Tag Archives: Cats

Argh! The Smell!!!

Argh! The Smell!!!

I am on the third “odor-destroying” product on the family room carpet. It didn’t seem like it was the carpet was the only culprit, because the cat pee smell in the room was still strong, but not over by the treated area as much as the rest of the room. I had already washed a bunch of fabric that had quite obviously been peed on, but just in case, I started checking some of the other pieces. Yep. The ones that didn’t smell like pee smelled like they’d been in storage too long, so I started pulling everything down and sorting it to wash.

The prospect of washing all that fabric is daunting enough, but when I started realizing that I had three loads, at least, of cold wash just in reds, I started re-evaluating my hoarding habit. I really should look at these more critically. Lots of that fabric makes me feel inadequate, because it’s one more thing that I haven’t finished staring me in the face. It’s supposed to be there to inspire, to play with, but instead it’s driving me away from sewing entirely. Yeah, there’s going to have to be some garbage bags next to the hampers. Sorry, fabric, but if I can’t see myself wearing you soon, you’re outta here.

I’d sell it, but that would keep it in my house even longer, and turn it into yet another thing I have to do. Almost all of it was cheap or free, and if there were a formula to figure depreciation of its worth over time, most of it would have reached a negative value. Let me go find those garbage bags. . .

Thank You, Buddy Amato.

Thank You, Buddy Amato.

What follows is my own opinion and reflects my personal feelings. It is not a statement representing any of the groups involved, and nothing I say should be construed as originating from said groups.

Everything was under control with this rescue, but Mr. Amato, who has no jurisdiction in Ocean County, decided to stick his nose in. The report on News 12 quoted him as saying “All the animals should have been removed. . .then you get them adopted. You don’t just leave them there.” Yes, Mr. Amato, simple as that. You take 44-plus cats, all sick, flea-infested, and emaciated, and easily fit them in a shelter that has only about a dozen cages. The shelter will find a way to fit them all in, even though they’re so antisocial that almost all of them need to be caged separately. The town council will feel so bad that they all need to be spayed and neutered, that the females that are too pregnant to be spayed will give birth to sick kittens that will need veterinary care, and that they’ll need other expensive treatments and individual attention before anyone would want to touch them, much less adopt them, that they’ll give the shelter all the money they need to rehabilitate and house the cats. And, after the shelter miraculously becomes larger and acquires at least ten more cage banks, people will pour in from all corners to adopt them, even though there were already plenty of good-looking, healthy cats being put to sleep after too long a time without being adopted. In fact, the shelter administration will get so much money, so much space, and so many clients, that they will no longer have to decide that a cat is too expensive to treat, or that one cat is more adoptable than another, and opt for euthanasia. Oh, no, every cat that comes in will be taken care of, no matter how much it costs, no matter how difficult it might be as a pet, and live out its days in comfort until it finds a home! Does it work that way in Monmouth County, Mr. Amato? Lucky you!

Unfortunately, it’s not that way in any town or county shelter I’ve ever heard of, and not that way in Toms River. That’s why the cats were going to be removed in stages by the rescue group. Tails With Happy Endings took out as many cats as they could house, and began getting them the veterinary care they needed, paying for it with its own funds, swallowing the costs for food, litter, bedding, additional cages. The idea was that since the town shelter would have had to put them all down, the rescue would take them in stages and get them adopted when they were healthy and well socialized, and the town would monitor the whole situation. Yes, it meant that some would be left in their same situation for a while longer, but they’d have a chance for a better life.

I doubt that Mr. Amato bothered to find this out before issuing his judgment. In fact, I doubt he bothered to find it out at all, because he apparently exerted his influence on certain officials of Toms River to have
Animal Control go back into the house and remove every single remaining animal.

In Buddy Amato Fantasy World, he’s a hero to these animals. Here where the rest of us live, their last memories before they die will be of having been captured ungently in a place of fear and filth. The shelter is already full of cats that have all their fur, that come forward in the cages to be petted rather than cowering and hissing, that are pretty and healthy and adoptable. None of them will be displaced by the “rescued” cats. Perhaps being dead is a better alternative to living the way they did, but it’s not a better alternative to the way the first batch will end up – the way they, too, would have ended up if Mr. Amato hadn’t swooped in to save the day. Bravo, sir.

