Tucker Opines on Halloween

img_2348Hello There Friends,
So this week the humans celebrated this thing called Halloween.  The Tribe of Five would like to go on record as saying that there is absolutely nothing for felines to celebrate on Halloween!  And why do I say this, well, allow me to explain.

First, the humans have been known to attempt to shove their felines into ridiculous devices of torture that they refer to as “costumes”. They know better than to try that with this Alpha but they did do it to Alberto last year. (You may recall his blog about The Great Halloween Indignity) I am happy to report that this was the human’s first and last attempt to dress any of the Tribe of Five for this event.


Still, not all cats have been able to avoid these indignities, I was horrified to see photos of felines strapped into these items of torture all over the internet (see samples above). Just take a look at their faces and tell me that they’re enjoying themselves!

img_2361Now, if you are a kitty who’s managed to escape the whole costume thing there are other things about this Halloween that I find disturbing. For instance, the male and female humans leave five days a week to a place they call “the business”. Now since they own this “business” I can only assume that they have total control over what happens there. And this is why I got my whiskers in a twist when I saw this photo. Evidently they allow other humans to bring their canines to this “business”. I am highly insulted that they have not invited the Tribe of Five to work there (not that we felines actually work, we are far better at snoopervising.)  Just let me say the humans have a lot of explaining to do!

img_0092And, as if the indignity of knowing your very own humans are secretly spending time with other humans’ canines isn’t enough to send us into a tail spin, then there is the torture we go through every night of this Halloween. Now everyone with half a brain knows that the doorbell is not the feline’s friend. (Note to guests, you can find more about doorbells and other rules you should know here.) And it’s not just one “ringy dingy” or even two “ringy dingys”, it’s the constant torture of this despicable doorbell thing causing us to run and hide every few minutes. Poor Oliver only got as far as the dinner take out bag before the hordes of costumed candy thieves arrived.

All night it’s the same hellish routine, get settled on your favorite spot on the sofa, then the demon doorbell rings,  run and hide only to start the routine all over again in a few moments.  I don’t know what you humans find so entrancing about wearing stupid clothes and putting stuff on your face so you can hijack candy from your neighbors (and I might add that teaching this horrible practice to little children is beyond the pale!)

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The Tribe of Five took a poll and we all decided we’re boycotting this Halloween thing next year and are considering drastic measures to keep the humans from opening the front door.  I mean just look at what Halloween did to Al this year!

So my fellow felines, unite against this anti-kitty holiday and join us in our boycott of this disgusting celebration next year. Felines Unite!!

 

 

 
Purrs & Head Bonks,
Tucker

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Walk Through The Web Wednesday 8/2

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Hello Friends, Furry, Feathered and Otherwise,
It’s Alberto with my Wednesday feline news. I have my purrsonal assistant purrr-use the web to bring you what I feel are the most interesting stories of the week. Without further ado, here they are, enjoy!

Siamese cat with blue eyes

Black and White cat rings bell for service in this kitty restaurantA Restaurant Just for Cats – Animals4.com

I’m sure many of you have seen the viral video of the cats ringing a bell for food but this video takes it to the next level.  Watch this fastidious feline select and order his favorite menu items. I am waiting for such an establishment to open in my community!

veterinarian plays his guitar for post surgery gray cat  Vet has Unique Approach to Soothing Post Surgery Feline – Animals4.com

Now I am not a fan of the place of the white coats, although our place is set up to make us fearless and to actually enjoy the experience. (The Tribe of Five all visited and blogged about their experiences.) If any felines find themselves in this place, I hope they have a vet as kind and innovative as Dr. Ross Henderson!

Matilda the retired Algonquin Cat

Matilda, the former Algonquin Cat

The Algonquin Hotel, NY Hires A Fabulous New Feline – New York Post

Those of you who wander with me on Wednesdays know how much I like to feature working cats. This story is purrrticularily interesting to me. Matilda, the Algonquin Cat has retired after seven  years with the hotel. Matilda first came to the notice of The Tribe of Five as she resembles our very own Alpha, Tucker.  Take a look and let what you think.  But.  I digress.

