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.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

At a Standstill as Summer Slips Away

We’ve been pretty quiet lately and I guess that most of the people believe that no news is good news and there’s no need to worry – if something bad had happened, everybody would know. But is it so? Our random updates, too few and far between, are not even faintly
reflecting the biggest crisis the shelter’s been in over the last few years. It’s not that we’re being secretive, it’s not that we think all of our friends aren’t interested in what’s going on, it’s not really just a plain lack of time. Somehow, once everything is
explained in detail and said loud and clear, it seems even worse than when we keep our worries to ourselves and try to act as if we have only some insignificant problems that can easily and quickly be resolved.

I don’t even know
where to start. Shelter repairs are not finished yet due to the lack of funds and although we’re totally aware we must find a way to get things back to normal while we still can, we simply don’t know who to turn to anymore. We’ve already tried everything we could
think of to no avail, and if we don’t come up with some brilliant ideas right away, the future of the Felix kitties, particularly when the winter chill kicks in, is uncertain and definitely not promising.

The renovated part of the roof above the
kitties’ rooms in the backyard (which was being fixed this summer) looks nice and sturdy, but we’re still not able to purchase the gutters nor the metal sheeting necessary for extending the metal lower part of the roof over the path. Since we can’t manage the
water from precipitation without gutters, the entire backyard turns into a muddy, swampy mess whenever it rains and the next door neighbor’s garage is flooded every single time.

The metal part of the roof is another matter.
If we fail to extend it over the new path in front of the cats’ rooms which was put in with the sole purpose of preventing the cats from stepping directly into the mud when they come out of their rooms in rainy/snowy weather, this corridor that’s half finished already
will be useless. The idea was to make a sheltered place for the kitties out of what’s now a walkway, bordered by the walls of the cats’ rooms on one side and support columns and little dividing walls on the other, that will be enclosed with tarps attached to the new
roof during the winter.

Unfortunately, the metal part of the roof is lower and shorter than the new one and if we don’t extend it over the path, we’ll have an empty space at the end of the corridor, through which rain and snow will be blowing in and
none of the cats from the backyard will have a dry outdoor space when the weather is bad. However, if we manage to raise the funds for both the gutters and for the metal sheeting necessary for extending the lower part of the roof over the path, the new
corridor will truly be a sheltered place for the kitties, as it would be bordered by the garage on its other end. But to our big regret and despite all of our efforts, we’re still $1.500 US short, we’ve already exhausted all of our resources and we’re literally backed up
against the wall, with no idea how to complete this phase of the shelter repairs. Summer is rapidly coming to an end and it rains almost every day, so I don’t even dare to imagine what kind of weather the autumn and winter will bring.
At this time of year we should be thinking about purchasing the first tank of gas for central heating, but we’re still struggling with the renovations and time has flown by. The wire mesh above the front yard, or more precisely the chain linked fencing, has been loosened and
stretched again a zillion times and its links are now entirely too large to prevent kittens and skinnier adults from squeezing their way outside. As a consequence, kitties are happily escaping almost every day, running and having fun around the shelter for hours until I finally
catch them or somehow persuade them to come back home. Needless to say that with all of the current problems, chasing the runaways day by day is the last thing I need…

Is it even worth it to try and ask for help once again? We’re
immensely grateful for every single donation we’ve received for the shelter repairs so far, but there so much more to do and yet we’ve stopped halfway through weeks ago and no repair work has been done since! Please, step in with anything you can afford and help us
enable a three digit number of Felix kitties to continue living happy and safe in their beautiful forever home!