Monday, January 24, 2011

Busy Week

A lot has been going on this week. Here is a bit of a recap.

My "special" girl Ashi was a feral kitten.
Last Tuesday I launched a petition against Utah H.B. 210. I just checked the numbers and it is just shy of 1000 signatures. I am overwhelmed - in a good way - by the response. I had some wonderful people help me spread the word on FaceBook and Twitter and animal lovers from across Utah and across the U.S. have added there voice against this proposed amendment to the Animal Cruelty Act.

I had planned to launch a letter-writing campaign targeting the Utah House as well but I had trouble finding a good, easy way for people to send letters to their Representatives. Fortunately Alley Cat Allies and No More Homeless Pets Utah got on the bandwagon and set up some forms to make it easy. The Alley Cat Allies has a letter set up on their Action Center Web site and Best Friends boss Gregory Castle wrote up a great letter in his blog. I still plan to set up a letter-writing campaign - somehow.

Bobby has claimed an empty Ramen box as his own. It's a perfect fit!
Bobby has now been back for about a week and he's doing well. No new fights and I even saw him and Tyrone share a head bump yesterday. It was wonderful. In not so wonderful news, the test taken when he was neutered said he is FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) positive. The second test to confirm also came back positive. So our sweet boy has the kitty version of HIV. He is not symptomatic, which is good, and he can still live a long, healthy life even with the virus. He will, however, be more susceptible to infections and such so we will have to watch him closely. I did some research and with him neutered there is about a 1% chance of him passing it on to any other cats - I can live with that - but it will still make it harder to find him a new home. What really worries me is that he caught it somewhere, which means there is at least one other cat wandering the neighborhood that has FIV and is spreading it. I plan to talk to some of the neighbors about starting a new wave of TNR in hopes of stopping the spread.

That's about it for this week. Don't miss the daily fun on the Kate's Cats FaceBook page.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kate's Cats Comes to FaceBook

For those who may not have noticed, Kate's Cats is now on FaceBook. I originally wasn't going to let the cats loose in the Social Media scene - Seriously, could you imagine Tyrone loose on Twitter? - but I came to the realization that I am completely incapable of posting a short and sweet blog entry. I guess it's the writer in me; if it isn't at least 500 words it isn't worth it.

I've wanted to do a lot more with the blog. When I started it I imagined quick updates with cute pics from the day and/or links to rescue groups. But the quick and dirty just wasn't happening. So, I turned to FaceBook, which is tailor-made for such things. No, I haven't let the cats on Twitter, but I do post things on my regular Twitter account, although you have to wade through my other random crap to find it.

On Kate's Cats' FaceBook page you will find:

The daily Fat Brown Cat Update - What is Ashi up to? Contrary to popular belief she does not sleep on the dryer all day long. She also eats cheese ... and sits in the window ... and eats cheese ... and sits IN the dryer ... and begs for cheese ... and stretches out like a beached whale in the middle of the living room floor. The origin of the Fat Brown Cat Update is my sister, Kristin. She was my roomie when I first moved to Utah (and now is again; isn't life great?) and she would walk through the house announcing: "... and your Fat Brown Cat Update is ... " We still do it. And now I'm sharing it.

Diedra's Daily Links - As a former shelter cat, Diedra is very interested in animal rescue efforts of all kinds. With my help, she posts links for shelters, rescue groups, other pets on the net and just fun stuff that is cat-related.

Tyrone's Tweet of the Day - I won't let him have his own Twitter account, but I do let him browse my feed with me. Together we pick out our favorite fun or insightful Tweet for that day.

Coming soon to the page is Bobby's Friends - Bobby made some friends during his recent stay at the shelter and he wants to help them find forever homes. If I can ever figure out Kristin's new video camera, I will start posting video and photos of adoptable cats - and probably some dogs as well.

So come on over to Kate's Cats on FaceBook. It's a party.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bobby is Back!!

The first thing Bobby did was head straight for the food. I don't think he liked the kibble at the shelter.
Yeah! Bobby is back from the shelter and so far things are going fine.

