on the large acreage the family owned. There were two ponds near the back of the property that had many tall trees growing on it. Sarah enjoyed spending time there because she found it so pretty and relaxing. One day Bingo decided to follow Sarah to the quiet spot.

As Sarah relaxed in a lounge chair, about to doze off, she heard Bingo begin meowing very loudly. Sarah looked up to see Bingo had climbed to the top of a small tree. The top of the tree was swaying precariously and Bingo was getting more fearful as the moments passed. Her yowling filled the afternoon air. Sarah ran toward the house looking for her husband and, at her frantic calls, he came running.

As they both considered how to help Bingo, neither of them could come up with a way to get her down. Soon Sarah’s son came running over and quickly formed an idea to rescue her. Mom and dad watched as their son quickly shimmied up the tree. Bingo’s cries became more frantic as he neared the top of the swaying tree. When he got close enough to grab her, the tree bent over and hung directly over the murky pond beside it.

Now, not only was Bingo crying at the top of his lungs, but their son was as well! He was screaming that he was going to fall when Sarah’s husband instructed him to try and back down the tree. Unfortunately, his pants were snagged on a branch so he couldn’t get down.

A neighbor heard the frantic cries of child and feline and arrived unexpectedly on the scene driving his big green tractor. The helpful neighbor drove right up to the pond and extended the bucket so that the young boy was able to simply step down in to it, grabbing Bingo as he did so.

Once put down safely on the ground, Bingo took off like a shot towards the safety of the house.

Since that day, Bingo has spent many a sunny day lounging on the front porch of the house or chasing butterflies in the family’s front driveway, but he refuses to venture in to the back yard.

No one can say that Bingo didn’t learn his lesson that day. The family agrees that they never have to tell Bingo anything twice.

He is one smart cat.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Cat Behind the Door

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Why are you looking at me?
Can’t you see I want to be alone?
I hid behind the door for a reason
But I can’t get it to close

The dogs are barking
The kids are crazy
I hid behind this door for a reason
I just want to be lazy

The T.V. is loud
Interrupting my sleep
I hid behind this door for a reason
I don’t want to hear a peep

Now you mow the lawn?!
You were supposed to do it for weeks
I hid behind this door for a reason
So move and don’t peak

So go away and don’t come back
Shut the door when you leave please
I hid behind this door for a reason
So I can sit here in peace

Simeon Russell

cat poems

Monday, 20 October 2014

Popeye's Long Journey Home

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Popeye cat storiesFurkids is one of Georgia’s largest animal rescue shelters so it seems surprising that one sweet-tempered cat would have the ability to steal the hearts of so many of its volunteers. But, when a scruffy, grey-colored cat was surrendered to the no-kill shelter in 2007 that is exactly what happened.

He was a rather ordinary looking five-year-old cat except for the fact that he only had one eye. The shelter staff affectionately named him “Popeye” and he was instantly one of the feline favorites of everyone who worked there. He was affectionate and friendly, fun and easy-going. The perfect cat.

It didn’t take long before a woman requested to adopt him. She informed the shelter staff that she would soon be relocating to San Francisco, with Popeye in tow. Popeye and the woman settled in San Francisco and began their life together. But, it was short-lived. For unknown reasons, the woman left Popeye in the care of a cousin when she moved to Ohio to take a new job.

It’s not clear if Popeye, who was an indoor/outdoor cat, was abandoned or if he escaped from the home of the cousin he was placed with. But, when a young woman named Kelly found the distinctive cat wandering the streets of California, it was clear that he was in poor health.

Kelly said the cat showed obvious signs of pain and, therefore, took him to be evaluated at a local vet clinic. He was found to have an eye infection which, considering his limited eyesight to begin with, made the situation very dire for a cat on its own in the city. Popeye’s teeth were also rotting and the once full, furry coat was thinning on his malnourished frame. Upon examining Popeye, the vet discovered he was micro-chipped, which is how they were able to trace him back to Furkids in Georgia.

Since Popeye’s original home was over 2,400 miles away, they needed to get creative to bring Popeye home. A Furkids staff member, whose husband worked for an airline, was able to use a Buddy Pass to fly to California and back the same week that Kelly had found Popeye. So, within a week, Popeye went from roaming the streets of California, hungry and in pain, to once again being surrounded by the loving arms of people who cared for him.

Immediately upon Popeye’s arrival at Furkids, he was given the medical treatment he needed. He had twelve teeth removed (with only one remaining). He was put on medication to treat an upper-respiratory infection and his eye infection and he began on the road to recovery.

“Popeye is a true survivor,” said Lauren Frost of Furkids.

Thank goodness for micro-chips. If it weren’t for that technology, Popeye might never had made it back to the one place that had always made him feel loved and cared for.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Never Doubt a Mother’s Love

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Scarlet Cat StoryThe sad fact is, there are a lot of cats that are feral. They roam city streets looking for food and are busy raising litters of kittens that many of us don’t even see until they become feral adult cats themselves. On March 30, 1996, a feral cat was taking care of her litter of five kittens just as she did every other day. She was living in Brooklyn, New York in an abandoned garage that was also an alleged crack house. It was a cold day and momma cat (named Scarlett) nestled closely with her litter, trying to keep them warm.

Soon a bystander noticed flames coming from the abandoned garage and made a call to 911. The New York City Fire Department responded to the call and quickly extinguished the fire. As they began the tedious clean-up process, one of the firemen, David Giannelli, noticed Scarlett carrying her kittens away from the garage one by one.

It was clear to David that Scarlett suffered from severe burns. Her eyes were blistered shut, her ears and paws burned, and her one-soft coat highly singed. Most of her facial hair had been burnt away by the intense flames.

The most heart-wrenching moment came when bystanders noticed Scarlett touching each one of her kittens with her nose. Because the blisters on her eyes had taken her sight, she was essentially “counting” her babies to make sure they were all safely near her. It was at this point that poor Scarlett collapsed into unconsciousness.

The same firefighter that had first spotted Scarlett took her unconscious body, along with all of her kittens, to a nearby veterinary clinic. There, they received treatment for injuries they had suffered from the fire. Unfortunately, because they were feral, they had other health issues that needed to be treated as well. The smallest, weakest kitten in the litter suffered from a virus that the veterinarian was unable to treat. The poor creature ended up dying a month after the fire.

Fortunately, the ending was much happier for Scarlett and her remaining kittens. The staff at the vet clinic cared for the feline family for the next three months and every day they got healthier and happier. During the three months it took for Scarlett and her kittens to recover, the story of her loving heroics created a media sensation. By the time the feline family was well enough to be adopted in to their forever homes, the clinic had received over 7,000 letters offering to open their homes to Scarlett and her babies.

The clinic staff decided to divide the kittens into two pairs each pair was adopted in to their own special families in Long Island. Scarlett was adopted by a woman named Karen Wellen, a loving woman who had recently lost her longtime feline companion and was ready to open her home to a new cat. Though Scarlett required ongoing care as a result of her injuries, she lived happily with Karen for over twelve years before she passed away on October 11, 2008.

It’s true what they say. A mother’s love has no limits.

No matter what species it may be.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Saturday Morning Cats

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Let’s talk about cats, not a fat cat, not a cat in the hat
Not a black cat, not even cats that save you money on mouse traps
But let’s talk about funny cats and cools cats
Lazy cats and breaking the rules cats

Like this one cat I know is always in a riff
He hangs with some tough kits
Junk yard dirty and ready to throw mitts
Living in the middle of mischief… Yes! It’s my buddy Heathcliff

While the beatniks with Heathcliff are on a path to steal
Let’s talk about a lazy cat that goes bat crazy for his favorite meal
Odie outsmarting, jokester with banana peel
Slicker than his owner, so he screams, “GARFIELD!”

