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

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