Tag Archive | cat

The unadoptable senior shelter cat – Tony’s story

I missed “Adopt a Senior Pet Month” by a couple of days but here’s my story.

After I put my cat, Simon, to sleep in January of 2011, I wanted to wait to adopt another cat until i found the right one. I didn’t begin my search for a cat until 8 months later. My criteria was:

  • An orange or beige cat to match my carpet (less vacuuming!)
  • An older cat since they are frequently overlooked
  • A cat that wouldn’t be scooped up right away because it was overly cute
  • Already declawed (yes, I know it’s terrible but I wanted a cat that had it done already. I have not and do not plan to declaw Milo for the record.)

I reached out to a few shelters that had cats that might fit the bill but for whatever reason they weren’t the right one. Some of them didn’t get along with other dogs or cats, some were already adopted, etc.

Even though I no longer lived with my parents I discussed the idea with them. My dad, an animal lover, thought every cat was a great cat.  My mom, an animal tolerater, was not keen on the idea of me getting another cat and shot down every cat i showed her (not literally shot! I realize the phrasing of that sentence sounds bad, lol.) Anyway, my mom did not approve of any cat until i showed her Tony’s picture on Petfinder. Only then did she say “Oh, maybe you should call about him.” I figured that was a sign that Tony was the right one for me. tony2

Tony was a 22lb cat that had been dumped at a New Jersey shelter by someone claiming a neighbor had left him behind when they moved. The problem with that story was that they knew too much about the cat.  I think the cat was theirs, and they got tired of dealing with his issues, which of course they neglected to tell the shelter about.

When I visited Tony that same night (the shelter stayed open late to accommodate my availability) he was squished in a tiny cage as that was the only option they had for him. He took one look at me and gave me the evil eye. They took him out of the cage, put him on the floor, and he promptly ran under the row of cages. I offered to sit and wait for him to come out which he eventually did when he smelled the treats I brought him. However, he wouldn’t eat any. He just sat there hissing at me.

I liked his attitude and knew not many other people would, so I said I would take him. The staff thought I was nuts but agreed to let me take him home that night (they didn’t even charge me, but I gave them a donation anyway).  I guess any person who had that much patience for an angry cat must be a good person.

I adopted Tony without knowing if he was friendly with other cats or dogs. I also didn’t know about his issues.  I didn’t find out about those until a few months later. Initially, all seemed okay. When we arrived home, I barricaded Tony in the hallway so that he could assimilate into the family at a slow pace. Well, he wasn’t having any of it. He sat there a bit and let the Chihuahua and the other cat smell him through the gate then pushed past it and entered the main area. No one fought, so I let it be.IMG_0484

He wasn’t the friendliest cat, but I learned his quirks like he only likes to be petted with your feet (I’m guessing he was abused at some point) unless he comes to sit or lay on top of you.  I need to let him do his thing otherwise he gets upset.

The only real issue he has is marking with a lot of urine which started once I introduced Milo to the mix. Milo wants to play and Tony wants no part in it. I believe Tony is just trying to show he’s upset. Because he doesn’t have claws, when he swats at someone or another animal, they aren’t too bothered by it, so I think he gets frustrated.

Lately, Tony has been slowly integrating himself into the group. I find that he now sleeps on the couches even when other pets are on them. He has slept in cat beds that are laying around – even if they are way too small for him. 2014-12-02 11.17.34 He even sprawls out on the floor when Eli and I play fetch in the hallway. However, if anyone gets too close to him or if he gets spooked, he springs up and runs away.

 

It’s taken three years but Tony is finally starting to act like he’s part of the family. I am still the only one he lets pet him, but that’s okay; I know he’s happier here than in the shelter, and I believe that I saved him from being returned back to the shelter once he started marking. We work through his issues and make accommodations for the situations that cause him stress like getting stalked by Milo when using the litter box – I’ve added a litter box in the bedroom so that he can usually do his business without another animal in his face, also that litter box is huge which allows his giant body to easily fit in and turn around without feeling squished helped the problem a bit.

Tony is now 15 years old. He has lost a few pounds but is still a giant cat. While he still doesn’t fully trust me, I have gained his trust enough to know he’s living a great life and is overall content.

Senior pets make the best pets. Try it; you won’t regret it.

Tony making himself at home on the table while I sewed.

Tony making himself at home on the table while I sewed.

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No one likes to sleep on the floor! How I built a feral cat a home

If you are a follower of my blog, you already know that I am a huge animal lover. As a child, I would always try to save stray cats in the area near my home (my parents never let me keep any though!). So, it’s no surprise that I am still interested in helping street cats. One of the ways I want to help is by doing TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release). I took a class on this one day and learned about an easy and cheap way to make insulated housing for feral cats.

