Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Paris Encounter

I saw her as soon as I stepped out of the taxi. She was old and her face was very lined. She wore a scarf over her head and held out a small cup to encourage the passersby to put in a few coins. David and I had to use the washroom, so we obediently followed the "Toilette" signs down a flight of concrete stairs. As good fortune would have it, I was finished before him and went back up the stairs to wait.

That's when I saw her panhandling companion. She was a brown tabby and sat happily on the old lady's lap. Until David came back from the washroom, I didn't have any money to offer so stayed back and observed.

"God, I hope the cat is spayed." - my first thought. Now I realize how silly that seems. The old lady picked up the cat in her arms and kissed her affectionately and laid her back on her lap. The cat was wearing a leather harness and had a very nice cat crate nearby where she was obviously transported to that location. There was food and water in bowls nearby.

"I wonder what kind of food she's feeding her" - my second thought, as I tried to identify the kibble. Why do I think of this stuff?? Her "Mom" is out panhandling and I'm worried about the quality of food!

David arrived to the top of the stairs and saw the look on my face first. the cat second. He silently reached into his pocket and held out a wad of cash. I took it all "Lucy Ricardo style", and folded it into the cup.

Now I could spend time with this poor cat.

The first thing I noticed was how beautiful her coat was. She was soft and shiny - like my own cats. She rubbed her face into my hand and the old lady glowed with pride. I wanted to ask her so many questions..."Was she spayed?" "Do you have a home?" Since David speaks French he asked her what the cat's name was. It was complicated and sounded like 8 syllables.

David told her something in French and her face brightened. She smiled a toothless smile and took my left hand and kissed it several times, saying something in French. David had told her what I do here in Canada. "Beth rescues cats." I felt so proud.

David pulled me away, as I was probably not helping her "business." My eyes brimmed with tears as I looked back at the pair. The old lady's cup was already in the air and the cat was resting comfortably on her lap.

I wish I had taken a picture of them.
I wish I had gone back and brought her cat toys.

I'm still thinking of the sweet duo and wonder how they are this afternoon as I write. Maybe the money I gave them meant that they could take a day off. When I go back to Paris, I'm going to look for them.

This time, I'm going to bring cat toys.
Lots of cat toys.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy To Be Home

I should probably be taking a nap rather than writing in my blog this afternoon. I feel grumpy and jet lagged. Fortunately, I came home to happy pets and a clean house, thanks to my 18 year old son that took care of the crew while I was away. I had to laugh, when I went into the basement to put our suitcases away, and found that *somebody* had pooped on top of a suitcase that I didn't take. I guess not everyone was happy that we went out of town.

Paris was amazing...even the theft of my husband's wallet couldn't dampen our spirits to be there. It was nice to not have to clean litterboxes and deal with the day to day humdrum of life.

I arrived home to some fun emails and some sad emails. I wish that subject lines could read: "Don't read this if you're in a bad mood". :)
The Good News:

Noah was rescued by one of our foster homes....here's a nice Before and After picture of him:

"Noah Before" - When I first saw Noah, he was so frightened, he wouldn't even look up at you. He was found with a rope tied around his neck and a note that told only that his name was "Noah".

Ahhh.....there's a cute orange face!!! "Noah After"

I heard that Armin had also found a forever home - he was the grey and white boy that was so fretful he was in the shelter, he was banging his head against the bars of the cage. His face and paws were bloody.

An update on my wild man Wally! :

Looks like Wally has a new BFF - "Spud". Spud was rescued by me from the shelter and adopted. His new Mommy fostered Wally. Looks like Wally has met his match. It's been reported that those two play...and play....and play.... :)

You'd have to know that I have a "Paris Cat Story" to tell. But I'll write that tomorrow. For now - a much needed nap, with hope this cat rescuer will be a little less grumpy to write about it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Be Back in Seven Days!

As I type this blog post, it's hard to believe that I have a flight out of Toronto tonight for Paris, France. David surprised me a few weeks ago with promises of romance and shopping! (I love that man!) It's 10:30 a.m. now and I'm still in my robe and the suitcases are empty. I gave my sons the usual caveats of "No parties", and two pages full of directives on taking care of the cats and dog.

God, will there ever be a day where I can leave for a week without worrying?

It's not just the usual family worries, but I worry about the cats at the shelter. There are several sweet faces that I had been working on getting out of there, and I wonder whether they will still be alive upon my return.

I feel like I'm abandoning them.

I'm posting a few of my favourite "faces" with hope that while I'm away somebody will see it in their heart to come forward to help them.
"Lisa" has been moved to a dog kennel, because she's a big girl. She's been spayed and declawed. Lisa is a big, sweet love muffin. She was looking really depressed when I saw her last.

