Saturday, October 14, 2017

Monday is Global Cat Day!

October 16th, formerly National Feral Cat, is now Global Cat Day. This is an excellent opportunity to appreciate the kitties in your life as well pledge to be an advocate for all cats, whether indoor companions or community cats. Alley Cat Allies coordinates this annual holiday to help educate lawmakers about feline friendly legislation and bring together volunteers and caretakers with cats needing services.

Sadly, many people think taking an outside kitty to their city or county shelter is best for everyone. Actually, TNR (trap/neuter/return) is the sustainable and humane solution. Did you know that approximately 70% of cats who wind up in traditional shelters end up being killed there? Many municipal shelters don't have the resources or staff to spend on cats they consider "unadoptable." Cats living outside don't often get the care they deserve because people feeding them may not know how to humanely trap the kitty, aren't able to transport him to a vet clinic, or simply can't pay for those services. This is where community rescue groups and dedicated volunteers come into play. YOU can volunteer by learning to trap, fostering and socializing, or giving money if you have more dough than time. Or you can make a lifetime commitment with kitties who were likely born outside and may have been passed over by people wanting outgoing, "life of the party" cats. Below is the story of Tom and Jerry, two brothers who have a loving home today because someone cared enough to catch them as kittens and work with them until the Humane Society of Seattle/King County could place them.
Waiting for "outside time"

My client Judy had always had a kitty in the house. After her last cat passed from old age, she knew she wanted to adopt and probably wanted two cats this time instead of one. At the shelter, she met Tom, a gentle, long haired boy and Jerrie, his sleek tuxedo brother with a squeaky voice. Both boys hid when she got them home but they acclimated fine to her quiet household. Judy didn't know about socializing kitties and I imagine the shelter staff thought it might sound like a daunting process if they had suggested it when she took the boys home. Fast forward three years and Judy decided she wanted to reduce the boys' stress levels when they had to meet new people; such as when they needed a petsitter over a few days. Judy called on me to do weekly visits with the kitties. I worked to make interacting with a stranger a positive experience and at the same time, getting them comfortable with being touched (but not held). At first they were anxious for me to leave them alone, but after several month they are excited about our play time and greet me! It's been incredibly satisfying seeing their confidence increase and to watch them having fun with me in their presence.

Tom relaxing in his back yard

Jerrie playing with his favorite wand toy
 You might notice ear tips on these boys but they are far from feral. They are family members. 
Adopt, don't shop. Happy Global Cat Day!