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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Let us leave behind sadness, regrets and painful moments and have a new start full of joy. We hope this year will be the year when all your dreams come true! Happy New Year 2015!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, touched with wonder and filled with love!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Has Crept Up On Us

This last month has been so hectic, stressful, joyous, worrisome and intense with work at the same time that I don’t even know where and how to begin a narrative. The most important and thoroughly awesome news many of you already know is that
we’ve finally managed to raise the funds for finishing the shelter repairs in the backyard at the last possible moment, thanks to the heartwarming generosity of our amazing supporter from New York who sent us $1,500US via Harmony Fund, and
also to the always wonderful Harmony Fund which chipped in another $400US. This year’s phase of repair work was just finished a few days ago; we’ll be facing the upcoming winter with new hope, less worries, more faith and not even the inevitability of several
frosty, snowy, gloomy months awaiting us is that dreary anymore.

However, it would be an exaggeration to say we now have nothing to lose sleep over, as we should’ve started to raise funds for the gas for central heating weeks ago, but simply weren’t
capable of dealing with two big problems at the same time. The gas prices have just gone up (which is not unusual for Serbia, particularly at the beginning of the heating season), so we’ll need around $2,300 USD for just the first tank of gas alone. And yes, we
know that maybe cheaper energy sources can be found and we’re totally aware that central heating costs a fortune to run over the cold months, we’ve been having the same problem year after year, but there’s definitely no other way to keep all of the
kitties’ rooms warm when the outside temperatures are well below zero. The additional problems in this part of the world are the strong, persistent, bitterly cold winds that chill you to the marrow, blow through every hole, drive cold air through every crack
and make the real temperature feel much lower than it actually is. Plus not to mention the uncomfortable truth that we were snowed in at least once, but usually a number of times every single winter over the past few years.
Taking everything into account, we came up with the brilliant idea to put up transparent window blinds (instead of those useless tarps we had) to protect the sheltered area beneath the roof eaves and also the newly made corridor below from the icy
northerly winds so characteristic for Vojvodina – all the while nonchalantly ignoring the fact we have no money to turn our irrefutably good plans into reality. The necessary materials have been purchased on debt and the work is more than half done already; once it’s
finished, hopefully less fuel will be needed to keep the kitties’ rooms properly heated. Even if it doesn’t happen, all of the cats are obviously enjoying their new sheltered spaces and most of them are not just watchers, but they’re active participants and
helpers while the work is still ongoing.

Nevertheless, nothing we’ve done so far ensures that the shelter kitties’ well-being won’t be compromised in the freezing months ahead. Our biggest worry is easily understandable -
winter’s in the air and although the cats seem to be relaxed while soaking up the rays in the yard, the autumn sun isn’t warm and we’re already getting some chilly, wet, gloomy nights. The electric heaters we’re currently using can’t warm up all of the
cat’s rooms and even though nice, sunny days that are becoming rarer and rarer still manage to keep our spirits high, many kitties are sneezing and sleeping snuggled up with each other, which means they’re feeling the cold. They do look content and happy in
the photos when they’re resting on the new roof beneath the clear sky, but it’s also possible they’re actually trying to warm themselves, absorbing the fragile heat of late autumn days… Long story short, the first tank of gas has to be purchased as soon as
possible although we haven’t got the faintest idea of how.

Is it possible to raise more than $2000USD on such a short notice? For some, maybe, but unfortunately we are usually not that successful. I know it’s hard to believe that
the cats could be freezing in a place that looks so nice and in which they’re undoubtedly blossoming, but they can and they will if we fail to purchase the life saving gas for central heating before the real fury of winter hits. Please, help us with anything you can
afford to keep a three digit number of furry, loving beauties warm and cozy in the only safe real home they’ve ever known! The time is rapidly running out! No amount is ever too small and it’s very highly appreciated!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!



"Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite,
 All are on their rounds tonight;
 In the wan moon’s silver ray,
 Thrives their helter-skelter play"

 Happy Halloween to those who celebrate today! May the spirits  and witches grant you all your wishes!

