Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Race

Gratefully, adoptions have really picked up.  We had 6 adoptions yesterday and I'm feeling much better about finishing the month of June with the usual adoptions numbers.  I wish I didn't feel so competitive about it.  There is no race.   But it feels like a measurement of the health of the rescue in general.  Silly. 

I picked up a delightful young woman who lives near me (and doesn't drive) and took her the 30 minute drive to Petsmart to adopt a kitten.  She was determined to adopt a male orange kitten, but ended up falling in love with this little girl:
How could anyone NOT fall in love with this kitten?  She was just too cute for words - both of them!

In one week from today, we'll officially own two houses as our current home hasn't sold.  I'm definitely feeling the financial pinch and David made a very uncharacteristic comment about the cost of a new sofa I want to buy for the new house.  Sadly, he's probably right - spending a bunch of money on a couch that will be shredded by unruly cats seems like a poor choice.  Maybe buying an Ikea couch and replacing it every two years makes more sense.  Our furniture has definitely taken a big hit by spoiled felines since we've had to remove 2 of the favourite scratching posts becaue the frickin' house has to look sterile and un-petlike.


It's no wonder I feel like I'm in the midst of a race:

#1  Race to sell our house

#2 Race to keep our furniture looking nice before we have to replace it all due to bad kitties!

#3 Race to get adoptions before we're out of Petsmart for June and before we run out of foster space.

Let's not forget the most important race of all:

#4  Race to rescue as many deserving souls before they are euthanized in the shelters; hit by cars; eaten by raccoons or coyotes; or die of starvation. 

I'm lacing up my running shoes....ready....set....GO!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Catching Up

The cooler weather today certainly brought out my better attitude.  I had the moon roof open on the car, the windows open in the house, the birds were chirping, the sky was blue and I feel like my stomach was just a *little bit* flatter than it was yesterday.         

I spent the morning picking up adoption money and putting new cats into Petsmart.  We only have six days left there and I'm feeling the pinch of the slower adoptions over the past 3 weeks.  I'm hopeful that a "Huge Adoption Event" this weekend might be just the ticket.  I spent $100+ on advertising the event then realized that we have a holiday weekend this weekend.  UGH.  Let's hope that other people (other than me, that is) have no life and are home shopping for cats this weekend. 

Several of our foster parents have been dealing with a virus from the "high kill shelter".  Sadly, they are our nursing Moms and things are very precarious for the little ones that are nursing.  I wish this shelter could AT LEAST resolve the issue of sick cats.  They keep buying new cleaning crap, but it never seems to help. 

I've watched the "Crazy Protesters" Facebook page with sadness as their overall agenda for this "high kill" shelter seems to have moved towards nothing but listing other people's cats that need help - somebody even posted a DOG from Toronto that needed help.  There's just a bunch of online classified ads that they've copied and a some "tsk, tsking".  I don't know if they've given up or what.   I feel badly about this, because they've definitely started to take a more sane, sensible approach to approach to trying to change what needs to be changed in this archaic-poor-excuse-for-a-shelter.   They've turned their attention towards THE CITY instead of the staff.  (Smart move and a long time coming)  It's tough to be rejected over and over again by a city who doesn't give a shit about the animals in their "care". 

In the meantime, cats continue to die there and our adoptions have been too slow to really do much to help them.  We had a good adoption weekend, but it wasn't enough to make up for lost time over the past 3 weeks. 

Didn't I start this blog post in a GOOD mood?  :)


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A "Pillsbury Bake-Off"

The heat in the Toronto area the past few days has been really unbearable for this estrogen-lacking gal.  In fact, Toronto was the hottest place in the WORLD yesterday!  I sit here and wonder if the cats and dogs at Animal Services ever got their promised central air conditioning.  I suppose I could show up and find out, but I think I might be too pissed off to find that during this extreme heat nothing has been done for these poor captive souls in metal "baking" boxes... 

...Yet Animal Services still promotes "don't leave your pet in your car".   (Other local Animal Service agencies have air conditioning for the animals in their care. )

Bah.  This weather has made me feel very restless.  When David comes home from work, we eat and I want OUT of the house.  I've been getting a lot of administrative work done for the rescue and have been available to answer adoption calls quickly.  Otherwise - being at home has me pacing around. 

