Thursday, May 28, 2009

Off the Clock For 24 Hours

I'm pleased to announce that I'm taking the day off tomorrow from going to the shelter. David gave me a spa gift certificate last year and I haven't had time to make an appointment. Truth be known - my legs were never shaved at the same time I had some free time, so I never booked an appointment.

I wanted to update you on my last post Just Another Miscellaneous Vent.

As I was leaving for the shelter this morning, I checked email "one last time" to discover an email from another foster Mom offering to take my fat-baby-girl "Waffles"! Waffles is the butterball girl that was too fat to be in a regular shelter cage, so they had her in a dog run. I was grinning from ear to ear as I drove out there. :)

This is Waffles when she first arrived at the shelter! You can see why they put her in a dog run - she sure filled up that cage! I love this "little" girl!

I was very anxious to see the two cats that had been surrendered by the family of a young woman who was on life support at the hospital. I had been worried that they must've been traumatized and I was anxious to give them a little "Beth-Love-Time" :)

I walked up and down the shelter cages and couldn't find them. I asked the shelter staff and nobody seemed to know what I was talking about. I started thinking about the situation: I had approached them in the parking lot as I was leaving and they were coming in. I wonder if they changed their minds about surrendering their daughter's beloved cats? Wouldn't it be awesome if I had some kind of hand in helping them keep the cats? I'm going to go to bed tonight thinking good thoughts about that family.

Here are some pictures of 4 of the 7 cats I rescued today. It's so nice to think of them in their foster homes tonight getting loved and kissed and spoiled:

Mugsie! I could hear her purring in the carrier from the backseat of my car!

"Ariel" Her cage card said she was "depressed" and "Not eating".

"Nisha!" Such a delicate little flower :)

"Roosevelt!" I know you guys hate it when I say this, but Roosevelt is just a little bit homely, don't ya think? His foster Mom called me this morning and asked me to save him. She thought he was VERY handsome!

Tomorrow is my day to do some normal family things. My son has his senior prom tomorrow night. Hard to believe my 18 year old "baby" is going to the Prom and this is *MY* last prom with my kids. I'm feeling very sentimental about all this -

I'm figuring with Waffles being rescued AND my sons' Prom, I'll be due for a good happy cry. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just Another Miscellaneous Vent

Everybody that I've spoken to seems to be having "one of those weeks". I guess I've been no exception. Although it's been a great rescue week, it's also been full of weirdness (for lack of a better word) and sad moments mixed in with the joy of the rescue. I guess that's part of rescue life, but it certainly bears the need to talk about it here a bit.

Since I've been going to the shelter a lot more lately, I've been running into some of the usual things that happen at an Animal Services location. On a usual rescue run this week, this guy from the Ministry of Health (or whatever the hell) was there. I was skipping around "la-la-la-la" with my empty cat crate in tow getting a cat from the shelter's garage area. When this guy holds up a heavy plastic bag and says, "I have to cut this dead dog's head off, so if you don't want to see it, you might want to leave."

When an animal comes in with suspected rabies, they euthanize the animal and send the head off for testing purposes. It's morbid, but necessary.

I guess it's the same reason that people slow down to look at car accidents. I was grossly curious and ashamed of myself for actually slowing down to see what he was going to do. I couldn't follow through - but I was surprised that I wanted to see it.

On that same day at the shelter, there was a dead calico cat in a clear plastic bag on top of a freezer- obviously brought in after being hit by a car. I wondered if there was a little family grieving over the loss of their cat. Then I thought, "Screw 'em...they shouldn't have let her outside."

Yesterday, I was walking through a dog holding area to visit "Waffles", (my favourite) a fat little cat that can't fit into a cat cage. I spotted two of the cutest little pugs! I stopped to "awwwwwwww" at them. They were wiggling and looked very happy to see me. A staff member told me to "keep walking"...the owners signed them over to be euthanized. They couldn't be rescued. The reason? "They were old".

