Remember the litter of 10 day old squirrels that fell from a large tree into my back yard one summer night? I recently picked them up from Sarvey wildlife center where they had been cared for until old enough to be out on their own. Sarvey is located in Arlington and it turned out to be a beautiful day for a drive in the country. I saw the variety of amazing owls who live there due to permanent injuries that prevent them from being able to live in the wild, plus two eagles in rehab. My squirrels rode in a carrier in the car and made squirrel noises the whole way - they were eager to get out and get ready for fall by securing food and secreting it away!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I assisted at a trap/neuter/return site on National Feral Cat Day (this past Sunday) and helped trap a litter of three kittens whom are now in foster care being socialized to humans. There are two B&W ones and one is tabby & white. (Unfortunately I cannot tell the gender yet.) They are about 6 weeks old right now and will be available after their spay or neuter on Nov. 1st. While young enough to be completely tamed, this process takes patience and repeated positive interactions. It works best if they are adopted into a quiet home without small children, overly friendly dogs, or people who simply aren't home very much. It's only be three full days and as you can see they can be held but are still wanting to hide from visitors. If you are interested in meeting them please contact me!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Sunday is National Feral Cat Day and feline friends all over the U.S. are celebrating feral cats! Check out this darling concept from Omaha NE:
What is a feral cat? A feral cat is often an abandoned kitty who has been outside for a while and is now wary of humans. Kittens born to an unspayed female who grow up without human contact will become feral adults. The crucial socialization period when kittens need to be handled and loved by people is 5-7 weeks. After 8 weeks of age, it is not impossible to tame a feral kitten but it doesn't happen as quickly. Odin, to the left, is a good example of a kitten humanely trapped a little late. He is perfectly wonderful with me but doesn't approach my human friends when they come over. While tame cats may become feral when left on their own outside, they can often revert back to being housecats with patience and understanding. Truly feral cats should be trap/neuter/returned (TNR) to live out their lives as community cats. The term feral is rarely black and white; each situation is unique and cats develop relationships with different humans differently. For more about TNR and National Feral Cat Day, see www.alleycatallies.org
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Here's a story confirming what those of us doing rescue work have known for a while - black animals don't get adopted as quickly as non-black ones. Black cats, as well as black lab mixes are usually abundant in shelters. Love should be color blind but for a variety of reasons, these companion animals aren't chosen like their white, ginger, and torti cousins. This is a photo of a wonderful boy named Arthur whom a friend and I rescued off the streets of Seattle. He and two other kitties had apparently been left behind by renters who moved and left the cats outside. Proving the point of the USA Today story, I was able to find an adoptive home for the gorgeous Siamese boy but Arthur and his shy girlfriend happily ended up staying with my friend.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
This article comes from daily Free Kibble (yes, I am hooked on the trivia questions!). Consider this statistic: 53% of cats, in the U.S. I presume, are overweight or obese. This is sad but also frustrating that veterinarians aren't educating animal guardians about diet and that guardians themselves aren't taking responsibility for their kitties' health. Unfortunately the extent of a vet's diet recommendations sometimes exists solely and conveniently on the products sold within their practice. As a raw food advocate for cats for the past 15 years, my views are based on Dr. Richard Pitcarin, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, Diane Stein, and Dr. Don Hamilton. Many naturopathic and homeopathic vets support raw diets while those practicing Chinese medicine believe cooked foods are better for digestion.
Regardless of what you choose to feed your feline, free feeding of dry food is rarely a good idea. Kittens and cats who are not food oriented might do fine for limited periods on such a regime but from my experience this is how cats gain too much weight. It's like having a big bowl of chocolates or cookies at your desk every day - you'd become chubby too! Food is comforting, food is love; there are lots of emotions involved with food but when you feel guilty for not being available for your cat and start substituting too much food you aren't doing what is ultimately going to help your cat live the longest, healthiest life. Most of us have to go to work or leave our cats for periods of time. Fortunately cats sleep a lot and probably don't mind having some time away from us to catch up on their sleep. I have seen some cats who simply cannot regulate how much they eat and have to be fed separately from other cats they live with for every meal. Find a solution that works with your household, inluding some form of interactive play or walking on a leash to achieve your kitty's ideal weight.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
My dear friend Carolyn Parker has published her first book, a memoir of sorts of her kitty Squeaky's life in Spain. Sixteen years ago, Squeaky appeared at my house in need of help. She was skinny, full of fleas and homeless. I remember it was cold out and Squeaky needed a warm place to stay and some TLC. I had just moved into my house and had several kitties of my own. So Carolyn and her husband "fostered" her and promptely fell in love with her. They lived in West Seattle at the time but it wasn't long before they were planning the next phase of their lives in rural Spain. So off the three of them went. We stayed in touch via their sporadic internet connection and airmail. Carolyn sent photos of Squeaky in her new domain and tales of her harrowing adventures and simple peasures.
"Squeaky's Farm" is about Squeaky's transformation to country living but also about the relationship between Squeaky and her humans. The balance of trusting and allowing Squeaky to experience life versus the desire to shelter and protect her brings up issues many of us face with our kitties, especially those of us who are care for semi or formally feral cats who crave the outdoors. While Squeaky was never a feral cat she still wanted to stalk, hunt, and observe the great outdoors. I never doubted that Carolyn completely understood Squeaky and reading "Squeaky's Farm" confirmed that they were meant to find each other. Our feline friends can teach us a lot - we just have to listen and be humble.
Buy this book for the animal people in your life! By the way, Carolyn is now back in the Northwest and colloborating with humane organizations so that they receive profits from book sales.