I think about the dogs chained to poles in the backyard with little to no shade,  no water, and no company.  I fret about the cats that are in search of cool drinking water too.  Why is it that I can't accept ANY kind of major weather without fretting about the animals who are not as fortunate as my own?

 I watched my own cats lounging on the beds today with a fan blowing on them because I thought the central air conditioning wasn't enough.  They all looked like Scarlett O'Hara with a slave girl fanning them with a palm frond.

It's almost time to start dinner, then eat and  find something else to do other than sit around the house.  Last night it was Chapters Book Store.  Tonight, maybe it'll be Ikea and buy some kind of stupid cat thing that I'll have to hide when we show the house. 

Do they sell palm fronds at Ikea?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chipmunk Extravaganza

I remember when my kids were little, silence  wasn't always a good thing.  I had that same "uh oh" feeling when I sang my "Kitty Breakfast Song" this morning and nobody showed up! 

I tiptoed through the house searching for God-knows-what and in the living room found the majority of my cats surrounding the iron firewood holder.  I could see something scurrying underneath and I *knew*. 

It was another mentally challenged chipmunk that managed to get into our secure Cat Den .  

The cats must be carrying these little dudes into the house.  I think once a week we have a new chipmunk fiasco.  Gratefully, I don't think we have had any fatalities - other than me wanting to kill my cats for doing what comes naturally.  This time it was different because I was on my own.  I prepared to do battle.  If this guy got loose in the house, I'd surely never find him - but our herd of cats would. 

It was pre-coffee - 7:30 am and my adrenaline was already coarsing through my veins as my rescue mentality kicked into full gear.  I was shocked at how easily it was to pick up the stunned little rodent.  I reached out and gently picked him up by the tail praying that he wouldn't whirl around and bite me.  Poor little guy was obviously stunned and may have known I was trying to help him.  I put him into a cat carrier and let him go outside.

I noticed right away that this chipmunk seemed familiar.  He only had half a tail!  I've seen this guy before!  In fact - I've caught this guy AT LEAST 5 or 6 times!  I thought:  "It really IS the mentally challenged chipmunk!" 

Then I walked back into the living room to chastise my disappointed cats and found in the floor.....

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

It's a CHIPMUNK TAIL!!!!!!!

Holy cow.  I felt myself starting to gag.  It wasn't the same chipmunk at all.  Those damn cats bite off the tail and that's no doubt how the chipmunk could get away and what has saved the chipmunk's life!

The phone rang as I carefully pick up the chipmunk tail.  It was David:

"Hey.  I wanted to tell you that I *THINK* there is a Chipmunk in the house."


Monday, June 18, 2012

Foiled By Technology

Being a primarily "internet" related rescue, I really am panicked when the internet goes down.  This morning I received a notice on the browser directly from the provider that indicated we had some kind of "worm" that was sending out packets of email from one of my computers.  So they shut me down. 

No email.  No website.  NO FACEBOOK for about 30 minutes today.  I thought I would faint. :)   I've got my virus software scanning the begeezus out of my computer with hope that we can find out what's going on.  If it continues, they'll shut me down again.  *ACK*!

We had lots of nice adoptions over the weekend - including adults!  Oh how I LOVE adult cat adoptions.  I woke up Saturday morning to 5 different requests to move cats into different foster homes and one adult cat return.  Things will get ugly very quickly if I can't log into my computer.  I figured I might as well write in my blog while the virus software does it's thing.

We had one foster Mom go out to the "high kill" shelter this weekend and rescued an adorable little family that obviously needed help:
Of course she couldn't leave this little guy who was all by himself in a cage:

Looks like the "high kill shelter" is now part of and are at least trying to do a better job reuniting the pets with their owners.  The shelter is only required to keep the stray cats 3 days, so pet owners better check out that website fast before the city kills them due to overcrowding. 

I think the shelter made a huge mistake and has stopped naming the cats on their Petfinder website.  Poor cats just have numbers now.  Anonymous, unwanted and numbered.  I'm appalled.  At least they could have a fucking name before they're killed.  Maybe it's easier to kill them if it's just a number.  People LIKE to see the names!  I'm betting the number rescued has gone down too.  