"Dexter" has been on the euthanasia list twice, but has been taken off because the staff really want to help him. I'm afraid he won't make it, and he's a sweet orange fluffy-tailed guy.

These 3 little sweethearts (Listed as "kittens{a}) were brought into the shelter the day I was doing another rescue. The "finder" brought them in an empty Pepsi case. I wanted to take them so badly. They're really sweet little angels. Yes, these guys will be euthanized - the shelter is very overcrowded.

"Noah" came into the shelter after being found tied to a tree with a rope around his neck. He's neutered and declawed. Stupid, stupid, people.

"Cara" and "Cora" love each other very much. I know it's a lot to ask, but they're only about 5-6 months old - they need to be rescued together. They'll either die together or be rescued together. I hope somebody comes forward.

"Armin" really hates the shelter cage. He claws at the bars and bangs his face against them until he bleeds. The last time I saw Armin, there was blood all over his cage. He needs to get out there. Somebody loved Armin. He's already been neutered.

Of course, I could post pictures all day. You can tell yourself, "I'm not going to look at the website with all the cats that will die because it makes me sad/upset/crazy/hateful - but the situation exists for these cats. Putting your head in the sand won't make it go away.

There are several rescues that for whatever-the-fuck-stupid-reason stopped rescuing cats from this shelter. Instead, they cherry-pick kittens from the public and call themselves a rescue. You can say, "I'm not going to look at that website because it upsets me", but it'll still be there. It's not going away.

I'll be in Paris checking their website to see the little faces disappearing off the shelter website as each euthanasia day passes. There's not much I can do. Life goes on for some of us.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Friday Update

Yesterday I bopped out to the shelter and rescued a very cute orange and white guy named "Reggie". He was a special request rescue for Susan and her husband who recently also rescued another older kitten. As I always say, "the faces haunt us after we leave the shelter." and that's exactly what happened here. Susan saw Reggie but didn't take him right away because she had a houseful of commitments. But she couldn't get him out of her mind.

Reggie is now safe and being neutered this morning. He's a snuggly little guy and put his long nose under my neck and purr'd. That's heaven for me!

Under the subtitle "The Things We Do For Love", I received an email from a friend in rescue that sent me some pictures of his latest foster "Kirby".

This is Kirby at the shelter. Definitely one of the cutest faces I've seen in a long time! Kirby's foster Dad provides love and toys - but Kirby prefers to play with:

....a 3 day old shower curtain! Kirby's foster Dad lovingly writes, "Some people buy their cats new toys.... I buy new shower curtains."

I need to embrace that philosophy more. It's so easy to get wrapped up in "things", isn't it? I received an email from someone that was very upset that her foster kittens were "running around like crazy" and making her very nervous that they might break something. *shrug* If it's that important, put it away. Life's too short. Really.

A brief update on Wally! from his foster Mom: "The little guy is doing great, even showing some LOVE! You are right about him not having any manners, he jumps and climbs on just about everything. I'm trying to watch the interactions between the two cats, they certainly play ALOT, and at time Spud may get annoyed, but still love to play with each other."

Wally's new name is "Moo" since he looks like a cow and his foster Mom is from Wisconsin. I'd say things are working out well and our Little Moo/Wally hasn't worn out his welcome!

That's it for the Friday update! I'm going to the theatre tonight with David - I hope I can find something to wear that doesn't have cat hair on it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wally! Wally! Wally!

Every once in a while a cat comes along that you're compelled to save even though you know he's probably going to be a pain-in-the-ass. (But he's such a delightful little character, you find him incredibly endearing.)

Wally is just that cat.

When I first met Wally, the shelter staff lovingly referred to him as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Personally, I think it's just a matter of a 4-5 month old playful kitten in a cage the size of his litterbox for almost 2 months.

Poor Wally. He didn't have any toys, any friends and just sat in a cage day after day waiting for something good to happen to him.

Today was that day. I went to the shelter to pick up Wally. He was at the front of the cage and he looked like his bags had been packed since this morning. I think Wally knew I was coming for him! I put Wally in his crate and set him down in the front seat of my car. I figured if Wally didn't like his shelter cage, I was going to be in for a loud, annoying ride to the vet this afternoon.

That wasn't the case. Wally sat politely in his cat crate like a perfect gentleman! He pointed his pink nose towards the ray of sun that was shining through my windshield. When we arrived at the vets, I opened the crate. Wally bolted out and mimicked a boxing match with the clinic cat "Bob". Bob looked slightly annoyed, but happy to obliged Wally in a little game of body slamming.

