How Hemingway’s six-toed cats in Key West survived Irma unscathed

When Hurricane Irma did a direct hit on the Florida keys last weekend, it could have been very dangerous for the colony of 54 cats that live at the Hemingway House and Museum in Key West. Many of the cats have six toes and are reportedly descendants of Snowball, a six-toed white cat given to Hemingway by a ship’s captain in the 1930’s.

But as you know, cats are very smart. The Hemingway cats knew when it was time to take shelter in the museum, along with 10 people. All the cats and people made it through Irma unhurt.

You can find out more and see more pictures in the article at the Washington Post website – Hemingway’s six-toed cats survive Irma, still have nine lives

 

 

 
 
 
 

Cats and the Solar Eclipse

Here’s an article about cats and the upcoming solar eclipse from our resident feline expert (who is a feline) – Issac Newton.


Newton’s Purrspective – The Great American Solar Eclipse

In ancient times a solar eclipse was a frightening event often attributed to powerful animals. Ancient Chinese believed a dragon was swallowing the Sun. Medieval Vikings blamed wolves wandering in the sky for the loss of light. Potential consequences of an eclipse were always tragic: plague, blindness, and political upheaval, to name but a few. Change in the established order has always been feared. https://qz.com/1015987/solar-eclipse-myths-persist-despite-scientific-evidence-disproving-them/

On August 21st the United States will experience its first coast to coast total solar eclipse since 1918. Naturally, this rare event has generated a lot of excitement, though not of the ancient variety. People plan to travel to areas where the eclipse will be most spectacular (the path of totality, where the sun will be totally blocked by the moon) and are purchasing special glasses to protect their eyes while observing.




Isaac Newton

But what about animals? Should cats be wearing protective goggles? Will the eclipse alter their behavior? Will they be frightened? All of these are valid concerns so let’s look at what is going to happen on the 21st.

The total eclipse will be visible in a narrow band across the US. (Adjacent areas will witness a partial eclipse which can still be dramatic.) https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2017-august-21 It will last less than 3 minutes, but the skies will darken for approximately 90 minutes. Wildlife may be confused by the “short day”. For example, birds could start roosting, a natural behavior at dusk or when a storm is approaching.

The total eclipse will first be visible in Oregon near 10:15 am local time. It will end in South Carolina around 2:50 pm local time.

Despite centuries of living with humans cats have not lost the sleep patterns that are essential to survival. They sleep many hours to conserve energy and are most active at dawn and dusk when their natural prey is foraging for food. They also sleep lightly and wake up frequently (the origin of the term “cat nap”).

The middle of the day is prime naptime for cats. They may miss those rays of sun on the floor but it’s not likely to be cause for alarm. The biggest potential stressor is for outdoor cats disturbed by crowds of people and their dogs jostling for the best viewpoint.

Cats do pick up on the moods of their people. So if there is a lot of excitement and activity at your house during the eclipse Kitty might choose to hide. Cat Faeries mood music and flower essences can be helpful, not just during the eclipse, but in any stressful situation.

NOTE: Protective glasses for cats are not needed. Cats love to sleep in the sunlight, but they have no incentive to look directly at the Sun. In fact, when outside cats are focused on the environment around and below them — they rarely look up. Cats may be known for their curiosity, but I know I won’t be wondering where the Sun went. I’ll be napping!

 
 
 
 

A Reader’s Experience Working At A No-Kill Cat Shelter

Trisha has written for us before. She’s charming young lady who’s always got something to say. This time it’s about her experience as a volunteer at a no-kill cat shelter with some tips on how a volunteer can ease the load for employees so they can get more done.

As a former volunteer I’ll add a bit about how being a cat shelter volunteer has hidden perks for people. During my orientation at the San Francisco SPCA they said that many volunteers reported that their time there was better than therapy. I took that to mean: “Walk in depressed, walk out happy and at peace.” One high school aged girl who was trapped at her abusive parent’s house until she turned 18 said she could tell the cats all of her problems which became less of a burden because the cats listened. Others said that it gave them a mental health break from their own mind’s chatter. And dog walkers reported significant weight loss.


My Experience Working At A No-Kill Cat Shelter

By Trisha Miller

For the last 8 months I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering weekly at a no-kill cat shelter near me, called Simply Cats. Due to time constraints I’ve had to stop volunteering for the time being, but I enjoyed every second of it. If you have a few hours of your day to dedicate to a shelter in your area, I highly suggest that you do so. Even if on a small scale, I knew that I was making a difference in these cats’ lives. I was helping to provide them with a safe, clean home and did my best to provide them comfort. What’s more, I helped to relieve some of the full-time staff so they were able to attend to critical matters that demanded their attention. If you’re wondering if volunteering is right for you, I’d like to share my experience with you and hopefully help you form your own conclusion.

Why Volunteer?