Yesterday morning I went up to the Ivins Animals Shelter to make sure everything was fine on getting Bobby in for the Big Fix - That's our mobile spay/neuter clinic sponsored by No More Homeless Pets of Utah. I talked to Aggie, the absolutely wonderful Animal Control officer at the shelter, and we made a couple of decisions regarding our sweet boy.

As soon as Bobby came out of the carrier, Tyrone and Diedra hit the high ground. They've been cautious, but no fights so far.
First, Aggie knows more about animal behavior than anyone I have ever met. I know cats pretty well, but she makes me look like a noob. For one thing, I have NEVER dealt with an un-neutered male before. She told me that there are major problems with un-neutered adult males. They have to stay in quarantine at the shelter because they cause the other cats to go nuts if they are put in one of the community rooms. Even if the male himself is gently, like in Bobby's case, the other cats will attack because they believe him to be a threat. Since Bobby started getting attacked when a female cat went into heat in our area, Aggie believes that now that he is neutered he shouldn't have any problems.

No problems with aggression at the house. Here he accepts some loves. As you can see, he's had his ear tipped so others will know he's been altered.
She also confirmed my suspicions that Bobby is not a feral cat, but was a house cat that someone abused and then abandoned - cue flames shooting from the sides of my face. Nothing pisses me off more. From his reactions to the shelter staff, the abuser or abusers were men. He let Aggie handle him at first, but he actually attacked Todd, one of the other animal control officers. After a couple of days in the shelter, he started attacking Aggie as well. When I went in yesterday morning they had him in a cage so he couldn't attack the Big Fix staff - but he was completely gentle with me.

So, yesterday he was neutered and got his shots. And this morning I went and picked him up in hopes that now that he is fixed he won't be attacked anymore. It will take a week or so for his scent to change and the poor think is walking a bit funny (can you blame him?) so we're keeping him in the house for a couple of days. So far so good; Tyrone and Diedra have been leery of him but there haven't been any fights yet.

Bobby relaxes on Kristin's bed. It took him a couple of hours to really relax, but you can see he's much happier.
When I went to pick him up he was crouched in the corner of his quarantine cage. Aggie had me try to get him out since he'd been gentle with me. I reached in and let him sniff my finger and he immediately rubbed his cheek against my hand. I took my time getting him out of the cage and into the carrier, then lugged him out to the car for the short ride home. When I got him out of the car he perked up - he smelled home! I got him inside and opened the carrier and he sniffed at the carpet and let out the biggest sigh. I could just see the tension melt out of him.

He's not too happy about the cat door being closed but he's just hanging out, eating and getting plenty of sleep. He actually went in on Kassie's bed when the kids went down for the night and cuddled with her for a couple of hours. You can tell he's happy to be home.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We can't afford one man's ignorance

Early yesterday morning I was browsing through some news articles I'd missed over the weekend and found one from the Salt Lake Tribune that shook me to my core. It turns out that Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, doesn't think that feral animals should be protected by the Animal Cruelty Act. To that end, he has proposed House Bill 210, an amendment to the act.

The article states:
Oda said a humane killing would be any method that caused the least amount of suffering. Shooting is singled out as an acceptable method in his bill, but Oda said other means that would be allowed include using a bow and arrow, clubbing or decapitating some animals.
Feral animals are typically domestic species that are wild, such as cats and pigeons. They can pose threats through infection and predation to other animal populations, Oda said. Killing them quickly is often the best control method, he said.
“I want to protect people from getting in trouble for doing the right thing,” Oda said. No-kill methods, such as relocation or catch, neuter and release, are less efficient and more expensive, Oda said.
Rep. Oda can only be acting out of extreme ignorance. First, it has been proven that eradication of feral populations does not work. Second, since when is shooting, clubbing or decapitating an animal considered humane? And he wants to do away with Trap-Neuter-Release (TRN) because it costs too much? If he really want to control feral populations, he needs to support TRN programs and education on spay/neuter among the general public, not declare open season on Utah's feral cats and other animals.

