Tagged: shelter

A Frankenstorm post: Help the kitties!

As a lifelong Florida resident, I am all-too-familiar with the dangers of hurricanes and the aftermath. Of course, Sandy was an anomaly in the world of hurricanes, a once in a 1000-year event, which on its own is super fascinating. However, she was also quite a bitch.

Although I am definitely a Florida girl and will likely never move, I have had torrid love affairs with New York City. I love it so that despite the fact that it actually has winters, I have actually considered moving there. I have a big place in my heart for that amazing city, and it breaks my heart to see all the damage there, not so much to the Financial District but the LES, St. Marks, the East Village…my favorite vegan bakery is without power (BabycakesNYC, heart them)! My best friend lives in Long Island and although she escaped damage, she’s expected to be without power for 7-10 days.

Drinkin’ PBRs and eatin’ vegan hot dogs at Crif Dogs in St. Marks

One of my facebook friends posted something the other day about how he hoped that an apparently famous colony of feral cats who reside under the Atlantic City boardwalk were collected by the group that looks after then before the storm. This, combined with all the fundraising efforts I’ve seen for the people affected, got me thinking about how the animal rescues there probably really need some help too. No one has benefit concerts for them, and we all know non-profit groups (especially no-kill shelters) have a hard enough time staying afloat. So I did some research.

For one, I learned that Alley Cat Allies, the group that traps, neuters and releases the feral cats under the aforementioned boardwalk, reported that “many cats have already returned to their colonies after the devastating weather.” Animals ARE smarter than humans, after all — the kitties got the eff outta Dodge. But I found this page: it lists a few of the shelters and rescues that were affected by the storm and need help. So please, if you can, remember the kitties (and doggies) and donate to a shelter up there in need. People tend to get caught up in the human element in disasters like this and forget about animals because hey, they’re just animals, right? Except they’re not, not to me. I would risk my life to save my cats. I would hope that if a hurricane hit here, which is really not that unlikely, that there would be help for my boys in the event something happened to me. Or if my roof blew off and they got out. Who knows? Nature is unpredictable.

So if you can, throw in 10 bucks. Or even give to your own local shelter in a show of moral support. They all could use the help.

Giving back without burning out.

I’m pretty logical about everything, even being illogical. There’s an explanation for everything, even if it’s not scientifically measurable yet. But I still cling to my belief in karma. I don’t necessarily think that bad things happen to bad people all the time, but I think that bad people do bad things because they’re not right in the head, and are probably unhappy, or too stupid to realize they’re unhappy. I think not being able to enjoy the good things in life is karma in itself.

Taco reflecting on life.

I don’t consider myself a “lucky” person because there IS no luck, there are only seemingly random happenings that are taken as “good luck” or “bad luck” depending on the person’s viewpoint. An unhappy, negative person will see the bad in the things rather than the good, and vice versa. It’s kind of like when you’re having a bad day, where it seems like one unlucky thing happens after another…it’s probably not really more than any other day, but one of those things in the beginning of the day put you in a bad mood where you notice those little annoying things more and therefore think your day is cursed. I have those days. We all do. I’m a firm believer in wallowing to get over stuff, so when I have those days, I let myself be annoyed and shake my fist at the universe for allowing these horrible (but not really horrible, everything is usually pretty minor in comparison) things to happen to me ALL IN ONE DAY. Then I get over it.

That being said, I have a pretty decent life. I wish that I had the time or energy to give back. I’m not a huge fan of people but I would love to volunteer at a shelter. I’m gonna be honest and say that I’m not really sure that I could handle it even if I had the time, though. Animals affect me in a way that no social injustice ever could. I can see myself getting attached and hurt a lot. I can’t distance myself. I get sad about ratty looking stray cats in my neighborhood just LOOKING at them. And I’m pretty sure most of hem aren’t even strays, just cats that have owners that are too selfish to realize what a horrible idea it is to let their cats roam. It’s not exactly rural here.

Taco forced to live under a newspaper.

It takes me DAYS to get over seeing a dead cat on the side of the road. Hell, I’ll cry about dead SQUIRRELS. How can I be trusted to see animals that have no home all in one place? Ones that may never find their forever home. I can’t bring them all home, even if I could it would be horribly irresponsible of me and unfair to the cats. I like dogs enough, not near the level that I like cats but they’ll bring a tear to my eye too. I just don’t really like being jumped on. And they’re a little smelly for me. But they’re just as innocent and loving.

He’s loved.

