Nora & Tiny Tim

The post that follows is about two cats I am fostering on my own, they are not PCR cats and the fundraiser I have organized is entirely for their benefit, not for the benefit of any PCR cats.  I say this to be sure that nobody mistakenly makes a donation thinking they are supporting Purrfect Cat Rescue, which you can do if you wish by sending a check to the address listed in the contact information, or with a paypal payment via our main site here.  I should also clarify that this Tiny Tim is not the same one mentioned in a previous post here: I simply lack imagination and tend to name all cats with a lame foot Tiny Tim. 

Tim and Nora are two cats in need of a permanent home, but not a conventional one.  Born outdoors, lost or abandoned as kittens, they were taken in by someone well-meaning, but not equipped either to socialize or properly care for them—a cat hoarder. They came to me when their caregiver set these two and several other cats free prior to her being institutionalized by her daughter due to long-term mental illness.

Having been indoors since they were kittens they do not have the instincts of a true feral cat, and Tim is at an added disadvantage due to a foot that was malformed at birth. Conversely, they were too old by the time they came into my care to be socialized enough to ever be pets.

This puts them in special category: an animal not tough enough to survive on its own, but not friendly enough to be a pet.  Fortunately, there are a few animal sanctuaries that take dogs and cats that cannot otherwise be placed.  But placing them comes at a cost. They are run mainly on donations which do not cover their costs and require those leaving a cat with them to pay an endowment to help feed, house and provide medical care for the animal for the rest of its life.

Fat Kitty City in El Dorado Hills, CA is one of them.  It is my wish to place Nora and Tim there.  Doing so will cost $1000 per cat, a comparative bargain if one considers what a pet can cost over the course of its lifetime.

I was very reluctant when someone suggested this fundraiser since I was afraid it would come across as heart-tugging social blackmail: “If these cats don’t find a home I will have no choice but to euthanize them or throw them out to fend for themselves.”  In truth, if I am unable to raise this money, these cats will continue to live in my bedroom for the rest of their lives.  They are well fed and cared for, but because of their feral natures they cannot be allowed to roam the house at will, visiting with my other cats, sitting in front of a sunny open window—doing all the things most house cats gets to do.  This doesn’t strike me as any way for an animal to live for the next 15 years or so which is why I overcame my initial reluctance to beg for money.

I hope to raise the required $2000 through this fundraiser, and I hope you will consider making a contribution towards it.  My fundraiser page can be viewed here.

Thank you,
Charles

A Plea, If You Will

Recently, more than the average number of cats have been returned to us.  In most of these cases a little more forethought on the part of the adopting persons would have saved us and the cats some frustration and anxiety.  One of the reasons rescue groups require people to fill out an application is to assure that they understand that having a pet is a responsibility and a job, in addition to a pleasure.

As much as we want to find homes for all the cats we foster, we are not so eager to see them go as to place them with people who have not given some real thought to what it’s going to mean to be responsible for a life.  People sometimes romanticize having a pet—think it’s all going to be purring and cuddling and doing cute tricks, they think someone else in the house who reluctantly agreed to the cat is going to come around, they think the cats and dogs they already have will be thrilled with the new addition despite knowing full well that the current pet is happy to have the house to themself.

It’s odd, being so new to this as I am, to realize that part of my job in working the adoption clinics is not my trying to convince someone to adopt a cat, but sometimes quite the opposite: to convince someone that maybe they aren’t ready for a pet, or that the pet they are thinking about isn’t the right choice for their home and family.  I see people drawn to a cat they like looks of, but when they talk about the kind of a cat they want (low-key, playful, cuddly lap-cat, always running around), I see they are looking at the wrong cat.

suzanne on a window cornice after scaling the grandfather clock

One of my own fosters, Suzanne, was adopted this weekend.  She is a wild woman, jumps on the furniture, grumbles under her breath when you tell her “stop it” (it sounds ridiculous but anyone who has met her can confirm that she really does grumble under her breath), insists on going into any closet, drawer, or cupboard you open . . .  She was clearly not the cat for someone who wants a quiet lap cat to cuddle with in the evenings (although she does enjoy a good cuddle once she tires herself out).

That’s my plea to any prospective pet caretakers: think about what 15 to 20 years of responsibility really means; think about why you want the pet in the first place; how you live; how much time you’ll spend with it; which one—if any, is truly the right one for you.

Charles on behalf of Purrfect Cat Rescue

Miss DJ

This is Miss DJ, a former Purrfect Cat foster who is once again available for adoption.  This post began as a plea for a home or foster for Miss DJ but I kind of veered off course (I am prone to being pedantic), so if you care to skip my editorial comments the information pertinent to the cat above is contained in the last three paragraphs. 