Lots to do today and thankfully it's all inside.  It's going to be HOT this week and I'm truly grateful to have an inside sort of job. :) 

Come on virus software - do your thing!!!! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Moral Obligations

I didn't mean to open up a can of worms with yesterday's blog post!  I'm amazed at some of the emails and comments that thought I was wrong to be upset with this woman who surrendered her cat to the rescue.  Honestly, I didn't think ANYBODY would think that what she did was ok!

Am I glad that I rescued this cat?  Sort of.  I don't think his situation was as dire as she said it was.  But those suspicions happen when you're a liar like this girl appeared to be.  Now a cat that might have been rescued from the shelter remains in a cage today and destined to die due to overcrowding. 

I am truly dumbfounded that some of the comments received from yesterday didn't understand why I would want the money for this kitty's neuter.  Of course, rescue isn't ABOUT money.  But those of you who were critical of me obviously have never paid a $20,000.00 vet bill.

Ironically, I received a VERY interesting adoption call last night.  VERY nice couple.  They had adopted a cat from another rescue 2 months ago.  As part of the adoption screening, I ask about their cat.  They proceeded to tell me that "Sophie" was 6 months old and adopted from "Blah..Blah...Cat Rescue".  Sadly, the rescue was wrong about her age (it happens!) and Sophie went into heat before she could be spayed.  I asked them about their experience with "Blah-Blah Cat Rescue" and why they aren't adopting from them again. They sighed and said it was HORRIBLE!   They left messages for TWO WEEKS asking to get their cat spayed (as part of the adoption fee) and after 2 weeks they finally had to track these people down at the Petsmart Store where the cat was adopted!  The rescue's answer?   "We don't have enough money to get your cat spayed right now, she'll have to wait until MID-JULY!!!!!"

This is EXACTLY the kind of unprofessional horseshit I'm trying to avoid.  This poor couple are now facing getting their cat spayed themselves in order to avoid x-number of heat cycles in the next 4 weeks.  (Not the mention the possibility of emergency spay surgery due to pyometra)

So when I'm asking somebody who wants our rescue to bail them out so they don't have to dump their cat at a shelter to pay for the neuter surgery.....THAT'S WHY.  Our rescue doesn't have a lot of money, but we are responsible with what we do have.

As the administrator of this rescue, I have a duty to foster parents  to insure that there is enough money at all times to care for their beloved foster cat.  If a kitten breaks it's leg in foster care, I certainly can't say, "Sorry, there's no money to give the kitten surgery for his leg."  I'm MORALLY OBLIGATED to the cats currently in our care and to the volunteers who love them. 

As the administrator of the rescue, I have a duty to pay our veterinarians ON TIME for their already discounted vet costs.  I'm not going to tell our vets that we don't have money to pay them.  They have bills to pay too. 

If you don't understand, I don't know what else I can say to make you understand.  But I'm happy to show you the rescue's vet bills.  It'll scare the shit out of you, lemme tell ya. 

Sadly, I felt the need to change our rescue's voicemail outgoing message to:  "...due to the high volume of discarded and unwanted cats in the shelter, we are NOT accepting owner surrender cats at this time."

Funny...for this first time in a month there were NO calls from the public asking me to take their unwanted cats. 

But there were SEVEN hang up calls.      

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Duped Again

Once and for all, I'd like to explain why I don't like taking cats from the public.  I hope you can follow this timeline:

Wednesday 7 pm - urgent plea from several rescues for a destitute woman about to surrender her 1 and a half year old cat to Toronto Animal Services where they would immediately euthanize him due to overcrowding.  She's very very poor and out of options.  He hasn't been neutered but is up to date on his shots. Beth, can you take him?

Wednesday 7:05 - Can she contribute $$ to his neuter?  No.  She's very poor. 

Wedneday 7 pm- 9 pm - Received SEVEN phone calls from this girl begging me to save the life of her beloved cat.  I spent TWO freakin' hours trying to return her calls, but she wouldn't pick up.  No voicemail either. 

Thursday 8 am - More urgent voicemails from this woman. 

