Amelia’s Story Part 2- The Right Thing is Often the Hardest Thing

Our house was a feline war zone. Pheromone plug ins graced every outlet on both floors, other “behavior modification” products were purchased, air cans placed to keep Amelia away from strategic areas, barricades set up, new toys to distract her and a multitude of other items.

Her unhappiness and frustration did not abate with the products or the extra time we spent assuring her that she was loved and had a special place in our feline family.

She continued to act out and bully the other cats.  I reached a point where I hated walking out of the bedroom in the morning. My husband would provide a report of the places Amelia had peed, what she had destroyed and who she had terroriized. He was running out of patience and I couldn’t blame him. I worked harder to ensure that everything in the house was pristine and any damage was repaired in an attempt to mitigate his frustration.

AmeliaLamp

Amelia

I still loved this little Tabby with all my heart. She would sit with me when I came home from work. All the petting , attention and loving had no effect on her behavior.

We live in a rurual area in the Inland Northwest, about two hours from a major city which made the search for a cat behaviorist impossible. I would have driven the two hours if I could have found a behaviorist in that city but there was no one. My vets are amazing but after they exhausted all the medial tests and tricks they knew, they were at a loss to help us. I found a few folks online who offered to speak to me over the phone for $75.00 an hour but I know enough about cat behavior that this remote chat session would do nothing to help us without them meeting Amelia and understanding her surroundings.

In desperation, I wrote the one person in the world that I knew could help us, Jackson Galaxy..  I can’t tell you how often I corresponded with Jackson Galaxy’s company, begging them to film an episode of “My Cat from Hell” in our area. I tried to lure him with tales of the beauty of our town (we were named one of the most beautiful small towns in America by Rand McNally). I offered him and his wife our guest room, told him of our desperate situation. I would have driven to LA and chauffered him back here but it was not to be. I received a few canned responses, “Thank you for contacting us but…”    In retrospect, I’m just thankful that Jackson Galaxy didn’t take out a restraining order against me. I would like to go on record here: I am not a certifiable crazy cat lady and, if Jackson Galaxy every chooses to visit our beautiful little town, I promise I will not stalk him.

If I couldn’t get the man himself here, I figured I could learn from him so I spent hours watching episodes of My Cat from Hell, looking for similar situations and inspiration. I ordered several of the Spirit Essences from his company and, although the Bully Remedy seemed to have no effect on Amelia, the Safe Space for Cats and Self Esteem did seem to calm Jasmine.

Amelia_PatrioticKitty

Amelia

Still, the day came when, we knew we had to do something about our situation.  With broken hearts, and tear-stained faces we were forced to admit that it was clear Amelia could no longer live with us.  What a horrible day that was. I was a sobbing, blubbering mess so my husband went to the shelter to talk to them about our dilemma. We are blessed to have a wonderful shelter in our town, not only is it no-kill but the people there are fiercely dedicated to the dogs and cats in our community and they will always take an animal back that was adopted from there. Who adopts an animal and falls in love with it thinking, “I can always take her back if it doesn’t work?” We certainly didn’t. We’d spent our entire married life rescuing cats and blending  them successfully into our feline family. Had someone told me we would be returning a cat to the shelter I would have told them they were insane.

I will be ever grateful to Mary at our shelter who listened to my husband’s story, asked him important questions and then suggested that we bring Amelia back to the shelter. She didn’t judge, she showed empathy and soothed our broken hearts when she told him, “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out”.  Those six words were the most important words she could have uttered.

The shelter had reached its maximum cat allotment so we couldn’t bring Amelia that day. Mary put us on a waiting list, saying the shelter would call when there was room for her.

I am a person of action and the waiting was killing me so I sat at the computer and wrote a three page letter about Amelia’s story for the shelter and for her new family. I explained how loved she was, that she was a good cat in a bad situation and that in the right house (where she is the only cat) she would be the best pet anyone could want. I talked about how I had bonded with her, how my heart was breaking and that my prayer was she would find a home where she was loved as much as I loved her.  I went to the vet, got all her records and included them with the letter so Amelia would have a better chance on finding a new family. I included our contact information stating that I would be happy to answer any questions they might have.

A few days later, when I came home from work, I could tell by my husband’s face that He had taken Amelia to the shelter. It was another tear-filled evening.

I felt lower than pond scum, returning my beloved cat to the shelter. Had Jackson Galaxy called me any time after she was back at the shelter and told me he would help us work through the problem in our feline family I would have run to the shelter to bring her homed.

