Monthly Archives: June 2009
I had a desperate email from a friend of mine in rescue. She had adopted a cat to a family seven years ago. The family was now moving out of state and could not or would not take the kitty with them. So now, a cat that they had had for seven years needed a new home. Since my friend had originally adopted the kitty to them, they wanted her to find a new home for the cat. Which would have been fine, except they were moving in 6 days.
This post is for Shadow, a seven year old black cat, who needs a new home by June 30. The family is moving and does not plan to take this older gentleman with them.
Shadow, unfortunately, has several things working against him. While he is a very friendly kitty who has been microchipped, neutered, vaccinated, and is very healthy, he is also a black cat. Black cats still get a bad rap and people too often want something other than a black cat when they are looking to adopt. Secondly, Shadow is not a young kitten–he is older and has only known one family his entire life. Finally, Shadow doesn’t have much time–less than five days as I write this.
Unfortunately, we deal with this a lot in rescue. Someone has to find a home for a cat right now and if we cannot find a solution, the answer may put the cat’s life in danger.
I have been upset with people who want to return cats after a year. Thankfully, I have never had to deal with anyone we’ve adopted to who wants us to take a cat back after seven years. It is something I hope I never have to do.
But that is beside the point.
The point of this post was to let everyone know about Shadow. If you are looking for an older, lovely black cat, please send an email to us and I will put you in contact with my rescue friend. Shadow needs a miracle right now.
When I was growing up, my family was fairly poor. Rent was usually late and while my sister and I never went hungry, the big, old houses we lived in were often cold. Because there really wasn’t much money left over for more than our basic needs (now don’t get me wrong, I had Barbies and Nike shoes, because my parents spoiled me and used credit cards and lay-away—-my mom was a lay-away nut), our pets got absolutely no vet care.
Our family was what I cringe at now: we had a dog on a chain in the back yard and none of our gazillion cats were fixed. I loved kittens and couldn’t wait for the resident “mamma kitty” to have a new litter each year. Those poor cats were always so thin and so tired and they wore their little bodies out year after year giving birth to kittens that were always sickly and never lived long–either hit by cars on our busy road or killed by a marauding predator.
I can hardly bear to think about the cats in our care that received no care at all. None of them were vaccinated or saw a vet. The only veterinarian I knew was the one who visited my grandpa’s pigs to make sure they were healthy enough to eventually make a fine set of pork chops. My grandpa always took the best care of his pigs and eventually had to get out of the business because he could not stand to kill them.
I have to confess, I feel so much guilt now over the lives of those poor creatures from my childhood. The one and only time my mom took a kitten to the vet when I was a child, it was dying. I sobbed and begged and followed her from room to room asking her to save the kitten. Finally, she placed the small limp body in her car and took it to the local vet who euthanized the lifeless animal to put it out of its misery. When Mom came home empty handed, I was devastated.
Because of this less than auspicious past, when, as an adult, I started learning about all the homeless cats and dogs in our county and state, I began to wonder what I could do to help.
My initiation into rescue came when my husband and I moved into our home on a country road. The neighborhood cats were constantly coming over for a meal. None of them were fixed. The first time kittens appeared at our garage, I knew I had to do something. Thus began a life committed to spaying and neutering and reducing the number of unwanted kittens in my backyard and eventually my community.
While this story began on a sad note, it proves that everyone can learn from their mistakes. The only way we, as rescuers, are going to make an impact is to educate the very people we often lump into a category of “those people.” Once long ago, I was one of “those people” and now today, I am a rescue person.
We can all change. The animals are counting on us to change others in order to save them and change their lives for the better.
Petfinder has this cute new thing to celebrate June as “Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat” month. They partnered with the LOLcats site Icanhascheezburger.com to allow us to show off our adoptable kitties to a much wider audience. All you have to do is view one of our adoptable kitties on Petfinder. Go to www.bandocats.petfinder.com to do that. When you pick one of our kitties, you will see a button under their photo that says, “ADD TO ICANHASCHEEZBURGER.COM When you click on the button, you can write a creative “LOL-worthy” caption. These are photos that you look at and immediately think, “I know what that cat is saying.”
