Sunday, August 30, 2009

Smiling Until My Face Hurts

I wrote about Ariella back in May of this year. She was one of the saddest little cats that I had ever seen at the time. Click here to read about Ariella
I shed a lot of tears over Ariella. Our little Ariella was adopted today! Here's the follow up email on our girl from her new Mom to her foster Mom:

...."Ariella is so curious....she's going in places and coming out with fluff balls on her cute! I better clean under and behind the furniture. HAHA! She is such a delight. Friends and family have come over to meet her and she is so receptive with everyone....and she definitely did not mind the treats they brought for her. She loves to play and has a healthy appetite. She is still getting used to my place...she really likes the long hallway to play in. She came and slept with me early this morning....such a special little girl. She has claimed the loveseat as her napping place....she's settling in. She is so smart and approachable...can't say enough about her! I'm so happy she has come into my life...Thanks for looking after her!"

Lordie...Lordie...I'm going to cry again!

People think that I forget about the cats I rescue. It's not that I forget. It's that I don't want to become a stalker and ask about the cat all the time! Gratefully, "Snickers" Mommy understands that and sent me an email about her today:

"Hi Beth!

I wanted to let you know that Snickers (Darian) is doing great with us!
She is a wonderful, little sweetie with so much energy and affection!!
She is still fetching up a storm with her toys, along with many other
things in the house, like loaves of bread and bags of chips. LOL! She
is such a bright and observant cat. She makes us smile and laugh all
day long. I am so happy that I was looking on Petfinder the day that I
did. We can't imagine a more perfect cat for us! We love her so much!"

I remember Snickers! Her name at the shelter was Darian and she was a scruffy little thing! Look how much she's blossomed!

Remember Tuck?

He was the little guy that had been hogtied and tortured to the point where he couldn't walk. I received the wonderful news that our boy has been ADOPTED this weekend! (I'm starting to cry again ..where's my estrogen?)
Through it all, Tuck never stopped loving people. We certainly didn't deserve his love, but he gave it freely. He had so much courage. Tuck is an inspiration. I hope this adopter stays in touch.

I have a Marnie update!!! (Hold onto your hats...!)

Holy crap....I have goosebumps trying to type this out: I get a phonecall yesterday afternoon from a foster Mom within the rescue. I was at the theatre in Stratford watching a play with my husband ....the voicemail says this (I'm paraphrasing here): "Hey Beth, this is S*** I'm a foster parent for P****. I also work at the SPCA and a woman called in here a few minutes ago that wanted to surrender a Siamese. Well, I recognized her name AND the cat's name because I read your blog!!!! We're 100% full here and we'd have to euthanize her if she came here. What do you want to do?"
I scrambled out of my chair during intermission and called S***. Y'all know that I don't believe in coincidences, so I'm in tears as I'm trying to put together an emergency plan for Marnie to be safe. I called Heather (God bless her) and Heather connected with Diana. Heather drove out to pick up Marnie.

Marnie is safe! She's at Heather's own "house of the discarded" and I'm sure being loved and kissed as we speak. She's not sick and Heather tells me she's great! Never again will that little cat have a moment where she's not wanted or loved. (*cross my heart*)

(A very special thank you and hug to Heather B who bailed me out of this mess last night. Another big hug to S*** that took the time to call me about Marnie!Thanks to both of you, Marnie has another chance.)

All in all it's been really thrilling to receive these emails over the past few days. I've been smiling so much my face hurts...and it feels good!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Friday Update

Thought y'all would enjoy an update on Destiny and a BEYOND adorable picture of her and her new BFF "Kole" who is also an ex-death row guy. According to Destiny's foster Mom, Kole wasn't too thrilled at first, but he's enjoying his new buddy. :) Pretty cute, eh?

I don't have any new news about Marnie. Your comments and passion about this exchange of emails was amazing. I've left a message for Siamese Rescue as well as the local shelter near this woman's home. I want to make sure that Marnie doesn't end up there. I'll continue to follow up.

I made huge mistake in taking out my aggravations on this woman before I secured the safety of the cat. It's a #1 rule of mine: "Don't alienate the person who has the cat until you actually have the cat in your hands." The problem is....I didn't have a place to take Marnie. My hands were tied and I could only guilt her into doing the right thing. It sucked to be in that position. I'll keep following up.

