Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All we want for Christmas is a forever home

Thanksgiving is only 2 days away. And Black Friday is only 3 days away. In all the hustle and bustle of the turkey and football and shopping, please take a moment to think about the animals in the shelters.

Who can resist this sweet face? Sandi would love to have a forever home without other cats to bother her.
And let's face it, what would be a better Christmas gift to yourself and your family than a new pet? Think of the unconditional love and the warm fuzzy hugs. Just think of the joy you will bring to that animal's life and to yours.

Beautiful Bobby is leery of strangers, especially men, but he has plenty of love to give if you just have a little patience.
It has been a hard year for adoptions here in Southern Utah and most of the shelters are full. The Ivins Animal Shelter and Adoption Center - the only no-kill city shelter in Utah and the place where I get my foster kitties - is offering exceptional deals for the holidays. The goal is to find each and every one of the animals a forever home by Christmas.

Handsome Boots loves snuggling with other cats and with people. 
As part of the "Forever Home for Christmas" deal, all dog adoptions are half off. That is only $25 to bring home man's - and woman's - best friend. The cats are an even better deal. All adult cats older than one year are FREE!!! And kittens younger than one year are only $5. How can you beat that?

How could anyone say no to sweet little Mouse? She gets along great with other cats and she adores people.
There are currently 27 dogs and cats listed on the shelter's PetFinder page and there are more at the shelter that haven't been posted yet. You can get more info by calling the shelter - the number is listed to the left under my foster cats - or you can contact Inkas - Ivins No Kill Animal Supporters. Of course, if you want info on my foster kitties, you can contact me directly through this blog or through the Kate's Cats Facebook page.

Mustache here is one of the many other cats available at the Ivins Animal Shelter. Isn't he gorgeous? 
If for whatever reason you can't adopt a pet for the holidays, think about donating to your local shelter or a rescue group. The Santa Paws Drive is a great project to donate to - see the link on the right - or you can donate to Alley Cat Allies - also to the right - or Best Friends Animal Society - you guessed it, also on the right.

If we work together we really can make it a wonderful Christmas for all the animals.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yes, Ivy is named after THAT Ivy

It has been a frequently asked question this past week so I will answer you all at once:

Ivy Girl makes sure I take a break from working.
Yes, my newly adopted Ivy - or Ivy Girl - is in fact named after the vampire Ivy Tamwood in Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan books.

Many of you are now saying "I figured that." If instead you are saying "who?" then you need to run - don't walk - to the nearest book store or library and get them immediately. This is not optional. It is mandatory. Kim Harrison is one of my favorite authors EVER and you need to experience her books for yourself.

The other FAQ of the week comes from the people who knew the source of the name. And that is why I would name her after Ivy. Well, the answer is easy if you have ever met my sweet Ivy Girl.

This cat just matches the book character so well. She is dark, sleek and beautiful. She is also "special" and has problems expressing what she wants. With the vampire it is because of abuse and her nature as a vampire. With the cat, it is because she is basically autistic - she has cerebellar abiotrophy and she is almost completely deaf. She will want attention, but isn't sure how to get it. Then, when you start petting her, it gets to be too much and she gets over excited and frantic. You have to step back and let her calm down. You always have to let her come to you. But it is worth the wait because she is a sweet, loving, wonderful cat.

So there you go. An explanation of the cat's name and a book recommendation. What more could you want?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kids and cats go together

Mouse gets some love from Kassie.
My sister Kristin came down to visit this weekend. It was the first visit since she and her two kids moved out in April. We went through some stuff left in storage and then just pretty much sat back and watched the kids and the cats.

Kent gets reacquainted with Bobby.
Kent is now 6 and is in Kindergarten and Kassie is almost 5. They are more adorable than any kids should be allowed to be. I saw them pull up and went out to meet them and was completely thrilled by Kassie screaming "Aunt Kaaaaaaaaate" and running up the sidewalk to hug me. Kent was more laid back but still gave me a big hug.

Kassie and Ashi are ready for the holidays.
The cats had mixed feelings about the kids visiting. Boots ran and hid. He poked his head out a couple times but was a bit spooked by new people in the house. Bobby was mellow as can be and put up with hugs from both kids. He hissed at Kristin's boyfriend Ryan, though. Yeah, he still doesn't like men. Ashi just kinda sat there - I think she was disappointed they didn't bring her any cheese. She even let Kassie put a Santa hat on her. Diedra let them say hi and Sandi made a brief appearance.

