Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Declaration

Kitten season may have been here for the past couple of weeks, but I feel as if I can officially declare Kitten Season's arrival when I'm stressed out of my mind.

It's been nothing but emails about food, diarrhea, runny eyes, prolapsed rectums and adorable kitten pictures.  This morning, I  sent an email  "How's the poop situation?" that was supposed to go to foster parent "Edith" - instead it went to my banker "Elaine".  (Damn those drop down email menus!)  I'm dreading the Monday morning phone call from her. (The banker, that is)

Within several days our "inventory" of cats doubled as kittens have arrived into foster homes ready to love them through adoption.  There are kittens arriving under staircases, sheds and in barns.  This time of year we have lots of space, but I know in a few short months, adoptions will slow down to a trickle in the warm summer months.

Black kittens that aren't adopted at the young, tiny "cute" stage will become teenagers in our program and be in foster care through Christmas.  Adopters will be begging for the calicos and orange kittens.  Those who do rescue know that I'm right.

My usual anal organized "Beth" has been replaced with a more scattered version of "Beth", as I'm figuring out who still needs vaccinated, dewormed, or bottlefed.  I'm glad David's out of town right now as I'm really fighting the urge to tear out my hair.  :)

Yep.  Kitten Season is here.  Again.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coming Clean

Today was supposed to be a relaxing 4 hours at the salon - hair, waxing, and nails.  Since the invention of cell phones, I never quite get away from it all as my phone never stops ringing.  Such as life in rescue, right?

I drove 20 minutes this morning before my appointment to pick up a couple of kittens from a foster parent and ended up stopping for gas right across the street from a Maple Leaf Farms slaughter house.  As I stood there with the gas nozzle in my hand, I avoided eye contact with the building itself.  It wasn't until I heard the loud hiss of breaks that I looked up and saw the little faces...

Pigs.  Lots of sweet little pigs crammed into a truck and arriving at the slaughter house.  I felt my face flush with anger, guilt and shame as I tried to look away from their pink noses sticking out of the holes.  I was a vegetarian for years until I became ill and felt the need to go back to eating meat.  It's so easy to buy meat at the supermarket and forget how it comes into the store.  I stood there practically begging my gas tank to finish filling so I could flee the area. 

It wasn't a proud moment for this self-proclaimed animal lover.  How I hate being slapped in the face with this kind of reality.

Sadly, it looks like our girl Tilt is coming back.  I received a voicemail message while I was still at the hair salon.  Apparently, the resident yorkie is traumatized by her presence.  Blah.  I understand, but poor Tilt was really happy with them.  She needs to be in a foster home soon.  I think she'll end up getting very depressed at Petsmart again.

Wow.  This is an uplifting blog post, eh? 

I'm getting very busy with the end of the month looming and a new month beginning.  Lots to do and juggling of cats.  David leaves tomorrow morning for The Canadian Bridge Championships in Montreal for a week.  (aka:  "Geekfest 2012")  I love the man dearly, but it's nice when he's away.  Cereal for dinner and I don't plan on shaving my legs for the entire week.  (Too much information?) 

Tomorrow?  A *second* showing of our house.  Lord, I hope this thing sells.  :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Keeping it Simple

I had a moment of panic this morning as the first phone call of the day was at 7:30 am from Tilt's new Mom that adopted her on Sunday. Apparently, Tilt LOVES her 1 year old Yorkie, but the feeling isn't (yet) mutual.   What a lovely lady!  I wish every adopt could be like her.  Her Yorkie wasn't happy with the new family addition.  However, they slept on the bed together, were playing and chasing each other, and even greeted her at the door together.  The only challenge is that the Yorkie will only eat if coaxed by being fed with a spoon.  (Sorry...I shouldn't laugh) 

If I had a nickel for every phone call I received like this one, I could probably build my own shelter.  I spent quite a bit of time with the adopter on the phone and I think we've got a good handle on working with the Yorkie.  Fingers are crossed that Tilt doesn't come back.  This lady sounds wonderful and introducing new pets to each other is always stressful.  She already named her "Pip" which is FAR more respectful for our head tilt girl than "Tilt".  :)

I had hoped to get out to the shelter today, but a house showing came up this afternoon.  I worked for hours to get my house ready, make it look like I have NO pets, load the cats and 14 year old dog into the car only to see the buyer pull up into the driveway and leave without going into the house.  I completely fell apart and started to cry.  Argh.

