Walk Through The Web Wednesday 10/14

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Hello Furiends,
I hope this Wednesday finds you well. It’s been a bit boring in our neck of the woods and it appears that The Human has taken this lull in the schedule to mock us. Granted, Oliver seems to have received the worst of it. She entered two social media events, #childhoodphotochallenge and #unflatteringcatphotochallenge. I have posted the photos below and will let you be the judge.

Okay, this one isn’t too bad but poor Oliver in the next photo….
Oliver may have lost a large part of his fan base with this pic!

I would suggest to all my furiends that you watch carefully what contests your humans enter you in!

And now, lets see what happened in the feline news world this week.

Shelter cats make themselves at home in library

Sometimes  you’re looking for a book, sometimes you’re looking for a cat and now you don’t have to decide between the two at the Auburn Public Library in Maine due to their cooperation with the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society.  You can find feline’s hanging out in the library’s teen room.  Customers can come in with a 30-minute browsing pass. That gets them in the library for 30 minutes, whether they want to look at books, read the newspaper, visit with the cats and yes, some come specifically to visit with the cats.

Paws Up award by FelineOpines.net for humans who do amazing things for cats

Library staff approached the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society about getting a feline boarder last spring. Employees had returned from their COVID-19 shutdown, but the library was still closed to patrons. A temporary resident cat felt like a good morale booster.

This library receives our Paws Up award for creative thinking and for helping more felines find homes!

Fat Cat Books helps senior cats find homes

 Wow! You humans are really stepping up  your game when it comes to helping felines find their furever homes. The Feline Advocates of Leon County Florida opened a new book store earlier this month called Fat Cat Books.

Paws Up award by FelineOpines.net for humans who do amazing things for cats

The book store is part of Fat Cat Café, also operated by the Feline Advocates of Leon County. Organization leaders say while the café is home to a lot of kittens, the book store is geared toward senior cats.

Eight to ten cats will live inside the store, all of them up for adoption. The book store opened last week has already had three cats find their furever homes.

Another well-earned Paws Up award!

Cat is escorted off train after being caught on board ‘without a ticket’

Evidently, the Chinese take umbrage to a feline hitching a free ride on a train. Humph, I bet this wouldn’t have happened in a cat loving country like Japan!

Cat returned home after four month adventure in Iceland

We felines have a way of getting around and Gunnlaugur is no exception. He lives in the north of Icland in a village called Varmahlio.

Gunnlaugur the cat, who lives in the northern village of Hofsos, was found around 31 miles away in Varmahlio, where locals had posted a picture of him online in hopes of finding his owners.

Gunnlaugur first went missing in June, but his humans said it isn’t unusual for him to disappear for several weeks at a time so it was a while before they figured he was missing.  He had appeared in Vaermahlio and fortunately, someone had seen a Facebook post about the missing feline so they were able to reunite him with his family.

These two villages are abut 50 kilometers apart (about 31 miles) and ther are many lakes and rivers the cat would have had to navigate to get there.

His humans, upon his return home, remarked that he was a bit portly when he left but is now slim and trim and he has returned to his job keeping mice at bay in the stable and enjoying his equine friends.

Cats and their human doubles

You humans have been meowing for years about dogs who resemble their owners but nobody (until photographer Gerrard Gethings began to photograph feines and their look-alike humans.

Gethings first started with a series about dogs that resemble people before he began his feline photography. He does say that shooting cats is more difficult because cat’s (if they deign to come out from under the bed and join you) are easily fed up.

No matter what he had to go through to get these pics, I say they are amazing! Who knew humans could look as good as cats?

Walk Through The Web Wednesday 10/7

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Hello Furiends,
I hope you are having as beautiful a fall season as we are in our neck of the woods. The sun is lovely and The Tribe is enjoying finding all our favorite sunning spots. My favorite is in the bed next to The Human’s desk but often Oliver decides he wants to horn in on my space. Noted below is his sneaky way of stealing my sunny spot. He squeezes in next to me and then begins a campaign of licking me until I get so annoyed I give him the bed. He’s really annoying.

Lily, on the other hand purrfers to find a sunny spot by herself.

The other bit of news is that Oliver is considering changing his look (he’s decided that just being a black and white feline is boring). He presents his new “looks” for your consideration. What do you think?

Enough about Oliver’s identity crisis, it’s time to check out this week’s feline headlines.

Pawprint of Britain shows where most cat lovers live

We know our furiends across the pond love us moggies. And now, whether you live in the UK and want to locate to a cat friendly community or you want to visit in a cat friendly area there is now a cat friendly map of Britain.

The historic naval city of Plymouth beat the seaside town of Brighton to win the title of ‘cat capital’ of Britain. Research discovered that two thirds (66.1 per cent) of people who live in Plymouth are feline aficionados.  Plymouth shares top spot with the cities of Brighton (a close second), Nottingham (third)  and Sheffield (fourth). Southampton, also a seaport was number five.

