Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Out the Door

I'm on my way out the door for Southern California to visit with my daughter, her fiance and their French Bulldog "Meatball".  Wedding dress shopping will come with mixed feelings for me, but am looking forward to kissing on a cute bulldog and calling myself "Grandma".  :) 

It's always a terrible thing to go someplace and NOT have a dog or cat to love.  It never feels like home. 

We've listed out house for sale and bought another house.  The week has been as insane as promised and it's a ridiculous time to go out of town.  I think some So Cal sunshine for a few days might be just the ticket. 

Thought I would share an email I received from the window washer yesterday.  Our rascal "Sherman" was brutal - knocked over his water, tried to escape through open screens, etc.  Looks like  Sherman made an impression on him:

Hi Beth,

Once again thank you for your business, and the opportunity to work with Sherman. I hope everything is ok with the work I did yesterday please let me know of any isssues.


I think Ian deserves our repeat business, don't you think?

Have a great week - see you Sunday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Juggling and More Juggling

This was a ridiculous week to consider putting my house up for sale, buying another house, putting new carpet in the basement, windows washed, house staged, running a rescue AND leaving for California for 4 days to visit my daughter.

But I'm doing it anyway.

As a rescuer, I've become a "master juggler" over the years.  I've got more things up in the air than I care to mention.  I reach out to our volunteer base with the subject line that says "HEEELP!" :)  (Don't worry FHCR volunteers, you're getting that email shortly!) 

I remember when my kids were little, I was able to feed a baby, vacuum the house, talk on the phone and take away a pair of scissors from an ornery toddler in a single moment.  I guess cat rescue is very similar.  There's always a million things going on at the same time. 

After SEVENTEEN adoptions this weekend, we were back to the shelter today!  I had planned on rescuing more than 1 cat, but the realization that  the rescue has to be out of one Petsmart store on Saturday and I'm out of town for most of the week, suddenly left me with far too many balls in the air to juggle.  So I took a happy little tabby/white teenagery fella who looked like he needed a break.

I'm a little overwhelmed tonight (if you hadn't noticed!).  Thank heavens it's not a "bad kind of overwhelmed."  I've got a lot of exciting things going on in my life and an awesome man in which to share it all!   I'm not sure where I'm finding the time this afternoon to write in my blog, but it really helps me clear my head. 

Would love to take a 30 minute nap, but there's no time...

Friday, March 23, 2012

An Update on Shannon and Mr. C

I could hardly wait to follow up with the vet clinic staff on how Shannon and Mr. C did on their first night together. I waited impatiently listening to a recorded message about "Heartworm Season" that the vet clinic had playing for customers on hold. Then "D" picked up the phone...

Apparently, Shannon woke up Mr. C this morning doing that "up-down-up-down-thing" with her paws on his chest. Then she licked his face!  "D" said that he sounded happy and very "busy" much to do for Shannon!  It sounds like Shannon and Mr. C were meant to be together.  He had a purpose and a reason to get up this morning.  Nobody will really know how serious Mr. C was about not wanting to live after Fritz was gone, but the veterinary staff were certain he was serious. 

I found a picture of Shannon from the shelter's website:

It's hard to believe nobody wanted her.  But she'll never be unwanted again, thanks to an awesome veterinary office and Mr. C.

The rescue's phone has been ringing quite a bit today.  I guess that's what happens when you put a bunch of fluffy dilute calico kittens on the site.  I wish people could see the not-so-fancy kittens and want to adopt them as desperately.  I even had a call from MICHIGAN to adopt this little girl:

If I get one more call from a teenybopper wanting to adopt her, I'm going to scream!  :) Holy crap, that's quite an "old gal" thing to say, isn't it?

Awww...hell....I think I just need to end this Friday post thinking about Shannon and Mr. C.  That story has enough good vibes in it to get me through the weekend. 