I'm really relieved and will be taking Wally to his new foster home tomorrow afternoon. Gratefully, Wally's new housemate is also a rowdy little cuss, so I'm hoping and praying that they don't tear down the place while Tracy is at work.

Let's hope Wally continues to surprise me....

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Things We Do For Love

I didn't write today's blog post. This is courtesy of some emails and pictures I recently received.

From Kate & Garrett that just rescued Kahlua, Tanner & Trinket: A Saturday Rescue

"Hey beth, So, do you know that song, "The Things We Do For Love" by 10cc? Here's the youtube link to refresh your memories: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FURAEvQwOK4 Well.... I had that running through my head ALL afternoon yesterday. turns out that Kahlua Had a pretty serious case of fleas which we found out while bathing her yesterday. It went something like this:

Me: Hold on... what's that black spot on her belly?
Garret: I dunno, I'll go get the tweezers.
Me: Oh my god... it's a bug!
Garret: I'm pretty sure it's fleas, Hun.

I've never ever dealt with fleas before... They were so bad on Kahlua. She took her baths like a champ... no complaining, so screaming, no clawing, no trying to jump out. All she did was sit in the bath looking wet and pathetic. I think she knew what we were trying to accomplish. We found that the fleas were taking refuge on her dry head so we grabbed the tweezers and were picking them off one by one... She was so good. I think she was just so happy that she wasn't itchy anymore. She fell asleep in our arms while we were towl drying her.
Milo took his bath like a champ too! Probably because he's too little to jump out of the tub so he had no choice, haha. Trinket was another story... she was a HELLION to bathe. Garret and I came out with some pretty good scratches on our arms. By the time that garret and I stepped out of the bathroom it was 10:00pm. Garret and I looked at eachother in disbeleif... it took 7 hours. Needless to say, we were exhausted.. as were our wet little companions. All 3 slept with us through the night. These pictures are what I woke up to this morning. I have 3 very happy and grateful kitties at my house now. I couldn't be happier. I just thought i'd give you an update. The things we do for love, hey? :) -Kate

Matilda's foster Mom was having trouble getting her to eat. Of course, we worry...is she sick? is she picky? Turns out it was the latter. Here's an update from Matilda's foster Mom:

"Hi Beth,So far I've tried Friskies dry and wet, Whiskas wet pouches, some canned tuna, sandwich meat, Purina dry, some store brand, Meow Mix treats, and Temptations treats. She nibbled on some Temptations in the car and a bit here, but other than that she isn't eating much other than licking the juice off some wet Whiskas food. I'm going to try really watering down some wet food and making her some gravy...We've tried to feed her literally everything... all different brands of wet and food, canned tuna, sandwich meat, chicken, other brands of treats."

(Then an email a few hours later): "So we bought a million different cans of cat food and she will only eat the PC store brand Trout flavour Fancy Feast rip-off. Not fancy feast, not whiskas, but the store brand, and only that one flavour LOL. How does a cat as chubby as Matilda get along being so fussy? It's amazes me haha, I've never encountered a cat so fussy!"

For once I have a blog post that has a truly appropriate title. Thank you for doing what you do..."all for love". :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Saturday Rescue

I don't usually go to the shelter on Saturdays, but it's always worth it to meet several foster homes plus help an adopter choose a cat. David seemed content to read the paper this morning as I left.

It was a good rescue day! As usual, choosing was agonizing for the foster parents. I know they'll go home tonight and think about the faces they left behind. I know I always do - and will tonight.

When a foster parent has a cat delivered to them, it really sanitizes the whole rescue process. There's really nothing like picking out your cat from death row and bringing him or her home with you.

"Trinket" - She fell in love with her foster Dad, Garrett and I think the feeling was mutual.

"Tanner" went home with Kate & Garrett - Tanner is a rowdy little thing at only 6 weeks old!

"Kahlua" also went hom with Kate & Garrett - she snuggled into Kate's arms and I knew there was NO WAY Kahlua was going to go back into that cage!

"Iggy"! It's funny how some foster parents gravitate to the same kind of cats. Iggy's foster Mom loves the fluffy guys, and Iggy is no exception! Isn't he cute?

Reesa is a beautiful declawed 2 year old girl that weighs 5 lbs dripping wet. She went home with an adopter today! Reesa was taken off the euthanasia list TWICE and would not have been so fortunate on Monday.

Many hugs and thank you's to the folks that made this rescue possible today!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

30 Days of Celebrity Status

A few days ago I received a large manila envelope in the mail. I love getting large manila envelopes...there's almost always something good in those things....

