Against All Odds

Introduction:

“The cat is a bold, self-sufficient creature that moves forward in the direction of its choosing. Traditionally adventurous and intuitive, the cat likes to prowl on its own, unafraid of danger, as it boasts nine lives. Embrace the confident energy of the intelligent and charming cat.”

People will tell me that some cats can’t be rehabilitated and introduced into a new household where other cats exist, but in my opinion it just isn’t true. Of course I haven’t met every cat in the world but I’ve met some pretty tough felines. People will argue that especially feral cats can’t be introduced into a home environment and will never fully trust a human but I beg to differ on this subject. Of course there are always exceptions but I believe with enough love, time and patience any cat will succeed as a loving companion pet.

Let us talk about human nature and the makeup of a human. Humans come in all personality types and so do animals. In a human environment not all humans get along with other humans but learn to tolerate certain people that they have to be around and work with. The human chemistry really isn’t any different than the animal chemistry; and having an animal that needs to get to know another animal or human for that matter, is just a matter of time.

Not all humans have patience. Other words for patience are endurance, tolerance, fortitude, perseverance and staying power.

Some humans will make an effort to help a homeless outdoor cat while others won’t. For those of you that are reading this article who enjoy being kind and helpful to homeless cats I want to thank you and hope you have time to read these stories.

 


 

Paw Paw, Gabby, Grey [Their cat stories]

Paw Paw

This large dark muscular but thin at the waist cat showed up on our door step one day and came right up to me when I was taking in the mail. He had a rugged look and a scared face but his dark eyes were tender and kind as he looked up at me. I’d never seen this cat in our neighborhood before and he looked very tired and hungry. I decided to see if he was friendly and stooped down to pet him which he allowed me to do without struggle. It was a nice day out and I put some dry food down for him to nibble on and decided that I’d see if he’d come back the next day before taking him in and helping him find a forever home. I have other cats in my home and didn’t want to risk getting them ill by bringing in another cat that was not vet checked first.

He eagerly ate his food and then meowed a satisfied thank you and walked away. I didn’t see him for the rest of the day, but the following day he was at my door step again, looking tired and hungry. I called my veterinarian as it was early in the morning and asked if they had room to check out a stray kitty. I was pleasantly surprised when they said yes and agreed to take him in right away. I packed him up in a cat carrier and drove to my veterinarians. This cat had not been neutered and had fleas so they were able to neuter him right away and inoculate him, deworm and de-flea him that same day. While this cat was at the veterinarians, I went looking for a forever home and called around to some friends that were cat lovers and received the name of a woman and her son who had just lost their cat to illness.  They were looking for another companion cat to keep their remaining cat company. We chatted over the telephone and she agreed to meet this male cat who she would later name Paw Paw.

The weekend was approaching and we were getting ready to make the trip out to Wallingford to meet this woman and her son. Besides the cat we brought our large dog crate, a litter box, food that we knew this cat liked eating and two cat dishes and started our trip. We were pleasantly surprised to meet the nicest woman and her son who are real animal lovers. Not only did they have a female cat but a beautiful friendly dog as well. We helped set up the crate in an upstairs bedroom and put the new cat arrival in to get settled.

I explained to these people that their new cat should be confined to the crate for a minimum of two [2] weeks so that the other animals have time to get to know him and this cat knows he’s coming into a new home were other animals were here first. Territorial problems can exist between animals and this is usually where the conflict between animals arises from. After a short visit we left this kitty at his new home. I reminded them not to let the cat out before two weeks.

Two days later I received a telephone call from this woman telling me she had let Paw Paw out of his crate because she felt sorry for him and he looked so lonely. She explained that he attacked her female cat and she wasn’t sure she could keep him. I asked her to have patience and put Paw Paw back into the crate and to start over again for that two [2] week time period. She also told me she had called a friend of hers at the Meriden animal shelter who told her that some cats just don’t get along with other cats and she might have to surrender him. When she told me this I told her that I thought this person was wrong and I asked her to please have some patience and just do what I suggested and crate him and call me to let me know the results after two [2] weeks. She agreed and hung up.

