Monthly Archives: January 2010
I just found out about a really neat iPhone app called CauseWorld that allows you to help charitable organizations just by shopping. All you have to do is:
1. Walk into a store. Take out your phone (that shouldn’t be hard since most of us have them fastened to us somewhere), and check in. You don’t have to buy anything.
2. When you check in, you earn “karma” points from CauseWorld sponsors.
3. You can then donate those karma points to causes that you choose. Some of those that are listed right now are American Humane, helping injured animals, The Jane Goodall Foundation, working for primates, the Carbon Fund, and many, many more.
4. You can then share your good deeds via Facebook.
CauseWorld is available in the iPhone App Store. You can download it by going to www.causeworld.com
And don’t worry, Christina, a version is coming soon for the Droid.
The only other iPhone app that I currently have is the “Be Nice to Bunnies” app. Let’s just suppose you are shopping and you want to choose something that is cruelty-free and hasn’t been tested on a poor little bunny or mouse in a lab somewhere. This application is similar to the “Cruelty Free” paper guides that the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) produces, only it’s available on your phone for $1.99. This allows you to look up all kind of products to see if the company tests on animals or doesn’t test.
To get the “Be Nice to Bunnies” App, click on the “Available on the App Store” box here: Be Nice to Bunnies
Chase Community Giving opened up their second round of voting today, January 15, to allow people to vote for their five favorite charities from a list of 100 chosen during the first round of voting. The top 100 charities each received $25,000 for making it in to the final 100. Now they are competing to win one million dollars. The charity with the most votes within the next week (voting ends on the 22nd) will get one million dollars. There will also be five runners-up who will receive $100,000 each.
I’d like to ask everyone to choose Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida as one of their five charities to vote for. To learn a bit about this organization, visit their web site: Big Cat Rescue
With the one million dollars, Big Cat Rescue would support the cats they already have in their sanctuary (can you imagine the food and vet bills for over 100 giant cats?), end the abuse of these beautiful animals in captivity, and help save the tiger from the path to extinction in the wild.
If you voted in the first round of the Chase Community Giving contest, you should already be a fan of their site. If you are, you can vote by going to http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/1259795
If you have not already voted in the first round, find out how to sign up to vote by going to http://www.votecats.com/
Joe and I actually went on a tour of Big Cat Rescue in 2008 when we were in Tampa for a pharmacy conference. The sanctuary for big cats contains over 100 lions, tigers, cougars, and more. Sadly, many of these gorgeous creatures came from horrific conditions. Some were purchased by people when they were little and cute, but once they started to grow, and grow, and those sharp nails and teeth became a worry, they did not want them any more.
Some of the rescued cats came from fur farms or auctions where the animals would be killed for their skins. Yes, big cat mills exist similar to puppy mills. The major ones right now are tiger mills. Because many cultures still believe there are “mystic” properties involved with various tiger body parts, and because the animals are facing extinction, creative humans, as they always do, have found a way around the laws by breeding the tigers in captivity.
Big Cat Rescue saves cats from these situations. On our tour, we saw the different habitat areas that were set up for each cat. They all had things provided to help alleviate boredom and keep the cats engaged. Many of the big cats love to play with large balls and the tigers, because they love water, all had pools built into their areas.
I cannot imagine the amount of time and money and love that must go into caring for this many large cats.
We were warned on our tour not to get too close to any of the fences–a domestic cat can rip you up–imagine what a tiger’s claws could do. We watched a tiger using a tree as a scratching post. And just like with male domestic cats, male tigers spray to mark their territory. We were warned to watch out for that, too!
Please use one of your five votes on the Chase Community Giving Facebook site to vote for Big Cat Rescue. I’ll tell you about the only other animal rescue group that made it into the top 100 tomorrow. But if you’d like to get a jump on me, vote for Hope for Paws, too. You can check them out here: http://www.hopeforpaws.org/
That will take care of two of your votes. You’ll have to figure out who to vote for with your remaining three. I still have to do that, too, so if anyone can tell me about a super charity in the top 100 that I should also choose, please let me know.
Spay Day 2010 is coming! The 16th annual Spay Day will be Tuesday, February 23. The annual event, held the last Tuesday of February, was originally started by the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) in 1995. The event became a program of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in 2006 when they joined forces with DDAL.
During the month of February, events and activities take place throughout the nation and around the world to inspire people to spay and neuter pets and feral cats. Organizations that participate in a Spay Day event are eligible to take part in the Online Pet Photo Contest that begins Wednesday, January 20.
