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

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?
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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!

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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!
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