Dear Fellow Felines:
Spring has pounced, we’re still in the paw-grip of kitten season, and sherpas packing fleas are pitching tents in our warm and radiant fur coats. Now let’s talk bikini season. Most felines, such as ourselves, eat way too many carbohydrates in the form of dry food. I don’t care how much your staff (as you may recall only dogs have owners; we felines have staff) pays for a bag of the good stuff, even if it’s $175 for an eight -pound bag. Cats don’t need to carbo-load like amateur athletes in pursuit of personal bests in triathlon, ultra-running, Marine Corps/Boston/New York City Marathon, Tough Mudder, and Ironman events.
Personally, I’m on a no-carb diet and eat nothing but canned food. Cats need lots of moisture in their daily diets and canned food packs gallons of the stuff. Every now and then I manage to steal a few chips from the pantry at Jim and Jan Rich’s house, the founders of For the Love of Cats. Nonetheless I still get the recommended thirty minutes of daily exercise by stalking the shelter floors, corners, and romper rooms in search of food crumbs left behind by no attention span kittens which don’t have to watch their waistlines.
Jan says I have “been a real lazy girl lately” and she’s right. There hasn’t been much to do because, for the first time in the shelter’s thirteen year history, all of our kittens have had mom cats to nurse them. This means my staff of 90 volunteers doesn’t have to worry about bottle feeding orphaned kittens every two hours or so, which in turn means that my supervisory skills are rarely called upon.
Since life at the shelter has been pretty stable of late, I’ve been freed up to pursue my love of reading. And yes, cats can read. If Dean Koontz can write a book in which a golden retriever can read and spell, then it makes sense that a super smart tortie like myself can read.
I started with “Home With Henry: A Memoir” (by Anne Kaier), the true-life story of how the author literally stopped traffic to rescue a stray cat she names Henry. The next book I read – in galley form (meaning it hasn’t been released to the public yet) – “Cat-Stronauts: Mission Moon”, follows the space adventures of an elite team of cat astronauts who venture into the depths of deep space. How much do you want to bet that this team is composed entirely of torties?
For you do-it-yourselfers out there, in June grab a copy of “The Tinkering Woodworker” (by Paula and Mike Cheung) in which can be found instructions on how to build a stylish pet abode that looks like a small camper. And finally, it soothes my soul to tell you that Dr. Seuss’s classic, “The Cat in the Hat”, has been selling roughly 18,000 copies a week of late!
Many of you have expressed concern in regard to “Rascal”, the 12-year-old, de-clawed house cat who was torn into by a bobcat, and saved by the family dog last month. We’ve finally removed the bandages from his mauled hind leg. The poor guy still has a deeply imbedded infection andwill probably need surgery, but at least his puncture wounds have healed nicely.
I have another traumatized kitty in residence, “Rimi”, a three-month old light gray tabby girl with beautiful green eyes. We rescued her from a “kill” shelter in the middle of the state via the Humane Society of Naples. I’m working with her so she will trust people again and get over some of her shyness. I’ve taught her how to purr, how to play, and how to sneak me bites of her yummy snacks.
I’m afraid my play book of tricks has grown boring. Over the years you, my dedicated readers, have learned in exquisite detail about my bold and daring stunts. I continue to play stealth kitty and catch-me-if-you can with my three feline housemates. When I get bored with that, I do some counter surfing, inspect the pantry, take inventory of the fridge, and take 12-foot flying leaps off a ledge above Jan and Jim’s bed so I can use their prone bodies as a trampoline.
Just when I had given up all hope, however, I discovered running water (something you humans discovered eons ago). But Jim and Jan simply refuse to buy me one of those terrific water fountains all you guys and gals got for Christmas. While you are enjoying unlimited access to water whenever the spirit moves you, I have been reduced to begging for the slightest stream of running water from any one of a dozen faucets where I can lure Jan or Jim. I ask you, is this fair?
Adding to this perplexing question is the fact that Jim and Jan are always telling your humans how important water is to our kidney health. They even encourage people to feed their darling felines mostly canned food because of its high moisture content. Many an elderly cat in kidney failure has had to have IV fluids administered severaltimes a week. Trust me, you don’t want to go there.
Continuing on the topic of running water, I knew a tortie who loved water so much that she would drag her ceramic water bowl 12-inches across the tiled kitchen floor, leaving a telltale trail of water in her wake. Said tortie also had to be asked to leave her perch atop a pile of towels in the shower so her staff could wash their heads. I knew of another cat which actually stood in the shower while his person showered. His nickname was “scuba cat.”
In fact, just the other week, while grocery shopping no less, one of my many admirers told me about his scuba cat “Sam”. This particular feline was so obsessed with water that he’d glide out to the lanai, sit next to the pool, and will his malleable, well-trained person to douse him with handfuls of water until his feline-self looked like he’d just stepped out of the pool.
The last complaint I’ll burden you with involves the shelter’s “Glamour Puss” photo contest, an annual event designed to gather photos for our annual calendar. All proceeds go toward rescuing homeless cats and kittens, and to helping low-income families keep their treasured felines. Sadly, however, there wasn’t a photo to be found of yours truly in this year’s edition. Not one. Not even of half an ear, or the shadow of a paw, or even the tip of my tail. I want to be the 2016 Glamour Puss cover girl. Only you, my dear and loyal readers, can make this happen. Take every opportunity to grab a screen shot of me on the shelter’s “kitty-cam.” You have until June 13 to soothe my seething soul.
Love, nips, and purrs!
Naomi is a 6-1/2-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.fortheloveofcatsfl.com