At least "Maggie" had fun:

Oh well.  My house is clean and I've announced that I'm too traumatized to cook dinner tonight. :)

Tomorrow should be a busy rescue day.  These rescue days are the only time I'm ever really involved with the cats.  The rest of the time it's all about administration and putting out "fires" for the rescue.  It's silly to think that as the Director of a rescue how little I really work with the cats that I rescue!! 

Speaking of "not working with the cats..." I really miss  fostering right now!  Somebody called me about a 16 week old tabby kitten needing placement and I was DYING to take him to my house.  But I can't take in any more cats until my house is sold.  Sheesh...I'm tired of that phrase;  "not until my house is sold..."

I'm very aware that my blog posts lately have been  I have all kinds of things I'd love to vent about but they might be rather controversial and I'm just not up for the harrassment that I might get if some don't agree with me.  You wouldn't believe the comments that I DON'T publish.  I always want to say, "HEY...this isn't's just a blog about rescuing cats for God's sake."

Sooooo....I think I'll just keep it simple for now.  :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Crawling Out

If life isn't stressful enough, I sit down to write in my blog this afternoon to find that Blogger has changed the entire format and layout of how I write in my blog.  I shouldn't be such an ol' fuddy-duddy, but I really do enjoy a predictable life sometimes. 

The self-indulgent pity party that I've been having for the past week seemed to spill over into the weekend.  I went to bed last night in a huff with David.  I jerked the covers off of him and rolled over and as I gave a stern, "FINE!" I realized that I really need to crawl out of this emotional hole before I begin another week of complete madness. 

So I woke this morning deciding that today would be a normal, happy day and took some deep breaths.

The adoptions this month have been amazing and even the shelter's rowdy girl "Tilt" was adopted today:

This little cat was SOOOOO rowdy that I was beginning to wonder if I made a mistake in putting her in a Petsmart store. But a family came in today to adopt two kittens and left with Tilt instead!

I was back at the shelter today and put two "teenager" cats on hold to be rescued this evening.  Looks like with the recent adoptions, I'll be back there again tomorrow! 

It was a rainy Monday, but it was anything BUT depressing or blue.  As usual, these funks pass and I'm back on top again.  Looks like I have some making up to do with my sweetheart....:)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Stressful Week Wind Down

The stress of the week has really taken it's toll.  I find myself hanging on to all the garbage coming my way rather than holding on to the good.  This always happens the most when I'm stressed.

I'd like to know why an adopter feels that they can take a cat to the vets for deworming a month AFTER adoption and feel like the rescue should pay for it.  Then when I politely tell them "no", they tell me "F*ck you" and hang up.  I've been hung up on 3 times this week and I'm really becoming worn down with it all. 

Who says "F*ck you" to an unpaid volunteer that rescues animals?   Seriously, what kind of person does that?

I know it's not just me.  I've heard other people say the same thing about dealing with people.  When you deal with the public, you're bound to get some doozies.  Fortunately, the lovely, wonderful committed adopters outweigh the trash.

The foster Mom for our little Tattoo tells me he isn't doing well. He's becoming quiet and less playful.

There isn't much we can do for this little man, but he's in very very capable hands.  I wish I hadn't gotten so attached.  But how do you separate yourself emotionally from a little guy like that?  He's truly special and I pray he makes it. 

(Note at 8:00 pm Friday:  Tattoo passed away.  Many hugs to Shelley who gave him a chance and showed him the only love he's known)

After this week, I'm glad to see Friday coming.  Although I remind myself that I have a 7 day a week volunteer job and Friday doesn't have the same meaning as it does for most people.  I wonder if the people who told me "F*ck you" realize that?