The list of top 15 UK cities where felines rule is, : 1. Plymouth – 66.1 per cent; 2. Brighton – 66 per cent; 3. Nottingham – 63 per cent; 4. Sheffield – 61 per cent; 5. Southampton – 59 per cent; 6. London – 58 per cent; 7. Norwich – 58 per cent; 8. Manchester – 57 per cent; 9. Bristol – 55 per cent; 10. Birmingham – 55 per cent; 11. Liverpool – 53 per cent; 12. Edinburgh – 53 per cent; 13. Glasgow – 51 per cent; 14. Leeds – 49 per cent; 15. Newcastle – 49 per cent.

Why Do So Many Heavy Metal Fans Love Cats? ROB HALFORD Weighs In

I’d be a lyin’ feline if I said this question hasn’t occurred to me.  There is a whole Pinterest page devoted to heavy metal musicians and their felines.

Judas Priest singer, Rob Halford explained why he likes to blow up social media with pictures of him attired in cat themed t-shirts.  He said, “I think I have about a hundred cat t-shirts now. I used to have a beautiful kitty cat called Ben, who lived a long life.”

Asked his opinion as to why so many heavy metal guys love felines he said,  “They’re beautiful creatures. I think the reason why we like ’em in our metal community is because they’re fiercely independent. You think you know your cat, [but] the cat knows you better than you do. And they’re so full of character and knocking things off the shelf and looking at you as if to say, ‘Look what I can do.’ But I love ’em for that. They’re beautiful creatures,”.

This feline likes the idea of heavy metal cats and says, rock on!   

Purrfect Delivery

If you think your mail carrier has an attitude then you need to meet Eric and Ollie who are deliverers with catitude!

Like the Instagram stars they are, these two Persians wear their uniforms with pride. We asked our Human how she would feel about a feline delivery purrson and she said she thought that would be cool but she’s not so sure she’d feel comfortable that our Chewy order would make it to our house intact.

What do felines and Tesla have in common?

Kettleman City Supercharger is a popular charging spot for Tesla owners … and cats. Fox26 has reported that there are around 60 kitties that live at the Supercharger

Now folks are looking to raise money ($3600.00) to care for these cats and they’re doing it through GoFundMe so the King County Animal Service can for the kittens.  This money will provide care and help prepare the kittens for adoption (.


I’ve featured some great human/cat furniture but this desk is my all-time fave! The designer of this desk says that a home should be designed for all it’s inhabitants.  I know our Human would love a desk like this and we bet she’d get her work done much faster!

There’s a lot of pawsome furniture for cats and their humans to share and for cats to use exclusively in this article (some I’ve reported on before).

Walk Through The Web Wednesday..on Thursday 10/01

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Hello There Furiends,
We’ve managed to get ourselves organized and ready to present this week’s web’s wanderings. The Human has been subjecting us to hard labor. Every time she changes the bedding we have to be there to snoopervise and when she turns the mattress, well that makes the work twice as hard! And there were other menial tasks we were forced to do. Now I ask you, should famous internet feines like us be subjected to such lowly labor??

You weren’t planning on bringing the vacuum monster in here were you?
Well who else was going to keep an eye on the chicken in the crock pot if I don’t do it?

Yes, it’s been a busy week and now it’s time for some good kitty stories.

Why Orange Cats Are Special, According to Science

Well who knew that there was so much scientific information on orange cats? As our Tribe has no orange kitties we’ve never been exposed to any of this info but we do have many orange furiends out there in cyberspace.

Science has determined that orange cats are more affectionate. Some say this is because the orange color is sex linked and there are more male orangies than female and current research states that males are slightly more friendly than females.

In a 1995 study,Pontier et al. that studied the  frequency of the orange gene variant among cat populations indicated that there are numerous traits that separate orange felines from their other colored compadres.

Here are a few of the conclusions from this study:

1. Orange cats are more common in rural (less dense) as opposed to urban environments. This finding suggests that orange cats may enjoy greater reproductive success in particular social conditions.

2. Orange cats are less common in areas with greater mortality risk. This finding indicates that orange cats may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors that result in death.

3. Orange males weigh more than cats of other colors, and orange females weigh less than cats of other colors.

The study indicates that male orange city kitties who are very competitive may heighten their risk of death (e.g., through fights with cats or other animals), thus driving down the proportions of orange cats..

Personality traits attributed to color is not a new idea and students have shown differences between rodents and birds based on their colors.

What do my orange furiends think about all this sciency stuff?  

Viking Cats: The Preferred Pets of the Northmen

A few Wednesdays ago I did a feature on cats in Japanese history and this week I’m bringing you some history of the majestic Viking cat. Yes, the Vikings kept pet cats!

