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Friday, April 12, 2013

Feline Friday: The Petfinder Version

A bunch of years ago, I found a starving half-feral cat in my driveway one cold February. I ended up taking her in and she hid out in my upstairs room for six months, gradually becoming more socialized. Six months later, she died suddenly of renal failure. The vet said she'd been dying the whole time and I just didn't know it. I believe the gods sent her to me so that she would have a safe and warm place to live out the rest of her life. This sounds like a sad story, but really, it wasn't.

Because a year later, I decided that (despite having Magic, Mystic, and Minerva) I was really missing my little Melisande. So I decided to adopt a cat from a shelter in her honor--to save another kitty the way I couldn't save her. I went online to Petfinder which is a wonderful organization that takes pets that need to be adopted (both dogs and cats) and puts up their pictures and info so that their prospective people can find them. You put in your zip code, and all the animals up for adoption at shelters in your area come up. Then you can narrow it down by searching for "cat" and age, or male/female, or color, or breed. They give a brief description as well.

For instance, when I did a search for my area, this beautiful girl turned up.Kitty  NOT LOOKING AT HER. Magic, stop growling.

Anyway, I did a search for an orange cat, since I'd had a couple of brothers years ago that I adored, and this is who I found
That little foxy face captured my heart right away, so I went to the Delhi Shelter (Heart of the Catskills) to see him in person. At the time he was named Tweed. Don't ask me why. The folks at the shelter told me that he was 7 months old and he'd been there since he was 7 weeks old. And that he hadn't been adopted because he was so shy, he wouldn't come anywhere near the people who came to look at him.

Pffft.

As it turns out, Angus (aka Tweed) isn't shy at all. He's twitchy as all hell, so if you move too fast, you scare him and he runs away. Yes, even now, after all these years. Idjit. But I went and sat in the room where he lived with about 20 other cats, and he came right up and started purring louder than any cat I'd ever met. Huzzah, I thought. That was easy.

Not exactly.

Because then this tiny little calico girl came sauntering up to see me. Only about 7 pounds of bright eyes and attitude, "Azella" was just adorable. She was a stray--they thought about 3 or 4 years old, and she'd been there for a year without being adopted. Look at this face:
But I was determined to only get ONE CAT. After all, four cats is really the limit. You hit five, and they start calling you a crazy cat lady...

So I went back three times, determined to make up  my mind between them. The last time, I gave up and said, "Okay, I'm leaving it up to the gods. Whichever cat sits on my lap, that's the one that's going home with me." I went into the room and sat down on the floor and Tweed came right up and sat on my lap. Fine. He was the one I found on Petfinder in the first place. Only then he got up, and little Azella came and sat down on my lap. Not one of the other cats in the room came anywhere near me.

Never let it be said that I can't take a damned hint.
Seven years later, here they are, Angus and Samhain. I think they look pretty happy, don't you? I know I am.

You can check out some other cool I Am a Cat Parent stories on Petfinder. And if you have a fun story about how you got your cat, feel free to share it here.

Happy Feline Friday from the Crazy Cat Lady :-)



26 comments:

  1. Maks & Mischa were also found through Petfinder. It's a wonderful service!

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    1. That's great! I didn't even realize it existed before I went looking for Angus. Now I recommend it to people all the time.

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    2. That's so awesome to hear, DJ! I'm the associate producer at Petfinder and nothing makes us happier than hearing about pets who found forever homes through us.

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  2. There are many worse things in life than being a Crazy Cat Lady ;) And I wouldn't have been able to leave Samhain behind, either!

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    1. Yeah, she's a sweetie. (Stubborn as hell, but a sweetie.) And in one of those ironies of life, she ended up being diagnosed with chronic renal failure less that two years after I got her (when she would have been 5 or 6, which is really young for that illness). She requires some extra care, including giving her subcutaneous fluids every day, so if she'd still been at the shelter, should would have been put to sleep. So I guess she was meant to come live with me after all.

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  3. Thanks for the lovely kitty story and the pictures. I look forward to Feline Friday for a feline fix.

    There's nothing like a soft and squishy, purring bundle of love.