Cheers to Friday.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happier Thursday!

I've had two rescue days in a row!  I'm not sure how I'm managing the house showings AND the trips to the shelter, but so far despite the hectic schedule, I'm hanging in there.  Truthfully, I have to give credit to our volunteers who are picking up the slack.  We have one volunteer that I can call and say, "PLEASE call these three people back...." so there's no delay in people getting returned phone calls. 

Yesterday, I rescued a very cute little girl named "Tilt" who has a permanent head tilt.  She's been to the vet and has a healed massive ear infection.  Poor girl must've been in quite a bit of pain at some point.  The shelter took beautiful care of her for almost a month.  The (other) shelter would've just killed her rather than spending the money:

While at the shelter yesterday, I fell in love with a pair of sisters and vowed to come back and get them out today.  I couldn't resist taking a video of them:

Apparently, a woman came in to the shelter to surrender them. When the shelter said there was a waiting list for owner surrenders, she said she was just going to dump them outside. Of course, the shelter took them. They are insanely SWEET!!!!!! (Can you tell I'm completely smitten with them?) They're only 2 years old. :)

It's been a long week and feels like a Friday today.  Our house hasn't sold yet, but there have been showings almost every day.  I'm exhausted from keeping my house perfect all the time.  Admittedly, I'm enjoying walking in and seeing everything organized and put away - but it's so sterile and that isn't me. 

Yesterday, I visited Tattoo. Holy God, I've never seen such a tiny kitten that's 4 weeks old. This little guy is SMALLER THAN A HAMSTER! The pictures do NOT show how tiny he is. PLUS...he's galloping around his foster Mom's house. He's totally a more advanced kitten 4-5 weeks old and is having a ball. He follows his foster Mom around mewing after her and leaping at her leg. Imagine a kitten the size of a hamster doing that. Incredible! Thank heavens I'm not fostering this guy - he'd never leave.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


One our busiest foster Moms rescued a little guy she named "Tattoo" yesterday.  He had been living under a shed in somebody's back yard.   When Shelley called me and tried to describe this little guy, I listened with half an ear as I was poised to type the information in our database of new rescues.  She went on with great animation, "Beth, this is the strangest little guy I've EVER seen." 

I stopped typing. Shelley has been doing rescue for years and years.  "Strangest she's ever seen"  is really something.

Apparently, Tattoo is a 4 week old kitten - except that he's the size of a 10 **DAY** old kitten!!  Tattoo is doing all the things that 4 week old kitten does - he's toddlin' around, climbing the side of the sofa.  Shelley tells me that it's like watching a spider go up the side of the couch - he's THAT tiny.  He's smaller than her 10 day old bottlefeeders that she currently has.

Without further adieu....introducing "Tattoo"

I think the most amazing picture is the picture that was sent to me this afternoon.  This is Tattoo with an 8 WEEK old kitten:

Seriously...that isn't a full grown cat he's next to - that's an 8 week old kitten!!!! 

We were really hesitant about naming this guy.  Giving him a name means we're all attached to him and it's hard to know if this little freaky-mutant-sweetie will survive.   I'm seeing BIIIIIG vet bills in our rescue's future for this little man.  But he's worth it. 

I haven't even met him and I'm already attached.  God help me. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Quiet Monday

It's been a quiet Monday.  I had planned on doing so much today, but feel a little paralyzed and wanting to stay close to home.  So I've declared  it a "Rescue Admin" day and hope that pushing all my rescue plans for tomorrow doesn't come back to haunt me. 

The highlight of the day was when an adopter called in to tell me that she named her new kitten "Poop Licker".  I'm all for funny, creative names...but POOP LICKER?  I had to share the wealth on Facebook and posted that as my recent status update.  I figure anybody who names their kitten Poop Licker won't be offended by this blog post. :)  As long as he has a loving home that's forever....I don't care what they name their kitten. 