Cowards. They couldn't take their two "beloved" dogs to the vet and hold them while they passed away? Cowards! Cowards! Cowards!

Today I was leaving with my newly rescued little guys when two women were bringing in two very frightened cats in crates. Should've kept my big mouth shut, but I didn't. When I inquired as to why they were surrendering their cats. Both women caught me totally off guard when they burst into tears. The one woman explained that these cats belonged to her daughter who was now on life support and dying at the hospital. (The other woman was the Aunt)

Oddly enough, my first thought was to comfort the women who were completely shattered. I was too taken back to tell them that their daughter would probably haunt them for dumping her (obviously VERY LOVED) cats at the shelter. Instead, I found myself telling them that I'd try very hard to rescue her cats. Shit. Why did I feel the need to comfort them? They were doing the wrong thing and would regret it later. Those cats were probably going to be a wonderful, loving link to her daughter after she's gone. Those cats just lost *everything* too.

It's only Wednesday night and it's been a crazy few days. I'm going back to the shelter again tomorrow - 4th day in a row. I really need an afternoon to myself to buy my anti-wrinkle crap, hair gunk, and all the other stuff that keeps a 47 year old woman looking 47. Maybe some new shoes too....

Shoes! Gold coloured flats. Something comfy that I can walk around in the shelter in. (Doh!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Foster Home For Lilly!

You guys really made this menopausal cat lady cry this time! Yesterday, when I posted my fears for Lilly, I was surrounded by emails and love for this little girl. Four of you offered your home despite already bursting at the seams with foster cats.

I brought my camera with me to the shelter and had planned on taking a rescue picture of Lilly to remember the moment and let people know how much their love to her meant. But the damn thing remained in my purse and I totally forgot to take the picture! Crap!

When I picked up Lilly from the cage, she was a little stuffy from her shelter cold but by no means worse than she was the day before. She started purring instantly! Her little face nuzzled into my neck and I couldn't have been happier to take her out of there.

I'm always a little worried when I post that there was an outpouring of help for a cat. I'm afraid that the next time I post for something like this nobody will respond, thinking "Beth had lots of help last time...she doesn't need me." Lordie...if you only knew how NOT true that is.

I managed to rescue 5 cats today and am going back tomorrow for a few more. As I'm typing this blog, an email came in a few moments ago that I need to copy here. It's from a lovely new foster Mom that I brought two rowdy kittens to her home this afternoon:

" I wish I could put it into words; apparently I've been quite sad as of late. There's just something about cradling a tiny kitten in the sleeve of your robe, looking into his little brown eyes, and thinking about where he was eight hours ago, and where he might have been three days from now. I can't think of any eloquent way to put it - but I don't think I've smiled this much, or been this happy in a long time :)".

I'm in menopausal-cat-lady-crying-overload. :) I love you guys. Thank you for everything you do to help me and the cats.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What About Lilly?

Little Lilly has been taken off the euthanasia list TWO times because I thought I had a foster home for her. She's only about 16 weeks old and we keep posting an urgent plea for her on Craigslist.

There's something about a cat coming into the shelter with a collar on that really gets to me. Of course, she came in as a "stray", but nobody claimed her. Lilly came into the shelter as a happy-go-lucky kitten and she didn't know she was being tossed out with the garbage.

I was so excited to be meeting a foster home at the shelter today who wanted to rescue Lilly. My heart sunk when I arrived early to find that Lilly had a shelter cold (Upper respiratory Infection). It's nothing deadly, but the foster Mom would have to be prepared to give her meds. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. The foster Mom chose two other cats to foster.

Lilly is still at the shelter. She's still alive, but I don't know how much longer.

I rescued 6 cats today, but hated like hell to leave Lilly. I'm going back to the shelter tomorrow to rescue a few more cats, but Lilly is still not on my rescue list tomorrow.

So I'm asking you...and anybody that will listen: "What About Lilly?"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Sign

The weirdest thing happened yesterday. After I wrote my rather discouraging post, "6 Steps Forward....30 Steps back", I went to the shelter to do a rescue. I had a large list of cats to rescue which is always exciting for me. I really didn't know how many - I knew I was rescuing some Moms and babies, plus some car would no doubt be full.

