Friday, December 23, 2011

Sooper Hyooge Mega Update

So much to report... Travel, Kitty-Hand-off, and Settling in Update...

Travel
On Monday, I picked up Red from the boarding place and brought him to Beatrice's house, where Scoots (now 'Scuse) had been recuperating since his neutering. There was some hissing on 'Scuse's part, presumably because Red smelled like vet and because Red, who he hadn't seen in 2 weeks, was invading his space. (What if he eats all mah gooshy fud??) But there was nothing worse than that.

I left the room to get them some food and when I came back, Red was drooling. I started to panic-- what happened? Was he okay? Had he gotten terribly sick!? But then I discovered, beside him, a now drenched catnip toy that I had made. So, no, not sick, just really really high.

The next morning, a kind friend gave me a ride over Beatrice's house. I put harnesses on the kitties, which had the result of making 'Scuse walk backwards into Red-- who didn't care. I put them into their soft sided carriers, of which they didn't approve, and got a taxi ride to the airport, the boys meowing the entire way.  This didn't bode real well.

At the airport, there was no way to play down the fact that I had two cats. One cat in a soft-sided carrier? No problem- it looks like a duffel bag. Two? And both meowing? That's a lot harder.

Fortunately, I got all checked in with both of my tickets. (Yes, you can only fly with one pet per ticket. The boys' new human bought me a second plane ticket.) Then it was time for security.

Anyone who has flown post-9/11 knows that security has become somewhat difficult. Shoes, jacket, laptop and liquids all must come out of your bag.  I had a bookbag (with laptop) to disassemble before sending through the x-ray machine, and of course two cat carriers to go through the machine, and then 2 cats to walk through the metal detector. I started to ask a (n incredibly UNhelpful) TSA security officer for advice, but when he shot me down, the young woman in front of me offered to help by taking one of the cats through the metal detector. Grateful, I accepted.

I gave her 'Scuse as he is generally pretty accepting of new people. By the time I'd gotten my stuff ready to go through the xray machine and gotten a very scared Red out of his carrier, the kind stranger and 'Scuse had disappeared. Red started to do his best to get away from me, tearing my shirt in the process, as well as yanking it down to bare my (thankfully same-color-as-my-shirt) bra. Thanks, cat!

I stepped through the metal detector-- having been waved away frm the scary cancer-giving machine (which is doubly good because a) I don't think I could have put my arms up while holding Red and b) I always opt for the pat down instead of those things anyway, which would have led to more time for Red being scared and out of his carrier.)

On the other side of the metal detector, the kind stranger stood calmly, with 'Scuse wrapped around her leg, his eyes enormous and staring up at me. He looked like a little bear who had climbed a tree. The kind stranger just smiled and said, "I think your cat is scared."  I was so very torn between laughing hysterically-- it was really the funniest image ever-- and apologizing profusely to this stranger who now had 'Scuse's claws digging into her knee. She was calm and shrugged it all off.  She stuck around long enough for me to get both cats back into their carriers, then disappeared.

THANK YOU, KIND STRANGER!

I recuperated from the ordeal by getting breakfast. The cats meowed in their carriers. Then at the gate, I spoke with the agents there because my seats weren't together. I was so not going to let one of the cats travel alone!! This led to a very nice chat with the gate agents who switched my seat for me. Unfortunately, no one told the person with whom I was switched, so an attendant on the plane had to ask her to move when I got on.

As I said above, traveling with two cats, particularly meowing ones, is conspicuous. It's triply so when getting on the plane. Because the aisles are narrow, I had to carry both duffle-shaped bags in front of me. This meant one cat was eye level with already-seated passengers. I was asked and therefore had to explain to the first twenty rows or so just what was going on. (And throughout the flight, when the cats got particularly loud, I'd get knowing smiles from nearby passengers.)

The whole trip, it was really interesting to watch people's opinions of me slide across their faces, as they went from thinking I was just someone odd who traveled with her unhappy cats to someone who was taking abused and abandoned animals to a home where they would be safe and loved.

Unfortunately, the whole thing got exponentially more difficult as the plane's engines revved and we began take-off  Taxiing was fine, but as soon as we hit the runway, Red freaked out in the biggest way possible.  He cried and meowed and warbled and scratched and scratched and scratched as his carrier. I put him on my lap, but that didn't help. I put my hand inside the carrier to pet him, but he just tried to escape. He wore several small holes and one large one through the mesh of the carrier, big enough to put his nose or his entire arm/paw through. Once I discovered that, I kept one hand at that hole the whole time, so that I could discourage scratching there. The very last thing I needed was a freaked out Red getting loose on the plane.

One possibility was that the pressurizing of the cabin hurt Red's damaged eye. I don't know when the cabin pressurizes, precisely. Another theory was that when the main engine's came online, the vibration upset him. Either way, he was a mess for pretty much all of the flight. Even when he was relatively still, he was panting hard. Poor baby. and he calmed down as soon as we touched down.

After the flight, a few people wished me and the cats well, which was sweet, and one guy actually struck up a conversation about them as we walked to the concourse.

My parents picked me up,but we still had a long drive to get home. 'Scuse was pretty quiet for most of it, and Red made himself known at weirdly appropriate times in my conversation with my parents.

We got home late and I made them comfortable in my childhood room/bathroom. They ate their gooshy food hungrily and cautiously explored a bit.

Kitty Hand-off
The next morning, I spent a lot of time hanging out with them. I had some fantastic cuddle time with Red as he just purrrrrrred and sprawled across my stomach. 'Scuse isn't entirely pleased when someone other than himself gets attention, but for a good long while, he lay beside me as Red was in my lap, and we just hung out. It was lovely. Less lovely was discovering that in his struggles on the plane the night before, Red had torn out one of his claws.  Poor baby!! As long as it doesn't get infected, it should be okay. It was obviously bothering him a little-- he kept licking it-- but it wasn't making him limp or anything, so that's a good sign.

Then, equally lovely, their new human, Tam, arrived after a 3+ hour car ride. She came up to meet the boys and they were quite friendly. Red was on my bed and was happy to accept love and pets. 'Scuse came out from under the bed fairly quickly and put himself in my lap. He accepted being put into Tam's lap for a bit, then went back to me.

The cats were a lot less sanguine when we brought carriers into the room-- they hid under the bed and even after leaving them alone for a while, we still had to pull them out when it was time to go. Immediately the crying began again from both boys and it accompanied Tam on her 3+ hour drive back home.

Settling in/Updates
Tam has set one room of her house aside for these two boys, in order to keep them apart from her other cats as they get healthy and comfortable. It is a kitty-cat paradise in there-- with shelves for climbing and perches, covered spots for hiding, and so many pillows.  They're also getting all the gooshy food they could want. The boys are on their way to being the spoiled kitties that they should be.

'Scuse is showing some brattiness, as he was doing at my house, too, in that he wants ALL THE ATTENTION. But he's lovable and sweet, so it's awfully hard to be mad at him. Red is backing down rather easily, so Tam suspects he's feeling insecure about his blind-side.

They went to the vet on Thursday, for a proper check up. (Everything that had been done in AZ was triage-- get the eye problem under control/neuter/test/vaccinate.  This was a real exam.) Other than known problems (ie Red's eye) and normal outdoor-cat problems (ie: worms), they got a clean bill of health!! HUZZAH! 'Scuse needs to gain about a pound-- he's just a small cat, evidently. 'Scuse also needs to be shaved, tee hee.  Turns out the mats he has are pretty much his undercoat being dirty, and it's not really fixable without shaving. (Grooming wasn't very helpful.) This will wait until it's warmer, however. (And then I SO want to see pictures of naked 'Scuse...)

Because of an opening in the vet's surgical schedule, Red's surgery is going to be on Tuesday. He will be neutered at the same time as his eye is removed, to save on multiple anesthesias  (as it's never entirely without risk, as you know.) Please keep him in your thoughts for this.

Thanks to the INCREDIBLE generosity of readers of this blog, I was able to send $400 to Tam yesterday. And if Bea's accounting is correct, another $300 will be on its way. (And that's *after* paying for the emergency vet and the ophthalmologist visits). If you wish to help this poor little kitty, you can still donate (and if you would prefer to send money directly to Tam via paypal, get in touch with me and I'll tell you how.)