Of course, now that the town doesn’t have to spend anything to care for all these animals, maybe they can purchase a vehicle for the same purpose. Outfit it with multiple gas chambers, capture animals in crates that fit right in, cold storage in the back, and they don’t even have to go back to the shelter. It could say in big letters along the sides “Buddy Amato Mobile Euthanasia Truck,” so he could get the recognition he deserves.

This is Not Rescue.

This is Not Rescue.

(Posted on my APP blog page)

So I was talking with someone the other day about a problem he was having with a neighbor. She’s feeding cats outdoors, which in itself is not a bad intention, but she’s creating a big problem for him. More and more keep showing up, and when they’re done eating at her house, they visit his to relieve themselves. He has to clean up the yard every time his kids want to go out and play. Worse, she is apparently going to shelters and rescues, adopting cats, and then “setting them free” – thereby adding to the feral population. He is furious at her lack of regard for the problems she is creating for the neighborhood, and the problem she is creating for the ever-increasing cat population. When he complains to her, she suggests things he could do (all of them involve work and expense on his part) without offering to make any changes of her own.

I said to him that he needs to change his tack and approach her with an appeal based on her viewpoint – the way her behavior is bad for the cats she thinks she’s helping. As long as she believes she’s got a noble cause, nothing’s going to change. So I’m going to share with you what can happen if you simply put out food for the cats outdoors.

Let me start with disease. . .

Many deadly illnesses in cats are spread by close contact, when cats mate, fight, or even share a food bowl. Healthy cats and sick cats who might otherwise not interact will come together at a ready source of food. The healthy cat who then catches a disease can bring it back to its colony, pass it on to its kittens, or bring it home to the other pets it lives with (another reason to keep your pets indoors!) You have not improved the quality of life for the cats you feed if you infect them with Feline Leukemia, FIV, upper respiratory infections, or infectious peritonitis. If the cats are picked up and put into a shelter, you may also be responsible for the euthanization of a number of healthy cats who would otherwise be adopted, because some shelters cannot take chances with infectious diseases. They will pre-emptively destroy groups of cats that share even cages in the same room to avoid the expense of feeding and medicating cats that may not live in the end.

Even if the group you feed doesn’t, somehow, include any cats with these illnesses, it’s equally possible that they might have ringworm, tapeworm, or roundworm. These parasites are spread by fleas, feces, saliva, casual contact, and don’t go away without treatment. They cause the cats quite a bit of misery, and can kill them over a long time. These critters, since they are not diseases, can also be passed to other animals,and even humans. Treatments have to be repeated, and re-infestation is likely unless the entire population is cleared – not something that happens with a group of feral cats who gather over a pile of food.

The bottom line is that if you indiscriminately feed cats, don’t trap/neuter/release, or add cats to the outdoor population, you’re doing more harm than good. If you selectively feed so you can gain the trust of a cat, you can catch it and get it tested for illness or parasites so it doesn’t pass on what it might have. You can spay or neuter so that it won’t catch disease when mating or fighting over mates or territory (or lessen the likelihood) or pass it on to its offspring. Sometimes, sadly, you will have to euthanize, but that is better than a lingering, guaranteed death, and certainly better than allowing the cat to infect other, healthy animals.

If you’re aware of someone who does this, pass this information along, please. If you know people who own cats and let them roam, pass it to them, too. And if you know someone who is repeatedly adopting shelter or rescue animals and letting them out, pass the word on to the local shelter so they can place the person on a “do not adopt” list. Saving animals is a lot more complicated than pouring food into a tray outdoors.

A Sad Way to Start a Birthday.

A Sad Way to Start a Birthday.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been nursing a couple of litters of kittens back to health, with varying degrees of success. The shelter released them to foster because they were scheduled to be euthanized, but had the potential to get healthy if they got the kind of one-on-one attention that a crowded, busy shelter just can’t provide.

A couple of them needed to be syringe-fed because they wouldn’t eat. One had me up all night twice keeping him warm and waking to an alarm every hour or two to give him water from a dropper. They went through a round of one antibiotic, then some went through a round of a stronger one, and some of them also had to put up with ointment being put in their eyes twice a day. It was important to watch to make sure they were each eating well, drinking enough, and having the right kind and volume of poop and pee every day.