Siamese cat with cross eyes on chair
Tucker, Alpha of The Tribe of Five

About a month ago, an orange tabby, about a year old, was sighted in a feral colony, scrounging for food. He was immediately selected as Matilda’s replacement and now plays with toy mice, receives love from his human “staff” and visitors and has been officially hired as the newest Algonquin cat.

He has been dubbed Hamlet and his is the epitome of the rags to riches tale. Hamlet is the 12th Algonquin cat and its first male mascot in  Orange and white tabby at the Algonquin hotelmore than 40 years.

Hamlet, the handsome marmalade tabby will make his official debut tomorrow (August 3) at the hotel’s annual Cat Fashion Show which is a fund raiser for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. My only questions is, “Hey Algonquin, where is my invitation??!!”

Ricky, the Distillery Cat – 89.3 WFPL (Ashlie Stevens)

Orange and white tabby in blue striped tieI’ve reported on cats who work in breweries, hardware stores, for police and fire fighters and even Russian cats who work in a museum but this is my first report of a cat working in a distillery.  Ricky often greets visitors in a baby blue tie. Brett Connors, the distillery’s brand ambassador, adopted Ricky when he learned that the feline had FIV — feline immunodeficiency virus — which resulted in folks passing up adopting him as they were concerned about his medical costs.

Ricky’s initial job was to be security but he is so friendly and outgoing, he managed to write his own new, job description as head of hospitality.

Hiring cats for distillery work has a long tradition, as these businesses have a lot of grain on site and where there’s grain, there are mice.

Ricky is so successful in his hospitality role that the distillery is planning on hiring a few other felines, all with Ricky’s medical condition. Not only will they have more feline ambassadors but they’ll provide a home to cats that otherwise would not find a forever place to live. Bravo to Castle and Keys Distillery! I have requested the humans to try the product from this feline friendly company and they were quite happy to oblige!

Tabby cat in the Swiss ArmyCat Draws Pension Without Lifting a Paw – SwissInfo.ch by Susan Misicka

I have wondered about all the working cats I write about, what do they do when they retire? Is there a retirement for them? We know that Matilda the Algonquin cat has retired but nothing is said about what kind of retirement she received. In this story, we find out what retirement is like for a Swiss Army cat.

This feline began hanging around the military base in Lyss in 2004. She was a bored house cat and wanted to find excitement that only life in the military could provide.

The soldiers in the barracks provided her snacks between meals and dubbed her “Broccoli” after the tabby ate some of the green vegetable when a soldier offered it to her.

Despite the fact that Broccoli had a home, she preferred hanging out with the soldiers and was added to the official roster of army animals about three years ago. This roster includes search and rescue and guard dogs, 57 riding horses and 200 pack horses but until Broccoli, no felines.

The feline’s owner and the military came to an agreement that she could enlist. The soldiers contribute to a fund so that she can have healthy meals. She shares an office with Werner Holzer who says she’s a polite and curious office mate.  Since she is an official army animal she receives medical treatment from the army vet.

Now that Broccoli is 14, she is officially retired with the rank of Brigadier but lest you think sh’e is unique, she isn’t the only Swiss animal  getting a pension from public funds.
You can view a video of Broccoli on the original article or check out her own Facebook page  

Funny Farmer Felines Interview

unnamedHello Friends Furry and Otherwise,
Tucker here. The Tribe of Five is honored to be interviewed by the Funny Farmer Felines.  We had a great time. Hop on over and learn a little more about each of us.

Thank you Funny Farmer Felines:
Your Friend,
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Oliver and Alberto Get Fearless

Alberto Opines on the Trip Prep

AlHeadOliver and I (Alberto) will be co-authoring this post as we each have a lot to say about the topic. Neither of us had been to the “place of white coats” for a number of months but the female human believes in  this thing she calls a “wellness exam” which means she takes us to the place of the white coats for no reason whatsoever (if we’re well, why do they have to examine us?).  We’ve learned in our short lives that this visit is not such a pleasant thing. However,  Tucker, the Alpha of the Tribe of Five has visited there recently and has always arrived home  “fearless”  

The day came and we were bundled up in the carrier, shoved into the back of the noisy moving machine and off we went. While we howled in the back seat, the female human spoke in a soothing voice, telling us this would be a “fearless” visit (there’s that word again).

