Friday, October 29, 2010

Looking Into the Sunbeam

I ran out the door to the shelter this morning without my camera!  Crap!  I really wanted to take a video of my favourite girl "Lema" being rescued.  I wish I could describe it was like...she *knew* and she was waiting for me!   Lema was sitting in front of her cage and I started to sing my silly little rescue song as I walked up to her. She meow'd SO happily and stood up as I approached. I grabbed her up and kissed her over and over. Lema is such a smooshy love muffin.

I dropped off 4 other adorable kittens for another rescue and took Lema into the city to her foster Mom.  She chattered at me as I drove and I found myself singing to the song on the radio, "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry.  I'm such a doofus, because I changed the lyrics to "I kissed a kitty and I liiiiked it....the taste of her furry little liiiips..."  Lema meow'd in appreciation.  I'm surprised I didn't have an accident. 

Not sure why I felt so emotional over this little butterball tabby.  I've rescued so many over the years, and every once in a while I feel extra emotional about one.  If the truth were really known, I wish I could've kept her forever.   Watching her little face stretch towards the sun peeking through the clouds made me choke up.  I'm betting she'll be flopped in front of a sunbeam in no time at all. 

Even though I promised myself that I wouldn't - I ended up walking through several of the cat rooms today at the shelter.  The cats had already been fed and wicked-witch-of-the-west employee was stomping around the rooms with her headscarf on her head and usual bad attitude.  I wonder why some people get a job at Animal Control if they really don't like animals?  Or at one time in their life they did like animals, but the job just brought them down and they lost perspective.   I would really like to ask that question, but I'm afraid it would come out as, "Why do you always act like such a bitch?" I guess in any workplace there's always ONE nasty person that everybody tolerates.  But what bothers me is that she cares for such innocent creatures who are prisoners to her nastiness.  *ugh*

Things really do seem to be looking up at the shelter.  There are more than just rumours stirring about adoptions and ALL cats will be vaccinated as they enter the shelter.  They're even changing cleaning protocol in the anticipation of providing adoptions!  I'm hopeful that some of the rescues who left this shelter due to illness, etc, will come back now that things are improving.  As I get more information, I'll provide it here.   I'm hesitant to say too much.

Halloween at my house is quiet. The house we bought almost two Halloween's ago is on a busy street and I think parents are hesitant to let the kids trick-or-treat.  Admittedly, it's a relief not worrying about a cat flying out the door everytime it opens to give out candy.  Happy Halloween to all!!!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's With All The Second Guessing?

Zeus the Persian went to his forever home today.  At least I'm hopeful it was his forever home.  It was one of these adoptions where I wasn't 100% sure I did the right thing.  Zeus had belonged to a senior citizen and I placed him in a home with a younger child in the family.  I've already contacted the family and they said he was settling in and all was OK. 

I wish I didn't worry so much, but I feel very responsible.  I don't have the same resources that I once had, and I don't want to place a cat "from the frying pan, into the fire."  I verified that they have a neuter appointment for him on Tuesday next week, so that's pretty much all I could do.  Worry...worry...worry...

Over the past few weeks, I've been working pretty hard at getting my latest favourite girl "Lema" out of the shelter:
Anybody who reads this blog with any kind of regularity knows how much I LOVE fat little bowling ball cats.  Lema has been spayed and declawed.  She's THE SWEETEST lovebug!   A rescue has come forward for her and I'm over the moon that I get to go pick her up tomorrow!!!  They're going to be so surprised at how sweet she is.  I sat on the floor at the shelter and she climbed into my lap like she knew me forever.  I almost brought her home that day.  It was horrible putting that big girl back into such a tiny cage.  I've been kicking myself for days for not bringing her home. 

On my Facebook profile today, I put:  "Getting married, having a baby, moving, job transfers, etc. are NOT REASONS for abandoning your pet, they are EXCUSES. Pets are a LIFETIME commitment the same as children are a LIFETIME commitment. We don't get rid of children for these kinds of excuses... we adjust our lives. Our pets deserve the same level of devotion." 

