This is the second edition of my new column, ‘Cat Chat’ and it contains news both from home and abroad. I do welcome your e-mails and letters, so please keep in touch. My contact details are at the bottom of this column.
I met lots of Our Cats readers at the Coventry & Leicester CC Show on 25 February and it was great to chat in person! I shall be writing a C&L show feature for 24 March issue of Our Cats – so please remember to book your ‘Winners Gallery Ads’ if you did well!
I am looking forward to going to the World Cat Congress on 11 March at the RCVS at North Mimms. It should be a very interesting day, with the very best of speakers taking part. If you are attending, please come and say hello!
First Imperial Tortie
Imperial Grand Champion Minotosa Rhea
Congratulations to Pat Tegg and her newly titled cat, Imperial Grand Champion Minotosa Rhea (bred by Ellis & Lillian Hall) on becoming the first chocolate tortie Burmese. Rhea was sired by Grand Champion Kymian Inigo Jones (27f) and Admewbu Serafina (27e) is her Mum.
The all important fifth certificate was awarded at Bristol CC show, 18 February 2006.
Paws to consider
The following extract comes from an American animal rescue. However, it could have been written by any rescue centre in the UK…
APPLE THE cat likes comfortable laps, chin scratches and the company of other kitties. She is friendly and affectionate to visitors at our Tri-Valley facility and always polite. But Apple isn’t fluffy. She doesn’t have unusual colouring, or an extra-long tail. She’s not a kitten and she has all her limbs. In fact, as a brown tabby, you might not notice her in a room full of exotic orange cats, or fluffy grey ones flecked with peach tones.
Apple turns three-years-old next month. But an even more important milestone happens on Monday. She will have been a resident of our shelter for one year. She is what we call a long-termer, having spent one-third of her life with us. There is no obvious reason for her long stay: She behaves like a well-behaved cat should and has proper litter box habits. She gets along well with each new roommate, who inevitably proves to be cuter and more easily adopted. She’s the ultimate “straight man,” making everyone around her look good. But she suffers from an affliction that reveals a painful flaw in the shelter world: Plain pets don’t get adopted very quickly.
If the pet doesn’t stand out, adopters’ eyes scan past them until they hit the pet that looks different. That means the black and brown pets get less attention. Adult pets get overlooked. Extra large dogs draw interest because they are so odd, but regular big dogs get passed by in favour of that scarce, small fluffy dog everyone seems to be looking for.
Anyone who works in the shelter system realizes that keeping a selection of animals available for adoption can seem a lot like stocking a retail store. Our priority is to take in those pets that need us the most, while trying to keep a selection that ensures everyone looks unique enough to be easily adopted. This ensures that we continually have space for new pets, and help a greater number of animals. But sometimes we find that we have an overabundance of one type or colour of dog or cat. Then none of them seems to get adopted as quickly as if we had just one or two.
Stormy is one of the black cats in our Oakland facility (see photo above). A dominant colour in the cat world, black cats are terribly common. They take the longest to be adopted, surely a fact painful to hear for anybody who has a favourite black kitty at home. If we have only one black cat available for adoption, that cat will get snatched right up. But if we have four, they can languish in the shelter for months.
Two-year-old Stormy has been with us for almost half her life. We are hoping her new home is around the corner, but anyone looking for a nice black cat will first have to rule out Minnie, Mamma Mooshface, Angelo, Lorenzo, Snootie and Ed, our other black cats. Some of them are long-term residents, too.
It’s nobody’s fault. Human nature is what it is, and we don’t begrudge anyone looking for a special pet, even one that might be special for its looks. In fact, we hope you look and look until one unique pet reaches out a paw and touches your heart in a way none other has. Everyone deserves a pet like that.
But shelter staff everywhere, reserve a special place in their hearts for the thoughtful adopter who looks past a flashy coat or popular pedigree to adopt the plain pet: the long-term resident, the black cat, the brown dog. We’ve been known to give parties, complete with going-home presents and tears, when one of our long-term pets finally finds a match. The shelter-wide e-mails usually start off with “Woo-hoo!!!” in the subject line, and we know its good news.
So we just have to wait, and take excellent care of them while they are here. We remind them daily what it means to be loved and cared for. We promise that someday someone else will take them home to provide them the same love and care we do. They always go home, even if it takes a year or more.