Thursday 9 am - I finally connected with her.  Cat is really 3 years old (gee, big surprise)but current on his shots.  Not neutered.  (Sounds suspicious.  Since when is a cat taken in for his vaccinations but NOT neutered?) 

Thurday 10 am - 11 am - More phone calls as she has NO transportation to bring me the cat.  She wants me to drive an hour to pick him up.  NO.  I believe if you're going to dump your cat, you need to take SOME responsibility for Chrissake. 

Thursday 11:30 - She's taking the Train where I will pick her up at 1:08 and take her to the vet with me so that she can say good bye and see that I'm not really as bitchy as I sound on the phone.  I was feeling bad at that point because I was so aggravated with all the phone calls.

Thursday 1:08 - Train is on time.  Lucky me!  She has the orange guy with her and seems like a nice young girl.

Thursday 1:30 - We get to the vet where she presents the health records for the cat.  Of course, the cat is NOT up to date on the shots.  The shots were more than 2 years old.  (Ask me if I was surprised.)

Thursday 1:35 - The cat is very sweet and healthy looking.  She didn't lie about that.  (Yes, I was surprised!)  She says her good bye's to the cat (no tears) and we leave him there to be neutered.

Thursday 2:00 - On the way back to the train,  she shows me her sunburned arm where she PROUDLY tells me that she just got back from Cuba where she had taken her Mom as a present for Mother's Day. 

Thursday 2:01  THE Moment where I realized that I will NEVER take another cat from the public again. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Exercising Patience

I've been at a loss lately on what to blog about.  Adoptions are paralyzingly slow and phone calls with people wanting to dump their cats is at a high.  It's June.  Suddenly EVERYBODY has an allergy. 

When adoptions are slow, so are rescues.  The online classified sites are FILLED with free kittens.  I received an adoption call today from a young woman of 19 years old who thought a $175.00 adoption fee was a BARGAIN considering what spays and neuters costs.   Can I have about 100 more adopters like this, please?   I'm always wary about young people, but how unusual to find a 19 year old that understands the bargain of an all inclusive adoption fee? 

I was at the shelter today and picked up 2 adorable kittens.  I hate leaving the adults behind but there was no space for the adults at this point.  We have a neat relationship started with a local veterinarian who will take 6 healthy kittens at a time and put them up for adoption at their office!  They are not the rescue's kittens and we do not collect an adoption fee.  I'm just a "picker" for the vet office.  LOL!   I used up $25.00 worth of gas today, so that the two kittens that I rescued could go to this veterinarian's office for adoption and be given away to their worthy clients.  At least I know that these are adopters who have a relationship with their vet and the kittens will have lovely homes! 

My house still hasn't sold.  It looks like in three short weeks we'll own two houses.  Yuck.  The house was shown today by a man who "loved it", but needs 2 weeks to think about it.  Holy shit....2 weeks to "think about it"????   What man shops like that????? 

If "Patience is a Virtue", I'm probably the least likely to have any virtue at all.  I certainly try to have patience in all that I do, but the past 13 days have been incredibly slow personally and with the rescue.  I know I should be careful for what I ask for.....but I'm ready for some action! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Adoption Screening Frustrations

I've really been working hard at the few adoption calls we received over the weekend.  I don't know if it's just a lull in the adoptions or I'm looking at a rough summer.  Even Petsmart was slow, which rarely happens!

Certainly nobody can accuse me of being a super picky adoption screener.  There's major criteria I look for, then I look for subsequent criteria.  I don't turn people down because they were stupid and let their cat outside and it got hit by a car - AS LONG AS THEY KNOW THEY WERE STUPID and promise to never let their cat out again! 

So when I received a call this weekend from a woman who was looking for a cat that "didn't drink out of the toilet", I was mildly amused.  Then I realized she was serious!  I was ready to give her the benefit of the doubt until this stupid, stupid woman tells me that she DUMPED HER LAST CAT at the SPCA because it drank out of the toilet and she thought that was unsanitary.

Where do these people come from???

I remember an adopter asking me if there was a way to train their cat to never get up on their furniture.  She wanted a "strictly floor cat".  Is there such a thing?  If there was such a thing, I certainly wouldn't let THAT woman have it! 