As Kim and I were loading cats, she started to count the cage cards.

"Beth, you've rescued 30 cats today!"

I felt the goosebumps raise on my arms and the hair stand on the back of my neck. I was overwhelmed with that number. Thirty. Not Thirty-One. Not Twenty-Nine. But Thirty!

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I don't believe in coincidences. What were the chances that I would rescue 30 cats the day after I felt so discouraged to write "...30 steps back"? I really do believe that there's a God that continues to encourage my work in rescue. Whenever I feel discouraged I end up with "knock-you-over" sort of sign. Usually, it's a sign that's so damn obvious, even a airhead like me can see it.

I'm going back to the shelter tomorrow to do a small rescue. I think 5 are on my list for the day. We have a realtor showing tomorrow afternoon, so I'm grateful that after the rescue, my son is going to drive the cats to their foster homes for me. It's only going to cost me a tank of gas...a small price to pay, so that I can go home and pretend like I have NO animals for a bunch of people that I don't know who MIGHT buy my house.

Here are the pictures of the sad-faced little sweeties who are spending their last night in a shelter cage tonight. Tomorrow - they'll be kissed and loved by their foster families:




Bo, Luke and Daisy were abandoned at the shelter by the same family. The idiots were moving and they couldn't take their "beloved" cats. These three have been sitting in a dog run huddled together. Kim didn't want to separate them. All they had were each other. *sigh*



I may not be rescuing 30 cats tomorrow. But I'm changing the lives of the 5 that I am saving.

6 cats rescued on Tuesday. 30 cats rescued on Wednesday and 5 cats rescued tomorrow. I wish every week could look like this.

Sleep well kids! I'm coming to get you tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

6 Steps Forward.....30 Steps Back

It's getting harder and harder to go into the shelter and be cheerful. I rescued 6 cats yesterday and am going back again today - this time for quite a few kittens and Mom cats. It should be a good rescue day.

While I was at the shelter yesterday, the staff was preparing for a man that was bringing in TWENTY cats. I saw these guys bringing in 5 at a time as I drove into the parking lot. As usual, I couldn't keep my big mouth shut and asked them what was going on. They didn't have a definitive answer for their predictament, but it was obvious that whatever was going on in their lives things were far worse than having 20 cats. The men looked terrible and they ALL smelled bad. Of course, none of the cats had been spayed or neutered.

Sure, I'm pissed about this. But I have to be grateful that they had the courage to bring them into the shelter instead of dumping them by the side of the road like so many people do.

Soooo....I took six cats out yesterday and more than 30+ cats came in.

It was a good day to play "Stork". I delivered a big girl named "Ginger" to a very sweet hispanic man. I note that he's hispanic, because it's unusual for a 50+ year old macho hispanic guy to admit that he likes cats. He had never had a cat before and wanted to help Ginger. I called Julio last night and he said that "Ginger is rubbing on his legs". I could hear him smiling through the phone.

I brought home another foster cat for myself. (Pictures on the way- noooo he's not a tabby!) His name is "Gary" and he's 5 months old and of course - ridiculously cute. It's been "party central" at my house and Gary has been having a ball galloping around.

I'm going to remind myself to stay positive today. It's a gorgeous day and there are some cats that need me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Letter "X"

I didn't do a rescue yesterday, but had another hard working volunteer help me. Bless her heart - she left work early in order to make the long-ass drive to the shelter. It wasn't an easy drive for her. What she didn't know was that it was late Thursday and I knew that the cages of the cats would be marked for euthanasia this morning. The staff at the shelter distinguishes which cats are supposed to be killed that morning by marking their cage card with a letter "X". That way the vet doesn't accidently kill a cat that was supposed to live.