Loving lasagna not really fruits or berries
Opposite of my little buddy, party mouse Jerry
Jerry is cool, collected and calm
Not afraid to roll the dice and make a fool out of Tom

Tom isn’t really clever; he just can’t get it right
If he’s not tricked by Jerry he’s being chased by Spike
Or Jerry tricks Spike to make him chase Tom all night
Or Jerry tricks Tom to spite Spike then Tom gets a bite!

Sylvester and Felix even the Simpsons Snowball
Plenty of cats to name although I can’t name them all
But theirs one cat I love and to me tops them all
I’ll describe him in the next verse, then I’d like to hear your cat roll call

He’s cool with his walk
Sometimes cool to a fault
He’s the coolest cat you’ll ever meet, the coolest cat to never speak
As cool as shade and lemonade, you know, the kind that’s “PINK”

By now, I’m pretty sure you have the answer
It can only be one cat, that’s right! The Notorious Pink Panther
So we talked about cats with a smidge of a twist
Now who’s your favorite cat from the Saturday morning list

Simeon Russell

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Tara: The Guardian Angel

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Just a few months ago, a video went viral on YouTube, receiving over 5 million hits. It was passed around frequently on Facebook and, chances are, many of you have seen it. It’s the clip of one brave cat, saving the boy it loved from a vicious dog attack.

Jeremy Triantafilo lives in California with his mom (Erica) and dad (Roger). It was a beautiful sunny day and four-year-old Jeremy was outside riding his bike on the sidewalk in front of his house. When he directed his bike back up the driveway, the next door neighbor’s dog came walking around a parked car. Without provocation of any kind, the dog simply tore into Jeremy’s leg, dragging him off the bike. As the dog begins aggressively shaking his head and pulling Jeremy down the driveway, the Triantafilo’s pet cat, Tara, comes seemingly out of now where and attacks the dog.

Tara the guardian angel

In the video, the dog seems truly taken by surprise and immediately releases Jeremy. But, Tara does not stop there. As the dog looks stunned and not quite sure what is happening, Tara takes off after the dog, not stopping until she chases it well past the parked car that is separating the dog from Jeremy. Only once she sees that the dog is truly gone does Tara dive back under the car to go check on Jeremy who is on the other side. By that time, Erica has come check on Jeremy. The entire incident took less than one minute and was, incredibly, captured in its entirety by surveillance cameras placed near the scene.

“It’s honestly just a blur,” Erica Triantafilo said. “I just remember hearing him and the next thing I know, I see my cat flying out of nowhere, on to this dog, and just remember trying to get my son and get the dog away and back in to its yard.”

It is like a parent’s worst nightmare; Seeing your child viciously attacked by an animal. And, altogether incredible that the family cat would be the one to save him. Tara was a stray cat the family adopted over six years ago. So, she had been in the Triantafilo’s lives before Jeremy was even born. She has looked over him since the day he was brought home from the hospital, quieting monitoring his every cry. Erica describes Tara as a “quiet” cat.

“Every once in a while she puts our dog back in to her place, but for the most part, she’s just the most mellow cat you’ve ever met,” Erica Triantafilo said. “All our boys love her and pick on her occasionally. She just loves them right back anyway.”

Though Jeremy received ten stitches for two lacerations to his calf from the dog’s attack, he was able to make a full recovery. He’s a happy, healthy kid running and playing around outside again.

And, Tara?

She’s still watching over him. Protecting him from any harm that might come his way.

Who needs a guardian angel when you have a guardian cat?

Friday, 26 September 2014

BERNIE A cat rescue story

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Sadly, this rescue story begins like many others: An irresponsible person finds out their cat is going to have kittens. They don’t want to deal with feeding and taking care of a bunch more cats so they take the very pregnant mother cat to a field, drive off, and leave her there. Out of sight . . . out of mind . . .

Luckily, the cat was discovered by the land owner, a kind-hearted woman named Jeanne, but not before the cat gives birth to a litter of five kittens. Jeanne tries repeatedly to trap the mother cat and her kittens but, one by one, they begin disappearing until only one little tortoiseshell kitten remains. Jeanne tries to catch the kitten continually for more than three months, setting traps and bait until, one day, the kitten is nowhere to be found. Jeanne lives in a rural area and there are many coyotes nearby so she assumes the worst has happened and gives up hope of finding and rescuing the poor kitten.

cat rescue storiesSome weeks later, Jeanne was locking up the house to go to bed when she heard a cat crying outside. When she stepped out on to her porch, she saw it was the tortoiseshell mother cat. It ran up to her and rubbed all over her legs but then, just as quickly, ran off again. Jeanne stood there for a few minutes calling to the cat when she saw it coming back toward her with something in its mouth. It dropped the little black bundle at Jeanne’s feet.

It wasn’t moving and it was dark so Jeanne couldn’t tell what it was. After retrieving a flashlight from inside the house, Jeanne inspected the bundle more closely. It smelled terrible and, though it was covered in fur, it was singed. When she reached out to touch it, it hissed at her. Jeanne then realized it was a kitten and that it was alive! As it was late and Jeanne was afraid to separate the kitten from the mother cat, she put together a makeshift bed in one of the window-wells of her farm house. She laid the kitten on soft blankets and momma cat jumped right in to the new bed to lay next to her baby for the night.

Early the next morning, Jeanne took the kitten to the vet, who quickly agreed with her diagnosis of the kitten being burnt. Thankfully, the only part of the kitten that had been literally burnt was his tail. The rest of the kitten had only been scorched by intense heat which left him with singed fur and whiskers. The sensitive tissues of his nose and mouth had also been affected by the intense heat, as well as his paws and paw pads.
The vet cleaned the wounds and prescribed antibiotics and discussed a recovery plan for the poor kitten. The vet worked closely with a lovely woman named Susanne, who often fostered cats that needed extra special care. Jeanne handed the kitten over and told Susanne his name was “Burnie” – or “Bernie” as he would come to be known.

It was a long, tough road of recovery for Bernie but he was a truly strong kitten with a determined spirit.
How could he not be?? Just look at his mother.

A true “wild” cat, who wanted nothing to do with humans, she knew when to overlook her fears and ask for help when her kitten needed it most. With a will that strong, how could her baby not have some of the same?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Pansie, My Tabby Cat Retriever

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One of the greatest joy of being a cat parent is when your cat discovers a new trick. We all know that a cat have a world of its own. They do as they please. They usually (if not all) naturally have attention deficit disorder :).  In my case, it is almost close to impossible to teach any of my cat in this household to do some fun tricks I would love them to do (e.g. wash the dishes, clean their own poop box :P). Kidding aside, I felt like a proud parent to discover that Pansie, my tabby sweetie cat learned how to retrieve - without my intervention!

She loved her mousy toys, specially this particular mousy toy which was originally part of a stick toy she decided to rip off. She loves carrying the mousy around and make weird noises as she roamed around the house with it in her mouth. One day she came to my husband, with this special mousy toy in her mouth, and dropped it in front of him. My husband thought what would she do if he throws it away. And so he did. That's the beginning of an awesome surprise!

Pansie went off and ran to the mousy, picked it up, and brought it to my husband. We can hardly believe it, we had to do it a number of times to confirm that she's really retrieving it. And she did! We practice with her everyday now and had a chance to film the trick. Enjoy!