It isn’t often that a cat is returned to us, but when it does happen we suffer a mix of frustration, anger and concern.  It’s our policy that those who adopt have thirty days to bring the cat back, allowing plenty of time for the cat to become used to its new home and family, as well as any pets the family may already have.

Sometimes the new cat and older pets do not get along, or the personality of the cat doesn’t fit the home.  Sometimes—despite our doing our best to ask the right questions before we send anyone home with a cat—people have not given as much thought as they should have to what is involved in keeping a pet, or the person adopted too soon after the loss of a previous pet, leaving them feeling disloyal to their old favorite.  Whatever the reason for a cat being returned might be, we meet it with both disappointment and concern.

Often, even if the adoptive home was not the perfect choice for the cat, it has become accustomed to its new situation. When it returns to its foster home, it might need a few weeks to readjust before it is relaxed enough to be seen at one of our adoption clinics, further slowing down its adoption, and becoming more attached to its foster home.  It’s not good for the cats, and it’s not good for the fosters who may have already taken on a cat or two since this one left.

Despite all of these negatives, it is important that we allow people this 30-day “backing out” time.  Sometimes people need that insurance policy: people have fond memories of their childhood pet but are now adults living on their own and know it’s more work than they saw it as kids; and there are people who lost a pet long ago, swore they wouldn’t get another, but now feel the time is right, yet they still have some hesitance.

Beyond that, I think it’s important because it allows the pet a safety net as well.  If we did not have this policy (as well as our recommendation that people call either us or their vet right away should the cat develop a behavioral issue), I fear people who changed their mind, or faced a challenge they felt was beyond them, that the cat might end up being tossed out to fend for itself.  (My main effort in pet rescue is to bring down the population of cats either dumped or left behind in the rather large townhouse complex where I live, so I feel pretty strongly about this one.)

Returning to my jumping off point: Miss DJ does not fit any of the scenarios I have mentioned.  She and her brother were adopted last summer and fit in with their new home and family nicely.  The reason they were returned to us is that the family is now leaving the country and cannot take the cats with them.  I am glad they called us for help rather than taking them to the shelter or just tossing them out, but at the same time, our responsibility to them and the cats ended months ago.  They are now essentially in the position that all of us in the group are as fosters: they must feed and house the cat, bring it to and from the weekly adoption clinics, and be totally responsible for it until is adopted, despite them no longer seeing the cats as theirs.

It would be great if one of us could foster Miss DJ until she is adopted, but in another month we will be bombarded with dozens of litters of new kittens on top of the fosters we still have. This means that in all likelihood, if she is not adopted in the next couple of weeks that the family will have no choice but to turn her over the local animal shelter.  I would take her in myself in a heartbeat, but I currently have four adult foster cats contained in my bedroom, a litter of kittens in my living room, and my own cats (who are less-than-thrilled) everywhere else.

If you know of anyone who either might be interested in adopting Miss DJ or in fostering her until she is adopted, please contact us via e-mail (see contact tab above) or by leaving a comment to this blog.  She is just under a year old, a gorgeous gentle giant of a girl, happy to be held, brushed and pet, a calm sweet presence.  Naturally, she has been spayed and all her shots are up to date, and given the need to find her a home quickly her adoption fee has been waived.

Please share this on facebook, twitter, or anywhere you think it might find someone who can help.

Thank you,
Charles on behalf of Purrfect Cat Rescue

Voluntary Ignorance

I just read this article and it has me hopping mad.  I can understand 7Up Bottling’s contention that their property must be maintained to a certain standard given that they produce consumables, but since the feral colony is located outside of their property it seems like a non-issue here.

I think this has more to do with the ignorance surrounding TNR programs.  And while I recognize that most people don’t actually know much about TNR, it is something else entirely for those who are given the facts to simply dismiss them.  That’s ignorance not by circumstance but by choice, which is hard to forgive.

Particularly hard to forgive when the man featured in this article, Larry Ottoviani, appears to have elevated TNR to its ideal.  Most of us who work in TNR programs, trap the unsocializable feral cats, have them spayed and neutered, return them to the outdoors and feed daily.  Sometimes we make attempts to re-trap any cats who appear sick so they can be examined by a vet, but often the time, cost or logistics of doing so makes that impractical.  Mr. Ottoviani is actually re-trapping them to keep their vaccinations up to date.  I find that level of commitment exceptional, especially for someone with so much on his plate to begin with.

I am impressed and humbled by his work, which makes my own pale by comparison.  I hope anyone reading this will share the story not only so that this man can get his job and insurance back, but also to spread the word about how valuable his other job—TNR, is.