Monday, April 14, 2014

"Defeated, Exhausted and Frustrated" Must Be A Family Visit.

I arrived home from Seattle and had to hit the ground running.  It felt like kitten season had exploded in the 4 days of my absence.   Phone calls, rescues and adoptions were in full force and there was no recuperation time for me.  

Despite seeing my beautiful daughter, the trip to visit my parents was a disaster.  There are some days I feel like I'm the only one with "family issues".  I love my parents dearly, but have never been more disappointed in their behavior than I was  during this trip.  It was stressful and I left not speaking with my own mother. Ridiculous!  Why can't things be more simple?  

Needless to say, this was not a refreshing or relaxing trip.  I came home feeling defeated, exhausted and frustrated.  

The good news is, we had tons of adoptions and have already have almost 50 adoptions during the month of April.  I guess I need to wallow in good news for a bit.  It always makes me smile.  

We rescued six kittens from the Quebec gas chambers recently.  They spent a few  days at my house while they were vetted and quarantined.  I split up the big litter to allow 2 kittens to go to our veterinary clinic that offers our kittens to be adopted through their clinic.  Their little faces looked at me with great hope I would do the right thing for them.  I left the clinic feeling incredibly anxious.  Seriously, anxious.  I haven't had an true anxiety attack in about 15 years, but I really felt the wave of dread and anxiety hit me deep in my stomach. 

I started to think about the kittens never seeing each other again.   I fretted about it until it became a full blown anxiety attack.  Fortunately, it didn't last long but it left me feeling defeated, exhausted and frustrated. Familiar feelings from that never left me from my trip to Seattle.  

I'm OK, but am envious of families who don't have that sort of drama.  But maybe everybody lives that illusion.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Springing and Sprunging

I've been sick for the past 3 days and I'm on a plane tonight for Seattle to visit my parents.  It's awful to travel when you're sick.  So worried about bringing something nasty to my senior parents.  But I had to cancel a visit in February due to weather, so here I go....

Every year I make some silly formal announcement about "Kitten Season Has Arrived"!  I usually base this on the number of kittens that arrive at the shelters.  Not many have arrived yet, but there have been a TON of Mom cats with their nursing kittens.  We're completely full with pregnant Moms and nursing Moms and the phones continue to ring for us to help them.  We have a 7 month old pregnant kitten in our program right now.  That would be like a 13 year old human girl having a baby!  Seven months!  How awful!

We've recently rescued 13 adult cats and there are 5 more coming in from Quebec tonight.  Adults!  This will probably be the last larger adult cat rescue I do for a while as the kittens will start pouring in.  During the summer, as the adults are adopted, we rescue more but I do proceed with great caution this time of year until the fall.  This is when rescues can really screw up.

One of our volunteers took their kitten into the vet clinic the other day only to find that somebody had dumped a very handsome 2 year old cat to be euthanized at the clinic.  Apparently, the poor guy had an untreated UTI and was peeing outside the litterbox.  Why are people so stupid?  Why would they choose to kill him and not get some frickin' antibiotics?


Isn't he handsome?  AND his litterbox habits are perfect now.   We'll find him a great home.  Kudos to the volunteers who were in the right place at the right time!

As I type this blog post and wait for the Dayquil to kick in, I can see a bird building a nest in our bird house.  She's going back and forth with sticks.  I get so excited this time of year as my yard awakens with new life.  If only kitten season made me feel so positive!





Monday, March 31, 2014

Like a Blur

It's funny when life happens faster than I can blog about it.  So often, I sit down at my computer to write, the phone rings or an email comes in and I'm off and running again.  Sometimes it all feels like old news and it happened only a few days ago!

I've connected with a really dynamic dog rescue group who has recently started a cat rescue area of their group.  They have a good reputation and rescue a lot from the gas chambers of Quebec.  The province of Quebec is SO far behind in animal welfare.  It's hard to believe they still gas animals as a method of killing them due to overcrowding  This rescue takes a lot of dogs from there, so I had 15 needy cats hitch a ride on their 6-person relay from Quebec the other day and met up with them!


They don't have vet cages there to house the cats.  They're kept in large dog crates.  They're trying so hard to get these cats out of the shelter.  It really felt good to take them - plus lots of black kittens:
Usually, I wait a few weeks after rescuing a cat directly from an unknown shelter before putting them up for adoption, but these black kittens only have a fairly short window of "cute adoption opportunity".  So I rolled the dice, had them vet examined, vaccinated, etc and put them into a small adoption event two days later.

