Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Come on people now, let’s everybody get together right now

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

One of the things I find absolutely frustrating about animal rescue is when personal EGO gets in the way of the work at hand. As a rule, most rescuers are working toward the same goal - lessening the suffering of animals. We may feel there are different ways of going about it, but we all want the same thing as an end result.

This is why I find it just ridiculous when rescuers allow personal differences, opinions, whatever, to get in the way of working together. To state that YOUR way is the only RIGHT way is simply egotistical and short-sighted. If you don’t even listen to others’ thoughts, you’ll never learn a better way. And there could be a better way, which could lead to helping more animals - and wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? Shouldn’t that be the most important thing of all? More important even than your own sense of being the end all and be all of the rescue world? Success in rescue is defined, after all, by helping the most animals you possibly can.

Methods of TNR (trap-neuter-return) seem to be a point of major contention in the cat rescue world. It’s hard work, exhausting physically and emotionally, so those who do it regularly tend to be very dedicated to the cause and very passionate about it. Dedication and passion are crucial to our work, but if allowed to run amok, well, things can get ugly really quickly. Just for example, one person believes trying to socialize feral cats is cruel, while another has had success at it in the past and wishes to try to get as many of these cats off the street and into homes as possible. Their methods are at odds, but isn’t their goal really, at its root, the same? They both want to help cats, in their different ways, to have better lives. If they listen to each other, and treat each other with respect, the end result will be more cats being helped. Period.

Just because we rescue cats doesn’t mean we have to be catty with each other. Cat fights aren’t pretty, and if you spend any length of time around groups of cats, you’ll know that they only ever really fight over things that matter to their survival. They don’t get into the petty stuff. We should take our cue from them. There are enough cruel and ignorant people in this world who we have to work against - the people who abuse and neglect, the people who breed indiscriminately, the people who abandon or collect - we definitely don’t need to be fighting amongst ourselves and wasting energy that way.

Group hug now,

This Crazy Cat Lady

Farewell, Little Leema, & Rest In Peace

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I went upstairs to check on the foster kitties in the Senior & Special Needs room. Sadly, I discovered that Leema had passed on sometime while I was gone. My first reaction was, of course, sadness. Leema had grown on my heart even though I’d only had her with me for a couple of months. She was a tiny, cute little thing with a HUGE personality. She greeted me every time I saw her with her “creaky” meow - it sounded like it needed a good oiling! I would pick her up and cuddle her, and she would purr her wonderful loud purr. She was a loving, funny presence - the true grumpy granny who was soft as mush on the inside. Sometimes I called her Slappy the Squirrel - those of you who watched Animaniacs will know who I mean. That was Leema.

I cried and said goodbye to her. I’ve been going through the usual routine of beating myself up, wondering if I missed some sign that she was sick. The truth is though, I really don’t think there were any signs. She was eating with gusto, very alert and seemed quite content with her life. She wasn’t sick in any visible way. This leads me to believe that what took her was something sudden, like a heart attack perhaps. And I’ve decided to be glad that she didn’t have a drawn-out illness or suffering - that it appears she just went to sleep and didn’t wake up.  Not a bad way to go, all in all. And she was somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-17 years old, which is a good long lifespan for a cat.  I believe it was just her time, and now she’s gone on to better things.

This post is in honor of Leema. Farewell, little granny cat. Purrs and headbutts and scritches behind the ears to you. You may never have been adopted, but you DID have a home here with me, and always will in my heart.

This Crazy Cat Lady

A New Year’s Resolution

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Everybody makes New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a natural time, at the end of one year and the start of another, to look back and forward at the same time. You look to the past, at mistakes or hurts or bad decisions that have held you back, and then look forward to the future, to what you need to do to change those things and grow. The very cycle of nature reflects the same thing if you think about it.

My New Year’s Resolution this year, one of them anyway, is to make use of this blog and other means at my disposal to educate, educate, educate. Ignorance is what primarily led us to the overpopulation crisis we find ourselves in now. Most people aren’t cruel, not intentionally anyway. I believe in my soul that most people are basically kind, or try to be. And the statistics don’t lie - most people have pets, and most people love their pets an awful lot. What’s missing is information. A lot of people still don’t really know WHY they should spay and neuter. A lot of people don’t know about the benefits of Trap-Neuter-Release programs when dealing with a population of feral and stray cats. A lot of people don’t know the evils of puppy and kitten “mills” or of their connection with pet stores. I’d venture to say even that MOST people just simply aren’t aware of the scope of the problem, the vast number of animals who die all the time because of overpopulation. I feel one of the jobs of Rescue is education. If people understand and know how they can help, I’m betting most of them will want to help.

