Friday, October 2, 2015

Catching up on a Whirlwind of Activity

I’m obviously not much of a blogger, and we all deeply apologize for the past three months of total silence, but we’re finally back on track, even though we certainly haven’t spent the last twelve weeks just sitting around doing nothing and twiddling our
thumbs. All of you, our devoted friends and incredible supporters, already know too well that we’ve been engaged in shelter repairs for years now and sometimes I wonder why we couldn’t take just a little break, why at least this year we couldn’t avoid dealing
with more renovations, more troubles, more worries, huge expenses and less sleepless nights. But that’s the way things go around here and if we can choose either to do the job properly or not do it at all, I guess the answer is pretty clear.

After some thinking, we came to the conclusion that the warmest months of the year would be the ideal time for fixing some minor issues we’ve never addressed. Most of the platforms, ladders and wooden wire spools the cats are
having so much fun with while playing in the yard needed to be replaced, as autumn rains and the winter cold had taken their toll and there was no way any wooden items could last another winter. When we inspected them carefully, we were a little surprised to find
out how much all of these kitty toys had deteriorated over the last couple of years. The platforms were half rotten already, all of the ladders had broken or missing rungs and most of the boards our kitties just love to rest on were twisted and warped. It was high time to do

We won’t bore you with describing what we did, how we did it and how much it all cost (a fortune!) but the ultimate results are four new and solid platforms that are supposed to last for years and five new ladders which make it
easier for all of the cats, and especially the tripod ones, to climb up to the roof. The longest and widest wooden board in the backyard, on which many of our kitties are regularly posing for photos as it’s their favorite resting place, has been replaced with
new joists, assembled to last much longer than the old board and it’s able to bear more weight which is not an insignificant characteristic… Moreover, the cats’ outdoor sandbox in the front yard and the one in the backyard have been enclosed with brick walls and
not only do they look great, but there will be no more sand scattered all over the place.

We’re still trying to raise the funds to renovate the outdoor fence, but it won’t be an easy task as we’re supposed to rebuild the brick-made pillars
and the small walls between them, clean and polish the old iron fencing and replace the sheet metal part of the gate. That old fence has been perilous and wobbly for the last three years and the fact that it’s still holding up is a pure miracle, so it would’ve been
great if we had managed to get it renovated before the first snow.

As to the kitties, most of them are doing reasonably well, with the exception of our two older residents, Sneska and Tabadzija, who sadly have turned out to be chronically
ill. It’s a shame the true nature of their problems (that said, I particularly refer to Sneska’s long lasting health issues) wasn’t discovered sooner, but it wasn't, and all we can do now is to try and save what can still be saved. Sneska's kidneys are failing and the reason
she's been so skinny (and gauntly thin sometimes) is that chewing becomes very painful to her every now and then because of uremic stomatitis which is a consequence of CKD, her primary illness. The prognosis is guarded and no one seems to have the
faintest idea of how long she will live, but since we have started to feed her prescription renal diet mixed with some wet food she looks more cheerful and she even seems to be gaining weight, slowly but steadily. Considering all of her health problems over the last
few years, I guess we should be happy that her condition has improved, even just a little. For as long as she is eating, there is at least a tiny spark of hope…

Tabadzija is developing megacacolon which has been diagnosed
very early on. In the beginning, right after the first UV scan he had, we were terrified to learn there was some kind of a shadow on his liver, indicating a tumor, but luckily what we saw was just his large intestine, which was actually enlarged and filled with hard fecal
matter. He has been fed only soft wet food over the last couple of weeks and is receiving laxatives (liquid paraffin) every other day to help him empty his bowels. He looks and behaves normally otherwise, although his belly still seems to be slightly swollen. We’re all aware that
he must be around 15 years old, but if he’s provided with adequate food and regular checkups at the vet’s, it’s highly probable that he’ll still have a few more years of full, quality life.

Valerie, our new kitty who arrived at the shelter with an old
injury of her right rear leg that healed wrongly so she was practically unable to use it at all was operated on. The vet managed to save her leg by basically breaking her incorrectly healed knee joint again and fixing it into the proper position with
screws which were supposed to be removed in approximately two weeks time. To everyone’s big surprise, when the time came it turned out that he couldn’t remove the screw from her knee joint as it had miraculously slipped down her bone
and couldn’t be taken out without cutting through it; naturally, nobody was eager to see her having yet another surgery. Anyway, she is recovering nicely and learning to walk on all four legs again which will take her quite some time, but she is finally using her right
rear leg after around eight months of not being able to even hold onto it and taking everything into account, her recovery is going very well.