I wanted to let all our amateur photo buffs know about this contest a little early so they could begin snapping pictures now. On January 20, you can upload a photo and enter the contest. People can then vote for your photo by purchasing a minimum of five votes at $1 per vote or $5. When you upload your photo, you can designate Black and Orange Cat Foundation to receive the photo’s vote money. So the better your photo, the more votes (and money) we can receive. Or you can also pass the word that you’ve entered a photo and that the vote money comes to us so others will vote for it. The winning photographers will also win prizes, too. The last day to enter the contest with a picture will be February 26 and the last day to vote will be March 4.
To find out more about the contest, visit the site: Online Spay Day Photo Contest
Our Spay Day event is a “Spay-ghetti” dinner being held on Saturday, February 20 in conjunction with the Humane Society of Madison County. The dinner will be from 5-7 (or 8, we haven’t quite decided) p.m. at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church’s Parish Activity Center (the PAC), located at 670 West Main Street in Plain City (behind the fire station). We’ll have spay-ghetti, with or without meatballs, salad, rolls, and a beverage. We also plan to have a bake sale of “human” desserts, as well as delicious dog treats. The proceeds from this event will allow us to host a low cost spay and neuter clinic at the Humane Society of Madison County’s new “Neuterville” surgery suite.
To find Spay Day activities in your area (if you can’t come to Plain City for our “Spay-ghetti” Dinner), visit the Spay Day Web site and put in your zip code at the bottom of the page to find activities near you: Spay Day Events
If you’d like to get involved in a Spay Day event near you by volunteering, donating, or even taking animals in for low cost spay and neuter, visit Spay Day 2010.
A friend wrote me today and asked if I had heard about the Ohio “Cat Friendly” License Plates. Happily, I had, because the Ohio Pet Fund, which benefits from the extra fees paid for these tags, has awarded grants to Black and Orange Cat Foundation for the past several years.
As the web site states, “By choosing to purchase the Cat Friendly plate, you will be helping to reduce the number of cats surrendered to animal shelters and humane societies in Ohio. Fifteen ($15.00) of the total plate cost provides funds for spay and neuter surgeries as well as educational programs concerning the care of those pets for senior citizens, veterans, individuals on low income, pets in shelters, humane societies, and foster/breed rescue groups. Eligible cat organizations may apply for grant money by visiting www.PetsOhio.com.”
This is a really great program that is funded by the purchase of the plates. You do have to special order the plates. You can do this at the BMV or by downloading the application from the web site: Cat Friendly Plates
The total cost for these special plates is $25, but again, $15 of that amount goes directly for spay and neuter programs in Ohio. That money comes to groups like Black and Orange Cat Foundation!
For an additional fee, you can also get specific words or letters on the tags, as well, instead of just the random mix of letters and numbers. Check out the plate message this dog is showing off:
To see more plates that have cute messages, visit the Ohio Pet Fund site.
And just so you know, if you don’t want to be specific for cats, you can also choose a “Pet” Plate, with both a dog and a cat on it. This is the plate you see most often, as it was the first to come out: Pet Plates
You can also order a dog friendly plate and a horse friendly plate. Money from the sale of all of these plates goes to charitable organizations helping dogs and horses in the state. Visit the Horse Plates web site and the Dog Plates web site.
So the next time you need to renew your license, get tags that show you support Ohio’s pets.
Stewie, our renegade food bandit, struck again, this time with ravioli. First, we had evidence of his pizza thievery and now he is after the pasta. Is this boy an Italian mafioso or what? Should Suki, in pursuit of the tasty ravioli, worry that he might be “swimming with the fishies” tomorrow wearing a pair of concrete snow booties?
Don’t nobody steal this boy’s ravioli. But wait, didn’t our food bandit steal it in the first place? Once you begin the life of the thief, everybody wants to take what you’ve nabbed. Stewie better watch his back!
If you have any tasty treats that you think Stewie would like to swipe, please consider giving this food bandit a home. A giant meatball would be just the ticket to lure him into your kitchen (he thinks that faux, pretend meat Christina eats tastes icky!). Roll it across the threshold and roll the Ravioli Ringleader into your life.
I am so excited! Today in my email, I had the label proof for the wine, Kitten’s Kiss, that is going to be produced by Eldchrist Winery here in Plain City. The label features the winery kittens, B and Mittens, two white kitties who are brothers. Mittens is actually a polydactyl or Hemingway cat, having an extra toe on his front paws. (As an aside, Hemingway cats get their name from Ernest Hemingway, the writer, who had many multi-toed cats. He was a huge cat lover. You can still see descendants of his original cats at his former home in Key West or if a visit is not in the cards, check out the web site here: Hemingway Home).
Anyway, back to Eldchrist Winery, which I am sure Mr. Hemingway would have visited if he had lived in the area since he was a huge fan of spirits (the alcoholic version, not the ghostly sort). Eldchrist Winery has kindly offered to host a benefit event for Black and Orange to launch the wine. We’ll have more information on that as soon as we set a date. For each bottle of Kitten’s Kiss wine sold, Eldchrist has also offered to make a donation to Black and Orange Cat Foundation!