IMG_2011

Jasmine

The only thing that helped me through those dark days was the immediate release of tension in the house.  Although Jasmine was still living in our bedroom, she became calmer, less fearful and the other cats were more relaxed as well and so were the humans.

I kept in touch with the shelter. I wanted to do everything I could for Amelia but knew that visiting her would not be a good idea so I purchased her special food, took treats and toys in and checked daily to see how she was doing. A friend of mine worked at the shelter at the time and she was an angel, letting me pester her daily for Amelia updates.

Every night I said a little prayer that Amelia would find the forever home she deserved and every time I came across one of her toys or a photo of her, the tears flowed. I was an emotional mess.

I reflected repeatedly on our failure with Amelia. I was riddled with guilt and sadness. It hovered over me like a fog every day. One internal dialogue looped through my head constantly, “Who returns animals back to the shelter?  Horrible people, that’s who” “Who gives up on a fur kid?  Losers that’s who, people who don’t deserve to care for animals! People who don’t deserve to adopt any more cats, ever again.”

Next Time, Misunderstandings, Judgments , Lessons Learned and Most Importantly, Happy Endings -Amelia’s Story Part 3 

Amelia’s Story-Part 1

Hello,
As my regular readers know, the felines are the voice of this blog but the felines have graciously allowed me to write this story because it’s very important, not just for felines but for the humans who love them.  

There are two things you need to know before you begin reading this piece.  First, this is one of the hardest articles I’ve ever written.  I still can’t write it without shedding tears.  Second, and most important, this story has a happy ending and hopefully a lesson and comfort for those who have been in the same situation, so please stay the course. Amelia’s story sparked my passion for the fear free movement and all the benefits it brings to our fur kids.  

Anita

Meeting Lily

I attended a gala shopper’s evening at our local shelter’s thrift store.  As I admired all the displays and fantastic prices, one of the shelter Board members approached me and said,  “You have to meet a kitten.” I never say no to making a new feline friend so before you could say “meow” I was in the kitten room looking at the most unusual, sweet little round-eyed kitten.

LilyKitten

Lily as a kitten

It took about 10 minutes for me to be completely smitten. My husband and I had been discussing bringing a kitten into our feline tribe and so I quickly snapped the photo you see on the left and texted him, “I found our kitten.”

 Kittens Must Always Come in Pairs

It took several days of conversation before my husband agreed that we could adopt Lily, with one caveat; we had to adopt another kitten as well. He had a good point as integrating a kitten into a household of one seventeen-year old cat and two ten-year old cats might be hard for a single kitten. Two kittens would have each other to play and bond with and the older guys would be spared some of the kitten shenanigans. I agreed and we set off to bring our new fur kids home.

Amelia

Amelia

We came home with two fur babies that afternoon. Lily and a spunky little Tabby we named Amelia after Amelia Earhart because she fearlessly flew all over the house and ended up in the highest places.

As much as I loved Lily, it was Amelia who bonded with me the most. Wherever I was, she was there, keeping me company on a stool in the kitchen while I cooked, always near, always interested in what I was doing, always seeking me out.

Both kittens bonded well, with each other, the rest of the cats and with us. Amelia’s, smart and sassy personality and her eyes that seemed to speak to me inspired the writing of this blog. I never tired of watching her exhibit her own brand of catitude. And, as a fiction writer, I could just imagine what this little character was thinking.

Happy Kittens, Happy Feline Family

As Amelia’s  distinctive personality inspired me I created the blog, “Amelia’s World”. She  shared her opinion about visiting the vet, her life with the other felines and anything else that captured her interest.  Lily was content to live a more private life away from public view.

The feline “elders” were happy to engage with the kittens on their own terms and pleased that the little ones had each other to play with. All was well with our feline tribe.

Our Sorrow

PRoses

Miss P.

Fast forward one year. Our beloved Miss P., Alpha of the tribe, died at the age of 18. We were inconsolable. She was our first fur kid, the first year of our marriage.

Her death changed the dynamic of our feline tribe. Our now ten-year old male, Tucker, slipped into the role of Alpha. He was the only male and although he’s  an easy-going, no drama kind of guy, his sixteen pounds helped him secure the position with little effort on his part.

Tucker’s sibling, Jasmine took it all in stride. As long as she could come out on the upstairs deck with us, sit on a chair and watch the birds, her life was complete.  Lily had no leadership aspirations but it was a completely different situation with Amelia.