After you have submitted one of our kitties with a caption, it will go into the gallery and all Icanhascheezburger.com visitors will vote on their favorites. The photo with the most votes will go on the home page of Icanhascheezburger.com and get a link back to the Petfinder Pet Notes page, increasing the view of that adoptable kitty!!!
So submit a funny caption for a B and O cat and then vote for that captioned kitty to get some great publicity for our kitties!!!
I made one that you can check out for Delancey, one of our adoptable black kitties. We dressed Delancey and his sister, Darcy, in rabbit ears for Easter, but they were absolutely miserable. Delancey’s ears stuck out at the side and we thought he looked like “the flying nun”–Sally Field’s whipple in the old television show had nothing on this look.
If you’d like to view our edition to the site, go to http://cheezburger.com/view.aspx?ciid=4476963
Once you create an account you can pick this as one of your favorites and we’ll get five cheeseburgers!! If we get enough votes, we’ll get to be on the home page where lots of people will see one of our adoptable kitties. So make one of your own or vote for Delancey!!
Black and Orange Cat Foundation spent Saturday, June 13 at Coffman Park as part of Slobberfest, A Celebration of Dogversity and Cattitude. You can visit the web site at www.slobberfest.org to find out more about the event which was sponsored by the Humane Society of Madison County.
The event, which ran from 11-4, hosted nearly 40 different rescue groups each of which brought adoptable animals, including dogs, cats, and even rabbits to a lovely park setting in Dublin, Ohio.
We set up a tent (which we use at our adoption events at the PetSmart on Sawmill Road–thanks to Pat and the gang for allowing us to borrow two tents for the event) and arranged several items for display and sale, including reversible dog bandanas and cat beds, and lots of educational info about our group and TNR.
We also brought several adoptable kitties to the event: Artimus and Xandria, Miss Bells, and Mitch and Clayton. Mitchie was not in the mood for an event and actually led us on a grand chase through the house to avoid attending. And we probably should have taken his advice and let him stay home (especially after wearing ourselves out with a fifteen minute run!). It was a bit too hot outside for the kitties who refused to drink water at our command (when does any cat take orders?) and a bit too noisy with lots of barking dogs. Additionally, many of the dogs were quite rude and boldly stuck their noses too close for Miss Bells’ comfort–she proclaimed with much spitting and hissing and retreated to her litter pan for much of the day.
We did send the cats home early–once they were back in the comfort of air conditioning, they forgave us our sin of forcing them to bask in the June heat. And while we did not have any adoptions, several of the other groups did find new homes for their animals. Kudos to them!!
It was a good day and an event that we can foresee growing even larger in the future. With lots of advertising, it might even become as big as the Irish Festival which is also housed in the same location each August. Perhaps Slobberfest could be a prelude to the Irish “Slobber Festival” that culminates after too many Celts drink too much green beer and Guinness.
When you are involved in rescue work, there are always things that make you worry. Lately, I’ve been waking up every morning close to 3 a.m. pulled from sleep by some new panic usually involving cats or finances or wondering who will help the latest litter of kittens that no one wants.
Right now we are in the height of kitten season. It came late this year and stupid, silly me thought that with all the spays and neuters we did last year that maybe finally we had reached a day when kitten season was a thing of the past. Instead, what I think happened is that we had a colder winter which kept the cats from going into heat until warmer weather in late March. Since the gestation cycle for a cat is approximately 60-67 days (yes, you read that right–just two months to produce kittens and then even while they are nursing, the mother cat can get pregnant again and bring along another litter in the next two month span), the flow of kittens hit in May. I get calls every day about mother cats and tiny kittens, with eyes barely open, that people want to “get rid of.” Since we are just a small group without a shelter that concentrates on spay and neuter services, I’ve been helping people find resources for their kitten problems. But still, I worry about the ones that will not be saved.
I also worry about our foster kitties. Will they ever go to their own homes or will they spend most of their lives in a foster home where they don’t really have the life and love of a forever family? While I know our foster homes are wonderful, it is not the same as being someone’s beloved companion–greeting them at the door and sleeping beside them on the bed each night. Will the black kitties especially ever get the chance to be adopted?
I also worry about funding. While we do apply for grants, it seems that the need is always greater than the resources. Until a day arrives when spaying and neutering is as routine as brushing your teeth each morning, something everyone does and can afford, there will always be unwanted cats being born and a need for our group to help those who can’t or won’t get the strays and ferals in their neighborhood fixed. I would like nothing more than for our foundation to be unnecessary and unused with excess money in the bank that we just can’t find a way to spend.
