Friday, August 30, 2013

Another Cry for Help

Don’t start something you can’t finish, we’ve all been taught. And really, what’s the point of setting goals we can’t achieve and making plans we are not able to carry through? For more than year and a half we’ve been trying to make Felix shelter a safer and more secure
place for 117 rescued kitties which consider it to be their forever home. For more than year and a half we’ve been pleading for help with overall shelter repairs and most importantly, the roof replacement. We’ve published dozens, if not hundreds of photos of our horribly
damaged roof which miraculously made it through last winter but now seems to be ready to give way at any time. We naïvely hoped that this year our biggest problem would finally be solved once and for all, but unfortunately, from where we stand, it seems quite
unrealistic that any major work can be accomplished before the weather takes a turn for the worse.

We managed to fix a portion of the roof last summer but there’s so much more yet to be done and meanwhile time’s running out, not
enough money’s coming in. Thanks to a couple of very generous donations, a few weeks ago we could at least begin to prepare for the big work ahead. A new concrete path between the front entrance into the backyard and garage has been made and
workers are now finishing four out of five new columns needed to support the new roof, as the existing supporting structure doesn't stand a chance to bear its weight. Had we succeeded to raise enough funds for the roof replacement, the fifth support column
would’ve been put in place and work on the roof could have finally begun. As it is now, we might be forced to sadly reconcile to the fact that our dream will remain just a dream, at least for now.

There are many animals in need of
help all over the world. Countless injured, sick, abused, desperate and hopeless little creatures are everywhere, waiting to be found, picked up, fed, vetted and cared for, waiting for a chance of a better life. No animal lover can stay indifferent
neither to their suffering nor to their heartbreaking stories and almost everyone is compelled to donate when faced with such sadness, cruelty and misfortune. Massive repairs at Felix shelter, although of utmost importance for 117 meows which live under the roof that
could fall in at any time, don’t seem desperate looking from afar and our photos of building materials, construction site and chubby, happy kitties simply don’t tug at people’s heartstrings.

If or when the roof caves in, the
consequences will be horrendous and maybe then, when we start posting photos of injured, mangled, utterly betrayed kitties which are drowning in despair, someone will realize what we have been talking about since last spring. Unfortunately, the hands of time can’t be
turned back and all the help we might get in such a horrible crisis wouldn’t change anything, anything at all. It will be much too late.

Is the $4,000 we need to replace the roof of the auxiliary cats’ rooms such an incredibly huge sum
of money? Is it possible that out of all the people who follow our work, who watch our video clips and read our stories, only a handful (to which we’re immensely grateful) are trying to help now that the future of all of the shelter tenants is absolutely uncertain
and things are teetering on the brink of disaster? What chances will these kitties have if their home, their haven, their entire world comes crumbling down? And it’s only a matter of time before the roof falls in on the kitties and everything falls apart.

Kind words, encouragement and admiration surely mean a lot, but actions mean much more. It’s been said innumerable times that great things usually have small beginnings and no matter how little you are able to give, it all
adds up and makes a significant difference. The future starts today and making changes begins with you! Please, hear our cry for help and don’t just be sorry, take some action!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Triumph of Love

Being friendly is not always an advantage, especially when it comes to stray cats. Trusting little creatures, defenseless and vulnerable, are far too easily targeted in today’s big outdoor world, made of steel and concrete. It’s been proven countless times that stray kitties
with big hearts and loving attitudes are the first to be tortured or killed – they would approach anyone, carefree, without any hesitation or reservation, just to find out the hard way that not all people are trustworthy. Many of these affectionate and friendly strays are
literally doomed to a horrible fate as they’re never aware of any possible danger and their lack of suspicion strongly contributes to frequently bad outcomes in their encounters with humans.

Bengi is one of these
trusting and friendly ones, a fuzzy little package of pure love and joy. It’s almost impossible to take a good photo of him, as he’s tirelessly kneading and reaching out with his paws whenever he hears a human voice or sees someone approaching. Although his trust was horribly betrayed three years ago and his misjudgment could have had terrible consequences, he is still affectionate and loving as if nothing, not even the utmost cruelty and sheer viciousness, could ever shatter his

The first time I heard of him, Bengi was a beautiful and extremely sweet tabby and white tom who had been living in a joint backyard in my hometown, together with many other cats. They had a caretaker who had been
providing them with regular meals. They were healthy, vaccinated and neutered, but they were all considered to be a neighborhood menace, even though it’s not easy to fathom what they could’ve done so horribly wrong to deserve what happened to

Some of the neighbors decided to get rid of the furry nuisances at the beginning of summer three years ago and hired a couple of men to resolve the problem. Those heartless sub humans were spotted while
rounding up all of the cats in the yard and putting them into bags and hauling them away, probably to some secluded place where they would have killed them all. Bengi was one of the first who walked nonchalantly into the trap, naïvely believing that all
people were kind and caring, and only pure luck saved him that day. As it was clear that none of the kitties could stay there, their caretaker reached out for help and all 17 cats, scared and confused, became shelter tenants.

