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PIPER – the orange cat

Winter can be a beautiful time of year . . . snowmen, icicles, trees hanging heavy with piles of glittering snowflakes . . But, along with all that beauty comes cold, sometimes frigid weather. The average temperature in Finlay, Ohio in January is about 25 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not seem like the coldest place to be in the winter but, when you are stuck in a wet, icy drainpipe with no blanket and no food for a few days . . . then it probably seems like the coldest place on earth.

Susan Orians was passing by Donnell Middle School in Finlay, Ohio on a Wednesday evening in January of 2014 when she heard a noise coming from the downspout on the school’s wall. Upon closer inspection she realized it was the faint meowing of a cat. Susan went home and returned with tuna to try and coax the cat out. Other bystanders had gathered and they also tried to help free the crying cat. One helpful bystander even tried a cellphone app that meowed. But, nothing could lure the cold, scared little kitty out. Finally, the small group of would-be rescuers made the decision to contact the school first thing in the morning. The concerned group disbanded but not before vowing to return the next day and try and help with the rescue.

When the school received Susan’s call early Thursday morning they quickly contacted the Hancock County Humane Society. Employees and volunteers of the humane society arrived on the scene and began working to save the cat.

PIPER cat storiesA hole was cut in to the downspout then food and catnip were placed in to try and entice the cat out. After some time had passed with no sign of the cat, a camera was placed in to the downspout. They soon discovered that the cat was too big to fit through the downspout and gain freedom. After exhausting all their efforts, workers left the scene around 8:30pm on Thursday evening but vowed to return the next morning with a solution to save the poor feline. Early Friday morning the workers returned to the school and began digging out the buried portion of the drainage pipe. By 10am on Thursday, the cat was finally freed from the pipe.

The orange male cat was very muddy and emaciated. He was quickly taken to the local veterinarian where he was found to be suffering from hypothermia. Upon further inspection, the poor cat was found to have a broken leg and other injuries that indicated more trauma than what the drainpipe could have done. Though he was battered and beaten, he was expected to make a full recovery.

The loyal group of volunteers who helped rescue the stranded cat decided to name him “Piper” in reference to his time spent stuck in the drainpipe. They learned that Piper most likely crawled into the pipe through a drainage basin located on a nearby street. Most likely hiding from whatever threat had injured him in the first place.

The positive side of Piper’s story is that his rescue made headlines and garnered much attention. Many people came forward with requests to adopt the cat and give him a forever home. Happily, Piper won’t need to worry about being caught out in the cold, harsh winter any more.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for your Cat

Thanksgiving is a day where we gather our friends and family together to give thanks for what we have, and we celebrate with a plethora of delicious food. However, while we enjoy our meal, our cats have a high risk of becoming injured or ill due to all of the tasty treats and decorations they can get into around the holidays. Your cat won’t be so thankful if they eat some meat bones or a toxic (to them) decoration. We know you are thankful for the companionship of your cats, but now it is time for you to learn how to keep your kitty safe during this time of thanks. Read through our tips and tricks to keep your cat safe, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

cat stories

1. No Candles!

Although candles are lovely, cats are attracted to the flickering flame and could burn themselves or knock them over and start a fire. Unless your cat is locked up tight in another area of the house, do not have real candles lit in your home. Instead opt for LED candles- they are very realistic, and not dangerous like a real flame can be.

