Walk Through The Web Wednesday 9/25

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Hello There Furiends,

How has your week been going? The Tribe of Five is celebrating #RememberMeThursday all week and we’re reminiscing about when we were adopted because we want to shine a light on adoption. All five of us were adopted. Tucker and Jasmine from a kind lady that rescued cats and Lily, myself and Oliver came from Panhandle Animal Shelter.  Our shelter has a fantastic program called “Home to Home” which helps pets get adopted from their homes so they don’t have to ever be in a shelter. The Female Human wrote an article about how well this program works and how it helps the animals and the humans. And guess what, this program is being implemented by shelters all over the country so, if your local shelter wants to get involved, have them click on this link to learn more.

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The Female Human is part of a  large group of pet bloggers and writers who purrticipate in the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s #RememberMeThursday program. You can visit the website and find all kinds of cool stuff, even a song to download by Stevie Woodward called, This Candle Burns Bright. It’s 99 cents well spent!

Here is our #RememberMeThursday slide show, enjoy! And now for some feline news.

 

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Even shy cats are bonded to their human caregivers. 

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Lily is the shyest cat in The Tribe and she loves our Human. Don’t pick her up unless you don’t mind being slashed but when The Female Human sits quietly at her desk, Lily is in her lap.

I hate to even have to feature this article but there are still humans out there who think we felines are not as loving as canines. I guess we just have to let science prove how wrong they are!

There’s a lot of science in this article so I’ll give you the feline, Alberto version.  The scientists who did this study replicated a test that was created in the 1970’s that measured parent-infant bonds. That test placed a mother and baby in an unfamiliar room, where they would stay together for a few minutes, and then the mother would leave. Researchers watched to see how the baby reacted, and what his or her response was upon the mother’s return. Scientists have used this test with dogs but never us felines.

They brought in 79 kittens and had them each spend two minutes in a new space with their owner. Then the owner would leave for two minutes, followed by a two minute reunion period.

Many kittens did show signs of distress—like unhappy vocalizations—when their humans left. In fact, 70 of them fit the distinct attachment style.  They found that about 64.3% were “securely attached” to their owner.

What did they learn? The test outcomes followed the pattern seen with children and dogs.  So humans, we are as loving as kids and dogs, we just show our affection differently and in our own way.

10 Noises your cat makes and what they all mean

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Oliver always has a lot to say, here he’s telling me off ,but our feline communications is not so simple as you humans may think. Every one of The Tribe has a different way of meowing and our human has learned what they all mean.  The pet expert in this article says a short, high-pitched meow means that we are saying hello. This may be true but it also means, when Oliver speaks this way, “I can see the bottom of my kibble bowl, please fix this problem post haste.”

A drawn out meow means we are trying to get your attention. This is true. Alberto sits outside The Female Human’s bedroom door and sings the song of his people this way as an attempt to gain access.

As for the other 8 sounds, I leave it to my feline furiends to discuss this with your humans and see if you think they are right.

Why house cats change their sleeping spots so often

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I seem to be all “sciency” this week but this is a question The Female Human often asks. The Tribe is constantly choosing different sleeping spots. As the article notes, sometimes it has to do with the temperature., You don’t see Tucker and Lily cuddling like they are in this photo on hot summer days but as soon as things cool off, cuddling begins.

What I think is very cool is that we domesticated felines are exhibiting habits from our wilder days. Our ancient ancestors changed their sleeping locations as protection from predators. There are some other interesting tidbits in the article about how fascinating we felines are.

Moscow cat theater turns felines into thespians

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The Moscow Cat Theatre has been using feline actors for 30 years. The talented felines in this troupe ride bikes, walk on wires and perform acrobatic and aerial acts.  How do they get these feline thespians to learn their roles? Dmitry Kuklachev, The theatre’s Art Director, said “A cat will never do anything under constraint.  But it is possible to make an arrangement with cats, using their natural abilities and needs. And, if there is love and mutual understanding. In general, love and respect give more than banal training. It is impossible to punish a cat backstage, and then, make her perform tricks onstage. With cats it doesn’t work.” Dmitry is a wise man!

The circus began when a circus clown’s son found a kitten who was “very communicative and cheerful”. During a curtain call, he came out with the kitten on his shoulder. And he saw that the spectators warmly reacted to this. So he started developing the tricks with cats and after 20 years in the circus established his own theatre.