Our Struggle

BigFootTuck

Tucker

No matter how hard Amelia fought to take control,  and fight she did, Tucker wasn’t having it. He quickly let Amelia know that he was now the Boss Cat.  We watched helplessly as our previously harmonious house became a battle field.

Amelia’s frustration exhibited itself in numerous ways. One was aggression toward the other cats.  Tucker was too big to bully. Lily stood up to Amelia and refused to back down.  Poor Jasmine however, was too timid to stand her ground. She had never been bullied before and  her sweet, shy nature made her a perfect target. Her response to Amelia’s aggression was to run from  and hide. The  decision to run emboldened Amelia, who quickly realized that Jasmine was the best target for her frustration.

The battles became louder and more horrific and created an untenable situation for Jasmine, who retreated to our bedroom and ultimately took up residence there.

IMAG0004Without access to Jasmine, Amelia’s frustration grew. She went from my sweet, funny and mischievous little cat to an upset and angry cat. She exhibited her unhappiness by peeing all over the house. Each morning and evening became a black light excursion with long cleaning sessions. We spent hundreds of dollars on pheromone plug-ins, air cans, moving furniture, buying new area rungs and even new furniture. We spent extra time with Amelia, playing with her and loving her, attempting to calm  her aggression. We also made numerous visits to the vet to ensure there were no underlying health issues.

We loved this smart, sassy Tabby and despite the situation we now found ourselves in, we were committed to do whatever it took to remedy the situation. Almost a year and hundreds of dollars later, nothing had changed. We were all, human and feline, living in a continual state of  stress and fear.

Next time: the Right thing Is Often the Hardest Thing -Amelia’s Story Part 2 

It’s a Linky Party!

Oliver the black and white kitten invites you to a Linky Party
Hi Folks,

Oliver here. My Tribe of Five is participating in a Linky Party. We’ve chosen three of our favorite posts from the last party to present to you.  For those of you who join us, and those we’re featuring a note about images:  Pictures really catch a reader’s eye and help drive traffic to your site(just look at Pinterest!). To help encourage people to visit your posts when we feature them on our blogs, we want to include an image from your post. By linking up your post, you are giving us permission to use an image if your post is featured. Of course, we’ll make sure your watermark is included.

So, without further ado, here are our pics from the last party. And please scroll down for info on how you can participate (and maybe get your blog featured).

Our picks….a note, calling feline bloggers!! Although we are equal opportunity species bloggers, we’d love to hear from our feline friends!

a pomeranian  in paris

The Daily Dog, amazing and beautiful story of a canine in Paris.

 

 

 

 


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Tips for traveling with your dog from Powered-by-Mom\

 

 

 
pumpkin filled kong dog treat

A delicious way for canines to cool off and play by Miss Molly Says


Hope you enjoy our picks. Be sure and join the party this weekend and see if you’re blog is featured next time. All Linky Party information is below.

Your friend,

oliver the black and white kitten

 

 

 

 

img_2251Welcome to the Pet Blogger Showcase! This is the place for you to show off your favorite family friendly pet related posts, find other great posts to read, show some love to other bloggers and maybe be featured on one of the host blogs.

Meet the Hosts Behind the Showcase

Pet Faves– Living the pet lover lifestyle

Heart Like A Dog– The good, the bad, and the Oh My God of living with dogs

Felines Opines – The world from a feline point of view

Miss Molly Says– Pet product reviews, pet training, pet health, pet nutrition and all things pets!

Ruff Talk– Where dogs go to chat

About the Pet Blogger Showcase

Twice a month, On the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, you have the chance to link up one of your blog posts to the linky party link-up. Then visit 3 other blogs that joined the party and leave a meaningful comment. Feel free to share with your followers. Then each week the hosts will feature their favorite 3 posts from the previous Linky Party on the new party post.

 Pet Blogger Showcase Rules

Share a pet related post, past or present, from your blog in the linky below.

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Family friendly posts only. (We love reading about other topics, but posts that are not pet related will be deleted.

What Big Eyes You Have

Hello World,

Lily here. The humans saw a photo on some cat site that featured a kitten with big, round eyes. There was a lot of discussion on the post with some humans declaring, “That is a cat under sedation.” 

Lily the Siamese Tortie cat with the big round eyesIt took the humans a while to realize, “Wait, Lily has big, round eyes!” (Sometimes the humans are a little slow). 

