Shelter Tales…Drake The Cat

Drake

Drake, a gray tabby cat,  and his bob-tailed brother, Dutch,  were dropped off at the shelter together.  Both were fully grown, and had already been neutered.  In their former lives, both had been pampered house cats of a single lady.  However, their owner was about to get married, and her husband-to-be had one stipulation–“No cats allowed”. 

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the young lady–to be forced to turn her furry companions over to an animal shelter…I wasn’t there when she brought them in, thank goodness, but I felt horrible for everyone involved– except the hubby-to-be!   I wanted to punch him..right in the face! 

Lo, the shelter officer, is kind and sympathetic to displaced animals, and tried to be accommodating to the cats during their time at the shelter.  She’d let them roam free around the office some of the time, especially Drake, who had the calmer demeanor of the two.  Still, the chaotic shelter atmosphere was quite a challenge for the” formerly” pampered house cats! 

The two cats stayed at the shelter long past “their allowed time”, waiting for someone to adopt them(sometimes the rules are bent a little)…  The truth is, not many people want a grown cat.  Cats are finicky, and they don’t always adjust well to new surroundings.  If people are looking for a cat, they usually choose the playful, furry kitten every time. 

Finally, I couldn’t stand it any more, and  I adopted Dutch, the bob-tailed brother.  I’ll admit, I take a fancy to those bob-tailed cats…  I brought him home, and he was doing okay, but he hadn’t bonded especially well with the cats that I already had.  Cats are much more accepting of a kitten than another adult cat.  I put Dutch outside, but he really didn’t seem to mind.  In fact, he seemed to like it.

In the meantime, I  talked one of my cousins into adopting Drake.  I told her that I would bring him home with me on Friday night, and she and her husband could pick him up from my house on Saturday.  At the time, I was notorious for trying to place unwanted animals with family and friends…

When my cousin and her husband came to pick up Drake, her husband’s loud voice sent Drake “into orbit”.  I’d never seen Drake act that way.  Drake went absolutely wild!  It was obvious that the two of them weren’t going to get along…Meanwhile, they saw Drake’s brother, Dutch, and liked him because he didn’t have a tail…Finally, I agreed to keep Drake, and let them have Dutch instead.

So…Drake ended up living at my house after all…He’s made himself at home–outside, with all of the other adoptees.  He used to sit at the glass door and look inside of the house…his eyes pleading to come inside.  He really enjoyed his former life as a house cat!  Eventually, he became accustomed to being an outside cat, and he can usually be found sleeping on the rocking chair on the front porch.  Drake’s been with me for about 5 years now.

Occasionally, Drake wanders over to my daughter’s house and bullies her cat (another shelter cat, which used to be my cat).  I don’t know why Drake feels the need to do that…maybe he has to take out his frustrations on someone every now and then…I found out  later, that Drake’s brother, Dutch, eventually ran away from his new home….I guess he just couldn’t adjust to city living.

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Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 9:18 am  Comments (4)  
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So You Want To Talk About Pets!

I am a lover of animals, keeper of pets, and I take my job VERY SERIOUSLY!  Many people have various things that they are passionate about–my passion is animals!  My family would argue that I am maybe a little too passionate about them… 

a message left for me by my clever youngest son

Six years ago I was working at our local elementary school, and volunteering at our local animal shelter.  As a result of both jobs,  my list of pets became quite long…and it hasn’t changed much today! 

  A pond full of goldfish/koi,  two hermit crabs,  a hamster,  2 rabbits,  a parakeet,   21 cats and kittens of various ages,  and  5 dogs!   Yes, our house is known as a sort of “mini-zoo”! 

The pond and fish was an anniversary gift from my husband, which I wrote about in an earlier post.  We’ve had it for many years, but I still enjoy watching the fish swim around.  We’ve battled birds, snakes, and turtles for the sake of our fish in that little pond! 

The two hermit crabs and  the hamster were classroom pets– kept at school during the week, but brought home on weekends and holidays.  Every Monday and Friday would find me lugging my precious cargo back and forth.  It wasn’t an easy task, but the children loved our classroom pets! 

"Oreo"

  It was no wonder that our classroom quickly became a popular spot for other students to visit.  The sight of little “Oreo”, the hamster, rolling around in his ball brought squeals of joy to the children. 