2. Avoid Table Scraps

As much as we would love to give our kitties some stuffing, turkey skin, or other tasty Thanksgiving treats, certain human foods are extremely toxic to cats and should be avoided no matter what. Below are some of the most toxic foods that should be avoided:

  • Sage is a tasty herb that is frequently used in Thanksgiving cooking, but it and many other herbs can cause intestinal upset in our pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects many different herbs, and with the exception of cat nip, cats should not have excess to any fresh or dried herbs.
  • Bread Dough According to the ASPCA, when raw bread dough is ingested by our pets, their body heat causes the dough to rise and expand in their stomach. This can then cause vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, resulting in life-threatening illness that will need emergency surgery.
  • Fatty Foods Any amount of rich, fatty, or unfamiliar foods (such as meat fat, skins, and gravies) can cause intestinal issues; large quantities can cause a condition called pancreatitis, a medical condition that can be very painful and life-threatening if left untreated.
  • Bones can cut or obstruct your cat’s internal organs and should never be fed to them. They can also splinter and become stuck in the cat’s throat or further down its digestive tract.
  • Onions:  Onions and onion powder will attack your cat’s red blood cells, causing your cat to develop anemia.
  • Grapes and Raisins contain a toxin that causes kidney failure in cats.

3. Feed your Cat a Special Thanksgiving Meal

As previously mentioned, traditional Thanksgiving meals are loaded with ingredients that can make cats very ill. If you want your kitty to join in the celebration, prepare their own turkey dinner ahead of time with a slice or two of skinless turkey breast and a small spoonful of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling).

4. Keep the Garbage in the Can!

Cats are highly skilled at finding food enticing foods, and although they are not as likely to get into the garbage as a dog is, you still should take care when disposing of leftover foods and packaging. When disposing of any leftovers, it is best to double-bag them and put it in your garbage can outside.

On top of food, items such as aluminum foil, wax paper, plastic wrap, tooth picks, skewers, used silverware, and strings that have been in contact with meat or other foods. Your cat won’t know this shouldn’t be eaten because it smells like food, and once ingested these items can cause damage or intestinal blockages.

5. Give Your Cat Extra Love

When you have a crowd at your home, your cats may feel neglected- particularly if your cat is very social or attached to you. If you can, try to set aside 10-15 minutes to spend some quality time with your cat before and during your party. Your cat will be more relaxed after getting some much needed attention from you, and you can enjoy your friends and family without feeling guilty for neglecting your kitty.

6. Give your Cat a Safe Place

While some cats thoroughly enjoy visitors, many cats do not, and in fact, may try to get as far away from new people as possible. For those cats, it would be best to confine them while you have guests in your home. Be sure to provide litter box, fresh water, toys and bedding for your cat. Make sure all windows are secure, but if your cat loves to look out windows, keep the blinds and curtains open so they can see outside. If feasible, set up a nice bed at the window so they can feel comfortable. You can also set up a stereo and play soothing music, or keep the television on low volume.

7. For the Extra Stressed Cat

An overly-nervous cat may need to have a little help calming down and feeling at ease with other people roaming around their home. Many cats are able to calm down with the help of natural remedies; however some cats need a light sedative. If you think your cat may need something to “take the edge off” while there are guests at your home, please call your veterinarian for assistance.

Mario’s Smile Won them Over

cat storiesIn 2011, a married couple had just made the agonizing decision to put their long-time cat companion to sleep due to health issues. Their house seemed quiet, empty and lonely without the sweet “meow” of their loving fur-daughter, Misty. They decided to make a trip to the local Humane Society to see what cats might be looking for homes. They walked in to the cat room at the Humane Society and were greeted with about 15 cats walking, lounging, playing and napping. Immediately a black cat walked up to the gentleman (Don) and started rubbing against his leg’s, purring as loudly as he could.

Don’s wife was busy eyeing up a calico kitty named Princess who was busy ignoring all the visitors in the cat room. Don told his wife that he was certain the black kitty was “the one” and was ready to sign the adoption papers that day. His wife, however, talked him in to waiting a few days. She explained that she didn’t want to rush the decision, especially after losing their dear Misty such a short time ago. Don agreed to come back to the shelter in a few days and see if they felt the same connection to the black cat.

Don and his wife returned to the shelter two days in a row and each time they entered the cat room the black kitty walked right up to Don and began purring and rubbing against his legs. By the third visit, both Don and his wife were convinced that the black kitty was meant to come home to live with them. They could no longer deny that the cat had a very strong connection to them and needed to become their new companion.