Oliver Opines on the Arrival

OllieHead
I was in the middle of a good, long howl when the female human turned off the moving machine. The next thing we knew she was pulling the carrier out and walking toward a building. She opened the big door and we were inside. PendoreilleVet

The first thing I noticed (when she moved the carrier so we could see) was that there were two signs, one said “Dogs” and the other said “Cats”. Hmm, very interesting.  As we are a feline only family, I wondered who these “dogs” were and when they would show up. cat area at Pend Oreille Veterinary Service

 

Unfortunately, there were no smells to help me sniff out any information. The place was quiet and “smell-less”. Okay, so far so good. The female human roamed around to visit the “dog” area and then she went to the “cat” area where she inspected all the feline goodies for sale while we remained captives of our carrier.

The human had some coffee andcatwaitingarea offered us some cat treats but neither of us were in the mood to snack.

 

 

AlHeadAlberto Opines on the Exam

Soon we heard footsteps and the next thing we knew we were being carried into a room. AlDocAndVetTEchOh horror, what was going to happen to us now? Much to my surprise, the female human unzipped the carrier and invited us to come out and inspect the room. Well, well, that was interesting. I sniffed around a bit and then jumped up on the silver table to check out what was up there. The place was nice, no bad smells at all. As a matter of fact, there was a pleasant smell, kind of relaxing. I”m a climbing feline so I hopped up on the counter and checked out the cabinets. I discovered  a jar with a bunch of feathers. Boy this place was all decked out for felines. Curiosity satisfied, I decided I’d lounge on the silver table. and wait to see what was next. The door opened and a very nice lady named Marsy came in. She talked to me asking permission before she stroked my fur (I do appreciate polite and respectful humans).    I took quite a fancy to her and found no  need to run to my female human and hide myself under her coat. Soon, another lady arrived  (the human Alberto from FelineOpines looks lovingly at vet tech at Pend Oreille Veterinary Servicecalled her Dr. Ponsness) and this lady was respectful and very nice as well. Although both Marsy and the Doctor poked me a little and put a silver thing on me and listened to my chest (who knew, had no idea there was anything to listen to in there), they talked to me and petted me and I was quite calm. At one point, I even forgot my human was there as I cuddled up to Marsy.   When they were done, they let me continue to hang out on the counter and watch what they were doing with Oliver. All in all, an extemely pleasant experience.

 

 

OllieHeadOliver Opines on the Exam

 

Oliver from the Tribe of Five with Dr. Ponsness at Pend Oreille Veterinary ServiceI had no interest in hanging out on the silver table but I did wander around and inspect the place, sniffing table legs, trash cans, etc. Nothing but calming smells so when Dr. Ponsness picked me up and talked to me and petted me, I was a happy camper. She and Marsy  made me feel right at home, even if they did poke and Oliver napping in the exam room at Pend Oreille Veterinary Serviceprod a bit (there was the insertion of something called a thermometer that I found objectionable but it only lasted a few seconds and, in their defense, they did apologize beforehand).   When they were done, I was allowed to wander around the room again and explore. I was so relaxed and happy, I actually took a quick cat nap while my human chatted with the doctor.

 

After my brief respite, I did some more exploring. Marsy grabbed one of the big feathers from the jar, waved it above me Oliver plays with a feather at Pend Oreille Veterinary Serviceand  we began playing.
I attacked that feather with a vengeance.  I was quite fierce and I’m sure I made her a bit afraid with my aggressive moves. I hope she knows I’m a good cat and would never hurt anyone.

I must say all in all this visit was good (except for the part where they told my human I needed to lose weight) and if the female human insists on taking us again I won’t even howl on the way over!

The Human Opines

Alberto and Oliver allowed me some space to tell you about my experience at  Pend Oreille Veterinary Service. They have employed fearless practices for a while but their new facility is completely dedicated to the concept of a fearless veterinary experience , from the beautiful and comfortable lobby to the exam rooms, surgery suite and every other part of the hospital.

fearless vet visits for cats

 

 

 

Dr. Ponsness took me on a tour of the building and I was impressed. The surgery and kennels are strategically arranged so that they are not right next to the examining rooms.  Examining areas are dedicated for canine and feline patients and the imaging/consulting room is set up like a human doctor’s office so the people as well as the pets are comfortable.