Apple doesn’t seem to mind her wait. It is almost like she knows that her perfect person is around the corner. Until then, she is happy to bask in the attention given her by staff, volunteers and visitors. Happy anniversary, Apple. May this be your last one here.
Paws to Consider was written by the staff at the Oakland SPCA, a facility of the East Bay SPCA in America. For more information visit http://www.eastbayspca.org/blog
Rescue in Australia
Jools Becket with her grandson Jye Clarke,
is nursing a family of kittens back to health.
A cardboard box was left, closed, on the edge of Broulee’s boat ramp waiting for the tide to wash it away. Inside was a young starving and injured cat and six tiny kittens. Fortunately for the feline family, a young Tomakin fisherman heard scratching coming from the box and took them home, then contacted the RSPCA.
RSPCA carer Jools Becket has taken the family in and is nursing the mother back to health. The cat, only several months old herself, was severely emaciated and dehydrated from feeding the kittens and had what looked like a pellet gun wound on her hip. Mrs Becket said such acts were an unnecessary evil. I just don’t know what goes through these people’s heads. There’s no need for this neglect, people can surrender their animals to the RSPCA if they don’t want them.”
Fortunately, mum and babies are doing well after being wormed and treated for fleas and injuries, and are now looking for homes. One of the kittens has already found a new life with the fisherman who found them on that fateful day.
Ocicat makes history!
Nicola Eaton & Eiffon Parry were celebrating at the recent Scottish CC Show because their lovely boy, Vervain Onthespot (aka ‘Bobby’, bred by Naomi Johnson) became the first Grand Premier Ocicat. A great day for Bobby’s owners and breeder!
Statistics tell the story
Caroline Dorsett Executive director Animal Shelter and Adoption Centre of Galveston Island, USA, recently appealed for people to take responsibility for the ever growing problem of unwanted pets. Caroline says “Every day 10,000 humans are born in the United States. Each day, 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. With just these two statistics, you can see why there are not enough homes for these pets. An unspayed female cat and her mate and all of their offspring, left unaltered and producing two litters per year, with 2.8 surviving kittens per litter, can total 11,801 in five years, 370,092 in seven years and 11,606,077 in nine years. With statistics like these, it’s easy to see why the pets need our help.” The good news is that the Animal Shelter and Adoption Centre of Galveston are sponsoring a “Fix ‘Em for $5 program”.
Port Richey, Florida – Cats in this Port Richey neighbourhood may look relaxed, but their owners are a bit on edge. After all, look what happened to the Johnson family’s pet…One Sunday morning, Heather Johnson discovered their family’s cat, Midnight bloodied and hurting. A two-foot-long arrow pierced her body.
Fortunately, their vets operated and not only is Midnight doing well, but an anonymous donor is going to pay their thousand-dollar-plus bill, which will allow them to take Midnight home.
Heather’s husband, John, has plastered his neighbourhood with reward fliers in hopes that the person responsible will be caught. However, the Pasco County Sheriff’s office says so far, they have no suspects in the case.
Disease forces renovation
Oceanside’s Australia Humane Society is currently in the process of renovating their cat enclosures, after disease decimated the cat population at the North County Humane Society for the second year in a row last summer. The shelter was hit by Panleukopenia (Feline Enteritis) and work on renovation includes a new high-tech ventilation system should help minimize chances of another lethal outbreak of this terrible disease.
Over the last two summers, the disease affected nine out of ten cats, killing “hundreds of cats” in the facility’s cat adoption centre and isolation centre. The buildings have now been redesigned to minimize cat-to-cat contact and cat-to-human-to-cat contact, and to filter and refresh air in the buildings several times per hour. The new facilities will accommodate about 100 cats. The plans include 60 cat houses in a viewing area, two isolation rooms for sick cats, a maternity ward for mothers and kittens, a community cat play room and soundproof walls to insulate the cats from the sounds of barking dogs elsewhere in the facility.
Redesign of the cages, holding areas and viewing areas will give the cats more room and help minimize casual contact between visitors and cats. Cage fronts will be lined with ‘plexi-glass’ through which visitors can see but not touch the felines. An adjacent visiting room will provide a place to get acquainted with individual cats.
The project was originally estimated at $200,000 and fundraising had been going for about five years and had netted about $100,000, enough to get the project started.
For more information, see www.nchumane.org
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