I met a very nice couple yesterday that were interested in adopting "Charlotte" who was on death row at the shelter:

Charlotte is 9 weeks old of buff coloured cuteness and immediately purred and snuggled up to this couple. I was ready to wrap up the adoption, when they said, "Maybe Charlotte needs a friend."

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She needs a friend!!!!!!!!!!!

Those of you who look at Kim's site (under "sites I really Like") will be thrilled to know they adopted "Slinky":
Although Slinky looks like a mellow guy, he was actually semi-feral - 9 weeks old and hissed dramatically with his ears back. I picked him up and he melted in my arms. The little guy just went limp and seemed extremely happy that he didn't have to play the "wild cat" role anymore. He was going to a wonderful home and seemed to be VERY happy to have Charlotte as a sister.
Bless his little heart!
It's going to be a busy weekend of phone calls and follow ups. The rescue has thousands of $$'s outstanding in adoption fees. I can't imagine why people would foster...then adopt...and not pay the rescue? Ahhh....but that's another post. I'm wearing my headset and "Dialing for Dollars".
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Adoption Rant

Whenever there's a purebred cat at the shelter, Kim is bombarded with emails from people trying to adopt him. It wasn't any different for a little Lynx Point Siamese named "Marnie" at the shelter. Kim refers the adoption inquiries to me for screening and I decide who is the best fit. There must've been 20 emails for Marnie - everybody telling me why they're best suited to give Marnie a forever home.

I chose a woman named "Diana". I spent a long time with Diana on the phone and she had experience with Siamese and promised to love Marnie forever....yada...yada...yada..."I have vet references"...blah, blah, blah...."I'll get her spayed right away"....blah blah blah..."Yes, I understand Marnie has been exposed to an upper respiratory virus at the shelter"...yada...yada,

I get this email from Diana today: (The spelling errors are hers...I didn't edit)

"I had to take her to the vet on Monday to address a respiratory infection that we had discussed that she may get. At that time, the vet informed me that she has a serious underlying health problem such as lukemia or diabetes that is causing her weight loss. She is very skinny under her fur where you can feel her bones. The problem that I now have is that I can not afford this expensive care for Marnie. I have contacted the Siamese resuce and I have been emailing T** regarding Marnie. She suggested that I let you know the sitution and see if there is anything that can be done. I can not afford anything besides the spaying that I was aware of when I decided to bring Marnie into my home. She is a very lovely cat so far, unfortunately I can not care for her extensive needs. Please let me know what you may be able to do. I will have to turn her over to a shelter in my area if there is nothing that you or T** can help with."

What kind of stupid-ass vet makes an assumption of Feline Leukemia or Diabetes - without testing - on a cat who is sneezing and has runny eyes? Marnie is 5 months old for God's sake - she was RESCUED FROM A SHELTER - of course, she's skinny! She was a stray AND a teenager!!! Holy crap, I'm mad.
My response was less than professional, I'm afraid:

"Most vets don't really understand Upper Respiratory Infections. It's ridiculous for a vet to assume that Marnie has Leukemia or Diabetes. She's a YOUNG TEENAGE cat who had been lost and abandoned. She's supposed to be thin! I'm shocked that a vet would make assumptions like this. How stupid!

I am disheartened to hear that you appear to be a "fair weather" adopter. I approved the adoption, because you indicated you would be committed to Marnie for LIFE. Not until you can't afford it anymore. When we permit these cats to leave the shelter, we promise them that they will NEVER have to go back to a shelter again.

Take care of your commitments, Diana. You committed to this little life, now see it through."

I'm not very proud of my response. I guess I'm extra pissed because she had me fooled. The very thought that she would take Marnie back to a shelter makes my blood boil. I'm hoping that by posting my feelings here I'd feel better.

But I don't. Stupid people.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Update on Destiny

Destiny has friends! This picture probably says it all as she's happily buried under a "kitten pile" of buddies. It must feel very reassuring for her to not be alone anymore.

I told Heather when she came to pick her up at my house: "Whomever adopts Destiny, is going to need a fingerprint check, FBI criminal background check, and about 20 references." LOL!