Happy Friday :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Mr. C"

Today was an amazing day.  I received a call from one of our veterinary clinics.  They've been working with a senior man with his senior cat for months.  The cat was dying and the gentleman was very very clear:  He didn't want to live if his cat couldn't live with him.  The man's beloved cat was to be euthanized at 1:30 today.  The staff at the clinic asked me to rescue a cat from the shelter so the man wouldn't go home to an empty apartment.

He has no family, no friends.  Just a very old cat named "Fritz".

The staff was devoted to "Mr. C".  They had been working with him and Fritz  for months.  They would support him and care for him and any cat that I brought to him today.  But I was nervous. 

I went to the shelter this morning and chose a sweet 7 year old declawed girl named "Shannon".   She had been at the shelter a long time.  Would she be able to heal Mr. C's heart? 

When I walked into the vet clinic, Fritz  had been euthanized 15 minutes earlier.  The staff was ashen and I could hear the gut wrenching sobs from Mr. C in the examination room.  Apparently, he had been at the clinic all day.  My heart fell as I walked in and introduced myself.  I brought "Shannon" with me at the encouragement of the staff. 

The tiny exam room had several staff members in it.  Their arms of love and support for Mr. C were amazing.  They hugged him and told him that Fritz would have wanted him to be happy and save Shannon.  He asked questions through the sobs:  "Would Shannon sleep in Fritz's bed?"  What would Shannon eat?  "Where would Shannon sleep tonight?"

Shannon swirled around his legs thoughtfully.  She knew Mr. C had a broken heart.  I think they needed each other.  Mr. C reached out and gave her a soft pat.  I could tell he was terrified that he was somehow betraying Fritz. 

Nobody could bear the thought of Mr. C going home to an empty apartment.  An apartment void of love and void of Fritz.  The staff gently encouraged him as Shannon worked her magic.  Mr. C told stories of Fritz and I asked him what Fritz would think of Shannon.  Mr. C laughed as he told the story of Fritz coming into his life. 

More tears.  We were all crying. 

Shannon has gone home with Mr. C today.  A loving staff member at the vet clinic drove them both home.  They stopped at the pet food store to buy Shannon some toys and a new brush. 

I'm going to bed tonight thinking about Mr. C and Shannon.  Mostly I'm going to think about Fritz who has loved an old man unconditionally for more than 17 years. 

I think Shannon is going to be a lucky girl.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stupid Day

I think I was due for a really crummy day.  Maybe it was the fog this morning, but even as the fog broke later this afternoon, the fog never really left my head. 

I had FIVE phone calls from the same person this morning.  Each voicemail was increasingly more hostile and aggravated.  She wanted to surrender her cat and she wanted to do so NOW.  Why do people think that I have to jump through hoops for them because they want to dump their cat?

Hope you laugh as hard as I did when I tell you that I received a very long comment on my blog (that was so ridiculous, I won't publish it) that said, "Beth, you are in this for the fame and money"  Seriously.  Somebody thinks I'm doing cat rescue for the "Fame" and the "Money".  Sure.  I laugh all the way to the bank with my large paycheques that the rescue gives me.  (insert sarcastic laugh here)

Fame?  Um...I don't even know what to say here.  I haven't returned Jay Leno's calls in weeks.

For heaven's sake.  What are people thinking? 

I promised I'd bring my camera for today's rescue and promptly forgot it.  I rescued a very handsome 5 year old "fatty" that I would LOVE to name "Chris Farley".  He was being picked on at the shelter because he was so submissive.  He was originally adopted out of this shelter but brought back there 4 years later because some wayward family member had to move back in and he was allergic.  So he lost his home and the stupid-ass family member is back.  Argh.

We also rescued a very cute orange guy.  I took him 4 hours before his "stray time" was up at the shelter.  Wouldn't you know that as we were leaving the parking lot, the owners of the cat were walking in to claim him?  I have to drive back tomorrow to bring the little orange wonder boy back to the shelter since his family wants him.  I guess it's good news for both owner and cat! 

For me?  $300.00 in gasoline spent in 7 days.

Yeah.  I'm in this for the money.  That's right.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Some Monday Thoughts...

