Sunday, December 9, 2012

Honoring kitties who've passed

While I love my work, 2012 has been a difficult year because I lost so many kitty friends. I will miss Butler, the ginger colored gentleman; Jodge, a charming old gent I met late in his life; Elliot, a big kitty with oodles of personality whose favorite game was to run outside into the hallway of his apartment building;  Gatinho, an adorable, little blue eyed elf whom I spent my birthday with last year and his shy and mysterious brother Mojo; Flynn, a gorgeous and beloved precious kitty; Mama, a sweet and loving torti girl (and Ginger, her torti sibling or daughter - we never knew for sure, who passed in 2011), and Pockets, a black and white boy I loved from the day I first met him and accepted all my hugs and kisses. Since I've been kitty sitting for 12 years now several of these kitties were clients for 10 years or more. Their passing is bittersweet because I know they had wonderful people who belonged to them and in most cases, they grew to be old and wise. I wish this for every cat everywhere (even the community cats who prefer to live outside can still be loved and cared for properly), but I will miss these dear friends and remember them fondly.

I like this short article which offers some ideas for honoring loved ones who are no longer with us physically.

One suggestion I'd add is to check out Best Friends Angels Rest and Angels Overlook in Kanab, UT.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More beautiful kitty images...

Take a break from our dreary, grey Seattle weather and imagine yourself basking on the warm sand on this idyllic island filled with kitties! Yes, the cats should all be spayed or neutered but note how relaxed and happy these cats all appear. They are true "community cats."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beautiful New Kitty Book

Meet Fukumaru, a Japanese kitty of ethereal beauty. He spends his days with his soul mate Misao, who found him as a abandoned kitten. Misao's grandaughter created a photo book of delightful images of the two and you can see many of them in this link. These pictures are a lovely statement about the bond between humans and felines, as well as a reminder to take time out for simple pleasures. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is your kitty's motor running?

Here's an interesting piece on cats' ability to purr. Sidney likes to cuddle up and help with research like this!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Today is National Feral Cat Day!

About fifteen years ago, I came across a large group of cats living outside of a house in the Columbia City area of Seattle. I noticed that most of the cats all looked alike - tuxedos and B&Ws. This was to be the first site on which I would practice TNR. Some of the cats were ear tipped already, so no need to catch them but it was overall a difficult site because the people feeding didn't want to cooperate. Gigi (above right) was one of the kitties I caught to be spayed and returned to the site. Her seven month old sons were hissing and spitting in their traps; they would be neutered and returned as well. But Gigi had a different plan in mind. She escaped in my garage and it was three months before I could get her in to the vet. I couldn't touch her but she was a sweet girl and I felt sad about returning her to a place where the "owners" provided no care other than dumping dry food in the driveway once a week yet had literally told me that, "Those aren't my cats." It's also not advisable to return a cat after three months of imprinting on a new location. So Gigi stayed on as my yard kitty. After seven years I could pick her up and after 12 years and one particularly cold winter, she came to live inside. Gigi is now around 20 years old, deaf, and a genuine "Velcro kitty." She has a heated bed but spends her time glued to me when I am home. 
Alfie, trapped at seven weeks old, is pictured above at about one year of age (on the left). He and Gigi are in no way buddies so when they both happened to be on the couch at the same time I snapped this picture!
Learn more about feral cats via the Alley Cat Allies video below and help educate others who don't believe feral cats can have quality lives or enrich the lives of their guardians.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kitty Condo worthy of a Headbutt

I've written previously about how much cats love cardboard boxes but this kitty guardian takes it to a whole new level! This is a fabulous design for multiple cats and is economical as well. Also worth noting is how much women love a man who loves his Rufus.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Every Cat's "15 minutes"

It's official - a film festival just for cat videos! Now you can watch all those darling, daring and LOL cat videos without feeling lowbrow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Billy, a Very Special Therapy Cat

Anyone who knows me could guess that I would raise some concern over a 4 year old child accidentally injuring or unduly stressing the family cat. Billy however, is a wise cat who has clearly chosen a 4 year old boy as his best pal and he acts as a therapy cat for the child as well. The lovely photos in this story demonstrate the obvious bond between the two and obliterate any concern that the kitty is in danger of being misunderstood by a youngster with limited social and motor skills.