I want to thank everybody for their sweet comments of appreciation here, in email and on Facebook. As you could probably tell from my post, I was feeling pretty low that day and y'all gave me a reason to keep plugging away at this seemingly thankless volunteer job.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Maybe It's "Destiny"?

I went to the shelter today to meet a potential adopter only to find Kim in tears. Today was a euthanasia day, but I could tell something different had happened.

They had to euthanize a Mom cat and her 9 kittens. The shelter was so overcrowded and it's a sad fact that when people don't spay or neuter their cats, little cat families die. Hours after the vet left, Kim went to clean the empty cage where the Mom and kittens had been....

....only to find a survivor....

This little Tortie kitten was found behind the litterbox and under the newspaper. She watched her whole family die:

This is a picture of her Mom and 8 siblings. They all died this morning - but she survived. I think that's our kitten on the far right side.

I called Heather while I was still at the shelter. Heather is one of those amazing people that despite everything else that goes wrong in her life, she's always game to take "one more". Our little kitten is 4 weeks old and Heather had a litter of kittens that were found in a parking lot that are the same age. Our Tortie baby could join that group!

"Destiny" would have friends!

I've been crying off and on since I left the shelter today. To make matters worse, I was driving 120km's (70 mph) down a one way street only to see a squirrel who had been recently hit by a car, dragging it's legs to make it to the side of the road to safety. That was *it* for me and the crying flood waters broke. I held the kitten tightly under my neck as I drove. I wanted to go back for the squirrel, but I didn't know the area and it was a one way street with 5 lanes. How would I ever be able to stop to help the squirrel? I kept going. I really hate that I kept going, but I did.

I'm sitting here with sticky mascara drying against my cheeks. I look like crap and I don't care.

I think "Destiny" is an appropriate name for our tiny survivor. She lost her family today, but she's going to be destined for something wonderful in her life.

I'll make sure of it, Destiny. I promise.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Annual Meltdown

Every year I have what I call a "meltdown" regarding the shelter. I think it's due to the fact that I'm brave and professional the rest of the 364 days and can handle most of what comes my way.

I had Monday and Tuesday visits to the shelter to do adoptions and rescues. So many had died on Monday morning. I could *feel* the death and the heat was unimaginable in the back by the cat holding area. There's no air conditioning. The staff that works back there were sweating as they tried to clean the cages. But the cats had it the worst - steel cages held the heat and the poor things looked miserable. I couldn't help but think that the ones that died that morning were lucky.

I didn't get to rescue "Buddy". He was gone. I met the young family on Monday morning and gave them the bad news. After the initial disappointment, they chose a darling guy named "Oscar" who had been at the shelter far longer than he should have:

Oscar had been out in the garage and was already neutered and declawed. As always, it's a victory when a black cat gets out of there. The family had already adopted a cat from this shelter last week and I was excited to get a report. They didn't let me down - I got this email shortly after Oscar arrived in their home:

"Hey Beth,It was great meeting you again! Thought I would drop you a line to tell you how the homecoming was. After about an hour of grooming, Oscar is starting to be back to a handsome fella and not so burly. Hope and him are still not all that sure of each other but I truly believe that is just a time thing. Oddly enough like Hope; Oscar's first place that he found to relax and enjoy is my bedroom. He is resting and is very content up there!! Hope seemed to find comfort in the same place for the first few days. I didnt have the heart to keep them separated but they are both leaving each other alone and are very relaxed and happy. Hope is playing with her toys and being her energetic youthful self and Oscar is kicking back and relaxing...which he rightfully deserves. Oh my you should of seen the hair that came off of him...LOL tons and tons! But I think he feels much better now after getting rid of it, getting cleaned up and having a bite to eat. I even believe I heard a few purrs...... :) It is very quiet hear right now and in all honesty I truly believe you had a great idea showing us Oscar. He is shy but he fits right in with us :) I truly do appreciate you meeting us both times and finding two wonderfully amazing additions for are family!! They are both are perfect in there own ways!! Send me your address and I will mail you some pictures that I am sure you would love!! Thanks so much Beth!!"

A current foster Mom contacted me about *adopting* "Dodger" - the little orange guy with a club foot! I'm VERY excited and relieved and the staff moved Dodger to a safer area out in the garage so he won't be euthanized. I did find out that Dodger is a little girl. Oops! :)

It's a dark time of year for the shelter. I'm really clinging to the scraps of happiness that comes my way. They're few and far between - but I'm clingin'...

