Monday, November 13, 2017

What's the answer?

People won't even stop being cruel to each other, so how do you make them stop being cruel to animals? Think on that for a sec...

All my foster cats and kittens have left. More will come soon... I sure miss these guys (well, not Pirate Kitty! Pirate Kitty is staying!)

Buddy is in a loving home now.

Luna, one of the first eight kittens I fostered for the OSPCA this summer, is now with my friend Cat and her boyfriend. They adore her!

My foster kitty Willie (now Dusty) is in a great new home and likes to jump in the fridge when his family opens the door (so they are very careful not to shut him in!)

Mycroft, one of the "six dwarves" of my foster mama cat Snow White is living the kitty dream with my friends Marie-Emmanuelle and Patrick, my godsons, and four dog siblings (two in this picture) plus two cat siblings, including Stella, the white kitty in this pic. M-E saved her from the side of a road in Quebec where here sibling had already been squashed by a car.

It's great to see these happy endings, but there are many more unhappy ones. The last time I was in our local feed mill, they had two kittens there looking for homes. Two had already been adopted out. Someone had left a box with the mama cat and her four babies at the door of the feed mill. They kindly took the cats in, but Mama, who was very affectionate and had clearly been a pet, keep vomiting, so they got her into a rescue where she could receive proper care. Really not the feed mill's responsibility! But they did the right thing to help these dumped felines.

The salesclerk told me that the first time the Mama cat vomited, she threw up cigarette butts, because that is what she had been trying to eat to keep herself nourished to feed her babies. 

Cigarette butts. Yes, the cat was eating cigarette butts to survive.

Think on that, all you people who dump cats in the countryside and think they'll be able to hunt for themselves. Even this desperate Mama had to take to eating cigarette butts because that's all she could find. The salesclerk shook her head as she told me this story. She couldn't understand how people could be so cruel. 

Neither can I. 

For example, Pirate Kitty would still have both his eyes had his mother Nina been properly cared for when she gave birth (even better, she should have been spayed so that she could never have had unwanted kittens in the first place!) Instead, Nina and her babies were taken to the OSPCA in an appalling state: hungry, skinny, flea-ridden and suffering from upper respiratory infections. Little Stella nearly died from anemia due to flea bits. And an URI led to the complications that cost Pirate Kitty his eye...

More completely unnecessary suffering. Fortunately our Pirate boy is resilient, but he will soon need surgery to remove his ruined eye.

I am beside myself these days over the way cats and kittens in my part of the world are too often treated like garbage. People can't be bothered to have them spayed or neutered; when they get pregnant or start marking the house, they are tossed out and people get new kittens, then repeat the cycle. They dump them in the countryside, they dump them in other people's garages and barns,  or they just toss them outside to fend for themselves. My cat Emily was dumped at my farm on a bitter January day, and lost the tip of her tail to frostbite. It's amazing she survived at all.

Let me just say that you're an idiot if you think your dumped cat or kitten is going to be just fine because it can hunt for itself. It's not. At best, it will have a short, miserable life before falling prey to a car, a coyote, disease or any number of awful things.

For whatever reason, this year has been a hellacious year in our area for unwanted cats and kittens. Every shelter and rescue organization I know is overflowing. People have been asking me daily to take in cats and kittens, and I only have two small rooms for that; I'm not a shelter or even a rescue, really. But people are desperate... one lady had a pregnant cat dumped in her garage. Now she is trying to find a place for mama cat and three babies.

Most of the farmers in my area treat barn cats as completely expendable. These cats have litter after litter of babies. They get run over, eaten by predators, you name it... any number of nasty possibilities. But hey, there will be more soon! It's so ingrained, I don't have the strength even to discuss it with the many farmers I know (who are generally nice, decent people!) I just don't get why so many people think cats are less deserving of consideration than dogs (who suffer enough abuse) or horses (who also suffer enough abuse) or

For me, it all comes down to needless and utterly preventable suffering. Get your cat spayed or neutered. End of. If you run out of, say, barn cats, don't worry! There will always be plenty of cats around looking for homes or a warm barn. Really. No shortage. There will never be a shortage of cats in the world. Never.

