Monthly Archives: February 2010
For all you techno junkies (like me) with your phone strapped to your hip, Petfinder is now available as an application for your iPhone. The application is FREE and allows you to view adoptable B and O kitties anywhere your phone can go (which is just about every spot on planet Earth, except, of course, mine works the worst in my living room).
Just like the regular Petfinder.com site, the iPhone app allows you to search for adoptable animals by species, breed, age, gender, and size. You can also find complete pet descriptions and information on where that gorgeous feline is located. Then you can email right from your phone to B and O and tell us, “I must have that cat!”
You can also share pet profiles via Facebook and Twitter directly from your iPhone using the new Petfinder app.
To find out more, go to: Petfinder app for iPhone
We know that poor Stewie, our food bandit and pasta thief extraordinaire, was at home crying his little heart out because he could not come to the Spaghetti Dinner. All those meatballs! All those strands and strands of scrumptious spaghetti! Stewie would not have known which way to run with his gourmet treasures!
Even without Stewie, however, we had a good time. We had a nice turn out and a lot of fun with the folks from the Humane Society of Madison County who worked with us on this event to celebrate Spay Day USA, which falls on February 23. This was our very first Spay Day event and first ever “Spay-ghetti” dinner. Saint Joseph’s Parish Activity Center turned out to be a wonderful venue for hosting this food extravanganza.
We not only had dinner, but also a bake sale, and the desserts were out of this world. Our favorite was a cupcake that was made to look like it had a meatball and spaghetti perched on top. These scrumptious goodies were created using a hazel nut truffle, strawberry jam, and thin tubing of buttercream icing.
The Jonathan Alder Show Choir performed from 6-6:30, leaving the crowd wishing they could get up and dance, but sadly their bellies were just too full to allow their butts to boogie.
We want to thank everyone who came out for the dinner, but we especially want to thank Kristin and Christina. They were very brave leaving with spaghetti on their breath, because, at home, the food bandit was waiting. We can only wonder what Stewie did when he smelled pasta on them!
I first read about Oscar the cat and his strange abilities to predict when a person was about to die in 2007 when Dr. David Dosa published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine. The article detailed the odd things occurring at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island when Oscar crept into a patient’s room.
Oscar, who was not the warmest and friendliest cat to the residents living in the Alzheimer’s facility, would become their guardian and protector as they approached death. The cat would enter the patient’s room, curl up on the bed beside them with a contented purr, and not leave until the undertaker arrived. Oscar comforted not only the dying person, but their family members, as well.
After his extraordinary article, Dr. Dosa went on to write a book about Oscar which was just recently published. Making Rounds with Oscar details not only Oscar’s abilities, but looks at life in a nursing home through the lens of those dealing with the traumatic events associated with Alzheimer’s.
To find out more about the book and Oscar, visit Dr. Dosa’s site: Oscar the cat.
Here is the article I wrote in 2007 about Oscar’s uncanny abilities, as well as those of my cat, Oswald.
The Uncanny Sensibilities of Cats
By Robin Craft
I’ve always thought that my cat, Oswald, had a sixth sense that allowed him to know things that were well beyond my range of knowledge.
One spring, when Oswald was little more than a kitten, I was home with him when a terrible thunderstorm began to churn outside. While the wind whipped against the windows, Oswald suddenly seemed to get anxious about the weather. Meowing loudly, he came to me and refused to be quieted even by soothing head scratches. Finally, as he went back and forth from me to the door leading from the living room, it seemed that he wanted me to follow him.
So I did.
Oswald only ended his persistent pacing and yowling when I allowed him to lead me to the basement. Once there, he was silent and sat patiently in my lap for several minutes. Then, for no apparent reason, he leaped up, went back to the basement door, meowed to be let out, and calmly went about his business, bothering me no further even though the storm still howled around the eaves.
I can only think that perhaps there was a tornado close by and Oswald led me to safety until the danger passed.
Oswald also seems to see and hear things that do not register in my consciousness.
I have often noticed Oswald gazing at the ceilings or past my head as if he can see something floating in the air. Dust mites, maybe, or something more celestial?
Someone once asked me if I thought cats could see angels. The intensity of Oswald’s gaze leads me to believe he is looking at something completely unearthly.
