Saturday, December 21, 2013

Kitten season in the winter?

We moved out of town after the shelter closed so we could get away from people dumping unwanted animals in our yard. Well, some have found us, it seems. There aren't as many now, but we still get a few, and I can't be sure if it's on purpose or just random because some town people toss pets out of their cars in the country, thinking they'll find a fun life on a farm.

Typically, they need veterinary care as they haven't been altered, vaccinated or well cared for. So, along that vein, we've had two pregnant females left here in the last few months. (The others abandoned here happened to be fixed, at least.)

Sable and Leo are doing very well and are healthy. Leo is growing fast and is a delightful little boy. He will be neutered as soon as he's old enough, and his mother will be spayed.

The nameless one (help me out, if you like) gave birth in October to a wriggly, tiny one and left him on the cold concrete behind some boxes in the garage. I only found them because the little guy was crying so loudly. Good thing, or I never would have gotten to him. But I hope it isn't too late. He's not as healthy as our other kitten, possibly a premie? At the least, he's badly neglected by his own mother and I've had to step in and take over feedings. Even the vet is nervous about treating him because he's "frail" and too young for drugs or other treatments (such as, what?). That doesn't leave much but love to sustain him. And he's getting plenty of that.

Now 8 weeks old, he's still like a 4-week-old. And we're worried about his eyes. He was born with some infection, apparently, but we couldn't tell yet, because he didn't open his eyes at 10 days, as usual, but at 21 days, with help. Thanks to our vet, we are using a product I hadn't heard of before...Vetericyn. It's a non-drug natural product that fights infection. And it's working, but we won't know for a while if his eyes will normalize.

Here he is, with mama, who won't let him nurse. At least she lets him be close to her for warmth and comfort. She's probably too young to have kittens and just doesn't know what to do.Being half wild herself, I can't do much with her yet. But she's gradually learning to trust me.

Contrast with Leo, who's growing like crazy:

His mama, Sable, is very devoted and caring and looks after him diligently. She even plays with him as he gets into everything in the house! They have so much fun!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Farewell to Rufus as he crosses over the Bridge

Rufus said good-bye to his earthly companions today and departed for the Rainbow Bridge after a long life, half in a horrible home, half here in my shelter. He was about 20, but we can't be sure. Coming from a hoarding situation, I'm sure his birth wasn't given any significance and he joined the dozens of other cats there. They all looked alike: pale orange, long hair, 6 or 7 toes on the front paws. There could have been some Persian in the mix, judging by his looks. He was here for 10 years and was possibly 10 when we rescued him and his "extended family."

Rufus' face Rufus

With little or no socialization during those critical first few months, nor indeed, the ensuing years in that environment, he was not a cuddler. But he loved attention. This past week he was my constant companion, never letting me out of his sight. He followed me on my rounds as I did kitty chores, and he sat by my chair while I worked on the computer, staring at me.

I didn't allow myself to notice this slight change in his behavior, or I might have realized he knew he was winding down and was gathering memories to hold in his paws on that final journey.

Thus, it was somewhat of a surprise to see him reclining on the floor by my chair this morning and his inability to even raise his head. However, I'd been surprised daily by the fact that he was still here and eating well, and prancing about with no sign of slowing down. Today, he slowed down, and then he left.

I put him into a basket, as I always do for those in their final hours, and set him on the back deck in a sun puddle. It was as if the sun had come out for 2 hours just for him, and then disappeared into the overcast sky again as the temperatures dipped on the leading edge of our next storm.

Rufus was the last survivor from his family of 40 siblings, cousins and probably some offspring. The rest have all gone, and now Rufus is with them at last.

I miss him, as I do every cat who has graced my home and enriched my life.

Thanks so much to @ChatteMuse for a wonderful image of Mr. Rufus on his journey:

A very creative and lovely image to keep in mind in his absence. I appreciate the effort and loving gesture.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Is It Halloween Again Already?

It seems like only yesterday, but here it is, another year gone by and we're shopping for costumes for the kids, and maybe even for our pets, too.

Remember these few pointers for a successful Halloween:
  •     Costumes should be comfortable and loose enough to allow movement without getting tangled.
  •     Most candy is toxic for animals, so the best approach is to just keep it all away from them.
  •     Electric cords and candles should be placed safely to avoid tripping on them and causing a fire.
  •     Keep your cat inside all evening. It's potentially hazardous outside, so just avoid it.
  •    It's especially hazardous for black cats, so keep them inside for a few days before and after the holiday.
  •     Be sure your cat is wearing a collar and ID tag just in case he becomes frightened and darts out the door when it is opened for visitors.

Enjoy your Halloween!

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Are You Making These 3 Mistakes With Your Cat?

Problem cats - or cat problems - are always a result of something human-gone-wrong.
That means it is up to us to fix it so we don't have to give up on our beloved pets
and send them away like it was their fault.

But first, we must understand the three most common mistakes people make with their cats.

Mistake No. 1 - Cats don't get even. They don't plot revenge against you. If you believe they do, then you're still viewing animals from the human perspective. To build a lasting and useful bond with a pet, it helps to see things as they do, from their angle.

Mistake No.2 - Blaming the cat for not using the litter box. Cats know how to use a litter box, even if they've never seen one before. If you think you need to train your kitten to use one, it's not exactly a waste of time, but it's unnecessary. Usually the mother cat takes care of this training, but if you've acquired a kitten before she had the chance to teach this habit, all you need to do is show the little one where the box is and maybe put him or her in it the first time so they can feel the sand. They get the idea.

Still, if a cat is not using the box, there are many things you can do to keep your cat from "thinking outside the box." Read my article on the 20 most common reasons a cat won't use their box:

Mistake No. 3 - Cats are not aloof. Well, they can be if they need to be. Usually, this
behavior is simply "cats being cautious."  If you lived with an unpredictable giant, you might walk carefully and quietly through the room with one eye out for unpleasant surprises, too.

Expecting your cat to adore you before he has good reason to do so is about building a relationship that is based on trust, not on how well you can force obedience.

Check out The Problem Cat and click the link to my book, How to Make Your Cat Adore You. Also, you may find the answers to some of your questions by just exploring the pages at the web site.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Next book is now available! Get Volume 2 here...

Thanks to our wonderful group of writers who love cats, the second volume in our series, Our Amazing Cats, is now available at these links:

Friday, March 08, 2013

Happy Birthday Holly!

Happy birthday to Holly! She's 24 this month, though we don't really know what day she was born. In fact, we're not even sure of the month. March just happens to be the month we rescued her 9 years ago and were told she was 15 at the time. So, while her birthday is arbitrary, her age is very close to correct.

She certainly shows signs of advancing age - no teeth, thin, not interested in grooming herself as carefully as she used to, doesn't smell too sweet anymore, prefers petting to playing, and she sleeps a lot. Hmmm, most of my cats do that!

But Holly is an affectionate companion who is still very interested in her meals. Her favorite fare is raw meat, especially chicken, and she gnaws on a bone for hours afterward. It gives her something to do, that's for sure. But she is still pretty spry, too, and is quite capable of jumping up onto the counters, the top of the refrigerator, and the cat tree in the living room, where she can keep an eye on everyone from her high spot.

She never had any serious lookers at the shelter and never got adopted because of her age, so we figured she would just pass on when her time came and was welcome to hang out with us. She's never been any bother at the shelter or our home and sometimes we have to look for her if she doesn't show up for breakfast. But her hearing is still very good and she will come flying when called if she can catch a whiff of her chicken.

I know cats shouldn't drink milk, but it's one of her favorite foods, so we indulge her - not every day, but often. I mean, come on...she's 24. She can have whatever she wants!