Therapy animals are commonplace these days, as dogs, cats, bunnies, and farmed animals visit elderly and disabled care homes and are often adopted to individuals with disabilities. I've wondered though if the animals sometimes become tired or overwhelmed but carry on their duties because they want so badly to please the people around them. I recall reading that cadaver dogs used at disaster sites routinely become depressed with their task of finding the deceased and that trainers would sometimes plant a live person for the dogs to "rescue" in order to combat this depression. Animals, just like people, need to play and relax. I find that my kitties remind me to take time to sit and enjoy the sun, brush them simply for their pleasure, and give them silly things such as a fresh green bean to play with. I think all animals are actually "therapy animals" when we stop doing and take a moment to be.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Too Hot Baby?

Alfie loves summer weather but not all cats tolerate heat well, especially long haired, overweight or elderly felines. During very hot spells in past years, Alexander was clearly uncomfortable even though he slept in the coolest places in the house and stayed inside. I positioned a fan on the floor aimed at him while I placed chilled, wet hankerchiefs over him every few hours. He kept his activity level minimal and appreciated the makeshift air conditioning I created for him. Some guardians will place flexible ice packs under bedding for their kitties to lounge on. Providing extra water bowls, particularly china bowls in the bathroom, can encourage cats to stay hydrated. I always add a little extra water to canned food as I think it's a good practice to maintain. Many animals will eat less in general when the weather is a but too warm for them. Avoiding strenuous play and closely monitoring your cat while he or she is out sunning is also important. Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sunshine and my favorite herb, ahhh...

Here's one more way to enrich your kitty's environment and make life fun. Catnip is fairly easy to grow provided it can get enough sunshine, so now is the perfect time to plant up a pot. Starter plants can be found in the herb or veggie section of nurseries. Fresh catnip is yummy to both eat and roll in. It may improve digestion as well. Sidney gives it a thumbs up!

Friday, June 1, 2012

How Cute am I?

Working a trap/neuter/return site means that sometimes difficult decisions must be made. Leave nursing kittens in their outdoor environment or remove them from their waterfront site on the green River to get mom spayed and then bottle feed the babes for two weeks until they can eat regular food? Given that one kitten had already disappeared in the last few days according to the feeder, I chose to put the kittens in foster and work on rounding up the adults for S/N. The adults are barely one year old and the two females had their litters together and were sharing parental duties. Removing the kittens means that the mom cats can go into heat immediately so we have to work fast to get everyone fixed. Of course female cats can be spayed while in heat or pregnant but there is slightly more risk to the surgery.

These little furballs are 2-3 weeks old and scheduled for intake at the Humane Society in Bellevue where they will eventually be adopted out. Two of the black kitties are polydactyl - a fairly rare trait that gives them extra digits. There are six total so feeding takes a while! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mini Me

Meet Indy and his little charge Sweet Pea. A friend of mine in Canada is fostering kittens for her local humane society. Her two adult cats are pretty mellow so she let them meet the kittens. The kittens have their own room and are separated from the resident cats most of the time. They generally stay until they are big enough to be spayed or neutered so they can be adopted out. Most vets do early age surgeries at 2 pounds, which is about 8-10 weeks of age. The kittens recover much more quickly than adult cats. I couldn't resist sharing this adorable shot!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Famous Fat Cat passes away

I've written about overweight felines before, and that currently 52% of domestic cats need to lose some weight. Meow was a friendly and adorable boy surrendered to a shelter where the staff was working on helping him shed pounds. Sadly, his body was just too stressed at his extreme weight and Meow died recently at only 2 years old. Attached is a clip where Anderson Cooper cuddles him on National television. Kudos to the the Santa Fe Animal Shelter for taking Meow in and using his situation to discuss healthy weight for companion animals.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

