Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

We wish you all a wonderful New Year, filled with love, joy and happiness! May it be the best year ever!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Sun Sets on 2013, a New Dawn of Hope for 2014

The end of the year is the time for reflecting about everything that has happened over the last twelve months, all of the struggle, ups and downs, failures and successes, disappointments and new hope… We mourn the loss of those precious kitties
whose stories ended, in spite of all the love and all of the efforts to save them, we celebrate the lives of golden oldies that still hang on and the tenacity of all the new kittens which are growing into strong and happy adults. Taking everything into account, it’s been
trying, difficult and hard, but a good year, although it didn’t look so good at times.

Life is unpredictable and made up of choices, mistakes and learning, joy and sorrow. Even though failure seems to be unacceptable in today’s success driven
society, we should all remember that when one door closes, another opens and that frequently something falls apart just to allow something better to come together. After a year and a half of struggling to find the way to replace the horribly damaged roof
of the auxiliary cat rooms, after many tries and failures, long months of pure despair and a few sparkles of timid hope, the funds have been raised and the roof replacement will take place in the spring. The first tank of gas for central heating was
purchased last month and all we can say is that the kindness and devotion of our supporters and friends has once again proven that the darkest hour is just before the down.

Three of the shelter kitties didn’t make it to this holiday season
as they couldn’t be saved; Ivor and Archi had some congenital defects that couldn't be fixed and left this world last summer, while Falsika was too old and way too exhausted to carry on. If there is any consolation, all three of them were surrounded with love
until the end and all passed away peacefully, without pain, quietly accepting their time had come. I can still see their beautiful faces and shiny eyes in the twinkling, star filled sky…

Tiny kittens which arrived at the shelter
last summer are not kittens anymore; after quite a rough start and numerous hardships, all of them have grown into stunning beauties, full of love and life. The overwhelming vigor of their youth and abundance of irresistible joy clearly shows that each and
every kitty is worth fighting for, no matter how hopeless it sometimes seems. Many old kitties, well into their golden years, are still here and I can only hope all of them will be strong enough to see another spring.

This story could have
been longer but the holiday rush is hardly the time for long stories. May the New Year bring us all new hope, happiness and the courage to follow our dreams!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We Wish You a Very Merry Christmas!

Faith makes all things possible. Hope makes all things work. Love makes all things beautiful. May you have all the three for this Christmas!

 Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful people out there!

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Miracle for a Masked Vagabond

Cats are being dumped on the street for a myriad of various senseless reasons but what they all have in common are irresponsible owners who are not ready for a lifelong commitment to their pet. Being born as a purebred is no guarantee for a
happy, fulfilled and long life in a nice forever home; although it comes as a surprise to some people, even those supposedly "more valuable" kitties which have been paid a high price for can get abandoned and wind up on the street just like any other cat.

All alone out there, they usually don’t stand much of a chance as they are generally more delicate, naive and less able to fend for themselves than “ordinary” moggies. Some breeds like Persians and Siamese are paying the price
for their own popularity as over-breeding makes them almost worthless from the financial point of view, while both ignorance and imprudence of their owners do the rest. When the kitten's cuteness fades away, a fully grown kitty becomes a burden to
those pet owners who have gotten their pets for the totally wrong reasons and the door to disaster is standing wide open. More and more frequently, cat lovers who are rescuing strays are finding dirty, sad balls of matted fur and filth which hide beautiful Persians or starving,
mud colored fragile kitties with sparkling, blue Siamese eyes set in their dark bony faces…

Shalimar is one of these miserable kitties who had the misfortune of being in the hands of some very wrong, heartless people. I have no idea
how he lived while he had a home, which he must have had at one point but I found him maybe a week ago on the side of the road, near a garbage container. He had probably spent months scavenging for food and living on the street before we met and he clearly
wasn’t successful in adapting to the street life – he is frighteningly skinny, his sides and haunches are all sunken in and his head looks big for his body. He certainly wasn’t born to a stray cat and it’s scarcely possible that he somehow got lost so I
am more prone to thinking that he was intentionally dumped; had his owners wanted and tried to find him they would have, a long time before he'd gotten to this horrible state.

He is a Seal Point Siamese with striking sapphire blue eyes, a
pretty dark chocolate mask and points, and a loud and distinctive Siamese meow. Incredibly cuddly and affectionate and probably young, he’s latched onto me and moved into my bed the minute he was let out of his cage where he had been kept over the first couple of
days. So typical for a devoted Siamese! His previous owners didn’t neuter him, which is not a surprise, but I am not sure if he would be able to endure a total anesthesia just yet; he needs to gain some strength and weight back before he's ready for his
neutering surgery. His appetite is voracious, he loves everyone and gets along perfectly with other cats, he's just as sweet as can be.

I doubt I’ll ever know all of the parts of his story, like where he came from, who he lived with, what he
could’ve done so wrong to be chucked out into the street and so on... but it doesn’t really matter now, as the new chapter of his life is just beginning. This year is coming to an end and the holidays are just around the corner, but I’d say that for Shalimar, the celebration has already begun. He has been given the biggest and most precious gift that could be imagined – a whole new life and world of affection, care, safety and love.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Silver Angel Reaches Paradise

This winter is going to be a tough one, maybe tougher than any before. Other than the dangers of a deep freeze, possible and probable snowstorms and frosty, stinging winds that chill the marrow of one’s bones, what really scares me is the thought of the oldest
shelter kitties. Already well into their golden years, they seem to be fading away slowly and it can’t be reasonably expected that all of them will see another spring. Losing a pet is a harrowing experience and not even the knowledge that the animal in question has lived a long and healthy life can make it any easier. We’re all well aware that our pets can't live forever, but when their time comes, it’s somehow always too soon. For some unknown reasons, most of the elderly pass away during the cold and depressing winter
months; I'm guessing it's just too much for their breaking down bodies to bear.