I, of course, took a look at the actual bill. And I have to say that the amendments Rep. Oda propose are very disturbing. In the Animal Cruelty Act, it states that:
A person is guilty of aggravated cruelty to an animal if the person:
(a) tortures an animal;
(b) administers, or causes to be administered, poison or a poisonous substance to an animal; or
(c) kills an animal or causes an animal to be killed without having a legal privilege to 114 do so.
H.B. 210, however, makes an exception for:
the humane shooting or killing of an animal if the person doing the shooting or killing has a reasonable belief that the animal is a feral animal.
It offers no tips on what constitutes a "reasonable belief." It does not limit the killing to law enforcement, peace officers or veterinary staff. So, if my cat Tyrone wanders outside and loses his collar - again - one of my neighbors would legally be able to club him to death and simply state that they mistook him for one of the feral cats that live in the area.

There are many more problems with this bill. I have already launched a petition targeting Rep. Oda. Within 24 hours it already had 200 signatures. You can add your name to the petition by clicking on the link on the upper right of this page. I am also gathering information from organizations such as the Humane Society of Utah, Best Friends Animal Society, No More Homeless Pets of Utah and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and will launch a letter-writing campaign shortly. I will post more info as I get it.

Let's save all the animals, even the feral ones. Just because they live outside doesn't make them insignificant.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Protective Custody

It has taken me more than a week to write this entry. I don't know why, except I really am upset about it. I feel like I have failed our poor little Bobby big time.

As you'll know if you read the entry on Meet Bobby, he was a stray cat who just started showing up. He was getting more and more comfortable with people and was settling in nicely. I got him signed up for the Big Fix for him to get neutered and get his shots. Then I was going to start posting notices to find him a new home.

Well, about a month ago our neighbor's cat went into heat. (Yes, I've talked to them. they PROMISED they'd get her fixed). It drew several new feral cats into our immediate area and stirred everything up. Despite being huge - he's twice Tyrone's size - Bobby just wouldn't fight. He started coming in covered with scratches and with big tufts of fur missing. And he was coming in the house less and less. We had a huge cold streak and we had snow on the ground, but he wouldn't come inside. I eventually discovered that one of the cats beating on him was Tyrone.

I got more and more worried about Bobby. He came in with a big abscess on his ear that was bleeding and leaking all over. Kristin and I both did what we could to clean him up, but it hurt him and he started avoiding us again. His ear finally started to heal, but then he came in with another abscess on his cheek. He was still eating OK, but I could tell it hurt him.

Kristin and I sat down and finally decided we had to take him to the shelter. He wasn't safe outside and, thanks to Tyrone, he wasn't safe inside either. My one test at keeping him inside for a day resulted in him freaking out when he couldn't get out the cat door to get away from Tyrone and Diedra. And we had nowhere in the house we could put him where he would be safe and comfortable away from the other cats. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but last Thursday morning I took him in.

Before anyone freaks out, the animal shelter here in Ivins is a No Kill shelter with an extremely high adoption rate. I would never have considered this otherwise. He is safe and has a chance to heal. And the volunteers there are pros at socializing the animals. I donated the funds to get him treated and neutered and as soon as he is out of quarantine I will do what I can to find him a home.

So - Bobby is safe but no longer with us. Again, I feel like I've failed him but I didn't know what else to do for him. I know he will find a great home - he really is a sweet, gentle cat without a mean bone in his body.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Say "Cheez"

If you haven't checked out the Web site I Can Has Cheezburger yet, do so. Now. This is not optional. Cute cats and funny captions are a match made in heaven.

My own cats have starred in a few Cheezy photos, although none of them have made it to the site's main page yet. Still, I think they're cute, if not for my wit, then for my kitties' adorableness.

Featuring Diedra
Another featuring Diedra
Tyrone looking adorable
Tyrone and Yours Truly
Tyrone again ... or is it?
Diedra showing some attitude
Tyrone and Ashi, mighty hunters
Ashi in her native habitat
There are more, but I don't want to overload you with cuteness. I will post them soon.

You were warned.