 I wish they'd put that in the Animal Control front office.   One of these days, I'll stop preaching to the choir and actually say it to somebody that NEEDS to hear it.   Do you think anybody will turn around and take their pet home? 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Staying In the Loop

I'm happy to announce that the 4 week old kitten from yesterday's blog post has been picked up from the shelter and is safe, loved and happy in a foster home.  Many *hugs* and thanks you's to Lisa and Gary who drove out to the shelter this morning to pick up the little girl.  Lisa already sounds smitten with her, so we'll see how quickly she is to part with her at 8 weeks.  (*LOL*) 

Thanks to a new manager at the shelter, I've heard a rumour that the "no public adoptions" policy is being reviewed and perhaps eliminated.  You heard right:  They are going to work towards opening the shelter for adoptions!!!   I'll believe it when I see it....but it's the first time I've heard that there are PLANS in the work.  Normally, I'd make a bigger hoopla about such news, but I don't want to be disappointed.

I've been keeping myself busy and am so happy when people email or call me with questions about a cat, etc.  It really makes me feel as if I'm still in the loop of things. 

I had a good time hanging out with Bella and Mr. Billings yesterday afternoon.  They each held vigil in separate washrooms.  Bella wasn't thrilled with my cats and caught me off guard with some serious snarling.  God, I hate how that sounds!  I'm sitting on the toilet combing my hair and Bella LUNGES at the door where one of the tabby's had an inquisitive paw.  I think I screamed out loud, but I may have blocked out the entire ordeal. 

Somehow, I managed to spend $400.00 at Winners (USA friends:  "TJ Maxx" or "Ross") and am being taken out to dinner too.  Sounds like David is happy with the extra time I've had lately and his newly stocked drawer full of clean underwear.  No more "back of the drawer undies" for MY husband! 

In the meantime, I'm following up with a potential adopter for a very frightened little Persian named "Zeus".  His Mom died and they've already euthanized his brother.  He sure needs a home:

Fingers are crossed for Zeus....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reclaiming My Life Again

It was a beautiful rescue day today!  One of my favourite foster Mom's came forward and offered to foster Bella.  Imagine my excitement to go to the shelter today to rescue this sweet girl who was dumped there with such negligence.

To add to the excitement, I received a phone call from another rescue who asked me to rescue Mr. Billings for them too:
Mr. Billings was really quite depressed and had given up all hope of rescue.  He stopped lifting his head when people would come by.  What a victory to bring this guy out of the cage today!

Bella's rescue wouldn't be complete without a "rescue video" featuring my shrill voice:

Bella and Mr. Billings are currently in two of my washrooms enjoying some moving around time.  :) 

AN URGENT PLEA:  The following is an urgent plea on a 4 week old black kitten that just arrived.  She's being syringe fed and isn't in the general cat population.  She's an angel!  You'll be able to tell that I'm already in love....

Please let me know right away if you can help this darling kitten. 

I feel like I'm slowly getting my life back again.....thank you for the love and encouragement. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Singing the Rescue Song

Despite all the empty cages after the Monday euthanasia day, it felt *right* to be at the shelter. I was asked by another rescue to rescue a cat to insure the right fit for a foster home. I've always said that playing "cat matchmaker" was something that I do the best.  There's a lot of things that I don't do well, but I take pride in my ability to match the right cat with the right person.  I'm hoping that today was no exception.

I ended up rescuing "Ozzy" who had been at the shelter for 2+ grueling months:

Ozzy had already been neutered, and the shelter vaccinated him for me and he was good to go! This guy was SOOOO happy to be out of the cage. He pranced around the cat room at the shelter! He rubbed. He purr'd. He meow'd. He gave love bites. He was overjoyed!! I got to sing my "rescue song" to him so that made us both pretty darn happy.

Of course, a rescue wouldn't be a rescue without the token poop as we pulled into the vet's parking lot. *sigh*

I had a lovely visit with Bella while I was there. As soon as I saw her, I knew it was her. She was rolling around, rubbing and purring. Clipped to her cage was her health record that the family left, along with a package of Temptation Treats. Did that alleviate their guilt to leave some eff'ing Temptation Treats for her?