"Sugar Pie" shelter rabbitI rescued our first rabbit, “Sugar Pie”,  from the animal shelter after somebody discarded her after Easter was over.  The second rabbit, “Honey Bun”, was a gift from a co-worker and friend. The rabbits share a large bunny hutch with a partition in the middle of it, so they can be near each other, but not close enough to make baby bunnies! 

My parakeet, “Tweety”,  is a rescued bird.  Another friend and co-worker found him lurking underneath her car port one day.  Her husband was actually able to catch him.  They did not want a bird, and didn’t know who he belonged to…so she thought of me, and asked if I’d take him.  I could tell that he’d been someone’s pet, and he even talks at times–especially when my daughter comes over.  However, his speech is garbled and we can’t quite make out his words.  I’ve had him for five years.  “Tweety” has to live on top of my curio cabinet because “Bobs”, the house cat,  has this strong desire to catch him and have him for a meal… 

Once I began volunteering at the shelter, my outdoor cat “herd” quickly began to grow.  There is always an abundance of cats and kittens at the shelter, and most of them get euthanized.  There was a time when I “tried to save them all”.  My assortment of  cats quickly grew from 4 to 21!  My husband dreaded seeing my car door open on Friday nights, for fear of another hungry mouth exiting the car! 

Outdoor cats live perilous lives, and our numbers have diminished to around 16 or 17.  One died of old age, while some were victims of predators,  lizard poisoning, etc.  Did you know that eagles will kill and eat grown cats?  If the cat is small enough, the eagle will actually carry it away… cats also eat lizards–and some lizards(blue tailed ones) are poisonous to them.   

Please note the “Cat Cafe`” in the picture below.  My loving husband built it for me, so my cats could eat without worrying about the dogs stealing their food.  It’s about four feet off the ground, and has a top on it to protect the cats from the rain.  My sweet husband also built the rabbit’s hutch. some cats eating at the "Cat Cafe`" 

Although cats are my first love, I am not immune to dogs.  Although we already had one dog, a dalmatian,  within six months I adopted 5 more!  We became the parents of 2 more adult dogs, and 3 puppies during those six months.  Two of the adults have since passed away from old age, as well as one nearly grown dog who eventually had to be euthanized due to incurable red mange.  We desperately tried to save the dog with red mange.  We put him through 3 rounds of treatment, but he grew sicker with each one.  Finally, we decided it would be more humane to end his suffering.  The vet agreed.  He’s the white puppy in the picture below, and his name was Freckles.  What a heart-breaking ending for such a beautiful dog!  Ethan, the hound puppy in the picture, also suffered from the same “red mange” but responded well to the treatment and was cured. 

Me sitting with 3 of my dog babies... in 2004

I suppose I don’t have to tell you that for a good while,  most of my paycheck went toward vet care, and buying food for all of these pets!  Every one of my cats and dogs is spayed or neutered.  Even though our vet gave me a discount, and the county paid half of the cost, it still cost a lot of money.  I don’t regret a penny of it though.  It’s the only way to control the pet population. 

Every two weeks, it takes a shopping cart just to hold the pet foods and supplies for “my zoo”.  I can’t tell you how many conversations have been started by the sight of my cart full of animal supplies!  It’s been especially tough to  make the money stretch now that I’ve retired, and the economy has taken such a downturn.  I try not to let my husband go shopping for supplies with me because he tends to get ” ill”  when he sees the total on the bill! 

The hermit crabs and the hamster have passed away.  I no longer volunteer at the animal shelter.  It’s too hard to go and leave so many “needy” animals behind each time.  I’ve decided that I’ve done all that I can do there.  Even though I don’t go to the shelter these days, sometimes animals still manage to find their way to my door.  Two more cats have joined our family during the past year. 

I’m determined to care for my pet population for as long as they live…or I live–whatever!  By then my husband and I will probably be looking for someone to help take care of us…do you think there might be a place for us at the shelter? 

If you are interested in reading more of my animal adventures– just click on the links “Shelter Tales” or “pets” at the top of this blog…

Thanks so much to Brent Riggs for hosting Tuesday’s themed blog hop.  Just click on the link below to visit more participating blogs.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Click here to enter your link in the blog hop and view the entire list of entered links…

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 8:56 pm  Comments (8)  
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Bobs the Cat…She’s At It Again!