Thank you thank you thank you thank you. These kitties are safe and sound, snug and warm. And it wouldn't have happened without your help.

(All pictures in this post are thanks to Tam!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Long Awaited Update

My sincere apologies-- there have been two reasons for the lack of updates. First, I was sick and the thought of doing anything other than sleeping was not one I could stomach. (Although as you'll see in a moment I did, actually, do more than sleep because I did take care of the fuzzies.)  Second, things kept changing on me, so I wasn't sure *what* to post, precisely. But let's see what we can see...

First, on Wednesday Scoots went to the low cost spay and neuter clinic. He didn't love being in the cat carrier, but he was okay with it. And while we were in the waiting room, I stuck my hand in the carrier to pet him, and he sprawled out just like he would if he'd been in my lap without the carrier and started purring. And this was with a very nervous, shaking pekinese sitting beside us. Scoots did just fine-- he woke up without trouble, he was eating and investigating by evening time. Equally important, he was tested for FIV and feline leukemia, and, like Red, was negative.  YAY! And he has also now been vaccinated. He has been recovering under the care of Bea's Mom's neighbor, indoors to keep his surgical site clean (and because indoors is where kitty cats belong, particularly when there's some kind of beastie out there attacking cats, as evidenced by Red and, previously, Sir Percy.)

On Friday, I took Red for his follow-up check-up with the ophthalmologist. As you can see in the picture (taken in the waiting room), his face has healed up but his eye is certainly still problematic.

There's good news and bad news. The good news is that he's not in any immediate danger, nor is he in any pain. The ophthalmologist said that the eye probably irritates him a little, but doesn't pain him.

The bad news, however, is that he does need surgery to have the eye removed.  Poor little pirate kitty. The eye is totally blind, so it's not like keeping it would benefit Red in any way. More importantly, and I know I'll screw some of this explanation up but I'll do the best I can here, because there is still blood on both sides of his lens, he's at an extremely high risk to develop a sarcoma. Worse, once that happens, it almost immediately metastasizes and kills the cat. As to when that might happen... well, could be months, more likely years, but it's likely to happen. Likewise, she suggested that the eye will develop glaucoma as well.  So, it needs to come out. He'll always need to be an indoor kitty, because his lack of depth perception means he'd have difficulty getting away from predators, although in general he'll learn to compensate in jumping up on couches and such.

Also, he can get the eye surgery at the same time as getting neutered, which is good, since anesthesia is never totally without risks. 

Red didn't much care for the carrier, either. We had a conversation all the way from the boarding place to the ophthalmologist's, Meow, Meow, MEOW, meow. Once in the waiting room, I let him out of the carrier and into my lap-- where he promptly plunked down, ignored the dogs around us, and started purring. In the exam room, too, he just sat in my lap (there was a bench to sit on) as we waited for the doctor to arrive. He even seemed to enjoy the exam (except for the eye drops). They wrapped him in a towel- and he really seems to love being swaddled. The tech held him and the vet started looking at his eye and then said, "Is he purring?" and yup, he was.

As for the big question you're probably wondering... what now? Do the kitties have a home to go to?

The deadline for finding a home for them was pretty much *now*, as I am leaving AZ (to visit family) on Tuesday. My friend Tam, who has commented on this blog, who first taught me about TNR and rescue, and who has been my guide through so much of Project-Cat, agreed to be a safety net. That is, if no one could take these cats, she would figure out a way to do so. Despite all the internet pleas I could manage, and several false hopes, I did not find a home for them elsewhere. So on Tuesday, two cats, with three working eyes between them, and I (whose eyes mostly work, heh), will fly across the country. And here I thought there'd be no way to go more complicated than getting Sir Percy to his forever home in Germany. Staying domestic this time, but adding a second cat... yup. Sounds about right for my life.

Anyway, the timing isn't ideal for Tam, but I know 110% that these kitties will have the bestest life ever thanks to her. She's already helped them (and me) immensely and I'm so grateful for her generosity. And I'm sure I'll get updates from her. :)

Thank you to all of you who donated (and donations are still very much accepted for Red's eye surgery-- I'll send them to Tam. It will, after all, be a $1000 surgery, plus the cost of neutering; that's on top of the cost of the boarding he's already done and travel costs and such. At some point in January, I'll be putting things for sale on Etsy again, with the proceeds going to Red's surgery as well.) Thank you to everyone who spoke to people about these kitties and who reposted their plight. Thank you all. I couldn't do any of this without you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wee Update: Scoots & Red

Red has been at the vet's boarding facilities now for a few days, so Beatrice is back to normal (well, normal for her, heh.) This evening (Saturday), I called to see how he's doing. (He's under the name "Odin" at the vet). They said, and I quote, "Odin is doing great. He's eating all of his food and he loves to bury himself in his blanket." Aww, how cute! And I'm glad to hear he's eating all of his food-- he's a big cat (long kitty!) but only weighs 8.59 pounds, so he needs to fill out! I asked if he's taking his medicine and they said yes. And I asked how his eye looks and they said, "it looks a little bit better." So that's all promising. Now to just find him a home. Do you or someone you know want a kitty to snuggle up with you? 'Cause Red is just the kitty...

As for Scoots, he's still himself. Bea's Mom's neighbor has offered to get him fixed this week-- huzzah! So he'll be better off thanks to that. And check out these fabulous seasonal pictures.




I may have to make this second one my profile picture online for the holiday season...

So, things are status quo, but we're still wishing for a home or two. Remember, kitties can get to anywhere in the PA/MD/NJ/NY area (or farther, depending on how far you're willing to drive...) on/after the 20th pretty easily. Anywhere else would take more monies and planning, but is doable. Please to help this loving, loving kitties who have gotten such an unfair, inhumane deal 'til now.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

All I want for the Winter Holidays is a Home

 

I know you're probably tired of hearing about poor Red and Scoots, and I know I'm tired of typing blog posts and pleas on a broken keyboard. But I'm still asking for a Winter Holiday Miracle-- and it's not a fixed keyboard.

Because the extra cat was making Bea's Mom sick and Bea angry and sick, we have moved Red to a vet to be boarded for a few days as a very temporary fix. The vet (University Animal Hospital) is fabulous and they'll play with him when they can and take good care of him, give him his meds, etc. But it's not a solution to a real family or even a foster home. He is a people cat-- he purrs and loves and cuddles.

He was a very good boy at the vet-- in order to board he needed his vaccinations and a check up. This vet hadn't seen him before but agreed with the ministrations mandated by the ophthalmologist. And he seems otherwise healthy. (Skinny, mind you, but he's a growing boy who wasn't cared for.)

He also getting tested for FIV/FLeuk, since his lifestyle 'til now-- thanks to his careless, awful humans-- puts him at high risk.  Thank goodness, it came back negative, so he also got the vaccines against those. So that's a little something to rejoice about!!

The upside to his having gotten his vaccinations is that he would now be permitted to fly. You know, in an airplane, not unassisted. :) Which means that his prospective homes no longer has to be in the Phoenix-drivable area (although it is certainly still permissible!)  The same goes for Scoots-- he's not vaccinated yet, but I'm certain we could scrape up the money to do so. It still has to be domestic (yes, Sir Percy was rehomed to Germany, but the timing wouldn't work in this case) but it's doable. Costly? Potentially as it would require round-trip airfare plus $100 pet fee. On the other hand... I'm already flying into Newark on the 20th.


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Well, it means if you're within in a logical area of northern New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania (where I'm actually going) or that sort of geographical location, it'd be pretty easy to get you a loving fuzzy half-blind stripey orange cat who doesn't know how to play but gets along with everyone and loves catnip and gooshy food. And/or his adorable fluffy-floofy black little brother who adores belly rubs above all things.

So, I beg of you all, keep spreading the word in the hopes of a miracle-- a family to take in Red and  Scoots (not necessarily just one family for both!) to make them as happy as each of them would make a family.

