Living with Feline Leukemia

We have had an interesting week centered around a Feline Leukemia flare up in Johnny.

How We Knew Something Was Wrong

On Saturday, June 15th, Johnny started to eat much less (about 5% of what she usually eats). Over the next few days, she would sometimes come to me for food but when I would give it to her, she would start to smell it and then turn away as if the smell of it made her feel sick.

She drank a lot of water over the weekend but then would vomit up white frothy stuff.    I also noticed on Monday that her chin was wet as if she had been drooling.

She continued to eat very little and began to have very liquid diarrhea with blood and mucous (sorry, but that is life with a Feline Leukemia (FeLV) positive cat).    This is not the first time we have seen fresh blood after she has gone to the bathroom but she had been eating fine and active and playful until Saturday so we had not felt a need for a vet appointment specifically for that.

Johnnie Larkin from Foster Mama Kittys suggested she might have a urinary tract infection (UTI) and I have noticed her licking her vulva more than usual so I thought Johnny might be onto something. 

Her coat condition was also not as fluffy and soft and she was much more seeking of attention (comfort and reassurance rather than play type) than usual.  She also growled at me and bit Jamey at one point which is unusual behavior for her.

Why Did It Take Until Tuesday Afternoon To Get Her To The Vet

In a nutshell, Jamey lost his job on February 2nd and our car permanently bit the dust (transmission) on March 2nd of this year, so we have not been able to get a new car.  We use the local wheelchair accessible van to get to places like our medical appointment but they would not transport us to the vet with Johnny, even in a carrier.

So we had to make an appointment to have them bring Jamey to the local rental car place and rent a car in order to get Johnny to the vet.   That took a couple of days to set up.

We almost didn't make the appointment as when Jamey got to the local Enterprise rental car location, they didn't have a car for us because the one they had planned for us came back damaged.   They had to drive Jamey out to Fort Polk, about 30 miles away, to pick up another one.   While this was happening, the time for the vet appointment was getting closer and closer.

Jamey made it home with the rental car about 20 minutes before we had to leave for the vet.  At which point, Johnny (who I often tell Jamey "is too smart for my own good") somehow knew something was up even though I had purposely not taken out the cat carrier in advance.  (Sometimes I could almost swear that the cats can read my mind ...)

She promptly disappeared under the bed.   The challenge of getting her out from under the bed meant that by the time we got out to the rental car with her, we were due at the vet in five minutes.   Well the rental car was a hatchback, not even remotely close to what we had requested, and terrible for getting the wheelchairs into. 

Jamey managed to get our wheelchairs in while I sat in the car with Johnny's carrier on my lap, trying to keep her calm.  Unfortunately, struggling to get both wheelchairs in took so much out of Jamey that he fell as he was using his crutches to get to the driver's side door.  Thankfully someone in the apartment complex office saw him and came out to help him get back up and onto his crutches again as there is no way I could have done so.

Needless to say, neither of us were in much better shape than Johnny by the time we got to the vet.  Jamey ended up staying in the car and I went in with Johnny.


Result Of Vet Appointment

The vet said it is uncommon for spayed female cats to get a UTI and after examining Johnny, who was running a fever and clearly not feeling well, she believed she was having another flare-up of her FeLV.    Johnny had different symptoms in January but the vet also said she was having a flare-up of her FeLV then and we just need to expect her to have these from time to time as there is no cure for it.  We just need to treat the symptoms when she has a flare-up.

Given her symptoms, I asked for her to be given fluids, steroids and antibiotics.  The vet agreed with my suggestions and did so.

I am happy to say that Johnny is back to eating again and seems more comfortable.   She did have a lot of diarrhea yesterday but I suspect that was the antibiotic.    Since we have two FeLV positive cats, I am used to having to do a lot of Clorox laundry anyway.


(Above is just a very short video of Johnny and Night having a snack, something that made us so happy to see after Johnny having almost no appetite for several days.)


The important thing is Johnny has recovered from her latest FeLV flare-up and is a comfortable happy cat again.    That makes it worth all we had to do to get her to the vet.

We are hoping it will be a long while before she has another one.

