Petting shelter cats might be better than therapy!

Many years ago I decided it might be fun and rewarding to volunteer at a local shelter as a “cat socializer.” The job of a cat socializer is to spend time with a cat one-on-one. Sometimes the cats just sleep when you sit with them. Some of them try to hide. Sometimes your visit prompts them to groom or eat. Some cats want to be brushed, some don’t. Some cats love being petted and some need you to back off and let them come to you. Some of those cats don’t trust humans so this quiet and gentle time is vital and allows them to overcome fear, adapt to people, heal from emotional abuse, and become friendly towards people. I saw most of the cats come out of their shell and shine.

During our orientation the leader said that working with cats can be like therapy. She related a story of a lonely and mistreated teenage girl who reported that she could tell the cats all of her problems and worries. She could cry into their fur. They’d look her in the eye and give love right back to her. Eventually she felt that everything would be ok and she overcame her past. She was as much a therapist for the cats as they were for her.

Being a cat socializer was truly rewarding, and certainly more fun than therapy! Just stroking them, talking to them about nothing in particular, feeling protective of them, and watching them blossom was doing me as much good as I was doing for the cats. It was almost meditative and Zen like sitting on the floor while letting a cat take all the time needed to approach me. They’d slowly check me out, sniff at my shoes, purr at me, meow at me, rub against me, all those darling things that cats do. There were no rules about how much time I could spend with each cat and I loved that. The quiet time was priceless for me. I found that hanging out and being silent was very meditative and problem solving. I left floating on air, my troubles dissolved, and I was ready to face anything.

When you look for a shelter talk to other volunteers and ask if the shelter’s paid staff treat their volunteers like the pieces of gold that they are, or if they are treated like they are a dime a dozen. Sadly I found that many of the volunteers, myself included, seemed to threaten the status quo with our enthusiasm and new ideas. This shelter was highly political with much game playing, back stabbing, and broken promises. They had a total disregard for the volunteer’s enthusiasm and time.

But don’t let that stop you because great shelters are there, and they want and need you. Once you find the right one dive right in. The time and effort that you generously give will come back to you in the form of peace and courage, as well as a deep satisfaction. You’ll see cat after cat find a good home. I still remember the names and faces of my favorite shelter cats just as I remember some of the beautiful people who adopted them.

Pet cats. Feel good. Get perspective on your troubles and cares. Let the love inside of you flow to the lucky felines who get to have you in their presence. They’ll become your feline therapists.

 
 

What is a “Foster Failure?” Might you be such a failure? (hee hee!)

“Foster Failure” sure sounds like someone who fostered a cat and didn’t do a good job of it, doesn’t it! January 2016 is all about celebrating the shelter cats which our customers and friends have adopted – every day we post a photo and a story to Facebook. Early in the month we noticed that a few people called themselves a foster failure. We thought we’d heard everything, but not this so we had to ask! It’s not that they did a bad job, in fact, they did a great job! They just fell in love and kept the cat! What was to have been “temporary” housing and care turned into a forever home.

 
 

Sick Abandoned Kitten Becomes Big Handsome Fluff Ball!

See what happens to a kitten that was injured, abandoned and a mess… see what good food and love and care can do? The formerly skinny and sickly kitten is now a big fluff ball!

You can read more here…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3344557/Sick-scrawny-kitten-abandoned-road-rescued-Florida-family-remarkable-recovery-earns-online-fame.html

His Instagram page is here… https://www.instagram.com/sir_silas_kitty/

Silas was found by a Florida family by the side of the road. He was sick, starving and homeless. They nursed him back to health. Look at the handsome boy he became because of their love and care!

 
 

Gus the Trucking Cat

Dear Cat Faeries customers and friends,

Thanksgiving just past and we are now in what some call “the season of giving.” Winter is a great time to reflect upon who we are, where we are, what we’ve accomplished, and to celebrate our lives and the lives and stories of others. Let us give you the story of Gary, an 18 wheel trucker and his cat Gus. Their dear friend LaVonna is the feline/human matchmaker crucial to this story. This is what LaVonna has to tell us about highway adventures of Gus and Gary.


From LaVonna…

It all began when my own gray cat disappeared one Summer. She was gone for so long that I thought she was gone for good. Gary, my friend, a truck driver, accompanied me to the shelter several times looking for “Stormy” but we never found her there. On one of our trips we saw a Stormy-look-alike named Gustav. He was a young beautiful Russian Blue cat (and still is as you can see) so I decided to adopt Gus (also called Gus Gus) for my own to replace my beloved Stormy.

After a few weeks, guess who returned? Stormy! But it was not to be a feline match made in Heaven between she and Gus. The two of them collided and would not become friends. So, Gary, being the kind-hearted animal lover he is, decided to take Gus with him on his journeys in his 18-wheeler. Gus rides on the dashboard of the truck watching the scenery whiz by, and keeping a sharp feline eye on the road. I think he has been in most of the 48 states and Canada.

Gary contacted me just this Fall to tell me that last year Gus disappeared at a truck stop. Gary had to continue on his journey as he was “under a load”, but worried the entire time, sick at the thought that Gus could become a coyote’s dinner. But when Gary returned after a couple of weeks, other drivers told him they had seen a gray cat around. Gary searched for Gus and when he found dear Gus he was one very flea and tick infested feline. It didn’t matter! Gus Gus was back in his arms and on the dashboard once again. Gary also told me that Gus does NOT normally like to go to the groomers but I think this particular visit to the groomer was an exception!