As I try to fall back to sleep, I tell myself the same things as always (looking at the positive and pushing the negative away): we will always have enough money to do the things we need to do because people are generous and our lives are abundantly blessed. Then I say a prayer for each of our foster kitties and release them from our care to find a home as special as they are. I name each of them by name, their fuzzy faces appearing before me in the shadowy blackness of my mind.
Finally, I send good energy out to all the cats that are not within our care and ask the feline angels to guard them for one more day.
This is my 3 a.m. ritual and perhaps someday, when I am no longer a rescuer, I will sleep peacefully each night.
Just to introduce myself, I used to be an only child, and believe me that is the way I liked it. If only I had had a few flaws. If I could go back, I would do lots of naughty things so Mom would think cats were awful and not want any others. As it was, I was so wonderful that she began to think about all the cats without homes, who were just as sweet as me and needed her help.
Of course, Mom was delusional. There are no other cats as charming and lovable as me. Instead, she began bringing home rejects that no one wanted, sickies who were constantly giving me the sniffles, and kittens. Kittens!! Is there anything to be said about kittens? They smell. They steal your food. They chase your tail and want you to get up off your pillow and play with them. Plus, everyone is always looking past your fine feline qualities to exclaim, “Oh, how cute,” when the kittens drag toilet paper through the house or roll around pretending they need their bellies rubbed.
Give me a break.
So now my mom is always fostering these other homeless cats and expecting me to enjoy the experience. But honestly, I just want the good old days back when I had her all to myself. Times when a whole bag of treats belonged to me only. Times when she would open can after can of food to find one I liked because I had such discerning taste (no way that happens now–someone else inhales it before I can even get to the plate). Times when I rode in the car with her, safely seat belted in, hair blowing in the wind from the air conditioning vent (now we only ride in the car when I have to see that evil human called ‘THE VET’). Times when she zipped me into the front of her coat so I wouldn’t get cold when we walked to the car and she called me her ‘kitten burrito.’
Ah, I’d give my left whiskers to go back to those times. I am getting to be an older cat and I don’t want to share forever. So adopt all these cats already and give me some peace.
Yours as a former only child, Oswald P. Kitten, Esquire
Perhaps I was a witch in a former life (perhaps I still am, although the politically correct term today would be Wiccan), but I love black cats. I always have ever since I was a little girl–from Inky my first black cat to Clem the last cat I had until I was an adult.
Once she was an adult, the first cat my sister, Bobbie, adopted was a black kitten named Butler, the “poster cat” for Black and Orange Cat Foundation. I remember going to the shelter shortly after Bobbie brought Butler home, looking for a black kitten of my own. There were plenty to be found-they were the most predominate color in the cat area. I spent an enormous amount of time with a litter of black kittens (all with a spot of white on their chests), trying to decide which one to take with me.
It was an orange cat, however, not a black one, who exited the shelter in my arms. Let me just tell you, I didn’t even like orange cats at that time–I thought they were overly abundant and not very special. You can imagine that my opinion on that has now changed.
Anyway, thanks to extremely strong vocal cords and a plucky spirit that refused to take no for an answer (the little orange kitten with the big ears and long tail screamed his head off until I took him out of his cage), Oswald came into my life.
Oswald is the orange cat in Black and Orange Cat Foundation or the “O” in B and O when we just use our initials (Butler is, of course, the “B”).
Because of these two cats, my sister and I started helping other homeless kitties around our community and Black and Orange Cat Foundation was born.
Unfortunately, black cats are not as loved by the general public as they are by my family. Right now we have several black cats in foster care and, although they are the nicest cats around, they constantly get overlooked. I have even had people tell me, “No offense, but I don’t want a black cat.”
I hope there are others out there like us who love black cats. Spread the word that these feline friends are not evil or tied to human created superstitions. They are just cats, like all others, in need of homes.
And perhaps I wasn’t a witch in a previous life (wouldn’t that mean I was buying in to the black cat superstitions, myself, if I think that’s the only reason I like black cats?), but just a cat lover, as I am now, who looked beyond the surface to see the spirit inside a body packaged in black.