Kassie and Ivy got along great. 
I loved watching Ivy with the kids. She was a little freaked at first but then settled down and even chased a string for a little bit for the kids. Mouse, of course, was in her element. She and Kent ran up and down the hallway with a string for pretty much the whole visit. Kassie made a few passes as well, but Kent dominated the kitten play. He was laughing and giggling as Mouse bounced and leapt and did pirouettes in mid-air.

None of my photos of Kent and Mouse turned out. This is the least blurry one. 
I tried to get photos but most of them didn't turn out. Those kids and those cats just move around too much. Still, it was a great time. Love those kids!

Mouse crashed out under the table after the kids left. Yep, she was tired.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mishu has a home!

Ivy Girl (the cat formerly known as Mishu) enjoys looking at all sorts of Web sites.
No, sweet Mishu didn't actually go anywhere. After talking with the shelter manager and a wonderful lady at Best Friends Animal Society, I decided to make it official and adopt her myself. And she has a new name! I always rename my cats when I adopt them so she is now Ivy - or Ivy Girl, as I usually call her.

If you've read the Meet Mishu post, you know that we knew from day one that she has Cerebellar Abiotrophy, which affects her motor control. We have since discovered that she is almost completely deaf. She has become comfortable and happy in my home, and I just don't have the heart to make her go anywhere else. It will also be extremely hard to find her a good home because of her special needs.

Well, I don't think I could give her up anyway. Watching her evolve from hiding in the corner to taking over the couch and discovering where I hide the catnip has been pure joy. She recently discovered my laptop, which usually sits on the dining table, and she loves coming over and watching the mouse pointer move around the screen. She has updated my Twitter and Facebook statuses by walking on the keyboard and last night she managed to do a Google search and bring up the web site for the Lower Kuskokwim School District. (Don't ask. I have no idea why. Maybe she wants to visit Alaska?)

Feeling the vibrations and reading up on the Lower Kuskokwim School District.
Ivy Girl loves to sit right behind my laptop and rest her head against the back of it - that is, when she isn't sitting right on the keyboard. And last night I think I found out why. I made the connection that she only does this while I am playing loud music on my computer media player. She is leaning her head against the computer to feel the vibrations! It is probably the only time she can really "hear" anything. She appears to be partial to Linkin Park and Lady Gaga and she loses interest when I play softer music like Sarah McLachlan or Dido.

In other news, Mouse is officially on the rosters as up for adoption. And Diedra is doing much better in her isolation in the office. I went in this morning and she was lounging in the windowsill enjoying the sunshine. We had some good snuggle time before I left for work.

Monday, November 14, 2011


A Mouse splat. Yep, she loves people. 
There are now seven cats in the house and the tension is building. This is definitely past the max number of felines that can fit in my place.

I have had no hits on any of the posters or flyers I put up about Mouse. It just breaks my heart that no one is looking for this sweet little girl. Also, she may have been out on her own longer than we previously thought. We had assumed she had only been loose for a couple days. But in the past week she has been eating like mad and has gained a full pound to put her at 4 lbs. 2 oz. That much weight gain implies she was pretty starved when she landed on my doorstep.

Well, the little girl is getting bigger and bouncing around the house like a pogo. She and Boots have become fast friends and they can often be seen - and heard - chasing each other around, wrestling or just snuggling. Bobby gets in on the action occasionally, although Mouse is still pretty intimidated by the big guy.

Mouse and Boots prepare to wrestle. 
There have been some serious problems with the other cats, though. Boots has reached the teenage boy stage and he LOVES to torment the other cats. And the more they grown and throw fits, the more annoying he gets. At least once a night I am woken up by a cat spat between Boots and Sandi or Boots and Ashi. They are never full on fights and Boots doesn't actually attack, he just pesters them until they scream. I have had to start closing Boots in a room by himself at night and I only pray he grows out of it soon. I remember Tyrone going through this stage and it was rather short-lived, so fingers crossed.