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I've been reading some other rescue blogs and have seen a common thread in all of them: We all sound a little strung out and in desperate need of a vacation. I realize that's all part of the rescue mentality, but seriously - there's some major cases of stress going on in these blogs!

For once, it's not me that sounds overly freaked out. I haven't taken on too much since we moved and I think that's been a good thing for me and my family. When it comes to rescue, I have a tendency to take on too much.

I'm meeting a very nice lady at the shelter tomorrow about adopting "Buddy". She's already adopted one cat from the shelter, and I'm so happy that she's considering another:

I don't know what's the matter with me, but I keep getting this overwhelming feeling of dread when I'm supposed to go to the shelter. Maybe it's because I'm not rescuing the volume of cats that I used to. I *feel* the death in the cat area when I go in on a day when they've euthanized a bunch of cats. I've never felt that before in all the years that I've gone in. But I do now.

There's a little orange guy named "Dodger" at the shelter:

He has a club foot - just a birth defect. It doesn't keep him from running around or using the litterbox. I don't know if he'll make it through the vet day tomorrow or not. Every time I go to the shelter, I keep expecting to see his empty cage. But there he is! I wish somebody would step up and help him. He's so sweet and your typical gregarious orange kitten.

Last week, his eyes told me he had given up hope. Can anybody give Dodger a forever home? I'm going to keep trying until his cage is empty.

Friday, August 14, 2009

September Can't Come Soon Enough!

I woke up this morning remembering that I was supposed to meet an adopter at the shelter. She contacted me and was interested in a little declawed girl named "Taffi". I didn't have time to really talk with this woman a few days ago, so I was apprehensive about our meeting today. I knew she had a big dog and quite frankly, I didn't know much about Taffi OR the adopter.

There was a good chance she would go home without a cat today, and on a day when they euthanized 50+ cats and kittens this morning, I wasn't anxious to turn her down.

Lynn showed up on time with her teenage son Tyler. What a lovely twosome! Taffi fell in love with them quickly. The true test was to make sure our diva tabby would like dogs. We watched her prance by the dog cages without a hiss. Taffi was going home!

As I was saying goodbye to Lynn and her son, Lynn said, "It's too bad we only brought one crate, we would've taken another one."

Crates?? We have crates! We have LOTS of cat crates! Hell, I'd never let someone leave without an extra cat just because there wasn't a crate! There's a lot of things I can't do - but I can always muster up another crate. Lynn and her son had another cat they were interested in. He was a HUGE tabby guy named "Hunter". Hunter must've known, because he purred and kneaded in the air the moment they picked him up. He must've weighed 20 lbs, but he was going home too.

I also brought with me a VERY cute tailess black kitten named "Fritta". Fritta is a fortunate girl - she's being adopted by Ian. Ian is the kind of guy that makes me wish I were a cat that lived in his home. Fritta is a lucky little black cat. Most of the time, the black cats die in that place.

These days, most of the cats die in that place. September can't come soon enough.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Breathing Easy....

When one of my foster cats is adopted, I never breathe easy until I hear that all is well from the adoptive family. It wasn't any different with "Jeffrey".

When the adoptive family (Nik & Jaime) came to pick up Jeffrey, I ask the same things that I ask of every adopter: "Take the cat quickly and call me later."

It hurts too badly to linger around saying goodbye with the cat in the crate. I kissed Jeffrey quickly, told him he was a WONDERFUL little house guest and put him in the crate. The family already had the Heath Record and I bid them adieu.

I was extra worried about this adoption, because Nik and Jaime already had a cat at home who had never been exposed to another cat. Would he hurt my little Jeffies?

Much to my relief, they wrote me an hour after they came home with this email:

"Hi Beth,
Well, we have been home for about an hour, and i have to say that the introduction has gone very well! No drama! Dexter was very interested in seeing him - no hissing on his part at all! Jeffrey seems very confident and comfortable here as well - he has taken over Dexter's toys, and apparently Dexter doesn't far... I give these two a day or so before they are napping together :) Hopefully everything will stay about the same when the lights turn off tonight - haha!"