Shortly after the two [2] week time frame she called me to say “you were right, he settled down and although he likes the dog better he isn’t chasing my female cat.” She explained “Paw Paw must have lived in a home with another dog because he just loves our dog and sleeps in the same room with her.” She went on to tell me “Paw Paw still hisses at our female cat but he’s much better and every day there is less confrontation.” Paw Paw and my female cat are now sleeping on my bed together at night.” We love him so much, we want to thank you for helping us. I thanked her for having the patience to wait for Paw Paw to settle into his new home and get comfortable enough to trust them and her animals.

I explained that it just takes time and patience which most people don’t invest in, but for those that do make that commitment they are pleasantly surprised and end up with a friend and loyal loving companion for life.

We set a date for us to go back out to their home and pick up our crate and see Paw Paw and her animals again. When we finally got there and packed up the crate, we got to pet Paw Paw and her other cat and dog and visit awhile and see that Paw Paw had found his forever home. It was wonderful.

Grey

We trapped Grey in a depressed area of downtown Waterbury from a starving existence in one of the coldest winters we’ve had here in New England.

Grey is a large dark gray male cat with deep black eyes. When he looks at you his stare is so intense that you just know he’s thinking about something really important. Grey has been with us now for three years and he’s finally coming around.

At first he was so frightened he bit the person who opened the trap when it was time to transport him to a carrier. He was deemed feral for life by the veterinarian that neutered him. When we finally got him home we put him in the largest dog crate we could find. He was so frightened he stayed in the litter box until dark and then he would crawl out of the box to eat. This went on for close to a year.

Then finally one day I found a cat playpen in a magazine which was larger than the crate he was in and I purchased it and when it arrived I transported Grey into the pen which sat on the living room floor. He seemed to like this better and now he could smell our other cats nose to nose thru the durable mesh fabric. He was on their level and he felt more comfortable being down on the ground with them. After a month one day I opened the playpen and out ran Grey who hid under our television stand. We moved his food and water underneath our coffee table and left the litter box in his playpen. It has been three years now and Grey plays with Gabby and is best buddies with our newest arrival Toby. He is no longer afraid of humans like he used to be and sits and waits for his wet food right next to Gabby in the morning and afternoons. Often times he gets brave and walks up close to one of us and stares at us as if to say, “I’m trying to trust you with my life but I’m not there yet.” Grey is the most affectionate, loving and gentle cat we have. The reason I know this is by how he is with our other cats. He has the patience of a saint with our Gabby and I just know that one of these years he will approach us with open cat paws and let a human love him. The time and patience we’ve put into Grey has been worth every purr we hear from him. He is a love.

Gabby

I met Gabby in 2014 while I was working and doing an overnight shift to help a woman and her husband who had cancer. After her female owner died I helped care for Gabby’s male owner Bill. Gabby was a feisty orange and white long haired female with large green eyes. She would zip through the house and then crash from exhaustion. Once she attacked the picture window and screamed so loud that she frightened everyone in the house including herself. Running to the window to see what all the noise was about I saw a stray black cat crossing the yard. Gabby continued her tirade until that cat left the premises. She would often retreat to a corner of the house in an upstairs bedroom and stay there all day. Her behavior was definitely abnormal but she was loveable as she came out every night to sit on the arm of her owner’s recliner and watch television with Bill. Gabby liked people but she seemed to not like other cats.

During my overnight shifts she often slept at the foot of my cot and allowed me to pet her. She was always more affectionate in the evening hours. Gabby had come to this family as a stray cat and showed up at their doorstep one day so they took her in. Her diet consisted of mainly Meow Mix and fresh water. She walked with a strange gait and her back was rather humped over.

When her owner Bill passed away I could see it in her eyes Gabby was very sad and missed her friend alot . The family and Power of Attorney that took over considered putting Gabby in a cat sanctuary as the owners requested. I had grown to love Gabby and so I offered to take her home thinking she would not do well living a life in a cat sanctuary with a hundred other cats. I thought that she would pass away prematurely.