I've been working on some strategic placement of cats.  We have a couple of adults in Petsmart who need to go back into foster homes.  I don't believe in allowing adult cats to sit in a Petsmart cage for much more than one week.  It seems cruel to leave them sitting there any longer - regardless of how many comfy blankets you put in. 

A foster Mom sent me a fascinating picture yesterday.  She has two kittens from two different litters.  BOTH of them are (Verified) EIGHT weeks old:

The size difference is amazing, eh?  It's one of the reasons I'm so appreciative of foster parents of kittens - there are so many things that can go wrong with these little guys.  While I was on the phone with a foster parent yesterday, she discovered one of her young kittens had died in the night.  *sigh*  Nothing she did wrong - just one of those awful things.

I'm praying for no house showings tomorrow.  I've really messed up by planning a quiet day today.  Tomorrow is going to be crazy.  The thunderstorms are about to begin as I type this and am anxious to cozy into my afternoon and enjoy the show from Mother Nature. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quality of Our Lives

There's really nothing worse than being on "death watch".  Whether it's a litter of failing kittens, or your own pet - knowing that their passing is imminent is worse than the passing itself.  Despite the ridiculously shitty news yesterday, I still managed to get to the shelter.  Being normal is half the battle to get through this stuff.

I rescued 2 adult cats, along with 2 insanely cute hissy kittens.   This time of year, everybody seems to want kittens and our foster parents that have rescued adults are holding tight for adoption calls.  It's true, not everybody wants a kitten - but you'd never know that by the scramble at Petsmart and the number of phone calls I've received for them.   Right now, adopters seem desperate to get a kitten - even a black one! 

It occurred to me this morning that I haven't received one phone call (yet) about an unwanted litter of kittens!  (although I'm sure I probably just jinxed it)  We did take in some bottle feeders and the finder has yet to trap the Mom.  I hate that the Mom cat still "out there" and wondering where her babies are.  Without a doubt we saved the lives of 4 little ones who would end up as more breeding adults.  Let's hope that the Mom cat comes around again.  Same ol' story, I guess.

Blah...I didn't really want to talk about rescue stuff today.  That's not what's on my mind or in my heart.

I took our Maggie for a walk this afternoon. She seemed to enjoy the sunshine and walked slowly. I think that will be my barometer for how she's feeling. If she still looks excited when I bring out the leash and wants to go out for a short walk...she's OK. Quality of life, right?

As we watch Maggie, I think about my own quality of life. Stressing about our house for sale doesn't seem quite as relevant right now. Cooking dinner or the pile of cat barf in the hallway can wait a little while longer.

I don't think I need to make a list of what's important in my life. At 50 years old, I already know what's meaningful: God, our family, our pets, friends, our rescue...maybe in that order? (or maybe not)

I suppose the order of importance depends on what each day brings. Rest assured that each of those gives my life great meaning and a quality to my life that I sadly overlook until I'm slapped in the face with some gut wrenching reality.  Many thank you's to those of you who emailed and commented on my blog from yesterdays post - I know I'm in good company. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Four Weeks

It's been a rough couple days.  

Our 14 year old dog Maggie stopped eating two days ago and after many tests and worry, it appears she has liver cancer.  The only thing left is an ultrasound, but our vet feels that an expensive ultrasound won't change anything or the course of treatment.  It would just confirm his suspicions. 

Before logging onto "Blogger" this afternoon, I had spoken with our vet again.  Apparently, she might have 4 weeks left - at best.  Although I hope he's wrong, I strongly feel he isn't.

A few nights ago, David stepped in HUGE pile of diarrhea in the middle of the night and slipped in it practically breaking his neck.  At the time, it was hysterically funny and I could hardly wait to write about it in my blog, but now I realize it was just a symptom that our old girl was really sick. 

So here we go again.  We open ourselves up to loving a dog or cat without conditions and we get hurt.  We're all hurting tonight over the news - especially my 21 year old son who has loved Maggie since he was just a kid. 

