Many shelters put holds on the adoptions of black cats during the month of October. I’ve explained why here on this blog before. I won’t go into detail again, but this is primarily to keep people from adopting a novelty “Halloween Cat” only to no longer want the cat after the holiday. The other reason is much more grim. Suffice it to say – there are people/groups who do terrible things to black cats around the Halloween holiday. And they're willing to pay an adoption fee to get a black cat.
Winnie’s Wish has only one black cat at this point in time. He has been on hold on Petfinder since October 1st. I did this for the shelter where my daughters work as well – putting their black cats on hold for the month of October. This weekend these black cats will be released from their holds and placed back into the world of “Please-Adopt-Me.”
So the one black cat at Winnie’s Wish will be the highlight kitty this weekend. Maybe someone will see him and start the process to adopt. Keep your fingers crossed.
Isaac is an absolutely gorgeous long-haired black cat. Judging by the way he walks through the cathouse, I believe he knows how gorgeous he is. I continue to learn things about Isaac. I have previously written about how Isaac initially bonded with the brothers Toast and Slate. Slate fell in love with him, and luckily, Isaac was fine with this. In fact, Isaac often grooms Slate. In terms of relationships with other cats, I have never seen Isaac hiss at or chase the other cathouse kitties. And I’ve actually seen him lick the occasional cat on the head (behind Slate’s back, of course). Isaac seems to be a cat who enjoys the company of other cats.
Slate following Isaac
Isaac lets me pet him and hold him. He seems to get overstimulated easily because after only a dozen strokes or so, he sometimes pushes my hand away. Then he just looks at me like – “OK, lady, enough.” It’s impossible to know if Isaac is just an independent type or if he needs to be in a home where he can develop a relationship with his own human. When I first step into the cathouse, he's always there with the group to greet me, big fluffy tail in the air. I do believe he should be in a home with other cats. He seems to enjoy their company.
Maybe somebody out there will see Isaac and know that this is the cat he or she can provide a home for. Isaac won’t need tons of attention and he is not the type who will require a long adjustment period. Friends, please spread the word. Isaac’s “hold” status has been lifted. Let’s find him a November home.
From Winnie’s Wish and daily dose and from my home to yours:
In the dictionary, sanctuary is a synonym for shelter. In common usage, however, we tend to think of a shelter as something temporary and a sanctuary as more enduring. Shelters for animals and for people are considered places to go in extreme circumstances – until things get better and living in the shelter is no longer necessary. When you hear of an animal sanctuary you think of lifelong placements. I want Winnie’s Wish to be both. For every single cat who ends up in the Winnie’s Wish cathouse, I wish the ultimate wish – for that cat to become adoptable AND BE ADOPTED. But for any cat who ends up here and for whatever reason might not ever be adoptable, I want the Winnie’s Wish cathouse to be a sanctuary.
When I have a cat living in the cathouse (or kennel cat room) who has issues that make him or her virtually unadoptable, I am completely OK with having that cat live here indefinitely. Sometimes this has to do with a physical problem. Sometimes the issue is psychological. Sometimes the problem is the feral start a cat has had in life (though many of these cats do eventually – over much time – become adoptable). The most important thing for me is whether or not a Winnie’s Wish cat is actually happy here. People who don’t know animals will make crazy statements about how you can’t know if a cat or a dog is actually happy. For those of us who have cats and/or dogs living with us as family, we know it is absolutely possible to know whether or not that animal is happy. This is true for me with my own pets and with my Winnie’s Wishers as well.
When I have a particular cat who might be considered unadoptable, I am completely ok with it IF that cat is happy here. At other times (MOST times) I have cats who are certainly living in better conditions than they’ve come from, but who want human attention so badly that I hurt every day for them. As one of twenty cats, they cannot get the human interaction they crave. THESE are the cats I need homes for. Unfortunately, I do not normally have “easy” cats. Mine come from backgrounds that make them into adults who need very patient, very loving homes. But homes they DO need! These are the ones who simply do not get enough human affection here. If given the time to adjust (which is sometimes quite a while), these are the cats who finally have what they truly want – a real home, their very own loving person (or people), a chance to finally live The Good Life.
