Walk Through the Web Wednesday 7/25

siamese cat on a leash walking through a garden

Hello Furiends,
It’s time to take a stroll along the information highway to see what new and unusual feline news items are out there. I hope you enjoy this week’s finds.
Purrs & Head Bonks,
Siamese cat with blue eyes

What Do Cats Dream About? – Mother Nature Network

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As you humans know, we felines sleep a lot and I know I’ve heard my humans say, “I wonder what they dream about.”  Well. did you know that we felines have REM (rapid eye movement) sleep just like you humans? In the 1960’s sleep researcher Michel Jouvet studied sleep in cats. A veterinary neurologist, Adriann Morrison has written a review of this research.

As we felines sleep about 15 hours per day I’d say it’s a good idea to study an activity we are so committed to! Have you ever looked at your feline in residence and wondered iof they were asleep or awake? Turns out that we can slide effortlessly into rest and sleep. And we cats can have nightmares but it’s recommended not to wake us up or you may suffer the consequences! There’s lots of good stuff about what happens when we felines sleep and how we sleep so check out this article.

There’s A Really Weird Link Between Cats And Entrepreneurs – Science Alert

cat on smart phone with coffee

Our Feline Human refers to herself as a “serial entrepreneur” and she’s had cats living with her all her life so I’m thinking this theory may make some sense. The article begins with this statement, “A protozoan parasite found in cats could be having a rather odd effect on the brains of humans it infects, which under the right circumstances just might turn them into the next Elon Musk.” Hah, if only. Our Female Human might be a serial entrepreneur but she certainly hasn’t brought home the kind of cash that Elon Musk has!

Still. the article is interesting. The article concludes with:

Nobody is suggesting you should go out and buy your kids a cat in the hope it will infect them with the skills to help them to take over Silicon Valley.

Nonetheless, the study does provide an interesting perspective on the ways epidemiology can have a small but powerful force on the psychology that builds culture.

And maybe, just maybe, shows why cats deserve their place of worship on the internet.

The findings are due to be published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B (link down at time of writing).

Shelter Cats Saved For Adoption Are Flown From Van Nuys to Washington – Los Angeles Daily News

shelter cats flown from California to Washington to be adopted

130 shelter cats from the Los Angeles area wait to board their private flight to Seattle and new homes in mission of “Operation Homeward Bound.” The cats are being flown to the Seattle area where they will be adopted to their forever homes. Wings of Rescue and the Jackson Galaxy Project worked in conjunction to save the cats from the Los Angeles City Shelters. (Photo by David Crane, Daily News/SCNG)

I love how humans are so creative in helping save felines! The life of these shelter cats were saved when they were flown to Everett Washington and will escape euthanization because of over crowding and be placed in shelters who have room for them and are working to find them furever homes.  This project, titled “Operation Homeward Bound” was created by the original Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy in partnership with the non-profits,  Greatergood.org  a
nd Wings of Rescue. 

These humans have things figured out. LA and most shelters across the country are flooded with cats this time of year (one shelter in Downey took in 140 kittens in one day recently). So these smart and caring folks find shelters that need cats. Washington has a lot of space for cats and many residents are on waiting lists to adopt a feline when one becomes available (now The Tribe of Five says, you should always adopt in pairs. This is what our Humans do and it works great!).

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

Kudos to you humans and Feline Opines is bestowing the  Paws Up award to all of you!

 

 

 

Stop The Stupid Sterotype of the Crazy Cat Lady! – Girls And Their Cats

photographer breaks stereotype of the crazy cat lady

The photographer, BriAnne Wills and her rescue feline

You humans seen to love to perpetrate the myth that women with cats are on the margins of society, frumpy and without any iota of a social life. We felines don’t appreciate this and we are thrilled that BriAnne Wills,  an attractive Brooklyn-based fashion photographer  decided to photograph girls and their cats and break the stupid crazy cat lady stereotype. We felines appreciate this very much because we enjoy living with female humans who are savvy, hip and definitely NOT crazy!

 

 

Sweet Tart Is A Cat And The Mayor Of A Small Michigan Town – Jezebel

Sweet Tart the feline mayor of Omena, Michigan

After reading this article, my brofur Oliver is becoming more hopeful about making another run for Purresident. This mayoral feline from Omena, Michigan was inaugurated as it’s fourth mayor. The 9-year old Sweet Tart beat out 13 dogs, a goat, a peacock, a chicken and one other feline to win the position.  Believe it or not more than 7,000 people voted in the election (and the town’s population is only 280!) Everyone was charged $1.00 per vote and the money collected was donated to the Omena Historical Society.

And that’s the beauty of technology. Through paypal and social media, a feline finds himsef elected mayor and the local historical society receives $7,000.00 in donations.  Concatulations to mayor Sweet Tart!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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