As I scout for worthy adopters, I think about the cats and kittens at the shelters waiting for their turn for rescue.  It's so frustrating to think that they are sitting there, getting sick and dying while people who want cats are asking for the impossible and probably should never have an animal - period. 

Please believe me, I look for reasons TO ADOPT.  There are some rescues who won't adopt out a single kitten as an "only cat".  If you won't adopt in pairs, then you'll be turned down. I feel as long as the adopters are mature, responsible, wonderful people, willing to give a kitten a Forever Home without leaving it alone for 15 hours per day - who am I to say "NO" when kittens are dying at the shelter?  In a perfect world, every kitten would have a kitten friend to play with in his new home. 

Before I get a zillion crappy comments over the last paragraph, I know that there are never absolutes.  Some cats desperately need a cat friend in order to be socially and emotionally healthy.  I get that. 

I think I'm now in the proper headspace to go around the house and trim cat's nails.  I feel like a football linebacker ready to go out on the field.  I'm psyched and ready to wrestle with some unhappy cats.  Yes, someone will be bleeding by the end of the day.  I'm certain that will be me. 


Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Dark Ages (A Rant)

I've been rescuing from that "high kill" shelter for 10 years now. Over the 10 years I've seen some improvements made - mainly in the past 2 years. Certainly less euthanasia and less cats coming in. But it's still astounding that in the year 2012 this shelter STILL does not permit the public to come in and adopt cats!

I think it's a cop out to say, "Things don't happen overnight". In fact, I'm really sick of hearing that.

In the old days of this shelter, they used to kill 100 cats EVERY WEEK. I was told stories about the dead little bodies piled up in the garage area to be sent out for cremation or whatever they do with discarded animals. The SPCA is in the next building next door. The City seems to think that THEIR adoptions are enough. The City Animal Services doesn't need to open their shelter for adoptions, because the SPCA next door has cats available for adoption.


Until no adoptable cats are being killed at Animal Services, the shelter and animals can benefit from an adoption program.

One answer for the lack of an adoption program is, that there is a virus that goes through that shelter like the plague and the majority of the cats get extremely ill within a few days of entering. 

I will NEVER EVER forget meeting a woman in the front lobby who was bringing her beloved kittens with hope they would find wonderful homes.  Apparently, she took in a pregnant stray cat and lovingly raised the kittens.  She was a lovely human being and was in tears to give these kittens to a shelter.  I told her point blank that this was the height of kitten season and there are NO ADOPTIONS.  Even though her surrender form from the shelter said that the kittens have a chance to be adopted.  (Liars)  She was sobbing but felt she had no choice.  My rescue was full and I had no room.  These kittens were fluffy, healthy, robust and adorable.  I promised the woman that I would take them in about 5 days after I had a few adoptions.

In 5 days the kittens were horribly ill with the Upper Respiratory Virus that runs through that shelter.  On the 7th day, the city saw fit to kill them all rather than save them. 

To this day, I feel responsible for their deaths.

There is no doubt that the shelter is better than it used to be.  The cats are getting better medical care and they are triaged when they arrive.  I heard that central air conditioning is being installed so the poor animals don't bake in their cages this summer like they have done for the past dozen+ years.  "We want them comfortable before they die."

But the truth is that this shelter is in the DARK AGES of animal shelters.  Even the shitty rural shelter I used to write about lets the public in their building to adopt cats.  I was astounding to hear that the manager of the "high kill shelter" shelter presented to the city council  a special program designed to improve the shelter and the City Council TURNED IT DOWN!  What kind of red neck city is this????

 I'm watching the "Crazy Protesters" go out and try to do *something* for these animals and so few residents from the city are showing up to their rallies.  Now the protesters are trying to raise money for the rescues who are taking sick cats out of there.  It's RIDICULOUS that they feel like they have to do that - they're losing sight of their mission and their energy should be spent keeping their eye on the ball. 

There is NO OTHER SHELTER in North American that allows the public to discard their unwanted animals where the animals have NO CHANCE to be adopted directly.  The city is relying on the goodness of rescues like mine and I'm sick of being taken advantage of by a city that doesn't give a shit about the animals or the volunteers that are trying to help them.