Johnny napping on her chair after her vet visit
Johnny resting on her chair after her vet visit for her latest
Feline Leukemia flare-up.  It was a stressful day for all but
she is feeling better and that is what matters most right now.



Our Disclaimer






Injured kitten asks for help


I first became aware of the story on Flatbushcats Instagram account when they published https://www.instagram.com/p/Byn-WMAhNLz/ two days ago.

After seeing their post of the sick and injured kitten hobbling up to everyone who walked by trying to find help, I had to find out more.

Sarah Zoe, a rescuer in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY stopped to help this kitten when everyone else just walked by.     Sarah's own description of meeting Lady is:

"Ed and I were walking home on Sunday evening when a tiny cat in horrible condition came running up to us. She was hobbling towards every person who passed her by asking for help, and who knows how long she had been doing so. When someone opened the door to any of the buildings near by she would try to go in - it was clear to us that she was dumped or had at least lived inside before since she had an old flea collar on and wanted inside so badly."

Flatbush Cats said "Lady is underweight, dehydrated, has a bloated belly, scabs on her feet and had a horrible ulcer on her nose that needed to be removed."

Sarah and Ed are handling her daily care and vet visits.  All of her vet work is being paid for by Flatbush cats.

Ladybug's story can be followed (in chronological order) at

https://www.instagram.com/p/BynqAb-JSBu/

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bypo3g3hbBC/

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bysijj5BaqG/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BytduoXBw-u/

https://www.instagram.com/p/By5RFKYp8xh/



Ladybug has a good appetite
Ladybug finished her supper.   This amazing kitten
has so much spirit, such a will to live.  Picture taken
by Sarah on June 14, 2019, and used here with her permission.


Sarah is reporting that

"we’re in the $1,000 range for her vet bills now. To donate to Ladybugs vet bills - all donations that go to @flatbushcats cover her vet care. You can find the link through their Instagram page in their bio. You can also Venmo them directly - their handle for Venmo is the same as their Instagram name: @flatbushcats 
@flatbushcats is paying for her vet care with our amazing friends at https://www.instagram.com/parkslopevet/"


June 19, 2019 update on Ladybug's condition

Ladybug has a mucometra, fluid in her uterus caused by a calcified fetus. Poor girl! She also has nasal polyps which are causing the breathing issue. Both will be dealt with when we get her in for her spay surgery that’s happening ASAP! They will then be doing a biopsy/culture of the facial ulcer wounds and figuring out what exactly those are while she’s getting her spay surgery as well. So we’re almost there as far as answers! 

this is from Sarah's update link above in case you haven't had a time to check it out yourself.



There is also a donate button on the Flatbush Cats website  https://www.flatbushcats.org/  They are a 501(c)(3) organization so all donations are tax deductible.



Such a courageous and determined kitten, please follow her story on
Sarah's Instagram site as she posts pictures and videos of her daily progress.

Please note that we are not affiliated with Flatbush Cats or Sarah and Ed.  I was just touched by the spirit of this plucky little cat who worked so hard to find help that I wanted to do what we could to spread her story and encourage people to donate to Flatbush Cats via the information above to help pay for her care.




Quirky Quips for Kitten Season

Yet again, we are in kitten season.  The time when all of the cat rescue groups are overloaded with far too many kittens.    This is the time when smaller rescue groups such as Foster Mama Kittys which are funded 100% by donations need extra contributions to get the medical care needed for the kittens (some of which turn up in very bad shape) before they can be placed for adoption, once they are old enough.

5 week old kitten with a fractured tail in my arms at the vet
This 5 week old kitten with a fractured tail was dropped off to
us by the manager of our apartment complex after he was found
up at the pool for our complex.   After a vet visit (shown here)
and some home care, we found an excellent home for him.  They
sent me pictures of the kitten with their daughter for the next year
 to show how much they loved the new addition to their family.
This is definitely one of our Happy Endings Cat Stories. 

One of the purposes of this blog is to help raise money for Foster Mama Kittys as it is a group we truly believe in because we know that not a single person associated with it receives a salary or any type of compensation for their rescue work.  In fact, every foster parent for the group ends up spending their own money to take care of the cats and kittens in their care.  The adoption fees for one cat end up going right back out to pay for the vet care for the  next cat.