The biggest problem has been with Diedra. She really doesn't like having the other cats around her and she is quickly intimidated by them. Ages ago she started hanging out on top of the fridge during the day. She was safe there and could see everything that was going on. Then Boots started getting more obnoxious and she moved to the cabinets above the dryer in the laundry room. I put a cat bed for her up there so she could be comfy and she started spending more and more time up there. I ended up putting food and water for her on the dryer so she didn't have to go into the kitchen to eat and I put a cat box on the laundry room floor.

Well, when Mouse entered the house it threw even this delicate balance out of whack. Last week I went in to give Diedra some treats and noticed that her cat bed was wet. I pulled it down and found that she had been using it as a cat box. I was horrified and called the vet AT ONCE. I had her in within a couple of hours and he found nothing wrong with her. She was a little dehydrated but otherwise healthy. Our conclusion was she was too scared to come down to the cat box on the floor.

I got everything cleaned up and started closing up Boots and Mouse every time I left the house and kept them away from the laundry room whenever I could (the laundry room doesn't have a door). I thought that was helping, but this morning I found Diedra's cat bed wet with urine again and I couldn't coax her down from the cabinets for anything.

Diedra hanging out on top of the laundry room cabinets.
I had been reluctant to close Diedra up in a room by herself. I was under the misconception that she would find this a punishment like Boots does or like I would. Well, this morning it occurred to me that if she has been living exclusively on top of the cabinets, then a whole room would be a heaven. I rearranged my office so I could fit in a cat box and put towels and her food and water on top of the roll top desk. I then had a really fun time getting her off the cabinets and got her in the office and closed the door.

I spent over an hour in there with my sweet Diedra. I held her and spoke to her and reassured her that she would always be safe there. And the whole time my heart was breaking. Here was my own sweet cat, my snuggle bunny, who was so scared she wouldn't come down to eat and I was so occupied with the foster cats that I didn't notice.

I'll keep an eye on things, of course. And Ashi won't be happy to have the office off limits. But fingers crossed that things work out better. And fingers crossed that I can find homes for Boots and Mouse. They deserve to be somewhere they can run and play without pissing off the "old lady" cats.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Look at what the Kate dragged in

First contact! Poor little cold, hungry baby. :-(
Yep. It's official. I am a sucker for cute little fuzzy faces.

A couple days ago I saw a little gray kitten sitting on the neighbor's porch crying. A little while later it was gone, and I figured it was theirs. I confirmed with them later that, yes, they had gotten a new cat.

The next day the kitten was back, meowing like mad. When it saw me on my porch, it ran across the driveway and tried to run in my house. I guessed the little thing was only 3 1/2 to 4 months old and I vowed to have a talk with my neighbor about letting such a young kitten run around alone. Well, when I was leaving for work I ran into the neighbor. He ask ME if it was MY kitten! They had a new cat, but he is all black, not gray, and was staying in the house.

Boots wants to know what that thing is on HIS couch!
I went to work and worried all night. The temperature was dropping rapidly and it was windy and scary outside. This little kitten was probably out there somewhere cold and alone. I just couldn't stand the thought. When I got home just before midnight I spent some time looking around, but couldn't find it. At that point the temp was just barely above freezing and I was praying that someone had taken the little thing inside.

Bathed and fed. Now fighting sleep.
Well, yesterday I was in my living room talking on the phone and the little gray kitten jumped up in the planters on my front porch and started crying at me through the window. I immediately went outside and sat down by the open door. She came right up - yes, I confirmed she is a she - and climbed on my lap. By this point she was skinny, although not emaciated, and her fur was dirty and almost matted. I held her for a few moments there on the porch while she purred like a V-8 engine. The I put her down and watched as she waltzed right in the door like she owned the place.

"No. Use the other picture for the flyer. It's cuter!"
After a ton of food and a bath, she was looking much better. She is most definitely not a feral and she wasn't on her own more than two or three days. The vet confirms she is about 3 to 3 1/2 months old and she has no parasites. I'm hoping there is a family looking for her and that she wasn't dumped. I have made posts on the FB pages of our local rescues and sent her photo to the local shelter. I will also print out some flyers to put up around the neighborhood. In the meantime, she is confusing the hell out of my cats and being overwhelmingly cute. I haven't named her yet - I'm really hoping she isn't here long - but instead have been calling her Little Bit or just Kitten. Yeah, I'm sure that won't last long. :-P