This last picture was taken at the vet's office just yesterday. Despite having had a thermometer stuck in an unpleasant place, and having strangers poke and prod him, he was interested in the goings on and relatively relaxed. And while the picture isn't great (taken with a phone), you can see that he's healing up, even though he doesn't have vision in his right eye. He's a big handsome boy who, with proper nutrition, will be bigger and handsomer and now he's just waiting for a miracle for himself and his brother.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Little Brother

 In recent days, this blog has been about Orange Kitty, variously called Reds and now, thanks to his injury and Bea's Mom recently watching Thor, Odin. But I've mentioned before that he's not the only special kitty who needs saving this Christmas, not even the only one in our situation.

Meet Scoots, aka Rascal, aka Loki.
 Loki showed up after Odin did, his "owners" apparently deciding that one cat that they didn't take care of wasn't enough. Both kitties got kicked outdoors once their "owners" decided they didn't want to deal with the neutering.

If possible, Loki is even more loving and sweet than Odin. He follows people around, mewing, asking to be taken home with them.

He'll flop over on the pavement (as you can see) and show his belly, asking for loooove. (Also, sunbeams. 'Cause it's gotten cold, even here in Phoenix.)



So while we seek a home for Odin, we also seek one for Loki.  The two aren't from the same litter, but they are a pair (they'll cuddle and play) so if you're looking for a perfect duo, two cats to entertain each other, these could be your babies.   



And finally, a quick update on Orange Kitty/Red/Odin: He still seems to be improving, although that is a guess from us, since we're not ophthalmologists, nor do we have fancy equipment. Unfortunately, the situation with Beatrice (who is violently angry and making herself sick because there is another cat in her house) and with her mom (who is not angry, but who is getting sick because there's just too many allergens in the house) has reached a tipping point. We are taking him to the vet to be boarded for a few days, in the desperate hope that we can find a foster home for him before either of us leave for the holidays. The vet will be equipped to care for his eye and he'll have a condo with a view (no, seriously, he gets a window.)  He'll also get vaccinated today, so that's a good thing.

But this is a very short term, very temporary fix.  Please, please, please, talk to everyone you know, even if they're not in the Phoenix area, because they might know someone who is, and who could take in this sweet, adorable, loving, injured kitty who has been abused and abandoned and yet is still so cuddly and desiring of human affection, even if just for a few weeks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Desperately Seeking Foster Home

The generosity of friends and strangers is amazing.  Thanks to you-- those who could donate and those who spread the word-- we've raised enough money to cover Red's first (emergency) vet bill, his first ophthalmologist appointment (yesterday's) and, I think, his ophthalmologist check-up in 9 days.

If he needs surgery... well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Bea's Mom isn't sure if he's doing better or not-- it's probably too soon to say-- but the eye isn't drying out (that's good!) and he's acting normal (that's good!) and she's managing to get ... most of his medicine in him (that's mostly good!)

Unfortunately, having another cat in the house has made Beatrice angry (to the point of making herself sick) and it's making Beatrice's mom sick.  (She's allergic to cats in general, although has gotten used to Beatrice.  Having another cat in the house has pushed her system past the tipping point and she's already gotten a rash and a bloody nose... Lovely, huh?)  And she's leaving town very soon, too, for the holidays.  So at this point, our biggest, most pressing, and most frustrating, need is a foster home.  (A forever home would be even better, of course!)

Please, please, please, if you can open your house and home to this skittish but very friendly and loving boy, let us know. We're in the Phoenix area, and can drive him to you. For a forever home, I'm willing to drive sooper far, but since we'd have to get him *back* from a foster home, I'd say only a few hours distance from Phoenix is logical.  If you aren't nearby or can't take him in, please, please, please keep boosting the signal of this blog and this need?

(Also, while Red's need is immediate, don't forget that his brother, sometimes called Scavenger Kitty, sometimes called Scoot or Rascal, a black medium-haired boy who wants attention like nobody's business, is also seeking a home.  Could you or someone you know be the holiday miracle for either of these boys?)

So, good thoughts that Red can keep his eye.  And good thoughts that we can get him at least a temporary home asap. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Miracle Time?

As you may have noticed, after the debacle of the feral colony and the bullying management, I removed myself from cat rescue (including this blog.) Not that I'd ever gone *looking* for trouble before, but still. But once a sucker-- er, rescuer-- always one, I suppose...


My friend, Beatrice's Mom, had neighbors with two cats. However, because these neighbors didn't bother to get these two cats, both male, neutered, they sprayed indoors. So the cats were kicked out. And the cats were not treated well when they were around the humans anyway. And then the humans stopped paying rent and were evicted and they left these two cats behind.


The cats are incredibly friendly and desperately want attention. They'll follow me partway to my car when I've been visiting. Bea's Mom and I did what we could to keep them comfortable-- Bea's mom has been feeding them, and once it started to get cool (and sometimes rainy) here, we made them snug little shelters. And they were scheduled to get neutered this week. We hadn't had any luck finding homes, but at least we were making them as comfortable as possible.



Warning-- the next part is gross.



Well, two days ago, one of the cats, Red, showed up having clearly been in a fight. Remember when Sir Percy got away from Bea's mom and was attacked, coming home with scratches on his face? Poor Red was like this, only worse. His right eye was bloody and weeping, and Bea's Mom was certain that the eye was actually *gone*.  She managed to catch Red last night and take him to the emergency vet in Gilbert.  $200 later, she was sent home without much in the way of answers (but with some painkillers and antibiotics) and a stern recommendation to keep Red inside and to get him to an ophthalmologist asap.




Eye Care for Animals actually has Saturday hours in south Scottsdale, and they squeezed Red in between surgeries.  (We're grateful to them-- by squeezing us in, we didn't have to pay the after-hours cost which would have been $200 more.)


Red will probably never regain vision in his right eye. There's clearly been a lot of bleeding in it, and there's swelling.  To complicate matters, there's a corneal abrasion, too, which means that the best treatment for the swelling (steroids) can't be used because it'd pretty much melt the eyeball. (I'm paraphrasing.) The good news is that his left eye is perfectly fine, meaning that if he doesn't have vision in the right, he'll still be able to get around just fine. Also, the bleeding seems to have stopped, also good. Oh, and while the emergency vet thought that the eye pressure was quite high, by this afternoon at the ophthalmologist, it was down in the perfectly normal range. 


So we were sent away with many meds (painkillers, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, a lubricant and ... something else. Perhaps Bea's Mom can fill me in on the last.) And now we wait-- we'll go back in 10 days or so to see if things are improving. If he seems comfortable, blind or not, then that's good.


But if he's not-- if things get worse, or if pressure builds, or the eye dries out, etc., then the eye will need to be removed. Please send your prayers and good thoughts to Red, that he heals up quickly and healthily.





The emergency vet cost Bea's Mom $178. Today's ophthalmologist cost $259. Surgery would cost $1500. If you can help with Red kitty's eyes, please contact Bea's Mom at Flurije@gmail.com


AND, even more importantly, frankly, is finding him a home. (And ideally one for his brother, a fluffy black kitty, too, although it doesn't need to be the same home.)  We're looking for a Forever Home, but we're also looking for a Foster Home. Bea's Mom is leaving town very soon and anyway, Beatrice is a dominant cat who is making life miserable for everyone in the house because of Red's presence.  If you're in the Phoenix/AZ area and could take in a poor injured kitty even just for a few weeks, that would help us (and the kitty) immeasurably. 


Even if you can't help him financially or by providing shelter, it'd be a great help if you'd boost the signal on this post, spread it around.  Getting this kitty healthy and finding him and his brother homes would be a really spectacular winter holiday present to them. They've had a really raw deal from humans so far.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Itty Bitty Kitty Committee

You're probably already familiar with the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee, or, if you're not, you should be. Once a year, that site and its current foster kittens raise money for the Tacoma & Pierce County Humane Society. This year, they're trying to raise 50 squillion dollars, and area almost halfway there.  Obviously, it's a great charity to donate to.

But even better, all money raised today (Wednesday 29 June) will go to the spay & neuter programs.  This includes a low-cost program for pet owners, but also a spay & neuter program for ferals in that area.

You can read about it here: Spay & Neuter Day (and Hump Day!)  And I encourage you to donate if you can, since you, as readers of this blog, know about the plight of homeless and feral cats.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"If I had magic powers, I'd wish them compassion, so that they'd understand what they're comdemning these cats to."

