Abandoned

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Mom here. The Bambinos said I could use the blog to vent my frustrations. This is going to be long, and will be typed from atop my soap box. Please note that these are my opinions only, and not those of the animal rescue group for which I volunteer.

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<RANT STARTS HERE>

As regular readers of the blog know, my husband and I (and The Bambinos) volunteer with a local animal rescue group. Our group is non-profit, dependent upon fundraisers and donations to fund “our rescue group’s activities”. Our time is not compensated. On average, we spend about two hours a day caring for our fosters. Then there are adoption events to attend, screenings I do to confirm that a potential adopter is appropriate for the pet, meds we administer, trips to and from veterinarians for medical care for the fosters, fundraising events, etc.

I would like to be clear, I am not complaining. I love getting to care for kitties while they are waiting for their forever homes. Sometimes it is stressful when the babies are sick, or won’t eat, but I love the animals. I treat them and love them like I do The Furry Bambinos.

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Our rescue group’s activities are centered around the care of the animals (cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies) that we foster in our own homes. Our rescue group does not have a shelter, so space is limited by the number of animals our foster homes can safely hold. Unfortunately, our rescue group has to turn away many animals because our foster homes are full. (For example, my husband and I have six foster kittens in a 9′ by 10′ bedroom right now. Down from seven foster kittens, as one was adopted a few weeks ago.)

Our rescue group’s activities include feeding the animals in our care – and if you ever have had kittens, you know kittens grow quickly, and eat A LOT. We have coined the term “Hoover and Oreck Phase” to describe kittens between the ages of 4 months to a year. (Hoover and Oreck are brands of carpet vacuum cleaners.)

Imagine feeding six hungry kittens. They go through a lot of canned and dry food. I am a regular at PetSmart, which is where our rescue group is fortunate enough to have cage space in their adoption center. In addition, I can make tax exempt purchases at PetSmart for the pet food because our group is classified as a non-profit, and because we have filed the appropriate paperwork at a few local PetSmart stores.  The way our rescue group works is that I purchase the food, and then turn in the receipts for reimbursement.

So I make a point of patronizing PetSmart, for my own purchases, in addition to those I make for the animal rescue group. Say what you want about big box stores, and wanting to support local stores. I support local stores too. But I shop at PetSmart first, and then if they don’t have something I need, then I look elsewhere.

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Our rescue group’s activities also include getting all animals spayed or neutered before being adopted. NO EXCEPTIONS. We do not want to contribute to the problem of adorable, lovable, adoptable animals for whom there are no homes.

Unfortunately, there is a bias toward people wanting to adopt YOUNG AND CUTE rather than OLDER AND BIGGER. So that is why we, and many other rescue groups, spay or neuter kittens once they hit 2 pounds. For a healthy kitten, that occurs at about 2 months of age. I am often asked “Why do you spay/neuter them so young?” Then I have to explain the whole YOUNG AND CUTE dilemma.

In the past, our rescue group would adopt out prior to being spayed or neutered, and provide a voucher for free spay/neuter.  People weren’t using the vouchers.  So our rescue stopped that practice, and now requires that all animals are spayed or neutered prior to adoption.

I just want to cry sometimes, because there are plenty of adorable 5 month, 6 month, etc. kittens who need homes. For full-grown cats, the situation is even worse. But people have asked me at adoption events (I kid you not) “Don’t you have any SMALLER ones?” And they are referring to 6 month old kittens as TOO BIG.

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Our rescue group’s activities include providing all animals with age appropriate vaccinations prior to adoption.   Plus, they receive treatment for fleas, worms, and any other medical care they need while in our care.  All of these veterinary needs are not free.  This is where most of our rescue group’s expenses are.  If you have ever taken a pet to a veterinarian, you know that charges can add up quickly, even for routine well-visit care.

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Our rescue group’s activities also include TNR – Trap, Neuter, Return.  This is for feral cats and kittens. Personally, I think the term feral has been overused – when we mean “feral”, we mean “absolutely not adoptable, too wild, and too unhappy to be around humans”.  Our group has received some grant support for these surgeries.

Presently, my husband and I have two feral kittens who will be returned to their colony.  They were simply past the point of socializing into a house cat.  We got them when they were about 12 weeks old, with the hopes of “socializing”.  From what I understand, kittens need to be held by humans by the time they are about 6 weeks old, or the socialization road is a long uphill battle.

