Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Black kitties have always been associated with witches and witchcraft, and even more so if the cat is black, with long vampire fangs!

Well, my lovely girl Kmeca, with a very unique smile, hopes you’ll help her and her shelter mates to make
it through the upcoming winter feeling warm, well fed and healthy.

Kmeca wishes each and every one of you a very happy and safe Halloween packed full of fun!

Take care out there!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Look Back

With winter rapidly approaching, we are racing against time to get the shelter ready for the cold months ahead. The new insulation layer has been added to the interior walls of the indoor enclosures, the exterior doors of the cat rooms have been strengthened and
everything is hopefully strong enough to endure whatever nasty weather comes along.

Our brilliant plans of fixing up the shelter completely have become only a partial reality, as we haven’t succeeded in raising enough funds. Or rather, everything was
in worse shape than we thought at the beginning. Even back then when the repairs first started, I was very much aware that we were biting off more than we could chew but I also knew that we must try to fix as much as possible or we wouldn’t have a chance to get through
another winter. The entire ordeal has lasted for months and even now it’s far from finished but at least we’re facing the future with hope. It may have sounded risky to start such a huge project relying only on personal means and other peoples' good will but
we had no other choice, so we ended up with a big debt which I hope we’ll be able to pay off some day. It’s been said a long time ago that fortune favors the daring…

More than 20 new kitties have arrived at the shelter over this
year, so there’re many more mouths to feed, which wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t for the enormous costs of shelter repairs. I’ve already reconciled to the fact that most of the people who find a cat or a kitten can't keep it, but instead try to find another temporary or permanent home for that animal, and forget about it instantly as soon as it becomes someone else’s worry. Out of more than a dozen people whose kitties I’ve taken in this summer, only a few have ever asked about them. What do you
know! Nihil novi - nothing new under the sun.

All of the kitties in the shelter are safe and loved for life, but they do need help. I’m not posting dramatic pictures, my cats aren’t skinny and sick generally, they do not fend for themselves,
their lives aren’t hanging by a thread but their future depends on donations, and the kindness of strangers, nevertheless. While every appeal for help can pull on people’s heartstrings, it’s obvious that everyone is more compelled to donate when the
animals look horrible and it’s somewhat comprehensive. Felix kitties are fattish and relaxed and don’t seem to have a care in the world but on the other hand we all know that cats are supposed to live for a very long time and need constant care and food regardless of
what they look like. My kitties’ lives weren’t always a bed of roses and all of them have come a long way since the days they fought to survive somewhere out there, alone, abused and utterly unimportant. Please, help them stay happy and healthy now that
they finally know how it feels to have a home!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Blissful Sweetie – Part Cat, Part Squirrel

When I first heard of Kami, she was a tiny tortoiseshell kitten, less than two months old. Somebody dumped her on the street (sadly, the habit of dumping unwanted kittens is becoming quite common) and a nice family picked her up, although they couldn’t give her a
permanent home. She needed to be adopted urgently. Enchanted by her cute face, I didn’t hesitate for a second. After all, everyone knows that tortoiseshell cats are good luck charms!

Out of a couple of dozen new kitties I’ve taken in this year,
Kami wasn’t the most endangered by any means, it’s just that her future seemed rather uncertain. She had been taken care of temporarily, but for how long? Everyone thought she would be adopted quickly, she was extraordinarily cute and unique looking, but I could
tell that tortie kittens are not the most popular over here. Her photos were getting a lot of “awws” and “so cute” but no one had shown any real interest in adopting her for as long as I followed her story. If I hadn’t taken her in she might have been adopted, but also, she
might not ever have become someone’s beloved pet, chances were equal. As the wise man once wrote, counterfactual conditionals are always true, because the premise is false. What would have happened if she had, if I hadn’t, we simply don’t know.

This year’s kitten season has been plentiful, bringing an abundance of charming kittens vying for new homes. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough adopters for all of these kitties in need. Resources are limited; cat shelters and foster
families can only take in as many kitties as they have room and money for. Some kittens will be fortunate enough to find a loving home in time and the others will be left on their own to face a hard life on the streets, it’s just a matter of luck. Cute looks and friendly
behavior mean nothing when there are so many homeless and unwanted kittens waiting to get adopted. Cat lovers are usually melting, looking into these fluffy faces, but foster families are way too few and far between.

Kami arrived at my
shelter in June, a charming little girl that was playful, active and full of life from the beginning. She’s been growing very fast and becoming more affectionate and more mischievous with every passing day. She quickly discovered how to escape
through the chain link fence and you could tell she very much enjoyed running around. She was a naughty, fun loving kitty, disarmingly cute and spoiled rotten.

As time went by, Kami’s appearance has changed a lot. She’s not a kitten
anymore, her tail is getting fluffy and her hair is silky and smooth. After several break-out attempts she seems to have reconciled with the idea of staying inside the fenced area, so she gave up on wiggling out of the shelter. She still hasn’t decided whether to be an indoor or an outdoor kitty, so she takes the best of both worlds and keeps going out into the yard and coming back to the house a hundred times a day.