The facility was designed by a veterinary architect and when I asked Dr. Ponsness what surprises she encountered during the planning and construction she responded that she was taken aback when the architect suggested the specialized HVAC system.  It turns out, that HVAC system is pivotal in the fearless and state of the art aspects of the practice. It provides climate controlled areas such as the surgery suite which has negative pressure. Negative pressure is critical in controlling germs and assisting with healing. The HVAC provides climate controlled areas to fit the needs and purposes of each area of the practice and controls smells that often cause concerns in animals when they are visiting the vet.

Pheromones and soothing music are offered in exam rooms, and, as Oliver and Alberto noted, treats and toys to keep the felines amused while they wait. Every space has been planned with comfort, calmness and efficiency for the animal and human clients.

I saw some of the feline and canine patients relaxing in their comfy “hospital crates”, the surgery suite was state of the art and quite impressive,. The  lack of “medicine” smells thanks to the HVAC system serves to keep pets calm and also helps the household stay calm when pets arrive home from their visit. In the past, our felines were welcomed home from the vet with hisses, swats and angry “fuzzy tails” because the medicine smell scared the other cats. That does not happen now.

I’ve been bringing my felines to Pend Oreille Veterinary Service for years to see Dr. Ponsness and Dr. Smart. My fur kids receive the best of care and I would have argued with anyone who would have said even better care could be provided there , until we made our first fearless visit to the new facility.

I cannot stress enough the importance of taking your fur kids to a practice that uses fearless methodology. Even if your vet does not have a facility designed by a veterinary architecht, there are many methods they can employ to provide you and your felines with fearless visits.

Tucker, the Tribe of Five Alpha recently had two overnight stays at the new facility and I was amazed at how balanced and calm our 14-yer old guy was when we brought him home. Normally, it takes a few days for him to bounce back from an overnight at the vets, but not this time. He was his old sassy self as soon as we unzipped the door of the carrier. and sashayed into the living room  to reclaim his favorite chair.

The Tribe of Five all had wellness exams recently and all responded in a relaxed, unstressed manner. Five felines with diverse personalities all responding positively to their vet visit speaks volumes.

fearless vet visit oliver from feline opinesAnd one last note, the fearless vet visit is a blessing to the worried pet parents as well. I no longer have to face taking them to the vet with fear and trepidation (and feeling like the meanest person on the planet).

Are your fur kids fearless? If not, I urge you to find a fearless practice in your area.

 

 

Tucker Opines on Healthy Eating

Siamese cat at the kitchen counter talking about gaining weight

Hello All,
As the male Alpha of the Tribe of Five, I’ve had much experience in my 12 years as far as eating is concerned. And believe me, I love to eat. I like wet food in the morning, kibble during the day, wet food in the evening and a before bedtime snack. Some cats eat to live, I live to eat.

Despite my great enjoyment of food, I have many dietary restrictions. First there’s my age (I’m twelve) and the fact that I have numerous allergies. The humans are constantly looking for the healthiest options for me and the rest of the tribe and they were ecstatic to find an extensive and in-depth review of cat foods by Reviews.com.  The article was published in November 2016 and (as the female human says) is something every cat loving person should read.

It’s a long article and far too much reading for this feline but I had my purrrrsonal assistant give me the highlights, which I will share with you. I suggest you have your lackeys…..errrr…humans read the report in its entirety..

In-Depth Study

These folks at Reviews.com are no slouches. They stated;

 “We analyzed 1,759 cat food formulas and found only 152 that were produced by a trustworthy brand with high-quality, risk-free ingredients.” They also made some cool graphs to help you humans understand how to feed your fabulous felines the healthiest foods.”

They also understand how complicated the feline digestive system is;

For cats, diets need to have a number of ingredients that only animal-based ingredients can supply, and not just meat; organs are often better in this respect (yes, by-product!). Also, cats need a certain supply of minerals to help them avoid urinary tract crystals and stones. Overall, you need to first think about what your dog/cat needs and then look for diets that help you meet that.”