Anyhooo....I open the envelope to find a large calendar. It's the 2010 Toronto Humane Society calendar. Nice, right? I open the first page and there's a pink post-it note that says, "Beth, look at September's picture".

I scroll through to find:

It's *BOOKER*!!!!! Booker was one of my sweetest foster cats! (He was adopted with another foster cat named Nala) I didn't have him for very long - he was one of those cats that instantly fit in and loved everybody and everything. (Bring on the "happy tears"!)

Apparently, THS has a contest for these pictures and hundreds and hundreds of photos are mailed in with hope THEIR pet can be part of the calendar. Of course, MY Booker is very photogenic and deserves every moment of his 30 days of celebrity status.

Best of all? Look how happy and healthy he looks. *Happy sigh*

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I'm Still Alive!

I hate being sick. I'm not a good patient and it's such a waste of time. But unfortunately, I caught some kind of virus and have been feeling like crap for the past week. I wish I could just get really sick and get it overwith. This "almost sick, but not sick enough to stay in bed" really is the pits.

If you read my blog regularly, you might remember that very few things make me happier than rescuing either a black cat or a really fat cat. I'm happy to report that I rescued little Miss Matilda today: Matilda is 18 lbs of SWEETNESS. She had been in a dog run because she was too big for a shelter cage. Last week when I was at the shelter there was a Pot Bellied Pig in the kennel next to her. I opened up both cages and that pig was sniffin', snortin' and squealin' all around her. It even nibbled on her tail - Matilda seemed happy for the attention and purr'd up a storm. You can imagine how thrilled I was that a foster home (Thank you Caitlin!) specifically offered to take her.

Then I rescued what I call "The World's Longest Cat":

Seriously, when I opened Randolph's cage his body kept going and going and going....He's pure muscle and has the cutest white whiskers. I loved him and I knew the foster family would enjoy him too.

After being sick, it felt good to do something normal. I was pretty emotional leaving the shelter today. I made the mistake of spending far too much time lingering at the cages and made eye contact with several cats. I could feel my heart hurt.

But it looks like I'm going back to the shelter before the week is out. Adoptions have been awesome and there's some foster space available. If I keep taking my antibiotics and getting some rest, I'll be back out there by Friday!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Million Little Pieces...

I knew when I listened to the voicemail it wasn't good news. Usually, when people have bad news, they just leave their name with a more formal sounding voice. I didn't want to call Heather back, because I knew what she had to say.

I was right. Destiny had passed away. She passed in her sleep. Her little 4 week old body couldn't fight off the contagious Upper Respiratory Virus from the shelter. Her foster Mom gave her antibiotics 3 times per day and fed her formula from a bottle with hope she'd fight it off, but it wasn't meant to be.

Maybe her Mom and 8 siblings were calling to her from the The Rainbow Bridge. No doubt they were waiting for her when she arrived. It must've been quite a reunion.

Aww hell. I can sugar coat this with talk of the "Rainbow Bridge", but my heart is broken into a million little pieces.

"Run to your family, little Destiny" You'll forever be one of my most memorable rescues.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Just Another Day at My House

People often ask me about my homelife. They wonder if my life with my pets is much like their life. I think people need confirmation that they're not crazy.

I haven't said much about the huge renovation going on at my new house. We bought a 100+ year old heritage home with only 1.5 washrooms in it. I've been sharing a bathroom with my husband and two sons. It's like a frickin' frat house. If I sat on a toilet that didn't already have pee in it, I'd probably faint. Why don't men flush? Anyway...I digress...

The plumber came to get me yesterday and said there was a problem. They had torn up the floors to add new pipes and when the plumber came back into the room, they found my 22 lb white cat Ozzy squatting in a hole in the floor pooping!!!!!!!!!! David said that something is wrong with me that I took this picture:

Yes. Yes, I did. I took a picture of a pile of cat poop. Ozzy must've been thrilled! "HEY! They're installing built-in litterboxes!!" He probably liked the sandy dirt in there better than his own litterbox.

Dinner time at my house is probably much like yours:

I have an unpaid job in rescue - but I do work at it diligently and always have lots of help:

Bedtime? I don't want to talk about bedtime. David and I have both commented that we've learned to not move much when we sleep so that we don't disturb the "other inhabitants" of our bed. We both wake up stiff and cranky half the time.

We love the life we chose with our cats and dog. There have been times we walk into someone else's home who do not have pets and see that they have luxuriously left the front door open, or they don't have a cat for "decor":

But I wouldn't trade our life for anything.