 Stay safe!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Our Shining Golden Boy That Refuses to Give Up

Taking in a cat or a kitten with an unknown past is habitual for cat lovers and rescuers worldwide and after years of experience we are all accustomed to finding grossly neglected, gaunt, sickly, and often seriously injured little creatures.
Understandably, it leads us to erroneous thinking that we’ve seen it all and that nothing could surprise us anymore. But sometimes, when a kitty that has just walked into our lives unthinkably abused, horrifically injured, broken-spirited and hopeless seems to
carry all of the pain and sadness in the world, we simply must wonder what kind of society we live in…

And that’s exactly what Morgan looked like when I first laid my eyes on him. Still just a kitten, he must’ve experienced a living nightmare that
no kitty baby should ever go through and the consequences were terrible. His left eye had leaked out, probably because of some untreated Chlamydia infection, his other eye didn’t look promising either, and his left rear lower leg has obviously been amputated for
unknown reasons. The surgery was performed badly and unskillfully, his leg was cut in the totally wrong place and his stump has basically had the skin sewn shut over the bone. What’s even worse, he was and still is leaning on that leg as he walks and I fear the
bone will protrude through the skin when he gets bigger and heavier, so it can reasonably be expected that the bone will break longitudinally under the burden of his weight in a few months, just like one of Milance’s legs did. Compared to all his
major problems, the fact he was skinny, weak and full of worms and fleas seemed to be insignificant and minor.

From day one we knew that enucleation of his left eye (or more precisely, of what’s left of it) will
need to be done, and if it turns out his eyesight in his right eye can’t be saved, the same surgery will be necessary for that eye as well. His left rear leg will have to be amputated properly, but this time the surgery will be performed by a skilful vet with lots of
experience who knows what he is doing. But it’s one thing to plan, and quite another to implement…

Morgan’s surgeries were scheduled for September 18th, but his right eye started to bleed the evening before and the leaking blood, although not
abundant, lasted the entire night. When we arrived at the vet clinic the next day, it turned out he actually had a corneal ulcer on that eye, so he was put under general anesthesia and the same surgical procedure which was done on Joca's injured eye months ago - a
third eyelid flap - was performed on Morgan’s right eye as well, in a desperate attempt to save him from being totally blind. The third eyelid has been sewn shut over the eye to bring a healing blood supply to its surface, although it's questionable whether
his vision in this eye even exists, and if it does, whether or not it can be saved. Even though he appeared normal (despite his problems) before the surgery, he had a hard time enduring the general anesthesia, he began having difficulty breathing, started to wheeze as soon as he
was intubated and he nearly died twice on the operating table – luckily, the vet somehow succeeded in resuscitating him both times. His unskillfully amputated leg and the remains of his left eye weren't even touched as the vets were literally racing against the
clock to save his life.

Morgan managed to survive the surgery but was in critical condition for days afterwards. The vet suspected he either had pneumonia, or had been badly beaten or had some serious heart problem and I couldn’t help
wondering if I’d ever know the truth of what happened to this poor baby in his short life. For about 10 days he’s been under antibiotic treatment, receiving Longacef every day and now it’s crystal clear that nothing else can be done until we find out what’s wrong with
him.

He had the eye flap stitches removed 10 days after the surgery and although his right eye looks a lot better than before, we still don’t know whether his vision is saved or not. He’s being given oral antibiotics now and his eyes (or better
said his right eye and the hole which was left after his left eye leaked out) are being treated locally, with eye drops and antibiotic ointments. He still has abundant brown discharge from both eyes and at this point it’s impossible to say when he will be ready for the next
surgery.

This cute ginger and white boy has gained a lot of weight and made many friends since he’s arrived at the shelter. He spends his days eating, sleeping and playing with his pals, blissfully oblivious of his health problems and totally
unaware he managed to pull through by sheer luck. It’s a miracle he’s still here with us after everything he’s been through; whether he was a victim of abuse, indifference, ignorance, incompetence or all the above, he behaves as if nothing bad has
ever happened to him. Even if he was loved and pampered from the beginning of his life, he couldn’t be happier.

Morgan’s now a joyful, cuddly, playful little boy, with no care in this world and blind or not, he’ll have a bright, promising
future. Does he remember his sadness and despair? Does he ever think whose fault it was? Possibly, but highly unlikely. Did he forgive? Absolutely. He’s a cat and cats don’t know what hatred, resentment and bitterness are, in difference to us, “superior” humans
who decide on their lives and deaths.