We named one of the ferals “Hidey” because she has spent most of the time in the foster room hiding.  She has “that look” of total abject terror every time we make eye contact with her.  We cannot pet her at all.  She runs away when we get “too near” her, including when we place a food dish in front of her.  She is clearly unhappy here.

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When I was at our rescue group’s annual adoption event in May, I had two sick kittens with me (Niecy and Trish).  Not so much to show for adoption, but to have with me because they were sick and needed constant care.  While I was sitting on the concrete floor of the cat pavilion, and trying to bottle feed one of the kittens, a woman walked up to me and asked some questions – the usual – how old (about 4 weeks), breed (moggie/mutt kitten), adoption fee ($75 for one, $100 for two).  And then:

“What’s so special about THAT kitten that it costs $75?”

I did not answer out loud.  But I thought to myself, “You aren’t special enough for this kitten”.

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Once people know that you volunteer for an animal rescue group, you get asked all sorts of questions.  Like questions about their pet’s health.  I don’t mind commiserating with friends about our pets and their medical concerns.  What I do mind is questions from anyone who thinks that my advice can replace that of a veterinarian.  I always refer people to their own veterinarian.

I and others in the rescue group get all sorts of calls and emails from people who have / know of / found an animal that needs a home.  In addition, I get all kinds of requests from people who need help “rehoming” their pet.  (This is the euphemism used when people want to get rid of their pet.)  Some of the stories are truly heartbreaking.  One person I knew was getting divorced, and had to move herself and her young children in with a family member who is allergic to cats.  Unfortunately, our group was full at the time, and I had to refer her elsewhere.

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So this long preamble brings me to my main point here.

A family we know came across a stray YOUNG AND TINY kitten several months ago. They originally did not want to keep him, but the kids and the parents had fun with him while he was YOUNG AND TINY, so they decided to make him a family pet.  I had originally offered to help with placement through our rescue group, but the family decided to keep him.

Now this kitten is about 6 months old, and needs medical attention, so the family PUT HIM IN THEIR GARAGE because they don’t want him to get fleas in their house. And because he had out of litter box experiences while the family was away for THREE WEEKS.  The kitten was cared for by a neighbor during their absence.

And then the family called us – to ask if there was some way we could get him into our animal rescue foster system. The problem is, our group is full. The waiting list is closed because it is so long. The family was already told this, that there is “no room at the inn”, but called us hoping that we could pull some strings, now that they have decided that they don’t want the kitten any more.

Mind you, this is not a financial issue. Their kids go to private schools, the family vacations in Europe. This is a “we are bored with our previously cute little kitten now that he is getting bigger and needs medical care” issue.

So my husband took a deep breath, and said he would call them back after speaking with me.

My advice was to take the kitten to a vet. This kitten has not been seen by a vet EVER. Needless to say, he has not been neutered. Or gotten any shots. Or given flea treatments, or worming medications.  Or anything else he might need.

My husband called the family back and relayed the advice about taking the kitten to a vet. The family is “considering” taking the kitten to a vet, or to the local cat surrender shelter.

The family asked if they could borrow a cat carrier from us.

My husband advised purchasing an inexpensive cardboard carrier from PetSmart.

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By the way, we are taking OUR CAT TO THE VET THIS AFTERNOON because he had out of litter box episodes all yesterday afternoon.

Because he deserves to be diagnosed and treated when he is sick.

Because we have chosen to make Padre a part of our family.

Forever.

Suffice it to say, Padre is not in the garage.

</RANT ENDS HERE>

Back to your regularly scheduled blog.

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This is the seventh post in a series about what we did while Mom and Dad abandoned us to help Aunt Patty and Uncle Chris with the M word. Our poor cousins Rainbow, Muse, Cinnamon, Toast, and Bruiser (the woofie) had to endure being cooped up in rooms that moved for days and days. If you want to know what Mom and Dad were doing, go read their stupid blog.

On Sunday, August 3, Aunt Deb told us that Mom and Dad would be coming home that day. Darn! We were having such a great time with Aunt Deb! Here is a picture of me playing with my favorite toy of all: The Milk Ring (plastic ring from a gallon of milk).

Padre Disdains Bouncy Ball in Favor of Milk Ring

Mom and Dad did come home on Sunday night. We greeted them as they unpacked the ginormous room that moves.

Meerkat Greets Mommy and Daddy

Panda Bear Welcomes Daddy Home while Getting His Butt Sniffed by Meerkat

Meerkat Sniffs Mommys Shoe While Padre Shows Off His Spot 13

We made sure to sniff all of their packages and rectangular boxes with zippers.