It didn’t take them
very long to adapt to shelter life and it seems that their heart-wrenching experience didn’t leave any scars. I doubted they would ever forget what they had been through, but all of them moved on promptly upon their arrival, with no resentment and no
bitterness, ready to give and receive love. With clear eyes and full hearts, they are living proof that even when everything goes wrong, something right might still emerge. The battle between good and evil is as old as the world itself and seems to be never ending, but
every little victory paves the way for the big leap towards a better life. And even if miracles are far too rare and far between, they do happen sometimes.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Between Hope and Fear

The time has come and we’re now finally about to face our biggest challenge yet – the roof replacement! Thanks to a couple of generous donations, we have enough money to start the most important phase of the shelter repairs, although it’s still
uncertain how we’ll finish it. Everything else aside, if we manage to replace the roof of the auxiliary rooms before the cold weather sets in, it would be the jewel of our efforts and your success as well!

Since the beginning of year, we’ve fixed
three of the cats’ rooms, thanks to a grant for shelter repairs we received last winter. The weather wasn’t really on our side during the spring, so the indoor work was all that could be done. Considering that shelter repairs have been ongoing for
more than a year now and that we’ve faced a myriad of unexpected problems so far, the possibility of reaching the final goal sounds both thrilling and scary. If we fail, everything will seem pointless. But if we succeed?

The biggest problem
is that there are 117 kitties here that need to be taken care of while repairing the roof. Running a cat shelter has never been an easy task, but frankly, it’s now becoming harder than ever. Many cats are sick with viruses and needing daily treatment; all of the
shelter tenants have to be vaccinated against rabies as soon as they’re able to withstand the vaccination; providing all of the cats with adequate food according to their age and health, plus necessary vet care costs a fortune! We’re regularly not facing
just one problem but several of them simultaneously, including major shelter repairs on top of everything else. Nothing of this would’ve been possible without your help and the plain and simple truth is that no one can do everything, but
everyone can do something…

While raising funds for the roof replacement, we couldn’t just sit idle, as there were plenty of minor issues that needed to be addressed. Fixing the hydrophore tank, placing new water pipes through the
backyard and building new faucets are finally finished and an adequate water supply outside is ensured. Judging by the cats’ behavior, a new water faucet in the backyard was indispensable and one might wonder how did they ever live without it. Most of the
kitties spend their time sitting on it, guarding it, climbing on it, drinking from it, it seems they consider it to be the best toy ever.

The roof replacement will be costly, but before we even begin, a new concrete path between the front entrance into the backyard and garage has to be made and new columns need to be put in place in order to support the roof. The old path quickly turns into a muddy mess when it rains, so the cats that come out of the cat rooms step
directly into the mud. Most importantly, the existing supporting structure is simply not able to bear the weight of the new roof as it’s as old as the hills and wasn’t even constructed properly in the first place. The roof overhang also needs to be extended in
order to increase the base of support for the new roof and to protect the new path (and thus the entrances to the cats’ rooms) below from the rain run-off. The larger the area the base of support covers, the more stable our new roof will be. Only then we
can start replacing the roof that was made 50 years ago and has not been touched since.

I know that there are far too many animal shelters and sanctuaries in need of help and zillions of homeless animals everywhere but would
you please consider donating towards the roof repairs at Felix shelter? Once that our biggest problem is solved and the new roof is in place, we can rest easier and all of our efforts and sacrifices will finally make sense. The greatest gift is a secure future, a safe
and happy life and it’s in your hands!

All of you know that Cat Shelter Felix is not just a shelter, it's also the only cat sanctuary in Serbia, a unique cat haven with plenty of open spaces where all of the rescued cats are provided with a lifetime of care in a
cage-free environment. As none of the cats are, nor will be, put up for adoption, this is the only home they will ever have.

Please, help the Felix kitties face the coming winter without worrying that the roof will collapse in on
them! It all comes down to love and it all depends on you!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It Seems That Problems Never End

If anything can go wrong, it will…

We had no idea of how lucky we were a couple of weeks ago, while thinking about annual vaccinations of all the shelter tenants against rabies and trying to raise enough funds to vaccinate all the cats (the state law
requires yearly anti-rabies vaccination for all pets). Eight new kittens received their first series of shots against contagious diseases and seemed happy, bouncy and healthy; construction workers were fixing some minor problems at the shelter and in spite of worrying
about the roof repairs that need to be done before the cold weather sets in, things were still under control, more or less. Frankly, with extensive shelter repairs underway for more than a year now and the biggest challenge, the roof replacement, still
ahead of us, we weren’t really thrilled about this additional expense which couldn’t have come at a worse time but the situation was still bearable. And then, to our surprise and dismay, shelter kitties began to get sick one after another and things have rapidly
reached a crisis point.