Two of them recovered beautifully. Two of them seemed fine except for a goopy eye, which even so was improving. One still had a rattle in his chest, but was otherwise a happy, active, normal kitty. One had been a walking mucus factory until this past weekend, but now had big wide eyes, normal breathing, and a nice round kitten belly. The last was still having a hard time, but it was clear to me that she was less goopy than she had been – both eyes were open, if a little red-rimmed, she’d stopped sneezing, and she was right in there with the others when it was time to eat or play.

So I wasn’t worried when I sent them off with our adoption co-ordinator to the shelter for their next round of immunizations. Time for a wake-up call.

The last two I described were put to sleep immediately. The others have been given a week’s reprieve – isolated in a cage at the shelter to see if they clear up, put to sleep if they haven’t. B., the adoption coordinator, argued with them about putting them back into their foster home, or releasing them to the rescue organization so they wouldn’t be the shelter’s responsibility, to no avail.

The whole family was devastated. Even hubby, who essentially merely tolerates the cats for my sake, was in tears. I keep turning the waterworks on again when I think about it. Last night, every time I didn’t have one of the little boys snuggling into my neck, nursing on my jaw and making happy feet on my neck, I fell apart again.

I got used to letting the cats go when it was time for them to be adopted out. That became a happy occasion, because I knew they’d be going to a permanent, loving home (with a lot fewer cats competing for attention!) Each time I’d go in to the center to clean and see one of my fosters had found a home, it felt wonderful. This is completely different. Their fate will not be affected by how pretty they are, or how cuddly they are, or how goofy they look when they’re playing, or how much they love to be with their people. They can’t charm their way out of this.

We can’t do anything except hope that they all look healthy by the end of the week (which is, essentially, doing nothing, but feels like doing something). It’s raised some serious questions in the house, though. We won’t be fostering any more cats that aren’t free of the shelter system – falling in love with a cat who might be deemed unsatisfactory and destroyed later is too damaging to all of us. The question is, will we continue to foster, and if so, will we insist on being selective about what cats we’ll take? There’s a lot to think about.

Finding Your Cat

Finding Your Cat

I’ve been inspired by Dave’s return to start a Yahoo group for reuniting cats with their families. I don’t know if it’ll take off, or even help, but I hope people will have at least a few good results from it. Here’s the link: Ocean County Cats Lost and Found

I think I’ll write a letter to the Asbury Park Press telling the story. . .I know there are other people out there wishing they could find their missing cats.

Dave is Back!

Dave is Back!

Pics and updates tomorrow, after we get him checked at the vet. We got a call from a woman who lives far enough away that we suspect that he was trapped and released, but he still had his collar on, and she finally got him to come close enough so she could read the tag. He disappeared in August!

He remembered Audrey right away. He remembered Judy right away (she was a pretty darn happy dog, gettin’ her cat back!). Miles isn’t happy about being closed out of the bedroom, but Dave has to be quarantined until we know he’s healthy.

Miles and Spencer

Miles and Spencer

spencer-miles4163.jpg

That’s actually Spencer in the back, Miles in the front. It’s difficult to tell them apart just from looking. Spencer is smaller, has a shorter nose and smaller eyes than Miles, but without his brother next to him, you have nothing to compare to! The real way to tell is by calling their names and reaching out to pet them. Miles will look up, maybe even pick up his tail, and if I’m the one calling, he’ll come over to rub up against my legs. Spencer will look up in terror, and run away backwards until he thinks he’s far enough away to turn around and continue running away. The older they are when you take them out of the wild, the harder they are to socialize. We will, though. It might take a bit longer, but there’s progress every day.

RIP Toby

RIP Toby

She’s so sick, and looks so awful, I chose an older picture of her for her last one. We’re taking her for her last trip to the vet in a couple of hours. I can’t even give her much in the way of special treatment – she can hardly eat, and she’s too uncomfortable to play, and she’s so thin and bony that a pile of laundry is a more comfortable spot for her than a lap. She will be missed.

healthy-toby.jpg