 Isn't she precious?  She's a beautiful cat - a little overweight, but who cares?  I had taken a video of her, but it seems YouTube isn't cooperating.  I'll post it later if YouTube gets it's act together. 

I'm hopeful I can get Bella out of the shelter in the next few days and will let you know.  I'm looking forward to singing a rescue song - just for her. :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Company's Coming"

When you work at an Animal Control shelter, I'd assume you'd get to the point where "I've heard everything."  But when I received an incredulous email from Kim who works at Animal Control, I knew that this cat's story deserved to be told.

Actually?  There really isn't a story.  "Bella" was surrendered to the shelter by her owners because...

"She's scared when people come over to visit."

Yeah.  That's the reason that was given by Bella's loyal family.   So this beautiful, (did I mention that she's sweeeeeet?) spayed, declawed, girl will die (unless she's rescued) because she doesn't like it when company comes over.

I hope somebody can help her.  Because Bella is an owner surrender, the shelter doesn't have to keep her alive for the usual 3 days.  They can kill her at any time. 

"I hope you enjoy your company, you ignorant *&!#@"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Feet Feel Cold

Imagine my surprise to find 6 messages on my rescue phone line for people interested in cats at the shelter!  (The phone number on the Petfinder shelter site is mine rescue line that rings in my home office)  It wasn't until I listened to all the messages that I realized they were all for the Himalayan and Siamese who are currently there.  Don't get me wrong - they ALL need help.  But it was a bit of a let down since these cats usually don't have a hard time getting out of the shelter this time of year.

There was one call from a woman who is interested in a declawed male cat.  I was thrilled.  She sounded very nice and lives alone.  Her boyfriend comes in from Buffalo a few times per month with his own 13 year old cat.  I must've spent 2 hours with her today on the phone talking about the cats, the shelter, etc.  She called me back a few minutes ago and left a message:  "My boyfriend is worried that a shelter cat would be bringing in a disease that might harm his cat." 

WHATEVER!  She wanted to rescue somebody from THAT shelter.  Now her part-time boyfriend is calling the shots.  I hope she comes to her senses soon. 

I get periodic emails from foster homes (from the former rescue I was with) that tell me about their sick foster cats, etc.  Some of it sounds pretty nasty and the vet bills sound high.  Without knowing of my resignation, they email me and have asked for cats to go to the vets or be moved to another foster home. 

I sit at my desk and think, "Holy crap.  Am I ready to get back into this with my own rescue?"  

When you have your own rescue, you become an island.  You have some support, but mostly the buck stops with the one in charge.  It's a frightening prospect - one that I've done before, and it's not an easy path to take. 

I'm going to keep moving forward, but might need some slippers to keep these cold feet of mine warm. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ALMOST Wordless Wednesday

If you aren't singing this song compulsively by the end of the video, you need to turn up the volume:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby Steps

Every day I've been trying to do some work towards Forever Home Cat Rescue.  It isn't an easy task to start a rescue and I'm still not really sure where this is heading.  Regardless, it feels great to be doing something during the day.  David tells me that I'm starting to micro-manage everybody in the house now that I'm not as busy as I used to be.  I think he was being polite. :) 

The Sunday adoption at the shelter fell through.  While they were waiting, the woman ended up going next door to the SPCA and adopting two kittens - complete with $400.00 adoption fee - and taking them home.  My friend-in-rescue was so upset because she had recommended her.  Upset enough, that she took home little Kiara:
Imagine my delight receiving an email that Kiara had been taken home!  This little polydactyl girl had been languishing at the shelter since August. 

It wasn't such a bad day after all.  Certainly not for Kiara!  :)  I'm not at all upset about the kittens being adopted from next door at the SPCA.  They needed a home too.

I want to ask Kim, "Is anybody rescuing from the shelter right now?"  But I already know the answer, and my heart hurts. 

No rescues.  No public adoptions.  No chance for survival.  They're all sitting there waiting for their turn to die.  I can hardly stand it.   