Gary could talk your arm off telling you tales about Gus Gus and all the many adventures they have had together. Gary has had this trucking buddy now for over 12 years. Gus Gus has become a bit of a “Folk Hero” across the highways.


Cat Faeries is urging Gary and LaVonna to start a blog with the road trips of Gary and Gus Gus! If they do, you dear readers, will be the first to know! If you wish to encourage them you may write to us and we’ll forward your message. Send it to catfaeries@catfaeries.com and put Gary and Gus in the subject line. Happy Trails to all and wishes for a peaceful holiday season!

 
 
 
 

Do You Have a Healing Kitty in Your House?

by Alison W. – Certified Veterinary Technician

It was the final hot summer before the shelter in Florida closed. The adoption area was filled with adult cats and the unavailable kittens were in a separate building not open to the public. The one room building also housed the washers and dryers for the entire shelter. As you might imagine, the A/C couldn’t keep up. Two walls of cages were full. The remaining kittens lived in plastic carriers stacked on top of each other. Most of them just had numbers on their tags. They didn’t get names until they were moved to the adoption area. But one crate near the washers held a black and white kitten with a name – “Weety”. He was an owner surrender and had probably been named by a child in the family. Whenever I went to do laundry I looked for him and said “Hi Weety”.



Weety and me summer 2008

 

One day I went to check laundry and Weety was gone! There was only one possible reason. He was sick and had been transferred to the hospital area. The Green Room (named for the color of the walls) was even smaller than the holding area. Most kittens who were sent there had upper respiratory infections. They were treated with antibiotics and, if they survived, sent back to the holding area.

When I found him he was so dehydrated he didn’t have enough moisture in his body to sneeze. Luckily, the surgery/clinic area was closed that week. Normally sick animals were not allowed there. I gave him SQ fluids, canned food and a towel lined bed made from a plastic hospital basin. He was SO HAPPY to be in a clean, comfortable place. I’ve never seen a sick cat react with such intense affection. At the end of the week I took him home to finish antibiotics and make sure he didn’t have a relapse. Of course, by then I was totally in love so I formally adopted him.

Later that summer I had a respiratory infection myself. Whenever I was lying down Weety would sit on my chest and purr. (He still does this whenever I am sick.) I don’t think there is any more relaxing sound than a cat purr. But, it is a misconception that cats purr only when they are happy. They also purr when stressed (e.g. visiting the vet) and when they are sick. This is not surprising since the 26 Hertz range of a cat purr promotes tissue regeneration. It may even heal and strengthen bones.

Weety is very sensitive and always seems to know when I need some healing kitty energy. I like to think he is returning my earlier kindness to him.

He was my final rescue from Florida and has remained my designated Healing Kitty. He also does a great Cheshire Cat impression. =^..^=


A Remarkable Story About a Cat Victim of the Lake County Fire

You probably know that Cat Faeries is located in San Francisco and that currently in Northern California there are two major fires which are destroying thousands of acres of land, burning homes and businesses, and displacing or injuring many animals. These animals range from cats, dogs and other domestics, to horses, cattle, and wild animals. One of the two California fires is in Lake County which is about 2 hours north of us – Lake County is the poorest County in the state.

While we were looking into where we can donate items and money we heard a remarkable story from Sebastopol based photographer Heather Wakefield about a severely burnt cat who was rescued by firefighters. The cat was found in the driveway at 19554 Highway 175, in Middleton, and was taken to Wasson Memorial Hospital. When the cat first arrived it appeared that the cat might lose his eyes but with treatment and round the clock care he’s improving daily and he’s begun to purr and rub his chin for the techs and doctors.

You might wonder why one of the places we are donating to is a for-profit vet hospital. Wasson Memorial is a very unique. They will not let the extreme poverty level keep locals from getting their animal’s medical care. They don’t turn away people who can’t pay; they believe that it can be worked out somehow. Dr. Cannon and Dr. Holmes are deeply committed to their community and created a special fund for the animals at their local Animal Control. You can read about the fund here: http://www.wassonmemorialvetclinic.com/donationfunds.html

We are very impressed that Wasson Memorial is boarding cats who have lost their homes from the fire or who have been found wandering, and they are doing this free of charge. They know that the people in their community who had very little to begin with now have nothing, including their homes which could mean they will never be with their beloved animals again. We are donating to Wasson Memorial because we believe that compassion before cash deserves to be supported.

As of today the fire is only 15% contained. Over 65,000 acres have burnt in that one fire alone. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed leaving thousands of people and their animal homeless. The town of Middleton is completely gone, every structure burnt to the ground.

If you have any information about the owners of this cat call 707-263-5380.

At Cat Faeries we feel very blessed – we’ve got the best customers! And we believe in philanthropy. We are in the process of getting more supplies to help cats and other animals (and people too!) where they are needed most – this is why you shop with Cat Faeries: 1% of our sales go to rescue efforts. In time of disasters like the two fires we order and pay for various supplies to feed and care for cats and other animals.

We’ve hidden the photos of one burnt cat behind this link to the Wasson Memorial Facebook page so that our readers who are children or very sensitive adults won’t have to see them unless they choose too. The photos are dramatic, but the good news is that the cat is getting better every day.