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Children Reading to Shelter Cats – Everyone Wins!

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An innovative program in the United States and Canada has brought together children and shelter cats in a delightful and loving manner. In Berks County, Pennsylvania, the Animal Rescue League (ARL) has begun a program they call "Book Buddies". It’s a program that brings children together with shelter cats that need attention and socialization. Every week, about 30 children read to the cats that are waiting to find their forever homes.

Designed for children in grades 1-8, reading at any level, the program invites them to come into the shelter to read to the cats in the adoption room. Everyone benefits in this situation as for the children, especially shy children; the cats offer a safe and non-judgmental audience for practicing their reading skills. Many teachers and parents are reporting improvement in many children’s reading skills because they are reading more often. Many of the children have gone from not liking to read to really enjoying it and having more confidence in their reading skills. It’s often much easier for them to read to a cat then humans.

cat stories

As for the shelter cats, the interaction with children is a wonderful thing. They love (and need) the extra attention and seem to enjoy the sound of the children’s voices when reading. Interaction with the children is good for the cats as it keeps them well socialized to people and a chance to interact with children if they have never done so before. It also gives the shelter workers good information on the temperament of the cat. This information is helpful when they are recommending a cat to a new family that has children. Often cats are surrendered to the shelter and it is not known how they react to children and if they would be good in a family situation. Another benefit is that shelter life can be hard on cats; and this program is a wonderful addition to the hard work shelter caretakers do to keep them happy and healthy.

As for the cats, what do they enjoy listening to? Do they enjoy mystery stories, mouse stories or cat stories? “It doesn’t matter to them [the cats] what the book is about, how well the child is reading to them or anything like that,” said Kristi Rodriguez, a volunteer and program coordinator at the center. “They just love the one-on-one contact that the kids provide.”

But “Book Buddies” isn’t the only program of this kind. There are several organizations that pair children up with dogs such as Library Dogs, Reading with Rover and Tail Wagging Tales. And there is even a program where children read to horses - the Black Stallion Literacy Project!

What can be better, animals getting some much needed attention and children learning to read – it’s a win win situation for all involved!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Monday, 7 July 2014

Sylvia’s Rescue Story : The Banker Tabby

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My husband and I were walking back to our house after dinner when we met this tiny, skinny kitten, about 2 months old, sitting quietly on an air vent of Banco de Oro building.

We approached her and she doesn’t seem so friendly. She was very timid and a bit scared. I pulled out cat food I always have in my bag and offered some food. Apart from being skinny and dirty, she doesn’t look sick. We waited a bit to let her finish her meal, making sure no by-passer would disturb her dinner or scare her away.

[caption id="attachment_688" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Sylvia, about 3 months old. She was skin and bones when we first got her. Sylvia, about 3 months old. She was skin and bones when we first got her.[/caption]

There are tons of stray cats in the streets of Manila (in the entire Philippines for that matter) and if we pick up everyone we come across with, we will have hundreds in a matter of days. As much as we wanted to help every stray cat in the city, we can’t take them all. What we did is to join an animal welfare organization, supported and participated in their various projects such as adoption events, education, spay/ neuter programs. That way, we can still help even if we can’t actually take the cats in. We then just moved to a more pet friendly condo where Nishi and Patrick were no longer a secret and can live their lives normally and comfortably.

So going back to the tabby by the bank – we thought she doesn’t exactly need our immediate help. Having 2 cats in a 65sqm condo feels already crowded, so I thought we can’t bring her anymore. But as we spend more time watching her finish her meal, I thought that place wasn’t safe for a kitten. The building is in a very busy road. Sooner or later, she will starve and will be desperate, she will cross the street and will get run over. Run over cats are very common sight on the roads of Metro Manila. I can’t remember a day of driving without seeing one – which of course, always upsets me. We were thinking to relocate her at some park in the area, but it isn’t really a permanent solution. Besides, if anyone sees us, they might think we are dumping the cat. It is not illegal but I do not want to show a bad example to anyone. I hate people dumping animals with passion! So guess how it ended up?

[caption id="attachment_687" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Sylvia spent a few nights in the vet clinic to make sure she's healthy before she socialized with other pupicats. Sylvia spent a few nights in the vet clinic to make sure she's healthy before she socialized with other pupicats.[/caption]

We took the little brown tabby with us and had her checked by a vet. We said we will make sure she’s free from any disease before we bring her home and then work on just getting her adopted. We isolated her in a make-shift cage for a few days to be certain she doesn’t have any dormant communicable disease before we let Nishi and Patrick socialize with her. Nishi wasn’t very happy about it, I tell you. But she can’t do anything :P.

DSC_5338We fell in love with this brown tabby and named her Sylvia. My husband said she looked like a “Sylvia” to him. She has grown to be a very sweet, affectionate girl. She’s also a born hunter – by far the best hunter among all my cats. But careful, she’s very tricky. She’s a professional escape artist. It’s not that she’s not happy, but she just loves adventure. She has beaten every cat proofing system my husband built to keep them within our balcony and away from our neighbors. Eventually I found a fool proof way that kept her inside.

[caption id="attachment_692" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Sylvia Today Sylvia just turned 4 years old. She's very beautiful, a sweet slime ball happy and active cat. A proud member of the Pupicats :).[/caption]



Friday, 20 June 2014

A Happy Ending

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Several years ago, a young woman began feeding a family of feral cats that she discovered near her office, just outside of Los Angeles, California. Each morning, as she would walk up to feed the cats, they would rush out to greet her, excited and hungry. One morning, she noticed something different about one of them. A young black and white male cat was missing his whiskers. They looked like they had been burned off. His fur looked a little strange, as well. Upon closer inspection, she noticed that there was a chunk missing from his right rear leg, as if something had taken a bite out of it.

Stubbs_amazing cat story

The next morning, when the cat showed up to eat, she noticed that his left paw was missing. It was at this point she figured out that the cat was gnawing off parts of his body that had been injured. She knew she had to get this cat some help so she contacted C.A.R.E who, in turn, rallied other members of the rescue community together.

It was a long, concerted effort to save this poor kitten. Although the rescue volunteers were equipped with traps, nets, and all the tricks that their experience with feral cats had taught them over the years, this little kitten wasn’t going for any of it. It was heartbreaking to see him every day, getting worse and worse. He kept gnawing at his feet until he had chewed off his front leg almost to the shoulder and his right rear leg to the knee. And, yet, every day he kept coming to breakfast, hobbling along to the food dish, with a survival instinct like no one had ever seen before. It was completely heartbreaking, yet truly inspiring at the same time.

This cat wanted to live!

The rescue group had named the cat “Stubbs”. They were determined to save him before his infection from his injuries spread. His mother, “Scarlet”, tried to protect him by standing guard at his hiding place when he was sleeping or hiding- and this is how everyone figured out where Stubbs disappeared to after he ate. When rescuers tried to catch Stubbs or grab him, Scarlet put herself in between him and everything else and would hiss and spit in an effort to keep anyone from hurting her kitten.

For three days, the rescue group stayed on site, sleeping in their cars at night, trying desperately to find an opening to rescue the injured kitten. Finally (with a little help from KFC Original Recipe chicken used for bait) they were able to catch Stubbs.

He was immediately taken to an animal hospital. The diagnosis was shocking: someone had set this cat on fire! All four of Stubbs feet and lower legs were badly burned. As the days had passed, the pain and dying tissue had motivated him to gnaw off parts of his own body. The vets did what they could to save Stubbs limbs but one of the back legs was gone (up to the knee) as well as his left front leg (up to the elbow).