So, while still hoping to make this a fun place, I also want it to be a place of teaching and sharing ideas as well. If I post something, feel free to comment and contribute your own wisdom to the circle. If you’re involved in Rescue, I KNOW you have stories to share!

Here’s hoping we all have the will to stick to our resolutions and make positive changes in our lives and the world!

This Crazy Cat Lady

The Death of a Christmas Tree

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

I’m a huge dork when it comes to holidays. I love to decorate - the cheesier the better! Having cats has seriously limited the type of decorations I can have - nothing breakable, nothing that might appear edible and then end up wrapped around kitty intestines, nothing that burns or electrocutes (remember the cat in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?) Since most decorations seem specifically designed to maim and kill cats, this is seriously limiting! Still, I persist. I just can’t help myself.

This year I bought what appeared to be a sturdy Christmas tree. Fake - they knock all the needles off a real one in about 2.5 seconds.  I attempted to “anchor” it to the wall with twine to prevent tippage. I bought ornaments that were supposedly “shatter-proof”. And I actually thought this would survive the Christmas season. I conveniently forget every time how insanely adept cats are at destruction when they choose to be. This year what I didn’t figure into the equation were two “teenage” kittens named Butters and Waldo who have joined my little herd of furry barbarians.  Critical mistake on my part.

Before the tree was even fully assembled, Butters had scaled it and sat looking at me with adoration from within the branches - what a spectacularly awesome toy I’d just given him! As quickly as I hung ornaments, he and Waldo knocked them off. I devised a way to secure them to the tree, somewhat, but they later learned how to chew through the string attaching them so they could play “ornament hockey” with them. They also chewed through the twine anchoring the tree, then climbed all the way to the tippy top. Helplessly I would watch the tree sway thiiiiis way, then thaaaat way while they clung obliviously batting at each other and chasing each other’s tails. They didn’t even have the good graces to act startled when the tree would fall, with a crash that sounded like the whole house was coming down around our ears. They didn’t even try to look innocent. Oh no, if cats could laugh, I’m convinced they would’ve been busting a gut!

Shatter-proof is a joke when you’re dealing with cats who are hell-bent on “the hunt”. As far as they were concerned, the ornament was “prey” and needed to die. And die they did, one by one, until my tree was nearly bare. They even most cruelly beheaded the angel who once sat so prettily atop the tree. It’s quite disturbing to find a beheaded angel on your floor, even if she’s made of porcelain.  Still, I thought to myself, a bare tree was better than no tree. Right?

Oh no. Once they’d finished off the ornaments, they moved onto demolition of the tree itself. Each day, another branch would bite the dust. Finally, the other day, I looked at my sad little tree and decided that it now made Charlie Brown’s look positively *lush*. I put her out of her misery, tucked away in her box til next year, when I’ll surely forget this year’s ordeal and try again. She’ll be held together with duct tape and prayers after the beating she took this year though!

You might be wondering why the cat lady couldn’t train her cats to leave the tree alone. Good question. The problem was, I couldn’t keep a straight face long enough to scold them. They were having so much fun - and after all, isn’t that really what decorations are all about?

Here’s hoping your tree fares better than mine,

This Crazy Cat Lady

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

I try very hard to maintain a positive outlook - about rescue and my life in general.  I don’t see much point in moping around feeling sorry for myself. Just makes me and anyone around me miserable. Some days though, staying positive is harder than others.

Last night, I got an urgent call from someone who needed to get rid of 4 kittens. They wanted them out by today or they would be going to a kill shelter. I missed the call because I didn’t hear my cell phone ring, but I called back within 20 minutes as soon as I listened to the message left. The number went straight to voicemail, so I left a message saying I could help, to call me back. When she hadn’t called back after about an hour, I tried to call again and again got just the voicemail. By the time I went to bed, I hadn’t heard back from anyone.

This afternoon, I finally get a call back - telling me that since she couldn’t reach me, she took the kittens to the kill shelter. She basically laid it all at my feet, like I hadn’t called her back at all. I don’t know if she didn’t bother to listen to her messages or what, but I DID try to help this woman (more importantly, I DID try to help those kittens!) Now, in spite of common sense, I feel guilty. I don’t know what else I could’ve done, but I hate that those poor kittens ended up in some kill shelter. Since they’re kittens, they might have a chance at getting adopted - it just depends how full the shelter already is. And if they’re given space, it means other cats have to die. It just sucks no matter how you look at it.

I know I can’t save them all. Truth be told, we shouldn’t have taken in the kittens anyway, being as full as we already are. Doesn’t make it feel any better though. I wish now that the woman had never called me in the first place.

