Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What I Wanted at the End of Last Night

Instead I drove back to the conference, had a soda, and read Jennifer Crusie until I felt calm again.

A Foster Cat Always Relies on the Kindness of Strangers

Last night I was almost in tears at my shelter and people helped. No one looked at me and said "Why are you stressing about a cat? You have sick family members to worry about!" They understood and rallied and tried to find a way to help LeCat, my fourteen year old foster who suddenly needed twice daily antibiotics for a miserable looking infection.

The day started at 5:30 am when I put my head to the floor to coax LeCat out from his favorite hiding spot so I could feed and pet him before leaving for a conference in another town to be followed by a wedding in another state. He had jumped down from the bed at midnight with a frightened growl when Toby tried to jump onto the bed with perky ears and an upright tail.

When LeCat came out, his usual tear streak was normal on one side but white and oozing from the other eye. I freaked out but assured myself it was 5:30, I was overreacting, late, and everything would be okay. I stayed on the floor longer than I should have, playing with and petting LeCat as he lapped up his favorite wet food (seriously looks like the shepherds pie I love)and headbutted me.

When I had a free moment during the conference I emailed the foster coordinator, a vet tech friend (who works at the shelter), and the adoption events coordinator just because she's helpful and a friend.
The response to the symptoms was that he needed to see the vet tech for antibiotics right away. I flipped out and desperately tried to call friends who could take him the vet because I didn't think I could leave. Right when I was about to cry, my boss told me to go home and take care of the cat and let her know how it worked.

The verdict, once I got LeCat to the shelter, was that he might have conjunctivitis and certainly needed twice daily medication. I had a cat sitter but she wasn't able to come by twice a day, let alone medicate. I called my entire phonebook, near crying. I asked my allergic sister and Cleveland friend for suggestions.

The shelter staff called people and begged for me. They assured me they would figure something out. Finally a volunteer training to be a vet tech got permission from her mom to take LeCat. I almost cried in relief.

I got my first update this morning and hear that he's doing well and enjoying exploring his temporary digs. It's easy in pet rescue to feel that we need to be able to do everything ourselves Don't. Remember that shelters and foster groups and just kind individuals are often willing to help in whatever way they can.

I still feel a little guilty that I'm not with LeCat while he's sick. But I know I did the best I could and it's good for him to recover away from Toby (who still tries to play with him when LeCat wants to be left alone). Thanks to the kindness of friends and strangers, LeCat is going to be okay.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thoughts on Michael Vick

I'm still processing and the dogs are still healing (those who survived) but Michael Vick is now out of prison.

Part of me hates him and will always hate him and thinks he deserves nothing.

Part of me does see the merit in The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) having Vick work with them to reach youth who might become involved in dog fighting. Oddly enough my boyfriend brought up that possibility when I was horrified at the idea of PETA collaborating with Vick. I have other issues with PETA though (n.b. they're not really into rescuing pets--they wanted all the dogs put down without evaluation).

Then there's the part of me that has always believed that a man can change if he so wants and that we need to allow for the possibility of change and also forgive past sins.

I don't know how to forgive someone for being so hateful toward animals. Bad Rap had this video from CNN:

and you can see what a sweet dog Jhumpa is.

I guess if her new mom can support Vick having his own second chance, I can, too.

I'll support him working with HSUS as long as he acts sincere and doesn't treat it just like a PR stunt. I will not support the NFL hiring him back. Part of why he will be effective with those kids is because they will see that dog fighting does not fit into a high rolling lifestyle. That, instead, dog fighting leads to losing your dreams, going to jail, and spending the rest of your life trying to atone for your evil.

Because yes, I still believe what that man did was pure evil.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who's a Good Kitty/Doggle?

From XKCD ( and totally true.

LeCat and Toby hear a lot of "Who's a kitty?" "You're a kitty! You're a fluffy kitty!"

I believe this also happens with dogs however I have not yet found a comic with a graph for dogs. Does anyone want to provide me with one? You'll get karmic kitty hugs...

LeCat's Special PSA: Pets Who Survive Us

LeCat spent fourteen years with the same man, growing from a tiny kitten to a still small adult. He was obviously loved and indulged. He loves laps and scritches and gets so excited with his toys. He snuck up while I was dangling the wand toy for Toby and leaped and batted at it like a young kitten.

His owner had not wanted to give up LeCat. The man had to go into a nursing home and his relative brought us the cat. Normally I feel more sadness for the animals than the people who gave them up, but from everything I know this was not voluntary for the man and I feel awful for him. It has to be hard enough to move into a nursing home, how much worse must it be to do so while worrying about the fate of your beloved companion? I hope that man somehow knows in his heart that his little cat didn't spend long in the shelter and is now making feline and human friends and being cherished by a young lady. LeCat is safe and loved. I hope the man knows that somehow. Fate, God, a little bird, just somehow. My heart would be breaking if I ended up in the hospital (too young for a nursing home) and my family gave Toby to a shelter instead of finding a friend to take care of him.

While hospitalization/nursing homes aren't at all the same as death, they are an instance where a beloved pet can no longer be with their owner through no fault of said owner. We get a fair number of animals whose owners passed away and no one was willing to take the pet. I thank the heavens that I have multiple friends who have stepped up to say that they would take care of my cats should anything happen to me and they need a home (at some point Toby *will* get a permanent friend). Casey, Meg, and Jarrod have all offered to take them.

If you have pets, do you know who would take care of them if something happened to you? I know it could seem morbid, but it's important to think about. We've all seen those life insurance ads that ask "who would take care of your family?" Well, I'm not married and I don't have kids. I do have Toby. I feel better knowing he'll be taken care of no matter what happens to me. Don't you want the same peace of mind?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

DOGA on Saturday at Rose Park

This Saturday, WHS is teaming up with the creative director of Tranquil Space Yoga Studio to offer a DOGA class for people, pooches, and those who love them at Rose Park in DC. There will be treats for both humans and canines as well as a fun yoga class using your dog.