Through much nurturing and care, Stubbs recovered enough to be placed in to a foster home. There he received the love and attention he deserved and he blossomed in to the most delightful cat one could imagine. It wasn’t long before he found a permanent home of his own with a happy couple and their cat Eliza.

If anybody deserved a happy ending, it was Stubbs. What a strong and amazing little cat!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Cat Stories: Mario, the “Miracle” Cat

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In July 2013, in the town of Lac-Megantic Canada, an unattended 74-car freight train carrying crude oil ran away and derailed, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cards. Forty-two people were killed and five more were missing and presumed dead. More than 30 buildings in the town’s center, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed. A hundred and fifteen businesses were destroyed, displaced, or rendered inaccessible.

The municipal water supply for Lac-Megantic was shut down because of a leak inside the blast zone, requiring trucks carrying drinking water to be utilized during clean-up efforts. Residents were evacuated from their homes and many businesses had to operate from temporary locations outside the downtown area.

It was the fourth deadliest rail accident in Canadian history. The tragedy crippled the town and brought its residents to their knees.

Amidst the chaos and devastation, no one heard the soft cries of a cat left helpless and alone. No one was there to tend to its needs as it sat trapped and alone inside one of the abandoned homes.

Mario_Blog5On September 22, an incredibe 79 days after the disaster struck, the poor feline was finally found. A worker named Mario spotted the male tabby cat’s silhouette in the window of the house. He called Francoise Belle-Isle, of the local animal refuge, who helped lure the cat out of the house with a cage trap.

Francoise herself is a heroine. She worked 14-hour days following the derailment helping displaced families with pets and those looking for their missing pets. So, she was thrilled to be able to add this poor cat to her list of survivors.

The cat had been holed up without food, water or companionship for more than seven weeks. No one has determined how he managed to survive for so long on his own. He was suffering from such extreme dehydration when he was brought in to the veterinarian that there was some discussion about putting him down.

But Francoise would have none of that. This cat was a survivor!

She gave the cat a new name (Mario) and, in the days after his rescue, she was by his side as he showed remarkable improvement thanks to a protein-rich diet supplemented with iron-enhanced baby cereal. The vet expressed surprise at the remarkable results, considering his long time spent in seclusion.

Mario proved he had a fighting spirit when his energy continued to increase. Day by day his health improved until, finally, he was acting like a normal happy cat.

Today, no one would recognize the scrawny sad cat that was found in that abandoned home. His body and spirit have made a full recovery thanks to the help of a true angel. Francoise still keeps in touch with the hearty tabby. He has a new home now and enjoys sunning himself in the patch of sunlight that streams through his favorite window.

Just as the town of Lac-Megantic stayed strong to re-build itself from such a tragedy, so has Mario, the “Miracle” cat.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Koshka’s Cat Stories

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There are hero’s that serve to protect our country every day. All the men and women who serve our country in the military risk their lives so that we may sleep soundly each night. Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott is just one of those hero’s. He risked his life while serving in Afghanistan but it’s the risk he took for a cat named Koshka that’s getting him attention these days. This is one of the amazing cat stories.

Jesse first met Koshka on base in the Maiwand District of Afghanistan. Koshka was the unofficial mouse catcher on base and, though there are many animal lovers stationed there, Knott noticed that Koshka wasn’t being taken care of like he sound have been. Jesse found the cat with his fur covered in paint on more than one occasion. Other times, he would find that someone had taken clippers and shaved portions of his back.

Jesse was concerned for Koshka’s welfare so he made room for him in his office, even though soldiers aren’t allowed to have pets. The two became close and Jesse found comfort in having Koshka greet him each day as he went to work. The cat made himself at home, curling up on top of the file cabinet or stretching playfully over Jesse’s computer keyboard. Koshka seemed happy with the new living arrangement and Jesse felt good knowing he was keeping the cat out of harm’s way.

Then, on December 8, 2011, a suicide bomber targeted a military convoy near Knott’s base. Two soldiers, close friends of Jesse’s, were killed in the attack. It was a difficult time for Jesse and he found himself in a state of deep depression. One day, while sitting at the desk in his office, he broke down sobbing.

Suddenly, Koshka was at Jesse’s side. Jesse looked at Koshka with tears in his eyes. The cat offered comfort in the only way he knew how. He reached out his paw and pressed it to Jesse’s lips, then climbed in to his lap and curled up to share his companionship. That was the moment that Jesse decided that Koshka needed to leave Afghanistan.

"Koshka pulled me out of one of my darkest times,” Jesse said, “so I had to pull him out of one of his darkest places.”

The soldier was unable to get his feline friend on a military convoy, so he forged a plan with a brave local interpreter who agreed to take the cat to Kabul. The plan was risky. If the interpreter was discovered helping an American, the repercussions could be deadly, for he and Koshka. The journey to move the cat halfway across Afghanistan, through countless Taliban checkpoints, was fraught with danger. But, the interpreter got Koshka to the Kabul airport undetected. There, Knott’s family (huge animal lovers, as well) paid $3,000 to fly the cat to their home in Oregon.

Since Koshka’s rescue, Jesse has left Afghanistan and is stationed in Washington State. When his military service ends, he plans to reunite with the cat that helped him through one of his darkest times.

After traveling many miles across country, the love that saved them both will have come full circle.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Cats and Dogs Friendships Stories

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We’ve all heard the saying “fight like cats and dogs” but, very often, we find that friendships are forged across species. Many cats and dogs co-exist together happily in homes across the globe. Sometimes, their bond is stronger than we realize.

March 2013
Cole_cat storiesIn Wilton, CA, a fifteen-year-old cat named “Cole” alerted a couple that their home was burning down. The door to the man and woman’s bedroom was closed to keep two of the dogs out but the couple heard Cole howling and scratching at the door. They awoke and opened the door to find the house filled with smoke.

The couple headed out the back of the home to find windows exploding and flames leaping out from the house. Cole headed in the other direction. Once the couple was safely outside, they saw both dogs running from the house . . . with Cole right on their heels! He had gone to find the dogs and usher them to safety!

A lot of cats would have hunkered down in a corner and hid from the strangeness of the smell. But, luckily Cole reacted loudly enough to wake the couple up and give them enough time to escape before the house was engulfed in flames. The extra act of finding his canine friends just proves that Cole is a true hero in his own right!

April 2013
Izzy is a little terrier mix who owes her life to Sammy the cat. Though the two live together in their house in Ohio, Izzy and Sammy’s owner says it might be a “leap” to call them “friends”. Often, Izzy can be found hassling the cat when it seems that all Sammy wants is a nice quiet nap. But, Sammy showed that his feelings for his canine companion actually run pretty deep.

It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon when Izzy wandered out of her yard for a little sight-seeing adventure. Unfortunately, the little terrier mix was attacked by a larger dog whose territory she wandered in to. The larger dog grabbed Izzy and shook her in its mouth, the sharp teeth puncturing her abdomen. That is when Sammy came running to the rescue!
Sammy put himself in front of the larger dog and puffed up and starting hissing. The big dog became distracted and dropped Izzy and went after the cat. At that point, the family was able to get Izzy to safety. Sammy got away be running up a tree. Ironically, Izzy often chases the cat but obviously Sammy felt some loyalty for his furry friend to place himself in danger of the bigger dog.