The adoption event was at a local vet clinic that was having an Open House.  I figured I could do it on my own.  It was a small venue.  It wasn't until the calls started coming in about "Will kittens be there?" that I figured I *might* need some help.

By 10:30 a.m, the line in the vet clinic was OUT THE DOOR to see and adopt the kittens!!!  Thank God I asked for help from volunteers!  I would've been in huge trouble if I had been alone.  The best part?  Every cat and kitten (15 of them)  was adopted within 2 hours!  We actually ran out of cats and had to shut down early!  

Even my own foster "Pablo" was adopted:

The adopter sent me this picture of Pablo the day she took him home.  Lovely person and I think he went to a terrific home!

Sooooo....I guess you can say this is an all around "good news" post.  I suppose some crappy stuff has happened, but I'm pleased to report that I don't remember it, so it can't be too earth shattering.  It's always a good sign when I'm concentrating on the positives.

March is definitely going out like a LION - a fluffy, cute one!  :)


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nothing Special Wednesday!

I'm feeling better, thank goodness.  Your uplifting remarks and private emails made a huge difference, as always.  I feel much more in control of the way things are going and have taken  a "What will be. Will be." attitude.  I don't think that's an appropriate attitude for life, but it certainly works when I'm frustrated and things are spinning out of control.

We're supposed to have freezing rain today so will try to use that as an excuse to stay in and finish the massive administrative tasks that come with running a rescue.  Ahhhh...it's so much more than just rescuing, vetting and adopting out cats.  I wish people knew that.

Yesterday, I had the luxury of laying down on my bed and taking a 30 minute snooze.  Oh how I LOVE those cat naps!  I snuggle under the blankets with my dogs and two of the cats and it's a 30 minute piece of heaven.  But yesterday was different.  I woke up to our big 20 pound white "Snow Cat" having a grand mal seizure right next to me.  I went from 0 to 60 in less than a second as he lost his bladder as his body lifted up as convulsed over and over.

So much for my 30 minute cat nap.

I'm not a stranger to seizures.  My "soulmate cat" named "Newman" has been taking Phenobarbital for epilepsy for 9 years now.  We spent thousands to only have it come down to "Simple Epilepsy".  "The Snow Cat" has been taking Amitriptyline for litterbox problems for years.  I'm sure it has something to do with that, so will need to take the big guy to the vets.  I don't think I'll be so quick to spend $3000.00 in MRI's and spinal taps with him.  It's amazing how much I think I know without a licence to practice veterinary medicine. A little bit of medical knowledge is a dangerous thing in animal rescue.

As I look out the window, I wish the freezing rain would start.  I really need an excuse to stay in and finish this shit. crap.  Is it wrong that I want to stay in sweatpants and a ponytail all day?   (I didn't think so!) :)


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

If you're looking for an uplifting post to feel good about rescue, you might want to skip today's blog post.  It's been a while since I felt like running away from rescue.  But once in a while the urge to flee the whole industry rears it's ugly head.  It starts with me feeling really sorry for myself...

You'd think I would've come back from Iceland feeling rested and refreshed.  I think people don't realize that I never really get away.  I would have to leave my phone and computer behind and go to some third world country where the internet is a luxury item.  I often wonder how long it would take me to unwind and not worry.  When my kids were little, it would take about 72 hours.  Even then - I could relax as I knew the kids were in great hands.  With rescue, there are SO MANY people counting on me for answers to questions, problems and concerns.  Our volunteers that handle things when I'm away are outstanding, so my insecurity is truly my own.

We had an adorable 8 week old  kitten pass away last night.  We don't know why and it was sudden.  Now we're on death watch for the remaining siblings.  One kitten had been adopted and now I'm worried sick.

An adopter abandoned an adopted cat at one of our partner vet clinics because she didn't want to pay the $1200.00 surgery for HER cat.  Who did she think was going to pay it?  Yes, the rescue is paying for it.  No way to have budgeted for that, right?

We rescued a really nice 3 year old neutered boy.  I figured since he was already neutered, that the vaccinations, and other general care would put us in the black for this particular cat.  No. Such. Luck.  Turns out he needed $600.00 in dental surgery, and he had a urinary blockage after surgery.  