If you follow my blog, then you already know about my cat, Bobs.  We have a special relationship that goes back about three years ago when she was still a feral cat.   If you aren’t familiar with our story, I’ll give you a short version of it. 

This is "good" Bobs...

Bobs was abandoned as a tiny kitten near my daughter’s former home.  Despite repeated attempts by several of us to tame Bobs, she remained completely wild.  Nobody could get close to see if Bobs was a he or a she, and since she didn’t have a tail,  my daughter named her Bobs.  Eventually, my daughter and her family moved and Bobs was left behind.  I felt so bad for her that I would take her food every day.  Over time,  Bobs and I eventually became friends, she let me touch her, hold her and I finally brought her home with me–against my husband’s wishes, and after she had become pregnant, given birth to kittens, and experienced having all of her kittens killed within a week of their birth…and after she spent 10 days at the vet in quarantine because she attacked the vet tech before being spade!  Yes, I know what you’re thinking…

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how Bobs had suddenly started “boycotting” her litter box.  She’d been caught using the bathroom in several strange places–among them a pile of papers in the kitchen chair.  I began to make  Bobs  spend more time outside, so that sort of solved that problem–then the weather got really nasty here. 

I’m not cold-hearted enough to leave Bobs outside in the freezing rain, so I let her come back inside.  I do make her go outside on a regular basis which has taken care of the litter box problem–but just the other day she was feeling ornery and I caught her backing up to the front of the television and marking  it just like a male cat!  Back to the yard for Bobs…for a while.

This is "bad Bobs"...

 The problem with Bobs is her personality.  She’s always been contrary and hard to deal with sometimes, while being snuggly and lovable other times.  She reminds me so much of a bad child!  I think she’s bipolar sometimes because her moods swing so far from one extreme to the other.  Perhaps she’s hormonally imbalanced, who knows?  This week her ugly side has reared its head!

I haven’t felt good for the past 3 days, and when I am sick, Bobs acts worse–just like a child!  She has several annoying habits that she knows aggravate me, and she’s been showing all of them this week!   Habit number one is to act like she’s even thinking of clawing the back of the new sofa… She’s been heading for the back of the couch lately and giving me that look…out in the yard Bobs!

Another habit is plundering in my bedroom in the middle of the night.  She knows how bad I hate that!  It makes me so mad that  I’ll get up, turn on the light and we’ll play hide and seek until I catch her…Go directly to the yard, Bobs!

It’s common for Bobs to plunder and get into trouble.  She can open the doors to my storage room with her paws and loves to climb on top of my storage boxes and plunder.  She plundered this week and knocked over a lamp–luckily for her it was brass.  She was also  guilty of playing soccer in the hall with a pretend scoop of ice cream– in the middle of the night.  Did I mention that she loves pretend food?  Plastic eggs are her favorite toy–she loves the way they roll in crazy ways…crazy cat!

Bobs also knows that my husband’s room is off-limits to her.  He will tolerate her in the house, but draws the line at his bedroom.  Bobs loves  to sneak in Ed’s room if she can catch the door left open.  Yesterday, he came home to find her in his bed!  Later when he left his coat on the couch, he returned to find her curled up inside of it!  Bad Bobs! 

Lately, Bobs has decided that she loves my long tubular bead pillow that I sleep with every night.  She and I have fought over who is going to use it lately.  I usually let her win…if it means getting some sleep. 

Did I mention what happens after I send naughty Bobs to the yard?  She sits at one or the other of the glass doors and “digs” at the glass with her paws–like a crazy cat!  So…I usually end up letting her back inside just to get some peace!  Life with Bobs…it’s never boring.

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 11:03 am  Comments (5)  
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#2 Shelter Tales…The Love of a Pet

Trying to find something that "Sport" liked to eat

There is nothing greater than the love of a pet.  If I live to be 100, I will never understand how people can take their pets to animal shelters and leave them.  Our pets love us unconditionally, and depend on us.  I know some people think it’s the best thing to do, but I’ve seen some of the poor pets that get left and it’s heartbreaking.  People, think before you do this!  Please know– that most animals do not find homes–only a few lucky ones.

