FOR THE LOVE OF CATS
Naomi & Karina Paape
Dear Fellow Felines:
If ever there was a season for tossing your feline cookies, Halloween is it! In fact, it is the busiest time of year for the Pet Poison Hotline (1-800-213-6680). Why is this, you ask?
Well, any one of us felines can decide to taste-test some halloween candy (my personal favorite is candy corn, but sugar causes pancreatitis), or swallow some of those stringy, obviously fake spider webs (choking hazard), or chew on, and accidentally swallow, some of those yummy and enticing candy wrappers (may cause a life threatening bowel obstruction). Personally, I am a well-mannered girl and would never do any of the above. It’s just not acceptable behavior for the shelter supervisor, a.k.a. me; a.k.a. top girl cat; a.k.a. your most esteemed Tortie (torties have distinctive coat coloring and are infamous for their “tortitude”).
When I got my MBA in kitty care and shelter supervising from Untamed U., I was taught to lead by example. Consequently, I promised the founders of For the Love of Cats – Jim and Jan Rich, and my staff of eighty volunteers (only dogs have owners, we felines have staffs) to keep my furry paws out of the cookie jar. We sealed the deal with the pretty pink princess outfit they got me at Disney World. In addition, I took an oath to resist any and all temptations to go off my diet. Can you believe my staff wants me to lose eight ounces by Christmas? You guys and gals know of my unceasing battle of the bulge. Of course, my slips of diet are my own fault since I coach all incoming abandoned and orphaned kitties to slip me bites and morsels of their food as payment for my services. I also require all girl cats who come through my program to insist on being spayed since this simple surgery reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Remember, this is breast cancer awareness month!
My rule-of-thumb for avoiding dangerous food is simple: steer clear of anything not clearly marked “cat food.” You know the old adage: what goes in must come out. And, as you well know, there are two points of exit: either diarrhea from the tail end, or vomiting from the head end. I can only handle what comes out of the head.
Vomiting is serious business because it can mean so many things, some of which may even entail a visit to the vet; and we all know what that means: a road trip in that frightful cat carrier your staff thinks is some kind of luxurious retreat that we hate leaving. There is, however, one universal cause of an upset tummy: the infamous and distasteful hairball. Have you ever wondered why these look like cigar butts, or small links of sausage? Let me save you some research: the hairball’s elongated shape is due to the narrow tube of the esophagus through which the hairball passes from the tummy to the mouth and lands on your person’s floor – which they hate.
Hairballs are a by-product of our incessant desire to look good. All that grooming means ingesting lots of fur which has nowhere to go but out. To minimize this miserable end, your staff may do one of four things: give you some cat grass or some of that anti-hairball gel (which many of us hate); or buy cat food that claims to minimize your hairy output because it is packed with fiber. Or, your staff could agree to brush you three times a day, every day of the year, every year of your life. I know firsthand of two very fuzzy felines who like nothing better than to be brushed nearly every waking moment: Frosty, a drop dead gorgeous white Persian boy; and Tanner, an orangey-tan Maine Coon cat who was once a feral cat living at Hideaway Beach. All this talk of hairballs compels me to ask: do lions, tigers, panthers, leopards, and lynxes suffer this indignity? I don’t think so. On the flip, fun side of the issue is that For the Love of Cats used to put on an annual fundraiser called the “Hair Ball.” Pretty clever folks, aren’t they!
As unfair as it is, we felines are not allowed to participate in Halloween, mainly because of those unhealthy treats the kids in our households collect. Thus, it is essential we monopolize the “trick” side of the day. I had planned to go undercover with that pretty pink princess outfit the Riches gave me, but then I came up with a “fur” superior plan: steal some sculpting gel to spike my hair, shampoo my hair with black dye, and put neon green eye drops into my orbs. The result: one freaky feline who blends in with the crowd.
Instead of enjoying a wild night on the town, however, I am relegated to lockdown, meaning that I’m shuffled into a spare room and left alone with only food and a litter box. They tell me this extreme measure is for my own good, and that I’ll thank them in the morning. Jan explained to me that, “Trick or treaters coming to the door, dressed in scary costumes, is traumatizing to almost all cats…they may even bolt out the door.”
And finally, after extensive discussions with my “kitty committee,” it is time to brag about the latest doings over here at For the Love of Cats. We rescued two darling, five-year old girls from Isle of Capri where they were abandoned and horribly infested with fleas. They need a “furever” home, if they haven’t already found one by the time you get around to reading this; their names are Samoa and Twila. And just the other day I welcomed two new mommy cats, along with their adorable kittens. I have personally assured them that they have come to the safest and most loving environment any two abandoned cats could hope for. Wearing my “welcome wagon” hat, acclimating newbies to our shelter is my favorite and most important duty here at For the Love of Cats. In addition to my normal salary of food, this month I received a Halloween bonus: Jim and Jan promised not to make me wear that pretty (ha! ha!) pink princess costume. They’re the best, aren’t they!
Love, nips, purrs, and kisses,
Naomi, your most esteemed Tortie
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