Additionally, Oswald will go running for the back door long before I hear the garage door opening, signaling Joe’s arrival home. Oswald always hears noises before I do and his behavior notifies me that someone is in the driveway even when I am clueless.
Probably Oswald’s most endearing quality, however, is his loyalty when I am sick. He will crawl up on the bed beside me and he will not leave me during the entire duration of my illness.
Sometimes he lies beside me so I can touch him. Joe and I have often joked that Oswald is like a sponge for our stress and unwanted emotions. We hold him after a rough day and he soaks up our bad thoughts, removing the toxins from our system, leaving us calm and peaceful. We worry that some day all our pressures, pulled into his furry body, will leave his system riddled with tumors.
Sometimes Oswald lies at the end of the bed when I am sick, as if he is guarding me. He does the same thing at night when I am sleeping, as if he is protecting me from some unseen evil. I remember reading a story that said cats used to be the guardians of their humans, “cat-napping,” gazing out with eyes closed to narrow slits, alerting their beloveds of impending danger. Does Oswald watch for things that might harm me; things I cannot even see?
I began thinking about how bizarre Oswald, and all cats I’ve known, acts after reading an article in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The essay, detailing “A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat,” describes a cat with highly unusual powers. Oscar can predict a human’s death.
Oscar, a two-year-old feline, lives on the third floor of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, R. I. This floor is the dementia floor of the nursing home and the patients in this area are often confused, having forgotten much about their lives. Normally, Oscar is not overly friendly to the patients, who although ill, are not close to dying. He hisses and seems to warn them to stay away, perhaps a protective measure to keep the cat safe from people who can sometimes become aggressive or harmful because of their dementia.
Each day, Oscar makes rounds of the rooms on his floor, checking every patient. If they are not approaching “their time,” the end of their lives, Oscar moves on. But if Oscar enters a room and the person is about to die, he will stay. In fact, Oscar jumps up on the bed beside the dying patient and does not leave them, purring and nuzzling them, cuddling next to their bodies.
According to Dr. David M. Dosa, the author of the article, Oscar has predicted the deaths of more than twenty-five residents.
The nursing home staff recognizes that when Oscar is present at a patient’s side, death is approaching. They call family members and make final preparations.
Oscar always stays until the person dies. Then he goes on about his business.
Oscar has his own plaque for his work with patients who might have died alone if not for his furry, friendly body next to them. The plaque, from a local hospice, reads: “For his compassionate hospice care, this plaque is awarded to Oscar the Cat.”
While my cat, Oswald, has no plaques honoring him and has never predicted a death, he does have much in common with Oscar. Both cats seem to have an uncanny awareness about the workings of the world; an awareness shared by most of the feline population.
I can only hope that Oswald will continue to protect me and that one day, when one of us dies, the other will be there either in spirit or flesh.
To read The New England Journal Of Medicine’s July 2007 story of Oscar the Cat, go to: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/357/4/328
I had an email today from Betty Peyton the shelter director of the Humane Society of Madison County located not far from us in London. I am going to copy most of her email in this post word for word, because she does a wonderful job telling the story of Abigail Valentine.
Betty wrote: “Imagine, if you will, that for one year you grew up in a home where you were more or less treated like an inanimate object. You did receive some attention. You did have food, water, and shelter. You got by. You didn’t know any different kind of life.
“Then one day everything you knew and needed was being carried out the door. The chair you reclined in while waiting for the folks to come home from work. The couch where you sat next to your companion while watching TV. The TV – gone. The bed you slept beside – gone. Everything and everybody you knew, gone.
“Abandoned in a house with just the food and water that was left in your bowls.
“You sat and waited. Then you waited some more. You hoped they would come back. They might not have been super loving to you, but at least they were there. You sat and waited. Hungry and thirsty.
“One day, the door opened and you wondered how long had it been since you had been left behind. You had lost track of time. You had run out of food and water for what seemed to be days or even weeks. This person, you didn’t know them. They didn’t know you. They didn’t even know your name. They talked softly to you, telling you, ‘It’s okay, sweetheart.’ Fear took over. What should you do? You had never been mean to a person, but fear gripped at you. Still you were also weak from hunger, unbearably thirsty, and now completely confused.
“You hung your head and cowered, letting this stranger take you out of the only home you ever knew.