Izzy suffered a hernia, bruising and muscle trauma in addition to the punctured abdomen, but she is expected to make a full recovery. Thanks to Sammy’s life-saving efforts, Izzy will be able to chase and pester her for many more years to come!
Though some might fight like “cats and dogs” many more, it seems, only wish to be friends. We could all learn a thing or two from our pets.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Cat Saves Baby’s Life

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My friend found an old newspaper article from 1898.. She finds these little snippets of history so intriguing! It is interesting to read about people’s daily lives back then and relate those events with how we live today.

This article that a friend came across was from the Ann Arbor Argus-Democrat and it was published on December 16, 1898. The caption read: “Cat Saves Baby’s Life”

A pet cat saved the life of an infant near Hooker Glen, NY, the other day by killing a large rattlesnake which was approaching the baby. The mother, Mrs. Robert Snow, had taken the child a short distance from her home and seated it on the grass while she picked berries. A large pet cat accompanied them, and the mother of the babe, alarmed at the rattle of the snake, turned around just in time to see the cat seize the reptile as it was about to attack the babe. The cat killed the snake instantly within two feet of where the child was sitting.
cat stories

Though this article was written a long time ago, it is certainly not the first time one of our feline companions as put themselves in danger to save someone we love.

In January of 2013, an Australian woman was woken by her hissing cat to find a python wrapped around the arm of her 2-year-old daughter.

The mother, Tess Guthrie, thought she was having a nightmare when the hissing sound began. The toddler was sleeping in bed with Tess at that time. Tess said she awoke to find the 6-foot python wrapped three times around her daughter’s arm. Tess moved to pry the snake off her arm but, before she could, the nonvenomous python bit the toddler three times on her left hand.

Her daughter, Zara, was screaming and there was blood everywhere from the bite wounds. The cat continued to hiss and crouched low in front of the snake; in an “attack” position. The cat and python seemed to “square off” with the cat hissing continually.

Tess called for help and waited for someone to arrive. Not once during that time did their loyal family cat leave Zara’s side. Only after help arrived and the toddler was extracted from the python’s grip, did the cat finally stop hissing.

Zara was taken to the local hospital where she was treated and released. The coastal python (or “carper snake”) was captured by local wildlife officials and eventually released back in to the wild.

Snake invasions are nothing new down under, but Tess will never forget the terrifying events of that night. It was a shocking way to wake up from a deep sleep. Tess is so thankful that her cat was there to alert her of the danger her child was in and take the protective stance it did toward the snake. She is convinced her cat was protecting her child in the best way it knew how.

Our feline friends offer such love and companionship but it is a whole other gift when they protect us with their lives as well.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Stories of three incredible cats

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They say that cats have nine lives. But, the truth to that statement is revealed when you hear of a cat escaping certain death . . . and walking away unharmed! These stories show how incredible cats can be.

September 2013
Wasabi was chasing a mosquito around owner Stephanie Gustafson’s apartment when she chased the insect right out the window. The problem was that Stephanie lived on the 11th floor of an apartment building in Juneau, Alaska.

Stephanie watched in horror as Wasabi fell from the window. She ran downstairs immediately and found the poor cat huddled about 15 feet away from the building next to a metal box. She was bloody and soaked from the rain. Wasabi was quiet and her paw was limp. Stephanie rushed her to an emergency veterinarian clinic for midnight X-rays.

Wasabi was found to have a fractured radius and some broken bones in her elbow. After getting a cute pink cast on her paw, Wasabi began the healing process. In six weeks, she was back to her old playful self. Curious as ever!

Gloucester the cat

March 2012
In Boston, Brittany Kirk owns a white fluff-ball of a cat named “Sugar”. Sugar has always been very laid-back and calm. So, when Brittany moved to her 19th floor high rise on Storrow Drive, she wasn’t surprised when Sugar just settled in and simply starting grooming herself.
Brittany was in for a shock when she realized that her normally quiet cat went to investigate the window. After falling between 150 and 200 feet, the workers at the Animal Rescue League examined the cat. Though Sugar was found to have minor bruising on the lungs, she had no broken bones or cuts and no serious injuries at all.

JULY 2011
In New York, the owners of an Upper West Side apartment reported that their cat fell 20 stories and crash landed on the pavement. Gloucester, better known as “G” to his owners, walked away with barely a scratch.

Gloucester’s owner, Barry Myers, adopted “G” when he found him in an abandoned building over sixteen years ago. It was Fourth of July weekend, when members of Barry’s family mistakenly left a window cracked when they went away for the long weekend holiday. Barry and “G” had lived in the apartment for years and Barry claims that “G” has never seemed interested in the window. He has never peeked his head out or leaned out to get a better view of something . . . nothing at all. So, it was a mystery why “G” decided that this was the weekend he was going to investigate closer.
Passersby, who witnessed the cat falling, call it a “miracle” that he simply got up and walked away.

Wasabi Cat


According to a local veterinarian, when you are 10 floors or above, you actually have an increased chance of surviving the fall because you have a chance to right yourself and get ready to land. Cats are able to relax, orient themselves in a flying squirrel position with the legs spread out, and it slows their descent. It truly is amazing when you think about it. No wonder they say that cats have nine lives!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Cassidy -The Cat Who Saved His Own Life

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One busy morning, a client rushed into a veterinary hospital where I was working with an injured cat. He had seen the cat in the neighborhood for weeks and had tried unsuccessfully to befriend it. Following a trail of blood he found the injured and scared cat under his house. He carefully rescued and rushed him into the hospital. We assumed the cat was feral.

He was very thin, dirty, flea ridden and had a badly broken leg. Because he was in such terrible physical shape the decision was made to euthanize him. His rescuer and veterinary staff felt that it wouldn’t be fair to amputate the leg and release him to fend for himself. It was a sad moment and I was thinking about the horrible fate of homeless animals. I had just given Cassidy a tranquilizer and sat by his cage talking to him. Although we hardly knew him, it was important that he not leave this world unloved.Then he purred and licked my hand, hardly the actions of a feral cat.

Cassidy2This cat needed a second chance. I began to think that if he was euthanized, it might be the end of the story – that he would die a nameless stray cat, a victim of animal cruelty. Animals need us to be their advocates and that is why I decided to speak up on his behalf. I asked the doctors if they could reconsider, this was not a feral cat, but a loving and sweet cat and that deserved a second chance. We tested him for FeLV/FIV and Xrayed his leg. He had been shot several times.

When stable, the cat now known as Cassidy, had his leg amputated. The surgery was uneventful but afterwards Cassidy began to have seizures. Following the seizures, he was unable to hold his head up and had severe neurological issues. Round the clock monitoring was needed to make sure he got his medications, ate well and was kept clean. This was a project that the entire staff helped with. Often he could be found in the arms of staff members who just wanted to hold and love him. Slowly he began to have more control of his head and limbs and could eat without assistance, but he was still unable to walk. A remarkable cat, Cassidy remained cheerful and sweet throughout his ordeal, purring loudly. I decided to take him home to do physical therapy. In the weeks of rehabilitation at my home, we fell more in love and I decided to adopt him.

Cassidy’s loving and calm nature has made him many friends. He was inducted into the Oregon Animal Hall of Fame, an award given by the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association for his bravery and contributions to society. Later that year Cassidy was awarded a Diamond Collar award by the Oregon Humane Society! When not spreading joy in the community, Cassidy can be found snoozing happily with his human and cat family who clearly adore him!


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Cat rescue story of the adorable cat Turtle

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In February 2013, a severe storm overtook the town of Saratoga Wyoming. The winds blew fiercely and people stayed indoors trying to avoid the nature’s fury. A local motel owner was looking out his office window when he noticed a cat hanging on the limb of a tree. The branches were swaying wildly in the fierce winds and the poor cat’s cries could be heard over the howling of the wind. Before the man could react, the poor cat lost its grip and was thrown viciously to the ground. He lay there for a moment before getting up and walking away, but with a very pronounced limp.


