Monday, July 22, 2013

She Walks in Beauty, like the Night

Nursing homes for elderly people often have companion cats, as it’s proven that these furry little creatures provide love and comfort to the seniors who have given up so much already. Kitties are frequently an elderly person’s only daily companions and are
considered to be a part of their second family, the one they got to know when they entered a nursing care facility to spend the rest of their lives there.

Unfortunately, sometimes the staff shows far too little compassion and
tolerance towards the needs of the residents and their pets, arrogantly ignoring the benefits of pet companionship to elderly adults who do not have adequate social interaction with other people. Their beloved kitties are proclaimed redundant at one point and need
to be removed. Futka was born in one of these places where empathy and kindness were lacking as taking care of the elderly was governed by strict rules that were leaving almost no space for tenderness and grace.

Faced with this
ruthless decision, many nice old ladies who loved their kitties and had been feeding them for months if not years, reached out for help to their children, relatives and friends and managed to rehome almost all of the cats they were able to catch. Futka, distrustful and shy as
she had always been, was left behind as she couldn’t be caught and that’s when I got a call from one of the residents who begged me to try and catch this last black kitten that was fearful and extremely skittish. The lonely little girl wasn’t more than three months old back then
and she was in a very bad shape, with mange and significant hair loss, scarily thin and extremely cautious.

Surprisingly, I caught her quite easily but just a few short days later she began to exhibit symptoms of panleukopenia, a
highly contagious, very serious and deadly feline disease, which is often fatal for cats, particularly for unvaccinated kittens. She miraculously succeeded to recover but not without consequences; she has been suffering from both cardiac and pulmonary asthma
ever since. After months of treatment she finally overcame most of her problems and is doing rather fine now, with no classic asthma attacks, although she does seem to be gasping for air and breathing heavily sometimes.

It took her quite some
time to become the stunning and gorgeous kitty she is today, with a beautiful, rich, luxurious, long-haired coat which turns from black to dark brown during the shedding season. Her personality didn’t change much, though; she is still distrustful
of new people and not really friendly towards other cats. While she was living in my apartment, she cuddled with me although she used to shy away from strangers, but since we've moved to the shelter, almost all of the cats have become somehow more
independent and distant than ever before and Futka is no exception. She still snuggles with me when she is in the mood and when there’re no other humans around, but it’s been extremely difficult to earn her trust and hospitality definitely isn’t one of
her qualities.

She is not aggressive towards the other cats, except when some corpulent tom tries to bully other kitties and starts getting on her nerves. The moment she's had enough, my calm and lazy girl quickly turns into a real fury
that charges at him full bore, hell bent to teach him a lesson and chases him through the yard until he realizes that his estimate was totally wrong. She also has a unique and kind of hostile “What do you think you’re doing here” look reserved for strangers with
such a clear message that no one is tempted to try and pet her, in spite of her shiny, smooth hair that makes her look like a soft, endearing, fluffy ball of fur.

Seven or eight years old now, Futka is a mature, self-conscious beauty with
a very strong personality and her likes and dislikes are well defined. Absolutely unwilling to compromise, she is not easy to deal with – things can be done only her way or won’t be done at all. Highly independent, determined, insubordinate and
recalcitrant, she ignores the rules with such nonchalance that it somehow seems right – maybe because I still remember a fearful, skinny and sad kitten she once was and when I look at her now, so dignified and so magnificent, I simply can’t reproach
her no matter what she does.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Another Small Step Towards the Goal

Summer is slipping by in a hurry and the roof repairs are still on hold, we simply haven’t raised enough funds for any serious repair work. The solution to our biggest problem isn't even in sight, but while waiting for a miracle which would enable us to make a
substantial change, we’re trying to solve some of the minor issues at least.

The hydrophore system started to give us headaches last summer, when it suddenly stopped working and we were left without running water in the backyard.
Scorching summer heat was threatening to dry up the plants, the food and water bowls couldn’t be washed and it was necessary to fix the problem urgently. After disassembling and cleaning the hydrophore pump, everything went back to normal, more or
less, but condensation kept developing inside the tank hole because the ventilation remained far from good. The real cause of the trouble is that the hole itself doesn't have concrete walls as it should have. It’s just a simple hole dug into the ground and the excess water
makes it muddy and wet.

