Friday, June 24, 2011

Yes, it IS your problem (AKA The Rant!)

I have, of course, been following the push for CAARA in New York and the fight against euthanasia in animal shelters. I am a huge supporter of the No-Kill philosophy and believe in TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) of feral cats and doing anything and everything to find each and every adoptable pet a forever home.

I know a lot of people who believe in No-Kill shelters and will help get animals adopted, but only if it's in their neighborhood. I actually had a lady the other day tell me her work was done because our shelter in Ivins, Utah, is a no-kill shelter. It didn't matter to her that every other city shelter in Utah still kills adoptable animals, including the shelter only 8 miles away in St. George. She will help the Ivins shelter with adoption events, but won't work with any rescue groups outside our town of 7800 people. Anything out side of that isn't her problem.

I wholeheartedly disagree. It IS your problem. It doesn't matter if it is a dog down the street or a momma cat and her kittens in a kill shelter in Des Moines. If you support no-kill then you support it EVERYWHERE!

Yes, I work local. But I spent three days e-mailing back and forth with Best Friends Animal Society to see if there was anything we could do to help the Cow Kitty and her cow kittens in Georgia and I cried - at work, no less - when I heard the news that they had been rescued. I rejoice that the shelter just up the street is No-Kill, but I am actively fighting to get the other shelters in Washington County - and the rest of Utah - changed to no-kill as well. I will sign any petition you need me to and I will pass the word and network my heart out to help homeless animals across the world. I do my Christmas shopping through the Animal Rescue Site and I play Freekibble daily. And when I get a spare dollar or two, I go to chip-in for NOWZAD or Puppy Rescue Mission.

I'm not saying this to toot my own horn. I'm saying it to prove that you can do something to help, even if you are broke and live in a small town and have very little spare time. All it takes is an extra bag of food a month to foster a cat or 15 minutes a week online to network for a shelter. Every little bit really does help.

What are you waiting for?

Friday, June 10, 2011

RIP Kenmore




RIP Kenmore. Note the nasty, dirty rug under it. Ugh!
Three days ago my faithful Kenmore Whispertone passed beyond the veil. It was a valiant machine, and had served me a full 20 years of picking up cat hair, dust and icky bugs. But now it's days are done, it's belts finally corroded beyond repair and its motor choked with rust. And so with a heavy heart - OK, the cats are actually quite happy to see it go, but I'm not - I bid the Kenmore farewell.

The "body." I told you this was gruesome.
I could not, of course, live without a vacuum cleaner. Just a few days without one and the couch looks like it has grown its own pelt. So today I went to the store and found a new one. It was even on sale!

I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but the old Kenmore was actually quite hard to use. It weighed a ton and took a lot of upper-body strength to maneuver. And the attachment didn't do a very good job of picking up the cat hair. Let's face it, cat hair is like velcro and simple suction just doesn't cut it.

This is one box the cats were not excited about.
I researched quite thoroughly before going shopping. I needed a vacuum that would do a good job on the cat hair but not take all my grocery money for the month. Eureka! I found one! Literally, it's a Eureka vacuum designed specifically for pet owners. It has an attachment with a brush to get the hair off of furniture and, joy of joys, it is bagless and has a HEPA filter. Yes, I am in cleaning heaven.

Another graphic photo, this time of the "parts." 
I was actually rather horrified when I opened the box and found dismembered vacuum bits inside. But I was fortunately able piece it together and Voila! It truly is a thing of beauty.

All put together. I'm pretty sure that's a halo around its handle.
Another funny note: I sent a pic of the new vacuum to my sister Kristin. She sent one back of her new vacuum. WE GOT THE SAME VACUUM! Great minds really do think alike.

A pic Kristin sent me of her new vacuum. Yep, we're laughing. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why I have cats

My current foster kitties Sandi and Bobby chill out on top of my rolltop desk while I work.
I have been asked this question many times, and usually they get one of the joking answers:

"They're easier to take care of than men - and don't smell as bad."

