Long time readers of our newsletter know that we have bunnies as well as our cats.
When we adopted Madeline, who became our Chief Feline Officer, she needed a name. The shelter had called her Spice but it didn’t suit her. So we opened up a contest to readers to name her. Her full name became Madeline Silver Belle. The winner received 4 cat toys.
Here are our new bunnies! They are very young brothers. They are what we bunny fans call “rubies” as they have white fur with ruby colored eyes. Currently they are named Marshmallow and Tiny. Tiny is the tiny one who weighs about two pounds. They will be the companions to Ralph, a 7 year old Dutch bunny. Yes, it’s a bromance!
Put on your creativity cap and send us some cute names! Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “New Bunnies Names.” As before, the winner will receive 4 cat toys!
Winter is a cold and potentially dangerous time of year for feral and homeless cats, whether or not a polar vortex is pushing arctic air into your neighborhood. Here’s some ways to help.
Alley Cat Allies is a national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of feral cats (www.alleycat.org). You may have seen their “I’m an alley cat ally” ads featuring Hollywood personalities including Portia De Rossi. Alley Cat Allies has posted a good article on how to help feral cats during the winter at www.alleycat.org/WinterWeather.
Another way to help is to contact one of your local feral cat organizations. Alley Cat Allies has a posted a contact form at www.alleycat.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=1452 so they can connect you with an organization in your area that is a member of their Feral Friends Network. They also have a National Cat Help Desk that you can contact via www.alleycat.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=1453.
You can also find local feral cat assistance groups by doing search via Google for “feral cat (insert your city or area).” Contact your local group and ask how you can help.
One of the best ways to help feral and homeless cats during the winter is to provide shelters to keep them warm and out of the weather. Here’s a great video on how to make a simple low cost shelter from a plastic tote box. It even includes a cute cat helper providing supervision.
Everyone loved the article we posted about the Boy Scout who built winterized boxes to house feral cats in his community. You liked it so much that we searched for blueprints for something similar you crafty folks could make your own. Here are some plans for a larger “Feral Cat Condo” from a Michigan animal rescue group – www.voiceless-mi.org/plans/
So get out there and help feral cats this winter. You may make some new friends – both human and feline.
What wonderful news! Let’s hope this plan inspires countries and cities all over the world to do the same. The life of a street cat is brutal. Depending on circumstances such as weather and climate, a street cat’s life expectancy is just a few years. And those are generally years of hunger and misery. And more kittens, thus more and more street cats. The cycle can easily be broken.
In honor of black cats and Loup Garou (http://www.loupgarourescue.org/) we gave Loup Garou 10% of our sales on Halloween. We’ll donate 10% of our sales Wednesday November 6th to Loup Garou and Tarnish the cat, an adorable and rambunctious black kitten they rescued!
He was found under the car of Jennifer Mieuli Jameson founder and director of Loup Garou. Tarnish was only 2 or 3 weeks old when Jennifer heard his cries from underneath her car. He was so tiny and crumpled that she thought she was seeing a piece of trash. But it was a kitten, near death from starvation.
Now 3 months later, Tarnish is 4 and a half pounds and growing steadily. We’ll post of pictures of him in next week’s newsletter.
And it gets better – for the entire month of November we will donate 1% of our total sales to Loup Garou. When you shop with us please take a moment to use the COMMENTS area to tell us what you like about black cats and share your stories and feelings!
We didn’t tell you this in the last newsletter, but Jennifer and her husband are being forced from their home due to an insane rent increase. The money we raise will help them find a new home and be able to continue this important work.
Guest editor Alison has another great story for you! It’s about why looking into your cat’s eyes, observing changes, and seeing the vet once a year is vital to your cat’s health and well being. We think you’ll enjoy this story and learn a few new things too.
CATS DON’T WEAR SUNGLASSES
I went to the local shelter looking for a black and white male kitten, but the only one there had already been chosen. There were SO many kittens in need of homes I couldn’t just leave. I sat on a chair inside the glassed in kitten room while all the furry bundles of energy ran and played around me. Soon a small black female climbed into my lap, grabbed the metal tab and unzipped my jacket. I could hear laughter from outside the enclosure and smiled. I knew I had been chosen. Tommy Lee Jones (Cat in Black) came home with me that day.
Many kittens leave shelters either recovering from, or incubating an upper respiratory infection (URI). Of course, I took Tommy to my vet right away for a checkup and she received a clean bill of health. However, I also kept her isolated from my other cats until I felt sure she wasn’t harboring a latent infection that could harm them.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) cats are less likely than dogs to have annual physical exams. In fact, overall veterinary visits for cats decreased 13.5% from 2006 to 2011, while visits for dogs increased 9.2% during the same time period. (https://www.avma.org/news/pressroom/pages/Dog-veterinary-care.aspx) Although there are many possible explanations for the decline, a likely reason is a cat’s natural ability to hide symptoms of ill health. In fact, we may not realize our cats are sick until a disease has progressed significantly. Although there is no substitute for a thorough veterinary exam we can help cats achieve longer healthier lives by becoming more observant as we interact with our feline companions. Even subtle changes could be significant.
- changes in food or water consumption
- weight gain or loss
- skin flakes, itchiness and/or hair loss
- changes in the eyes
Who can resist marveling over the beauty of a cat’s eyes? But how often do we look for subtle signs of disease in these windows to their souls?
Over the years I started noticing some brown flecks of color in the light green iris of Tommy’s left eye. At first I thought the change was my imagination. Had the flecks always been there? Then a small amount of ocular discharge appeared. She didn’t act as if the eye was painful or irritated, but a visit to the veterinary clinic was definitely in order. Fortunately it was nothing serious. The overall condition was diagnosed as iris melanosis. If the spots had been raised, rather than flat, she might have lost an eye to cancer. He suspected that part of her problem was a herpes virus (not contagious to humans) most likely acquired from an upper respiratory infection (URI) as a young kitten. Herpes virus can remain latent until stress or illness trigger the recurrence of clinical signs.
Tommy’s eyes are now examined regularly to be sure the pigmented areas do not become raised. She is also taking an amino acid supplement, L-lysine, to reduce the likelihood of herpes flare ups and potential corneal ulcers. However, I still can’t convince her to wear sunglasses.
Alison W. Certified Veterinary Technician, Reiki Master