But I haven't given up. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Drawer Sounds About Right

Ever since I resigned, I've been receiving some REALLY cute pictures of cats that I've either rescued or fostered.  I wish people knew how much this warms the soul for any foster parent to receive pictures like this:
I almost wish I could crawl in that drawer with him.  Sunday didn't turn out like I had planned.  I'll talk more about it tomorrow when I'm in a better frame of mind.  It's been a roller coaster of emotions today, and I'm ready to get off the ride. 

"Move over little orange dude, I'm coming in...!"

Friday, October 15, 2010

On The Job

I've had a lot of fun reading all the names y'all think would be great for a cat rescue.  It's sad that the "market" is so saturated with rescues that it's not so easy to find a good name, that I don't have to spell, has available name and web presence AND (most importantly) represents what I want to do!  That being said, I've decided *IF* I were going to start my own rescue, I would call it:

Forever Home Cat Rescue

I think that will be the ticket :)  For now, that's the name I will use to do adoptions at the shelter.  I think it speaks volumes.
Kim sent me a list of the cats that are MOST urgent at the shelter.  Although ALL the cats are eventually killed, these are the cats that have lived in a tiny microwave-sized cage for a long time.  It horrifies me that after all they've been through, they could end up dead:

Mya- been here since July 26
Edison- been here since Aug 3
Mr. Billings-been here since Aug 11
Lema-been here since Aug 14
Siblings- been here since Aug 25
Kiara- been here since Aug 25
MaryKate & Ashley- been here since Aug 28
Ozzie- been here since Aug 30
Wylie- Sept 10
Brayton- Sept 11
Nadia- Sept 12
Rodney - been here since Sept 13
Randy - been here since Sept 13
Sherra - been here since Sept 27

All of the cats listed are healthy, vaccinated, dewormed, flea treated and desperate to be loved.  They are shelter favourites and very adoptable.
Please use the link to the right of this page that says, "Cats that Need to be Rescued Urgently", to see their pictures. 

Forever Home Cat Rescue is on the job and is meeting a prospective ADOPTER on Sunday!!! 

Happy days are here again!  :)  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Keeping Me Lifted

Some days I feel like somebody is holding me up under my arms and keeping me going. The emails that have come in since my last blog post have made me laugh and they've made me cry with joy. It's given me reason to think about rescue in a way that I hadn't considered for a long time. I've had a "all things are possible" attitude today, thanks to those comments and emails.

Remember "Prissy" the little waif who was scheduled for euthanasia at the shelter?

Prissy is now "Ilona" and more than 4 pounds of sweetness!  Her foster Mom has decided to give her a forever home:

I never get tired of pictures like this. :)   It just doesn't get any better than this! 

I can't believe the number of emails I received from people asking me what the "ugly cat bed" I bought looked like.   For your amusement:

This is Phoebe.  Every multi-cat home has a Diva, and Phoebe is our resident dilute calico diva.  She sat in that ugly cat bed taking swipes at anybody who tried to oust her.  Hard to believe that this cat bed was originally $52.99.  I paid $25.00, which was STILL $20.00 too much!   I give it 48 hours before somebody pee's in it. 

Thank you for keeping me lifted in your thoughts and emails.  You have no idea how much it means to me. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"It's a Start, right?"

I'm back to doing something that I really enjoy doing.  I'm working with the high volume shelter doing adoptions (that aren't really supposed to happen) through their Petfinder website.  There's no adoption fee to adopt a cat from this shelter, but I still need to insure that the cats are going to a good home.  Sometimes death at the shelter is a better choice than going home with some idiot who won't take care of you. 

I had stopped doing these kind of "courtesy adoptions" when I was a board member at the former rescue.  I was too busy and exhausted from being on the phone all the time.  Adding to my time on the phone seemed unreasonable and ridiculously stressful.  (Ask my mother, who I never called because I was so tired of being on the phone!) 

When a cat is adopted through this shelter (that doesn't permit public adoptions), I have to sign the cat out under a rescue's name.  Looks like I have to think up a rescue name!  :)  I probably should take some better pictures of the more urgent cats and see if I can promote them.   I should also go out to the shelter and reacquaint myself with the cats again. 

It's a start, right?