After signing the adoption papers and placing the cat in a carrier, the couple was on their way home when they decided to stop at their vet’s office to make sure the feline didn’t have any known health issues. They had already decided on the name “Mario” and, so, introduced him to the staff at the vet clinic as such. Don and his wife were retired and lived on a fixed income so they were happy when the vet declared Mario to be a healthy cat except for one issue . . . he needed to have his teeth cleaned. The vet estimated that Mario might need one tooth pulled during the cleaning and also informed the couple that Mario had an active infection in his mouth (probably due to needing a cleaning).

The couple scheduled Mario’s teeth cleaning straight-away and all went as expected except that Mario developed another infection after it was done. The vet prescribed antibiotics to clear it up, however, one infection lead to another . . . then another . . . then another! Several rounds of antibiotics later and their vet finally referred Mario to an Animal Dentist about 50 miles from where they lived. The dentist diagnosed Mario with stomotitus and said that he needed to have all of his teeth pulled over a 5 month period. The couple was devastated!

After all of the surgeries were completed the total they spent on Mario’s teeth was over $10,000! They had to dip in to their retirement fund to cover the cost.

The silver lining?

Mario’s wonderful family doesn’t regret for one moment adopting the black kitty and bringing him in to their lives. They consider his adoption to be the best decision they have ever made. Mario now uses his story as a teaching tool on Twitter and encourages other feline pals to see an animal dentist whenever he hears they have infections that never clear up. Stomotitis is a very serious desease and can eventually cause death or very serious health problems. Mario was one very lucky cat to find such a loving family!

Cat Stories – Bingo’s Big Adventure

Bingo was only eight weeks old when she was adopted by a nice young woman named Sarah. Sarah took the adorable little calico kitten home to meet her husband and twelve-year-old son. Bingo loved Sarah’s son immediately and they played together for a long time on the floor. It was a good match.

The family enjoyed getting to know Bingo over the next few weeks and frequently found themselves laughing at her crazy antics. She would attack their feet when they walked around the house which they all found quite hilarious because she was so small. Despite her size, she would put everything she had in to her “attacks”, kneeling back with a swishing tail only to pounce vigorously like a tiger on top of any moving foot.

Cat Stories Bingo

Bingo had full run of the home but hadn’t yet found the courage to venture out on the large acreage the family owned. There were two ponds near the back of the property that had many tall trees growing on it. Sarah enjoyed spending time there because she found it so pretty and relaxing. One day Bingo decided to follow Sarah to the quiet spot.

As Sarah relaxed in a lounge chair, about to doze off, she heard Bingo begin meowing very loudly. Sarah looked up to see Bingo had climbed to the top of a small tree. The top of the tree was swaying precariously and Bingo was getting more fearful as the moments passed. Her yowling filled the afternoon air. Sarah ran toward the house looking for her husband and, at her frantic calls, he came running.

As they both considered how to help Bingo, neither of them could come up with a way to get her down. Soon Sarah’s son came running over and quickly formed an idea to rescue her. Mom and dad watched as their son quickly shimmied up the tree. Bingo’s cries became more frantic as he neared the top of the swaying tree. When he got close enough to grab her, the tree bent over and hung directly over the murky pond beside it.

Now, not only was Bingo crying at the top of his lungs, but their son was as well! He was screaming that he was going to fall when Sarah’s husband instructed him to try and back down the tree. Unfortunately, his pants were snagged on a branch so he couldn’t get down.

A neighbor heard the frantic cries of child and feline and arrived unexpectedly on the scene driving his big green tractor. The helpful neighbor drove right up to the pond and extended the bucket so that the young boy was able to simply step down in to it, grabbing Bingo as he did so.

Once put down safely on the ground, Bingo took off like a shot towards the safety of the house.