Norse mythology has many tales of cats, the Norse god Freyja drove a chariot pulled by two cats. Those cats are called  ‘gib-cats’ and are depicted as grey or blue in color. The cats were a gift from Thor, and she used them to travel to the funeral of Baldur, her lover.

There’s also the Scandinavian folk tale of a cat that helps a poor man. First the cat wins a castle of silver and gold by tricking a troll – keeping it talking until sunrise when it turned to stone. Then, the cat asks the poor man to cut off its head. Hey, I wouldn’t mind tricking troll to get a castle for The Tribe and our Human to live in!

The ferocious wolf Fenrir is restrained by a chain called Gleipnir, made from six magical ingredients including ‘the sound of a cat walking’. And finally, once of the Frost Giants tricked Thor into trying to lift up a huge cat. When Thor could only lift one paw, the cat was revealed to be the Jormungandr – the mighty serpent that encircles Midgard.

It’s likely that the Vikings played a part in spreading felines around the globe. A study concluded in 2016 analyzed the remains of over 200 cats from 30 different archaeological sites throughout Africa and Eurasia to find out about the history of the domestic cat.

As early humans spread across the globe and started planting crops, these crops would attract vermin such as mice and rats. These vermin then attracted cats, protecting precious crops from being eaten. And, since cats are so loveable and fluffy it didn’t take them long to weasel their way into the hearts and hearths of the humans.

There is no firm data that tells us when cats reached Scandinavia but scientists believe thy were there during the Iron Age. Remains found in a Viking trading port in the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany indicate that cats were providing their valuable services to humans by the Middle Ages.

Cats were welcome on Viking ships as their presence there would ensure that the food supply would be intact and unspoiled by disease bearing vermin.  

Another phenomenon of the ancestors of the Viking felines is their size…they are large! Today’s descendants of the Viking Cats are called the Norwegian Forest Cat and they are quite handsome!

Lewes MP’s cat is in the running to become ‘Purr Minister’

I do not get into purrlitical stories unless they feature felines and this one does! Collar, a feline who resides at the home of a Member of Parliament, is the running for the award  of  Purr Minister.

MPs and peers will also be putting forward their cats to a public vote for Purr Minister 2020 – the title of the nation’s favorite feline in Westminster.

Collar’s human said, “I think that being a stray, Collar represents exactly what they are all about and I hope that when voting opens to the public people will be able to support Collar to become Purr Minister.”

Each cat-idate in the runninbg has a “manifursto” explaining why they should land the role.

Collar’s “manifursto” says: “Being a stray and someone who didn’t have a home, I searched high and low to find someone to love me, look after me and be my servants. I was lucky as I found a loving home which already had cats so I have allowed them to look after me.”

Kitty see, kitty do: cat imitates human, in first scientific demonstration of behavior

 A feline named Ebisu may be the world’s first literal copycat. Researchers have revealed that the Japanese cat can imitate the actions of her owner under controlled scientific conditions.

The discovery came about unexpectedly. Claudia Fugazza, an ethologist at Eötvös Loránd University, had been studying dog cognition for nearly 10 years using “Do as I do” training. In this method, a researcher first trains a dog or other animal to copy a behavior it already knows—such as rolling over—by saying “Do as I do,” demonstrating the behavior, and then saying “Do it!” The dog is then rewarded for its success. Over time, the animal learns that “Do it!” means “copy me.” The approach can be used to test whether animals can truly imitate—that is, copy actions they have never done before, such as ringing a bell.

Fugazza, met  Fumi Higaki, a dog trainer in Ichinomiya, Japan, who told her that  she had trained one of her cats with the “Do as I do” method. Her cat, an 11-year-old female named Ebisu (after the Japanese god of prosperity) was highly food motivated, making her easy to train. Her owner said“She often snuck into my dog training classes because she knew the people there had good treats,”

Well, if that’s the case, our Oliver should be brilliant at this training!

Higaki showed that Ebisu could copy familiar actions, like opening a plastic drawer and biting a rubber string. Then she asked the cat to imitate two new behaviors. While standing before Ebisu, who sat on a countertop next to a cardboard box, Higaki raised her right hand and touched the box. At other times, she bent down and rubbed her face against the box.

In 16 subsequent trials, Ebisu accurately copied her owner more than 81% of the time.

So there you have it, we felines are capable of waaaay more than some of you humans give us credit for!

Once-abandoned cat with different colored eyes, extra toes becomes Instagram famous

Sansa the Polydactyl Cat — named after the Game of Thrones character Sansa Stark — was adopted by her current owner in 2016 after being abandoned by her previous owner.

This beautiful white kitty with one blue and one green eye has now become an Instagram star with over 23,500 followers. Clearly The Tribe needs to up our game in the Instagram department!

Here eye color condition is called heterochromia and  Sansa  has other challenges, was also born with a seizure disorder called feline hyperesthesia and a congenital physical anomaly called polydactyl that makes her have more toes on her paws.