Padre Sniffs Packages

Meerkat was so happy to see Mommy and Daddy that she clawed one of the dining room chairs in excitement:

Meerkat Claws Dining Room Chair in Excitement to See Mom and Dad

Meerkat gave Daddy’s hand a thorough sniffing.

Meerkat Sniffs Daddys Hand

Daddy picked up Panda Bear and gave him a hug.

Daddy Hugs Panda Bear

Mommy picked me up and made me give her a kissy. I complied, because otherwise I thought she would never put me down.

Padre Gives Mommy Kissy

 

Mostly, we are glad that Mommy and Daddy are home. Except when they take out the Evil Nail Clippers.

 

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This is the sixth post in a series about what we did while Mom and Dad abandoned us to help Aunt Patty and Uncle Chris with the M word. Our poor cousins Rainbow, Muse, Cinnamon, Toast, and Bruiser (the woofie) had to endure being cooped up in rooms that moved for days and days. If you want to know what Mom and Dad were doing, go read their stupid blog.

Dear Mom and Dad,

We confess! We had a few friends over Friday night, August 1st. The usual suspects came over, along with some new kids on the block — Sheldon, Rae, Gordon, Tammy Faye, and who knows who else.

Everything was mellow at first. Some of the new kids started a poker game at the dining room table. Actually, it was strip poker. A few collars and soft paws were shed. When they brought out the cigars, we said no way! This is a nuclear and smoke free zone!

Another group wanted snacks so we let them have some of our leftovers. They got a little raucous and soon a food fight was happenin’! We think Gordon started it because he has kind of a bad reputation, but we don’t really want to point the paw until we know for sure. Someone pukied in a few places, but we are not sayin’ who cuz we don’t want to rat on our friends. We cleaned up best we could, but some of it is still around. On Saturday morning, August 2nd, when Aunt Deb stopped in to feed us, she wanted to use the big noisy thing that sucks up stuff, but she thought that Daddy might not like that.

Just before midnight, lots of water and light and noise came form the sky outside. We were ascairt, so we all piled up on top of each other under the sofa. After the storm ended, everyone put on their little yellow rain slickers and tiny boots and left us Furry Bambinos to ourselves. We slept until Aunt Deb came over on Saturday morning to feed us.

Panda Bear Waves Goodbye

Mom and Dad, please don’t be mad at us! We promise we will be good!

Your loving bambinos,
Panda Bear, Meerkat, and Padre

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this is the fifth post in a series about what we did while mom and dad abandoned us to help aunt patty and uncle chris with the m word. our poor cousins rainbow, muse, cinnamon, toast, and bruiser (the woofie) had to endure being cooped up in rooms that moved for days and days. if you want to know what mom and dad were doing, go read their stupid blog.

we furry bambinos weren’t that eager to chow down on friday, august 1st. we were more interested in playing with aunt deb. she said that she felt so honored, like sally field when she declared “you like me! you really like me!” upon accepting her oscar. (later aunt deb realized that we bambinos are just not that into the particular type of stinky goodness that she gave us that day. panda bear “covered up” the food as if he was in the litter box as a sign of his disapproval.)

Panda Bear Covers the Leftover Food for Later

then aunt deb fed us and filled our water bowls and fountain. mom must have told aunt deb where the squirrel food is, and that panda bear is a huge flight risk when mom feeds the squirrels. because next she grabbed the outdoor critters’ food, then announced, “NO escapees, guys!” we bambinos backed off, but watched attentively as she flung copious amounts of peanuts and walnuts out the door. aunt deb said that she had to make up for not feeding them before today. she said that those squirrels looked pitiful waiting around for their usual goodies.

then aunt deb tossed a few toys around to see if she could get some indoor activity going. padre and i went for the catnip carrot. aunt deb settled into the rocker for playtime. i sat to the right of her and rolled around on my back to show off my tummy, as i have done everyday. she gave me some skritches and asked if anyone else wanted some.

panda bear parked himself in his usual spot in the dining room by the pile of toys. he looked rather bored, so aunt deb spoke to him by name, and talked in a soothing voice. he answered by giving aunt deb a “love blink”: a slow blink of his eye.

padre posted himself near the door and stood vigil for the squirrels. i said that i wanted to play with the feather toy, so we did that for a good while.

Meerkat Attacks the Red Feather Toy

i really like chasing the feather toy through the cubes, then jumping on top of the cubes and squishing them!

Meerkat Crushes a Kalahari Cube

we furry bambinos nibbled and drank before aunt deb left. she cautioned us to behave ourselves, because she somehow sensed that we had some plans for that night. after that wild party we had last time mom and dad were away, aunt deb said that she is preparing herself for anything when she comes to see us on saturday morning.