Since I’m venting as it is, I might as well add that I REALLY can’t wait until the Senior & Special Needs Shelter (aka my upstairs) has the funds necessary to get the vinyl flooring! I’ve been steam cleaning the carpet up there regularly, but the special kitties have a lot of accidents. It’s just a pain in the butt and will be much nicer when all I have to do is mop!

Enough with the negativity.

See ya next time,

This Crazy Cat Lady

Hello, World

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

November 23, 2008

Where to begin? As great minds have oft opined, the beginning is usually the best place.

I’m Jen. I’m happily married, work full-time, no kids yet but I have a great family and some really awesome friends. My house is clean, my yard is tidy and I bathe daily. These details are important because I am also known to many as “the cat lady” - and most people seem to have some misconceptions about what a real cat lady is. I’m only crazy in the zany, eccentric sort of way - not destined (yet anyway!) for a padded cell. And I am a bit crazy in my love for cats, in that most people just don’t “get” the connection I have with them.

However - and this is a BIG however - I am NOT that lady with 100 cats in her tiny trailer, living in filth out of some misguided sense that I’m helping these creatures. In the rescue community we call those people (there are men too, not just women!) “collectors” - and it’s been proven to result from a true, documented mental illness. While they mean well, people who “collect” cats (or dogs, or any living creature) are not rescuers. They get in over their heads and can’t care for themselves properly, let alone the vast number of animals they’ve become responsible for.  This is not the kind of crazy cat lady I am.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you who I AM.

I have always been an animal lover, and have always had a special connection with cats. I was 10 years younger than my youngest older sibling, so it was almost like being an only child as I grew up. I didn’t have siblings close enough to my age to be playmates, so I found my first friends in our family cat and dog and horses (and even a baby duck we rescued once!) I talked to them, never wondering if they could understand me. It didn’t matter if they understood my words - they understood my love for them and forgave me for dressing them up in doll clothes occasionally.

I rescued my first cat when I was about 3 years old. Playing in a neighbor’s yard, I heard a kitten crying up in a tree. He was so far up you couldn’t see him, but you could hear his pitiful cries clearly enough. I kept telling my mom that there was a kitten stuck in the tree, but she told me it was baby birds crying. I insisted she was wrong, and when my older brother got home from school, I talked him into climbing up the tree to find out. I fell in love for the first time when he came down with a tiny black ball of fur tucked into his shirt.

The little black kitten, christened Dufus because of his clumsy kitten antics, became my best friend. He slept in my bed and put up with me even when I insulted the innate feline dignity he later developed by putting him in a stroller with my dolls or carrying him around like a doll himself half the day. I cried and cried when we left him at the vet to be neutered, not understanding that he would be coming back and that it was best for him. Even though we never had him declawed, he never scratched me intentionally, never bit me - he was living proof that children and cats can live together in total harmony.

Dufus was not my last rescue by any means. Even as a kid, I tried to find homes for the kittens born in the barn where we boarded our horses, or for the strays found hanging around our house. I kicked a neighbor for kicking a stray cat and got myself in trouble, but couldn’t have cared less - I knew even as a child that you didn’t do things like that to an animal. I was fortunate that my parents and family raised me to love and respect animals - and as I grew up and realized that not all people felt the same way, I became more and more determined to change that in any way I could.

As an adult, I got a job working in an animal hospital, where I’ve been working for 8 years now. Because of my particular attraction to cats, I began rescuing cats. I realized that many cats found themselves homeless and unwanted because people simply didn’t understand them - so I began studying anything I could find about feline behavior so that I could help people to understand why their cat was doing something they didn’t like and correct it rather than getting rid of the cat. I learned that cats are quite trainable, just as dogs are - it’s simply that they require different methods of training than a dog does (because they aren’t just little dogs!)

For the past several years, I’ve been working with a local rescue called Save Our Strays(SOS). I foster cats in my home, update their website, coordinate their foster homes and generally try to help out in any way I can. I believe in their mission - to reduce the pet overpopulation problem through humane trapping, neutering and releasing of feral/stray cats, and to find homes for as many adoptable cats as we can. I also strongly believe in education - which is why I’m starting this blog.

Here I plan to talk about the happenings within SOS, upcoming events etc. I also plan to describe my work as a foster and volunteer with SOS so the general animal lover knows what they too could do for homeless animals - because the rescue community needs all the help it can get! And maybe most importantly, I plan to discuss trap-neuter-return programs (TNR) to encourage more people to get out there and help conquer overpopulation and feline behavior issues to help more cats live harmoniously in their loving homes.

Signing off for now with purrs and head butts for all,

This crazy cat lady