I have some Winnie’s Wish cats who will continue to live here for as long as they remain the happy kitties they are now. Isis and Quinn both did time in the cathouse and simply did not adjust. I would have pushed hard to get them into homes (and thus out of the cathouse) except that they are still, to this day, terrified of everyone but me. AND – they love their lives. They live in the kennel office and Kitten Room. I shower them with attention when I am there. They act as greeters to the various cats and kittens who make a temporary stop in that area before moving on to the cathouse.
Goldie lives in those two rooms with Isis and Quinn. Goldie has had one of the toughest adjustments of any Winnie’s Wisher. I always blamed that on the fact that she was an adult feral cat when I took her in. But after months of working with her, I made a discovery. Goldie is deaf. After a year and a half, she is now a very happy cat living in the kennel office and Kitten Room along with Quinn and Isis. For many months now she has been my friend. She talks to me (a very strange voice which she cannot hear herself), reaches for me, and comes for petting. She still does not allow me to pick her up or corner her. But she purrs and stretches towards me and even plays with the toys in those rooms.
Duchess is the cat I fostered several years ago when she was very near death. When she finally recovered, she went back to the shelter. But she spent every day after that sitting high on a shelf in the same spot. And EVERY time I visited the shelter, she perked up and reached for me. She now lives happily in those two rooms with Isis, Quinn, and Goldie. Every day I prepare a special meal for her because of her chronic sinus problem (she can only manage a certain consistency). She absolutely loves me and I guess she always has. Maybe something in her remembered how hard I worked to save her.
For these four cats, Winnie’s Wish is a sanctuary. These are happy kitties right where they are.
Then there are the Winnie’s Wishers who have shelter, food, medical care, toys. They are living in comfort. But they are not as happy as I long for them to be. They only receive minimal human contact and each one of these kitties so desperately wants more. These are the kitties I must work hard to find wonderful homes for.
Tinkerbell and Peter Pan share one particular mannerism that is completely endearing and really sad at the same time. When I pet them, and I start to pull away, each one grabs my hand with their front paws and pulls it back. They don’t want me to leave. They want me to stay and pet them. Peter Pan hides quite a bit from the other cats. He is a smaller-than-average male and I think he feels intimidated. Tinkerbell nearly turns upside down when I approach her. She is always so excited when I head in her direction. She runs and jumps from surface to surface following me all the way to the front door when I leave. I look back in and she’s staring at me through the glass. For Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, I hope Winnie’s Wish is a temporary shelter.
Traci Mae is older and has done enough time in shelters. She purrs and purrs when I pet her. She spends the rest of her time just trying to stay out of the way of the other cats. For Traci Mae, I hope Winnie’s Wish is a temporary shelter.
Sallie is afraid of some of the other cats. She doesn’t like to be picked up and she is almost impossible to give medication to. But she is loving. She doesn’t start trouble with the other cats and she comes across as somewhat of a loner. For Sallie, I hope Winnie’s Wish is a temporary shelter.
Sienna, who started life in a feral colony and who took a full year to completely tame, now follows me all over the cathouse. She drops to her side right in front of me every time I stop to scoop a litter box or fill a food bowl. If I sit down anywhere in the cathouse, she jumps into my lap. She even runs outside onto the cat deck if she thinks she can get a glimpse of me from there. Because of her history, she will require a longer-than-normal adjustment period, but she definitely needs a home and human of her own. For Sienna, I hope Winnie’s Wish is a temporary shelter.
Finally, Sugar Cookie. Sugar Cookie is young and playful and a very loving cat. She has not yet been spayed so has not yet moved to the cathouse. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she could go to her forever home without ever living in the cathouse at all. Most of the time she sees me only once a day and seems thrilled when I enter the room. For Sugar Cookie, I hope Winnie’s Wish is a temporary shelter.
Friends – this is one of those posts I hope you will take the time to share. Surely there is a permanent home out there somewhere for one of these precious Winnie’s Wishers.