“The stranger put you in the back of her vehicle telling you that it would all be better. That you would be taken care of. Still the fear was there. That wondering of what evil was coming around the corner. What other disappointments you would have to face.
“You were taken into a building you had never seen before. The folks there seemed nice. They kept saying, ‘How cute…sweet, poor thing.’ You were then taken to a kennel where food, water, and a bed waited for you. You didn’t know it, but you had been ‘rescued.’
“Yes, this is the story about a dog who the shelter named Abby. But there was more to it and her story continued.
“Abby was found on January 21st, abandoned in a house with no clue as to the number of days she was there. There was no food and water and it looked like from the ‘waste,’ it had been a while. Abby was very malnourished.
“On February 3rd, Abby was taken to a vet clinic to get spayed so she could be put up for adoption. During the surgery it was discovered that Abby had been impregnated by a much larger dog. Abby, only 7 pounds herself, would have died trying to naturally give birth to the overly large pups. Abby was rescued yet again.
“While at the vet clinic it was also discovered that Abby had even bigger problems. She was diagnosed with two luxating patellas that were considered a grade 3 on a scale of 1-5. A luxating patella is where the knee cap pops in and out causing lameness in dogs. The higher the grade, the worse the case is. And Abby, who had already been through so much, had unknowingly been given bad news.
“Abby arrived back at this shelter on February 5th and the staff was given this bit of information. They were upset that a surgery spot for a spay was wasted on her since now they would have to put her down.
“Humane Society of Madison County Shelter Director Betty Peyton just happened to be at this other shelter and was shocked to hear this. ‘Why can’t you help her?’ asked Peyton. ‘Surgery can be expensive, but you need to help her.’
“The other shelter’s staff answered, ‘No money, and no time to raise it.’
“Peyton said, ‘Give her to me and we will take care of her. This dog, who might not have had the best life, yet have it ripped away when folks abandoned her, deserves a chance for a happy life, a happy ending.’
“Arriving at the HSMC Animal Shelter with her new name as Abigail Valentine, a clean bed and plenty of food and water, the small dog curled up on the office chair and went to sleep. We believe it might have been the first good sleep she had in a long while. In the meantime, there was no napping for Director Peyton. Even though Peyton knew surgery could cost over a thousand dollars and that the Sheba/Noelle Fund, which is for medical emergencies and needed medical procedures like Abigail’s was empty, she just could not give up on her that easily. In Abigail’s short life she had demonstrated that she was a survivor. This was in keeping with the HSMC’s philosophy of promoting life and promoting adoption and giving survivors a second chance.
“’Just look at this small, sweet, cute girl and you will agree,’ said Peyton. ‘I just could not leave her there to be put down. She deserves a chance.’
“The first call was to Dr. Joe Bando of VCA Sawmill in Columbus. Dr. Bando said he would do all he could to work with the HSMC in helping little Abigail Valentine. Thanks to his generosity, the surgery can be done for a discounted price.
“Help make a life saving difference for this small girl who has already stolen the hearts of the staff at the HSMC animal shelter. There are several ways folks can donate to help with Abigail’s surgery. First, funds can be mailed to HSMC at P.O. Box 777, London OH 43140. Second, funds can be donated using the paypal button at their website www.hsmcohio.com. Third, credit card donations can be made directly at VCA Sawmill by calling 614-766-2222 and letting them know it is for the Humane Society of Madison County and for Abigail Valentine’s surgery. Lastly, you could bring your donations directly out to the animal shelter (funds are deposited daily). The shelter is located at 1357 ST RT 38 SE, London next to Fairhaven School. Shelter is open 12-5 Monday to Saturday.
“Abigail Valentine will be taken to VCA Sawmill on Monday, February 8th so her surgery can be done when Dr. Bando has room in his schedule. She will receive excellent care from VCA’s dedicated staff, prior to, during, and after the surgery.
“The HSMC is currently looking for little Abigail Valentine’s forever family, a family who will give her all she will need for a happy, healthy life. Or a foster family, who will be willing to help Abigail with her recovery from surgery and the physical rehabilitation that will follow. The first and foremost goal is to raise the funds needed to help this small, sweet girl with a big heart who was at one point nothing more than an inanimate object and subsequently abandoned. Abigail Valentine deserves a Valentine of her own that will make every day for her Valentine’s Day! “
If you can, please make a donation toward Abigail Valentine’s surgery. Unfortunately, stories like this happen every day and the Betty Peytons of the world are not always there to stop the euthanizations. We must continue to work toward a No Kill community, where dogs and cats that can be saved with medical care will be.