We'll love her to the end - whenever that is.  What else can we do?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Frustrating Day

I hadn't been to the "high kill" shelter in weeks and decided to make the trek out there today to rescue one or two cats in particular.  One of the cats had been rescued an hour earlier and they killed the other one this morning.  It's so sad and discouraging.  Of course, I'm happy for the cat that was already rescued, but it's paralyzing when I missed the other by a matter of a few hours. 

I left the shelter with a horrific anxious feeling.  I always get that way when I (erroneously) feel responsible for the death of a cat.  I could feel it wash over me like a wave of jittery grief.  I feel like I'm beating myself over the head over and over again any time I go into that shelter. 

I stopped by our Petsmart Adoption Centre to place several adult cats in the store.  The adoption area looked awesome (as usual) and there were SIX adoptions last night and one in the process when I arrived!  I'm hoping this pair of bonded adults have a better chance at being adopted there.  They had quite a few adoption calls from our website, but the former foster parents weren't attentive about calling people back and they had lost several adoption opportunities.  That's so frustrating. 

It looks like rain and as it darkens outside, so does my mood inside.  I hurt my back today for no apparent reason, but I'm sure it has to do with hoisting cats in and out of cat carriers as I'm trying to remove them from the house in order to sell it.  I'll have to be more careful or I'll end up being completely incapacitated. 

So much for a cheery blogpost!  :)  Tomorrow will be better.  It always is.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Monday Miscellaneous

The shelters were closed today due to Canadian "Easter Monday".  It was nice to take a short breather as it was a hugely busy adoption weekend for us. 

Our house was shown at 11:30 this morning and the same family came back today at 3:30 to see the house again!  It's always a good sign and I'm hopeful the end to this madness will come a little earlier than I expected.  The cats were understandably ticked at me loading them in carriers TWICE in one day!  I have the scratches to prove it.  :(

I found a cute picture of our cat "Willy" who seem delighted with the moving of our furniture "post-staging" because it produced a TON of lost cat toys from under the couches:

The stager left all the toys on top of my desk.  Willy looks a little buzzed from "expired" catnip.

This morning my own cats seemed extra excited to be out in our cat enclosure. They slithered low to the ground like they were stalking something.  I bolted to the window to make sure it wasn't another wayward chipmunk in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But I didn't find a chipmunk.  I found we have a NEW neighbour that I hadn't seen yet:
Later that morning, there was another white one - that guy was short haired.  That neighbour's window looks out on our cat den, so I'm sure they've been having a great time giving each other the stink eye. 

My son said, "OH?  You didn't know the new neighbours have cats?  I heard the Mom screaming at the kids, "DON'T LET THE CATS OUT, DAMMIT!'

I'm sort of sorry that I'm moving now.  We finally got a neighbour that likes cats! 

Tomorrow should be a very busy rescue day.  Lots going on.  I'm grateful I had the presence of mind to do the grocery shopping this morning. 

Maybe there's time for a 30 minute siesta??  Naaaaaaaw....

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm happy to report that we were back to the shelter today to do a rescue.  We left with a 4 month old recently spayed girl and a 5 month old rowdy little teenager boy.  :)  With all that has been going on lately with me personally, it's been nice to do some normal things.

I've reported the need for normalcy so many times in this blog.  Doing laundry felt GOOD today.  I hadn't completed one load of laundry since my return from California.  Living in a seemingly sterile house that's ready to show to a prospective buyer at a moment's notice is anything BUT normal.  I yelled at David yesterday morning because he accidently flicked some soap on the washroom mirror. 

"I suppose *I* have to clean that up now.  THANKS for giving me something ELSE to do today!"

Yeah.  It wasn't one of my best marital moments.

There was another older kitten at the shelter today that was on my mind long after I left.  I made a few phone calls when I got home and one of my favourite volunteer drivers said, "SURE!  I'll drive back to the shelter (even though she was there yesterday) and drive into the city with the cat to his foster home." 

Many thank you's to this fabulous volunteer driver AND to the awesome foster parent who made my life much easier today.  I'm now minus the guilt that I didn't take that little guy in the first place! 

