Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Precious Little Bundles of Joy

Late spring and early summer always bring hot, sunny, lazy days, blue skies, mild and clear starry nights, outdoor fun - and countless kittens. Even supposing that kitten season runs from early spring until late fall, many unwanted but once owned cats and
kittens become redundant by the beginning of summer. Some people are ruthlessly dumping their cats on the street before heading off on summer vacation, the others suddenly find out that keeping the kittens their cat has just recently had means too many
mouths to feed once they are weaned… All kinds of stupid and disgraceful excuses are being heard, but at the end of the day, entire neighborhoods are being flooded with unwanted kittens without homes and year after year, it’s happening with frightening accuracy.

Newborn kittens, blind and with their umbilical cords still attached, are being carelessly dumped somewhere to die a slow, horrible and painful death, and if they are lucky enough to be found, raising them by hand always takes a 24/7 effort
with no guaranties of success. Entire litters are crammed into cardboard boxes, frequently with their mothers, whose unforgivable mistake was that they got pregnant. We’ve already reached the point where we’re happy if the kittens we run into are a
month old – no matter how sick they are, at least they stand a chance to survive.

Nevertheless, when I first saw a pair of six-week-old kittens that were brought to me from the neighborhood, my heart just broke.
Maggie, a sad little tortie, couldn’t open her eyes, they were horribly infected, glued shut with pus and her eyelids were swollen, red and inflamed. It was impossible to discover if she even had eyes, or if she had already lost them because the infection wasn’t
treated on time. Purulent discharge was leaking down her cute little face and she was so helpless and so lost that she immediately tugged at my heartstrings. And when she hugged my hand with her little paws, it was such a touching, unforgettable gesture
of thank you, that it somehow brought the whole reason of what I do into perspective and made everything worth it.

The vet wasn’t very optimistic when he diagnosed her with severe herpes and a chlamydia infection; he said she would
survive but her eyesight might remain seriously damaged. He also told me that her recovery would be a lengthy process. I’ve been tending to her and holding my breath for days while carefully looking into her eyes and trying to see a sparkle under the thick layers of
antibiotic ointment. And then, eight long days later, my little muffin started to open her eyes and it miraculously seems that her vision is unharmed! She made it!

Although she’s well on the mend, she’s not out of the woods yet,
as there’s a chance that her third eyelids will remain protruding because of the possible damage to the nerve that controls the third eyelid retraction, which is a direct result of a horrible eye infection. We’re still not giving up hope on her complete recovery
and even if her third eyelids remain elevated, the problem can be corrected surgically when she grows up.

Maggie’s little sister Kate is in much better shape and her eyes are wide open, even though she did have some discharge at the
beginning. When she arrived here, her expression was so serious and kind of mournful, she looked like an old soul that’s seen too much sadness already, but she is now thriving and bursting with energy. She is mischievous and obstinate, lively,
playful and very loud when she wants something, which she usually does. Both of them are still under treatment in quarantine, but they’re eating well and chasing each other throughout the cage all day long. A good sign!
With these two sweeties, the number of Felix kitties has grown to 113 and the costs of their upkeep are already going through the roof. We’re spending a fortune on food alone; when you add the necessary vet care, deworming and defleaing treatments,
yearly vaccinations and all kinds of unexpected expenses, the overall cost is sky high. It’s clear that the recession is taking its toll and many people are strapped for cash these days but we continue to believe that if you can lend us a helping hand, it would make it
possible for Felix kitties to continue to live happy and healthy lives. No donation is too small, every little bit counts and we’re boundlessly grateful for all of the help we get!

Most if not all of the kitties at the shelter have gone through
hell and back, having been neglected, unwanted and abused, until they came here and learned love for the first time. Please, help us secure their brighter future!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Beyond Urgent!

Although the weather hasn’t been the brightest lately and seems to contest that summer is approaching, it’s June already and even if the upcoming hottest season isn’t as hot as the last one, it’s still summer. Roof repairs have to start in the next two months at
the latest, if they are expected to be finished before the rain and cold weather sets in again. The roof of the entire house is in terrible shape, a section above the auxiliary room has already been leaking after every heavy rain or snowfall and it’s just a matter of time
before all of the cat rooms will end up totally flooded. The cats have been very lucky so far that the waterlogged ceilings haven’t fallen in on them.

