A sunset and a contemplative cat, just lovely.
300 cats? YES! Crazy Cat Lady? NO! Meet 72 year old Siglinda Scarpa of North Carolina who runs Goathouse Refuge, a sanctuary for cats and other animals.
Here’s a wonderful article about her in the New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/garden/300-cats-and-counting.html?_r=1&
The article contains a slide show of 16 pictures.
THE SENIOR CAT
Written by: Alison W. Certified Veterinary Technician, Reiki Master
Zaichik the Magnificent came into my life while I was working in Moscow, Russia. I grew up in Connecticut but lived all over the US (personal choice – not military) before visiting a friend who was working in Moscow. I’m a country girl and never thought I’d live in a city (let alone one with a population of over 8 million!) – but I got a job working for US Agency for International Development. I managed environmental contracts and as part of my work travelled over the entire country. (That is a book in itself.) I will never forget seeing Siberian Tiger tracks in the Russian Far East.
Zaichik is a Japanese Bobtail and “Zaichik” [z-eye-chik] means “little rabbit” in Russian. “The Magnificent” part was his own idea. Valentina told me he was a very special kitten, and incidentally the grandson of the Japanese Ambassador’s cat. She insisted that I must have him! How could I resist?
Zaichik the Magnificent in my Moscow flat 1996
Veterinary clinics as we know them did not exist in Russia. Vets made “house calls” for everything, including surgery. Fortunately Zaichik was healthy and his only veterinary encounters were for vaccinations and neutering. I got him an international health certificate and passport and was thrilled when I could bring him to the US in 1997.
In the US cats are far less likely than dogs to have annual examinations. Indoor cats aren’t often exposed to contagious diseases, but they are not immune to other potentially life threatening conditions. This is particularly true as cats age.
Among the most common problems in older cats are:
– Kidney disease
When diagnosed in the early stages by your veterinarian these can all be treated. Prompt care will prolong and enhance the quality of your cat’s life. Symptoms to watch for include:
– Increased thirst (generally paired with increased urination)
– Weight loss
– Behavioral changes
Zaichik the Magnificent in NH 2006
Three years ago I noticed a marked increase in the amount of water Zaichik was consuming. He had also lost weight. My first thought was that he might be diabetic. However, blood tests revealed he was hyperthyroid.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated with a daily pill. Note – I did not use the adverb “easily” in the previous sentence. Does the thought of giving your cat a pill strike terror in your heart? The best medicine in the world is worthless if you can’t get your cat to take it. Fear not! Simply ask your vet to prescribe one of the new transdermal gels that are applied to the skin inside the ear – decreased anxiety for people and cats!
Zaichik’s advice for a long and happy life is “see your vet regularly and just say no to stress”. =^..^=
Zaichik the Magnificent in FL 2013
More from Cat Faeries regard hyperthyroid and medication:
1) When applying the transdermal gels you MUST wear either a vinyl glove or a finger cot because you will absorb the medication and this will affect your own thyroid. Gloves and finger cots can be bought at your local drug store.
2) Veterinary Pharmacy of America can take your cat’s prescription and turn it into a tasty treat. Most cats will gobble their medication in the form of a treat right up!
The treats come in these flavors: beef, chicken, liver, and venison.
We favor the venison because it’s gluten free which is something Cat Faeries feels is important. Wheat gluten causes many health problems and we feel cats and people should eliminate it to maintain health. When your venison flavored treats arrive they must be refrigerated right away.
VPA is located in Texas and can be reached by phone at 877-838-7979 or fax 877 329 7979.
Do you recall reading the wonderful story from our customer Judy about her cats Casper and Marshmellow ? If you missed it, read it here – http://www.catfaeries.com/blog/a-beautiful-story-of-two-beloved-cats-written-by-a-cat-faeries-customer/
Judy writes to us again about surviving the storm and opening up their home and hearts to two shelter cats. Here’s the story:
My Cat Faerie,
Our family is embarrassingly well through Superstorm Sandy. Many of my friends and neighbors didn’t. We’re pulling together as a community, helping in whatever ways we can. It is gratifying but can be quite depressing. Since Georgie Girl went home to her family when they came back from the Galapagos a week prior to the storm, we realized how empty our home was without kitties. The aftermath of Sandy only made it more dreary. So, we decided to go to our town animal shelter and see if they had anyone who wanted to join our (I am a firm believer that kitties choose us, not the other way around).