To this end, we have created a new store on Teespring called Quirky Quips, as with our original store, We Love Rescue Cats, 10% of the profits of everything we sell is donated by Teespring monthly directly to Foster Mama Kittys. 

The links below go to products that we will earn some profit from, except for the We Support Foster Mama Kittys line as 100% of the profits of every product in our We Support Foster Mama Kittys line goes to Foster Mama Kittys.  A check is sent to them directly by Teespring monthly. 

On all of our other products below, there is a 10% donation made to Foster Mama Kittys by Teespring.


We Support Foster Mama Kittys (100% donation)

We Support Foster Mama Kittys (100% of profits donated)
100% of the profits for the products with this message will be donated by
Teespring directly to Foster Mama Kittys on a monthly basis.  To make it easier
to support this verified cat rescue charity, we have made it available on a variety of
children and adult clothing products, in addition to mugs, tote bags and stickers.


We are continually adding new products with the 10% donation badge to both stores so please check them out when you are looking for gifts.    Some that you might want to consider include


When you have cattitude, size doesn't matter
When you have cattitude, size doesn't matter
When you have cattitude, size doesn't matter so this is available
in both child and adult sizes.  It is also available on a tote bag
for when you want to carry your message around with you.


Do you have someone in your life who loves their coffee and chocolate and enjoys a "relaxed" lifestyle? Then this might be the perfect gift for them.

To Do List for Coffee and Chocolate Lovers

Humorous To Do List for Coffee and Chocolate Lovers
Love Coffee and Chocolate and relaxing?  Show the world with this quirky
coffee stained to do list available on a woman's tshirt and a tote bag.  Want it on
another Teespring product, let us know and we will add it for you.

Do you believe the day doesn't start until you have your coffee, then this might be the coffee mug for you:
Coffee Now!!! Or there will be consequences!


Coffee Now! Or there will be consequences!
Available on other products including t-shirts, tote bag and stickers.


Or is more of an "awww" cat mug the way you want to start your day?

Love is spelled C-A-T

Love is spelled C-A-T
Also available on tshirts, tote bag and die-cut stickers.
Just remember, whatever you do

Do not speak softly, ROAR Loudly!


Do not speak softly, ROAR Loudly!
Also available on tshirts.  If you would like it on another
Teespring product, let us know and we will add it for you.


This is just a sampling of the products we have available in

We Love Rescue Cats

Quirky Quips and⁣

Special Days (for birthdays, holidays and other special days)


10% of the profits for each of our items is donated directly by Teespring to Foster Mama Kittys, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Foster Mama Kittys rescue kitten OJ
OJ and Dottie
This is another Happy Endings Cat Stories. 

OJ is one of the thousands of kittens who has been rescued by Foster Mama Kittys over the years. He was found around 9 weeks old stuck in a garage, alone and apart from his mama. In his foster home, he not only received a bath and food but also lots of love. Dottie, the family dog, loved to mother OJ even after he was bigger than she was.  OJ ended up finding his forever home with a little boy and also a brother cat, both of whom he really loves.

When you buy any of our products, the donations go to support rescue and success stories like OJs for both Foster Mama Kittys and the rescue work that we ourselves personally do. 

At the moment, this is the rescue cat who is next on our list for a vet visit:



Thank you for your support of this much needed animal rescue work.


Our Privacy Disclaimer





Life with Feline Leukemia

When you work with rescue cats, many of them will have Feline Leukemia and some might have FIP.  Some might be blind in one eye or both or have other disabilities.  Almost all of them will have had bad experiences with humans and need a lot of love and patience.

As I have written about in Challenges of a Semi-Tame Cat and Behind The Scenes, my own cat Night was so terrified of humans when I first met her that she would cross the street to watch warily from a distance when I put food out for the other cats.   It has been a very long journey for her but she has learned to be an indoor cat and accept love from me (and take over my pillows every chance she gets).