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    1. There really isn't :-)

      And you are very welcome. I worry that people are going to get bored with cat pics and cat stories...

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    2. "I worry that people are going to get bored with cat pics and cat stories..."

      They're obviously not cat people. XD

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  4. What a great cat mom! Love their photos. I'm going to visit my furgrandcats this weekend.

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  5. I think it's wonderful that you took them both. They keep each other company and really, you needed both a foxy blond kitty AND a calico to round things out. :)

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    1. LOL. Yes indeed. Since those were the only colors of fur not already being shed onto my clothes and furniture...

      And since giant Mystic took a violent dislike to tiny little Samhain, and she has to spend much of her time in a room upstairs, it is nice she has a buddy to keep her company.

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  6. I had a cat that came to me when he was sick. Merlin. I kept him for 3 months before he died. I'm glad I was able to ease his last months.

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    1. *hugs* And good for you. I only had Melisande for 6 months, and I still ended up missing her terribly.

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  7. I love our shelter kitties. And your blogwouldn't be the same without the cat posties once in a while! :)

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  8. Wow, cat stories... My first cat was a rescue from across the street at my grandparents' house when my family (parents, brother, me) were living with them during a transitional time in our lives. Tigger looked JUST like a cat my grandparents used to have (Tilly), came over to visit all the time, was pregnant...and the neighborhood rumor was that it was with her second litter and everyone hoped the new litter didn't wind up like the previous - again, rumor was there was a paper bag spotted in his swimming pool shortly after the last litter. He reportedly only had Tigger so his kids would come visit him (he was divorced). We asked if we could take her and he was all too happy for us to get her off his hands. 15-year-old me spent a couple afternoons that summer at the vet's down the street, where they allowed me to sit in the lobby and watch videos on playing nurserymaid in case help was needed, as the litter was expected to be a large one. Turned out there were only two really large kittens. When we did finally find a place to live, we couldn't have three cats, so when Tarbaby and Pussywillow were old enough, they went to the Humane Society to find good homes.

    (I don't know how many characters these posting fields will take, so I'll post multiple comments. I hope that's okay!)

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    1. What a great story! I'm glad you were able to rescue Tigger.

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  9. That's a great story. My four cats (KC, Zelda, Boyzie and Sugar) also picked me. I moved into my house five years ago, and they each showed up waiting to be let in. Then in January, I inherited two cats (both ginger boys) from my ex-husband. So I have also officially crossed over into Crazy Cat Ladyland!

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    1. Us crazy cat ladies have to stick together :-)

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  10. Another story is when I'd moved into my first apartment, one of my roommates who was also my boyfriend (later to be husband) was working the nightshift. He didn't normally work Monday nights but he'd not worked the previous Friday night due to that being Good Friday. So this chilly Monday night in mid-April (1998), he was running a bit late for work . . . only to come back into the house. I looked up to ask if he'd forgotten something when he put a tiny little ball of black fur in my hand. And by tiny, I'm talking not much bigger than a golf ball. It was a kitten! Brand-new born, still had its umbilical cord attached! He'd spotted it - her - on the sidewalk close to the curb. We lived in a complex that was raised from the street level, and stray cats were known to live in the iceplant on the hill between the buildings and the street. She wasn't moving, and I remembered from those videos at the vet's 8 years prior that kittens that young can freeze to death at room temperature. We live in SoCal, but it was probably in the 50's that night - far too cold for a kitten on cold concrete. But that one scene from Disney's 101 Dalmations went through my head just then, when the husband is handed the little puppy that "didn't make it" and he tries warming it up. I started to rub the miniscule body in my palm. It twitched and squeaked and I looked up at BF - "Hey, it's alive! Now what!?" We decided that night to keep her - I knew what she'd need to raise her and could teach BF. The next day, I got back from work and heard squeaking on the sidewalk. Two more kittens! And they were badly hurt. I'd already planned to take the first to the vet just to be checked out, but I scooped up all three. The vet guessed they'd been attacked by a tom, and that the mom had been forced to drop the first for some reason when she was moving the litter. Unfortunately, the two didn't make it, but Chase and Chastity died warm and loved. The survivor is /still/ around, though she currently lives with my mother-in-law (along with Shizuru - I'll get to her in a minute). We guessed she'd been born on Palm Sunday, this was "Holy Week" (I've never been a strong Christian by any means, but I /was/ still a Christian back then), and we figured angels had to be watching over here for BF to have found her at all, let alone in time, so we named her Angel.