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This is the fourth post in a series about what we did while Mom and Dad abandoned us to help Aunt Patty and Uncle Chris with the M word. Our poor cousins Rainbow, Muse, Cinnamon, Toast, and Bruiser (the woofie) had to endure being cooped up in rooms that moved for days and days. If you want to know what Mom and Dad were doing, go read their stupid blog.

On Thursday, July 31, Aunt Deb did not get to our house until noon. She said that she was really exhausted, because she was up way too late Wednesday. Aunt Deb said that she “had an interview with a Californian just b4 midnight EDT Wednesday and it lasted a long time, then I need to wind down b4 hitting the sack”. Yeah, whatever.

We were not especially hungry or angry at Aunt Deb, but we had eaten most of the crunchies. We still had some left and plenty of water, though. Aunt Deb fed us right away as always, and then we played.

Meerkat Plays with Red Ball

One of us Bambinos was especially zealous and had grabbed a feather off the toy, so Aunt Deb disposed of it so that there would be no choking and puking while she was gone. Darn!

Aunt Deb sang us a song with our names, to the tune of O Tannenbaum! Just to make sure it was a multi-cultural songfest, she also sang us a song about us, to the tune of Hava Nagila. We sure do like Aunt Deb’s singing!

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This is the third post in a series about what we did while Mom and Dad abandoned us to help Aunt Patty and Uncle Chris with the M word.  Our poor cousins Rainbow, Muse, Cinnamon, Toast, and Bruiser (the woofie) had to endure being cooped up in rooms that moved for days and days.  If you want to know what Mom and Dad were doing, go read their stupid blog.

On Wednesday, July 30th, Aunt Deb arrived at 7:45 am — can you believe it?  I did not know that Aunt Deb is a Night Owl and a late sleeper, and I cussed her out a little for being late for breakfast.  Aunt Deb hastened to get that stinky goodness in the bowls.  I chowed down, but Panda Bear and Meerkat wanted to play first.

Panda Bear Playing with Aunt Deb

Usually Panda Bear observes for awhile before playing, but this morning both he and Meerkat competed for the feather toy.

Meerkat Playing with Aunt Deb

They waited to eat for awhile, but they did get to the stinky goodness before Aunt Deb left.

We all watched a squirrel climb up the bird feeder and raid the goodies.  Aunt Deb said that it was amazing how agile that squirrel was!  BTW, Aunt Deb thinks it was the same squirrel that was waiting on the outdoor back porch railing when she first came in today.  She felt bad that she did not have any peanuts to give him or her.  She asked us, where are the peanuts?  We told her that the squirrel food is in the blue plastic tub in the kitty feeding room, but she didn’t understand what we said.

Also, Aunt Deb was wondering if there was a litter box somewhere where she could get to it and clean it out.  She said that she didn’t want us Bambinos to get disgusted and leave any poopies for Mom and Dad.  We didn’t care, though.  Would serve them right for abandoning us!  Heh.

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this is the second post in a series about what we did while mom and dad abandoned us to help aunt patty and uncle chris with the m word.  our poor cousins rainbow, muse, cinnamon, toast, and bruiser (the woofie) had to endure being cooped up in rooms that moved for days and days.  if you want to know what mom and dad were doing, go read their stupid blog.

aunt deb made it over to our house by 10 am on tuesday (july 29).  padre greeted her in the front room.  panda bear was sitting under the front room window.  we bambinos had eaten all the fancy feast crunchies from one bowl, and some iams, but still had a full bowl of dry fancy feast crunchies, and plenty of water left.  aunt deb replenished everything, and gave us our stinky goodness!

after we chowed down, we played with the feather toy!  padre and i were into it, but panda bear just sat near aunt deb and groomed himself.

Padre and Meerkat Go After Red Feather Toy

aunt deb sang songs to us: a butchered version of frere jacques, a silly rhyming song that she made up about us, and a few more.  we especially enjoyed when aunt deb sang “the wheels on the bus”.  when she sang “the wipers on the bus go whoosh whoosh whoosh”, i got all excited.  i rolled around on my back on the floor next to aunt deb.  she reached out to me, and i met her finger with my paw, like ET.  awwww — so cute!

we saw a yellow and black butterfly and a squirrel.  that was fun!  aunt deb stayed about 1/2 hour and reminded us about the NO PARTIES rule before she left.  we didn’t promise anything.