This is no small theater troupe; there are about 200 feline performers, most of them acting in 12 performances. There are about 30 who are “pensioners” now and have retired from performing.

It takes about a year to prepare a new performer, from its first appearance in the theatre to the entrance upon the stage. The cats have to go through two castings, first, talent and then, tests, confirming that they are healthy.

Some of this troupe have gone on to more fame and fortune like Boris, a tomcat who works in cat food commercials.

Hmm, maybe I have what it takes to be an actor cat, I’m certainly handsome enough!

Cat survives 15-mile Las Vegas commute in car’s bumper

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A Las Vegas Review-Journal employee was approached with a strange question. “Do you own the green or blue car parked outside the newsroom? Because there’s definitely a cat stuck inside of your bumper,”

People immediately ran to the car to check on the cat. He was breathing and seemed to be okay but getting him out of the bumper was another story. Animal control came to the rescue and dislodged the cat’s tail, then his rear legs and after wrapping the cat in a towel pulled him out of the bumper to safety.

The poor cat was dehydrated and panting but very much alive. He was cared for at the Animal Foundation by veterinarians and after he received a clean bill of health he was neutered and ear tipped as part of the “Community Cats” program. He was released back to his neighborhood and “Bumper” as they named him, took off in a hurry.

It’s still a mystery as to how Bumper got stuck in the bumper of the car but this is a cautionary tale for all you humans. Check your cars before you drive off because you could have a feline hitchhiker.

 

 

 

 

 

The Female Human Opines

Oh good grief. Evidently someone gave the Female Human the opportunity to talk about Feline Opines, the Home to Home program and other stuff. Seriously??!

If you want to hear the Female Human opine on the Humarian podcast, here’s the link (although The Tribe of Five is far more entertaining.

Purrs & Head Bonks,

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The Female Human Opines on the Humarian podcast.

 

The Female Human Opines

Hi There Folks.,
Alberto here. As you know, the name of this blog is “FELINE Opines” but once in a while we allow the Human to opine on something we think is important. This post she did for KatzenWorld is a very important subject and highlights a new program called Home to Home  (created and implemented in our own local shelter, (Panhandle Animal Shelter) where Oliver and I and Lily came from.

We think this is an important message and we hope you do too.
Purrs & Head Bonks,
Siamese cat with blue eyes

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Click here for the story

 

 

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week #3

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Hi Folks,

Lilly here. I’m another happy Tribe of Five Member who was adopted from our local shelter (Panhandle Animal Shelter).  They do lots of great things there but this is one of my favorites. It’s called the Home to Home program and what it does is allow the shelter to help dogs and cats find new furever homes.

Now why, you may ask, would a dog or cat need a NEW home if they already have a home?  Here’s what the PAS website has to say about it:

With an increase in owner surrenders in the past few years, Home to Home was developed to assist in rehoming pets in a manner that causes less stress. As much as we like to think our shelter is a happy place, it isn’t a home and can be stressful for the animals.

The number one reason for surrendering pets is an unavoidable change in living situations. A perfect opportunity to use the Home to Home website would be within the time frame of finding out that relocation is necessary and the actual moving date. Of course, if a suitable new home is not found in time, bringing the animal to the shelter is always an option.”

Sometimes life happens, and with this program, there can be a happy ending for all, the humans who get to meet the new humans that will be loving their pets and the dogs and cats who will go to a new home without every having to stay in the shelter. Two paws up for a win-win situation!

No one ever wants to say goodbye to their fur kids but when things happen, it’s good to know that there is a program like Home to Home.

Purrs & Head Bonks,

Lily

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Amelia’s Story-Part 3

Judgments Made
It was about a week after Amelia was at the shelter that I saw a Facebook post that sent me into a tailspin. There was that beautiful Tabby face that I loved and a story of a “heartless

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Amelia being silly

person who adopted her and callously brought her back to the shelter”. The write up said, “I thought I had a forever home…”

My throat closed up, tears flowed and I felt as though someone had punched me in the gut. I had enough guilt as it was. I had done everything I could to help Amelia find her perfect home and yet, I trusted that with the letter I wrote, the shelter would write that she was a wonderful, loving feline who would do best in a one cat family.