There’s obviously some sort of highly contagious virus making its rounds through the shelter and at least two dozen cats are sneezing and coughing at the moment. They all have runny noses with
eye discharge and some of them even have a nasty herpes outbreak on their noses. They're feeling utterly miserable. Coka was the first to get sick, with conjunctivitis, purulent rhinitis and nasal ulcers probably caused by herpes, chlamydia or calici
virus. She had deteriorated terribly over just a few days but responded well to the antibiotics and supportive therapy and managed to recover completely. Then it was Kasper’s turn to get sick; once again, he was afflicted with diarrhea which has been his
reoccurring problem for more than a year now and although he’s husky and generally in good shape, he has loose stools every now and then.

It seems that literally almost all of the chronically ill cats are going through a crisis,
each of them in their own way. Maybe the virus is to blame, maybe it’s this hellishly hot weather, but not a day can pass without one or more new kitties beginning to show signs of some terrible sickness or discomfort.

Falsika, a distrustful and extremely
cautious Russian Blue mix that arrived to the shelter two years ago and has been uncatchable ever since, suddenly appeared with one fang tooth sticking out of her mouth in a totally unnatural position. When I somehow succeeded to get her into a cage
and take her to the vet, it turned out that she was in fact very old and all of her teeth were in a pretty rough shape. Her bad fang tooth had to be pulled under general anesthesia and all the other teeth were scaled and then polished following the scaling so that the
plaque has been removed and the tooth surfaces smoothened. It all went well and she’s doing fine now.

As if dealing with the adult cats’ health problems wasn’t enough, little Maggie and Kate (which I took in from the
neighborhood back in June), two baby sisters who have already been through a lot, contracted the virus a week ago. When they first came here, Maggie's eyes were completely blinded by a horrendous infection that she managed to overcome and now
both girls are sick again. This time, Kate was in much worse shape than Maggie, she had eye discharge, a runny nose, a high fever and was sneezing and breathing heavily. Maggie was feeling slightly better but both of them hardly ate anything and
consequently, they were losing weight at a rapid rate. After a course of antibiotics they began to mend and it seemed that their recovery would go smoothly but then little Maggie came down with an awful fungal infection and has been diagnosed with ringworm, on
top of everything else!

Maggie’s biggest problem right now isn't the ringworm, as it’s usually resolved in a couple of months with or without treatment, but the viral infection she’s been fighting for weeks now. Her immune system is
being seriously weakened by the virus; moreover, it’s possible that both her and Kate have some congenital defect as well. They were in poor health when they first arrived here, but not until they got sick a second time had I been told the truth that they were the
only survivors out of the whole litter. Their Mom gave birth to five kittens; one was stillborn, two kittens died promptly after birth and only Maggie and Kate pulled through. I can only wonder what was wrong with all of them and what kind of shape their Mom
was in, as she might’ve given all of these maladies to the babies herself. It’s possible that both Maggie and Kate have some underlying problem which is not easy to detect and then the questions arise if anything can be done to correct it.
Be as it may, these little girls obviously have their ups and downs and there’s nothing else I can do but to try and deal with their problems one day at a time. They are in quarantine now, isolated from the other kittens as ringworm is highly contagious and the
last thing I want is to spread the infection through the shelter. The other six kittens that arrived after Maggie and Kate seem to be doing fine, at least for now.

Kate looks as if she's on the mend now and Maggie has finally begun to eat, after a
few horrible days when she seemed to be giving up and when I thought there wasn't much hope left. Both kittens are now just fragile shadows of their former vibrant selves but as long as they are eating, they have a chance to recover completely. But if
things take a turn for the worse, and that has already happened once, I wonder if they will have the strength to fight. Although they’re under continuous treatment, their little bodies are exhausted and scarily thin; it seems that it’s just their pure will, strong desire to live
and loving hearts that help them hold on.

In the meantime, the vet bills keep piling up and up and up. Thanks to your tremendous support, we’ve been able to cover some of the expenses so far, but with so many sick cats, our debt is
getting bigger by the day. Will you please take a look at our fundraising page where we’re posting new photos and updates regularly and see for yourselves what we’re dealing with? Anything you might be able to give is making a world of difference to Felix
cats! We are grateful beyond words for all the precious help we get!