When her current owners found her in a New York City Petco, Sansa was “dealing with anxiety and heartbreak” from being abandoned. Thank goodness Sansa found a wonderful furever home and she’s now settled in.

Sansa is a loving cat to her humans and has become very social as well. “She sits on our lap on the couch every day and sleeps on the bed with us every night. She seems to know whenever Jack or I aren’t feeling well and will stay right by our sides.”

Walking Tomorrow

Hello Furiends,
This is what the Feline Opines office looks like at the moment. Evidently two blog posts on the same day was much to much for some of the staff. (I won’t even show you a photo of our Purrsonal Assistant who has definitely “checked out” for the day)

I will roust everyone after their naps and we’ll have our Web Wednesday post ready tomorrow.

You Made It Happen!

This year, millions of people around the world saw messages on social media advocating for pet adoption on Remember Me Thursday®. We were proud to be a part of this and thanks to all of you who purrticipated, it was another success!

People from around the world..India, Nambibia, Croatia, Guatemala and more shared their love for rescue pets. Celebrities (two-legged and four legged) joined in and more than 300 animal advocates registered for the first ever virtual candle lighting ceremony.

Here are some of the favorite moments from the #RememberMeThursday team:

We purrticipated in the Lola the Cat #RememberMeThursdayBlog Hop and you can visit it here.

Watch the #RememberMeThursday highlight video

Watch the #RememberMeThursday Virtual Candle Lighting Ceremony.

A big paws up for all our furiends who support and promote adoption and we are especially thankful for our amazing shelter Panhandle Animal Shelter and the ground breaking work they’ve done in our community and around the country!

The Tribe Opines About Planning For Your Feline’s Healthy Future With Scruffy Paws

Before we tell you the story about our experience with Scruffy Paws Hip and Joint Vitalize, we must turn this portion of our blog post over to our legal department.for a brief disclaimer.

This is a sponsored post by Scruffy Paws. As a happy customer of Scruffy Paws, we were contacted to write a sponsored post from our (and the Female Human’s) experiences with the product. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on our purrsonal views and experience with the product.

Alberto Opines

Some of you may remember our Angel Jasmine’s review of the Scruffy Paws Kidney Vitalize Chews. The Female Human can’t ever sing the praises of this product enough. The chews, along with Sub Q fluids and a kidney diet kept Jasmine’s last few years much healthier. When Jasmine was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism the end came soon, not from her kidneys but from her heart. Losing two Tribe members in the last six months, Jasmine and her brother Tucker, at the age of 17 sent the Human on a quest to find out how to take care of us early enough in our lives to keep us healthier and happier longer. Scruffy Paws is a company that allows her to do this.

I want to be able to climb and snoopervise forever!

Our recent wellness exams brought the reality of the poundage my brother Oliver and I possess (18.3 for me, 19.8 for Oliver) home. Concerned that size as well as age can be factors in our ability to be mobile and agile, she went to the Scruffy Paws website and saw Scruffy Paws Hip n’ Joint Vitalize. I don’t know about my other feline furiends but I want to be able to easily hop on the kitchen counter.on top of the kitchen cabinet and all the tall shelves in our house for as long as possible!

Oliver Opines

While I am less than pleased that my brother feels the need to share my weight with the world, I will say that I lost a half a pound since my last wellness visit. But still, I think our Human has a point when she decided to care for my health early and not wait until I’m a creaky little old man cat! I too enjoy jumping on counters, especially when food activities are taking place.

Someone has to snoopervise when The Human is cooking!

I am very happy that Scruffy Paws Hip n’ Joint Vitalize is the purrfect product for us. What does it do and how does it work?. Well, it keeps our joints flexible and pain free because of the natural ingredients it contains, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid and taurine. Now that’s all well and good but anyone who knows felines knows that we are not the easiest creatures to convince when it comes to taking supplements. If I don’t like something (like a purrticular breakfast offering for instance) I will give my Human a look as though she just murdered my family, I’ll stare at the food bowl with derision and scratch my paw next to the offending dish to show my distain. The final act of this Kabuki theater is me, tail held high, walking away. I don’t have the opportunity to do this though as Hip n’ Joint Vitalize comes in a bottle with a handy dropper. The Human has figured out it’s easier to give us each our dose from the dropper and we don’t mind the taste at all.

You can also add it into wet food if you are not a particularly persnickety feline when it comes to what’s being served by the staff.

I like the idea that The Human is taking preventative measures to keep us healthy, it’s never too early to start and at five years of age, Alberto and I are young enough for these preventative measures to put us on the road for a long and healthy life.

Just because we are still fairly yung, doesn’t mean that we can’t have hip and joint problems and, as we have a tendency to hide when we don’t feel well you humans may miss the signs of hip and joint problems. It’s not just us “pleasingly plump” cats who may develop hip and joint problems, even the skinny ones like Lily can develop these issue, but I’ll let Lily tell you her own story.