I fear for a crazy kitten season this year with the early warm weather.  Usually, this time of year we still have some snow on the ground, but today I was in short sleeves and bare feet.  It ticks me off that I couldn't just enjoy the unseasonable warm weather, but I have to associate EVERYTHING with cat rescue:

1.  Warm Weather in early Spring = Early Kitten Season

2.  Frigid Weather in winter = Cats Freezing to death

3.  Rain =  I wonder if little homeless cats are dry and hovering under if they're hit by a car?

4.  Heat wave =  Do the homeless cats have cool water to drink?

Like so many rescuers, I guess I'm tuned in to this stuff more than the average person.  It's been a long time since I was able to enjoy a cold winter night or a stormy warm summer rain. 

I had a woman come in today to talk to me about "staging" my house for sale.  Apparently, it's practically mandatory that your house looks like a model home in order for it to sell.  This woman was NOT an animal person.  She pointed briskly to the cat beds and scratching posts..."Go."  "Go."  "Go."   Then she walked into my family room and saw the HUGE cat tree there and practically fell off her high heels.  "THAT isn't staying, is it???"    She walked into my bedroom and saw 5 cats asleep on my bed.  I tried to tell her they were foster cats, but even *I* didn't sound very credible.  :)

There was one pitiful lonely kitten left at Petsmart when I arrived today.  I felt awful, as I was sure she had been adopted already!  I should've brought her a friend.  I don't like kittens to be alone at Petsmart.  I held her for a long time.  Every time I put her down she'd **HOWL***.  Tomorrow, I'll bring a few friends for her.  But for tonight, I'll wallow in guilt that we have a kitten without a friend at Petsmart.  Damn. 

Tomorrow is a rescue day and I'm looking forward to it.  I'd like to slow down a bit this week, if I can.  When clean towels sit in the dryer for 5 days and nobody folds them, I'm too busy.  I like being occupied, but I really dislike a frantic pace.  I don't *do* frantic very well. 

I'll bring a camera tomorrow.  :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Irresponsible Rescuing"

It feels like forever since I've written in my blog.  I'm getting ready to list the house for sale and have been searching high and low for just the right home to spend the next 50 years.  Believe me - I'm NOT moving again.  As I'm beginning to prep the house for sale, I've picked up boxes in the basement to stack them neatly, and uncovered old dried up cat pee which has left me feeling less than chipper on this beautiful day. 

Yesterday, I received a "Mega Urgent" email from a fellow rescuer.  She needs money.  Badly.  She's a gal that rescues from the high-kill shelter where I rescue.  It was well written and heartfelt - it even included pictures of the cats that are currently in her care. 

Note the last two words in that paragraph:  IN. HER. CARE.

I feel guilty saying this, I really do - but it seems to be irresponsible rescuing to take hundreds of cats over a period of time that you cannot take care of properly.  Believe me, I've asked for donations too - but that's usually just for ONE cat that needs some special over the top care.  This is a rescuer who is taking cats from the shelter that is KNOWN to have sick cats and is asking for money for antibiotics etc. 

"Was this a surprise that you're going to have to pay for vet care for these cats?"

What's "irresponsible rescuing"?  I have my own personal definition:  "Rescuing more cats than you can space or money to care for them responsibly." 

I've talked about this on other blog posts.  I've known rescuers who put cats in cages in their bedrooms, garages, livingrooms, etc, and have NO plan as to what they're going to do with them.  I know one rescue where the directors put cats in their garages in cages.  These are not feral cats - these are loving little house cats, sitting in damp dark garages in cages. 

So now we have a rescuer asking for donations for her rescue.  Why on earth is she asking me??  If I have extra money, it's going to the cats in care for our rescue!  Not to somebody elses' rescue.   

Sure.  This sounds really bitchy and rereading it didn't make it any better.  I've backspaced and tried to soften it a bit.  But we're on the cusp of kitten season and all I can think about are these "rescues" who have a zillion cats in their homes and every nook and cranny of their homes and can't afford to vet them properly.