KittyStar Cuteness

I love having the KittyStar so easily accessible when I get the craving for fuzzy tummy kisses! The kitchen is really where all the action is and this way Alexander is always ready. Alex turns 17 next month. I remember his 5th birthday party - he indulged in a catfood buffet and threw up a little on the couch afterwards. This year he will probably be treated to mashed yams, one of his favorite foods. In addition to healthy food, napping is one of his beauty secrets.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Babies

It's the time of year when bulbs are bursting into bloom, trees are budding, and wildlife are having cute little babies! Here's a story with a happy ending about a tiny orphaned raccoon. (Hopefully the mom cat in the story will be spayed as soon as all her charges are weaned!) Most babies in the wild you might see are simply waiting for their mom to return for them and not actually orphaned, according to Sarvey. So be sure some time has passed and the wee one is truly alone or injured and in need of urgent care before taking them to a wildlife rehabilitation location such as Sarvey or PAWS. Also keep in mind that spring is an extremely busy time for these places and you'll want to check and see if there is actually space for your critter or you run the risk of the baby being humanely killed after rescuing them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

Today is the Vernal Equinox and tomorrow will be the first day of Spring - possibly time to think about an outdoor kitty enclosure? Watch the video of an incredible backyard enclosure for a family of lucky felines; at the end of the clip is contact information for the local gentleman who can build such structures. Think vertically when considering enrichment areas for kitty and plan for high towers or shelves they can get comfy in and safely observe the world around them. Choose a sunny spot to plant catnip in and you'll have kitty Nirvana on those sunny Seattle days to come.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

From the Dog world...

Here's an interesting piece about Westminster ending their association with the Pedigree brand dog food company because Pedigree has been focusing on shelter dogs and adoption efforts. Their savvy commercials are raising awareness about the dogs sitting in shelters waiting for a home and raising funds too. It appears to me that Westminster senses the shift with rescued pups becoming more fashionable than a Prius or orphan child from China these days. Remember the testy response from the American public when President Obama was gifted a purebred (purchased) puppy? As my favorite animal organization Best Friends says, "PUPPIES AREN'T PRODUCTS!" So doggy doo on Westminster - any of the charity events such as PawsWalk or Seattle Animal Control's Furry 5K beat sitting and watching dogs with silly hairstyles paraded about.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Miracle Kitty survival story

This story has a happy ending but will still make you cry! Last month this little guy was hit by a car on the frozen streets of Minnesota and a full two hours later was rescued by a kind stranger who took him straight-away to an emergency clinic. The doctor who performed an incredible surgery on the kitty also fell in love with him and they adopted each other.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Knee replacement for cats?

I've known about kidney transplants available to cats, and those are being done as close as Idaho. The patient's human agrees to adopt the donor cat for the rest of his or her life. Artificial body parts don't impose on a donor however. Here's a fabulous good news story about a kitty with a bum leg after surviving cancer who receives surgery to replace his knee. My favorite part of this article is the kitty's mama who states, "He's my child. And if it were your child, would you begrudge the money? I have a personal philosophy that people are, at best, equal with the other inhabitants of the planet." Well said!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow Day

Spending time at home with your kitties while watching the snow fall outside? When your felines tire of that, you may need to get creative and make some new toys for them. Cardboard boxes and paper shopping bags (with the handles snipped) are always a favorite. Take a break and watch this adorable video featuring Simon's Cat:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cats on a Leash?

If one of your new year's resolution is to provide more stimulation for your indoor kitty, leash training might be an option. I always advocate for kitty enclosures in the back or side yard but if you rent or live in a condo that might not be an option. In my experience, the more people friendly and treat oriented your kitty is the easier leash training will be. The most important point is to take it very slowly - get your kitty used to the harness or "walking jacket" inside for short periods of time before ever venturing out. Never push things if your cat is fearful and wants to hide. Kitty Walk strollers may be an option for a cat who likes to have some privacy but still look out and see the world. Have fun and let your best furry friend decide the process.