This is what you will need:

  • A styrofoam cooler (I saved mine from a delivery of raw cat food that I ordered online one day. The cheap ones from the drug store will work as well.)

  • A storage tote with latches that is slightly bigger than your cooler (measure inside dimensions of tote)

  • A jigsaw (a regular saw and drill will also work)

  • Sandpaper (optional)

  • Straw or hay

  • Blanket

2014-01-19 12.56.37As you can see from the picture, I did not do a good job of measuring and then buying the proper sized tote. I didn’t take into account that the dimensions listed on the tote were its total outside size – not the inside dimensions. My cooler was way too big! Thank goodness I had my dad on hand to assist during the project. (Okay, fine. He ended up doing the whole thing, but I directed him!) The best tote to buy is the kind with the latches. It will prevent the lid from flying away in the wind and it will allow you easy access for cleaning.

You can see that we cut off a big chunk of the cooler. This actually worked in our favor 2014-01-19 12.57.07because it was one less hole that we had to cut for the door. Because our jigsaw floated away in Hurricane Sandy, my dad drilled 5 giant holes in the side of the cooler and used a little saw to cut out the door. It wasn’t as pretty as I wanted but most feral cats aren’t divas!  When cutting your door, make sure to cut it several inches up from the floor so that rainwater does not flow into the house.

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After the door was cut, we used sandpaper to smooth out the edges to ensure no cat gets scratched walking in or out. You will also see that we used the extra pieces of styrofoam to help insulate the cooler even more. If you don’t have extra styrofoam, you can use hay or shredded newspaper to fill in the empty gaps.

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In the end, I felt like this housing was a bit small. I think only one cat will fit in there. Bigger is not always better though as bigger housing will allow more air to flow in, and it won’t stay as insulated. Include a layer of straw or a pillow stuffed with packing peanuts and shredded newspaper inside for comfort and be sure to check the housing every once in a while to make sure nothing is wet or soiled. If you don’t tape down the lid of the cooler, you can easily remove it to do the inspection.

Housing like this can help you earn a feral cat’s trust enough to catch it and get it fixed to avoid building a huge kitty condominium. 

This would be pretty awesome in a yard though!

This would be pretty awesome in a yard though!

If you would like to learn about TNR, check out this site.

 

If you’d like to help my kitty Milo win some great stuff from Jackson Galaxy, please click “admire” on this page https://www.snapyeti.com/snaps/16094

Thanks!

I see my dead cat

I see my dead cat. …. yes,  that is an odd and creepy statement. However, I believe it to be true.  Let me back up. ….. 2.5 years ago I was faced with whether or not to put my cat Simon to sleep. He had been battling thyroid issues for a long time, and there came a time where nothing I did for him improved his quality of life. I had to make the difficult decision to end his life. Even now as I write this, I cry for him and for my loss. You can read about his struggles here

Happy Simon!

Happy Simon!

But alas the point of this blog is twofold. The day I put Simon to sleep was one of the hardest in my life. I knew I was doing the right thing. I believe Simon agreed. It didn’t make it any easier. I was fortunate to have my then boyfriend with me to drive us to the vet.  I had one last chat with the vet to confirm we had tried everything and then we went into the back room.

The room was sterile and cold.  He took Simon from me and laid him on the table. He was given a sedative so he wouldn’t be scared. Simon just laid there, calm and still. I said my goodbyes and let the vet do his job. I stayed with him the whole time and knew it was over when his eyes glazed over.

It was so quick and I’m told painless. …. at least for Simon. I sobbed and sobbed and had to leave the boyfriend with my credit card to pay the bill.  I sat in the car and cried. …I got home and cried. ..All day I just sat in my lonely house where Simon used to be happy and free. Well I guess he was then in a new place to be happy and free.

But this is where I come to the second part of my story.

As I  sat on the couch mourning my loss, I heard a sound at the window. It was a mourning dove on the fire escape. I had never seen one there before and this one just stayed watching me singing its song.

First sighting of the new Simon

First sighting of the new Simon

Now you don’t believe me, but I really feel that Simon’s spirit was in that bird. It gave me comfort when I most needed it and has continued to comfort me to this day.

Doves have continued to perch on the fire escape. …. sometimes more than one at a time. I learned that they are common in this area, but I never saw one before that day.

The birds sit outside my window even though my dogs bark and the cats sit and watch them. I just know that Simon sends these birds.

Go ahead. ….. think I’m crazy. ….. but I know I’m right.

Simon bird