"Your heart must be breaking."

Both the complex manager at the first meeting, and a MEB district manager (or whatever-- she never gave me her job title), at the second (and disastrous) meeting, informed me of this.  And yeah, of course I'm saddened (and oh boy, there are other words that come to mind, such as horrified, disgusted, disheartened in humanity, etc.) about the fate of these cats.  But in the moments that this phrase was applied to me I was actually far, far more angry than anything else.  And not even entirely about the cats, but about *people*, specifically *these* people who simply refused to listen to me.  I don't even mean that they refused to agree with me, I mean simply 100% refused to listen to me, as clearly as if they had put fingers in their ears and went, "LA LA LA LA, I CAN'T HEEEEAAAARR YOOOOUUU," like a five-year old.

I haven't written since that horrific meeting for a number of reasons-- not least of which because nothing has changed. (And the legal system, when it comes to animal abuse, is slow and overburdened, and so I have not yet heard back from the various authorities I contacted about MEB's illegal dumping of the feral cats.  And when I do, depending upon what I hear and what's happening, I might not feel comfortable putting it in such a public forum anyway. We shall see.)  But the other part is because much of what I've been thinking about and feeling is about me rather than the cats, and that wasn't, isn't, the purview of this blog.  That horrible, bullying meeting that day actually changed my worldview about people, and not for the better. 


"I'd wish on them compassion."

During this horrific process, I've been leaning on friends for advice and to simply listen to me rant and rail about the unfairness of it all.  Some of them have been feral caretakers and some of them are simply decent human beings, and I'm grateful to all of them.  And many of them have been *you*, those of you who read this blog, even if you don't comment. 

In speaking with one of said friends last night, Tam, she said something close to the title of this entry-- she'd wish compassion upon these managers so that they'd understand precisely what it is they're doing. 

"We are not killing these cats," one manager insisted to me several times (in both meetings, even.) The first time I pointed out that by taking the cats to the Humane Society, that was precisely what they were doing, even if she herself was not physically the person who took the life of the cat.  Theoretically (and I have expressed before why I do not have a baseline as to what to believe from these managers, no matter how much they insist that they are not and have not lied to me) they are now "removing" the cats and letting them "free" in some other location.  I attempted to explain what precisely that means to the cats-- territorial creatures who (with management's permission!!) had become dependent upon human provided food sources.  Even if the cats were relocated *correctly*-- which is a many week process for each cat!-- there's a strong chance that the cat would not acclimate to its new surroundings and would attempt to get back to its home territory (and likely get hurt or killed in the process.)  And we all know that they are NOT even attempting a proper relocation of the cats. 

These are not people who sit at home pondering ways to make the lives of these cats miserable, nor are they people who genuinely dislike cats (even the ferals.) [They assured me of this so may times that it became a mantra for them, although any rhetorician or speech writer will know that this is false logic given the particular argument has nothing to do with these particular people's feelings.]  These managers honestly believe, as far as I can tell, that they are doing the Good and Right thing by releasing the cats they catch (in really rather terrible traps).  Because their hands aren't the dirty ones, they are able to hide behind the thought that they aren't doing anything wrong, they think they are not causing suffering. And when I tried to enlighten them about the realities, they metaphorically stuffed their fingers in their ears and refused to listen. My wish is like Tam's, that they would suddenly understand what they're actually condemning the cats to.

-----

I have a few more posts in mind for Project-Cat, general type stuff on ferals, on what I did wrong with the project and what feral care-givers should do different, and on how you can help feral cats in general.  I'll be moving from my current location-- for reasons that should be perfectly obvious to anyone reading this blog and man, I hope I never, ever see anyone affiliated with MEB ever again-- and I really and truly and fervently hope that there are no feral cats at my new home.  (Given the size of the feral cat population in this particular metropolitan area... well, fingers crossed at any rate.)  This means that this blog's nature, when I post, will have changed from updates on these particular cats to posts on ferals in general.  I do hope you still read and I do hope you still find something interesting here.  And I will update on specifics whenever possible. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I promised I'd update

I don't honestly know what to say here.  As far as the cats go, it boils down to this: MEB refused to let them stay, citing health and safety hazards, and are removing them to an undisclosed location. 

If you're looking at that last part and thinking, "Um, that won't work," you're right. Cats are territorial and will do everything they can to come back here to this space.  If you're looking at that last part and thinking,  "Hey, that's illegal," you're also right.  Under AZ Animal Cruelty Laws, you cannot dump a feral cat-- you are not allowed to take them anywhere but the Humane Society.  But if you're also looking at that last part and thinking, "Well, at least they'll have a chance there, unlike the Humane Society," you will see my current dilemma.

A wonderful, kind, and smart feral-cat caregiver, a volunteer with the Foundation for Homeless Cats, was to come with me to this meeting.  She and I met and spoke ahead of time and I had a little bit of hope from this veteran negotiator.

False hope, alas, as when we got to our meeting I was completely blind-sided.  The complex manager had called in two higher managers from MEB and they refused to allow the volunteer to stay and talk.  This was, apparently, about a "resident concern" and thus for residents only. 

Let me tell you, guys, it was awful.  Imagine being taken to the principal's office with your teacher and your guidance counselor there, all of them thinking you're a recalcitrant child in need of severe behavior modification.  (Later, when I pointed out that I'd been blind-sided, they had the gall to say, "Well, you brought someone."  And I responded with, "Yeah, and you made her leave.")

Clearly the purpose of this meeting as far as these three managers were concerned was to get me to shut up and to have you all stop writing to them.  It seems that they honestly don't care what anyone thinks except their residents (and their residents have said only negative things about the cats.  I pointed out that angry people are the 10% who are vocal-- what about the 30% who are neutral and the 60% who are happy to let the cats stay?  They said that wasn't their experience.  Well... yeah, by definition of those other 90% not being vocal!) Not caring what potential renters might think? Seems short-sighted to me.

They've been taking down my flyers because they are "Solicitation." Since I don't try to sell anything, that would be completely untrue.  Not to mention, those flyers are posted directly next to other flyers THAT ARE SELLING THINGS.  So, uh, solicitation?

The only two resident complaints that they shared with me were one: a small child was attacked by a feral cat recently.  Uhh... No.  I'm not saying that the mother claiming this is lying (although she might be) but I think there must be a lot more to this story that we're no getting because that's not what feral cats do.  When I pointed that out, I was dismissed with, "well, maybe it was stray or a pet or whatever, but it can't be there." And they suggested that children may run after a feral, corner it, and get scratched.  My thought there, as I'm sure any responsible parent or sane person would have is, "Teach the freakin' kids not to chase strange animals!" but again, no.  And secondly, they complained about the smell near my building.  I will admit that Sir Percy's penchant for spraying made the area slightly pungent.  I pointed out his story, and that he's been removed.  They said that I couldn't promise that it was that cat doing the spraying.  I said, actually, that I could, because all the other males have been neutered.  They refused to believe me.

I tried everything I could, although I'm not a skilled negotiator.  They had all the cards in this situation-- a veiled threat not to let me renew my lease (I so don't care) atop the whole ganging up on me thing.  THREE OF THEM against me.  Sure, they had the temerity to claim that they were all there out of concern for me, because I'm a resident and had registered a complaint, but I'm calling them on that BS.

End result... not sure, precisely.  They claim that they took the three cats they've caught the Humane Society but that upon finding out that they were going to be killed, they did not leave them there but took them to a housing development elsewhere where they had permission to leave the cats.

There are holes in that story, however.  If they're using only one trap, how did they catch three cats and take them to this special location? If they caught one and found that out and took the cat elsewhere, then took he others elsewhere, that might make sense- but when I asked the manager last week she said that three cats had been taken to the Humane Society.  Today she said she hadn't known, and that since then they've changed their mind.  Well... that doesn't make sense.

And the larger problem-- dumping cats, even ferals, elsewhere is ILLEGAL.  No two ways about it-- it's part of AZ's anti-cruelty laws, as I stated above.  I said as much to them, and I was informed that their attorneys said it was okay.  Well, I don't know what loop-hole they've found, but it's not.