Her email to me this morning said it all:

"Beth, It was awfully hard at the shelter yesterday. On those Saturdays when I went to the shelter no cages were marked.(for euthanasia) I realized on the drive up that because the next day was a Euthanasia Day, and it being around 5 o'clock, that I might see marked cages. I was right, and it was heart wrenching. Horrible. I was fighting back tears leaving. Sweet cats marked to die. One boy is haunting me today, he was a grey tabby fellow, friendly and healthy and he stood up against the cage door to try to get me to help him. It was just so, so sad, Beth. And others...I have their little faces in my mind today. Last night I couldn't help but hold all my own cats, especially my (cat), a little tighter as they slept."

I didn't have permission to post her email. But if I know her, she won't mind. This is an important email to those who think "it doesn't really happen".

It does happen. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. All around the world. Once loved pets die because they were merely unwanted....discarded.

Own up to your commitments -
**Why did you move into an apartment that doesn't allow cats...IF YOU HAVE A CAT?

**If your boyfriend is allergic: Why the hell did you start dating him in the first place?

I'm sitting here typing this list and getting too angry to go on. I keep posting this shit on this blog, and pray that somebody out there sees it and says, "Gee, I don't want to be the stupid-dumb-ass she's talking about. I'm going to spay my cat, take her to the vets when she gets sick, and I'm going to make GOOD decisions for the both of us."

I just pray you're out there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Different Kind of Tired

I wasn't overly enthusiastic about going back to the shelter today. I was tired and behind on so many things at the house. But I knew that the little pregnant calico "Ariella" had a place to go and I also had a placement for "Redd", so I figured getting two cats out today was certainly worth any effort.

My heart dropped when I saw Ariella in her cage this morning. Her cage card read: "May 13th, Aborted 5 kittens", and Ariella was crouched in a ball in the tiniest corner of her cage. She had dried blood soaked onto her backend and tail. She had lost her kittens. Ariella was far enough along that she knew that she had been pregnant. I can't imagine how she must've felt to have seen her dead kittens. It no doubt happened in the middle of the night at the shelter and she was alone. I couldn't help but think morbid thoughts - did she frantically lick them and try to bring them to life?

I know the foster Mom wanted a pregnant Mom to foster. But I certainly wasn't going to leave Ariella to grieve alone in the shelter. I packed her up in a cat carrier with a nice fluffy towel. My eyes welled with tears. I'm not sure if it was because I'm a Mom and I was projecting... Regardless, I was devastated with sadness for her.

The stress at the shelter must be overwhelming. I'd like to think Ariella lost the kittens because there was a genetic defect in the kittens and it was something natural. Somehow I doubt it. When I got to the vets with her, the vet said she had lost quite a bit of blood. He gave her fluids and she's now resting with a loving foster parent. In another few days, this will be a distant memory for Ariella. I'm so grateful.

On a happy note, I rescued a cute tabby guy named "Redd". (No, he isn't an orange tabby!) I called the new foster parents tonight to check on things and heard nothing but giggling. They absolutely loved him. "Beth, you were right - he's SOOOO cute!! He hugs me! I can't imagine him being in a cage..." She was giddly with excitement. After the sadness today, it was nice to hear the excitement in her voice. In the background, I heard Redd give a little "chirp" sound, and his foster Mom coo'd: "OMG! That was the cutest thing I've EVER heard!!!"

It felt good to smile. :)

I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home. I can tell when it's been a busy day when I go to the store and look at the deli section at the ready made crap - roasted chicken, salads, etc. I managed to cook a decent dinner for the family, put in a load of laundry and put some lipstick on before David came home. At 6 pm when he walked through the door, he probably didn't even know I had been gone all day.

I'll go to bed tonight and dream of the perfect home for Ariella. Nothing less will do.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I've been a busy bee for the past two days. I'm not sure where I'm getting the energy to write this post, but I think I have some adrenaline and a large triple-cream Tim Horton's coffee working in my favour, so decided to write. Besides, if I sit down in front of the t.v., I'll feel guilty that there's breakfast dishes in the sink and David announced that he's out of clean underwear this morning.