"I love having hair on my furniture and I don't shed enough myself."

"There was too much sun in my house and I need something to soak it up."

"I watched "The Birds" as a child and was permanently scarred. I need something to protect me."

One of my previous cats, Maia. She was rescued from Angels For Animals. She was FIV positive and ailing when I took her in, but I was able to give her love for about 8 months before she passed beyond the Rainbow Bridge.
At work I am referred to as the Crazy Cat Lady or the Geeky Cat Lady. And the question is whether I'm a crazy cat lady because I'm single or if I'm single because I'm a crazy cat lady. (The world may never know.) I jokingly call them my kids and I am quick to point out that I love having a fuzzy, warm body in my bed at night and that a cat's purr is the best therapy in the world.

In all honesty, though, the reason I have cats is simple: They keep me sane.

I have been through some rough times in my life and my cat or cats have always been there. They offer love, affection and comfort without being too demanding. They give me something to focus on besides how awful I feel and they give me something to laugh about when I am ready to stop crying.

My former cat Lyvani. She was with me 15 years before finally succumbing to intestinal cancer. 
I would even go so far as to say my cats have saved my life. No, they didn't drag me from a burning building or attack a burglar, but they have pulled me through suicidal depressions. I remember lying curled up on the floor in my bedroom, too distraught to even cry. I had had my third miscarriage a month before and the doctor had just told me I would never be able to carry a child to term. My fiance couldn't handle the news and had told me he couldn't marry a woman who couldn't have kids. And so I just lay there, knowing in my heart that there was no reason for me to live another day, when my cat Lyvani came up and curled herself around my head. Lyvani had been a rescued feral and she rarely showed affection, but she came up and wrapped herself around me and started grooming my forehead, purring and chirping like a mother cat does with her kittens. It was like being held in mother's arms, and I knew that I had to keep going because I had to take care of her.

Tyrone was always good for a cuddle and a laugh. I still get pics from my sister detailing his exploits. 
My cats now - my permanent cats and my foster kitties - give me an outlet for my maternal instincts. They are my companions, my rehab projects, my learning experiences. They are my children.

And that's why I have cats.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Meow-mageddon Part III

Kitten season is in full swing here in Southern Utah. I made a visit to the Ivins Animal Shelter (my local shelter and the source of my foster cats) and witnessed the overwhelming cuteness first-hand.

Little gray tabby here is the only boy. You can tell he really wants to get away from all those girl cooties. 
I was talking to Aggie about a foster cat when Todd, one of the other animal control officers, opened one of the quarantine rooms to clean. POW! It was like taking the lid off a bottle of soda under pressure. The second that door was cracked open 8 little kittens made a break for it, careening down the hall in all directions. Apparently they are using the quarantine room as a kitten room, and momma and babies have free reign.

Newton's 4th Law: A kitten in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by a nap attack.
As I helped Todd retrieve the little furballs - and got some wonderful kitten loves in the process - Aggie told me about the influx of cats. The shelter has received 16 cats in the past week, many of them kittens. One lady fosters little ones and is a pro at bottle feeding. She has a nursing mother right now and the momma cat adopted some of the orphans. She didn't have enough milk to go around, though, so she ended up with another momma cat to help with the feeding. Meanwhile, the shelter is housing one more momma cat, her three kittens and a bunch more who are just now old enough to adopt out. Hence the cutest infestation ever.

In other words, COME VISIT IVINS AND ADOPT A KITTEN!! In fact, take two. They're small.

I was able to get a short video and a couple photos while they were contained in one of the cages during cleaning. I still wasn't able to get very good pics - something about them being in constant motion. But you can get the idea of how incredibly adorable these little guys are.

If you are interested in one of these sweet little bundles of joy, you can contact the Ivins Animal Shelter or leave me a comment here and I'll try to get info to you.