I suggested that I would be fine with everything if two things happened:
1. They removed the cats in a safe, humane, and effective manner--- which includes keeping the cats contained at the new location for several weeks.  (A 21 day period is suggested by this group, for example)
2. That they offer me some proof that they have permission to move the cats to this location.

They FLATLY denied both. Flat out. Offered nothing in return.  Claimed I was giving them an ultimatum (they said I was free to do whatever I liked but they were equally free to not renew my lease.) They said their attorneys wouldn't let them tell me where the cats are being taken (could this be the way they're getting around the fact that it's ILLEGAL!?) 

I said that between being blind-sided by this meeting and their refusal to listen, I had no real reason to trust any of them without some kind of proof.  They said they'd never lied to me-- well, a) first time for everything and b) ... isn't that what a liar would say?

Look, bottom line? I believe that they think that they're doing the right thing.  They honestly believe that they're at risk because of the cats and that by removing them they'll be fine.  (They're wrong, but nevermind that.)  And if they actually are taking the cats to some undisclosed location (or a sanctuary in Mesa, supposedly as their second location), they undoubtedly again believe that at least they aren't getting the cats euthanized. 

Because I heard them say that this is what they're doing-- all three of them said it at one point or another-- I could legitimately report them to the police's anti-animal-cruelty division.  But I'm terrified that if I do, they'll simply revert to taking the cats to the Humane Society.  And okay, that option's legal but equals death.  On the other hand, there's a reason that dumping a cat is illegal and considered cruel-- they're away from their food source, their familiar territory, and if they're just dumping the cats in the desert, well, they're just sentencing them to death anyway, but a longer and more painful one. 

So I'm at a loss. And the cats have lost, too.

Fingers Crossed

 I will be meeting with the complex management again tomorrow (today, for most people reading this, I should think, and technically "today" for me, too) so please keep the free-roaming cats and I in your thoughts and your fingers crossed. 

If you haven't written to MEB about the choice to kill the free-roaming/feral cats, now would be a *wonderful* time to do so (and please share this blog around-- maybe friends, family, or coworkers might like to chime in on this lousy situation?)  This kind of support could really help in tomorrow's meeting.  (The meeting is at 4pm AZ time and I'll try to post about it immediately after.  If you haven't emailed/called MEB by 4pm AZ time tomorrow, that doesn't at all mean that your call/email isn't helpful, it's just that it'd be more immediately helpful before hand...)

MEB Phoenix offices: 602-279-5515  info@mebmgmt.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Links: Successful Feral Colonies

Since there's no news today (ie: MEB still trapping, still taking down my flyers, etc.), I thought I'd direct you to a couple of articles on feral colonies where everyone has learned to live together.  Most people who care for feral cats won't give away the location of the colony to anyone but another caregiver.  No one wants to encourage people abandoning pets there (or, frankly, anywhere), or call attention to themselves/the cats to be blamed for whatever feral cats are being blamed for today.  But here are places where free-roaming, neutered, managed colonies are successful-- with stabilized numbers and healthy cats.  And don't forget, of course, that feral cat colonies are, in some ways, very helpful-- they keep away mice, rats, voles, scorpions (for which I am grateful) and other things you usually have to pay an exterminator to come put down poison for. (If Villagio is successful in killing the feral cats currently here, they will find an increase in vermin.  Which will, in turn, attract more feral cats-- this time un-neutered ones-- and they will find themselves back to a full colony in no time.  See yesterday's post on the Vacuum Effect for more information.)

Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats: This colony has been there since the 1880s.  Free-roaming colonies?  Not a new situation.

Coronado Cats of Phoenix: A neighborhood in historic downtown Phoenix which has banded together to take care of their feral cat situation using TNR.  You think the dozen or so cats at Project-Cat is a lot? They've already TNRed 250 (!!!) and aren't done yet!

Disneyland:At the happiest place on earth, feral cats keep out the unwanted mice -- not including Mickey!! -- attracted by the detritus of the average tourist.

The Los Angeles Flower District: Carnations were being eaten by rats, ruining heir stock, but they found a green solution in hiring feral cats to work for them!

LAPD:  (Also a second article on a different precinct) Rats and mice were destroying records, burrowing into bicycle officers' gear and generally causing an uproar -- until several stations installed FE-9 units to combat the problem!

For more information on Los Angeles area working cats-- feral colonies located in specific places  (after neutering, micro-chipping, etc.), visit the Voice for the Animals Foundation website. They seem like a really awesome program and I salute them! 

It seems that the  San Fransico ASPCA has a similar program for saving feral cats by making them "working cats", with some information available.

Sadly, I can find nothing similar in AZ.  So as per usual, the best bet for these cats is to stay right here, where they're happy and healthy and cared for. Tell MEB what you think about this colony: info@mebmgmt.com and 602-279-5515.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meeting on Thursday

The apartment complex manager and I will be meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation.  Please keep your fingers crossed.  And keep emails and phone calls coming.  MEB should know that they are in the spotlight for this, that people who care are watching their choice here.

I'm not sure that they care, mind you.  They took down my informative fliers less than 24hours after I put them up. Nicely done, MEB-- take down a community item  from he community board (covering up, might I point out, some rather truly offensive curse words etched into the cork).  There are no guidelines, no rules about the corkboards, no one has to look at them if they don't want to. People in the community advertise there all the time-- none of it is from management.  But my fliers?  Oh no, that's apparently bad.  Well, I have more.

Since there's nothing else to report, here's an interesting article on the Vacuum Effect--in other words, why Catch & Kill, as MEB is doing, doesn't work.  Read it here.

MEB: 602-279-5515
info@mebmgmt.com

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not Much to Report

I haven't posted this weekend because I've been dealing with a stomach flu.  (Seriously unpleasant.)  But you're here about the cats, not me, so let's see...

There has been no activity at the trap since Friday afternoon.

I have spoken with the founder of the Foundation for Homeless  Cats for advice.  Also, I received an email from the complex manager saying she was willing to take other solutions to the cat problem, so I have asked to meet with her this week.

I put up flyers just this evening (I wanted to do it on Saturday morning, but, uh, see above re: stomach flu) explaining to residents, in case they don't know, precisely what a feral cat is, where they come from, and how they've been managed (ie: TNR).

And really, that's all I can report at the moment, but I will post more when more happens.  Keep your fingers crossed, and if you haven't already contacted MEB to let them know what you think of their choice, please do so (info@mebmgmt.com and 602-279-5515)-- it'd be great if they had lots of messages to come in to Monday morning. 

The people who hate cats (feral or otherwise) tend to be the most vocal, but they aren't in the majority.  I think it's important that the apartment complex and the management company understand that.  (In fact, according to a poll that Alley Cat Allies conducted via Harris Interactive, more than 80% of Americans nationwide "believe that leaving a stray cat outside to live her life is more humane than having that cat caught and killed."  (14% wanted the cats put down, 5% didn't know.)  This is the kind of thing that the managers need to understand.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Whole Story (Long Version) Recreated

Since this is a time sensitive issue and Blogger hasn't put the previous posts back up, I'm recreating the whole story thus far. (EDIT TO ADD: Blogger seems to have put the entries back up but out of order and I doubt the links to them work any more, so I'm leaving this entry up.)

As you probably know, I've been caring for the feral colony at my apartment complex for about four years now.  (All the rest of the blog posts are still here, so if you wish to know more, feel free.)  We got the cats Trapped-Neutered-Released, with the permission of the apartment complex because the complex wanted the cats out.  I pointed out that Trap&Kill does not work and it costs more, so why not let me TNR?  With the wonderful, wonderful support of the readers of this blog we raised the necessary funds.  We did not catch all of the cats that first time, and when I wanted to TNR again a while later, I had a harder time getting permission because the complex had changed ownership and management.  But I did get permission again, along with permission to feed the cats because that is part of having a managed colony.  And all was well, or so I thought, until a few days ago.

I'd come out to my balcony to enjoy one of the few comfortable days that AZ has and spotted a humane trap set out nearby.  It was locked to a pipe so that no one could remove it.  Horrified, I went to look at it and it was, indeed, set with cat food and ready to spring.