This is Halloween week. Hard to believe it is already the last week of October. My brain categorizes the Seasons in terms of what it means for Winnie’s Wish. It goes like this: January and February – Winter; March and April – Spring (and technically the beginning of Kitten Season); May – Vacation; June, July, August – Summer and My Kitten Season; September and October – Fall and still My Kitten Season; November and December – The Holidays. This last week of October kind of symbolizes the last of the rescues until it all starts over again next Kitten Season. Obviously, just because it is almost November does NOT mean I won’t have another cat or kitten cross my path. (I’m still putting out food at the edge of the West Woods and it is still disappearing each night.) But normally, in terms of new cats coming in, things slow down this time of year. It’s during the Holiday Season that I normally find myself scheduling spays and neuters for all of the newbies I’ve taken in over the Summer and Fall. It’s always about now that I look around and say – Wow, I REALLY need some homes.
Today, with the HOPE for HOMES always foremost, I want to post updates on the most recent adoptions of Winnie’s Wishers. A forever home for a Winnie’s Wish cat is the greatest thing that can happen here. Updates about the happy lives of the most recently adopted Wishers are so satisfying and uplifting. As you read about these lucky kitties don’t forget that it is BECAUSE these cats are in homes that I have been able to take in the newest Winnie’s Wishers. I hope you enjoy seeing these sweethearts happily living The Good Life. And I hope you will never stop trying to help me find more wonderful homes like these. It’s the only way I can keep doing this work.
2014 brought the adoptions of Truly & Shiloh (a bonded pair), Glitter & Cashmere (a bonded pair), Teddy, Circe, Autumn, and Kippie. Let me go back. In the Fall of 2012, my family and I spent weeks driving 90 minutes (round trip) to a remote location where three cats were living on their own. Those cats were Truly, Shiloh, and Autumn. Glitter, Cashmere, Circe, and Teddy had all been adopted to the same home and were returned to Winnie’s Wish when the adopters’ marriage broke up. Circe had been here forever (since 2008). Glitter and Cashmere since 2010. Teddy and Kippie had come to Winnie’s Wish in 2013. (Now please excuse me while I overuse the word “wonderful” in these next few lines – large smile.) What is amazing (and WONDERFUL) is this. Truly & Shiloh were finally adopted together into a wonderful home. Following that, two of the four who were returned – Glitter and Cashmere - went to their wonderful home together. That left Autumn from the remote area trio and Teddy and Circe from the returned group. But then Teddy was adopted into a wonderful home. That left only Circe from the returned group. Then lo and behold, the home that had taken Truly & Shiloh came back and adopted Autumn (which reunited that trio) and Circe (who was the last one from the returned group, and who had been a cathouse resident for SIX YEARS!). To top it all off, Kippie (who came with Teddy a year and a half ago) was finally adopted into her wonderful home.
Rescue work is not easy. It is incredibly expensive with long hours, hard work, and lots of worry. But the updates below make it 100% worth it.
As I said above, Truly & Shiloh were adopted together. Then Melissa came back and adopted Autumn & Circe. When Melissa sent these pictures, she said if her calculations are right, four of the eight most recently adopted are now hers. Yep. Her calculations are correct. Fantastic.
Shiloh & Truly
Circe & Autumn
All you have to do is go to Andrea's blog (Celestial Kitties) to read all about how Glitter and Cashmere are doing in their home (along with their biological brother, Leo, who was adopted by Andrea three years ago). These are some of my favorite pictures from her blog.
Cashmere & Glitter
The girls with brother Leo.
In a recent email full of great pictures, Chesney updated me about Teddy. We adore him. He is always right by one of our sides. We fight over his affections. He and Sylvie (the cat they already had) are good friends and continue their wild rounds of play all throughout the house each evening. I'm so happy that they enjoy each other's company. They call for each other when one of them is on a different floor. It's adorable.
I received this recent update from Shirley. Shirley says Kippie loves stuffed animals. She makes biscuits on them and then snuggles with them. In the first picture - She is cuddling with a TY beanie hamster. She is so sweet.
Hope these pictures warm your heart like they do mine. THIS is what it's all about!