I'll be there with an adorable adoptable dog from Washington Humane Society and there will be other volunteers with other adorable pups in need of homes.

Come out, have fun, pet the pooches, and perfect your downward dog.

There is a suggested donation of $10 to help the shelter.

Also, WHS is still offering half off our usual low adoption fees!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


WHS adoptions are currently 50% off the prices listed in my guide.

We're overrun with puppies, kittens, bunnies, and gerbils.

Let your friends know!!

My Guide to Adopting in the DC Area

All the photos are of real shelter/rescue animals. All the information was correct as of two months ago. That was why I was so negligent in posting for awhile. Researching and writing that took some time!

Let me know if you like it :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

LeCat is a Lap Cat

I picked up my new foster cat, LeCat, last night and he is a cuddler! I'm keeping him in the bathroom for the quaruntine period and he is already trying to break free.

I have a routine when introducing a new cat to my home where I bring the carrier into the bathroom, close the door on curious Toby, and sit on the floor with the carrier open. I prefer to let the cat decide when to come out of the carrier and when to say hi to me. LeCat quickly climbed out of the carrier and began exploring. He found his litter box, drank some water, sniffed the garbage (thankfully didn't tear it apart because it's full of allergy tissues), and then proceeded to explore the new human who was sitting and watching him. I had my back to the door and my legs curled up to take up as little space as possible (it's a tiny bathroom) and he started sniffing next to me and trying to push behind the small of my back. Within a few moments he had climbed into my lap and was head butting for pets with a noticible happy purr. LeCat's eyes were half closed and his body relaxed. I stayed in there for about 30 minutes and was reluctant to leave when I did but my dinner was knocking on my door and I knew Toby needed to see me. Toby had meowed at the door a little in confusion.

I went back to visit with LeCat a few times before I turned in and he was delightfully cuddly every time. Surprisingly so when I sat down to brush my hair and he jumped into my lap! I'll need to give him some good brushings because he's still shedding a lot from shelter nerves, but his coat is lovely and soft. He's mostly a grey and white tabby but the fur is tinged with dark brown on the tips and the stripes on his tail are almost black instead of white. A good pile of his fur is now in my garbage and more scattered around the bathroom tile. Once he calms down he won't shed as much, but last night hair was coming up with almost every pat.

When I left the shelter with LeCat, our coordinator said thank you and joked that I'm their "Pathetic Cat Lady." She then stopped, realized how it could be misconstrued, and started explaining "Not that you're pathetic, you just do so well with the more pathetic cats." I laughed and assured her that I'd understood. The thing is, yes, Nikolai's story was sad and pathetic, and having a 14 year old cat end up in a shelter is awful. But these are the cats who need love and patience to show their incredible natures. LeCat seems like he'll be pretty easy once I get Toby not to be jealous (he had his jealous stance last night every time I came out of the bathroom). For a 14 year old, he's still beautiful and quite affectionate. I don't understand how he came to be in the shelter, but I'm so happy I can share my home with him until his forever home arrives.

Let me know if you're interested and please, pass the word to any friends who want an easy going, super affectionate little cat. I'll try to post a photo by the week's end. I thought about it last night when he was being cute, but figured a flash photograph on his first night might be a bit much.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kitty Welcome and General Update

First, I would like to state how wonderful it is to be welcomed home by my Toby. I was out of town for a wedding this weekend (the happy couple fosters dogs in the Cleveland area and are an inspiration to me with their genuine kindness and love) and stopped by my apartment before heading to the office this morning.

Toby started meowing as soon as I got near the door. He squeezed through as I opened the door and started rubbing my ankles and headbutting me with super loud purrs. When I bent to take off my shoes he rose on his hind legs to headbutt my face! He then proceeded to follow me around as I dropped off my suitcase and grabbed a quick plain quesadilla from my fridge. He had food so I'm pretty sure he wasn't hungry.

When I sat down he immediately crawled into my lap and sniffed my head and headbutted me a few more times before crawling behind me on the cushion and curling up around me.

For all those who claim cats can't be affectionate--I counter with Toby's obvious happiness in having me home.

In a general update--Nikolai is doing well in his new home. The adopter was wonderful and sent me an update to let me know how his first night went which made me so happy. He seemed to be settling in and she seemed okay with his nervous tummy (he threw up the first night on her boyfriend while he slept). She's planning to continue his command training and promised photos and updates as things progress.

Tomorrow I will be picking up a new foster friend for Toby--14 year old grey and white tabby LeCat. He's an older male and pretty calm so I don't expect too much trouble. I met him the other week and he seemed sweet. I'm glad I'm not getting him tonight though. In a selfish way I really want to just curl up with my Toby tonight and not have to deal with keeping two cats separated on my first night back. It's an efficiency so the new cat lives in the bathroom for a few days. Toby again dragged a towel off the rack and into the litter box (like he did while I was in Europe) so I need to clean more than my super quick "sweep, spray, wipe!" while I was home for lunch. Thank God for flushable litter at least.

Cross your fingers that LeCat settles in well and isn't too scared by another cat and a new environment. I'll post a picture once I'm able. I hope Toby will enjoy his new friend. He prowled the apartment the night Nik left, meowing for his buddy.

Cleveland Zoo Adoption Event!

My parents mentioned this while I was home and it sounds awesome. I know at least one or two readers on here are in the Cleveland area so I wanted to spread the word.

20 local shelters will be bringing dogs and cats for same day adoption to the ticket tent at the Cleveland Zoo. See the wild cats and then bring home your own smaller furry friend!