The next day, the motel owner noticed the cat crouching under the front porch of his motel. He called the local animal rescue group and reported that the cat was hurt and needed help. Because the rescue group was over 40 miles away and did not have a veterinarian in their small town regularly, they asked the man more probing questions about the cat’s health. He told them that the cat was eating well and could walk but was limping “pretty badly” but that the situation didn’t seem “urgent”. He agreed to take care of the cat until the shelter staff could send someone to get the cat. Due to more severe weather conditions in the area, 10 days passed before they went to pick the kitty up.

When the staff arrived at the motel, they were greeted by an adorable cat that was purring loudly. He seemed very affectionate and social. His limp was still very pronounced but he didn’t let his injury stop him. He immediately tried to jump on the counter to get closer to the staff. He missed the counter and fell to his side but got up and limped back to rub himself against the legs of the rescue group. This cat was certainly all heart!

They immediately took the cat to a veterinarian in Rawlins, Wyoming. An X-ray was taken and the cat was examined by Dr. Hones. The doctor explained that the x-ray revealed a broken leg. She said that the poor cat must have been in tremendous pain but that, at this point, the leg was nearly completely healed. Luckily, the break had been clean and, so, would heal fully and the cat was expected to make a complete recovery.

The sweet cat was placed in a foster home with a retired nurse who brought him back to good health. He was named “Turtle” due to his gimpy gait, and the fact that he loved hiding under blankets and peeking his head out to play. His limp completely disappeared over time and his active, playful nature came shining through.

Turtle was eventually adopted by a local store owner. He spends his days socializing with the customers, snuggling in the silk scarves on display, or draping himself over the store owner’s keyboard while she tries to get some work done.

No one would ever know the pain and hardship the poor cat faced in his young life. Animals are so resilient! Not only do their bones heal . . . but their hearts do as well.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

A homely Cat called Oscar

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Ten years ago, a small scraggly cat sat waiting for a home at the Long Beach Animal Shelter. His name was Oscar. He was not what you would call a “gorgeous” cat. In fact, some might call him a “homely” cat. He was charcoal grey and skinny with a distinctive overbite and one fang hanging out of the right side of his mouth. There was something in his eyes though; something “special”.

One day a young couple, named Steve and Karen, came in to the shelter looking for a furry companion. They both noticed the special gleam in the sad little cat’s eyes. It didn’t take them long before they had chosen Oscar to go home with them.

Oscar the cat

Oscar settled in to his new home wonderfully. Oscar made Steve and Karen realize the wonderful relationship one can have with a feline friend and, so, they began rescuing other kittens they found in the neighborhood that needed homes and adopting them out to forever families. They found this was not an easy task but Oscar gave them the strength and tenacity to help those less fortunate cats whose fate was life in a shelter or, even worse, a life on the streets.

Oscar never complained when the family grew to include other furry felines. He welcomed them with serene contentment.

One day, Steve and Karen noticed Oscar was walking a bit strangely. After a few minutes of this, he fell over on this side. He then got up and continued walking as if nothing had happened. It was strange behavior and neither Steve nor Karen knew what to think of it. Then it happened again . . . and again.

They took Oscar to their local veterinarian who diagnosed him with a heart arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat). They were told that this could result in cardiac arrest and sudden death. Steve and Karen’s heart’s dropped. What would they do without their loving Oscar!

An appointment with Dr. George Kramer, a veterinary cardiologist, confirmed the life threatening diagnosis and the young couple were forced to face two scary options. They could allow nature to take its course, but Oscar’s heart could permanently seize one day and they could lose the love of their very special friend. Or, they could follow Dr. Kramer’s suggestion and subject Oscar to heart surgery, which carried its own set of risks.

What if Oscar didn’t survive the surgery?? They had been together for ten years now . . . were Steve and Karen ready to say good-bye to their faithful companion?

They made the decision that they would have for any other member of their family. They chose to give Oscar a chance at a longer and more fulfilling life by having a pacemaker surgically implanted. The day after Oscar was brought home he sat on the windowsill, as usual, grooming himself, just as if nothing had happened. The shaved fur and outline of the pacemaker were the only visible signs that he had surgery.

The cat who had changed a young couple’s life forever was healing and healthy; ready to give more inspiration in the rescue of his feline friends.

Oh, and . . . that “thing” they saw there in Oscar’s eyes………it was LOVE. Pure and simple.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Fostering Kittens

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Especially this time of year, animal shelters and rescue organizations are in desperate need of foster parents for kittens as they become overwhelmed with the number of young animals needing help. Without foster parents kittens are turned away to accept whatever fate awaits them or are euthanized in large numbers. When foster parents give them a safe haven they set them up to be healthy and adoptable animals. Foster homes free up a shelter’s resources and space so that other animals may be helped.
I hear from people that fostering is a great idea but they couldn’t then give them up and I understand this. A few years ago I was at a farm near my favorite fruit stand. I noticed a box and started hearing noises coming from it. I was told that someone had just “dropped” it off. I looked down at four dusty and hungry kittens and thought “The last thing I need right now are 4 kittens/I cannot leave them there.” So instead of coming home with peaches, filberts, strawberries and honey in my shopping bag, I came home with The Farmstand Kittens – Peach, Filbert, Strawberry and Honey in a dirty cardboard box. Once at home, I prepared meals and a bubble bath for each. I had no idea that in 4 weeks time they would grow up to be the worst furry heart thieves I would ever meet.

The kittens grew up sweet and healthy. When they would see me they would race across the room to climb up my leg, purring furiously. Or they would pile up on my lap and nap for hours. In the afternoons I would set up a puppy pen in the garden and let them play and explore. I grew incredibly attached to them and them to me.

I’d like to say when the day came to take them to the local shelter to be adopted I congratulated myself for a doing a great job and packed them up to take back, albeit with a little sadness. But no, instead of that experienced animal rescue person who had done this before, I became a blubbering, crying, snorting, hiccupping, emotional mess. I would decide to pack them up and take them in and then one second later “No! I’m keeping everyone of them!” Finally with the help of supportive Facebook messages, emails, tweets, text messages and phone calls I was able to take them to the shelter. All four kittens were adopted within a day of returning to the shelter and being spayed or neutered.

It was not easy to say good bye but I would have felt much worse NOT fostering them and wondering what kind of life they would have had as stray cats. And when I get the next call that there are more kittens to foster, I’ll forget for a while the hard part and I will race to get all my supplies ready to welcome a new little bunch of furry heart thieves.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Pikachu Rescue

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Pikachu the rescued cat.This is Pikachu. We found him in an island at the center of a busy street in Makati's central business district, taking shelter inside a covered spotlight that is used to light up the monument standing in that island. My husband spotted him when he crossed that island walking back to our house from the mall. And as always, we have no idea how he managed to get himself at the center. My husband imagined that it will only take a little time before the kitten becomes desperate for food and water that it will dare to cross the busy street with lots of speeding vehicles, and then get hit and die. This kitten was very challenging to catch. The first time, it wouldn't come out behind the spotlight so it was quite difficult to get to him without hurting our eyes. We can't exactly see where he is hiding so my husband just left food and water for him to get through the night - and day for that matter, because the second attempt was the next evening.