So what's the answer? What's the question? My question is, how the hell do we get it through to people that not neutering your cats, letting them have even one litter, is the pathway to completely preventable suffering? How do we get people to understand the despair those of us involved in rescue feel when we have to say "no" to yet another needy cat, because our shelter is already full of needy cats? In my area, at least, things never seem to get any better...

I see something special in every cat I come across. Thus it breaks my heart to see them suffer, and for such easily avoidable reasons.

I haven't found an answer to my question yet. I feel like maybe we need to change attitudes towards cats (and dogs and...) at the root level with attempts to educate children, which no doubt has been tried before. I think our nearest city, Cornwall, needs a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Our OSPCA shelter there has the highest cat intake in Ontario and there is a huge stray/feral cat problem in that city. We need a bigger, better shelter. We need more government funding for said shelter (everyone thinks the Cornwall OSPCA receives government funding. It does not.)

But really, I don't know what the answer is. I'm just tired of being distressed over messages from desperate people looking to place unwanted, suffering cats. I've been wracking my brains trying to think of some novel way to deal with the problem, but so far, no luck. So instead I just get angry at the people who shrug off or worse, cause the suffering of animals. Sometimes I hate them, especially when I'm holding a sickly, suffering kitten. But I don't want to turn into a bitter old crazy cat lady, plus there really are lots of wonderful people left in the world, people who care passionately about many things, including cats.

If you can judge a nation by how it treats its animals, Canada still has a long way to go...

I'm still hoping for an answer to my question.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A pony and a cat, and surprise for absolutely no one!

First, the pony...

Jimmy the rescue Shetland pony is complaining about a lack of airtime on the blog. I was doing groundwork with him on Friday and he insisted I show you a pic of his "stand on the tire and feel like a giant horse" trick. So here you go!

I took this by accident, but I quite like it...

Somebody was snuffling in the sand ring for anything edible. No, it wasn't me.

Meanwhile, the cat... on October 15, I took in this poor guy...

Buddy was dumped at my neighbour's farm. He was very skinny, unneutered, and in need of TLC. She couldn't keep him but was feeding him, and had made an appointment to take him to our local OSPCA shelter on October 31. She asked me if I would keep him until then. So I said yes...

He has gained some weight since I took this pic!

Buddy is the most loving, sweet cat you can imagine. I took him to the vet for a check up and vaccines...

No FelV or FIV! 
And guess what? I found him a forever home with some lovely people, so after I take him in to be neutered in October 31st, he will go home to his new family.

Needless to say, we've cancelled the appointment to surrender him to the OSPCA. They are so overwhelmed right now! It is great to be able to free up a spot by taking Buddy off the list.

And this week, we moved him into the auxiliary foster cat room... 

As you can see, he's quite content!

And gaining weight, which is a relief. Send good thoughts for his neutering on Tuesday!

I am still fostering Nina and her three kittens from the OSPCA...

Soon they will all be going to their forever homes! Yes, all of them have been adopted out (but are staying here until they are weaned.) And the best news is, Nina and her Calico baby Stella are going to a home together.

Gordon took this cute pic of Stella, little Gordie aka Pirate Kitty, and Maisie... not to scale, but Maisie IS the biggest and Stella is the little one. :)

And in news that is probably surprising to absolutely no one...

This little guy, who is blind in one eye despite our attempts to save it...

... has a forever home...

with us! :)

Monday, October 09, 2017

And life goes on...

Last night our cat Honey walked by the bed and I saw her out of the corner of my eye and thought she was Millicent. Sigh... our friend Luc buried her in the woods next to Sophie and Tristan. I walked the dogs out there the other day and said hello to Millicent. I miss her so much!