Now the bad news: we’re having serious financial problems at the moment and the situation at the
shelter has become quite alarming. Next to no donations have been coming in lately and we’ll soon reach the critical point where we’re not even able to feed the cats properly! I know all of them look nice and well cared for at the moment, but they will deteriorate rapidly if
we can’t provide them with even the basic necessities! Many of our kitties are aged between 17 and 20 and enabling them to eat quality food is indispensable, it’s not a luxury, it’s a must! If things keep going like they have been for quite some time now, we’ll find
ourselves in big trouble. Unfortunately, there isn’t some magical food fairy that drops off free food and we’re certainly not able to feed almost 120 cats every day on our own (is there anyone who is?) So we’re forced to rely on the kindness and generosity of

Is it possible that no one out of the thousands of friends I have on Facebook is able to donate anything towards the cost of cat food? Do the kitties deserve to starve just because we are not screaming, wailing and pleading
for help two times a day? Should we talk about and maybe even consider closing the shelter and turning all of the cats back out into the streets, after years of heartily fighting for them and working way beyond our limits, as they are obviously totally unimportant to people and not even worth thinking about or saving? Is there anyone out there who really cares?

Without some sort of assistance soon, everything we’ve campaigned and fought so hard
for here could quickly be lost. Even the smallest donations help, they add up and it’s better than nothing at all. Please help if you can, even sharing our plight with others helps out, you never know who’s out there that would like to get involved and see these kitties
remain safe and healthy in the only place that’s shown them caring and love. You can donate through PayPal, our YouCaring fundraising page or our project on and please bear in mind that we sincerely appreciate all of the help we get, even
when our thank you notes are late, which they usually are. We are deeply grateful to all of our friends and donors who have been supporting our work so unselfishly for years now and all of us here genuinely thank each and every one of you for your unlimited kindness
with every ounce of our beings!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Trip through The Wringer

We have never been this quiet for such a long time and therefore I honestly don’t know where to begin. After a myriad of serious and not easily solvable problems which have had us completely stuck for months, now the time has come to move on. With ever
aching hearts, though with eyes full of hope, we’re still not whole but we’re wearing our emotional scars with pride, “desolate yet all undaunted” and finally ready to face the upcoming challenges head-on.

All of the kitties are reasonably well – that
is, those who survived this last winter, the saddest and most heartbreaking winter ever. The latest cold season wasn’t that cold after all, we were spared the powerful snowstorms we know so well, but some of our oldest and sickest kitties lacked the strength to make it
until spring, although all of them put up a hell of a fight. A part of us died with every single one of those valiant fighters until we reached the point where we thought we simply could not go on, but the spark of hope and gleam of love in the trusting eyes of our kitties
who are still here wordlessly told us the simple truth - there’s no giving up, as cats are for life.

After a dreadful and harrowing winter came spring, with sun and light, with smells and colors and with a breath of a new beginning. Trying to
assuage the slight hint of despair still present right beneath the surface of our seemingly buoyant selves, we engaged in a big spring cleaning, which was not only necessary but also a perfect way to clear our minds. All of the vines, climbing plants and hedge bindweed
that had already dried up were removed from the chain link fence, all of the trees were pruned and both yards cleaned up. During the process we were surprised to find out just how bad the condition of the wooden platforms, ladders, timber tables and other big outside
toys is - and our kitties love them so much! Almost all of the wooden items in both yards need to be renewed or replaced, but this time some metal parts are going to have to be added so everything will be able to last much longer. We strongly hoped we would be able to skip
repairs of any kind for at least one summer, but it evidently isn’t meant to be…

A bunch of minor repairs can easily turn into a big headache, as little costs add up to make these much needed renovations far more expensive than we first thought
and planned. Moreover, a three-digit of cats still need to eat every day, whether we’re trying to fix some issues at the shelter we've never worked on before or not, and veterinary treatments for the sick ones is simply unavoidable. Donations during the
summer are usually slim, as most people are heading off on vacation and are consequently strapped for cash, but the kitties’ needs remain the same, if not even bigger.

We managed to de-worm and de-flea all of the cats last
weekend, even the grumpy ones who despise humans and would do anything they can to refrain from being touched; nevertheless the procedures were completed successfully, leaving us weary, sweaty and with some serious scratches.

Now it’s about time for mandatory yearly vaccinations against rabies, and it’s a huge financial burden aside from it being the announcement of trouble, which will include a lot of running, scuffling and struggling with not-so-friendly cats -
although it would be fair to say that even the cuddliest, most affectionate and loving kitties regularly freak out when they see the vets. However, if we all end up with just a few scratches and bite wounds, we’ll definitely consider ourselves lucky.