Naturally, they don’t know their lives might change on the turn of a dime and they're
relaxed and totally carefree and living in the moment. When they are enjoying warm rays of sun, lying all stretched out or jumping around in their happy-go-lucky manner, they're years away from the everyday struggle to survive and dangerous street life
they all once lived. It’s hard to believe that their wonderland can possibly come crumbling down. In difference to us humans, they are not facing the future with trepidation and fear, not because they know everything will be alright but because tomorrow is far
beyond their imagination. Nevertheless, the unpleasant surprises might be just around the corner…

Watching from afar, there’s no need to worry - the house is old but standing, the roof is totally worn out but still holding
up, all the cats look nice, end of story. The fact that this year’s round of serious repair work hasn’t even started yet seems to pass unnoticed. On the verge of despair, with almost the entire shelter in terrible shape and more than 110 cats to feed and
take care of, I’m asking myself how did I ever get into this mess, but there is no turning back now. These last three years since I moved in have been nerve wracking and exhausting both physically and mentally and although every beginning is hard, this one never
seems to end.

The roof of the auxiliary rooms is at least 50 years old and wasn’t even built properly back then! Instead of regular roofing lumber, they were using black locust poles and although this wood is durable it can’t last
forever, especially considering the kind of work done. Photos of the roof viewed from beneath were taken during the renovation of the only cat room in the front yard. They could’ve been taken from any other auxiliary room, as it’s the same roof above them all. It’s in
the same bad shape or worse, particularly the parts of the roof that have already been leaking.

Once again, I’m reaching out to you all! Shelters and sanctuaries all over the world rely on the support of unselfish, generous cat lovers
like yourselves and Felix shelter is no exception. Even from a distance, you can help the Felix kitties escape facing the hard times they knew so well once and for all! Many of them are chronically ill, old and unapproachable and if we fail them now, they simply won’t
have another chance for a life they deserve. This is their home, on the brink of collapse, and it’s no exaggeration to say that their future is at stake! If you have ever enjoyed their photos, videos and their stories, please don’t let them down. They need you, all of 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Long Road to Happiness

The story of Etela’s cats I took in two years ago has already been told and there’s not much to add, as most of the little heroes that miraculously managed to live through the tragedy are still here, happy, secure and carefree. First the ravaging blaze which
had devastated the cat and dog shelter they lived in, and then weeks of fending for themselves on the site of the fire must have been the biggest challenge any animal could be forced to experience, but the strongest and the most fortunate ones did survive, they
reached safety here and hopefully have many good years ahead.

Unfortunately, not all of them went straight from their ravaged home to some place where they would be able to recover and maybe even to forget. The news of the
tragedy at Etela’s shelter shocked everyone at the time, there was a lot of sadness and confusion, emotions were running high and it wasn’t easy to keep a clear head on finding solutions for all of the animals left behind. By the time I went there to pick up
the cats, three of them had already left that place of horror, but for all three of them, to their misfortune, being rescued was just the beginning of another nightmare.

They were placed, with recommendation, into
some wild shelter near Belgrade, which was described as a wonderful environment with a wonderful woman who was taking care of them. Three months later it turned out the environment was not that wonderful and all three cats – Speki,
Katana and Misti were brought to me, emaciated and sick, sad living proof of utter neglect. Full of worms and fleas, with ear mites and fungal infection, they looked much worse than any of the cats I picked up at the burned out shelter months earlier.
In fact, they had so many health problems that it wasn’t easy to decide which one to address first. Speki had already been castrated but he arrived here with the wound infected, so he had surgery again. Katana wasn’t even spayed, they had never been
vaccinated, dewormed, deflead, nothing. It seemed so unjust, they endured so much, watched their home burn down, succeeded to stay alive and then end up…where?

I was trying to keep them separated from the other cats the best
I could, but in spite of my efforts, ear mites spread through the shelter, as there wasn't any proper quarantine room, and that problem persists and erupts every now and then. Although I was told all three of them were shy and withdrawn, they were anything but; Speki is
perhaps the friendliest tomcat I’ve ever met and both girls are just a little less affectionate and lovable. Katana is blind in one eye but I have no idea when and how she got hurt, Speki also has blurred vision in one eye, which is probably a result of some old
injury and they are both ear-tipped. Misti was horribly skinny but otherwise apparently healthy when she arrived, even though her prominent bones, angular face and sunken in cheeks were clearly telling a story of long months of starvation, just the
same. Their history remains unknown.

All in all, Speki, Katana and Misti are now living the lives they deserve, with full bellies, pampered and loved, without a care in the world. They went through hell and back but surprisingly never lost hope and
trust in humans, as if they knew that brighter days would come and the sun would begin to shine upon them. With the amazing ability to forgive and an unshakable belief in a better tomorrow, they kept their charm and loveliness through the deepest darkness, not
letting the misery extinguish their light. When they arrived here, their time to shine had finally come.