But I have all this cuteness to contend with...

Pirate Kitty, aka Little Gordon, with his sister Stella

These foster kittens are growing like weeds!

Little Gordon (my friend named him that) and his mama Nina.

These guys are doing really well! Stella is the runt but she's not quite as minuscule as she looks in this photo (where she is sitting up.) Maisie the Tortie is the brute of the litter.

I don't think I mentioned that I adopted out Snow White and her six dwarves, the mama cat and her kittens I was fostering for Operation Spay + Neuter in Hawkesbury. It was such a huge relief to find them all homes, and great ones at that! Ramona, one of the black kittens, has moved to Minnesota to live with my friend Marilyn and her Irish Wolfhound! Marilyn drove all the way here last week to visit and pick her up. Ramona is now possibly the most doted-upon cat in the universe. I am so thrilled to have found all of those kitties great homes.

So Nina and her three moves to the foster cat room the other day, and we got a new batch of  fosters from the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OSPCA...

Fluffy little grey boy!

Pretty little black girl

Beautiful, affectionate mama cat. 

This mama and her two babies will be with us for a couple of weeks until the babies are weaned and put up for adoption at the shelter (along with their mama.) I wish I could keep them all!

Meanwhile, Nina and the kids are enjoying the foster cat room...

They take turns playing King (or Queen!) of the castle on the scratching post.

Pirate Boy may get to keep his (blind) eye after all. It would be nice if he could avoid surgery. It has shrunk down nicely!

Nina is a LOVELY cat. Not just gorgeous and polydactyl, but affectionate and sweet. I would keep her in a minute if I didn't already have 16 cats. She has a lovely personality. I so hope she finds a wonderful home.

Stella is a little beauty. She has such unique and pretty markings!

Kittens are great for taking your mind off your worries. I didn't realize how much I would enjoy this fostering thing. Sure, it's hard to let them go but it's so gratifying to see them being welcomed into new loving homes. My godsons' and their parents adopted one of the Hawkesbury foster kitties.

Here is Mycroft, who clearly likes his new little boys...

Poor Ben, not much seat left for him! :)

And in other news, we had "horse camp" here the last week of September, a week-long riding clinic held by my riding instructor. It was amazing, and my riding progress so much. And for the first time ever, I rode bareback...

It was... amazing! Not what I expected... I felt a bit like I was riding a horse made of Jell-o. But then I got my seat and balance right and wow! It was so cool to feel all his movements so intensely. And his fur is so soft. 

Roo and I had a great week together! I really improved my cantering skills and overall I'm getting much better at using a lighter touch with everything. I'm sure Roo appreciates that.

And Missy reminded me the other day that while the foster kittens are cute and all, she needs love too. Note drool hanging over her lip... she drools a lot when being cuddled.

Alex the tripod cat would also like to remind you that he is still here! He is now the senior cat in residence, at almost 11  years of age. Hard to believe that October 20 will mark TEN years since we adopted him from the OSPCA. Time flies so fast....

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Good bye, Millicent...

It took me a few days to get around to writing this, because it is hard to write about Millicent without crying. Well, I still can't...

On Sunday, we let Millicent go to Rainbow Bridge. The malignant tumour in her abdomen was huge, and while she was still eating, she'd clearly lost her spark, and we didn't want to make her wait any longer. The vet was amazed the tumour had not yet caused a blockage in her digestive tract...

She was very calm and relaxed at the vet's office. She stretched out on the blanket they put down for her, and we said our good-byes.

Millicent came to us a year ago after being abandoned at a nearby farm when her owner went into a nursing home. A kind elderly neighbour named Helen saw that Millicent was starving, but couldn't take her in, so she made sure she was fed every day, and loved. And then Helen asked us to take Millicent in. She offered to pay for her spay. So Millicent became ours...