It brings me to the point: if you are able and willing to help us accomplish anything at all this summer, please consider donating any amount, no matter how small, to our project. And if you can’t donate, we’d really appreciate it if you could do us the
favor of sharing and spreading the word. It’s well known that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something and Helen Keller brilliantly formulated this irrefutable truth “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

Sunday, April 5, 2015

May You Have a Wonderful Easter!

Easter reminds us that hope must never be lost for as dark as the road may seem, there always lies light at the end of it. May all your dreams come true! We're wishing you a very happy Easter filled with joy, peace and serenity!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Long and Winding Road

We've been too quiet lately, not because nothing worth telling was happening, but because too many things happened and we really needed some time off to be able to fully comprehend unexpectedly good news and to digest the bad events.
Success and failure, joy and sorrow, light and dark, I guess that’s how life goes …

Last year was a hard but fruitful one, with many ups and downs, big dreams and even bigger worries, filled with countless interchanging moments
of pure bliss and deepest sadness, accomplishments and defeats. In light of recent sad, tragic events I can’t help feeling totally drained, exhausted, mentally depleted and tired to the core, however I’m trying to make some sense of what was going on. This story
might take a meandering path, even though it would be way easier to start it with the end.

The good news, which is not really news anymore for many of you but it doesn’t hurt to summarize, possibly repeat and emphasize, is that
some major shelter repairs were completed last year. The roof above the kitties’ rooms in the backyard was renovated, new gutters were purchased and put in place, the metal part of the roof extending over the newly made concrete path to the
supporting columns that were built last spring was also added. Transparent window blinds were put up to protect the sheltered area beneath the roof eaves and also the corridor below the renovated roof mentioned above from biting and frosty
northerly winds. Several minor problems were successfully handled and many issues addressed while the massive repair work was ongoing and we’re honestly more than thrilled for accomplishing so much.
Unfortunately, last year’s phase of shelter repairs lasted forever and it wasn’t until mid November that we began to think of raising funds for the first tank of gas for central heating. Things couldn’t have looked darker until the awesome Laura Simpson and her very
impressive organization The Great Animal Rescue Chase & Harmony Fund stepped in and managed to raise almost the entire sum needed in no time at all. Thanks to all of the wonderful people who responded to our plea for help, none of the Felix kitties even
noticed the severe drops of outside temperatures in December as their rooms were properly heated and pleasantly warm. The first shipment of heating fuel is supposed to last until the end of February and then we’ll have to find a way to raise the funds
for another gas delivery.

We’ve been quite lucky this winter as to snow so far, we had two brief snowfalls and weren’t snowed in just yet. However, I’m not holding my breath as we’ve been cut off from the world by snow at least twice
every winter since the shelter was founded and the cold season is far from finished. Right now the days are cold, sometimes sunny and bright, sometimes dark and gloomy. The ground is frozen in the morning and night temperatures are below zero, but maybe
this winter will be a dry one, even though I can’t believe we’re that lucky.

Over the last few weeks we’ve lost all three kittens that arrived from Belgrade where they had been living at a construction site. They were all born
with incurable FIP and I still can’t pull myself together. I took them in last autumn wishing to give them a chance at a nice, fulfilled and pampered life here at the shelter, but I had no possible way of knowing they were all doomed from the start. My brave little sweeties put up a hell
of a fight and tried to stay with me for as long as they could, but the dreadful and most feared virus affecting cats against which there’s no known cure always wins. The deadliest cat disease has claimed three more angels…

Sadly, we all know
that misfortunes never come singly and when it rains, it pours. My gorgeous black panther Njanja, who’s been struggling with health issues for more than a year, finally gave up the fight. After all of the injections, UV scans, various drugs and treatments that we
hoped would make him feel better, he was just too tired and worn out to be able to fight anymore. He passed away peacefully in his sleep and took a piece of my heart when he left. Even though I’m totally shattered and the world is hollow, bleak and dark
without him, I know there is now a new star shining in the deep blue of the night…

But life must go on, there will be many more heartbreaks mixed with delights, more sorrow and more joy, new challenges and new demands, but
those who had to leave to where we can’t follow just yet, will never be absent from our hearts. And somehow, together with all of the others who are still brightening our lives, they too give us the strength to carry on, even when we think we can’t endure
another day. It’s the start of a brand new year and we must look ahead with optimism and hope that this year will be our best year yet.