The same foster Mom who is taking the teenager kitten tonight, also emailed me about a declawed guy on the website.  She's taking him too!  Poor guy is a FOUR PAW declaw.  I'm so disgusted by that.  What greedy bastard of a vet thinks it's OK to amputate the toes on all four feet of a cat?

Tomorrow is Good Friday - a very quiet and thoughtful day for Christian religions.  All I can think of is that I'm glad I don't have to cook and nobody will be coming to see the house on a holiday.  Shameful. 

I'm going to concentrate on the fact that 4 little souls are out of the shelter this afternoon and have a better chance at adoption and a wonderful life.  Right now, that's what I'm holding on to...(that, and not having to cook dinner sounds pretty nice)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Home Alone

I can't believe I survived this day.  I loaded up my cats this morning at 9:30 am and left the house while there was an open house that was just for real estate agents, then a subsequent showing of my house in the afternoon.  My poor cats were in the car in carriers for 5 hours. 

Our real estate agent's husband picked up our 14 year old dog Maggie and took her to their house nearby so she didn't have to ride around in the car all day with me.  He must've spoiled her rotten - Maggie didn't seem particularly happy to see me at the end of the day!  I guess that's good news.

When I pulled out of my driveway this morning with the cats, the first people were arriving to see the house.  I was was sitting in a drive-thru coffee line when my heart sank - "Butters!  I left Butters in the house!"  How could I forget to include Butters - my 7 year old orange cat?   I called David at work and we started counting cats..."You have Newman, Pella, Phoebe, Sherman...."  Yes, Butters was not in the car.   I called my agent and told her Butters was M.I.A.  She said she hadn't seen him and was probably hiding under the bed and not to worry.

But I worried.

I scrambled home as soon as I was allowed and frantically searched the house. 

Never fear!  I found Butters.  He was in THE ONLY room he's never allowed to go into - my youngest son's room.  Because of the real estate showing, the door was open to his bedroom.  The room looked like Butters had majorly partied in there.  The comforter was messed up like he had tried to dig a hole.  The lampshade was crooked, books had fallen over from the top of the bookcase and Butters was sound asleep on my son's favourite quilt that his grandmother had made. 

He must've wondered what the hell had happened to the rest of his family - the apocalypse?   Did he run through the house with scissors?  Jump on the bed?  Turn on all the lights and leave the room?  Watch trash on t.v?

Sounds like a pretty awesome day to me. 

Monday, April 02, 2012

Back Into Reality

It's strange when your daughter goes from living in a "girlie" apartment to her "big girl townhome" with fiance` in tow.  I still think of her as a 16 year old cheerleader.  I suppose my parents feel the same way about me.   David and I stayed in her guest room and I found myself waiting for a cat to jump up on me.  Fortunately, there was "Meatball" their 22 pound French Bulldog. 

I can't imagine going anywhere unless there's a cat or dog in the house.  I need something furry to kiss and David doesn't count.

As usual, we had some minor chaos with the rescue while I was away, but our volunteers were AWESOME and handled things beautifully.  Why do I even waste the time worrying?   David usually complains about the roaming charges on my cell phone while we're out of town , so I decided to text our volunteers with questions, etc.  I must've sent 100+ texts over the course of the 4 days only to find out that there are "roaming text charges" of $1.75 EACH.  (Sorry, you!)

It's been Maternity City for us.  All of our little pregnant Moms seem to have given birth all at the same time.  The photo ops are priceless:

It's hard to believe when I first started rescuing and fostering, that all I did was bottlefeed kittens and do maternity care.  Now I look at these little guys and feel tired.   :)  Being a Grandma looks good on me.  Hahahhaa!

I think I'm caught up with my rescue work for a few moments.  The photographer is coming to take pictures of my house and a "For Sale" sign is going up in the yard in about 30 minutes.  I feel like I need to be sad about selling this house, but I never bonded with it.  I can hardly wait to move on to the next step in life's adventure.  (Too corny?  Maybe.)