I haven't written in a while and obviously this has really been building up in my mind.  Thanks for listening to the rant.  I hope it comes at a time that might be helpful to another rescue who is thinking about taking too many cats.  We can't help them all.  I wish we could. 

Damn.  I really wish we could help them all.

(Post Script Note:  Please remember, this is rant - nothing is absolute and merely a tired rescuer's opinion.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Breed Specific

If the weather hadn't been so beautiful today, I'd say this was a "disappointing day".  But somehow with Spring-like sunshine and warmth, I must've been feeling far too optimistic for my own good. 

I had cleared my calendar for the day to engage in an important meeting for our rescue.  Unfortunately, I was the only party that remembered the meeting, so was stood up.  The other party gets paid to do what he does, so I was pretty upset and disappointed at this level of rudeness.  Besides - HE called the meeting.  UGH.

I've never made it a secret that I'm not a fan of taking in owner/surrender cats.  But when a call came in this morning from a caregiver of a senior lady with 3 cats, I decided to really listen to what was going on.  Apparently, the senior had fallen several times.  There was a Mom cat and two 7 month old kittens - none are fixed, of course:

Me:  Are they friendly?
Her:  Of course!  They're wonderful lap cats!
Me:  Terrific!  We do have some available foster space for friendly cats! 
Her:  Oh good!  Can you come today?
Me:  My calendar is free today.  By the way, what do the cats look like? 
Her:  Why they're purebred Himalayans!
Me:  Wow!  (thinking to myself:  "The rescue jackpot!")  Himalayans??  They're tan and brown?  (trying to keep it simple.)
Her:  YES!  They're called "Chocolate Point!" 
Me:  (Insert silent "whoo hoo" here)

I immediately called our vet to schedule 3 spay appointments and started dialing foster parents to arrange for their arrival.  Yes, I'm a planner - and need to have a plan for cats before rescuing them.  

I arrived promptly to the apartment.  She opened the door and I didn't see 3 Himalayan cats, but saw 3 short-haired Tortoiseshell cats scatter under the sofa hissing and growling.

Me:  Um....those kitties aren't Himalayan.  They're called Tortoiseshell.
Her:  Oh no....they're definitely Himalayan.  The vet told me that they're purebred Himalayan.  (She points)  There's the Dad of the 7 month old kittens. 
Me:  He's a short haired orange cat.  Not a Himalayan.
Her:  I had him neutered.
Me:  Good.

I would've been happy to take the cats from her.  She needed the rescue's help - there was no doubt about that.  But I couldn't touch the darn things.  They were under the couch growling, hissing.

Me:  They aren't very friendly.
Her:  Sure they are.  Maybe they don't like your perfume.

I feel like beating my head against the wall when I deal with stuff like this.  But it's part of dealing with the public.  I don't think people realize how much of my job is dealing with the public. 

Just had a call from Petsmart.  Looks like we've cleared the adoption centre again and by tomorrow at 1:30 all the cats will have been adopted - again!!

This day is looking up!  :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Moments of Insanity

Did I really forget to write yesterday?  I usually look forward to writing in my blog on Mondays - especially after a busy weekend.

The past few days have been filled with disturbing phone calls.  I've had two different calls from people wanting to "surrender" their 15 and 16 year old cats.  Totally different families - same stupid  situation.  In fact, I was just browsing through Craigslist and saw somebody trying to "rehome" an 18 year old cat.  This kind of shit breaks my heart.

It's like moments of insanity for 3 days!  This morning a foster parent forwarded me a Kijiji Online Classified ad and it turns out to be one of our cats that was recently adopted!  The woman was giving him away because he didn't like the resident cat.  (or vice versa)  She never called the rescue or anything.  Just put up the ad and could go to whomever called. 

Dealing with this has been stressful and still not resolved. 

I've been having some moments of insanity too as I'm facing selling the house after being here only 3 years.  The location and size of the house isn't working for us any longer.  I think we're making an offer on another (bigger) house tonight.  Exciting stuff - but I'm not really looking forward to making another change so fast. 