Lily Opines

I'm eyeing the butter but I've decided to be a good cat.

I’m a pretty petite little thing, weighing in at only 8.27 pounds but I am a few years older than Oliver and Alberto (8 years). My lightness has always helped me sail up on counter tops, dining tables, the backs of chairs, actually anywhere I want to go. Lately though, I’ve found I’m not so nimble as I used to be. It takes me longer to size up the jump and there are those few times when I stop in mid-try because I just don’t think I’m going to be able to make it.

The Scruffy Paws Hip n’ Joint Vitalize is just the ticket for me. The Human has seen the most dramatic change in me since I started talking the supplement. Lately, I’ve hardly ever have to abort a flying leap up onto the counter, bookcase or anywhere else. And feeling better has made me more confident so when those two hooligan brothers decide to chase me, I just turn around and give them a whacky paw rather than running away and hiding.

I’m happy that our Human is looking for how she can help us live long, happy, healthy lives. She’s even had DNA done which helps inform her of potential health problems we may encounter in the future.

A note from The Human

I am passionate about providing my fur kids the best quality of life and the longest lives I can. Caring for Tucker and Jasmine taught me so much, particularly in the last few years of their lives. We don’t have to play “catch up” or wait for our elderly felines to exhibit some of the diseases that age brings. We can be their health advocates and care for them with an eye to prevention as with the products from Scruffy Paws Nutrition. I still ask myself how much more time could I have had with Jasmine had I found the kidney treats sooner. If I had known about hyperthyroidism could I have dealt with that in a preventative manner? There are no answers to those questions but there is something I can do do and that is to invest in preventative care before the diseases and conditions manifest themselves.

We can’t keep our fur kids with us forever but I believe we can keep them with us for a long time and I want to make that time as happy and healthy for them as possible.

Walk Through the Web Wednesday 9/23

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Hello there furiends,
We are getting ready for fall in our neck of the woods and the colors are just beginning to change. Now that it’s cooler some of us are rethinking our stance on snuggling. As some of you know, Angel Tucker was Lily’s cuddle buddy and you’d never see him without her snuggled in next to him. Although, I have to say, Angel Tucker was an equal opportunity snuggler and he never chased anyone away as evidenced in these photos.

I am a manly man cat and don’t like to be caught showing my softer side so imagine my chagrin when The Female Human came home and discovered Lily and I in this compromising position.

Move along Human, nothing to see here!”

So now you know I’m a bit of a pushover and I am taking grief from my brofur, Oliver.

Would you look at my “softie” brother!”

Well, enough about me, it’s time to look at the best of feline news on the web and don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for our Remember Me Thursday celebration and light a candle for shelter pets.

A cat named Grudge is beaming into ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ season 3

The Female Human and I aren’t SciFi fans. To be honest, we’d rather curl up on the sofa and watch a good British mystery but when a feline is cast as a major star in a SciFi program, I’ve got to give him a shout out.

Season 3 of Star Trek Discovery will be introducing a handsome 18 pound Maine Coon whose Star Trek name is Grudge and real name is Leeu. . Grudge/Leeu already has  busy Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Evidently the human actors are impressed with Leeu’s stamina and acting talents.

For my SciFi, feline loving furiends, there was a feline owned by Data called Spot and Neelix who was owned by Reginald Barclay of “Star Trek Voyager”. And if you really want to do a deep dive into other Trekkie felines, there are quite a few listed in the article.

Pause for Purrs | Workplace cats charm customers and employees alike
Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer / Texarkana Gazette.

My regular readers know how much I love stories about working cats. This article from Texarkana, Arkansas sings the praises of felinse who are employed.

There’s Caspar who works at Hightech Signs whose main job is as customer greeter. He positions himself by the door ready to meow at everyone who comes in. If the customer doesn’t respond to Caspar’s meows, he will meow again until the human gets the message.

Caspar showed up years ago when he was a kitten, no one there was in a position to take a cat home with them. Caspar took care of that dilemma right away and when they arrived at work the next day they found him settled in and quite comfortable.

Caspar has been an integral part of the business ever since and even sports a tag with the words “Greeter”.

Then there’s Tuxie and Buttah who work at Three Chicks Feed, Seed and Cafe, Tuxie has been there for four years, since he was a kitten trapped at the bottom of a barrel in the back of the store, starved and skinny. Buttah, a female orange tabby, was dropped off at the store.

Tuxie’s coworkers describe him as relaxed and fun, while Buttah is the cool queen of the Café.

Persnickety Too has a customer relations cat who serves also as merchandise inspector.

“Bean came to us in 2016,” said Carrie Atkinson, owner of this floral shop.

They fell in love with Bean, but couldn’t take her home, because their dogs unfortunately killed cats they caught outside, Atkinson said. “It was decided to take Bean to the shop and she settled in nicely. She asks to be let in the cooler and go in and investigate the merchandise, When she’s done, she will let us know she’s ready to be let out.”