I went to bed smiling and happy that my little boy was going to be OK. My "uh oh meter" went off when I woke up to a second email that was sent an hour after the first least until I opened the email:

"Hi Beth,
This is Dexter and Jeffrey becoming buddies. I don't think we could
have paired him up with a better kitty."

So another happy ending for one of my foster cats. I hope this post gives testimony to anyone who says, "It would hurt too much to let them go." Sure it stings to let them go...

...but look how happy he is! :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Adventures From the Cat Den

The best part about The Cat Den, is the fact that my cats are totally mellow now! Everybody seems happy and **double knock on wood** Ozzy hasn't pee'd anywhere but the litterbox.

(Of course, I've probably jinxed it now)

I thought I'd post a few pictures of the cats in the cat den. I probably chose a crummy day because last night was a helluva storm and everything was wet and steamy.

This is "Butters" who hasn't figured out the door in order to come back in. He can go outside through the cat door, but sits there and meows until I open the door for him. Yes, I realize the sign that says "Cat Friends Welcome" is a little over the top. My sons saw the sign and said "That's the gayest thing I've ever seen in my life." Ahhh....God love the little homophobes. :)

Opening the door gets pretty old. But look how happy he looks!!!

Don't laugh, but I found some "love beads" and thought the cats would want to play with them. Instead, they just look stupid.

I went to Petsmart and bought a medium sized dog house for $60.00. I figured if I wasn't home and the cats couldn't get inside or felt somehow unsafe, they could at least have a safety area. By the way - the ground was SOAKING wet and they're STILL out there playing!!

This is a top view, so I can watch them from the family room. I've planted a bunch of bushes and stuff out there. I can't believe how much those stupid little bushes were such a big hit! They were digging around them and playing hide 'n' go seek around the bushes. It was too cute.

Those of you who said, "It's worth every penny" were right. I love it. The cats love it. Cats that didn't get along are getting along now.

Now if I could figure out a way to winterize the damn thing!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Principles Before Personalities

I've spent the past few days trying to write a difficult post. Each time I start to write, I end up deleting because I sound "too angry", "too bitchy", "not understanding enough", etc.. Tonight, instead of deleting, I'm going to just type and see where this post takes me.

We've had some problematic foster homes. OK...."Problematic" is an understatement.

Really. It's been a nightmarish few weeks.

One of my personal mottos is "Principles before personalities". I try not to take things too personally when I don't understand or necessarily agree with a foster parent. There's probably scar tissue on my tongue from where I bite my tongue rather than say what I really want to say. We're all here to help, right?

Last week we had a foster Mom abandon her three foster kittens at the vets because she couldn't deal with it anymore. She had 1 kitten die, and her own cat got sick. She was frustrated. I get that. But she didn't follow the rules. She let the kittens play with her own cat within an hour of their arrival despite my caveats to the contrary. I can't live with these people - hold their hands. I have to trust there is reasonable intelligence.

I do my very best to educate foster parents BEFORE they commit to being a foster parent. I tell them that they need to quarantine the foster cat for 2 weeks, etc etc. I go into great detail. With some foster parents, I spent HOURS educating, talking and comforting.

For the life of me, I can't imagine why any volunteer would just abandoned 3 kittens at the vets without warning.

We've had all kinds of issues lately with foster families. As I look back into previous posts, I'm finding that this is the time of year we have the most problems EVERY year. I wonder why?

I believe people's intentions are always good and true. I don't think people volunteer to be foster parents with the intent of abandoning their kittens shortly after. I don't think people volunteer to be foster parents to do nothing but piss and moan the entire time they volunteer, or cause problems for the core group.

I think we just need to continue to roll with this and hope that August passes quickly. Somehow, September seems to be a more sane month....

I'd like to write more on this, but am afraid that folks will think I'm writing about them. I can't get into more detail than I am now. The shit has hit the fan lately and I'm ready to turn off the frickin' fan.

There's been no editing on this post. I'm pushing "Send", typos and all....

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Back To The Shelter

It was really nice to be back at the shelter today. I must admit, there was a sense of dread the entire way out there, but once I was there - I was OK. Last Friday had been a horrible euthanasia day. Not only did 50+ cats die that morning, they had to euthanize 20 more that afternoon to insure there was enough cage space for the idiots to dump their cats over the weekend.