Millicent was supposed to be a barn cat, but that didn't quite work out. After she got an abscess on the base of her tail, we brought her in the house to recuperate, and she never left! She stayed in Gordon's office for many months, of her own volition. Then one day she just decided to join the rest of the household.

Her favourite place to be was on my desk, preferably stepping on my keyboard while blocking my view of the computer screen, as she purred loudly and demanded petting.

Even as she grew thinner, she still spent most of her time in my office or on my desk. 

My friend Wendy brought Millicent sardines and cans of delicious fishy cat food to keep her eating, and Millicent loved it! She also enoyed a daily treat of Greek yogurt, and Gordon offered her his cereal bowl to lick every morning. On Sunday morning, he gave her a spoonful of his breakfast to eat before he had any himself.

Sardine juice on her nose.

I am still angry that Millicent's life was cut short... she deserved to have more time being loved by us. She was only three, and she was so content here. She had no desire to go outside; I think she was just glad to be safe and well fed, and had spent enough time roughing it in her previous life. She just loved to sit on a windowsill and watch the world go by.

Millicent liked to be petted but didn't much like being held. However, on Sunday morning, she let me pick her up and hold her against my chest as we went for a walk around the garden. I showed her the flowers and the Painted Lady butterflies, and gave her a little bit of catnip to sniff. She crossed her front paws and leaned into me, purring loudly as she always did. I told her how much Gordon and I loved her, and how lucky we were to have had her in our lives for the past year.

She was a sweetheart of a cat who asked nothing of us, caused no trouble, and got along with the dogs and all the other cats. I feel like she was an old soul, and a beautiful girl as well, with that one little smudge of grey on her forehead.

Millicent has the most peaceful death I've ever seen. She was ready to go. When the vet gave her the sedative, she closed her eyes and stuck our her little pink tongue, as she so often did. When he administered the final medications, she quietly left us.

Such a little kitty, such a big hole she left in our lives.

Good bye, Millicent. We will always miss you and never forget you and your sweet ways.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Friends for LIfe! walk and feline things

First off, we are once again doing the OSPCA Friends for Life! walk this year. It's on Saturday and I'm just halfway to my fundraising goal, so if you would like to support me by making a donation, here's the link to my page. Donations over $10 get a tax receipt from the OSPCA, and all funds I raise go to the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OSPCA, from where we have adopted SO many animals! Thank you for your help. :)

 Millicent is still with us, despite the massive tumour in her abdomen. However, I think her time is coming. She has been less happy the last few days and is having some trouble grooming herself. We are giving her all the love we can, plus my friend brings her delicious stinky cat food and also sardines, which Millicent adores! I am lucky to have such kind people in my life.

I give Millicent all kinds of soft beds and blankets to lie on but she always prefers hard surfaces... go figure!

She has been such an easy cat to have! Calm, affectionate, beautiful, doens't care about the dogs or the other cats.... just a very, very good girl. It is really hard to be losing her just a year after getting her, but I'm glad she made it to her "Gotcha" day on September 9.

Meanwhile, these little ones keep us smiling:

The OSPCA foster kitties are growine like weeds! This is Stella.

They are even starting to use the teeny-tiny litter box.


Little Gordon, who will have his blind eye removed in about two weeks. He is doing great otherwise, and the eye is less swollen now which is great to see.  He's a real cutie. We are enjoying these foster kitties so much.

Meanwhile, I have adopted out three of the other seven foster cats!! Happy, Bashful and Dopey all have homes (and new names, thank God, lol!) Ramona (was Grumpy), Doc,  and Trixie (was Sleepy) and their mama Snow White are still here, but my friend in Minnesota wants to adopt Ramona and is planning a road trip, and a family is coming to see Snow White Sunday, so cross your fingers. They are truly lovely cats who all deserve wonderful homes.

Ramona and her brother Doc

Trixie, a little sweetheart

I wish I could keep them all!

Happy almost-Friday. Thank you for reading, and thank you for considering sponsoring my walk for the OSPCA. :)