In other words, you just can’t feed us any old thing and expect to keep us healthy.

The Importance of Digestibility

The folks at Review.com know that just because a feline likes the taste of something the digestibility factor is important. They even made a cool chart to explain this.

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Even Cats Have to Watch Out For Those Pesky Carbs

The female human is rabidly anti-carb when it comes to their food and she’s always wondered about cards and kitties. The study addresses this but I sure hope this doesn’t mean some of my tasty snacks will be cut out!

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Low-Quality Ingredients Lead to Health Problems

My humans subscribe to this theory and they want to keep us as healthy and happy as possible.  Kidney disease, dental disease and obesity are a problem for felines, especially as we get older, and the best way to mitigate these issues is to make sure we’re eating healthy.

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Don’t Delay, Read This Article Today

IMHO this is the definitive article on cat food and at twelve-years of age (and being a bit on the portly side); I am going to make sure that my humans have a discussion about how we’re being fed. They think they’re feeding us healthy but are they really?

Of course any changes in the feeding schedule cannot interrupt the wet, dry and snack schedule.

I urge all my feline friends to make sure their humans read this article (and if you are of the canine purrrrsuasion, Reviews.com did a similar article on dog food as well).

Your food loving friend,
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The Felines Opine On 2016

tukcrownTucker Opines

Well, I must say, 2016 was fairly much like 2015. I retained my lofty position on the red chair in the living room, received treats regularly and even strolled (under human supervision) on the upstairs deck.

The “little guys” as we call them continued to be annoying and always  up to  some kitten shenanigans  but they do recognize my authority as the Alpha of The Tribe of Five and now that they’re just over a year, they are settling down a bit.

And they are making themselves useful. Oliver has decided he likes my prescription food and this is quite convenient for me.. Each morning, when the female human comes out of the bedroom, Oliver races down the hallway and does a little dance by the food bowl. The female human obediently goes to the pantry in the laundry room, grabs the food and fills both of our bowls. Having Oliver around is never having to say, “I’m hungry”.

I’m looking forward to another relaxing year as Alpha as I take up my post on the red chair (or, as the humans refer to it, the “throne”), watch the household antics of Oliver and Alberto, receive my treats and have a perpetually full food bowl.

Jasmine Opines

Siamese cat Jasmine in fake nose and glassesWell, I am still living in the human’s bedroom but things have progressed. If you’re wondering why I live in the bedroom, you can read about it in Amelia’s story.

There have been some breakthroughs in 2016. The humans invite Lily into the bedroom frequently in the evenings and things are progressing enough that  I will actually come out from under the bed when she’s there (although sometimes she forgets she’s supposed to show me deference and chases after me, resulting in a loud a hissy fit and a big “fluffy tail”).. The female human is also leaving the bedroom door open periodically (when she can watch Lily and make sure she doesn’t waltz in.)  I am optimistic about the future.

Siamese cat sitting at a snowy windowThere is much in my two-room environment to keep me interested, the automatic red dot thingy Siamese cat sitting oi chair in front of widow in winterthat twirls and spins and throws red dots down the hallway, huge windows and wide window ledges that look out to the woods around the house.  I often have visitors come by. Some are felines, some are birds, some are squirrels and there is the occasional raccoon as well.

My brother Tucker comes and visits and sleeps overnight, as does Oliver and Alberto.  Tucker sleeps in one of the cushy cat beds but  Alberto and Oliver are a bit disruptive so they end up being escorted out of the room at some time in the wee hours.

The female human showed me that you don’t have to go out to do good work for pets. She and her sister founded a lost pet social media organization for our area and many pets have been reunited with their families thanks to all the good people who help.

All in all, it’s been a good year and much more interesting than last year. The female human told me that when I write my year end comments for 2017, she hopes I’ll be telling you how I roam around the house again.

Lily Opines

cat with New Years hat and glassesIt’s been a good year. I’ve been in the human’s bedroom many times and I’m thinking Jasmine and I may be friends after all (as long as I don’t forget myself and  chase her).