Very few rescues are helping right now and the majority of the cats are dying a sad and lonely death.

Fortunately, I was able to meet two very nice families to adopt two cats. One of the cats was a sweet little girl named "Omelette". As soon as you picked her up, she started purring. It was love at first sight. I received an email from this family as soon as I got home:

"Hey Beth I just wanted to thank you so much for meeting us today in Hamilton and helping us pick out the perfect addition to our family. We decided to name the once "Omlette" now "Hope". Figured it was a very suitable name for her. You must no what you are doing b/c she has adjusted amazingly. Currently she has found her bed and is sleeping in my queen size bed peacefully. She has quite the personality and has made herself extremely at home. She is playful beyond words and mysteriously can get up on everything and anything she wants :) Anyways I just wanted to drop you a line and thank you so much.thanks again."

Ahhh....that brightened my day!

The other family that I met adopted a very cute guy named "Toby":
Like many redheads, he was Mr. Congeniality and already neutered. Bonus!

There were so many cats there today that were already spayed and neutered. I wanted to ask, but didn't "How many died today?" There was nothing I could do anyway. At least I saved two.

I got home to another email from the family that adopted Toby:

"Hello Beth,
So sorry it took so long today to get situated with our decisions we were trying to make. Travis and i both stopped by my house before i took him home and "toby" remained in the cage while my oldest cat Sada met him, absolutely no trouble at all. Then my dog Max (husky/sheppard)met him in the same fashion, still no trouble at all.
"Toby" is now safe at Travis's apartment, he has since ate some cat food and drank some water with no trouble. One remarkable cat he is.. I will keep in touch you. . By the way during the car ride home he remained laying on the back seat."

I feel like I've been trying to pump myself up all afternoon. "Two Lives Saved, Beth!" If two little lives saved are better than none - why do I feel so crummy?

Monday, August 03, 2009


My little Jeffrey had a very nice couple come visit him last night. The couple had made a pact that they wouldn't take him home on impulse, but would think about it. Good plan!

I didn't hold my breath. Jeffrey was a 100% booger last night and wouldn't have much to do with either of them despite my best efforts. It's like having a bad child. He gave them a token purr when they picked him up, but that was about it. These people even crawled into the cat den to hang out with him.

Jeffrey loves the cat den. I was excited to hear that this couple put their current cat on a harness and leash for walks in the park, so they would be doing that for Jeff too!

Needless to say, I was surprised to get The Call tonight. Jeffrey is being adopted!

The couple just had their cat Dexter neutered, so they wanted to wait until next week to insure Dexter is feeling up to having his new brother in the house. (cute, eh?)

I realized after this adoption visit that my house has a flaw: It has NO place for potential adopters to sit and relax with their prospective new family member. In my old house, I had a really nice cozy den with a door on it. People could sit on the floor and visit with the cat. There were toys, etc.

Jeffrey was like a wild man when these people were here. He was passing gas, running around, and body slamming Thomas. There was no where I could take him out of the equation and allow these people to visit him quietly. (Although he would've still been farting.)

It's going to be sad to see Jeffrey go to his new home. He's been a great little house guest. My sons are mortified that I would let "Jeffies" go. They wanted to adopt him.

But don't they always? Here we go again.... :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009


I've been really looking forward to getting back to the business of rescue now that the majority of the boxes have been unpacked. Since I'm involved primarily with the fostering program and rescuing, you could've knocked me over with a feather to be informed that our rescue currently has 600+ cats in the program. Holy sh*t. Really. 600 cats.

With 600 cats, comes the responsibility of insuring they are all healthy, happy and in proper foster homes. Once I heard that number, it didn't come as much of surprise to hear the second half the news: The rescue wants to put a hiatus on rescuing the larger number of cats for the month of August just to catch up.

That means - no big rescue runs for me.

The timing is good from my prospective. It'll give me a chance to regroup and work with the cats and foster homes currently in our program.

What am I supposed to "say" to the cats that are going to die in the month of August? Sure there will still be rescues, because there will be adoptions. But there won't be the usual 35+ cats in a week rescued.

Looks like the blog posts are going to be a little different for the month of August.

I get it. But I don't like it.