I spoke with the office staff who told me that the cats were being removed to the Humane Society.  They did not seem fazed when I pointed out that that meant they were being killed immediately.  I went back a bit later to speak with the complex's manager (who was not there when I went the first time) and she told me the same thing-- the cats were being caught and taken to the shelter.  She said, "At least they're not being killed," and I (again) pointed out that yes they are.  Feral cats are unadoptable*. She shrugged and said she understood that I'm an animal lover with a "big heart" (why did that suddenly sound like an insult?) but that this wasn't her decision but that it came from the owners.

She claimed that at least two residents have moved out because of the cats.  I... really? I mean, maybe if you have a phobia or a cat hatred... But to move out? Moving is such a pain.  I think this may have been an exaggeration.  She cited damage from cats (where? I see damage from children, but not from cats...) and spraying from cats (um... they've been neutered.  Yes, some cats can spray after being neutered but it's rare... I will admit that Percy sprayed a lot before he was neutered, but, uh, he's gone to Germany...)  And one guy, evidently, moved out because "it was too sad to see the cats out in the heat."  What is that I don't even-- Okay, sure.  Seeing animals in 110+ F degree heat sucks.  Seeing humans in that heat sucks too.  In an ideal world all domestic cats would be well-treated, indoors only and enjoying their very own a/c throughout awful summers.  But it's not an ideal world and I have a very hard time believing that Mr. It's Too Sad would have preferred to have the cats killed.

The manager assured me that she saw my point, offered me some tissues (I admit I broke into tears when she told me they'd already trapped and killed three cats), gave me the phone number for the corporate offices with the cheery admonition that it wouldn't get me anywhere and sent me on my way.

So here we are, a few days later.  I have emailed and called everyone I could think of for some help and got a lot of sympathy, a little advice, but not much in the way of hope.  I have had no response from MEB (the leasing management company that runs this complex and many, many other ones through AZ, TX and NJ**, which doesn't surprise me.  I found out that MEB in Tuscon agreed with TNR, so I have no idea what's going on here.

Maintenance has moved the trap just slightly.  I don't think they've caught anyone in the last two days (unless they have traps that I don't know about).  [There is currently a bird trying to steal food from the trap.] They've blocked up the drainage tunnels in which the cats used to reside/move about it.  They've thrown away all the food and water dishes we've put out for the cats and swept away the stray kibble they've found.  

Because this is an (intentionally) public blog I am not going to list here which cats I've seen lately, how many are around, where/when the cats are fed, etc. If you want to know something specific, you can contact me project.cat.AZ@gmail.com  Yeah, I just set that up since I realized I didn't have a good way to contact me for this stuff here on the site.  (Sorry those of you have tried to get in touch with me recently.)

All I can do right now is keep trying to get in touch with the management company (MEB) and telling them what I think of their animal tactics.  And I ask that you do so, too.  You can email them at info@mebmgmt.com or call them at 602-279-5515.  (Please note that the number I originally put up, the number I got from the complex manager, was their fax number.  Clearly, she was being helpful.)



-----
*Feral cats, with a lot of time and patience, can be tamed (in some cases.)  I have met several incredibly friendly formal-ferals who were adults when taken into a home.  You would never guess that they were feral for their young lives.  On the other hand, I've met some kittens who were just past the age of easy-taming who never became fully domesticated. My point here is that yes, it can happen, and when it does, that's awesome.  But it is not a viable option for large-scale rescue ala the Humane Society, and thus it is never what happens when you or someone else takes a feral cat to them.

**Yes, that seems a weird spread to me, too.  Here's their website: http://www.mebapts.com/MEB/index.aspx

Perfect timing, Blogger

The posts I wrote about the current cat situation have been removed by Blogger temporarily because they've been having issues.

To sum up--  MEB Management Company has decided that despite the colony of cats being neutered and managed, they are a nuisance, and has begun trapping them to take to the Humane  Society where they are being euthanized.  Thus far my appeals to logic have fallen on deaf ears. 

If you would like to tell MEB Management what you think of their treatment of animals, you can do so by calling them at 602-279-5515.  You can also email them at info@mebmgmt.com.

The have a trap set, they have removed all food and water bowls, they have swept away food when it's been put out for the cats on the ground.  They're doing their absolute best to remove these cats and have them killed.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

MEB Management Company Kills Cats

The headline isn't news, of course, if you've read the previous posts.  I just want it to be out there.  People hide behind terms like "putting to sleep" or concepts like "taking to the Humane Society," and convince themselves that these cats will have a home found for them.  Well, no.  That's not what happens.  Consider the enormous percentage of healthy, friendly, adoptable cats who are euthanized because homes can't be found for them. There is no space at shelters for feral cats who cannot be adopted. So if you, or Villagio's maintenance, or MEB's managers, drop off a feral cat to the Humane Society, you are killing that cat.

I wrote to MEB, as did several people who have commented here and in other places.  I have received no response, which is not exactly a surprise, although it is disheartening.  (I wonder how many people choose not to live here or to leave not because of the feral cats but because of things like the pants that have been sitting on top of one of the carparks (visible from my stairwell) for the past three years?  Accompanied, of course, with two beer bottles and, a recent addition, a glass.  Classy! Or the laundry machines that suddenly went up in price, but remained the same in quality and went down in quantity.  I'm not saying I'm going to move out because all of the dryers have their lint-traps torn and useless, but it's not exactly enticing me to stay...)

Anyway. I have spent the day thus far sending emails to other organizations in the hopes that someone can give me advice or help, but I'm not hopeful.  I've also gone on a walk to do a headcount of the remaining cats.  You'll forgive me, I hope, if I don't tell you numbers or names-- I don't wish to make MEB's job any easier since I think it is morally reprehensible.  (I have also removed similar information from the previous post.)  If you are concerned about a particular cat or just want to know numbers/etc., feel free to contact me through less public channels.

Keep watching this space, though, and keep those emails being sent to MEB Management.

info@mebmgmt.com  OR (and I just found this one) leasingcentral@mebmgmt.com

(If I find an email address that seems less slush-pile, I will let you know)

or call 602-279-5515

Let them know what you think of their tactics (which don't work in the long run anyway.)

If I get news that another group can help-- although as I say, I have no idea how-- here may be a necessary fundraiser in the future.  We shall see.  No need to send donations now, just gather ideas.

And keep these cats in your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's officially Terrible News

Despite my beautifully reasoned logic, despite my tears upon finding out that they've already taken three cats (which ones?? I don't know.) to the humane society, there is no budging.

I have never said where I lived on this blog, what apartment complex is doing this-- which once worked with me so wonderfully to TNR the cats and is now killing them-- but I might as well now.

It's Villagio Apartment Homes and it's run by MEB Corporation-- a company which owns and leases a huge percentage of apartments in this area.

In fact, if you'd like to call MEB and give them a piece of your mind about how they are KILLING cats, it's 602-279-5553.  That's no the office of this complex, that's higher up to the corporation that has made the decree.  (This is MEB's website.)

You can also write to them in Phoenix:1215 East Missouri Avenue; Phoenix, AZ 85014

Or email them at info@mebmgmt.com

The story from the manager here is that people have still been complaining about the cats and that two residents have moved out, citing the cats as their reason.  (It is, evidently, "too sad" to see them outdoors all summer.  So apparently KILLING THEM is the answer?!)

What about the people who LIKE to see the cats here (doing no harm, might I point out-- certainly less damage than the children who live here.)?  What about the fact that cats keep away the scorpions?

What about the fact that these are living creatures whose plight is made by stupid people?

I seriously don't know what else to do.  (I haven't called the corporate office yet because I can't stop crying.)

I don't know which three cats MEB Management and Villagio have already killed.

And I spoke with one of my neighbors who gave me the only good news I've got -- Tig(g)er has a forever home, an indoor forever home.

I walked the property and found only the one trap-- I don't know how many there are.  It's (they're?) not set well, but evidently set well enough to catch three so... crap. 

My lease is up in August and I have made it clear that I cannot give money to a company that kills these cats, so I guess I'll be looking for a (non-MEB) apartment very, very soon.  Sigh.  But then, a huge, huge part of why I hadn't moved in the past 5 years was taking care of these cats.

