Naomi & Karina Paape
Dear Fellow Felines:
Boy, did I get some great news after last month’s epic pantry raid! As I do every day, I was scrolling through our outgoing emails to make sure my staff of 80 was performing up to snuff. One in particular caught my eye and made my tastebuds somersault with joy: “Naomi is getting just a bit on the thin side so we have upped her food.” How many gals are told they need to GAIN weight? Or had their food ration doubled overnight?
My weight woes have been well documented. When I arrived at For the Love of Cats – on a bitterly cold January day in 2010 (seriously?) – I was a ten-month old, small framed, scrawny little girl who got her three squares a day by dumpster diving. Lots of us strays must resort to this tactic in order to survive on the street.
Poor little me; I came through the shelter doors weighing just under seven pounds. Within a year I was up to 14 pounds thanks to the round-the-clock availability of food. If there was nothing in my bowl, I just went and ate from the other shelter kitties’ bowls. I didn’t think I looked more like a football than a cat, but that’s what my staff started saying behind my back. I, however, was quite content, but nevertheless, I agreed to a more stringent diet. And boy, was it brutal. My weight on this silly starvation diet caused me to drop six pounds! After much attention-grabbing shenanigans on my part, our co-founder, Jim Rich, noticed that I was starting to look like one of those food-deprived ultra-runners.
So, at long last, they are feeding me what I’m worth (I take my salary in food as well as love): one whole can of yummy food per day, divided into two feedings. But no dry food for this gal; it makes me itchy, allergic, and stuck with bad hair every day. Even my staff (remember, dogs have owners, cats have staff) felt sorry for me. In fact, one of them started lobbying for me to geta raise when my contract came up for renegotiation last month. Then came that delightful and unexpected email from Jim and Jan (our other shelter founder); it really made my day. Even if I put on a few extra ounces I will still be able to continue my supervisory duties. For those of you who have not viewed my tour on our slick website, it is of paramount importance that I monitor my staff’s activities from very high up. I sit on top of the twelve-foot tall romper room, then jump back over to the top of our equally tall condo cages; I repeat the process as many times as it takes.
But I digress.
We have some of the newest newbies we’ve ever had. A good samaritan – where would we be without them – saw a momma cat giving birth by the side of the road. Said nice person scooped mom and her first kitten up and took them to the Animal Specialty Hospital (ASH) in Naples where three more kittens popped out. ASH, in turn, called us to the rescue and we were happy to oblige. Now mom – Tara, and her four beautiful kittens are thriving thanks to my staff’s tremendous love of cats. These babies will be four weeks old by the time you fine felines and your own staff read this, but you’ll never guess what their names are. Here’s a hint: think Gone With the Wind. The sole girl is, naturally, Scarlett, a striking gray tabby with a white muzzle. Her three brothers – Rhett, Ash, and Hamilton – are various shades of gray. I do have a clever staff, don’t I?
So, you ask – and I’m glad you did – exactly what happens when we bring in a new rescue? First thing off the bat is a visit to our laundry room spa: nail trim, shampoo, blow dry. Next is a nice, clean and cozy double-condo cage furnished with custom made bedding, fresh food and water, fun toys, and that all important litter box. Next a veterinarian conducts a medical assessment and a card of instructions – the shelter’s bible –is posted on the door and must be followed to a “T.” Said card bears crucial info like name, when and where rescued, diet, and the name, dose and frequency of any medication deemed necessary to bring them back to health. From that point on, volunteers care for their daily needs; we run three shifts, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. After these fine folks report for duty, they execute the duties of a hotel maid: sweep up loose litter, clean the litter box, change the food and water, re-arrange toys and bedding, and – the most important task of all – shower them with endless love.
And before I forget, I have to tell you how sweet girl Josephina is doing. She just had her $2,000 surgery in Tampa to repair the nerves of her left shoulder after they were seriously injured by an engine fan belt. I am proud to say the surgery was covered in full thanks to generous donors. You may recall that Josephina was born in the wild eight months ago and came to the shelter at a mere three-and-a-half weeks of age. After her medical evaluation it was decided that we were going to do everything we could to avoid amputation. So the poor thing endured seven months of splinting and re-splinting until she and her bones had grown enough to undergo leg-saving surgery. During the long interval she found a forever home, had a slight name change to Josie, and has three siblings to rough house with. I’d say she’s one lucky cat!
In wrapping up this month’s vital correspondence, I want to share with you what one “humble volunteer” said about me: “She (me) has the brains, she has the looks and she certainly has the attitude. Where would we find such a dedicated, always on-the-job shelter supervisor?” Now that’s music to your most esteemed Tortie’s ears!
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