Yes. I had caught something in my trap. It was mid-morning. There shouldn’t be ANYTHING showing up at that time of day. My expectation when I set the trap last Saturday morning was that I would have to battle through the spiders sometime late Saturday night to check for a possible catch – a raccoon or a possum. Now here it was the middle of the morning and as I hurried down to where it was set I could hear something crashing around inside the trap. I could not imagine what it was. I rounded the corner and stepped underneath the lean-to. I saw dark fur and, upon identification, I started talking in a soothing voice. But this animal was so wildly terrified that it was beating itself against the two ends of the trap trying to escape. I had to get this animal calmed down. I’d had this happen before – SO much fear in the trapped animal that we were looking at the possibility of injury. I didn’t have time to fully experience the massive surprise I was feeling.
I had my eater-of-the-food, my night creature . . . a cat! I WAS THRILLED.
On the walk to the kennel I was making sure this cat did not escape the trap. It would be virtually impossible for it to get out, but I wasn’t taking any chances. This was a cat!! This was why I kept feeling like there was another feline in that woods. And this was certainly an animal I would not have wanted to leave out there fending for itself, especially headed into Winter. My joy and satisfaction were overflowing.
When I got safely into the kennel “kitten room,” I set the trap in the middle of the floor. The cat crouched in the back corner of the trap. Now I could get a good look. The first thing I noticed was that this cat looked so much like Yardley it would be impossible for them to not be related. The second thing I noticed was that there was a tail. (Remember Kizzie and Bunny are bobtails.) And the third thing I noticed was that this kitty was exactly Yardley’s size. NOT the size of Kizzie and Bunny, but the size of Yardley. Hmmm.
I didn’t have my camera with me so I shot up to the house to get it. When I got back to the kennel, I found Yardley and Kizzie closely investigating the new arrival. Of course, this had to be family. Here was another cat who came out of the West Woods, just like Yardley, Kizzie, and Bunny did. As I snapped some pictures and observed yet another reunion, I marveled at the resemblance between Yardley and this new cat. Same coloring. Same beautiful eyes. Same SIZE.
In the pictures, Yardley looks bigger than the trapped cat, but the new one is the same length and height (she's just balled up looking small in the trap.)
I couldn’t touch this cat yet so there was no way to check gender. There was also no way to investigate for ticks. I opened the trap into a cage and this kitty shot in. I gave dry food and canned food and fresh water. I also briefly put Yardley into the cage to see if she and this cat would nuzzle each other like Yardley and Bunny had done. They were not antagonistic, but they also did not show much interest in each other. The amazing thing was their similarity.
Since Saturday I have been reaching into the cage several times a day, eventually actually touching this night-only visitor. I’ve been able to check out some things. One – we have a female. Two – ticks. Not the tiny deer ticks, but several of the larger dog ticks. I pulled those off and applied treatment. Three – Older Daughter came and looked at teeth to attempt to “age” this gal. ADULT. This was NOT a sibling to Kizzie and Bunny, but rather a sibling to Yardley.
Her name is Nisha (pronounced Nee–sha). It is a Hindi name meaning night.
Evidently, Nisha and Yardley are sisters. I still believe Yardley is mom to Kizzie and Bunny. Of course, it is almost impossible for this new kitty to not have had her own litter of kittens out in that woods. The most likely scenario is that both females had kittens, and Kizzie and Bunny are the only two survivors out of two litters. There’s only one problem with that theory.
I’ve continued to put food out every day. And every night it disappears . . .
On Saturday morning I put food out in the three locations along the edge of the West Woods. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, I had decided to set my trap. I knew the nocturnal creature who had been eating the food would not come to dine during the day. That meant I would have to check the trap sometime that night – in the dark. As I mentioned yesterday, the spiders this time of year are HUGE. They would be everywhere, millions of them (at least a dozen) in the very area I would need to traverse in order to check that trap. I decided to brave these October spider conditions. Sometime late Saturday night my flashlight and I would go directly into the Halloweenish spider nightmare to see who was fattening for the Winter on three feedings of cat food per night.
As I said, this was early on Saturday morning. About mid-morning, I was back at the house letting my dogs out for a “do-your-business” break. As I opened the side door (which faces west) I heard a squirrel losing its mind in the woods. Wow. This squirrel was SO loud and SO distressed that I decided something terrible was happening to it. I started towards the woods. This squirrel was screaming and chattering so that I didn’t know WHAT to expect. I broke into sort of a trot across my yard. When I hadn’t gotten even halfway between my house and the woods, I heard a noise I recognized immediately. Something was crashing around INSIDE the trap. I knew that sound well. Whatever I’d caught was NOT happy about it. And neither was the squirrel who was witnessing it.