    She's kind more of a little demon, though, oops. We still love her, though.

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    1. Wow--it's really unusual that they can be saved when they're THAT young. Amazing!

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  11. Lastly - I promise! - is Shizuru, named after a character in an anime called Yu Yu Hakusho (as were her siblings). I've had seven cats in my life so far - nine if you count Angel's siblings, eleven if you count the two that belong to my current roommate - so I'm just picking the ones with the /best/ stories. =)

    I volunteered for a while with the Humane Society. But I was working full-time and had very busy weekends, so my only times available were workday evenings. The shelter itself was closed, but they had cats in kennels at a nearby PetsMart (PetSmart?), so my job was go to over and feed and love on them and talk to people about them. One evening, a couple came in carrying a shoebox with holes cut in the top. The shelter was closed, so they were just in to pick up supplies for the night. They saw me and asked if I knew anything about kittens. (I felt like, boy do I at this point!...Angel, plus Addie and Fuzzy whom we got to keep Angel company, were all 6yo by this point). They'd found the litter in the iceplant by their house (iceplant again!) after listening to what they'd thought were birds crying for two days...and yes, there'd been a cat hit by a car in the neighborhood, though they'd not made the connection till I asked. The more I talked to them about what extremely young kittens need, the bigger their eyes got. Finally, I told them I'd just take the kittens. I'd raised one kitten to adulthood, I figured I could take three until they were old enough for the Humane Society.

    Turned out, they were more of a handful than I'd counted on. Diarrhea was /rampant/ through them, so that I was going through 3-4x the rags I normally would have to bathe and diaper them. Hiei, the little runt male, suddenly took a turn for the worse a few days later - shallow breathing, lidded eyes, wouldn't take his formula. He didn't live to make it to the vet. That evening, his sister Keiko followed. The largest of the three, Shizuru continued to have diarrhea, but she seemed okay otherwise . . . until she took the same turn about a week later. I'd lost two already, I was NOT about to lose her too! And . . . bless my father and grandfather - Grandpa had passed away a few months before, and out of the inheritance from him, my father gifted some money to my brother and I. Out of my portion, I was able to afford a visit to an emergency vet at 2-something in the morning on a Saturday/Sunday. Turned out she had a bacterial infection - which would be what took the other two also - but they got her on meds and IV fluids, and I was able to go pick her up Sunday afternoon. She's now 9 years old and also living with my mother-in-law. I really need to get up there to visit them - LOL and her, she's a neat lady. Fuzzy and Addie live with my parents so I get to see them all the time. *HEARTS*

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    1. WOW. You are apparently the designated kitten rescuer! Kudos to you for all the good deeds.

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    2. Haha, yeah, kinda. Been a long time now since I've fostered any kittens. I really kind of miss it! And yes, it is possible to care for kittens from as early as newborn - you just need to know what to do for them. I'd need a job I could take kittens to work with me, though. Until they're at least 5-6 weeks old, they need to be cared for every 2-4 hours. For Angel, my BF worked nightshift, so he was home during the day and I cared for her through the night. With Shizuru (and Hiei and Keiko while they were alive), I worked for a /very/ small company where I was often the only one in the office, so I just took them in with me in a carrier and anywhere else I went, just like with a human baby.

      I'm hoping one day to get so I can work on a sort of consultation basis, or at least work from home. If I can swing that, one thing I'd like to do is hook back up with the Humane Society again as a kitten foster parent.

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  12. it was meant to be :) When we adopted our first two cats, we only meant to get one. One cat just leads to another... (Hemingway)

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    1. When I got Magic, Mystic, and Minerva, I only meant to get one kitten, not two kittens and their mother :-)

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