Other than inundating MEB Management with rational, sane requests to stop their plan (because it won't work-- they won't catch them all; because it's inhumane-- feral cats are killed upon being brought to the humane society; because more cats will move in within months of this colony disappearing; because they will no longer have me to TNR the new cats), I ... don't know what to do.




(Potential) Project-Cat EMERGENCY

While sitting on my balcony this afternoon to do some work-- enjoying what little of "spring" we get here in the Valley of the Sun-- I discovered a shiny new cat-trap (well, humane trap-- it works for whatever) in place, locked, no less, to a pipe next to the laundry room.

I investigated it, then went to the management office.

Underlings informed me that "maintenance has traps all over the property" and they are trapping the "strays" and taking them to the humane society.  I pointed out that that means they're being killed; I was ignored as usual.

I've looked all over the place and haven't found any more traps. And I am about to wash my face (I admit it, I cried.  A lot.  Frustration, anger, fear.)  And I am going back to the office now that a manager should be there-- and in fact a manager I have dealt with before.

All that said, I don't have high hopes for this meeting and I'm downright scared.

Keep your eyes on this spot for more updates.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Percy Meets His Mama

Friday was a crazy busy day for me and for Percy, too.  First thing in the morning, Beatrice's mom picked us up to take me to work and Percy to her house (where he undoubtedly made Beatrice angry by his very presence.) Then she packed him back up, picked me up from work and took us both to the airport. 

It took us a while to check in, but it was all straight forward as I'd made reservations before.  Then it was time to get through security, which was also straight-forward but not fun.  Percy was upset and did not want to come out of his carrier for going through the metal detector.  And I discovered that he'd already peed in said carrier, presumably because he was upset/scared.  But I kept a hold on him and we got through to our gate.

Both in Phoenix and during our lay over we got a lot of comments because Percy kept up a steady stream of meowing.  His carrier, unless you look really closely, looks like an ordinary duffle bag.  (The black mesh sides are hard to see, particularly with a black cat inside.)  So people would look around, totally confused, upon hearing a cat in the airport.  "Is that a cell phone?" they'd ask. "What a weird ringtone."  "Is there a cat around here or did I take too many drugs before my flight?"  But once I admitted that the noise was from the cat in my bag and explained that he was a foster kitty going to meet his forever mama, everyone was very supportive and pleased and wanted to chat about their cats or about traveling with pets.

When we landed in Charlotte for our layover, I became uncomfortably aware that Percy had pooped in his carrier.  I decided that I had to at least try to clean him  and the carrier up before the next flight, and so I ducked into a women's room.  All the restrooms in Charlotte have attendants, which surprised me, but fortunately the one in the restroom I picked was very friendly and helpful. She even said that last week someone else had a flat-faced cat in the bathroom and was giving it a bath.  So I gave Percy a bath, too.  He was un-pleased, but since he had poo all over his tail, I felt it was a necessity.  His having a harness on made the bathing process possible. I then put him on the floor (while I held on to his leash) so I could clean out his carrier, and he made a new friend of a small toddler who had seen him and started happily calling out, "Cat! Cat!"  His mom let him pet Percy until a helpful flight attendant who had seen me bathing Percy told her that he had poop on him (which he no longer did, of course.)  The mother was then suitably horrified and scooped up her child to wash his hands.  Afterward, the toddler went right back to Percy and then had his hands washed again.

Things cleaned up as best as possible, Percy and I headed for our gate, which was in the back of beyond as we were taking a puddle jumper from Charlotte to a small airport in Virginia.  We settled in to wait-- only for me to discover that Percy had pooped again.  So to another restroom and another attempt to clean up-- only this restroom was more crowded and I didn't think it was fair to anyone in this space to try and bathe poor Percy again.  I did what I could with paper towels and hoped everything would be okay.

Our flight was delayed by a few minutes, meaning we didn't land at our final destination 'til midnight.  Percy's mama, although in from Germany, couldn't take him 'til Sunday night, so we went straight to where he and I would be staying for a few nights and I plopped Percy into a bathtub of warm water.  The poor dear was miserable for a bit, but I quickly got him clean and then swaddled in a fluffy towel.  Once he was dry-ish, we gave him food and he was back to being his usual self.  (I, however, still had a bunch of scrubbing to do of his carrier.  Ew.) 

Anyway, Percy had to stay in bathroom-style isolation for two days because the apartment also held three other cats, but he was fine.  Several people, including of course myself, spent time with him and he was his usual helpful self as people showered/brushed their teeth/etc.

Then, yesterday afternoon the Big Moment arrived!! We bundled Percy back up into his carrier, grabbed all his belongings and took him to the hotel where his Mama is staying for a few days before her return to Germany. 

Once in the hotel room, Sir Percy popped out of his carrier and made a survey of his new domain.  He couldn't really look out the window, but he had an entire human bed to himself, so I think he decided he'd make do.  He enjoyed cuddles from everyone, including and especially from his new Mama. I gave him a bit of a brushing (it's his favorite thing ever), and his medicine (his least favorite thing ever) and food (his other favorite thing ever.)  He explored everything, from bathroom to desk. I gave him a goodbye hug and then plopped him into his new Mama's arms, and he  cuddled there like he'd always belonged.  And by the time we left, he was sprawled on a bed, looking for all the world like he'd always been there.

Percy's mama and I talked about his quirks and his health history.  I gave her all the necessary customs forms that my vet had filled out.  She told me about the many, many cat accessories she'd prepared for him back in Germany-- and he is going to be one very spoiled, loved, happy cat. 

He still has adventures to come. On Wednesday they have to drive to DC then take a flight to Amsterdam and then another flight to Germany.  I'm sure he won't enjoy any of that, but I'm equally sure that it's brief unpleasantness compared to the happiness of a wonderful forever home.

Some pictures were taken of Percy's meeting his mama and once I get them I'll post a few here.  And if I get permission from his mama, I'll also post the super-cute picture of Percy and his mama finally together. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Percy's Leeeeeaving on a Jet Plane (picture heavy post)

Yup, things have lined up, it seems, for Sir Percy to get to his forever home on the other side of the Atlantic.  His new Mama's visa situation worked out, airfare was purchased, and Sir Percy and I will be meeting her in VA.  (I was heading to that side of the country this weekend anyway for a wedding, so now Sir Percy is just coming with me.)


Today we'll be visiting the vet to get this Health Certificate (it had to be within 10 days of his traveling abroad, you see, so couldn't be done sooner.)  Fingers crossed for a clean bill of health!

  Both myself and Beatrice's mom (while she was fostering Sir Percy) had tried to put him in a harness, since he wanted to go outside so much.  Both times he screamed bloody murder and then went and hid.  But on Tuesday I managed to get it on him with almost no fuss at all. This is a fairly necessary step, I feel, for airline travel.  Yes, he'll be in his (brand new) carrier for 99% of his travel, but he's going to have to through security twice.  (Once with me, once with his new mama).  Cats going through security, as you might recall from my travels with Dean and Max, need to come out of their carriers to go through the metal detector with their human while the carrier goes through x-ray.  I can't imagine anything much more troublesome than a scared cat freaking out during his process and running away, so, harness.





I let Sir Percy onto my balcony for fresh air, since I could be sure he wasn't going to take a kamikaze leap off of it (as he was tethered to me.) 

Since he behaved so well, I took him downstairs to play in the grass.  There he behaved less well  (he wanted to be freeeeee) so it was a brief experience.





We also got a glimpse of  Daphne while out and about!

Later on, as you can see, Sir Percy was tuckered out and sprawled on he floor.


 And showing off his belly!



Thank you very much for all the good thoughts and nice comments you've been sharing.  (And no one has pointed out how incredibly bizarre it is that this kitteh is getting a home on a different continent...for which I'm also grateful.)  And a huge thank you to recent donor B., who I don't know at all (at least not by real name) and I think is in Australia, who generously chipped into help out Project-Cat.  (Project-Cat has truly gone global... My little feral colony is well loved!)  I am so grateful to all of you that I cannot adequately express it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Percy's Busy Week

Lots has been happening to poor widdle Sir Percy.  On Monday I dropped him off at the vet so my cats could have a much needed vacation from him, poor dear.  While here he go his final set of vaccinations, so that was good.  His "camper report card" indicated that he was calm and spent most of his time hanging out on his shelf and watching out the window.