Yes, I do have big round eyes, that’s what makes me unique (along with my sorta’ tortie, sorta Siamese, sorta Calico markings). And I guarantee that I’m not under sedation!

So , if any of you felines out there have big, round eyes like mine, show me your pic’s and let’s celebrate our uniqueness!

Your friend,

Lily the Tortie Siamese mix cat with the big round eyes

Swag Bag Report PetSafe Water Filtration Part 3-Bad Kittens, Bad Kittens-The Saga Ends

Hello Folks,
It’s Tucker again. I had hoped that the saga of the PetSafe water filter would have been put to rest but no-when you live in a house with kittens you must expect the unexpected.

The female human wrote to the nice PetSafe people to see if she could purchase another plug in thingy to attach to the filter. Sadly, the part is not available. This information proved to be moot when the humans discovered that Al and Oliver had jumped on the counter, whacked the box with the broken filter to the floor and proceeded to play with (and break) the filter.  All the little black things in the filter were scattered around the kitchen and the male human spent some quality time crouched on the floor with a little broom and a scooper thing (but not the same scooper they use for our litter boxes).

Oliver the black and white kitten sleepingThere are no photos of the destruction but I am including a photo of the terrible twosome who were exhausted after their shenanigans. Note the complete lack of remorse.  At least this shows the humans hard work to create a fear-free environment in our home is successful.

Alberto the siamese kitten  streches out for a nap
Will there be a replacement filter? Only time will tell but I would highly recommend that the humans wait until these little rascals settle down a bit.

It’s hard being the Alpha in this household, my kitten training work is not done.
Your friend and beleaguered Alpha of the Tribe of Five,
Tucker_SigInChair

Swag Bag Report PetSafe Water Filtration Part 2-Bad Kittens & Sharp Teeth

Hello Everyone,

Tucker here. Alberto and Oliver were quite thrilled with the new water thingy the human brought home from a place she called #BlogPaws. The nice folks at Pet Safe gifted her with a water filtration system and she asked me to report about it.

Oliver the black and white cat  explores the water bowlIn the first report I described Oliver and Alberto’s fascination with the moving water. As we closed our first chapter, both had posted themselves around the water thingy and looked as if they were there for the night. The humans were congratulating themselves on setting up such a wonderful thing for the Tribe of Five. (There are three of us who are still unconvinced that this set-up beats the cup on the table but time will tell).

Fast forward to this morning when Oliver and Alberto were still at their posts but no water was moving in the bowl. It only took the humans a second to discover the reason. The cord of the power pack had been chewed through in three places. (See exhibits A & B).

cord chewed through by catcord chewed through by kittens
One thing I can say for our humans-they’re not quitters. They found a new power pack and then bought something that looks like a clear worm. I heard the male human say he was going to run the power cord through it. I don’t think the stuff they bought is easily chewable but one must take the determination and diligence of the “chewing twosome” into consideration. Kids, they’re so unpredictable .

clear plastic tubing to protect cords from cats chewing
I’ll follow up as soon as we see how the human’s idea works and in the meantime, Lily, Jasmine and myself will continue to sip out of the cup on the coffee table.

Your Friend,


The Tribe of Five Ups Their Water Game-Swag Bag Report PetSafe Water Filtration Part 1

the kittens inspect the PetSafe water fulterHello World,

Oliver here. Before I tell you our story, full disclosure. The female human went to a place called #BlogPaws where she received bags and bags full of stuff she calls “Swag”. We’re reporting on some of the things these generous companies gave to the human but we must be clear, the product was free but we’re not payed for our opinions.

So, both humans are a bit embarrassed about the feline water drinking situation in our house.  The #TribeofFive prefers sipping from a cup prominently displayed on the human’s coffee table. This creates some embarrassing moments when the humans entertain “non-cat” people. (Although why they would entertain anyone who is not a cat person is beyond me).

The female human brought home a gift from #Petsafe called the Drinkwell Hydrate. The humans purchased a drinking fountain set up, put the #PetSafe H2O filtration inside and waited for the reaction.

I  managed to pull the filtration system out of the water bowl but after the female human put it back I figured out that this water thingy was way better than the cup  of water on the coffee table
Oliver and Alberto  explore the new  feline water filtration from PetSafeI was the first to take a drink. I think it will be awhile before the rest of the tribe figures out how cool this is.


Your Friend,