My first experience with such an animal was with a cat named “Sport”.  I’d been volunteering at the Animal Control Shelter in our county for just a few weeks when “Sport” was brought in.  He was a huge, long-haired, gray and white cat.  He was several years old and had been neutered and declawed.  He’d been the loving companion of an elderly gentleman who’d recently passed away.  There were no family members who were willing to adopt “Sport”, so he was turned in to the shelter–bless his heart.

When I first saw him, the look on “Sport’s” face was sheer terror!  He’d gone from being a lap cat to being dumped in a shelter full of barking dogs.  “Sport” was so large that he practically filled up the cage that he was in.  I took one look at “Sport”,  and said, “I’ll adopt him.”  I brought “Sport” home with me that evening–complete with his own brush, and hairball remedy.

I’d like to tell you that this story has a happy ending, but I can’t.  “Sport” had trouble settling in.  I guess it was hard to lose his only companion, spend time in a shelter,  plus move to a new home– all in less than two weeks!  He wasn’t very sociable, but he did finally eat–after giving him multiple choices.  At first he stayed under the bed, but later  he staked out a spot under my “year-round tree” to lounge around.  He would let me rub him, but not hold him.

After a few short days, Sport began to look at the door like he wanted to go out.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of letting him go outside.  I’d had many cats and didn’t think anything of it, and he ‘d been so depressed I thought it might do him good.  I figured he’d just sniff around the yard a bit and be ready to come back inside.  The last time I ever saw “Sport” he was sitting on the wooden pool deck outside of our house. 

I spent hours calling and looking for “Sport”.  I even went back to the house where he had previously lived–seven miles away from mine.  I thought that he might’ve made his way back home after a few days, so I continued to check for several days.  I don’t know what happened to “Sport”, but at least he didn’t die at the animal shelter in a tiny cage listening to a bunch of dogs barking and yelping.  God bless you, “Sport” where ever you are.

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 11:14 am  Comments (2)  
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Christmas Cat Tales…

Thomas Noel the Christmas cat aka MAC cir. 2005

 Prissy, the mysterious, disappearing cat has returned home for a Christmas visit after being gone for at least three months.  I really didn’t think that we would ever see her again…but I came home one evening and there she was!   It’s always good to see Prissy again–and she’s looking well!   I’ve been sneaking her in occasionally so she can nap on the futon.  My husband does not like cats in the house.   

Prissy the cat

If you aren’t familiar with Prissy’s story, she originally belonged to my daughter about 10 years ago.  Eventually, she migrated down the road to my house and moved in with me.  When I began rescuing shelter cats, I guess Prissy felt it was getting too crowded, so she disappeared.  We thought something had happened to her.  Lo and behold, last Christmas Eve, Prissy showed up at the door after being gone for over 18 months.  She was fat and healthy, so apparently she had found a good home.  Since then, Prissy comes for visits, but never stays long–a week is usually her limit, then she’s gone again.  We have no idea where she goes or where she’s come from when she shows up at our door.  We just love her and enjoy her while she is here.  One more interesting thing about Prissy, she lost half of her tail somehow during her missing status.

 I’ve always had at least one house cat of some kind.  In all of the years of having cats, I’ve only had two that insisted in climbing the Christmas tree. ” B.B.”, mine and Ed’s first cat climbed my mother-in-law’s tree and actually turned it over!  My MIL was a good sport and still laughs about that today.  I was so embarrassed!  The other tree climbing cat was Thomas Noel, whom you will learn about in a minute–and won’t be surprised to learn that he climbed the Christmas tree! 

A rather interesting Christmas Cat Tale took place the first year that Brandy and Clint were married.  Ed’s mama has always had cats at her house.  That particular Christmas she happened to have a pretty long-haired fluffy kitten that Brandy had an eye for.  We decided to get the cat, tie a red bow around its neck and give it to Brandy for Christmas.  Nice idea, but the problem was the cat had diarrhea and we didn’t know it…That cat left several “piles” in the house, including on the Christmas tree skirt.  We dubbed the cat “Shitty Kitty”.  The kitty ended up back outside at Ed’s mothers house.

 Then there was the first Christmas after I stopped volunteering at the animal shelter.  I decided that I would adopt just one last kitten for my Christmas present that year.  I already  had sixteen or seventeen rescues by then, but I really wanted to do something special for an animal for Christmas. 