Thoughts were flying around in my head: This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not once since I’d been putting food out had ANY of the food disappeared during the day. What were the chances that on the ONE day I’d decided to set the trap, this animal had made its way out of the woods for a DAYTIME FEAST?! I wondered what I was about to encounter. I knew I could safely release a raccoon or a possum. But for a split second, and admittedly for the first time, I thought about another possibility. What if I’d trapped a bobcat?!?! I went whipping around the corner of the shed, into the lean-to where I’d set the trap, eyes as wide as I could get them in an attempt to send the information to my brain as quickly as possible. And there it was . . .
I knew the chances of another sibling still being somewhere out in those West Woods was slim, but after trapping Bunny (the third of that family), I started leaving food in three different places along the line where our property meets the woods. Two of those spots are right at the woods line so there is nothing overhead to protect the food from weather. The third spot is under a lean-to on the back side of a shed – very near the woods. Nothing touched that food. I checked every morning. I took up the old and put out new every so many days. Then we had a week of rain. Each morning the food was untouched (and nothing but mush from the rain). Still I kept food out. On the last day of rain, with good weather predicted to move in the next day, I did the usual. I put the food out, knowing it would be turned to mush by the weather - and ruined. The next morning I went to replace the rained-on food from the day before. This day held the promise of good weather. I would dump the two dishes of mush food (from the two spots where the food is out in the weather), and check to see if the one dish under a roof needed to be dumped (several insects have been enjoying the cat food in all three locations). When I reached the first spot, I discovered the food was gone. I checked the second spot and the third. NO FOOD. Oh, boy. Now I had a raccoon or a possum. There had certainly been NO sighting of a cat. The food disappeared overnight. Yep. That would be raccoon or possum. I put out fresh food and checked on it during the daylight hours. Nothing touched it. More proof that I had lured one of the aforementioned wildlife creatures to my yard for a feast. Either of these critters would ONLY come at night.
The next morning, the food was gone. Darn it. I’d had ever-so-slight hopes that if a kitten sibling was still out there somewhere I would lure it to my yard with this food. Now I had a member of the wildlife community enjoying a nightly feast. At first, I didn’t replace the food. And then I couldn’t help but think about how whoever had dined in my yard the previous two nights would be back this third night for another meal. My mind took me all the way through the Winter. Maybe I should keep cat food out through the bad weather of the upcoming season so that this creature could continue to feast. I put the cat food in the three same spots. And the next morning, the food was gone again.
I didn’t mind the predicament I’d created for myself. If a raccoon or possum would like to munch on a little cat food each night during the upcoming cold months, I was fine with providing such. But I was disappointed that this was not the imagined West Woods feline sibling I’d worried about since taking in Bunny. After all, if it was a cat or kitten eating this food three nights in a row, I would have spotted him or her by now. Yardley, Kizzie, and Bunny were all elusive, but had all been sighted on multiple occasions during daylight hours.
On Friday morning I put the cat food out for my new raccoon or possum friend. Older Daughter, who does wildlife rescue, would approve. This was far from our house and none of our dogs were ever outside of fenced-in areas. The food was there all day. On Saturday morning, I checked the spots. Yep. All the food was gone. I stood staring into the woods. I still worried that another sibling could be out there. Why did I keep worrying about this? There were no more kittens – no more of Yardley’s offspring. I needed to let this feeling go. I guess it was a bit of a letdown. If one did still exist out there, it would be impossible to lure it in now. The food was being consumed by a nocturnal critter of some sort. My plan had been to lure in a possible lone kitten survivor with this food. Then if one DID show up, if I HAD a sighting, I would set the trap. I had to give up this crazy idea that there could be another kitten out there.
Of course, I would put food out (on Saturday) to replace what was eaten overnight. Even though the eater-of-the-food was nocturnal and only ate the food at night, I continued to put the food out during the day. This time of year, the spiders are HUGE. They have their ornate webs up in the corners of buildings and between fence posts. They also have them in and between trees. Uh huh. And the woods is full of trees. And it’s pitch black at the edge of those woods once the sun goes down. I put the food out during the day . . .