Sadly, Falsika is gone. Peacefully and quietly, she left this world, two and a half years after she finally found safety here. I’ll never know what she’d been going through until
she arrived at the shelter in the spring of 2011, but whatever it was it must have been scary, terrifying and horribly traumatizing to make her as desperate and utterly distrustful as she was. When she was returned to me instead of my own grey cat after the
worst adoption of several Felix kitties that could have been imagined, I tried to find out something about her but my search for her real owners or for anyone who could give me any information hit a dead end. No one could or would tell me anything, no one
knew a thing and yet here she was, with her short blue grey fur with silver tipping and beautiful, vivacious, beaming eyes of green, malnourished, unapproachable and absolutely terrified. During her miserable life before we met she probably never
experienced a friendly touch, she was never surrounded with love and care and all she wanted was to be left alone.

Four of the Felix kitties were adopted to a woman who sounded credible, even nice, in the spring of 2011, but
just ten days later it turned out that the only reason she took them in was to sell them as purebreds. After dozens of phone calls and a couple of difficult, stressful weeks, I finally managed to get them back, all but one - the skinny grey cat which arrived at the shelter
was not the same one I gave up a month earlier. My own kitty, the one that disappeared without a trace was young, healthy and loving; this new girl was not only bone skinny, but also skittish, vigilant and extremely cautious. She was in very bad shape, so
her age could not be easily determined and I was reluctant to do anything that would make her more stressed than she already was.

Over the next two years Falsika had mellowed a little but still remained very wary and shy; she had
recovered physically but her memories of bad times obviously could not be erased and the question arose of how would I catch her if she ever got sick and needed to be taken to the vet. The time came last summer, when I noticed that she had one fang tooth
sticking out of her mouth in a totally unnatural position. I had no idea what happened, if it was the result of an injury or if her tooth simply grew like that, but I somehow managed to put her in a cage and take her to the vet after days of luring her. Being
uncooperative as she always was, she pretty much freaked out in the ambulance and the vet said that her tooth had to be pulled out. He also told me that she was very old and that’s why all of her teeth were in such rough shape, with a lot of plaque and tartar
build up on them. The surgery went well and the dental cleaning was also done, she quickly recovered and to my great surprise, she began to cuddle with me after that. Maybe she somehow knew she wouldn’t live much longer and wanted to see how it felt to love and trust a
a human, even for such a short time...

Falsika passed away peacefully and without pain, calmly accepting that her time had come to move on. Exhausted by the years of a tough life in an unmerciful world, after countless disappointments and
many days of pure despair, she found love in the end. With no sorrow and with nothing to regret, she crossed over into the blinding yet irresistible light and I can only wish that her happy and carefree time on this earth had lasted longer. She's ascended up the path
I can't follow just yet, where she is finally free, young and whole once more.

Spread your wings and fly, my little darling, until we meet again. You’ll be held close, forever in our hearts and very sadly missed.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The First Snow

Snow and sleet are not really a surprise at the end of November but it seems that winter always comes too soon and somewhat unexpectedly… The weather we’ve had since yesterday is just an ominous sign of what lies ahead. Kitties welcomed the

first snow with mixed feelings – most of the youngsters looked excited, almost thrilled for a while, until they realized that the fluffy white stuff is also cold and wet. At that point their enthusiasm rapidly vanished and all they wanted was to get back to their rooms as quickly as

possible. Older kitties were definitely not impressed, to the extent that they hesitated at the very thought of stepping in fresh snow which remained on the higher objects in the yard, luckily it was too wet to stick to the ground.

In spite of all of our efforts, we haven’t quite managed to get the shelter ready for the cold months ahead. I guess all of you remember our excitement and sheer happiness when we received a very generous donation for the roof replacement back in September,

but due to the totally unpredictable and rainy weather, it simply wasn’t possible to find a construction company that was willing to start replacing the roof of the auxiliary cat rooms then. The only thing we can do is strengthen the existing structure the

best we can, put a nylon cover under the old roof and wait for spring to come. We're relying on pure luck once again, and anxiously hope the upcoming winter won’t be too harsh and snowy. With the extra support, the old roof should be able to withstand the snow

load and the roof replacement will finally begin in the spring, as soon as the weather gets nice.

The herpes outbreak that’s been sweeping through the shelter for months now is not slacking off yet. However, the everyday struggle to

try to quarantine and isolate all of the sick kitties and to boost the immune systems of those who were still healthy did give some encouraging results – almost all of the cats who had gotten sick first have recovered nicely and only a few of those recently affected ones

are still on the mend. Elderly cats and delicate youngsters are always at particular risk when a virus starts making the rounds through the shelter but all of them have put up a valiant fight up until now and I dare to hope that the near future will bring us

some relief. At this point it’s impossible to say if all of the kitties will be strong and lucky enough to make it through the winter, but we’ll do everything we possibly can to at least give them a fighting chance to see another spring.

In closing, we have wonderful news to share – thanks to the incredible generosity of a few caring, kind-hearted supporters and friends of Felix kitties, we finally have enough money to purchase the first tank of gas for central heating which will enable all 115 of the

shelter kitties to be warm and consequently healthier over the next two months! Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others make all the difference in the world and there are truly no words to describe the depth of our gratitude to our friends for all

of the kindness shown and support given in times of crisis. We'd like to extend our warmest wishes to all of our devoted donors, followers and their families over the holiday season. Without your unconditional support through thick and thin, our work would

not be possible and we wouldn’t be where we are today. May your thoughtfulness and compassion be returned to you a thousand fold!