Monthly Archives: April 2010

Kittens, Kittens, Kittens!

They’re tiny, fluffy and adorable.  Who doesn’t love kittens?  Unfortunately, this time of year, there are just too dang many of them around and most of them wind up at a shelter like the SPCA Tampa Bay.  We’re officially in the midst of kitten season and the call is going out for foster parents to take care of them until they’re old enough to be adopted.   Think of it this way: you get all the fun of playing with and taking care of the little fur balls without the long-term commitment.  Plus, you can’t beat that heartwarming feeling of knowing you helped make sure a young kitten survived long enough to be put up for adoption so they can find a loving, forever home!  For more information about becoming a foster parent, visit http://bit.ly/spcatampabay after you finish today’s blog.  You’ll love it, I promise! 

Mr. Rhett-all grown up

 

I know a thing or two myself about taking care of itty, bitty kitties.  I mentioned last week that the first cat of my own came into my life when I was in college.  It was a belated birthday present from my boyfriend and if I didn’t impress upon you before how not especially bright that boyfriend was, let me do so now.   Besides thinking it was a good idea to give up law school for an acting career, (in his late 20’s no less,) he also thought it was smart to take a five-week old kitten away from its mother as a way of making up for forgetting my birthday.  This happened while he was delivering pizza by the way, not acting. 

Anyway, Rhett obviously hadn’t been weaned and was so tiny he easily fit into the palm of my hand.   I had been raised with all kinds of cats, but never one this young so I wasn’t quite sure what to do or what to feed him.   Though I’m loathe to admit it, the internet had yet to be invented, so I had to do some investigating to figure that out.  After talking to my vet and doing some reading I got some kitten milk replacer and dry kitten food at the pet store and took turns bottle feeding him the milk replacer and feeding him moistened kitten food.  Holding him in my hand and watching him suck at that bottle was about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen to this day.   His litter box literally was just the top of a shoe box turned upside down with some clay litter thrown inside it.   I took the other, bigger part of the box and turned it into his bed.  Or, at least I tried to.  Rhett had *other *ideas when it came to bedtime. 

Remember when I mentioned that he hadn’t been weaned yet?  Guess who turned into momma cat? It would take him a solid 20 minutes but every single night, Rhett would climb out of his little box next to my bed, then painstakingly use his little kitten claws to climb my bedspread.  Once on the bed he would then snuggle up between my ear and my shoulder and contentedly start sucking on my t-shirt.  Talk about a great way to be lulled to sleep, especially after a long, stressful night of cramming for exams.  That nightly ritual continued for a couple of months and I admit, when it eventually stopped, there may have been a tear or two shed by yours truly.  They grow up so fast don’t they? 

So handsome, even at 18 years old!

 

Actually, Rhett kind of had to grow up fast.  I shared an apartment with another girl and it being college and all, it wasn’t the quietest place in the world.  Or the most organized.  Or the most sober.   Rhett definitely got three square meals a day, but at times, dinner would be served at 2 a.m.  And if my roommate’s boyfriend had anything to do with it, it would include some beer.  He also had to deal with parties and the many strangers invading his space that those included, along with the exact opposite: long stretches of solitude when my roommate and I would spontaneously decide to stay somewhere else or take a last-minute road trip. (Ah, college. Those were the days, huh?)   But I’ll tell you, all that made Rhett the cat he is today.  He’s a tough guy, the unequivocal leader of the house, the cool cat, the one everyone is afraid of and looks up to and who always gets his way with both the animals and the humans in the house.  At 18 years old, he’s seen me through some of the best and worst times of the my life and I couldn’t love or respect him more than I do.   He’s my ‘first born’ and they always hold a special place in your heart, ya know? 

So what about your ‘first borns?”  I’d love to hear about how they came into your lives and how they’ve changed your world.  Head over to the Adopt-a-human Facebook page http://bit.ly/adoptahumanfacebook.  Once there, leave your stories in the comment section so everyone can enjoy them.  Remember, the more people who interact and spread the cat love on our Facebook page, the more shelter cats whose lives are saved!

I’m back!!

The 'crazy cat lady!'

