By Naomi & Karina Paape
Dear Fellow Felines:
By now we are all suffering from the diet resolutions made by our people earlier this month. I don’t know about you, but I am starving! Compounding my suffering is the fact that my staff instructs all new arrivals to leave no morsel of food within my considerable striking distance. Being the clever girl I am, however, I recently stormed the condo of two gorgeous tortie kittens by leaping over a volunteer’s shoulder and into their feeding station. I was swiftly apprehended.
As “obligate carnivores” we felines require high protein, low carb diets. Consequently, I am on the “paleo” diet for cats. Did you know that the perfect meal for a cat is a nice, plump, high protein mouse? But since our humans are oddly adverse to supplying us with an ultra healthy mouse every day, canned food is the next best thing. I can just imagine, however, what you are thinking right about now: high protein diets cause kidney problems. This myth has been debunked by more recent research and vets now recognize that higher protein, higher moisture canned food plays a key role in maintaining good health. I ask you, have you ever seen an obese lion, a chubby cheetah, a fat tiger or even an overweight panther? I didn’t think so.
I myself came to the shelter as a scrawny, dumpster diving gal. So everyone indulged me until Jim and Jan noticed that I had turned into a chubby, 11 pound wonder. After agreeing to change my diet and get more exercise, I have trimmed down to the foxy gal I am today. Now I weigh in at just under 9 pounds. This falls within the ideal weight range for an average cat: 8 to 10 pounds. You Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest cats out there are lucky; your ideal weight tops out at 26 pounds.
Here are some interesting facts: 55 percent of cats are overweight; only 15 percent of cat owners perceive their cat to be of normal weight; and three of the “chubbiest cat cities” in the country are in Florida – Miami (7), Tampa (13), and Orlando (14). Since humans control our food intake, however, we are blameless. The real enemy is dry cat food which is high in carbohydrates and low on moisture content. In fact, Jan told me that a quarter cup of dry food is equivalent to a big mac with cheese and fries. Personally, I prefer the big mac.
Now onto shelter news. My 70 volunteers have been quite busy taking care of abandoned, dumped, neglected and surrendered kitties as well as one with a bullet in its leg. We currently are tending to several unusual cases. Among these is sweet, three month old Phoenix. Jan says he “is the worst mange kitten I have ever seen.” A victim of neglect, Phoenix was covered with thousands of fleas and his poor little body was covered with scabs. Moreover, he was terribly anemic and dehydrated. Under my loving supervision he is enjoying a rapid recovery and has won over our hearts.
Then there is momma cat Lucy and her two kittens. This once happy feline family was literally kicked to the curb. The owner pulled over to the side of the road, plucked the cats from the car, put them on the curb and sped away. Thanks to the diligent efforts of my staff, all three are thriving.
A cat we named Penny was left at the shelter door in a dirty, yellow cat carrier. The owner’s daughter had sneaked the cat out of her mother’s house so she could put mom in a nursing home. Poor miss kitty didn’t eat for days because she was so depressed about being dumped. Jan feels that such cats “blame themselves for their abandonment.”
We also took in four kittens who were abandoned near the Moose Club at Marco Lake. The mom and three of her four kittens have been adopted while the fourth continues to recover from an eye infection. She is a love who should have no problem finding a forever home.
The most shocking case by far is that of a two year old cat brought in with a gunshot wound that shattered her femur. She was living in a colony of ferals when the volunteer who feeds them noticed a problem with her leg. X-rays revealed the slug. Last Friday, a volunteer took her to Tampa for surgery to put her leg back together. Sadly, two other ferals from the same colony have vanished.
And finally, just the other day, we rounded up a group of five-week old feral kittens. These kids are so wild, in fact, that we call them the “hissy-spitty” kittens. But fear not, over the next few weeks my volunteers should be able to turn them into adorable little love sponges. Of course, it is up to me to show them such fine, feline arts as counter surfing and stalking the refrigerator.
Naomi is a 4 year old Tortie and a permanent resident at FLC. She is the shelter supervisor and takes her salary in food. She would love for you to learn more about For the Love of Cats at its website, www.floridacatrescue.com