We helped B and Mittens get neutered and vaccinated over the summer as the Winery was first getting started. It was a very nice surprise when winery owner, Christopher Eldredge, approached us about a wine featuring the kitties to benefit Black and Orange.
If you click on the label above, it will take you to the proof. Click on that a second time and it should pull up a larger version of the image so you can read the text on the label. But in case you don’t want to do that, here is what it says, “Our Kitten’s Kiss wine exhibits sweet grapefruit flavors. B and Mittens were stray kittens that now live at Eldchrist Winery. The Black and Orange Cat Foundation specializes in spaying and neutering stray & feral cats in the area. They helped out our kitties! A donation to Black and Orange Cat Foundation will be made for each bottle of Eldchrist Kitten’s Kiss wine sold.” They then list our contact info.
To find out more about Eldchrist Winery, please visit their web site, www.eldchrist.com
We’ll let you know more about the release of this wine as soon as we have more information.
At that time, we’ll also tell you, “Drink Up!”
Actually, this was staged. Mary Jo was lying contentedly on the couch on the cat fleece blanket that came along with the pillow and Joe put the pillow on top of her so it would be readable in the photo. Joe was so pleased with himself that he ran upstairs (where I was already asleep in bed) to tell me about his accomplishment. Mary Jo was not quite so thrilled, but she puts up with us.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, we took in several cats that, with other shelters or rescues, might not have fared as well as they have with us. In fact, Charlotte, Blue, and Michael came very close to being euthanized. Thankfully, we did not let that fate befall any of them. And now they’ve all got their own happy ending.
First off is Charlotte, the gorgeous, fluffy (and very pregnant) Himalayan kitty who tested positive for feline leukemia back in October. The vet wanted us to retest her in three months, thinking that her pregnancy and other factors might be giving us a false positive result. Rather than automatically dooming her and all of her kittens to death because of the test result, we asked her foster mom, Kathy, if she would care for her until we could retest. Poor Charlotte had already had a bad start in life. She’d had two litters of kittens in six months, because her former owner was selling her kittens for drug money. With a positive test, many shelters would have euthanized her and her unborn kittens, not caring that this poor girl had never got her chance at a joyful life.
At the end of October, Charlotte had her kittens. And while we had had tons of people looking at her photos on Petfinder, no one inquired about her after reading that she had tested positive–no one that is except one very patient and persistent lady who wrote often wondering if Charlotte had been tested again.
Finally, just this past week, Charlotte was tested again and she was NEGATIVE–as were all her kittens. The persistent lady became Charlotte’s mom and now Charlotte’s biggest worry in life is keeping her favorite toy away from her new feline sisters and brother.
A happy ending for Charlotte.
Our second happy ending goes to Blue. Blue is the Siamese that came to us from Capital Area Humane Society. Blue had been brought to the shelter in August as part of a hoarding case with 30 other cats. She stayed at the shelter while the case was prosecuted and was finally able to look for a way out in October when Capital contacted me. Because I work as a volunteer with Siamese Rescue, too, I had hoped to get Blue in there. But circumstances worked against that and to keep her from being euthanized, I took her into Black and Orange.
Blue had a deformed right eye, due as my vet told me, to her eye not developing correctly when she was a baby. Because of that, Blue could not see out of that eye. However, she had vision in her left eye and did not realize she was handicapped. She ran and jumped and played like any cat with sight in both eyes. Because of her “handicap,” however, she was deemed “imperfect” and would have been killed to make room for more “adoptable” cats. Luckily, we proved how adoptable she is.
Miss Blue turned out to be the friendliest and most loving cat we have ever met. Her early horrible life did not scar her and she found joy at every new experience. When a family from Michigan inquired about her, we worried about her going so far away. When the same family turned out to be wonderful, having nursed their other Siamese through the trials of a stroke (they bathed her and made her a special “wheelchair” so she could get around and massaged her legs so they would not atrophy), we told our girl it was time for a road trip. The family drove over four hours to pick Blue up and take her home with them. With tears in their eyes, they saw none of her flaws, only her loving nature.
Our final happy ending is for Michael.
Michael also came to us at about the same time as Miss Blue at the beginning of November. In fact, we saved both their lives in the same week. A family brought Michael (who was named Mittens at that time due to his white paws) to Riverside Drive Animal Care Center because they thought he was not acting right. They thought he had eaten some “chewing tobacco.” Michael had never had any vet care of any kind. He is one year old and had never been vaccinated or neutered.