I stopped looking at the high volume shelter's website for quite some time.  It hurt too much, and I was angry at the politics going on over there.  Maybe now I have more time and the "huevos" (balls) to deal with such nonsense.  After what I've been through recently, I feel like anything is possible. 

Here's some urgent guys that have caught my attention, that I understand are VERY VERY sweet:

The vet tech at the shelter emailed me about "Mr. Billings" (above).  She said he's SOOOO sweet and adorable.   She often gets stuck with marking the cats for euthanasia.  She hasn't been able to mark Mr. Billings and he's been at the shelter since July.  :(   All three of the cats above have already been neutered and can be vaccinated, dewormed and flea treated. 

No adoption fee, and promises of a feline love fest!  But I guess I'm preaching to the choir.  :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


It's been a whirlwind week as I've been working through my new life.   Meals are better, my house is cleaner, and my mother is thrilled that I've been calling her more often.  It felt odd that there were no cat-related emergency calls over the Canadian Thanksgiving. 

I've received more than 100 emails from friends about my resignation from the rescue.  They all shared the same sadness that I have for the cats that I cannot help at this point.

David surprised me the other night when he said that I should start my own rescue.  My own rescue takes money that I really don't have right now.  It would be great if every cat I rescued came with a tag that said, "I'm certifiably healthy and won't cost the rescue any money."  But we all know things don't work that way.  It would be great if I could start with some padding.  Years ago when I was President of another rescue, I would spend about $2000.00 per month of my own money just to keep up the rescue's veterinary bills.  I don't want to be in that position again. 

David thinks it would probably be cheaper in the long run to have my own rescue rather than spending $$$ at the stores like I have this week with all the extra time on my hands.  C' wasn't THAT bad!

Needless to say, I'm feeling much better and much, much happier about my decision to leave the rescue.  Part of me feels guilty about the "happy part", because of the cats at the shelter, but I truly feel as if I have been neglecting myself for far too long.  I didn't realize it until I woke up 5 days in a row feeling like a million bucks. 

Yes, I have moments where I'm chomping at the bit to dig back in, but today wasn't one of them.  Today, I went grocery shopping and spent $25.00 on a REALLY ugly fluffy cat bed at the pet store...

 ...I couldn't help but think that the $25.00 spent would be a vaccination for a cat in need...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Soaking in Some Love

I'm not sure why it always seems to work out that David is out of town and there's some sort of personal crisis going on.  He's in Philadelphia for some geeky World Championship Bridge Tournament.  I should be more supportive, but I found myself being irritated and hanging up on him too quickly as he was saying the sweet "good bye-I-Love-you's".  I feel badly, so now I sit and wait for the 8 pm break call back to apologize.  If you're married or in a relationship, you know the drill.

Certainly I haven't been lacking in love and support from my friends.  Waking up this morning to an inbox full of emotional encouragement  was incredible.  I felt uplifted - like some invisible force was holding me up under my arms.  I've been reading the blog comments and emails several times.  If somebody took the time to write me, I want to fully allow their kind words to penetrate my heart.  I have allowed myself to feel like such a loser, so you have no idea how much all this means to me right now. 

I've had some rescue opportunities come my way.  I don't think I'm interested in joining another rescue organization at this point.  I really don't want to be mistreated again.  Of course, I sit here and think about the cats in the shelters and wonder how soon I can pull myself together so that I can rescue them. 


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Unwind

Nothing in my 20 years of business and rescue prepared me for last Sunday's Executive meeting.  I'm a self-professed "tough cookie".  I've been through high kill shelters and have held my own beloved pets as they passed over.  I hurt, but I bounce. 

Spending the better part of a beautiful Sunday with women who shared the same passion sounded like the right place to be.  I spent $20.00 in gasoline and drove 1 hour to the meeting place, after dropping off a cat at a local Petsmart store.  With my plate of veggies and dip in my lap I listened dutifully as we went through the agenda. 

One woman who serves on the board, is basically the board piriah.  Nobody likes her, and some offer the periodic eyeball roll, and sympathetic email post-meeting.  They put up with her because she serves the job within the rescue that nobody wants to do. 