Since I wasn’t around the animals at the shelter and didn’t know their personalities, I asked one of the ladies working  there to recommend a kitten that needed rescuing.  She showed me a whole litter of fluffy gray kittens and said “This one’s a sweet cat.”  I took her at her word and adopted the kitten.  I took the kitty home with sweet visions dancing in my head…WRONG! 

 I named the pretty little kitten Thomas Noel and he became my “Christmas Kitty”.  I called him Noel since he was a Christmas kitty.  Soon it became apparent that Noel was anything but sweet!  He spent the entire holidays climbing up in the Christmas tree.  My son, Brad,  nicknamed him MAC which stood for “mean ass cat” which accurately described him.  I’ve had many cats, but never one as mean as MAC.  He is just plain mean!  Eventually, he ended up living outside because of his demeanor, but he attacked us a  few times before getting the boot.  If you bothered him and he wasn’t in the mood, he was likely to attack!  Once, I let him back inside to feed him and let him visit.  Brad went to pick him up and he attacked Brad’s hand pretty bad.  That was MAC’s last visit inside.  When he comes to eat with the other cats, he growls and hisses the entire time he is around.  He sure could use some anger management classes.  He’s so mean, he even steals food from the dogs!  So much for that sweet vision of my “Christmas Kitty”.

  That’s it for this version of Cat Tales.  There is always something going on around here since I have so many cats, so I am sure to have an updated version before too long.  Thanks for stopping by…

Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 8:49 am  Comments (2)  
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Our first “child”

Ed began working at one of the hospitals in the city, while I stayed home and kept the house.  It was quite a change for me–to marry and move to a city where I didn’t know anyone.  Remember, I also didn’t drive at the time, so I was stuck at home all day.  I remember being so happy to see Ed come home every afternoon!

One day,  I saw an ad in the paper for a free kitten.  I asked Ed if we could get a kitten.  His first reply was “no”, but after a while, he gave in.  The kitten was one of those dark, tabby kittens.  Nothing special in the looks department, but oh what a personality that kitten had!  We named her “B. B.” which stood for Baby Bacon.

Life was never boring after we got “B.B.”!  That cat thought she was a person! She learned to scratch at the door to go out or come inside.  She was one of those smart, playful cats that was always into something.  After Ed went to work in the mornings, “B.B.” would stretch out in the bed,  with her head on Ed’s pillow, just like a person.  Unfortunately, she only liked a particular brand of cat food(Cozy Kitten), and it smelled REALLY BAD!!!

Me and "B.B." resting

Me and "B.B." resting

When Ed and I would go back to our hometown for the weekend, “B.B.” would come with us.  One Christmas she actually climbed Ed’s mother’s Christmas tree and turned it over!  We still laugh about that!  I didn’t think it was very funny at the time…

Of course, after a while, the unthinkable happened and our “cat child” came home pregnant!  She had several little kittens.  While the kittens were still very young, “B.B” went out one evening and apparently got hit by a car.  She came home dragging her hind leg.  I was in a panic and had Ed calling several vets to see what we should do.  Most vets wanted to do surgery to fix the leg, but we found one who was willing to put a cast on. 

"B.B." babies & broken leg

"B.B." babies & broken leg

 We didn’t have much money, so we chose to get the cast.  That was a crazy sight–that cat dragging that huge cast behind her.  She’d even walk a chain-link fence with three legs.  Eventually the leg  healed and she didn’t even limp.  The good part about the whole ordeal was that due to her injuries, “B.B.” wasn’t able to have any more babies!

Several years after the broken leg incident, “B.B.” went out for the evening and came home drunk!  She couldn’t even stand up.  Her eyes were all crazy looking and she swayed and fell down when she tried to walk.  She kept meowing and acting crazy.  Again, I got Ed to call the vet.  It turned out that “B.B.” had eaten a blue-tailed lizard which is poisonous to cats.  The vet said most cats die, but a few survive.  Fortunately, “B.B.” beat the odds and survived, although she never did walk quite straight and cocked her head sideways after that.

We had “B.B.” for well over five years.  She survived life in the city, only to disappear a while after we moved back  to our little country hometown.  We don’t know what happened to her, maybe she liked the city life better…

Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 7:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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