Saying that "Things don't happen overnight", might be true.  Why don't these city council members realize that their lack of care for these discarded animals only makes the city for which they serve look like a bunch of uneducated rednecks??     Believe me - you can point fingers all you want to about the staff - but the staff isn't the problem. 

Honestly, I don't know what the problem is anymore.  I used to think I knew.  I used to think if the public were made aware of what happened at this shelter that they would be up in arms about it.  They would demand change!  They would burn torches and march into City Hall!  The public would be humiliated at the thought that the city where they pay taxes, raise their families and go to work was killing adoptable cats and dogs by the thousands each year!

I'm the one that feels humiliated for them and I don't even live in that city.  It isn't right. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Rant Or a Smile

I had a choice between a rant about Animal Services or something to make you smile and I decided to make you smile....(maybe I'll rant tomorrow) Turn up your speakers and enjoy...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Kitten Juggling

I'm late with Monday's blog post.  I suppose that should tell you something about my day today. :)

It's been a day of "Juggle the Kittens".  I have to move some kittens, vet some kittens, adopt some kittens, and put some kittens into Petsmart.  Just as I think I have it all figured out and I can breathe a sign of relief, a new problem or challenge comes up. 

Why am I surprised?  This happens EVERY year and I'm never quite prepared for it. 

When I'm "Juggling the Kittens", it becomes so stressful that I'm either ready to run away from home, or just burst into tears.  It isn't easy to do The Juggle.  Not all kittens work well with individual foster homes.  Some foster families prefer older kittens - some like bottlefeeders.  Because I'm in a "Juggle the Kittens" phase, it means I can't rescue until I things, since I don't really know where all these little guys are going to end up.  I need to be organized or things don't work properly


I always wonder how much of this is truly as stressful as I make it sound, or is it just stressful because my life is deeply overextended right now?  I'm guessing it's a little bit of both.  Although I've kept my life a bit of an "open book" in this blog, there are many things that I don't talk about that I quietly deal with each day. 

We all have that stuff, right?  Right?
After rereading this post, I can really tell that I'm stressed.  It doesn't even make sense to me.  :)  It'll work out.  It always does!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Friday, Friday

The adoption phones were back ringing and ringing on this very wet day.  I was beginning to wonder what was going on and why things were so quiet.  I think when we were used to "mega adoption" months, a quiet few weeks can feel very disconcerting. 

We're all packed into our Petsmart Adoption Centre for the month of June.  I was at a foster Mom's house this morning picking up her kittens before she left for work at 8 am.  Admittedly, I'm relieved when we're all set up, cats look happy and healthy and everything is in place.

I wasn't at the adoption centre more than 10 minutes when a lovely couple took home one of our kittens.  Originally, they were asking about declawing. (ACK!)  But I'm hopeful that I managed to change their mind.  I think I sound like a broken record when I talk about declawing.  They obviously had no idea what was involved with the procedure. 

The dark day today left me feeling a little melancholy.  There are some days that I ask myself why I made the conscience decision to be in animal rescue.  It's very painful sometimes and the hours are long.  I could definitely live a more comfortable, less chaotic life than somebody who picks up kittens at 8-frickin'-a.m. in sweatpants, no makeup and in the pouring down rain. 

As I type this blog post, we've had 3 more adoption calls so it sounds like things are moving and grooving again.  I wish people were calling about the adult cats.  It might be time to do an adoption blitz for them since it's kitten season.  Somehow, it doesn't seem to matter what we charge for the adult cats - when somebody doesn't want an adult can't you can't force the issue with a lower adoption fee. 

The Petsmart where we do business is having a huge DOG adoption blitz.  They have a tent about back with several hundred dogs in it from various SPCA's.  I wanted to go back and see the dogs, but with my Maggie being 14 and terminally ill, I was afraid that my heart would break.  I hope I can manage to not go out and get another dog right away. 

We've had an ENORMOUS number of people calling and wanting to surrender their cats.  Funny, how this always happens during vacation season.  A man called me as I was typing this post wanting to surrender his two 13 year old Siamese cats that he's had since they were kittens.  *sigh*

Enough of this sad's Friday, it's the weekend and I'm going to go put on some lipstick for my man coming home from work.  Time to look (and feel) presentable.  :)