Naomi & Karina Paape
Dear Fellow Felines:
Whew! I’ve finally finished recording the Christmas cards I got in 2013. Can you believe there were close to seven dozen in all — one from each member of my staff of 80. And yes, I feel the love which is a good thing since Valentine’s Day is just around the bend.
This is a very special day for us felines. It allows us to more accurately gauge how much we are truly loved, both by our staffs (remember, dogs have owners; cats have staff) and our companion kitties.
And, brace yourselves for this one: the Greeting Card Association (yes, such an entity really exists) estimates that 190 million cards are sent in the U.S. each year! Truthfully, I expect at least 250 of these will be sent to your most-esteemed Tortie, yours truly.
I realize felines feel shortchanged compared to their staffs, who receive real flowers, mouth watering chocolates and heart-racing valentines. This year, I think we should lobby for the finest cat grass (in place of roses), the most delicious cat treats in the shape of hearts, and edible, catnip-flavored cards.
Why you ask? For starters, roses have thorns, and thorns are tough on our whiskers and teeth. Secondly, chocolate is poison to a cat. Besides, nice crunchy treats (no, the soft ones don’t count) are great for our teeth (which, in turn, is good for our kidneys). And the cards? Well, sillies, cats can’t read so we get high on the catnip in place of the lovingly-worded cards.
And, still my beating heart, lets talk about grooming since it is of paramount importance that you look your very best on V-day. Thus, you must convince your staff that daily brushing is mandatory, and should have been one of their New Year’s resolutions.
For you Persian’s and Maine coons, twice daily brushing is essential. Even then, your long hairs morph into mats. How should your person achieve this ideal outcome? I’m not sure, but I can tell you what NOT to do.
A tortie friend of mine — who I’ll call Patches for the sake of the story — developed quite a few mats on her left side since arthritis had caught up with her 15-year-old body. This made grooming that side very painful. Her person, feeling that she was doing a good thing, decided to cut the worst ones out, even though the vet told her she could be “combed out” by the vet tech.
Not wanting to subject her darling tortie to what could only have been torture, this human — against Patches’ wishes — retreived her cat shears and started cutting away. In examining her handiwork, tortie’s human discovered an open wound where there had once been a stubborn mat. Yes, she cut too close to the skin, and managed to remove both the mat and the top layerof skin.
After consulting with me about the best course of action (simply smear some antibiotic ointment on the cut), Patches was healed in one week. She now gets as much food as she wants thanks to the heavy burden of guilt being bourne by her clueless yet well-meaning human.
On the “home” front — remember, for Christmas I was finally granted a permanent spot in co-founders Jim and Jan Rich’s happy home — it took a while for the three resident cats to let me in, but I always get my way. I must admit, but you can’t tell him, I do have a crush on the Riches’ boy “Max.” And let me tell you, he is one handsome guy. He has a gorgeous black and white coat, and I am really hoping he gives me a Valentine’s Day card!
On the shelter front, the honors for first litter of the year go to Momma Lacey and her five kittens, born just two weeks into the new year (Jan. 16). This feat is the earliest litter clocked in the 11-year history of For the Love of Cats. Lacey was abandoned in an affluent Naples neighborhood, most probably because she got pregnant. Now who’s fault is that? Not hers! Her person simply chose not to have her spayed, and then kicked her to the curb.
But wait, there’s more. Since Lacey and her quintuplets were born just after a full moon, I gave them special names: Moonshine, Luna, Jericho (city of the moon), Blue and Apollo. Three of the five are females and have bobtails.
Another abandoned girl is “Lizzie,” a young tortoiseshell who keeps stealing my chair! But, as Jan points out, “She is gentle, affectionate and playful, and is looking for a home that needs her love.” The sooner she finds that home, the sooner I get my wicker armchair back. Just look at that picture! That has been my chair for five years. I considered it my throne although I never wore a crown.
But now that I have house privileges, I am kind of over the whole chair thing. You can’t supervise kittens and train other newbies properly while sitting down. I like to stay on top of these situations which is why you’ve seen pictures of me on top of the kitty condos and romper rooms.
Besides, I get to take over any furniture I feel like in the big house. In fact, I spend my days helping Jan with the shelter’s computer needs. I’m also responsible for supervising Jim’s periodic naps. As Jan likes to tell people, “Naomi is happy to be home and is always smiling.”
Namoi 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