Kitten’s Kiss wine, produced by Eldchrist Winery in Plain City, is now available to purchase. A donation to Black and Orange Cat Foundation will be made for every bottle sold.
The two kittens, B and Mittens, featured on the wine label are kitties that Black and Orange helped get vet care. Because of this, the winery owners wanted to give back to us by creating a wine to support our spay and neuter efforts.
The wine can be purchased right now at Lovejoy’s Market located at 900 Village Boulevard in Plain City, at Old Town Inn, 113 West 5th Avenue in Marysville (where it is currently on the restaurant’s menu), and at the winery itself. It will also be available at more locations in the very near future.
Eldchrist Winery is currently open on Fridays from 6 pm to 9 pm and on Saturdays from 2 pm to 8 pm. The wine is $13.99 plus tax if purchased at Lovejoy’s and $16.00 (which includes the tax) if purchased at the Winery.
To find out more about Eldchrist Winery, visit their site: Eldchrist
Please support Black and Orange with this very unique wine which is made from 100% Lake Erie Traminette grapes and features a citrus flavor.
An official wine release benefit party is in the works in the very near future. We will let you know about it as soon as we have more information. This party, to celebrate Kitten’s Kiss, will also benefit Black and Orange.
To download the official flyer about the wine, please click on the image below. When you have the smaller image pulled up, click on it again to get the larger version which you can then print out and give to all your friends!
To celebrate Spay Day 2010, the Rascal Unit and Rascal Charities will sterilize 50-60 puppies on February 23, 2010. They will be scheduling puppies between the ages of 3 and 6 months in advance. No walk-ins the day of the surgery. With this event, the Rascal folks hope to educate pet owners about the benefits of early sterilization, wellness care, and training.
For $25 (WOW!!), puppies will be sterilized, receive deworming and heartworm prevention (Interceptor puppy pack), a DHLPP and Rabies vaccine (if due), 24 Pet Watch Microchip (with registration), flea treatment if fleas are found, and information on training.
Pet owners must show proof of financial need. You can find out more about scheduling and what you need to do to prove you qualify at: Rascal Unit Spay Day
This event is being sponsored by the Franklin County Dog Shelter, Pets Without Parents, and the Powell Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
If you know anyone who needs help getting their puppy fixed, please tell them about this event!
In the good old days, when I was just a kitten and before Mom decided to “save” every cat in the tri-state area, I was the King. I used to go to kitten daycare every day at Grandpa Bob’s house, because Mom didn’t want to leave me all alone in the house.
Well, things have sure changed now. I can’t even find a place in the house to get a moment of peace. And I don’t get to go to daycare any more, because there are plenty of other cats that I have to babysit here at home. Mom leaves me in charge every day when she leaves through that door at the back of the house. I’ve often wondered where she goes…nah, can’t be as much fun as I have sleeping all day.
Anyway, as I was saying before I got lost on that tangent, in the good old days, I used to ride in the car with Mom to go to kitten daycare. When it was cold outside, she would zip me up into her coat for the short walk from the house to the car so I would not get my toesies chilled. Mom used to call me the “kitten tortilla” when I was bundled up in her jacket.
Those days are long gone. Mom now says I wouldn’t even be able to fit in her jacket, because I have gained so much weight. Now I am on a diet and recently Mom brought home some new food that is supposed to be just for me. We’ll see if that food gets eaten or collects dust. More on that later.
Sigh..if only I could return to those times when I was a high roller, riding in Mom’s coat, King of the house. That’s how I used to roll.
We reported on Michael previously as one of our “death row” kitties who got a reprieve. Michael came to Riverside back in November because he was acting funny. Turned out he was blocked with crystals in his urine that made it impossible for him to urinate. The family planned to euthanize him because they could not afford the vet expenses.
Well, Black and Orange stepped in and offered to help Michael get well.