One of our adopters needlessly verbally attacked one of our awesome partner veterinarians.  Like all of our vets, they reduce fees for services to help the cats.  The vet called me pretty upset...."I don't need to put up with this shit crap for a $60.00 neuter surgery."  (No, she doesn't.)

I feel like there's pressure on all sides and am spending hours and hours on the phone each day.  I received a particularly scathing email from somebody I really like this morning.  I was still in my robe with a cup of coffee and trying to read the paper in front of a fire with David.  Why did I check my email so early?    

I'm just a volunteer.  I work 7 days per week and 60+ hours per week for free.  I do the best I can to have a life outside of rescue.  I'm sure my husband would love to be doing more retirement stuff with me.  Instead, he's stuck waiting for me to finish phone calls - or worse - taking phone calls while we're out and about on  "marital bonding days".

I know there are a lot of people out there working hard for the animals like me.  But every once in a while I sit and think "WHY?"  Why put up with all the bullshit, the lack of money, lack of time and people feeling resentful when I need an afternoon to get my hair done?   If you think I'm talking about *you*, I'm probably not.  I'm just venting about all of it.  It's been a shitty week and I was due for one, I guess.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Back To Business

I managed to survive 5 days in Iceland during the winter without seeing any lost cats or dogs!  In  fact, I didn't see ANY cats and only a couple of dogs out for a walk with their guardians.  I'm so sensitive to being in other countries and seeing abandoned street animals, that I've made a mental list of all the countries I can never visit.  Glad Iceland didn't disappoint me!

It was delightful to find out upon my return that the rescue had  SEVENTEEN  adoptions during the 5 days I was away.  Have I mentioned how much I love our volunteers?  We are a well oiled running machine and it's never more apparent than when I'm away.  But I still worry and find myself with mega Roaming Charges on my cell phone as I'm constantly checking email and messages.  Even being in Iceland doesn't keep me from being out of touch.

Every time David would go to the bathroom, I found myself jumping on my phone...feverishly clicking away to check for email.  I get tired of *the look* from him so this seems to work much better.  It's like something out of a 21st Century "I Love Lucy" program.  "LUUUUUUCY....what are you still doing on that computer!?"

I'm happy to report that our Jolly Roger actually has a working eye!  Apparently, this poor guy has had a massive infection in his eye for (at least) 6 months.  His eye is slightly open, but we're unsure how much vision he has.  I'm so grateful to the foster parent for giving him the eye drops - evidently, he's a rather unwilling patient.  Ugh!

Old Man Winter isn't done with us yet, as we're having a huge storm today.  We received an urgent plea for a Mom cat who delivered her 3 kittens outside in this horrific weather.  The finder brought the family inside for a few moments, but her dogs were unwilling to be friendly to this sweet friendly.  My rescue partner Shelley, said "Yes"....what a kind soul she is to take this family:

I love the little "happy feet".  It must be wonderful for her to be inside and warm.  She's obviously a sweet cat and was abandoned.  How could someone do that?  How?  Her name is "Storm".  :)  Can I name the babies "Ice Pellet",  "Snow Drift" and "Power Outage"?  LOL!

Happy to be back and gearing up for an early kitten season.  Hard to believe it's happening after looking outside.  Spring feels like months away.




Monday, March 03, 2014

"Pablo" and "Jolly Roger"

I have a new foster kitten named "Pablo".  He's about 5 months old - and NO, he's not a brown tabby!  Pablo is an orange and white kitten and is just now feeling better about coming downstairs to explore his environment.  I don't know what it is, but Pablo might be one of those adorable guys that just takes a crappy picture:

He's seriously cute, but appears to look demonic in every picture.  LOL!  :)

Shelley (my rescue partner) and I were notified about a cat in need after it was discovered that tenants moved out and left the cat in an empty apartment.   God, that makes me feel so hateful  to hear that scumbags moved away and left their cat.  What did the poor cat think when he saw the only family he had ever known ... leave.

This particular cat was left with no food, no water and an infected eye.  When we got to the apartment, workers were there painting.  They had given the poor cat some food and water.  They really cared about this him and had named him "Jolly Roger".




I was so pissed when I saw the collar on this poor cat.  They wouldn't treat the horrific infection in his eye, but they bought him a collar?  Bastards.

I hope he doesn't need his eye removed.  The rescue has had some really expensive cats lately.  But we'll do what we have to do.