The total rescues for Monday and today have been TWENTY-FIVE little lives saved thanks to quite a few people who have stepped forward to foster them and advertise for their plight. Along with that number, are two Mom cats with their babies. :)

I have two kittens in my washroom, and a HUGE orange guy in my den that are waiting for their foster parents to pick them up tonight and tomorrow. I met a foster Mom at the shelter today who happily took her big fluffy guy named "Tamson" home.

I also met an adopter today who took home a senior cat named "Randall". I'm praying the adopter never reads this blog, because I must tell you that I worked SO HARD to get her to take him. Randall was the perfect cat for her, because she already had two 11 year old cats at home. The last thing she needed (or her cats) was a kitten pouncing all over them. Randall was a DARLING. He was very healthy and had eyes that melted my heart. My heart sunk when she said, "I'll have to think about this...and talk with my husband" and left the shelter. I was sure I had pressed her too hard. I try so hard not to do that.

Within 2 minutes, she came back and took Randall home. :) Hurray!!!!

Randall looking very cute with his white mustache!

The number "25" seems like a big number to me, but since that number includes the Moms and babies, we didn't empty 25 cages. The vet comes tomorrow to euthanize some of the remaining cats anyway.

I really need a day off tomorrow from the driving. I've spent $100.00 on gasoline over the past 2 days and I'd LOVE to get my nails done. But there's a little pregnant Mom that has a place to go and I don't want her to stay there any longer:

Of course, Ariella has to be driven an hour to her placement. Look how cute she is! She's getting bigger by the day, and I'm afraid she's going to give birth in that damn place.

I guess my nails can wait another day. *sigh*

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Against All Instincts

I spent the day before Mother's Day co-signing for a car loan for my older son Patrick. I considered it a privilege to help him at this very important stage of his life. It was fun to have a captive audience as I lectured him on the responsibility of good credit, etc. before my husband and I signed.

As mothers, it's also our job to keep our children safe.

"Don't touch that..."

"Careful, it's hot!"...

"Don't talk to strangers..."

I can't imagine what it's like for the Moms who deliver their kittens on death row at the shelter. It must go against all instinct because she knows her babies aren't safe. It's the instinct of a Mom cat to move her kittens to a safe place. It must be terribly frustrating and frightening to be forced to remain in the same place.

I'm posting a few pictures of some Moms and babies currently at the shelter. It's VERY hard for me to go into the shelter and see these sweet Moms with their babies. Her eyes seem to always plead with me to help her and her children. As a Mom, it tears at my heart.

This Mom delivered her kittens at the shelter last week. I don't know how much longer they have to live.

Sometimes Mom cats at the shelter can only deliver their kittens on a sheet of newspaper. This Mom was lucky that someone was attentive to her.

These kittens are grey, but Mom is black - she may not make it through the next euthanasia day at the shelter.

Fostering a Mom and kittens isn't for everybody. I've only done it a few times myself, because it's a big job and I've always had so much on my plate. I *do know* that the look of gratitude when I rescue a Mom with her babies. There's never any hesitatation from the Mom to get into the cat carrier and leave the shelter. If you put her babies into the carrier first, she'll instinctively follow them.

The Moms know.

But isn't that the way with all Moms?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My 200th Post

200 Posts. Who would've ever thought I could write so much about rescuing cats! David is in New York tonight on business, so it gives me some quiet time to reflect on this blog. I started this blog as a diary of sorts...a way to publish my thoughts and add credence to the peril of these magnificent felines. I also I started writing because it was a way to vent and share my anguish as well as my successes.

I went to the shelter with a small rescue list today, but ended up rescuing 13 cats! One of them went right to his forever home today after he was neutered:


I'm surprised at how many people have been reading this blog and how few get offended by my cat poop stories. I can't tell you how many private emails I get from people sharing similar stories! I decided from Blog Post #1 that I wouldn't censor much. I'm a real person and have real arguments with my real husband, and real crappy teenagers and I cry real tears for these cats.