We rescued a bunch of cats yesterday from the shelter and one was immediately adopted.  It's really been a lovely month rescues and adoptions. 

I'm pooped....more rescues tomorrow...will update then. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

Blustery Friday

It felt good today to be out in strange Canadian weather and rescuing cats.  One of the shelters we rescue from has an awesome "Barn Cat" program.  They don't euthanize feral or semi-feral cats but spay/neuter and vaccinate them then allow local farmers to take them for mousers. 

Over the past few months that I've been rescuing from this shelter,  I fell in love with one big ol' Tom cat who was part of the Barn Cat program that had the most soulful eyes.  He looked like he had something on his mind.  When I first saw Mr. Big Cheeks he was crouched low into his litterbox.  Two months later, he was still in a cage as no farmer had taken him.  I was incredibly excited to have a foster parent with a brand new barn come forward and offer to take him. 

So I made the trek out to the shelter - it was a happy day today:

 While I was there, the same foster Mom that took Mr. Big Cheeks also asked me to pick out a pregnant girl for her too!   So I picked out a sweet little brown tabby with a huge belly.  As I type this email, we have another foster Mom driving out to the high-volume shelter to (hopefully) rescue "Quinn" - another pregnant girl:
I dread rescuing (pregnant) cats from this shelter.  Watching them become ill and the probability of all their kittens dying becomes really great.  I told the foster Mom to hang on to her heart.  She's a veteran at the shelter and knows the risks.  We'll see how things progress here. 

Regardless, it felt good to sing that silly little rescue song.  Happy Friday all...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

An Update On Bunny

Last year, when Bunny was rescued, she was so frightened.  You could hold her - IF you could catch her:

When an adoption call came in for Bunny, I was worried.  Perhaps I soft-peddled her personality a little too much?  The adopter was a single Mom with a 12 year old daughter.  The family was going through a divorce and they really wanted to meet Bunny despite the fact that I was clearly hesitant about letting her be in a home without someone home to really work with her. 

I remember that day so well.  We met at a Petsmart and the sweet mother/daughter duo fell in love with Bunny even though Bunny wasn't very cooperative.  We certainly had friendlier cats that day.  The Mom confided in me that her daughter was having a very difficult time with the divorce and that they needed each other.

Ahh...."Needed each other"....those are important words to me.

Months later, an update came in from the adopter yesterday.  I've edited it for length.  I hope you get goosebumps like I did:

"Bunny (Sweetheart) is doing great. She is so adorable and Amanda and I absolutely love her dearly. Beth you remember when she was a baby how she used to run and hide? Amanda placed a little bell on her collar so we would always know where she was and we purposely did not chase her or scare her so she would become comfortable with us and build up trust...She speaks to us and listens to us. She is so cute and an absolute beauty. She only enjoys cuddling when she is tired but when she does cuddle oh my goodness she purrs up a storm and really snuggles, especially with Amanda.

When it is time to wake up Amanda I will tell Bunny to wake up Amanda and she will run into Amanda’s room and jump on Amanda’s bed and start to play with Amanda’s feet to wake her up. Beth it is hilarious and the funny part is that she will not do this until I tell her it is time to wake up Amanda.

Also in the evening when it is time for bed we will say “bedtime, Sweetheart it is time for sleeping” she will then stop what she is doing and sit and look at us waiting for us to go to our rooms. She will not go into the bedroom until the television is turned off and I start to turn the lights off.

We could not imagine our life without her Beth she has truly become a member of our family. She is truly loved and she loves us and she is coming around slowing but then again I think she has come a long way in just two months.

Thank you Beth and thank you for all your efforts in saving these amazing animals.