I’m back!! For those of you who don’t know me from my 10 years at Bay News 9 in Tampa, Florida, welcome to the musings of a ‘crazy cat lady.’  Actually, my crazy extends to all animals, but somehow I ended up with a home full of stray, feral, medically unstable cats, so ‘crazy cat lady’ fits the bill best.   I recently got out of  TV news and now I’ve teamed up with the great folks at SPCA Tampa Bay as their new Social Media Consultant and one of my missions is to promote a wonderful initiative called Adopt-a-human.  The goal is simple: to let people know that cats are perfect companions for everyone, from college students and young families to lonely senior citizens.  Unfortunately, there are far more cats than dogs at SPCA Tampa Bay waiting for that forever home, but *you* can now help spread the word and find them those homes.  I’ll be writing a blog each week for the Adopt-a-human Facebook page about the five cats that have adopted me during my adult life and how much love, fun, and general merriment they bring to my life.  I’d like you all to join me!  Write *your* cat story  on the Facebook page and tell the world how being adopted by your cat has changed your life.  Or, if your cat insists, let them write the blog so they can brag about how much joy and happiness they brought into your heretofore sad, pathetic lives. (Their words, not mine!)  It can be be a long story or short one, cute or sentimental, we just want you to help us spread the cat love! Be sure to invite your cat family friends to join us as well and have them become a fan on Facebook at  http://bit.ly/adoptahumanfacebook and http://bit.ly/spcatampabayfacebook .

My own Rhett Butler

So, I’ll start this week with some background info on how I came to be adopted by each of my kitties.  I grew up in a very loving home where taking in strays was a common occurrence, so it was no surprise that I developed an incredibly strong stray-dar. (I totally made up that word and here’s my definition: someone who draws strays to them like metal to a magnet.)  My first homeless friend came to me in college, courtesy of a loser ex-boyfriend of mine who had showered me with, um, NOTHING, on my birthday.  He knew he was in the doghouse, so what better gift to get him out of it than a little tuxedo kitten he stumbled across while delivering pizza?  I gave that boyfriend the boot not long afterward but happily kept Rhett around.  He’s named after Rhett Butler from ‘Gone with the Wind’ and much like his namesake, my Rhett is dashing, debonair and a bit dangerous.

Ally-cat

Ally came into our lives next.  My husband, Nick and I were involved in a long-distance relationship and I thought a sweet little stray from a shelter would help keep him company between weekend flights to see each other.  Ally caught Nick’s eye immediately and though she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the bunch, she was clever enough to hide her neuroses long enough for us to fall in love with her and sign the adoption papers before she completely lost it in the car.  (That is a whole other story for another day.)   I’m incredibly sad to say that Ally recently passed away, but happy that she spent 15 wonderful years with us and left us with countless good memories to remember her by.

Pretty persian dreams

Our perfect little Persian, Louie,  joined the family a few years later thanks to the perfect storm of an incredibly bad day stuck in a news live truck for hours with only an old newspaper to banish the boredom.  Flipping through the pet ads, this smushed little face jumped out at me with the tag-line “Free Persians to a good home.”   A pleading phone call to the husband, a long drive to what I’ll charitably call ‘the country’, and an instant connection with a ball of fur with eyes that wouldn’t stop trying to climb my leg, that ‘good home’ was found.

He may have a mangled tail but Sweetie's gorgeous green eyes make up for it!

At that point, my husband drew a line in the sand saying  ‘NO MORE CATS.”  I sweetly agreed while surreptitiously feeding and taming a feral cat that was living behind the TV station.   Sweetie (named by a fellow crazy cat lady at work) had been dubbed the ‘dumpster cat’, since he was pretty bedraggled, scarred up from fighting and missing half his tail hair.   Of course, that just made me love him even more.   So when the station announced we were moving into a new building, I knew I had to take Sweetie with me.    Selling Nick on a feral cat with a mangled tail was pretty hard.  Even harder?  Getting Sweetie to the house.  I’ll spare you the details for now but I will tell you it involved tranquilizers, a ripped shirt and a big ol’ fence.

Lucy Jane says thank you for saving me!

At that point even I figured we were done, with four cats keeping us plenty busy.  But I should have known better.  My ‘stray-dar’ seemed to call to every maimed, mauled and malnourished cat around and it didn’t take long for me to attract Lucy Jane to our household.   It was a rainy, ugly night, just after midnight as I drove home from work.  I had planned to stop by our local CVS, but because of the nasty conditions, I figured I’d just go home.  But my cat fate stepped in as I started to drive by the entrance, and I found myself hydroplaning into the empty CVS parking lot.  Mind you there was not another car in that lot.  Yet somehow I pulled into the spot where a wet, dirty little cat was huddled and shaking, holding an obviously injured right paw up in the air.  Right then, I made a mental deal with myself:  if the cat would come to me and let me pick it up, I would take it home.   As if she had heard that bet, Lucy Jane practically launched herself into my arms, securing her place as the fifth cat in our posse.

With four cats running around, (and a dog chasing after them,) there is never a dull moment in our house.  I’m looking forward to sharing my cat stories with you each week here at Adopt-a-human and I’m looking forward to hearing all about the fun hi-jinks that the Bay Area’s cats get up to.   Also, if you know of a human looking to be adopted, please send them to www.spcatampabay.org, where many wonderful cats are just waiting to find that perfect match!