“She has a special relationship with Debra, our mail lady,” Atkinson said. “No matter what time of day it is, Bean will stop whatever she is doing to give her attention.”

So folks, if you are going to be visiting Texarkana be sure and visit these shop cats and if you have a shop, why not give a cat a job?

New Survey Finds that 85 Percent of Cat Owners Experience Therapeutic Benefits from Their Cat
“This is me providing purr therapy to my Human.”

Purina Cat Chow is taking cat therapy to the next level and has donated $30,000.00 to Pet Partners to fund training and registration of therapy cat teams.

According to a recent survey conducted by Purina Cat Chow, 85 percent of cat owners agree that they have had therapeutic benefits from their cats and that becoming a cat owner has improved their quality of life (86 percent). While three-fourths of cat owners agree that society does not understand the benefits of having a cat, nearly all (94 percent) agree that many people can benefit from spending time with cats.

“While most people tend to associate therapy animals with dogs, cats also provide a variety of mental and physiological benefits,” said Dr. Annie Valuska, Ph.D., senior pet behavior expert at Purina Cat Chow. “Cat owners often have lower stress levels than non-pet owners, which can improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health over time. Cats can also boost our mental health, decreasing feelings of loneliness and increasing a sense of purpose.”

Cats of all kinds can become great therapy animals. Take Tommy the blind cat for example. Even after losing his sight, the eight-year-old tabby passed his therapy pet evaluation with excellence. Now, as a registered therapy cat with Pet Partners, he loves helping people of all ages with his handler, Christy Santoro.

As people spend more time at home with their cats, Purina Cat Chow and Pet Partners encourage cat owners to learn how to become a therapy animal team with your cat. Thanks in part to Purina Cat Chow’s donation, Pet Partners is offering online training courses and discounted registration of therapy cat teams. Cats and cat owners can give back without even having to leave their homes. Together, Cat Chow and Pet Partners are working to enhance the well-being of local communities with the help of cats. 

To learn more about registering you and your cat to become a therapy animal team visit this link.

Meet the cat ladies of Rome and see their feline sanctuary

In the proximity of  the 1,900-year-old site of the Pantheon and the world-famous Trevi fountain, you may see a Tabby lounging in the sun on a piece of marble or a Siamese stretched out against an ancient column.  The Largo di Torre Argentina is located in the center of Rome and is home to about 200 cats.

“I adore cats,” says Silvia Viviani, the 80-year-old who founded the volunteer-led shelter in 1994, which spays, neuters, and feeds strays.. “I find them fascinating, lovable and, loving, supremely elegant, the most beautiful animals in the world,” she adds. “Nay, they are my personal evidence of the existence of God.”

Italy’s ban on killing homeless cats has created quite a feral population and stray cats in Rome have always found places that will provide them shelter.

Viviani’s full time operation feeds vaccinates and encourages adoption of the strays under her care. All of her  strays were given the status of Roman Biocultural Heritage by the Municipality of Rome in 2001, meaning that if five or more cats live together in a “natural urban habitat” they can’t be moved away.

Rome has quite a population of gattare, which in the local dialect means “cat ladies” who are known to push shopping carts laden with snacks for the local felines.  The title of cat lady is considered an aristocratic title and these cat ladies come from every walk of life.

Every day, volunteers feed, clean, and nurture the many abandoned cats found in and around Torre Argentina. According to the sanctuary, it has identified and sterilized more than 50,000 cats across the city since 2010.

It is this feline’s purrayer that the city of Rome as well as it’s citizens will continue to care for these feral cats .

This Japanese Inn Is Offering Sleepovers With Cats to Encourage Adoption

While we’re on the subject of world travel, I would  be remiss if I didn’t  direct your attention to  My Cat Yogawara, an inn that offers trial sleepovers with their resident felines.

Traditional Japanese inns, called Ryokans are famous for their signature designs and furnishings as well as communal baths and excellent service. The My Cat Yogawara is a Ryokan with a feline bonus. The owner wanted to match those seeking to try out cat companionship.

The inn’s rates are very reasonable and there is a range of room options some housing up to five people so that the whole family can experience what it’s like to live with a cat.

If you are interested in the feline program you must first spend time in the neighboring cat cafe. The staff will determine how comfortable you are with the felines and which ones you bond with best.  The guests are referred to as “foster parents” must agree to the rules for being a good roommate and caregiver to a feline. The feline guests arrive at 5:30pm and stay until 9:00am. Guests are asked not to leave the cat unattended and encouraged to bond with their feline guest.

If the guests enjoy their sleepovers, they can move on to the next phase, filling out an adoption application followed up by an interview. This last stage is so staff can determine if the guest and the cat are a good match. Once adopted, cats are then called “graduates” and are celebrated at their departure.

I say paws up for this new approach to cat adoption.