The next evening, I came with him to help again. We tried to lure him with food, and eventually he stepped out. As soon as we grabbed him and tried to put it in the cat carrier, I don't know how he did it but he somehow escaped my hand and jumped out - went back to the spotlight. That's when we realized, we should call him Pikachu, from a Japanese anime Pokemon - because he's a pain to catch. Again, we left food and water to get him through another day.

And so the next evening again, we came back with the hopes that he is still there. This time, it was still quite early in the evening so we kinda attracted some attention from security men roaming around the area. They were wondering what we are doing in the monument. Fortunately, after explaining that we need to get a stray kitten out, they tried their best to help out too. They even tried to check if they can radio someone who have access to the spotlight, since the spotlight is enclosed and is locked. They weren't successful in unlocking it, but at least they were there to give us moral support. Eventually, Pikachu came out to get his food and we were able to catch him.

Pikachu sleeping

He was scared at the beginning, but it took only a little time before he was able to socialize with our cats. He immediately became friends with Sylvia. Other than being dirty and dehydrated, Pikachu was a healthy kitten. Eventually, we found him a good home to care for him. He is now living with other cats in a farm.

[caption id="attachment_381" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Pikachu and Sylvia chilling out on bed. This photo was taken the day Pikachu was adopted. Just like our other rescues that's been adopted, we miss him dearly. But we are happy to know he have a family to care for him. Pikachu and Sylvia chilling out on bed. This photo was taken the day Pikachu was adopted. Just like our other rescues that's been adopted, we miss him dearly. But we are happy to know he have a family to care for him.[/caption]






Thursday, 6 March 2014

Traveling with Your Cat: From Philippines to EU Part 3 - Basic Airline Requirements and Choosing Your Airline

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(Quick links to Part 1 and Part 2)

Now that you have prepared the document requirements and tests to get your beloved cat in European Union, the final step is how will you fly them out.

Although I read about pet shipping services, I chose to fly with them in the same aircraft. The first thing I researched is for a reputable airline. Here are some factors I considered when I chose the airline to travel with my pets:

  • Choose an airline that has good reviews in terms of pet handling.

  • Choose an airline that has more direct route to your destination. In my opinion, I'd rather have them move once to the aircraft, and then disembark only once, rather than have a number of connecting flight which means they will be moved/handled more than once that can cause more stress for the animals. This also makes me paranoid of losing them, like how you lose baggages.

  • Choose an airline with a comprehensive pet policy. This was very important for me to see how much documentation they have when flying with pets because this kinda gives me a feeling that the airline really cares and is serious of the safety of your pet while in transit. This gives me peace of mind.

  • Be prepared of the costs. The cost depends on the destination. But from Philippines to The Netherlands, I paid $200 per pet.

[caption id="attachment_366" align="alignleft" width="285"] Lottie on top of his airline approved carrier.[/caption]

I chose KLM Royal Dutch Airline because by far, they have good reviews in pet handling, as well as they have the most comprehensive pet policy I've found in the web. They even have a video about how they take care of the pet in transit and their pet hotels if you have a long lay over before your next flight. Besides, I've been a KLM customer and I've never been disappointed by this airline. I was happy with how organized the staff were the moment we stepped in to the airport till our destination.

When you get your airline figured out, make sure you understand their policy to avoid delays. It is very important to read the airline's pet policy to avoid delays and further stress, so make sure you comply with everything they have stated in their pet policy documentation which should cover everything that you need. Some pointers:

a. Prepare your documents. Photocopy them beforehand. I made 2 copies of each document so that there's no need to get them photocopied in the airport to avoid delays. Contact your airline for how many copies you need to make things faster when it's time to fly.
b. Keep your original copies with you. Photocopies are left in a pouch attached to your pet kennel.

It is also important that you call your airline to make the arrangement for your pet prior to your flight. I did the arrangement a month  before our flight to make sure that they have a reserved space for my pets. Most airlines have limited slots for pets so it's better to get them reserved.

Note that there are airlines that allows pet in cabin, and some that doesn't. If you plan to take your cat in the cabin, check if the airline allows it. Usually, if they allow pet in cabin, the requirement is to have a carrier that can fit under the seat. There is also a weight requirement which should be stated in their pet policy documentation. If your pet is big, you might want to consider checking in your pet as a baggage because it's not only that the airline will reject the pet in the cabin, but it will also be uncomfortable for your pet to stay in a small carrier for a long flight.

If you are checking in your pets as a baggage, there are also a number of things you have to comply with. To give you an idea:

a. Your kennel/carrier must be made of rigid plastic with a metal door.
b. If your kennel have wheels, you have to remove it.
c. There should be 2 bowls attached in the carrier, or one bowl with 2 compartments for food and water.
d. Your pet must be able to stand with head erected, and can turn around comfortably inside the kennel.
e. You need an absorbent material on the flooring of your carrier such as news paper or a small blanket. I used dry pads (like flat diapers) so in case they pee, it will be absorbed.
f. The door locks must be secured, but padlocks are not allowed.
g. Don't sedate your cat/dog.
h. 1 pet per kennel.
i. Kennel must be properly ventilated, with small holes on the sides (which normally pet carriers have anyways).

[caption id="attachment_373" align="aligncenter" width="605"]The airline-approved pet carrier we used to transport the Pupicats to EU. It's made up of rigid plastics with a secured metal door and screws. The airline-approved pet carrier we used to transport the Pupicats to EU. It's made up of rigid plastics with a secured metal door and screws.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_375" align="aligncenter" width="515"]Pan trying to model how perfectly and comfortably fitting it is inside her carrier. Pan trying to model how perfectly and comfortably fitting it is inside her carrier.[/caption]

I got this information from KLM Royal Dutch Airline website. Please feel free to visit their site by clicking this link for more detailed checklist.

I'm extremely happy that I was able to get all my 6 cats safe and sound to EU. Like I always say, it is indeed a lot of work, but it doesn't need to be stressful. If you have an ample time to plan, and you are equipped with the information you need, it will go smoothly. All it takes is determination :). As for me, my  cats are my family. I love them to death and they are worth all my hard work. I could not imagine myself leaving them behind, get them adopted or whatever, all because I need to move my life some place else. They are part of my family now, and you don't leave family behind. I'm all they've got. We now continue our happy lives in a lovely city, Berlin.

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Story of Patrick : The Cross-Eyed Tabby

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After Nishi’s rescue, I have become more compassionate towards strays. In a few months of raising Nishi, it felt like the experience have opened my eyes in such a way that I see the strays more often than I used to. I know they were there even before, but I was disconnected then, and oblivious to the stray population problem.

My husband is a runner and usually does his training in the middle of the night when road traffic dies down and crowd has mellowed. One night he came back saying he heard a crying cat somewhere along his route but couldn’t find where it’s coming from. He said he just gave up because it might be inside a building or a compound where he couldn’t access anyways.

The next evening, he trained again and went to the same route. Surprisingly, he heard the same cry. The cat has been crying for 24 hours now. He tried to look for it once more, as it bothered him so much that this cat has been in the same spot in the last 24 hours, miserable and crying. Finally, he found this little gray tabby kitten at the corner of some Jewish church. He called me up and I immediately went with food and water.

[caption id="attachment_333" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Patrick was confined in the vet clinic. His eyes were filled with mucus due to a respiratory infection. He couldn't open them up. Patrick was confined in the vet clinic. His eyes were filled with mucus due to a respiratory infection. He couldn't open them up.[/caption]

The kitten’s eyes were shut and full of discharge. It was also skinny and very filthy. It was a very scared kitty. I offered it some food. We couldn’t make up our minds what to do with the kitten. Obviously, in his condition, he will not survive on his own. The condo we were living in doesn’t allow pets and Nishi is already a secret. It is also close to impossible to sneak the tabby kitten because it just won’t stop crying. But we also did not have the heart to leave it like that, knowing that he will never make it by himself. We ended up driving to the 24 hour vet clinic and had the kitten treated, and then boarded him for the night.