She blindsided me that beautiful Sunday afternoon, by bringing up an offensive email that I sent 2 weeks ago.  Rather than telling me that she was offended at the time the email was sent, she build up 2 weeks worth of hostility and verbally attacked me at the meeting.  Please know, that we usually anticipate this person to do something completely socially stupid at these meetings.  It's expected.  What I didn't expect is that while this woman was berating me on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, I watched in horror as my peers said nothing as they watched this drama unfold.  They were practically whistling at the ceiling. 

I felt humiliated.  I couldn't speak as I choked back the tears.  Eventually, I excused myself to go cry in the washroom.  Honestly, nothing I said in that email warranted that sort of behaviour.   Surely when I went back to the meeting, somebody would say *something* to reassure me.  No.  They had gone onto the next topic.

I work 40-60 hours per week for this rescue for free.  I'm at my computer at 7:30 am, and am still working at 10 pm - 7 days per week.   I'm the only one that was available during the day.  My gasoline bill was $800.00 per month.  I waited for two days for somebody to explain to me what happened.  

Nobody called.  It was silent.  My heart and soul hurt like never before. 

I made a terrible mistake.  I thought that these women were my friends - I felt used and humiliated.  I mistook a business relationship for friendship.  Silly me. 

After careful consideration and lots of tears, I sent in my resignation on Tuesday.  I didn't expect that  pushing the "Send" button would give me a feeling of freedom that I hadn't felt in a long time. 

Finally today, I received the token email  from the board's 19 year old board member, who obviously drew the short straw: 
"The remaining executive would like to thank you for your commitment to (the rescue).
We respect your request to resign and hope that your future endeavors in cat rescue work will prove fruitful for you."

"Fruitful"?  Really? 

I woke up this morning to an unfamiliar feeling of relief.  I didn't check my email until 10 a.m, and I went to a bookstore and read one of my new books by the fire this afternoon.  It was heavenly.  I put my hair in hot rollers and cleaned out my cosmetic drawer. 

As I unwind my deep roots within this rescue, I am comforted by the lesson that I learned.  At almost 50 years old, I didn't think there was that much life could still teach me. 

But life has a different plan for me.  You'll see... :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Blog Title

I've been thinking this afternoon about the title of this blog being "House of the Discarded".  I know that many people think that this represents the shelters from which I rescue. 

But that isn't the case.

"House of the Discarded" is my house.  It's a house full of cats and a dog that nobody wanted and at one time were tossed out like garbage.  The title represents everything about my life, my home, those that I love, and love me back.  The title represents some my darkest moments in which I've publically shared them. 

Maybe that's why I relate to the cats in the shelter.  Maybe that's why you can relate to me.  We've all felt vulnerable, and discarded at some point in our lives.

Like the cats, dog and people I live with, I'm grateful for every day.



Thank you for taking the journey with me. 

Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Saturday Morning Update

I don't usually wait this long between posts, but it's been a few days that have left me scratching my head and wondering what the heck is going on!  I spent one night in the Emergency Room with my son and another evening in the Emergency Room with my husband.  Both are totally fine now, thankyouverymuch.  But I'm exhausted! 

The day after the all-nighter with my son, I tried to compose an intelligent email and realized after pushing the send button that I what I responded with was totally lame.  I put on my robe and went back to bed.  Sometimes it's best just to keep your mouth shut. 

I'm happy to report that ALL of sad black cats from the rural shelter from my September 27th post have been rescued!   Of course, we're sitting here wondering where they're going to go, but at least they're safe.  The vet that neutered them said both cats drank 3 bowls of water immediately and ate 4 bowls of food.  It's a sad state that they don't properly feed the cats in their care. 

Foster parents Nicole and Shelley have rescued some little souls from the high volume shelter yesterday:

It was nice to see these guys sitting on a towel with a little toy in their cage.  I need a "kitten fix" too. 

Today?  I'm playing "Shuffle the cats".  We've had (far too many) emergency situations with several of our foster homes which have added to cats needing to be moved.  We're keeping our heads above water, but what we really need are a bunch of adoptions along with some new foster homes. 

Wow.  "Emergency situations".  "Need Adoptions".  "Need Foster Homes". 

Where have I heard that before?