Naomi & Karina Paape
Dear Fellow Felines
We have a lot of ground to cover this time around.
For starters, lets begin with you and your staff’s (again, I remind you that only dogs have owners; we felines have staff) resolutions for 2013: Did you meet said lofty goals? I didn’t think so. You just couldn’t lose those five to 10 pounds you hoped to drop could you, your diet having fallen to the wayside some time after Valentine’s Day?
I have to admit that I also failed to maintain my diet goal this year and gained half-a-pound. But there are mitigating circumstances. It’s tough to stick to a diet around here, what with the kittens always sneaking me food, just like I taught them. And some of my staff sneak me treats, which is really a no-no in founders’ Jim and Jan Riches‘ manual of shelter care. I did, however, manage to find homes for 142 cats and kittens this year and rescue a dozen or two felines who found themselves in dire straights for one reason or another. So those treats were kind of deserved.
While humans love to throw parties where they swill eggnog and spiked apple cider, we kitties love to play with the piles of wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons. The wrapping paper is the most fun because it makes all those crinkly sounds when you crawl around on it. I even hide in there so I can listen to everyone frantically look for me. Those skinny ribbons are especially tempting; I like to drag them around the tile floor to see how many amateur cats try to give chase. As they pounce on the ribbon I pounce on them. I am the clever one aren’t I? But ribbons and bows are a no-no since, in our enthusiasm, we may inadvertently swallow them and ultimately require emergency surgery. And trust me, you don’t want to go down that road. Another no-no is drinking water out of the tree stand as it may be laced with some kind of performance enhancing agent that could endanger our lives.
And finally, you humans must resist the temptation to give someone a kitty for Christmas! Adopting a kitty is a big decision and requires a lot of forethought. You can’t possibly know how the recipient will react, or even if you chose the right cat for their lifestyle.
Moreover, you don’t know if this human even has the staying power to raise and care for a cat which, on average, requires a commitment of 15 to 20 years. In addition, kittens are wild creatures who literally bounce off the walls in pursuit of adventure. This usually, involves knocking things off of tables and counters and climbing your wall or drapes.
Basically, you have to kitten-proof the house and remove everything from counters, tables, sideboards and ledges – kind of like what real estate agents ask your staff to do just before an open house. I don’t want to be processing Muffy or Fluffy into the shelter six months down the road because your family member or best friend or co-worker just can’t cut life with a cat. Or, as in just as many cases, the cuteness factor has worn off because Little Buffy no longer fits into the palm of your hand.
I have left the most important resolution for last because it is so important, yet challenging to put together. Do you have a “Plan for Your Feline’s Future?” What happens if you die or must go into an assisted living facility or hospice?
Jan feels strongly that everyone, particularly single people and the elderly, must have a plan for the future care of their darling kitties when that dreaded day of natural separation rolls around. Just because Muffy is the apple of your eye, and thelove of your life, doesn’t mean your kids, grandkids, siblings, or current and ex-spouses will take them in and give or find them a new fur-ever home. It is heartbreaking to learn that approximately 30 percent of surrendered and/or abandoned cats are the direct result of something happening to their person or persons. I know you don’t want your precious girl or darling boy to end up an orphan who must live out their days in a cage in a clinical and loveless setting.
If your fuzzy companions don’t like other cats, or have enjoyed life as an only cat, this is a cruel solution. There is lots of good information available online. I particularly like the one formulated by the Humane Society of the United States (www.humanesociety.org). I know Jan and Jim have a plan for my future care in the event of the unthinkable, but they won’t tell me what is is. Apparently, it’s on a need-to-know only basis.
Now, onto my Dear Kitty Santa Claws contest. I only received two letters, both of which are from former ferals I trapped as kittens in Hideaway and found fur-ever homes for a few years back. My pool of judges decided that the honest, sincere, and cuteness of these letters created a tie between Tanner (a gorgeous and huge Maine Coon cat) and Amanda (a petite, tri-color tiger). Conveniently, these two live in the same five-cat household. I ask you, what were the odds?
Tanner describes himself as a thug and alpha cat in training. He pushes his fellow felines into the pool, an act they seem to accept as par for the course. He figures they’re going to fall in anyway.
Amanda, on the other hand, describes herself as being a perfect, well-behaved cat who never does anything wrong. And the judges believed her! When called to come in off the lanai at night she actually complies. Around 8 PM every night she sits at attention next to her cat tree in expectation that treats are forthcoming. Her table manners are also above reproach, and she never steals food from her housemates. The only thing she says she still struggles with is letting her mommy pet her. Apparently, the only way she permits her person to do this is if said person has a wand toy in her left hand.
What do these kids want for Christmas? Thug Tanner wants a stuffed lion that he can attack whenever the urge strikes him without being told “no” and a new hair brush to indulge his never-ending quest to be brushed several times a day. So why, his staff wants to know, does he shed so much?
All perfect girl Amanda wants is a new Da Bird wand toy so her staff keeps up with their daily play sessions.
Things have been pretty uneventful here at For the Love of Cats. We recently took in two, one year olds who were returned to us after the owner decided they were just too much trouble, what with the litter box and hair balls. Their names are Sally and Franklin and they are so strongly bonded that they must go to the same fur-ever home. It made me sad when Jan told me, the shelter’s savvy supervisor, that this pair of siblings are currently very stressed to be back and “a bit depressed at being rejected through no fault of their own.”
And don’t forget, Dec. 31 is coming quickly so if you are so inclined, please feel free to throw a donation my way via our website, www.fortheloveofcatsfl.com.
Love, nips, purrs, and holiday kisses!
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 new website, www.fortheloveofcatsfl.com