At about the same time all of that was going on with Michael, Best Friends Animal Society was carrying out a campaign to “Double Your Impact.” For every dollar that supporters gave to Black and Orange during the challenge, Best Friends would match the funds. They planned to match up to $25,000 for all the rescue groups and shelters taking part in the campaign. However, they quickly reached that goal and pushed it out to $50,000!
Because of this campaign, Black and Orange had $540 contributed by our supporters and this was matched by Best Friends, giving us a total of $1,080. This money came in at a time when we really could use it as we had to perform a life saving surgery for Michael. Because he continued to be blocked, he had to have his penis removed and our Best Friends funds were used to help him.
Michael is now doing well in a foster home where he is loved and is healthy.
We had an email last week asking how we had used our matching funds from Best Friends and the story of Michael made it into the story.
To read the article, which is in the Best Friends newsletter and is also featured on their web site, go to: “The Impact Made.”
We want to thank all of our supporters who made this possible. We’d also like to thank Best Friends for allowing us to be a Best Friends Network Charity and matching our donations.
Michael thanks everyone, too.
Many of the cats we have posted for adoption on our Petfinder site came from our trapping projects. When we started out doing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) several years ago, the main goal was to trap the cats, get them fixed, and reduce the number of unwanted kittens being born each year. But always, we would catch wonderful cats and kittens in our traps, too, not just the ferals we had in mind and who wanted nothing to do with us. We’ve trapped Siamese and Himalayans and all manner of purebred cats, as well as tiny kittens that had never been around people yet still knew how to grab our hearts by purring and giving a head butt.
There are always unexpected surprises when you take on a trapping project.
The project I was working on for the past few weeks was no exception. Lots of surprises, including one very small gray and furry surprise.
I had an email at the beginning of the month about several cats in a factory warehouse area. With large semis going in and out all the time and machinery moving large pallets, the kittens born to the more wily old timers were not surviving long. Could we help?
So I set traps for several nights. The very first cat I trapped was a tiny gray kitten. It became pretty clear within the first day or so that he was not feral. In fact, he is very tame and rolls around for belly rubs as soon as you begin petting him. I don’t know how some of these kittens are so good with humans while others, in the same situations, are utterly terrified. I know this little guy wasn’t socialized and yet he loves to be petted and held.
The rest of his family, five other cats altogether, are also not acting like feral cats. They are shy, but they don’t try to escape and they don’t hiss or growl. What to make of all this?
I finally caught the last cat this past Monday. He is the senior citizen of the group at 2-3 years old. The others were all between 6 months and a year. Being the oldest, he was the smartest and had avoided the traps longer than the others. But hunger eventually won out over fear. While he was the most “feral-acting” of the clan, he still was not at all what I was expecting.
This big gray male acts as if he was someone’s pet at one time and had reverted to a semi-feral nature after years of living on his own. Fearful in the trap at first, he now acts as if he is waking from a dream, remembering a former life where someone else took care of him. It is strange to see the transformation.
The little gray kitten, who is now named Samuel, will be going to PetSmart in the near future to find a new home. The rest of his family, after being assessed for adoptability, will go to a warm, safe, and very quiet barn. No more large trucks to dodge. No more being hungry and cold. No more kittens that climb up into warm engines and cannot escape. No more surprises for them. Only a calm, peaceful life on a farm.
Like little Samuel, every trapping project brings something unexpected. It gives me great joy to take those surprises and turn them into blessings for other people. Samuel will soon be someone’s loved and adored companion, as have many others that wandered into our traps. Who could have known how wonderful our traps could be, magically transforming the lives of all who enter?
Truly a surprise…
We just got word that Noah’s Ark Vet Hospital has a new voice telling the world about all the nice folks in the rescue business in Dublin, Ohio. This new voice belongs to Yushay, a “rescued, pampered pekingese” with just a bit of attitude. Yushay was brought to Noah’s Ark with a death sentence–her people wanted to put her to sleep. Luckily, Yushay has new “peeps” now and she gets to hang around Noah’s Ark all day long quarreling with Yoda the Himalayan and reporting on the activities at the hospital.
To read “Yushay’s Ark,” please go to: “My Name is Yushay”
Sign up to follow Yushay’s blog or leave a comment. It makes her so happy, she sometimes “piddles” on the floor. But, shhh…don’t tell her we let out one of her secrets.
You can also find out more about Noah’s Ark at their web site: www.noahsarkvethosp.com/