Night napping on my pillows
Night napping on my pillows

Night and Johnny snuggling on my bed
Night and Johnny snuggling on my bed

Most of the rescue cats we work with, we hold only until we can find new homes for them as we are only allowed to have two pets where we live.  Johnny is the other rescue cat who has found her forever home with us.  As I also wrote about in Behind The Scenes, Johnny was born to a feral mother who was so sick with Feline Leukemia that she could not properly care for her kittens.  Despite everything we could do (including six vet visits and intensive nursing) two of the three died before they were a month old and Johnny almost did.

Johnny survived but she has Feline Leukemia.  So does Night.

What is life like when both of your cats have an incurable disease that you know will shorten their lives?

You keep a lot of disinfectant wipes on hand to clean up the vomit and diarrhea from the floors and window sills, do loads of Clorox laundry to deal with the vomit and diarrhea that gets on the bedding (human and animal - since they spend so much time on our beds) and you watch for things like dehydration and fever.

For example, when I see that Night is being very lethargic, I check her for dehydration.  If a quick skin test* shows me that she is dehydrated, I will bring a bowl of water over to her and use her "magic spot" (it works for water too, not just for food as shown in the "Magic Spot" video below) to get her to drink some water.  I will repeat that as often as needed throughout the day and night until she begins to perk up.   Of course, we also have four bowls of water available for the cats all times.

*Quick dehydration test taught to me by a vet:  gently pull the skin up on the back of her neck and watch to see how fast it goes down.  If the cat is fine, the skin will go back down quickly.  If it does not, then she is dehydrated.   If it is only a little slow in returning, we just encourage her to drink extra water.  If the skin goes down very slowly, then it is time for a vet visit and IV fluids as this is an immediate life threatening situation.







We also try to keep them comfortable temperature wise, even when they don't have a fever.  I use the cats' behavior (especially Night) as a thermometer for when we need to turn the air conditioning on instead of just using the fans. For example, the uncarpeted hallway is one of the coolest places in our apartment.  When Night sprawls out in the middle of it on a Louisiana summer day, her message is loud and clear - it is hot in here.  That is when we shut the windows and turn the air conditioner on because if our fur coat wearing cats are uncomfortable, it is time to cool the apartment down.   We can shed clothing to cool down, they cannot.  So they need us to be attentive and responsive to their situation.

Equally important to all of these other things is to give both of them lots of love and, when they are in the mood for it, find ways to keep them stimulated with different types of play.    We do this not only to make the most of the time we have with them, knowing that neither will have a normal life span, but also because we firmly believe that keeping them as happy as possible will make their immune system stronger and keep them healthier longer.





The benefit of using unconventional cat toys (to supplement all of the "real" cat toys) is that by not using the same things all of the time for them, it helps to keep their interest picqued and stimulate them.

Feline Leukemia affects their coat condition too, so we also do a lot of grooming and petting of them to help with their coat condition (and reduce the incidence of hair balls and show them love).

Proper care of any pet takes time, patience and love but when your pet has a serious illness, you need to be prepared to give more of all of them.    The reward of knowing that you are making your rescue animals life so much better for whatever time they have is worth all of the extra time you spend cleaning up after them and monitoring their condition on a day to day basis.


Our Disclaimer

Free Cat Food and Cat Litter Coupons

We saved over $42.00 during a recent shopping trip.   That came from a variety of sources ranging from paper coupons to electronic ones (coupons.com) and rebates from Ibotta, etc.   The largest chunk of it came from coupons for free cat litter and cat food.

Fresh Step sent us a coupon for a free 25 pound box of cat litter.   We use a lot of Fresh Step cat litter because they manufacture the best non tracking cat litter we have found - Clean Paws.    Unfortunately, Clean Paws only comes in 22.5 pound boxes and the coupon was for 25 pounds of cat litter, so we had to get a different type.  We are very grateful to have gotten 25 pounds of free cat litter and will mix it in with the Clean Paws.

We prefer the Clean Paws because the cats would track other cat litters around, which we would run over with our wheelchairs and grind into the floor.  Since we have started using a mix of 75% Clean Paws in the litter boxes, we have very little litter tracked around.