Maybe one day I’ll have the time AND figure out how to balance my overly emotional self. Until then I’ll have to help my “karma” by donating when I can and spreading good kitty information. I fancy myself somewhat of an expert in that arena, anyway.

All black cats do not look the same.

I love black cats. I don’t know why. I also love the color black. I’m not goth or anything, it just matches with things so well. And it’s slimming.

Fatty, he lives with my mom, he’s rotund (as the name implies). He’s got medium length hair so he’s extra fluffy, and he’s got big, wide greenish-gold eyes.

Large and in charge.

Jager, he was our little kitten that we lost to FIP (I always want to write about him but it’s too personal to a story for me to share just yet), he was wiry and had amber colored eyes.

Jager, my boo.

Moosh, he’s a big boy (like a panther, not like Fatty) and his eyes change color, but they’re mostly midway between Fatty’s and Jager’s.

Lurkin’ like a panther.

They all look completely different to me. When we lost Jager, the boyfriend didn’t want another black cat, because he felt like it would remind him of Jager too much. To me, this is like saying all girls with blonde hair look the same. That’s ridiculous. Moosh won him over anyway, so that was a moot point. When I talked him into a 2nd, I wanted another black one, but he thought it would be confusing. This is why we don’t have children. What if we had twins? Chaos would ensue. Also a moot point, because Taco came along, and although he has a black brother, I didn’t have much choice in the matter, because Taco was up for grabs, not his brother Zorro.

You can barely see Zorro, but that’s brotherly love.

So because all cats have slightly different facial features, eye shape, eye color, etc., it greatly surprises me when I browse around other cat blogs to see pictures of kitties that look strikingly similar to my own. This is not to say I couldn’t pick mine out of a lineup. Moosh has one little fu manchu whisker on his chin and stray white hairs here and there that I know the exact placement of. Taco has a freckle on his head and a little one on his chin.

I can usually even tell which one of them is sleeping on my feet at night, just by moving. Moosh is more bulk. Taco is more snake. He just melts into wherever he is.

Last night I was out with some friends, including the one who gave us Taco. She still has Zorro, and the momma of the two. We often compare kitty stories, but her boyfriend hadn’t heard them before and was amazed to hear that they’re so similar even though they’ve grown up in two totally different environments. Granted, my friend is one of the awesomest people that I know and a fellow crazy cat lady, so I’m sure the parenting skills are on par with my own, but cats do form their own personalities so it is pretty interesting that their genetics have such an effect on them. They’re both loud, jump chest high and get into EVERYTHING. Zorro doesn’t pee on their couch though. I got the lemon. But lemon cats are my THING, apparently, so I roll with it.

Sigh. This makes me want another black cat.



Support no-kill or save a life?

Not that I’m allowed to get another cat. The boyfriend has made it clear that if another cat moves in, he’s moving out. He does really useful things, like taking out the trash and using a toilet instead of a litter box. He’s also there for me to annoy incessantly when I’m bored with doing that to the cats. I guess there’s the whole “love” thing, too.

But every time I see adoptable cats, I want them. They are calling to me. I was at PetSmart today (I only shop there because I can get Taco’s prescription food there, which they SO INCONVENIENTLY put next to the adoptable cats) and these kitties were CALLING to me. One literally was, I told him I couldn’t have another mouth in the house. Taco is deafening enough. But there is always one that really really gets me. This time, it was a 10-month-old tabby/white mix. I generally don’t even like partly white cats (I like them all, I just usually don’t find them attractive). This big guy was so cute. I am a sucker for big paws, and he stretched those big mitts out at me, just BREAKING my heart.

Tell me he’s not cute.

This is where my moral dilemma comes in, even though it is a hypothetical one, since I can’t get another cat.

The kitties at this PetSmart were from the Pinellas County Animal Shelter. The animal shelter is NOT a no-kill facility, meaning if these guys don’t don’t find homes, they’re euthanized for space. I know it’s logistically not possible for a state-funded operation to avoid this, but I don’t particularly want to support it, either. So how can you choose between saving an animal that might otherwise be “put down” or supporting a facility (through your adoption fee) that makes every effort to not euthanize?

All of my cats are strays. Except Taco, his mom was rescued while preggers, so he’s never really known the streets. As much as I dream about having full-blood Bengal or a Cheetoh or a Toyger, there are so many stray, unwanted and unloved babies out there without it being necessary to breed more. Besides, Taco is part Bengal and if I pretend he’s bigger, Moosh is almost Panther-like.

KINDA like a panther, right?

I guess the end result is what really matters. You save an animal, no matter how you do it.