The family considered my offer and decided to allow me to take Gabby and they were quite generous in offering me a small stipend to care for her for the rest of her life. I was thrilled and so I picked Gabby up and took her home. I crated her for two weeks and it was very hard on her, even though she appeared to be quite confident by chasing after other cats she was actually very insecure. She sat in the litter box most of the time except when she ate.

I decided to make an appointment to my veterinarians and have blood work done on her which had never been done. I used the stipend to have a senior profile and a separate B12 and folic acid test done to see if she was deficient in brain vitamins which might account for her behavior. When the doctor called me he told me my suspicions were correct as he read her blood work results back to me. Gabby had thyroid disease and was hyperactive. In addition her folic acid and B12 readings were severely below normal levels which accounted for her bazaar behavior. I asked the doctor what could be done for her folic acid and B vitamin levels and he said “better food”. Gabby was fed Meow Mix her entire life which has By-Products in it. For her thyroid disease the doctor put her on a transdermal form of medication which is easier to administer because it is rubbed on the inside of the outer part of the inner ear and no pilling is required. My veterinarian said that without her medication she could go into cardiac arrest.

I brought Gabby home and after two weeks I let her out of her crate to walk around the house. She like most cats was very territorial and chased my two female cats around the house and held them hostage in my room not allowing them to come out. Grey our male cat took a liking to Gabby probably because of her beauty and started pursuing her which she didn’t appreciate at all. She would hiss at Grey and swat him when he got too close to her. This went on for close to ten months but her behavior was less volatile as the months went by and I could tell she was feeling better on her medication and she just loved the holistic food she was getting. Every morning she’d wait in her special spot in front of the front door until I put down her wet food and she’d run and gobble it up. This happened twice a day once in the morning and once in late afternoon. As time went by she even tolerated Grey’s advances and now doesn’t hiss or swat him at all, but rather she sits in the picture window with him early morning and they look out at the world seeing it from four different eyes I’m sure. Gabby now walks around the house and doesn’t hold any of my other cats hostages.  I think she realizes that this is her home and she shouldn’t feel threatened. It took her two years to get comfortable with all our cats but she has now made this her home.

On December 30, 2015 Gabby our thirteen [13] year old female senior orange and white long haired feline jumped up on the kitchen table to take a look at Toby our newest male addition to our family. Toby being a very mellow guy just stood there and allowed Gabby to smell him. Then after she smelled him she turned around and jumped off the table and left. No hissing, no growling, no fighting, no confrontations at all. Gabby is so much more emotionally and physically healthy than when she first arrived at our home. It’s taken her a year to get to this point where she accepts all the other cats in our home. All she needed was enough time, patience and healthy food so she could become the wonderful companion cat that she is to our family.

Peter and Vivian – Bourke Parakeets

Introduction: Birds are intelligent, vocal animals who were put on this earth to stretch their wings and fly freely. Birds should never be captured and never be in cages, it’s surely a sin for the human who cages a bird, and a sin for the poor birds soul. If a human had wings they wouldn’t be in a cage, they’d be in the skies flying freely and so it should be for all birds.Birds should not be pets.

In 2014 I started taking care of an aviary while the owner went away for the winter months. During a time when the aviary light timers were off and not working properly something happened to several of the birds. I came in one day and found several different types of birds on the ground unable to fly while others had passed away during the night. After doing some research I contributed this to the lack of sunlight in the aviary or possibly some of the birds flew up and hit the ceiling of the aviary and got a concussion similar to what people get. I called the owner to let him know what had happened, and reported that I removed the sick birds and set up separate cages where they could receive individual attention.

Two of the Bourke parakeets were a dull coral color and could barely hold their heads up off the ground. I put one of the female and male parakeets into a smaller cage so that they had all their food and water where they could easily reach it. I pampered them and arrived daily to change their water and give them new greens and seed. I named them Peter and Vivian. Although I couldn’t be sure of their sex I instinctively knew one was a male and the other a female by the way they acted around each other.