I started volunteering at my local shelter simply because I’m a cat lover and I had a free day each week with nothing to do. Why not help out some cats and make the lives of the shelter employees a little bit easier. In addition, one of my two cats is a rescue cat, and sadly was not living at a no kill shelter. If I wouldn’t have chosen to take him home I’m afraid the worst possible imaginable scenario might have taken place. That being said, I have a soft spot in my heart for rescued animals.

If your local shelter is anything like mine, then you’ll agree that shelter employees have very little time to do so many tasks, and can really use the help. Running the shelter, greeting guests, accepting cats, and trying to organize events is more than enough to make an employee feel overwhelmed, I’m sure.

On top of all of that, my local shelter has about 20 individual rooms that house cats in each. These rooms need to be attended to twice per day. When you have, on average, two or more cats in each room, the room gets messy in a hurry. They need someone to clean up the mess and to just be with the cats and comfort them during their stay.

My Job Duties

My assignment at my particular no kill shelter was to clean the rooms of the cats. As I mentioned before, this needed to be done twice per day. So, I stepped in for an earlier shift on my off day, which only took up about 2 hours of my day. I would scoop litter, clean all surfaces, sweep and mop, and make sure the cats had fresh water. After I was done making sure their living area was sparkling clean, I was able to just enjoy my time with the kitties, play with them, and pet them (the best part!).

As volunteers we also had the opportunity to spread awareness about the shelter via social media and throughout the community. My shelter has regular events that we were encouraged to attend in order to help raise funds to keep the shelter open and get the cats all the necessities for maintaining a fulfilled and happy life while they are at the shelter.

What You Need to Know

A friend of mine recommended that I volunteer at the shelter because she is currently a volunteer as well. We discussed the possibility back and forth and among my many other delights, I was especially happy to volunteer for a no-kill shelter. However, even if you choose to volunteer at a no-kill shelter, you should prepare yourself for some things you might see or learn during your stay.

Some cats do come from hoarding or abuse situations. My local shelter has a veterinary staff on hand to help any kitties that need medical attention. You may come into contact with cats that have illnesses or impairments due to their neglect or abuse. So, you’ll want to mentally prepare for that before you walk in the door. As heartbreaking as it is to see, all of the cats that I encountered with illnesses or impairments were completely healed, thanks to the dutiful veterinary staff, and were as full of life as any other cat I came across in the shelter.

All in all it was an absolutely wonderful experience that I am sad has come to a temporary close. I plan on volunteering again as soon as my schedule opens up again and I suggest that you do the same if you are able. There is simply no experience like it. It is extremely gratifying, fulfilling, and rewarding!

Have you volunteered at a shelter? I’d love to hear about your experience 🙂
 
 
 
 

CATio of the Week – Anne’s

Recently we featured a story about cats and wildlife, and how building a CATio, an enclosed patio just for a cat, can allow your cat fresh air, sunshine, flowers, and their own little garden without hunting and killing birds or bothering other wildlife. A CATio would protect your cat from being harmed by owls, coyotes and other predators – like bad people. Everyone loved it!

Here’s another CATio to inspire your own creative outlook outlet for your cats! You’ve got all Winter to plan it, then have it built this Spring!


“You can see at the bottom of the picture an area of wood chips for their business, an enclosed shed with suitable shelving and cat beds, and a ramp from the top shelf in the shed up to a cat door thru the wall of our house into my laundry room. It has complete cat fencing, lots of shade and they can even go up on the roof of the shed for a Birdseye view of the surrounding woods. My two black-and-white cats are very happy there. ”

Anne, TX

 
 
 
 

Catio of the Week – Linda’s

Recently we featured a story about cats and wildlife, and how building a CATio, an enclosed patio just for a cat, can allow your cat fresh air, sunshine, flowers, and their own little garden without hunting and killing birds or bothering other wildlife. A CATio would protect your cat from being harmed by owls, coyotes and other predators – like bad people. Everyone loved it!

Here’s another CATio to inspire your own creative outlook outlet for your cats! You’ve got all Winter to plan it, then have it built this Spring!


“What a great idea to share different designs! I love my catio! I did it after I found my cats had wandered out to the road on a couple of occasions. It keeps them safe from all the things that can harm kitties and keeps all the things that kitties can harm safe as well! I basically framed in my back porch, added a couple of screen doors and a pet door that fits in the sash window. The cats can go in and out as they please and I no longer worry about them.”

Linda

 
 
 

CATio of the Week – Lilly’s

Recently we featured a story about cats and wildlife, and how building a CATio, an enclosed patio just for a cat, can allow your cat fresh air, sunshine, flowers, and their own little garden without hunting and killing birds or bothering other wildlife. A CATio would protect your cat from being harmed by owls, coyotes and other predators – like bad people. Everyone loved it!

Here’s another CATio to inspire your own creative outlook outlet for your cats! You’ve got all Winter to plan it, then have it built this Spring!

From Lilly…