And when I can, I assuage my guilt by donating when I can, and taking my old clothes over to the Friends of Strays thrift store. I wish I could volunteer but two jobs take up most of my time and I doubt I’d be much help crying over wanting to take them all home. It would be like putting a drug addict in an evidence room.

Just in case anyone feels like donating…these are really good no- kill shelters that can always use the help:

Friends of Strays
Pet Pal Animal Shelter
Second Chance for Strays
Save Our Strays

Fat Fatty McFatterson

He’s large and in charge.

Fatty’s the OG black kitty. I was 16, totally into punk rock and rebelling (while still being a mostly good kid as far as teenagers go) when my mom and I were at the thrift store for Friends of Strays. So convenient that they had kittens there as well.

I don’t remember why Mom relented and was so easily talked into a kitten, but Fatty (his name was Ernie then) was a tiny black fluffball with fu manchu whiskers and a purr that would melt ice.

I decided Chaos was his name, because, as I said, I was into punk rock and rebelling. It didn’t strike me at the time that this wasn’t a particularly great cat name. Not until we got another kitten two years later and he somehow morphed into Fatty while the kitten morphed into Little (CREATIVE ALERT).

Fatty likes to eat. Like, REALLY likes to eat. In fairness, he is a medium-haired cat so some of his bulk is fur. Aside from that, though, I have, on occasion, caught him laying on the floor with a bag of food knocked over and a fat paw casually scooping morsels into his mouth.

Sure, you fit in that.

He’s also a momma’s boy. In retrospect, I guess they all are. I take a certain pride in that. He’s been there for almost half of my life. When I moved out of my mom’s, I visited every weekend for months even though he was so pissed at me he wouldn’t come near me, resulting in months of weekends of tears and wailing “My baby doesn’t LOVE me anymore!”

He’s had his share of costly vet stuff, like the oh-so-common-in-male-cats crystals, but last week got really sick with severe anemia. It heartbreaking to see him so lifeless. So he got a blood transfusion, buying him some time for his body to start building up his own blood cells again. This is not a guarantee. Fortunately, he’s made a lot of headway getting better, so much so that he fights off his pills with claws of fury. Here’s a million-dollar idea: start a mobile “cat pill feeding” service. Taco figured out the pill pocket trick and won’t touch them and Moosh is such a picky eater that he turns up his nose at the pill pockets anyway.

Mom and the getting-better Fats

I luvs me some Fatty, even if he does love food more than he loves me. I never thought I would be so happy to see him wolf down food.

Moosh Moosh Was Meant to Be.

Moosh Moosh likes to flaunt it.

Moosh is turning 4 this month. Sadly, he started life being thrown from a car along with his litter as kittens and rescued immediately after. When I found him, he was with a shelter called Second Chance for Strays (amazing people, please support them). I was in desperate need of a kitten, having been without one since having to put our baby Jager to sleep. After you lose an animal, there’s a period of time when you can’t imagine having another. Once that stage of grieving is over, you feel like you have to have a new one immediately to survive.

I wanted a kitten-kitten, Jason wanted anything but a black cat (Jager was black, he thought it would be too hard to have that reminder, which sucked, because all I wanted was a black cat — or a bazillion of them), and what I found was a black 7-month-old teenager cat, the last to be adopted from his litter.

Jason is not a guy who does a lot of grand gestures, but he surprises me sometimes. And so begins the story of Moosh. I couldn’t find any kittens, so I was looking in between jobs and online. I saw Moosh (except his name was Oz). I thought, “K. This is a black cat and not as kitteny as I want. Buuuuut I’ll just try him out anyway. What’s the harm?”

As if he’d been training for this moment all his life, he nuzzled his face into my neck and I was in love.

I called Jason and said something like “iknowyoudontwantablackcatbutireallyreallyreallyreallyreallylikethisoneandwillyoupleaseatleastlookathimilovehim.” He managed to decipher this. I guess he’s used to it. I get excited a lot. Mostly about cats. He’s usually prepared with a NO before I get out the first two words.


I got home from work that night to find Moosh. My darling boyfriend went to see him, unbeknownst to me. Moosh laid the charm on thick with the ol’ man. Put a paw on each side of his neck and nuzzled in. Jason thinks he’s a tough guy but he’s really a pushover for kitty snuggles. He’s going to kill me for making this public. But his friends won’t read this, and in the event they do, they’d have to freely admit they looked at a blog about cats. Catch-22, suckaz.

Anyway. That’s when he took him home. Moosh is mostly a momma’s boy, so every once in awhile Jason reminds him who took him home (he still loves me more).

Seriously, black cats are the best.