It was St. Patrick’s day, and so we named him Patrick. It turned out that Patrick is suffering from a respiratory infection. After a week of being confined and treated in the vet clinic, we smuggled Patrick in the condo. We figured, Nishi could use a company. It wasn’t easy introducing the two to each other, but eventually, they loved each other.

[caption id="attachment_334" align="aligncenter" width="720"]We isolated Patrick for a few days just to make sure he's free from infection. Nishi tirelessly guarded this "new creature", watching its every move. We isolated Patrick for a few days just to make sure he's free from infection. Nishi tirelessly guarded this "new creature", watching its every move.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_336" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Patrick and Nishi Nishi was jealous for quite some time but eventually grew affection towards Patrick. To this day, Patrick is the only cat that Nishi will play with. Nishi doesn't like cats so much, but Patrick's an exception.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_337" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Patrick the beautiful boy With lots of love and care, Patrick grew up to be a sweet baby boy. His eyes are so crossed he looks so adorable.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_339" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Pattyboy Patty is a gentle and a very smart cat. He loves to talk too! He would talk to you when you call his name - even when he sleeps.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_340" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Pattyboy1 Patrick, trying to be a model.[/caption]


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Pupicats Geared Up To Get Out

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We recently sold the cat crates we used to bring the Pupicats in Germany because it's just too big for normal use. Besides, we aren't moving anywhere anytime soon. As much as I want to keep all of it, we are also running out of storage space. 5 huge crates takes a whole lot of space.

We got a cooler carrier to replace it instead - a deluxe pet travel carrier back pack with wheels! I know that winter is far from being over, but I'm so looking forward to use this and take my cats to the park once the weather is favorable. Well, it can only fit one - and I can only carry one anyways so they have to take turns. We can do by seniority, or if they can, they can try paper - scissors - stone (bato-bato pik in Filipino), and whoever wins go first.

[caption id="attachment_298" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Mark, sporting the pet carrier back pack while Nishi is inside, wondering what the hell is going on. Mark, sporting the pet carrier back pack while Nishi is inside, wondering what the hell is going on.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_299" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Pupicat and Trolley Everyone's sort of curious with their new carrier. Everyone wants to give it a try.[/caption]


Monday, 27 January 2014

Cat Helper, Anyone?

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Lottie, being a good boy he is, tries to offer his help fix the window for his human.

[caption id="attachment_293" align="aligncenter" width="500"]LottieHelper "Can I help you, human?"[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_294" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lottie, just wanting to help fix the window for the winter. Lottie, just wanting to help fix the window for the winter.[/caption]

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Traveling with Your Cat : From the Philippines to EU Part 2: The Rabies Titer Test

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(Quick link to Part 1)

[caption id="attachment_289" align="alignleft" width="245"]Nishi, waiting for her connecting flight in Schiphol Airport, NL. Nishi, waiting for her connecting flight in Schiphol Airport, NL.[/caption]

One of the EU's requirements for your cat to enter the EU territories coming from third countries that doesn't have favorable rabies conditions is the rabies anti-body titration test, also known as the Rabies Titer Test.

So what is a rabies titer test? There are numerous articles online that explains what a rabies titer test is and they can really go technical I often find myself lost. But in layman's term (and a very shallow definition :P), it's basically a blood test that measures your pet's immunity to rabies virus.

Rabies titer test must be done by an EU approved testing laboratory. Unfortunately, the Philippines doesn't have one. To get this done, here are my recommendations:

a. Get assistance from a veterinary clinic that has experience with pet export/travel.

- Although I believe that every veterinarian knows the process of rabies titer test and where to get it, I strongly recommend to go with a veterinary clinic that has expertise or experience on pet travel, just to make sure that everything is correctly done. This is by far, the easiest route.

b. Get ready for the costs.
- The titer test is something you should really plan ahead because not only that it takes time, this is also not cheap. In 2012, Animal House Veterinary clinic in Jupiter St. Makati, estimated the cost of PHP20,000.00 (about EUR326.00) for each cat, and may even give you a discount if you have a second cat. I'm not entirely sure if this covers everything, but I would advice that you call and inquire what is covered in their package. I didn't spend much time researching which vet clinic to go with and what their rates are but Animal House is by far the most reasonable and I'm comfortable with since all my cats were taken care by them since the day I rescued them.

So why is it so expensive? Consider the following process:
(A special note though, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the following process if your vet clinic supports it. Please check with your vet clinic if all of these are covered by they package price.)

a. The vet extracts the blood from your cat and make a serum from it as the specimen they will send out to the EU accredited testing laboratory.
b. The serum needs to be in an airline and laboratory approved container.
c. The serum also needs to be inside a specialized box, approved by airline and laboratory, with a specialized dry ice that can last for 3-5 days to maintain the temperature of the sample/s so as not to spoil/contaminate it.
d. The sample/s has to be shipped overnight, or the fastest they can get, with a reputable shipping company.
e. The vet clinic arranges and pays the testing fee of the accredited laboratory.
f. The vet clinic also shoulders the fees for certificates and export forms needed to get the samples out of the country.
g. When the results are out, it will be sent to the clinic.
h. Eventually, when you are ready to fly, the vet clinic prepares your document requirements (Health certificates, export permit, EU pet export forms).

In my case, I have 6 cats to fly out so it doesn't seem to be cost effective to take the PHP20,000 package as I thought it would be cheaper if I do it my way. Meaning, I took care of getting the airline approved containers, arranged the lab tests in Australia (there are closer EU approved labs btw) and shipping. Nevertheless, the vet clinic (Animal House) still played a vital role in this process because they were the ones to extract the blood and get me the permits necessary to ship out the samples. They also assisted me with the document requirements when we are finally ready to ship out.

Some important information about rabies titer test that may be handy for you:

1. Your pet must have a microchip first before carrying out the rabies titer test. This is for identification and documentation purposes of the certificate. I was required to get this done first before the titer test.

2.  Rabies titer test results doesn't expire. Once it's done and you passed, it's done - provided that your cat's vaccination is always up to date. So never skip a vaccination. And, keep the original rabies titer test certificate please ;).

3. The rabies titer test should be carried out at least 30 days after vaccination and 3 months before the move. I find this part somewhat confusing so I'd like to elaborate on this.

  • If your pet's anti-rabies vaccination is not yet overdue, you can carry out the blood test. Re-vaccination before the blood test is not necessary since technically, the previous vaccination isn't expired yet. You don't really need to worry about failing the test provided that your pet gets his/her vaccines regularly with no lapse. But if you are in doubt, asking the vet is always the best thing to do.

  • If your pet was just vaccinated, you need to wait at least 30 days from vaccination date before you can extract blood for rabies titer testing.

  • Rabies titer test must be carried out at least 3 months before you move. Meaning, even if you have the titer test results, you can't just fly out right away. You need to wait 3 months from the date of the test before you can fly to EU. I'm not sure what's the waiting time for, but that's their policy.

4. Rabies titer test must be done by an EU - approved laboratory. I went with AAHL in Australia, but I then figured there were a number of accredited labs in South Korea and in Japan.

If you want to read more about EU's requirements for pets coming from a thirdcountry with unfavorable rabies conditions, please visit their site here.

Now on to part 3.