We have a dilemma at Winnie’s Wish. This story starts off with the much-improved health of some Wishers. So that is definitely GOOD news. But it is this very news that creates the dilemma. Let’s go back a few months.
You Friends might remember this past Winter there was a gigantic fundraiser here at Winnie’s Wish! The fundraiser was a success and Winnie’s Wish was able to expand this Spring when we built an addition to the cathouse. The goal all along was to increase space in the cathouse and to have this space be in the form of a third room (rather than just extending the size of one of the existing rooms) so that some bullying could be alleviated and some stressed kitties could live in peace. A separate room meant that cats could be separated into groups that got along well together.
The bullying had gotten so bad in the cathouse that I’d moved several of the victims to the cat rooms in my boarding kennel. These two rooms (my office and the “Kitten Room”) have been home to three Wishers who more-than-likely will always live here. They are very happy here. They are very unhappy anywhere else I’ve tried them. I’ve told their story before – Quinn and Isis are the patriarch and matriarch of this area – caring for the various kittens and stragglers that pass through. Goldie is a deaf feral cat who required a full two years of “leave-alone” to finally come around. No wonder she was terrified – growing up deaf and feral! She is very happy now living in her predictable world with Quinn and Isis. These three cats get a lot of attention because they live in two rooms, one of which is my business office. I’m in my business A LOT. I definitely think of these three as my “office cats.” Now these three do fine when kittens move in temporarily or a new Wisher needs to be in a cage for a bit while I nurse him or her back to health. But that’s not what was going on throughout a long trying period last year.
When the bullying started in the cathouse, I needed a spot to move the victims to. Sallie had been stressing no matter where she was. She stressed in the cathouse, but she stressed when she was in the kennel cat rooms, too. Then Peter Pan stopped eating and only hid. He is bonded with his sister Tinkerbell. These two moved to the kennel cat rooms. Then Smokey stopped eating and did nothing but hide. He moved into the kennel cat rooms as well. In the meantime, I took in a foster cat – Cato – who stayed in a cage for a while in the kennel cat rooms. But when he started coming out of his cage occasionally, he and Smokey bonded. So I didn’t want to separate them. That meant that for a long while (the entire time I was fundraising and building) the kennel cat rooms were home to Quinn, Isis, Goldie, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Sallie, Smokey, and Cato. That was too many cats for these two rooms. But I had no other options. It was completely wonderful when the new addition was complete. I immediately moved Sallie, Smokey, and Cato to the new room. I knew Smokey and Cato would do great together and I knew Sallie would not bully or be bullied by these two. That left the three permanent kitties in the kennel cat rooms plus Pan and Tink. Peter Pan had lost so much weight over the Winter that I wanted to keep him where he was in order to watch him closely. He and Tink are a bonded pair so I decided to see how it would work out to keep five cats in the kennel cat rooms.
You need to have this information as well. Over the Winter and Spring, Quinn lost weight and licked his fur out. The vet gave injections (which did not help much) and I did research. It really looked like it might be stress. Sallie had also licked most of her fur out (and injections seemed to have no effect). Also stress? And then there was Peter Pan with his weight loss. Stress? Well, since the addition has been complete, and the new living arrangements have been in place, the results have been amazing. Quinn has gained weight and all of his fur has grown back. Sallie is living in peace for the first time in a VERY long time and all of her fur has grown back, too. Smokey is living with only two other cats, both of whom he trusts, so he is very content at this time. Unfortunately, Peter Pan has not gained his weight back, but he is definitely a happier cat. He has completely re-established his relationship with me and seems healthy and happy even though he remains too thin.
So this is all great, right? Well, it WOULD be. Except changes are coming. There will be no changes for the kennel cats. Quinn, Isis, Goldie, Peter Pan, and Tinkerbell will continue to live their now stress-free, comfortable lives with no overcrowding and no bullying. The remaining Winnie’s Wish cats are all doing well in their respective groups in the cathouse. But that big new additional room will not be home to JUST Smokey, Sallie, and Cato forever. There are six new Wishers who will be moving into the cathouse in the weeks to come. And the only space for them to go into (and this was ALWAYS intended) is the new addition.
I am completely convinced that Sallie will go back to her previous nightmare of being unhappy and stressed just as soon as new cats move into her peaceful world. She is literally happy for the first time in a couple of years. It’s the first time she hasn’t spent every waking minute hiding or licking her fur out. Cato is in that room. He is not easily stressed, and he even seems to have a calming effect on Smokey and Sallie. Also Smokey and Sallie have become quite good friends now. But I already know that when Zen and Momma Monday and her three kittens and little Dora move into that room – Sallie, Smokey, and Cato’s world – Sallie and Smokey will be in trouble. I am hoping that possibly Smokey will adjust. But I know that Sallie will not. And I HATE to see either of these two really happy cats go downhill again. SO – that’s the dilemma. Tomorrow I’ll be doing a special adoption post about this group. If Sallie could be adopted into the right home, she could leave this cathouse world and FINALLY start living The Good Life. And if Smokey could be adopted with either Sallie or Cato, he would eventually adjust and get to live someplace where he will never be bullied again (he is SO easily bullied). I just know there MUST be someone out there somewhere who would adopt these cats for the sake of the cats. Initially, there would not be much reward in adopting Sallie and Smokey except knowing what a service was done FOR THEM. But eventually, maybe even months after adoption, I believe they would give back the love they so desperately need and could get in the right home.
Friends – if you would be so kind – please share tomorrow’s post. See you then.