Remember Me Thursday. See The Light for Pet Adoption.

Today, September 24, 2020, the entire world will share the importance of pet adoption, and shine a light on all orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues. In 2017, people using #RememberMeThursday reached nearly 330 million people on social media.

On #RememberMeThursday, love your rescue and help others #SeeTheLight. It’s up to you to spread the word! We are so proud of our local animal shelter and their innovative efforts to keep animals out of shelters and in furever homes! Panhandle Animal Shelter is the former home of all of The Tribe.

Panhandle Animal shelter Executive Director Mandy Evans, photo from Bonner County Daily Bee

By MANDY EVANS Contributing Writer
| September 23, 2020 1:00 AM

Over the past decade, Panhandle Animal Shelter has been on a mission to transform animal sheltering in our region. PAS has gone from serving just 1,200 animals per year to serving over 8,400 in 2019. We had big plans for 2020 and were on track to expand our programs to serve even more animals and the people who love them.

Then, enter a pandemic that closed businesses, stalled supply chains, and threatened the safety of our community. Even the best laid plans quickly became rewrites.

To shelter animals, find new adoptive homes, and care for animals in the community, PAS interacts with the public, collaborates with local and national organizations, requires staff and volunteers, and relies on specialized equipment and supplies. There isn’t much of this model that the pandemic hasn’t challenged. Maintaining staff when a suspected exposure occurs is a challenge. Finding medical supplies is a challenge. Facilitating adoptions, intake, and clinics are a challenge. Adhering to consistent hours of operation is a challenge. Finding ways to safely engage volunteers is a challenge. Meeting with donors is a challenge. For a while, even finding a place to buy cleaning supplies was a major hurdle.

Our greatest challenge has been being able to continue spay and neuter surgeries at the level we feel is necessary for our community. Many medical supplies are limited due to the crossover use with human medicine and during the pandemic, human medicine has taken priority. Following veterinary medicine guidelines and guidance from shelter medicine professionals we have limited our spay and neuter surgeries. Additionally, veterinary medicine is a highly specialized skill, and when a team member is unavailable due to COVID-19 exposure or testing, we can’t perform surgeries or other necessary medical procedures to protect our animal population. These supplies and staffing shortages significantly limit our ability to meet our goals for the year.

Just like the community, we want things to go back to normal. Our team is tired and stressed and we miss seeing our community, working with our volunteers, and visiting at Yappy Hour. But be assured, our priorities have not changed. We are still as dedicated to supporting our community as ever before. We ask that you be patient with our staff and volunteers, hours of operation, and modifications to how our programs are operated. We are doing the best we can and we need your support.

During the past few months, we’ve been receiving questions like, “Where donations are going now that there are fewer animals in the shelter?”, “What does the future holds for PAS?”, and the most common question of all, “Where are all the cats?” We hope this article helps answer some of these questions – but if you’re curious about something related to the work PAS does, we invite you to email us at info@pasidaho.org.

With fewer animals in the shelter, where are my donations going?

There’s no better way to answer this question than to share more about our programs and the efforts underway to, by design, keep animals out of the shelter.

PAS operates robust owner support programs that exist to help keep animals out of the shelter. These supportive services are offered through a multitude of programs like our Pets for Life program which supports pet owners by going door-to-door in specific neighborhoods providing services to people and their pets for free. Services may include pet food, advice, spay and neuter, medical, dental, or general pet supplies. Another key to keeping people and pets together has been the PAS helpline, which now serves over 1,800 people each year, and provides services to people to help prevent the need for a pet to be surrendered to the shelter. Services may include medical care, spay and neuter, training, free pet supplies, or connecting callers with PAS’s pet food bank which provides seven tons of dog and cat food to the community each year on a no-questions-asked basis.

Increasing in demand is our Temporary Loving Care program, which provides free temporary pet boarding for people in transition. The program, provided on a case-by-case basis, originated to assist pets while their owners sought mental health care from Bonner General Health, but the economic impacts of the pandemic have increased the need for this program to provide pet boarding for people who are homeless or struggling to find pet-friendly housing. By providing short-term boarding, PAS helps prevent unnecessary surrender.

One of our most popular owner support programs is Home to Home, a rehoming program developed at PAS in 2016, provides support to families who need to surrender their pet with the option to rehome on their own with help from the shelter.

As you may have guessed, these programs come with a cost. Despite having fewer animals in the shelter, donations are still needed to support this work. We’re investing into these programs because it’s part of our mission to support both ends of the human animal bond and we believe sheltering an animal should be the last option. Before PAS takes in an animal, have we offered other solutions like advice for an unruly dog? What about supporting a person and their pet by offering free pet food? Does the pet have a medical issue we can help with? Could the issue be as simple as a pet owner needing help with vaccines so they can keep their pet in their apartment? If these simple questions – a hierarchy of needs for the pet owner – haven’t been asked, then there’s options on the table that could help keep a pet with its family. Your donations help make it possible for people to keep their pets during their time of need, help shelter animals who have no place else to go, and make it possible for PAS to support people and animals across our region.