Bu things got more hectic for him after that.  I picked him up on Thursday and he spent the night at Beatrice's house, trying (and absolutely failing) to make friends with that feisty feline.  Friday morning he was dropped off a the clinic for his much needed neutering.  By Friday evening he was recovering a Beatrice's house-- and already acting perfectly normal (for him, at least!) other than walking a bit funny, poor dear.  (Beatrice was still mighty angry.)  I brought him back here late last night and he's been acting just fine ever since.  (My cats? Still mighty angry.) 

So all of that is a relief. 

What about Germany, you may be asking?  And honestly, I'm not sure where things stand there.  I'll update as I learn something...

Finally, a huge shout-out thank you to A..  Knowing her, she wouldn't want public thanks (I'm not sure she'd even want thanks...) but she deserves them because she is awesome.  Not only has she helped out financially in the past with Project-Cat, but she is also the person I go to for advice in all feline related matters.  She, too, has been a rescuer.  And she is a rescuer of this particular cat rescuer. :) Her most recent donation is incredibly appreciated.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Feline Insanity!

Percy is a fairly laid back cat.  He seems to like to find a place to sprawl out (he's 10pounds, which isn't all that big, really, but he sprawls well) and just watch the world go by.  Sometimes he does like to explore, hopping up on places he really ought not visit, but, well, he's a cat after all. 

Despite this happy-go-lucky nature, my cats don't like him.  To be fair, they don't like any cat other than each other (and sometimes that's questionable and based on mood).  So one is hiding under the bed pretty much constantly and the other is refusing to eat (although she'll still happily take treats, thankyouverymuch, morepleasenow?)  Between this and the constant low level of Percy's "Mrow? Mrow? Mrow?" to the other cats and the grooooororrrrrooorrrrrrwwwwwlllll response he gets (punctuated by occasional hisses, of course), I'm also going a bit crazy and would like some sleep, thanks.

So, Percy's going back to the vet for a few days of boarding.  This is not entirely a bad thing-- while he's there he'll get his second set of shots and I've also arranged for a fecal test because his elimination has never seemed quite right and he hasn't had one.  (He'll be providing them with fresh samples, after all.)  I'd put up with the noise and even the hiding cat, but the not-eating cat has me worried, y'know?  Percy will have a condo with a window (he likes windows) and it won't be for long, just a break for my cats.  If timing works, he'll go for neutering shortly after that, during which he'll recover with Beatrice's mom (who will closer all her windows tightly).

Then, if we're really lucky, he'll be heading to Germany at the end of the month.  The end of the month being reeeeally soon, in fact.  So, fingers crossed. :)

Sorry no pictures today-- I'm writing this from a coffee shop.  And sooper-hyooge thanks to kitty lover (and my personal friend) D. in NYC for the donation I got yesterday towards Percy's care. :D  You are the bestest!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The cat came back, the very next day...

Well, okay, the title is a lie-- I found Percy a few days after his most recent escape, hanging out by the downstairs foodbowl.  I said hi, he said "Meow."  I scooped him up and he's back here with me.  (Seriously, as soon as I got home from the airport, there he was.)  So he's back safe and sound.  And in fact, this time around he doesn't seem to have gotten into any fights. 

[Sorry-- all the pictures below are from my phone-- it was closer to hand than the camera.  You know how cats are; you get up to get the camera and they move from whatever pose you wanted.]

Here's a picture of Percy one week after he was found after his first escape.  Kinda gross, but those were all scratches and scabs.  There are a lot more that you can't see in the picture. (I was mostly taking it as a reference shot to see if the one below his left eye was getting better-- it has, as you'll see in the next picture.  But he was scratched all across his face, had a pretty nasty puncture under his jawline, and two more nasty ones on the top of his head.  I think he may have tangled with a dog, perhaps? Something that actually had Percy's head in its mouth?  Eek.  He also had scratches all along his shoulder blades.]

And here he is today-- you can certainly still see where the scratches are healing and it'll be a while before his fur grows back all the way, but he's getting better. At the tippy top of his head you can see a furrow where there was a scratch (now healed) but the fur is missing.  Same thing on the right side of his face-- he's healed up, the scabs are even gone (you can just see new skin) but the fur will take a while.

Poor little beastie.  He's still very handsome, I swear-- these pictures don't do him justice!!

And he's getting comfortable-- here's his tummy. :)

Right now he's wandering around meowing fiercely.  I have no idea what he wants at the moment...

This week we'll try that whole neutering thing again, and he'll also get his second set of shots.  The shipping-him-to-Germany plan is harder than anticipated, but we're working on it.

(Speaking of which, thank you very much to the donor who put a few dollars in the 'jar' to help unite Percy and his momma. Yay!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Oh, Percy...

When Bea's mom re-found Percy after his narrow-window escape a few weeks ago, he came back covered in scratches, all beat up.  It seems that Percy is way too friendly to defend himself from other cats.  This certainly seemed the case against my cats-- mine didn't attack him (or even come near him) but they growled and hissed and Percy just sat there, as if to say, "Why don't you liiiiike meee?"

But Percy also really, really still wants to go outside, and yesterday, while Bea's mom was taking care of all the cats (my pets, foster-Percy and also the ferals, while I'm out of town for a few days doing my 'day job'), Sir Percy escaped.  Again.  Bea's mom caught him, but he scratched her up and escaped again before she could get him indoors. 

So, I guess he's out adventuring again. Worst part is, he was supposed to be neutered today-- that clearly didn't happen.  As long as he stays away from the other cats and doesn't get too close to cars or troublesome humans, he should be okay until I can catch him again. And this time he's got a microchip, which helps. 

Sigh.  Oh, Percy

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Send Percy to Germany!

Sometimes things take a turn you'd never expect.

The good news is that Beatrice's mom successfully found Percy! Hurray! Then she not only wrestled him back inside (I can imagine Percy thinking, "But! But! I was having fun!!!") but also bravely gave him a bath (as he'd gotten quite dirty while out in the big world.)  He seems none the worse for wear, other than a couple of new scratches on his face.  (He apparently also fought with the big world while out there.) 

His adventures have not cured his wanderlust, so we're sending him to Germany.

Just kidding.  Well, no, not really-- we are sending him to Germany, but not to cure his wanderlust.  (Although while there he'll get neutered, so actually, in a roundabout way, perhaps that's precisely what'll happen...)

Let me explain.  A friend of a friend, currently traveling in the US and hoping to live here permanently soon-ish, saw this here this very blog and fell in love with Sir Percy.  Who could resist?  The downside is her visa expires in a few days and back to Germany she must go.

You see the dilemma?  Percy's in AZ, the friend is in NYC, soon to be Germany...

Well, she really wants this cat, so we're attempting what seems pretty impossible.  Tomorrow Percy will go to the vet to get his vaccines and microchip and (fingers crossed!!) a clean bill of health (preferably in German... I know some German, but honestly, nothing involving Katzen beyond calling them Katzen. Anyone know the German for "Rabies vaccinated"?)

The second cat I adopted came to me from a few hours away, initially rescued by a now very close friend who was then an online acquaintance whose website I really liked.  And I have often felt that that cat and I were meant to find each other, even though it took the internets and circuitous routes for that to happen.  So I understand Percy's hopeful adopted momma's desire and I'm doing everything I can to make it work.  She is, too-- she has hours on the phone tomorrow to look forward to, in changing her flights, arranging flights, double-checking things with various embassies and customs.  Between us, we'll be spending a lot of money to get this cuddly feline to the momma who wants him.  He deserves a human who will adore him, and love him to pieces-- he's certainly not gotten a lot of help from humans before this.

My point in this post is threefold--

1. To celebrate Percy's safe return! Huzzah!!

2. To share with you how Percy has found a momma, barring unforeseen circumstances in the next two days.  Huzzah!

3. And to ask that, if your fuzzy little heart feels moved and your pockets can afford it, that you drop a few dollars in the Paypal account via the donate button.  If it warms the cockles of your heart to see this once unwanted fuzzy-baby to become an adored international feline, maybe you can help it happen?