Right away, Simon (his name was Raffe at the time but we didn’t like it) picked my hubby. His paw reached out from between the bars, tapping Sam. Karen said that she was hoping that we’d find an orange kitty to join us. I told her not to go in there with prefromed ideas and to be open to everyone at the shelter…but there was Simon, a redhead reaching out to us as we walked in. He is about 3 years old (they think) and was there since April. He had a tag “SCC” on his cage. I didn’t ask what it meant. The animal shelter is a low-kill shelter and I know that places like this often use codes for the animals that are there regarding how much time they have left to get a family. When we expressed an interest in Simon, the staff told us that SCC meant he was due to go to Suffolk Community College on Monday. They have a veteranary program there and he would be used in the phlebotemy class, a life of having students practice extracting blood on him. I asked if we could have him instead. She asked a supervisor and said “OF COURSE!” and the only reason why he was being sent there was because his whole 6 months there, nobody even looked at him, let alone expressed that they wanted to take him home. This was a way of sparing his life. Sometimes the students take a liking to the kitties and wind up adopting them from there. He would have a much more stable and happy life with us.
Karen had her heart set on getting a kitten, too. I was ambivelent about that because kittens get adopted so much sooner than older cats. But, this was something she felt very strong about, raising a kitty from baby to senior citizen. Then I saw how many kittens were at the shelter waiting for forever homes and I felt better about a kitten joining us, too. None of the kittens are given the luxury of names. She was “9 w/o female b/w tiger.” She and Karen fell in love instantly and her name is now Pepper. Before we left the shelter, we placed Pepper in the cage with Simon to see how they got along. It wasn’t love at first sight, but they seemed to like one another.
Today is a week since Simon and Pepper joined our family. With the exception of one diarhea incident, Pepper has adapted vey well to her new home. She is a bouncy, curious little kitten. Pepper has in INCREDIBLE appetite and she is very attached to Karen so we are convinced that at least a part of Marshmellow’s soul in inside her. Simon is still a bit cautious. He has a favorite hiding spot in the living room and comes out with less and less coaxing. He even comes out on his own more and more. He is only letting me get a couple of brush strokes in at a time on him before he retreats and I am terrified to clip his nails (but i need to get to them very soon for his own safety) but I’m confident he’ll come around. I think he might have a piece of my precious Casper in him, too.
All Pepper wants to do is follow Simon around. She is literally up his butt at times. He is never angry or annoyed but I think he is a little spooked by her enthusiasm at times. I saw Simon cleaning Pepper a few times and Karen got a picture of both of them cuddling in Simon’s “safe place.” In the early morning and at night they chase eachother around and at times do this odd and adorable leap-frog type thing.
I am very bittersweet about these new additions. I love them. Simon and Pepper are family. But since they joined our home, my heart has been aching more than it has in recent times for Casper and Marshmellow. I pray to their souls that I hope they understand that they are not being replaced by these two. I know they do. I know that they are happy that just like we did for them, we saved these two kitties from life in the shelter (or worse) and gave them a good loving home. It just still hurts not having them around.
I’ll be placing an order with you for more Feliway spray and difuser refills soon. Casper and Marshmellow were declawed. Simon and Pepper are not. Clipping Casper and Marshmellow’s back claws were not an issue to clip because they were so mellow. Between having to contend with front claws now, Pepper being so naturally wiggly and Simon being so naturally frightened, I will need your recommendation on a good, safe set of clippers.
Thank you for always being a good friend and a great Cat Faerie. Talk to you soon.
(and Simon and Pepper…and Sam, and Karen, too)
Here’s a cute picture of two cats snuggling on Cat Heaven Island (Tashiro-jima island in Japan). And more pictures too!
(Tashiro-jima is the Japanese fishing island where cats roam free and there are more cats than people. (We’ve posted pictures and links to more pictures before – http://www.catfaeries.com/blog/wonderful-pictures-from-cat-heaven-island/ and http://www.catfaeries.com/blog/more-pictures-from-cat-heaven-island/). These pictures come from the blog of the blog of Fubirai, a photographer who has been documenting the cats of Tashiro-jima Island since 2007.)
Here are more wonderful photos of cats who live on Tashiro-jima island in Japan. It’s the Japanese fishing island where cats roam free and there are more cats than people. (We’ve posted pictures and links to more pictures before – http://www.catfaeries.com/blog/wonderful-pictures-from-cat-heaven-island/)
These pictures come from the blog of Fubirai, a photographer who has been documenting the cats of Tashiro-jima Island since 2007.