A friend of mine who is a Photoshop expert sent me a cute picture that he made from another photo he found of me on Facebook:

I'm such a girl sometimes - the first thing I thought of when I saw that picture was, "Oh. My. God....why did he choose THAT picture of me?" Hahaha.. :)

I don't know where I'm going with this post tonight. I'm sure rambling. I thought I'd write something profound since I have the house to myself. Like most animal advocates, I'm searching for answers and solutions. Some days the solutions seem much closer than other days.

A couple of things I do know: Tonight, there are 13 recently rescued cats that have been given a second chance at a wonderful life. Tonight, there's a team of volunteers that are going to make sure they get that wonderful life.

Tonight, I'm going to snuggle with my own cats who came out of that SAME shelter and I'm going to remember....and give thanks despite it all.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Five Little Lives....and Counting...

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: "It's hard going into the shelter the day before a euthanasia day." Gratefully, the cages weren't marked yet, but I've been going there long enough that I could tell who would be eating their last meal tonight. God, I hate that.

Kim tells me that 30 cats per day are coming into the shelter now. I noticed more and more kittens and more and more Moms with their kittens too. It won't be long before Moms with their babies won't make it through "the vet day".

I did do a rescue today, however! There were five fortunate little souls that made it out and are in loving foster homes tonight.

Hickory!! Five months old of cuuuute!

Nickers! He's a little homely, but purr'd the moment I picked him up!

Pancakes! Spayed and declawed! Currently in my bathroom waiting to be picked up by her excited to new foster Mom!

Brittney was VERY happy to be out of that place today!

Sedgewick! Such a handsome boy...he got so fed up with being in a cage, he started taking swipes off the shelter staff. He would've been euthanized tomorrow.

I'm going back to the shelter tomorrow to rescue a few more. This is the time of year where I can't sit around and wait.

The vet comes tomorrow...but so do I.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Boring and Beautiful Sunday

I was sitting here tonight making my usual Sunday Night Phone Calls (SNPC) with hope to have a huge rescue tomorrow. I haven't been able to reach anyone tonight! I have no idea if I'm going to be able to do a rescue or not. It's so discouraging as I wait for the phone to ring.

It was a beautiful weekend, but a weekend filled with procrastination. I should've been pulling weeds or planting flowers, but instead:
I had no access to the recycling lawn bags! How on earth could anyone expect me to do yard work under these conditions?

Then I read a Diet book where I'm supposed to be drinking more water:

"Cat spit" anyone?
I needed to be productive somehow, and decided to pay the bills:

Instead, I decided to feed a very hungry "Wilbur".
Even though it was an uneventful weekend filled with taking a bunch of ridiculous home cat pictures, I did manage to capture a very sweet moment with my son Will and our his cat "Thomas".
If men only knew how awesome they looked to women when they looked just like this.

I wish the phone would ring. I'd love to rescue a few sweet cats tomorrow....God knows I have the time....*yawn*

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Nameless Guy

Well, I thought I was going to foster this adorable little guy. We just rescued him yesterday, but a wonderful family has come forward and wants to adopt him right away.

Holy's going to be hard to let him go. He's the sweetest little booger. This morning, I went into my son's room to find him asleep curled up around my son's neck. Will told me that he had nursed on his earlobe. ***Awwwwwwwwwwww*!!!!

He looks like he's having such a great time with everyone. *sigh* It's a good thing he's leaving. We're all already in love with him. It's a better thing that we haven't named him. Once they have a name, I bond with them that much more.

So David and I are driving into the city to take him to his new family. They sound VERY nice and have 3 cats of their own for him to play with. One of their cats is a rowdy kitten, so I think our little guy will have a ball. I have a vet reference from the family and know he'll be neutered and vaccinated shortly after he arrives.

One of the things that preys on my mind about doing a delivery is the question, "What if I found out these people aren't good enough?" Never fear! I always have a way out if that happens. I spent a long time on the phone with these folks - twice. I'm sure it will be fine.

But I still worry.

(I want to name him "Huckleberry")