The temperatures are hellishly hot already and ensuring an adequate water supply in the yard is of the utmost importance. A couple of days ago, workers began fixing the hydrophore tank and
replacing the old water pipes, thus creating a whole new arrangement of yard faucets.

Trenches for water pipes have been dug throughout the backyard and all of the kitties seem delighted with the mess. Inspecting the
trenches and rolling in the dug up soil are their favorite pastimes these days. Once the work is finished, we’ll have a new yard faucet placed in the middle of the path which leads from the side entrance to the backyard to the cats’ room, and another faucet outside of the
yard to which the water hose will be attached so there won’t be any more problems with watering the plants. We might even make our own backyard jungle at one point, a little green paradise with which all the cats will certainly be thrilled. Judging by
their behavior, nothing feels better from their point of view than resting in the shade while temperatures are soaring.

Compared to the big repair work which still lies ahead, fixing the hydrophore system may seem of small
importance, but every little step leads to another, bigger one. If the key to success is a positive outlook on things, we've chosen to stop thinking about what we are not able to do at the moment and start thinking about what we can do. Sadly, it doesn’t
change the fact that the roof repairs need to start soon or we will have no chance to fix our biggest problem before the cold weather sets in.

Please, help us if you can, in any way you can! If we fail to replace the roof of the cats’ rooms this
summer, the consequences might be horrendous! Is it necessary to have the roof collapse onto the cats before people decide to help? It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of Felix kitties are at stake! Let’s face it, we’re backed up against the wall and can't do
anything without your help! Please, get involved, there is no more time to waste!

Monday, July 1, 2013

More and More Kittens

With summer fast approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and vacation plans already in the works, the number of unwanted cats and kittens is growing by the day. Not only that indoor cats, all grown up, are suddenly becoming redundant, but innumerable
kittens born to house cats end up on the streets where their odds of survival are slim to none. Despite the flood of unwanted cats, the message about the importance of spaying and neutering doesn't seem to be getting through and the supply of kittens
needing homes far exceeds the demand of people wanting to adopt them.

For a long time, drowning and dumping the unwanted kittens has been a somewhat common practice, especially in Serbian villages. Things are
now beginning to change at a slow pace and it will obviously take forever to raise awareness on responsible pet ownership. For the time being, we witness countless pleas for help from people who have found themselves in a sticky situation when
their cats give birth because they failed to spay them on time. No one has the obligation to take responsibility for someone else’s poor judgment; on the other hand, letting the entire neighborhood become inundated with kittens is unacceptable as the
population of free roaming cats is difficult to shrink already.

Taking all into consideration, I simply had no choice when the news about two unwanted litters spread through the neighborhood so I reluctantly agreed to
take them in. The mother of this last litter to arrive was very productive – she had six babies, four boys and two girls, all healthy, playful, cute and apparently very well cared for. Allowing them to be with their mother long enough gave them the right start in life and
their story is now just beginning. I don’t even want to imagine what would’ve happened to them hadn’t they come here. I had absolutely no plans of taking in any new cats this year but well, sometimes we find them, sometimes they find us.

New kittens are a lifelong commitment and although these six cuties, just like Maggie and Kate, will most certainly have the best lives possible, there are many unwanted babies out there who won’t be that lucky and only the fittest and most cunning will
survive. Too many kittens are born every day into the world with not enough homes to provide for them, just to have extremely short and painful lives of starvation and neglect. If only people would sterilize their cats, so much misery could be avoided.
None of the adorable babies attracting attention now will be a kitten forever, they all need loving owners who will take care of them for the next 15 or 20 years. For cat owners, spaying or neutering is just a routine procedure, a short and easy surgery, but for
millions of homeless animals everywhere it’s the life itself. And it takes so little to ease their suffering and give them a chance…