Even though this little cutie is full of sparkling energy, her health has always been rather delicate. She’s prone to unexplainable fever, she gets sick for no apparent reason and I even get the impression that her normal body temperature is higher than usual. A couple of weeks ago she was diagnosed with bronchitis and bounced back to health only to get sick again a few days later. Maybe she’ll become tougher when she’s fully grown up, but for now I must keep a constant eye on her.

There’s nothing special or unique about Kami’s story. She came to me as just one of many tiny unwanted kittens looking for a home and only later did her affectionate and funny nature shine through. She is now safe, secure and loved and it’s hard to imagine that anyone could ever consider her to be disposable and utterly unimportant.

It’s said that many times when you no longer need something, someone else just might. This phrase is popular and widely spread, it proved to be true numerous times although I’ve never thought it could or should apply to unwanted pets. Little Kami, with her innocent face and a squirrel-like tail, is living proof that I was wrong.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Misfortunes Never Come Singly

It seems there's a dark cloud hanging over the Felix shelter…

These last few months have been pretty grim, with too many tears, too much sadness and too much sorrow, far too much. The first to pass away at the beginning of
summer was my beloved Gingi, whose death remains an open wound that will never heal. He was followed by baby Nana, too small and sick when she was found to be able to recover, a precious little angel, gone too soon. Then a few weeks ago, little Kai, a
kitten made of pure love and light, whose life has ended unfairly and prematurely before it had even begun - he was just a baby. And now, dear Gomboc… I’ve got a feeling that all I’ve been doing since this last summer started is burying the kitties I loved so much.

Gomboc arrived at my shelter two years ago. He was rescued from a yard in my hometown after an attempt by certain people to round up all of the cats, put them into bags and take them away, which means that all of the kitties would have
presumably been killed. He was terribly skinny, but he looked healthy otherwise. Later on, it turned out he had FUS and he was passing through crises sometimes, but he used to respond well to medical treatments. He ate special urinary food, gained a lot of weight and was content and joyful; it seemed he would live many more beautiful and happy years to come. There were no warning signs at all…

On the last day of his life, Gomboc behaved quite
normally. Although his appetite was good, he didn’t fight for food like he usually did. I attributed his behavior, which was just a bit strange, to extreme summer heat. The kitties ate their dinner, the lights were turned off and we all went to sleep. In the morning, I
found him lying still on the floor of the indoor cat enclosure. His expression was calm and revealed nothing. Was it a sudden cardiac arrest, a respiratory failure or something completely different? I’ll never know.

My beautiful, lovable, gorgeous boy was
very sweet and cuddly, yet not overly dependent on humans. He was “the cat that walks by himself and all places were alike to him”. His death might seem a lonely one, but I’m sure he preferred to be on his own in his final hours, as he was never seeking comfort or help. He passed
away with dignity and I strongly hope that death embraced him easily and that he’s finally at peace.

May he run free and healthy until we meet again.

Sleep tight, my beautiful boy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Not That We’re Eagerly Awaiting Winter

The shelter repairs are progressing, though there’s still quite a lot that needs to be done. Workers are now adding insulation to the interior walls of the indoor enclosures in order to make them warmer, as the upcoming winter is supposed to be a very cold one. I’m dreading the onset of cold weather, particularly after the experience of last year when we had freezing temperatures and brittle icy winds for weeks; the tremendous snow burden almost caused the roof to collapse! Spring and summer
have passed too quickly, and the next winter is on our doorstep again…

Not until we had started the repair work did we begin to realize the scope of the damage caused by this last, unusually harsh and freezing winter. And what matters most, only
when the workers had started opening things up did it turn out that a lot had been done improperly from the very beginning. Trust the professionals and let them do their jobs, everyone’s been telling me. Yeah, right.
First of all, the roof problems. When the roofing repairs began, it became obvious that the entire roof structure is worn out, some of the rafters were half rotten and there was a crack in the major support roof beam which carries the load. In the last few months,
the strengthening of the roof structure has been done by installing additional supports that I hope will be strong enough to endure another winter. However, supporting the existing roof is just a temporary solution and I hope to replace the entire roof next
year, thus fixing the problem once and for all.

Only then can we start fixing the wire mesh problem. I'm guessing that all of you remember that it barely held up under the extremely heavy snow load last winter; it even sagged in the
middle at one point! Frankly, it was too weak from the start as I haven’t had enough money to buy the stronger mesh back then and it got even looser after last winter's snow burden. It could be re-stretched, maybe, but the problem is that this wire mesh is
actually chain link fencing and the links are too large to prevent little kittens (and skinnier young cats as well) from escaping through the wire. The only solution is to enclose the whole yard and roof with some fence with a finer mesh. In the meantime, I’ll be
chasing little trouble-makers around the shelter every now and then…

It’s too late to lament over the past, it’s time to set a pace for the future. There’s still a lot of work ahead of us and we won’t be able to accomplish our goals without your
help. Please, take a look at our project and help us if you possibly can! Make a difference in the lives of all of the Felix kitties. They may look pampered now, but don’t forget that all of them were unwanted and neglected once…