Where are all the cats?

PAS is a no-kill shelter, and is proud to be a part of a national movement to prevent the euthanasia of healthy cats. For shelters to be no-kill and prevent overcrowding, multiple strategies are needed.

For owned cats, PAS assists owners as much as possible so they can keep their cat and avoid surrendering it to the shelter. This may include providing medical care, supplies, or food. If it’s not possible for a person to keep their cat, PAS will take the cat into the shelter, space permitting. PAS is a no-kill shelter, but the number of cats who need to be sheltered can be so high that the shelter must maintain an intake waitlist. By PAS monitoring the number of cats allowed in the building, cats in the shelter stay healthy. Too many cats crowded together creates stress and stress leads to illness. Illness means cats need to stay in the facility longer to get treated and recover. By practicing managed intake techniques, PAS has decreased the length of stay for cats by 62 days and the number of cats in the building at any given time from 105 cats to 53. This change increased the number of cats assisted each year in the building from 600 to 1,400.

For community cats, also known as unowned cats, PAS operates a “Trap, Neuter, Return” program through partnering with the community to trap cats, bring them to the shelter for spay or neuter, and return them to the location they were found. Due to limited staffing and supplies capacity, this program has been placed on pause during the pandemic, which is also why there are not a lot of kittens in the shelter.

This year, PAS implemented a new methodology provided by University of Florida, University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine program, and UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. This program challenges what people believe is a stray cat. When a healthy, friendly, neutered cat is brought to the shelter as a stray, PAS asks the finder to go place it back where it was found. This is because 39% of cats are indoor/outdoor and when lost they are normally found three to four houses down from their home. When an owned cat is brought to our shelter it has a less than 2% chance of being reclaimed by its owner, a rate in line with national average for cats, despite PAS’s best efforts to reunite the cat with its owner. This means the cat has a much higher likelihood of finding its home without intervention. Although kind-hearted, well-meaning people bring the cat to the shelter out of concern, it’s important to highlight that they might be taking someone’s cat from right in front of their home. If a cat is brought to PAS that is in need of medical care, has a low body mass or circumstances that demonstrate the need for intervention, the cat is admitted into the PAS for care and may be adopted or returned to where it was found after it recovers. If you still have questions about managing cat populations, we’ve updated our website, pasidaho.org with more information.

What does the future hold for PAS?

Like many nonprofits, PAS has experienced setbacks due to the pandemic. Thankfully, because of our community centered and progressive owner support programs, we quickly adapted to accommodate the unique challenges of the pandemic. We relied more heavily on Home to Home, our online rehoming program, to help prevent animals entering the shelter. We made our foodbank available for curbside pick-up. We shifted our outreach approach for our Pets for Life program to phone calls instead of door-to-door visits. When many shelters around the country closed, PAS was proud to have maintained its services and as a result helped save lives of animals in need and helped to prevent owners from being forced to surrender their pets due to economic hardship.

While we can’t predict the future, we can anticipate the needs of our community and we can plan for how we’ll respond.

Internally, we are investing in hiring optimistic problem solvers who view the community as their number one partner and we’re continuing to implement prevention-focused, evidence-based, and best practice programs that help people keep their pets. Even during the height of the pandemic, PAS is proud to have hired its first full-time veterinarian who was trained in shelter medicine and management practices from the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program.

We’ve experienced higher than usual medical needs through our helpline and we expect this to continue. We are also expecting an increased demand by owners who need to surrender their pets due to housing instability, and planning for higher demand for owner support services in case of recession. This means PAS will be providing more boarding, more medical care, more pet food, and more support to pet owners so they can keep their pets and avoid surrendering them to the shelter whenever possible.

PAS will also continue investing time in growing the Home To Home program, a PAS-founded rehoming tool that helps prevent animals from ever entering the shelter. The program is now in 39 shelters around the nation. We have plans to expand the services offered through this program to support local pet owners with rehoming and to include tools to support fostering and increased access for under resourced shelters around the country.

It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but we’re committed to our mission, and we’re proud to serve our region. We continue to receive support from national animal welfare organizations like the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Best Friends Animal Society and Maddie’s Fund. We’re also honored to receive donations from local businesses and supporters who generously support people and animals with their giving and we’re thankful for the community support we continue to receive in the form of donations to our thrift store and donations of pet food and supplies to the shelter.

If you still have questions about PAS, or any of its programs and services, just ask. Staff are proud to talk about the shelter and what they are working on. Email us at info@pasidaho.org

What You Can Do Today

Light a candle for a beloved pet you rescued from a shelter

Visit the candle gallery

Meet the sponsors and spokespeople

Every member of The Tribe, past and present were adopted.