Misunderstandings Resolved
Fortunately I know the folks at the shelter and I often volunteer there. I sent an email to the shelter director and received an immediate call back. To make a long story short, the individual who posted the information about Amelia had not read the letter I sent, nor did they have any of the backstory. They had fallen in love with Amelia and went into “protector mode” making an erroneous judgment about her return.

I fully understand the passion and compassion of the wonderful folks at our shelter and I didn’t want to know who wrote the post, I just wanted to ensure that Amelia’s story was known so that the chances of finding her a suitable forever home were increased.

Our shelter director (one of the best in the country) is passionate in her stance that people should not judge these situations without all the facts.  She was wonderful and the situation was sorted in the best manner for Amelia.

Happy Endings
It was several weeks later that I learned that Amelia had been adopted. I felt as though a ten ton weight had been taken away from my chest. I cried (again) but this time they were tears of thankfulness and joy.

The Emotional After Effects
I cannot tell you the emotional baggage that comes with returning an animal to the

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Oliver

shelter. Last summer we fostered two kittens and when we decided we wanted to bring

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Alberto

them into our home, it was hard filling out the forms and checking
the box that asks, “Have you ever returned an animal to the shelter?” Even though I know and work with the folks at our shelter
even though we received nothing but love and encouragement from the shelter,  I still felt like a pariah, a horrible person who didn’t deserve to adopt cats-ever.

Lesson Learned: The Shelter is Your Friend
I pray that no one ever finds themselves in the same situation we had with Amelia. If you do, and have employed every resource available, think of your shelter as your ally, not your enemy. I mentioned that we have a top class shelter and I do not exaggerate.  I would never have taken Amelia back to the shelter if they were not a “no-kill” facility and if they weren’t dedicated to see animals in their care find appropriate forever homes.  At the end of the day, it’s about the animal and any fear or pride or anguish we felt in the decision to return her was for her best interest and the best interest of our fur kids at home.

I am pleased to tell you that our shelter has recently implemented a program called “Home to Home” and it’s specific purpose is to give people who can no longer keep their pets the opportunity to find new, loving homes without having to drop pets off at the shelter. Pets go from one home into another.  Had this been in place when we had Amelia, I could have been a part of helping her find a new home.

Lesson Learned: Closure is Important
That brings me to another point.  Although I am thrilled that Amelia has a new home, I have no idea where she went. I don’t know if her new family received the letter and health records I sent with her. I will never rid myself completely of the sadness of losing Amelia but I believe, had I known where she went and that she’s happy I could completely put those feelings to rest.

Final Thoughts
As you can see, the happy ending I promised did happen. We still miss Amelia but I choose to believe she is happy and enjoying her new home. We still deal with the repercussions of

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Jasmine

that experience. Jasmine has not fully integrated back into the household but having the kittens come and “visit” her has helped resocialize her. We are also working regularly to bring Lily together with Jasmine.

I will be doing the happy dance the day we open the bedroom door and Jasmine struts down the hallway and enjoys the company of the other felines and all the places she used to love to sit and sleep and play.

Amelia’s story changed us.  Before we fostered, we felt we didn’t have the right to adopt anymore and the fear of finding ourselves in another “Amelia” situation terrified us. I still continue to assess what happened with Amelia, watching episodes of “My Cat From Hell” and wondering, “Would that have worked with Amelia?, Should we have done that with Amelia?” I doubt I’ll ever stop trying to figure out what happened and how we might have been able to fix it and keep Amelia in our home.

I wanted to tell you Amelia’s story because I know we are not the only people who have found ourselves in this painful situation. I wanted to tell you Amelia’s story to offer hope to those who have been or will be in our situation. Returning an animal to the shelter does not make you a horrible person, nor does it make the animal horrible. Returning an animal to the shelter is a “dirty little secret” that many are afraid to share. In fact, some shelters and rescue organizations will not allow you adopt if you have ever returned an animal. All too often, people are too quick to judge and censure those in these situations. Granted, there are far too many people who treat animals like possessions, tossing them away when they “don’t fit, people who are not willing to invest the time, money and heart it takes to help an animal fit into their household. But for those of us who have moved heaven and earth to keep an animal in our homes, we beat ourselves up enough, we don’t need any help.

imageWe bring animals into our homes with the intent of offering them love and a forever home.  Love isn’t always enough and forever isn’t always forever. Despite the heartache of Amelia’s story, we believe that the journey of love and adoption of an animal is a risk we will always be willing to take.

 

Follow Up To Amelia’s Story