I was in contact with the owner on a daily to semi-daily basis giving him an update on their progress.  The owner told me I was wasting my time and that they would never get better. He told me he would put them down when he arrived home if they weren’t better by then.  I told him it was my time and I’d waste it anyway I’d like. I was put out at the owners lack of concern for these living, breathing animals that were struggling for their very lives. I reported that they were eating very well and drinking but he didn’t seem to care much.

I called a friend of mine Walter who owns a farm and who takes in many different types of animals who need homes. He has goats, geese, chickens, parrots and a few dogs and a cat besides some other animals. This man is exceptional and loves and provides exceptional care to his animals. I asked for advice on how to help these birds and he referred me to “The Chicken Doctor” or Peter Brown  at www.FirstStateVetSupply.com and 410-546-6137. Walter knew Peter personally and he did a lot of work with birds.  I called this man and he spent a lot of time on the telephone listening to me explain my problem.  He said most likely it was neurological and that if it was it would take a long time for these birds to get better. He suggested I purchased liquid vitamin B12 and liquid Selenium and Vitamin E [brain vitamins]. Peter told me how to administer these vitamins as I would put a measured amount into their filtered water daily. One week on with the brain vitamins and one week off.

The time was closing in on when the owner of this aviary was to return home as winter was almost over. I waited until he returned so he could see the condition of these birds and then when I had my own cage I took them home.  It was in January 2015 when I found them sick and it was in March when I took them home with me. Walter gave me the name of a traveling bird doctor in Connecticut who might have a cage for me. I called Doctor Burke who was happy to hear from me and offered to give me a free cage or two if I’d travel to her home to pick them up. I agreed and headed out to Ashford which was a hour and a half drive to her farm. There I met her family and her family of animals and after a tour I packed up two cages and returned home. The next day I went to the aviary and took Vivian and Peter home with me. I set them up in the a sunny room in my home where I could see them and they would have interaction with people. I noticed how intelligent they were and that they noticed my every move. Every morning I’d approach their cage and call them by name and say good morning. After one week they knew their names. I know this because when I called out to Peter the male he would pick up his head and look directly at me as if to say ” gee she’s talking to me.” I repeated this and did the same thing with Vivian and she acted the same way by looking directly at me.

Every day I cleaned their cage in the morning and changed their water making sure they had their vitamins. I noticed that Peter was drinking more than Vivian. This would account for what happened next, after a few months Peter’s head was up and not as close to the ground, he no longer had a head tilt; and I was thrilled to see their progress. Vivian on the other hand appeared to be less able to keep her head up for long periods of time but daily I saw progress.

It was in the summer month of July 2015 when I took Peter and Vivian outdoors to their summer cage one day. While I was transporting Peter from the carrier to his cage he was watching me closely and darted out of the carrier and got away from me. He flew like a streamlined jet across my yard and over our forty [40] foot maple tree and down the other side of it. I hoped as I ran towards him that he would still be there on the ground when I approached. He was exhausted but exuberant with excitement as this was the first time he had ever experienced this type of flight. I threw my soft garden hat over him and picked him up and said “good boy Peter your all better.”  I carried him over to the cage and knew that from that moment on Peter would never be the same. We had an unspoken agreement he and I as we looked at each other and I knew I had to find a bird sanctuary with a large aviary that would allow Peter to freely fly.

Months went by and now I see more progress with Vivian as the winter months set in. Vivian is now holding her head up and by February of 2016 Vivian is perching on a ground perch I put down for her. Up until now she couldn’t perch.

In February 2016 I purchased the largest flight cage I could find, 5 feet by 5 feet and with some help I assembled it. Now I’m waiting for Vivian and Peter to figure out they can fly in there new home. I am waiting on Vivian to fly but I’m sure as she takes her time to recuperate her time will come. I’ll let everyone know when this happens. Vivian flew before her passing on August 5th which the veterinarian thinks was from a heart attack.