Well, it turned out that Michael was having trouble peeing. He had crystals in his urine that caused him to become blocked. The family did not have the money to pay to have his system flushed out, so they told Dr. Wisecup to euthanize him. But Michael was so nice that no one in the office wanted to end his life–especially since he was only a year old and had never had much chance to enjoy his short time. Black and Orange got a call from Riverside asking if we would pay to help Michael so he would not have to be euthanized. Dr. Wisecup donated all of her time to do the necessary procedures. We said yes.
While at Riverside, Michael was also neutered, vaccinated, and tested negative for feline leukemia/FIV. Shortly after leaving Riverside for foster care, Michael did become blocked again and a special surgery was performed at MedVet to remove his penis so this would never happen again. Michael is recovered now and is doing really well. He does fine with dogs and is super with people. He also made friends with another kitty at Noah’s Ark where he was staying after leaving Riverside and MedVet.
Michael is now in foster care with one of the fabulous people from Noah’s Ark. He has new cat buddies in his foster home, as well as a dog friend. Everyone loves Michael and we are so glad we saved his life.
In case you couldn’t tell…WE LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS!
If you have never heard of this, I’d like to encourage you to participate in a really neat project that Dogs Deserve Better does each Valentine’s Day. For the Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Valentine Campaign, Dogs Deserve Better (DDB) sends out Valentines to chained and penned dogs. Mailed along with the Valentine is a brochure about bringing dogs into the home and freeing them from their chained existence, as well as a coupon for a dog treat.
Last year, Dogs Deserve Better, whose mission focuses on freeing dogs from chained and penned lives, sent out 12,000 Valentines. The goal for 2010 is 15,000 Valentines. In order to do that, DDB needs you!
First of all, they need you to make Valentines for the dogs. If you are a teacher, a student, a group leader (4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts) or someone homeschooling their children, this is a great service project to teach kindness to animals. The Valentines should be no larger than 4″ by 8.5″ so they can fit into an envelope to be mailed. DDB is stressing Quality over Quantity–they want really neat Valentines that will make people think. You can visit their web site to see some of the cool Valentines people made in 2009 and also to download high resolution chained dog images to use on your own Valentines. All Valentines must be mailed to Dogs Deserve Better, P. O. Box 23, Tipton, PA 16684 by February 5.
Secondly, DDB needs coupons for free or reduced cost treats or dog food. They are aiming at having a coupon to go with every Valentine, so 15,000 coupons. You can mail coupons to the same address: P. O. Box 23, Tipton, PA 16684.
And finally, DDB needs to know who to send these Valentines to. If you know of a chained or penned dog in your area (we have all seen them–the poor dogs that look miserable in summer heat and bring tears to our eyes when they are covered in drifts of snow), please find the addresses for those dogs and either email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, call the info in at 877-636-1408, or go online and fill out the information via a form on the web site: www.dogsdeservebetter.org. YOU WILL REMAIN ANONYMOUS!
You can also sponsor the cost of sending 15,000 Valentines by making a donation to Dogs Deserve Better online or by mailing a check to the address listed above. You can also purchase really neat Valentine merchandise when you visit the site to learn how to participate in the 2010 Valentine Campaign.
We should all have a heart for chained dogs!
Today, January 5, is honored as National Bird Day each year. This tradition was started by Born Free USA in coordination with the Avian Welfare Coalition to teach people about the plight of birds in the wild facing extinction, as well as those in captivity facing many other human produced sorrows. Celebrating National Bird Day is also a good way to remember the birds perched outside your window, especially during these cold, snowy days.
To commemorate National Bird Day, I’d like to recommend a wonderful children’s book that tells the story of Lucky, a wild Lorikeet. Lucky is not so lucky, at first. The rainbow colored bird is captured, showing the plight that befalls many caged and clipped wing birds. This lucky guy eventually returns to the skies, however, through the help of a boy who cannot bear to watch Lucky live chained to a perch. The book, Lucky, by Monica Engebretson, is based upon a true story and encourages kindness to all animals, something we in the cat rescue business take very seriously. All proceeds from the sale of the book are used for avian welfare, rescue, and conservation. I purchased a copy of Lucky for our local library.
One thing I’ve always felt sorry for are birds in cages. To have the gift of flight and be unable to pierce the sky? It seems as heart breaking as chaining a dog to a post in the backyard. I guess what is the saddest part is the loss of freedom. None of us would want to be held in place, pretty prisoners. Most avian rescue groups encourage allowing pet birds to have safe places to fly. I remember visiting an older lady in our community once who had a pet parakeet. The bird sat upon the edge of her dinner plate while I dropped off her medicines, chirping and whistling at me, before flying to the woman’s shoulder. It was a marvel for me to see.
There are old stories that claim that some birds are angels, sent to Earth to be spirit guides watching over and acting as messengers for humans. Because they feel more at home in the skies, the angels begin as birds and eventually progress to non-flying creatures. It is a lovely thought. But even if this is just a story, it is still our duty to be angels for the birds around us.