Since that day, Bingo has spent many a sunny day lounging on the front porch of the house or chasing butterflies in the family’s front driveway, but he refuses to venture in to the back yard.

No one can say that Bingo didn’t learn his lesson that day. The family agrees that they never have to tell Bingo anything twice.

He is one smart cat.

The Cat Behind the Door

Why are you looking at me?
Can’t you see I want to be alone?
I hid behind the door for a reason
But I can’t get it to close

The dogs are barking
The kids are crazy
I hid behind this door for a reason
I just want to be lazy

The T.V. is loud
Interrupting my sleep
I hid behind this door for a reason
I don’t want to hear a peep

Now you mow the lawn?!
You were supposed to do it for weeks
I hid behind this door for a reason
So move and don’t peak

So go away and don’t come back
Shut the door when you leave please
I hid behind this door for a reason
So I can sit here in peace

Simeon Russell

cat poems

Popeye’s Long Journey Home

Popeye cat storiesFurkids is one of Georgia’s largest animal rescue shelters so it seems surprising that one sweet-tempered cat would have the ability to steal the hearts of so many of its volunteers. But, when a scruffy, grey-colored cat was surrendered to the no-kill shelter in 2007 that is exactly what happened.

He was a rather ordinary looking five-year-old cat except for the fact that he only had one eye. The shelter staff affectionately named him “Popeye” and he was instantly one of the feline favorites of everyone who worked there. He was affectionate and friendly, fun and easy-going. The perfect cat.

It didn’t take long before a woman requested to adopt him. She informed the shelter staff that she would soon be relocating to San Francisco, with Popeye in tow. Popeye and the woman settled in San Francisco and began their life together. But, it was short-lived. For unknown reasons, the woman left Popeye in the care of a cousin when she moved to Ohio to take a new job.

It’s not clear if Popeye, who was an indoor/outdoor cat, was abandoned or if he escaped from the home of the cousin he was placed with. But, when a young woman named Kelly found the distinctive cat wandering the streets of California, it was clear that he was in poor health.

Kelly said the cat showed obvious signs of pain and, therefore, took him to be evaluated at a local vet clinic. He was found to have an eye infection which, considering his limited eyesight to begin with, made the situation very dire for a cat on its own in the city. Popeye’s teeth were also rotting and the once full, furry coat was thinning on his malnourished frame. Upon examining Popeye, the vet discovered he was micro-chipped, which is how they were able to trace him back to Furkids in Georgia.

Since Popeye’s original home was over 2,400 miles away, they needed to get creative to bring Popeye home. A Furkids staff member, whose husband worked for an airline, was able to use a Buddy Pass to fly to California and back the same week that Kelly had found Popeye. So, within a week, Popeye went from roaming the streets of California, hungry and in pain, to once again being surrounded by the loving arms of people who cared for him.

Immediately upon Popeye’s arrival at Furkids, he was given the medical treatment he needed. He had twelve teeth removed (with only one remaining). He was put on medication to treat an upper-respiratory infection and his eye infection and he began on the road to recovery.

“Popeye is a true survivor,” said Lauren Frost of Furkids.

Thank goodness for micro-chips. If it weren’t for that technology, Popeye might never had made it back to the one place that had always made him feel loved and cared for.

How Your Cat and Your Children Can Live Together in Harmony

There is no reason to not have a cat if you have kids. Many cats enjoy the company of children, but not all cats can tolerate the rambunctious nature that little children tend to have. It all comes down to picking the right cat and training your child how to interact with your cat. It is up to you as the parent to teach your kids how to pet, handle, and treat them with kindness and compassion. Many kids have amazing relationships with their cats and learn about respecting other animals and being gentle towards them – it can be done successfully, but as the parent you have to lay down the rules.