As I was walking to the first feeding spot I had a strange thought. I suddenly decided to set my trap there. I’d find out what was eating the food. It wouldn’t be a cat so maybe then I could stop ruminating about it. I would discover who the eater-of-the-food was and know who I was feeding this coming Winter. The one bad thing would be that I would have to go down sometime late that night – in the dark. (I couldn’t allow any animal to stay in a trap all night long.) I’d see who was dining here and then release it. The only problem would be those HUGE spiders . . .
Hey Friends. Here’s a quick Facebook report. My deep thanks to everyone who is sharing my posts – the blog posts and the various other things I am posting to my Daily Dose FB page. Because of the “Shares” on Traci Mae’s post, my FB page report tells me that the reach on that post was over 900 (yes, you read that right). Now it hasn’t gotten Traci Mae a home yet. But a few days ago, I told you that my FB posts usually have a reach of 30 to 60. So NINE HUNDRED!!! Wow, oh, wow. If the shares continue, it would be almost impossible to think it wouldn’t eventually translate into an adoption. Facebook Folks – PLEASE keep sharing Daily Dose posts. I can’t thank you enough!
On this blog, I share the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. I’ve shared with you when something is worrying me and you always rally around. My worry ever since taking in Yardley and her two offspring, Kizzie and Bunny, has been that there could be more of that litter somewhere. If you read along when I was trapping those three, you know that they all came from the West Woods. I can hardly stand the thought of one more kitten out there somewhere trying to survive all alone. I have said that it is unlikely for another kitten to have survived, especially after this long. It is possible for a mom cat who is not receiving proper nutrition to have several living kittens in a litter. All of whatever she is consuming goes to those developing kittens. Then all of whatever she is consuming goes to nursing them. It’s very possible that more than two were born alive and that she was able to keep them alive with mother’s milk. But I also know that the West Woods is home to lots of types of predators. Raccoons, large snakes, coyotes, bobcats, even hawks will prey on kittens (not to mention ticks!). Then there’s the starvation factor. Once mom stopped nursing, these babies would have been on their own trying to hunt to survive. Bunny showed up six weeks after Kizzie did. So I’ve been putting food out ever since.
Over the past couple of weeks, I find myself standing at the edge of the West Woods staring in, hoping there’s not another baby out there.
Traci Mae has certainly done enough time in a shelter. My heart breaks for her EVERY day. When I met Traci Mae she had already spent time at the shelter where my daughters work. She was so unhappy there that I brought her here so her life might be better while she waited for a home. She was considered virtually unadoptable at the shelter. In fact, you might remember that someone who went through looking at the cats there called Traci Mae “ugly.” In addition to being sad at the shelter, her eyes continuously ran. She’d been to the vet but her eyes continued to run. I wondered if maybe stress had something to do with it. I hoped moving Traci Mae from a small enclosure (where she was at the time in the shelter) to the roominess of the cathouse would make her happier and healthier. The decision was made to make Traci Mae a Winnie's Wisher. Her eyes did actually get better for a while. But now they run again – more days than not. She has received veterinary care for those eyes and they only clear up for short periods of time. I put her on Viralys for an extended period, but there was only mild improvement. I do still wonder if this condition is exacerbated by stress. I think Traci Mae feels stress on a daily basis. She spends a lot of her time trying to stay out of the way of the other cats. There are just too many cats in the cathouse for her to ever be completely relaxed. It’s also possible she has a food allergy – something that I can’t treat here.
Traci Mae comes across as a loner, but it might just be that she needs a more settled environment. What is so sad about her existence is that when I find where she’s curled up and I start petting her, she purrs and purrs and purrs. I SO wish she could have a home with a person who would shower her with attention. This gal needs a real home with a loving human. She is already six and a half years old. She needs to be chosen soon so she can start living The Good Life.
I wish we could get THIS post seen by 1,000 people. If you’re reading this on Facebook, won’t you please SHARE. YOU might be the person who makes the connection between senior kitty Traci Mae and her perfect forever home.