I have a nice routine with the female human. Each evening after she finishes making dinner, she goes downstairs and gets a pail full of cat food. She calls this “junk food” and won’t let us eat it on a regular basis, but she does give Alberto and I a few bits. If Tucker deigns to sashay down the stairs to join us, he gets a few pieces too. She then takes the pail and puts the food down on the patio for our masked friends. One of them comes with her little masked babies and I like to sit by the sliding glass doors and chat with them about woodland life versus indoor life. Seems to me I have the better deal.

The female human’s story “All My Children Wear Fur Coats” was published in February in the newest Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s soul book. This experience made her even more interested in writing about and for cats (it’s because of this that she is our purrrrsonal assistant and types for us in this blog). She was even on several radio shows talking about the fabulous Tribe of Five and is now working on something she refers to as a “cozy mystery” that has two cats as main characters (I hope one of them is me).

This month was a bit stressful. Some of the human’s relatives visited, and, although I am sure they are wonderful people, I did not want to be bothered so I spent the time downstairs, burrowed under the sofa cover. The Tribe of Five produced a manual for guests who visit homes with felines, you may want to ensure your humans read this.

It’s been a purrfectly wonderful  year and I look forward to a purrfectly wonderful 2017 as well.

Oliver Opines

Black and white cat with new years mask and hatI would say that I probably had the most exciting year as I threw my hat in the ring as the Kitty Cat Party cat-i-date for purresident. My running mate, Olive, from Three Chatty Cats, and I even sent our human to a conference called Blogpaws with campaign buttons to spread the word about our platform.

Olive and I presented a complete platform only to find that the Today Show featured another feline who was running and never even mentioned my name so I had to take them to task, sheesh, what’s a cat got to do to get some press coverage?

Sadly, my running mate and I did not win but this does black and white kitten runs for presidentnot mean that I have abandoned all my purrlitical aspirations. I have been reading about cats that are mayors, customs officials and even a Chief Mouser for the British Cabinet.  Now that I have some experience, I’m thinking I might just be successful at this purrlitical thing.

No matter what I decide to do in 2017, it will be a great year and I look forward to opining all about it.

Alberto Opines

Siamese cat in bag wearing party hatIt was a great year. I was the official spokes-purrson for the Kitty Cat Pawty campaign and I quite enjoyed all the attention.  Even though my brother Oliver didn’t win, he told me there would be a job for me if he ever entered the purrlitical arena again.

Things in the spring and summer were grand. The humans bought us a portable catio and we all enjoyed
bird and squirrel watching on the front porch and upstairs deck in complete safety. Ever since the female human took a class about the concept of “Fearless” cat raising, she’s made sure our home is as fear free as possible.

The next exciting thing I experienced was being able to Siamese ca walking on leash in the gardenstroll through the front garden with a harness and leash. I quite enjoy myself when the female human takes me out to explore.

I had fun with the male human showing him how to pluck the string things on his guitar, we made some lovely mewsic together

img_2553Fall was a bit dicey. First the humans tried to put some ridiculous thing on me that they called a “dinosaur costume”. I was having none of it and, as you can see by my expression, I conveyed my unhappiness quite clearly.

Then, the female human came out into the living room one night made up like a feline. I was completely gobsmacked (as my British moggie friends would say). At first I was freaked out. Was she going through some strange human to feline transformation? If she was transforming into a cat, who would take over all the things she does for us? (I don’t trust siamese cat and woman with cat ears and cat make-upthe male human to do this). Once I calmed down and figured out she was not cat-morphing I became a bit annoyed. Was she mocking us? It was a terrible “faux paws”  and one, I am fairly certain, the female human will not repeat.

As I lounge by the fire, I am thinking what a happy cat I am and I think 2017 will be even better.

A final note from the #TribeOfFive

Thanks to all our friends out there in the blogosphere. We love the notes we receive from other felines (and other non-feline creatures…and even humans)  and we look forward to entertaining and enlightening you all from our little corner of the world in 2017.

Purrs & Meows,
Tucker, Jasmine, Lily, Alberto & Oliver

 

 

 

 

 

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

AmeliaYells+_Flowers

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

IllieKitten_1

Oliver

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

AlKitten_1

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

JazCloseUp_LR

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