When choosing a cat, research different breeds and pick the breed that does the best with children. If you opt to go to a shelter and rescue a cat then great! Just make sure to inform your adoption counselor that you have children and they can help pick the best cat for you and your household. The ideal family friendly cat would be well socialized to children of all ages, with an endless tolerance of handling and affection. Very shy and timid cats may find living with children very stressful, and cats with these types of temperament should be avoided.
How Your Cat and Your Children

Training Your Child

Teach your child to gently approach your cat to see if he wants to play. If he seems preoccupied with other thoughts or is sleeping, leave him alone until he is ready

Instead of playing roughly with your cat, use teaser toys, rolled up balls of paper, or socks to play with the kitty. If you play with your hands, the cat will think they are toys as well and that it’s okay to attack hands and feet

Don’t bother your pet while he’s eating, sleeping, or using the litter box.

Stroke your cat’s coat gently in the direction the fur grows. Let your kitten determine what they will allow to be petted. Sensitive areas that cats usually don’t like getting petted are on their tummies, hips or feet. It is best to avoid these areas of the cat’s bodies.
As much as you’d like your cat to sleep on your bed, it’s best that he find his own spot to rest. Cats are more active at night so allowing them in your or your children’s bedrooms may result in sleep-interrupted nights because your cat may want to play.

Advice for Parents

Supervise your children when they play with the cat at all times. Also remember that infants and toddlers don’t understand the difference between their stuffed cat and your live pet, and an angry exchange between them can flare in an instant.

Do not let your child carry the cat around- if the cat decides they don’t want to be carried anymore, or if your child is carry around the cat in a way that is uncomfortable to the cat, your child could get scratched or bitten in the process.

Every member of the family should understand the importance of keeping doors to the outdoors and windows shut so your cat cannot get outside. Your new cat will need plenty of escape opportunities from your children if they want to be left alone, and the outdoors is not one of those places.

If you have a toddler, it can be a little more difficult to teach them how to handle a cat appropriately. The temptation for a small child is often to squeal with excitement, chase and grab so it is essential that you plan your cat’s escape route before bring a cat into the home. Baby gates are a great asset to the cat as they allow the cat to feel control over its environment by being able to leave a stressful situation and not have to fear being followed by a rambunctious child.

Training Your Cat

Have you ever watched two kittens play together? They bite, paw, and roll around with each other. Cats and children can become such good friends that sometimes your cat forgets your child is not one of his littermates and could treat your child the same- causing your child to get bitten or scratched in the process. Discourage hand-biting verbally with a No, and offer him socks or other toys to nibble. If your cat is still wound up, pouncing and attacking your hands and feet, it may be time for some quiet time for your cat in a room away from the kids.

Speaking of quiet time, all cats should have a place where they can retreat to if they want to be left alone. This may be a room or even just a space under a bed. You may want to invest in a cat tree- cats love having a high place to sit, and it’s a great way to get out of reach of grabby little hands when they want to be left alone.

10 Do’s and Don’ts on keeping your Cat Safe This Halloween

hallloween cat care

 

Halloween is a wonderful holiday to celebrate for adults, children and even for your frisky felines! However, just like your human children you want to make sure that your kitties are kept safe during the holiday. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts on keeping your pet safe during Halloween!

 