This email arrived on a day when I really needed the encouragement. I felt weak and ineffective. I only wish adopters knew how much these kind of stories give back to me all that I've given X 10!   It makes the heartache and trouble worth every moment.  I'm hoping that any rescuer who reads this email gets strength from it and it finds you at a time when you need it the most.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Yoga Pants and Mondays

I can always tell when Monday is going to be really busy when I arrive at the grocery store to do my weekly grocery shopping before 9 am or after 9 pm.  Today...I was there at 8:30 am with the young moms in their yoga pants, expensive sneakers and pony tails swinging. I practically ran them over with my cart as I barreled through the produce section, my face glistening with menopause.  When did I stop being a "young mom in yoga pants?" 

Anyhooo....I ended up driving out to a foster Mom's to pick up 5 kittens to place them in our Petsmart store.  There's always people buying pet food with stories of their own pets and I always listen.  Fortunately, the Yoga-pants gang were already out of Petsmart by the time that I arrived (toddlers need naps) and I seem to relate more to the "senior-set" who have stories to tell.  It takes me a little longer to check in the cats, but it's nice to be able to chat with people.  Besides, you never know who has a million dollars to donate, right? (*lol*)

The older cats at the store were desperate for some attention, so I diligently took each one out to give kisses and love.  We have one cat at the store named "Colbert" that I'm totally in love with!  This cat is THE SWEETEST boy and I'm so glad somebody else is fostering him.  I wouldn't let him go.  I just know it.

I feel so much better that the cats don't have to stay there until adoption.  It satisfies my guilty feelings knowing that they get to go back to a loving foster home who is waiting for them after about a week.  I feel sorry for some cats from other groups that are left there for the entire month.  But sometimes that can't be helped. 

I'm ready for another rescue tomorrow, I think.  We had a bunch of adoptions over the weekend but unfortunately, that didn't open up much foster space.  We have several foster parents on vacations, some are babysitting other cats for a few weeks, and others had some personal health issues.  My foster list is looking a little bit grim, so need to take an accounting of what I can actually do.  Some days, I envy the rescues that just "rescue cats and figure it out later".  I think that would keep me up at night.  But I envy the notion just the same.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

A Saturday at "Cat Central"

I so rarely write in my blog on a Saturday, but we had a death in the family a few days ago and I feel so behind on everything and off my usual routine.  Fortunately, we have such a strong volunteer base, that I didn't really feel like anyone was short-changed :)

A wonderful couple came to my home today to adopt my black kitten,  Eddie Van Halen. Naming that kitten Eddie Van Halen was brilliant - I've had so many adoption calls on this guy! This amazing couple not only left with my Eddie, but also fell in love with my Lucas too! They took both my foster cats and I couldn't be happier.  Heck, if I pushed it maybe they would've adopted "The Sherminator" too!  Hahaha! 

My cats were acting like such jerks when these people were here.  They knocked over the vase with my birthday flowers in them, spilling water everywhere.  Willy (my DLH black guy) was biting, the dog was farting, Sherman was in the kitchen sink knocking over water glasses...seriously, I think these people thought they were saving my two foster cats from ME! 

The phones have been ringing today from Petsmart and after putting in 11 cats a few days ago, only 2 are left for adoption.  Looks like I'd better get busy...

I received an adoption call today from a woman who sounded VERY desperate to adopt a kitten.  Her voicemail was short and manic.  (Red flag!)  By the time I got her on the phone, she was practically breathless as she wanted to adopt a kitten for her son.  "How old is your son?", I politely asked.   

"He's turning 1 year old today and I want a kitten today!" 

Yeah.  She didn't get approved.  Strange how I've turned down five adopters this week.  I really try hard to make an adoption work with the appropriate cat with the appropriate home.  But some of these folks don't quite understand the commitment.  One lady told me that she would definitely declaw a cat "because her furniture is far more important than some cat."  Holy crap....I sent out a "Do Not Adopt" to several other local groups, because she indicated that she'd lie about it to the next group she calls.  It wasn't so much the declawing part that bugged me, but it was the fact that she admitted her furniture got priority over the cat AND she sounded so completely b*tchy. 

So here I am...Saturday afternoon, answering the cat phone adoption line.  No wonder David calls my office "Cat Central".