  •  DON’T- Leave candles or pumpkins with candles in them in areas where your cat can get too. Cats in particular are very intrigued by the flickering flame of a candle, and can burn themselves or risk knocking it over and start a fire. It is much safer to opt for electric or battery operated ones instead.
  • DO- Make sure that your cats’ attire is properly fitted if you decide to put them in a costume. Too tight and it can cut off air circulation and blood flow, too loose and your cat may become irritated and try to rip it off. It is best to do a dry run a few days or even a week before- put your cat in their costume at home in a safe environment to see how they react. If they seem irritated or try to take it off, you may want to forgo the costume.
  • DON’T- Feed your cat candy! Chocolate and xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in most sugar free gum) is extremely toxic to cats in any quantity. Cats in general are not a fan of sweets, but if your cat happens to get into your child’s candy stash, seek veterinary care immediately.
  • DO- Create a calming environment for your cat- if your cat is one of those that is particularly high strung, consider purchasing a calming product such as Feliway, Composure (by Vetri-Science), or Rescue Remedy. All of which are safe, natural products and work wonderfully at calming an anxious kitty.
  • DON’T- If you are throwing a party, do not let your cat roam freely around your home. Unless your cat is extremely social and well behaved, letting them roam through a crowded party where people are coming and going can be a nightmare in the form of your cat getting out or eating/drinking things they shouldn’t. Instead, cordon off your cat in a quiet room with a bed, food, water, and their favorite toy.
  • DO- Be sure that your cat has proper and update identification in case they happen to get loose. Your cat has a greater chance of being returned to you if they have a collar with your up to date address and phone number on the tag. Better yet, make sure your pet is microchipped and that the information on your chip is up to date.
  • DON’T- Leave candy wrappers, ribbon, or any type of dangling, sparkly decoration within reach of your cat. The crinkling sound of candy wrappers is extremely enticing to cats, and if ingested can cause an intestinal blockage. Same goes for ribbon- the rule of thumb is if it resembles string (a cats favorite toy!) then it should not be left alone with your cat.
  • DO- Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.
  • DON’T- Let wires or electrical cords dangle or let them be in an area where cats can get them. Cats can suffer electric burns or shock if they chew on them, and small kittens can get tangled in them and choke.
  • DO- Remember to have fun during the holiday season!

Never Doubt a Mother’s Love

Scarlet Cat StoryThe sad fact is, there are a lot of cats that are feral. They roam city streets looking for food and are busy raising litters of kittens that many of us don’t even see until they become feral adult cats themselves. On March 30, 1996, a feral cat was taking care of her litter of five kittens just as she did every other day. She was living in Brooklyn, New York in an abandoned garage that was also an alleged crack house. It was a cold day and momma cat (named Scarlett) nestled closely with her litter, trying to keep them warm.

Soon a bystander noticed flames coming from the abandoned garage and made a call to 911. The New York City Fire Department responded to the call and quickly extinguished the fire. As they began the tedious clean-up process, one of the firemen, David Giannelli, noticed Scarlett carrying her kittens away from the garage one by one.

It was clear to David that Scarlett suffered from severe burns. Her eyes were blistered shut, her ears and paws burned, and her one-soft coat highly singed. Most of her facial hair had been burnt away by the intense flames.

The most heart-wrenching moment came when bystanders noticed Scarlett touching each one of her kittens with her nose. Because the blisters on her eyes had taken her sight, she was essentially “counting” her babies to make sure they were all safely near her. It was at this point that poor Scarlett collapsed into unconsciousness.

The same firefighter that had first spotted Scarlett took her unconscious body, along with all of her kittens, to a nearby veterinary clinic. There, they received treatment for injuries they had suffered from the fire. Unfortunately, because they were feral, they had other health issues that needed to be treated as well. The smallest, weakest kitten in the litter suffered from a virus that the veterinarian was unable to treat. The poor creature ended up dying a month after the fire.

Fortunately, the ending was much happier for Scarlett and her remaining kittens. The staff at the vet clinic cared for the feline family for the next three months and every day they got healthier and happier. During the three months it took for Scarlett and her kittens to recover, the story of her loving heroics created a media sensation. By the time the feline family was well enough to be adopted in to their forever homes, the clinic had received over 7,000 letters offering to open their homes to Scarlett and her babies.

The clinic staff decided to divide the kittens into two pairs each pair was adopted in to their own special families in Long Island. Scarlett was adopted by a woman named Karen Wellen, a loving woman who had recently lost her longtime feline companion and was ready to open her home to a new cat. Though Scarlett required ongoing care as a result of her injuries, she lived happily with Karen for over twelve years before she passed away on October 11, 2008.

It’s true what they say. A mother’s love has no limits.

No matter what species it may be.