We highly recommend Fresh Step Clean Paws to anyone who doesn't want litter tracked throughout their home.    Note it is much heavier than regular litter but not having it tracked around is worth the extra minute or so it takes to dig out the heavy clumps for us.

Every box of Clean Paws comes with a code.   When we finish a box, we go to the Fresh Step web site and enter the code for points.   Every time we get 750 points, we can submit them to get a coupon for a 25 pound box of cat litter for free.     If you choose to sign up for Fresh Step, we would greatly appreciate it if you would use our referral code as this will also gives us more points for cat litter.
https://www.freshstep.com/invite/register/0018EDB1/

The second high value coupon came from Purina.  It was for a free bag of dry Purina One cat food ($7.84 saving).    Our cats eat a lot of Purina cat food.    Each time we finish a bag we log the points in.  They can be saved up and redeemed for various rewards.    Sometimes Purina has special offers such as one for trying Purina One cat food for 28 days to see how it improves your cat's health.  We signed up for that and they sent us a coupon for a free bag of dry cat food.

If your cat eats Purina cat food and you would like to sign up for their offers, please consider using our Purina referral code when you sign up as this will help us get more discounted cat food.
https://myperks.catchow.com?_cts_=ltmMqJe9


Our Disclaimer


Links

Our We Love Rescue Cats products benefit the rescue cats we personally work with and Foster Mama Kittys.   Near the bottom of this page, you will find links to our YouTube and Facebook group also.


We Love Rescue Cats storefront
10% of the profits from each We Love Rescue Cats products is donated directly by Teespring each month to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Foster Mama Kittys.  

There is one exception to this - 100% of the profits of every product in our We Support Foster Mama Kittys line goes to Foster Mama Kittys.
100% Donation goes to Foster Mama Kittys
100% of the profits for the products with this message will be donated by
Teespring directly to Foster Mama Kittys on a monthly basis.  To make it easier
to support this verified cat rescue charity, we have made it available on a variety of
children and adult clothing products, in addition to mugs, tote bags and stickers.

100% donation for We Support Foster Mama Kittys



Our cat models are rescue cats themselves.  Their stories are told in this blog and there are many pictures of them, and some of the other rescue cats we have worked with on our Instagram page.

A few of our products are show below.  Please check out the links below to see our other products on Teespring.     10% is donated from all products in each store below.

Thank you for your support of animal rescue work.



Love is spelled C-A-T
Love is spelled C-A-T
Love is spelled C-A-T seemed to be the perfect choice for this picture of our younger rescue cat (and cat model) Johnny.  She is on a die-cut sticker, tote bag, coffee mug and women's shirts. (As always, 10% of the profits from each We Love Rescue Cats products is donated by Teespring to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Foster Mama Kittys.)⁣

If you think this would make a great gift for your favorite cat lover, please check it out at the link above. Thank you for supporting We Love Rescue Cats.⁣





Coffee Now!!! Or There Will Be Consequences

While our younger rescue cat, Johnny, would prefer tuna rather than coffee in her cup, she is no less adamant about her demand. 

Do you have a favorite coffee drinker in your life who gives you "the look" when their coffee is not ready?  This is the perfect gift for them.  It is also available on t-shirts, die-cut stickers, phone cases and a canvas tote bag.



Please check out some of our other products shown on Quirky Quips for Kitten Season



YouTube  (please come visit us on our fledgling YouTube channel)

Our Facebook Page for We Love Rescue Cats  This is where we share additional things of interest to those who care about feral and rescue cats.

Our Referral Codes for Free Cat Litter and Cat Food


Thank you for supporting We Love Rescue Cats and Foster Mama Kittys.



Our Disclaimer


The Human Factor When Working With Rescue Cats

About 10 days ago, a very hungry but very loving cat showed up.


This is clearly a cat who has had a home until recently. 

I gave a neighbor who has grown fond of him a large bag of dry food and she has been feeding him each day (outdoors).  It requires a steep security deposit to have a cat indoors here so she cannot adopt him herself.

I recently gave the very large (8 feet long) cage set-up that we had been using to care for rescue cats away to someone else in our rescue group due to the change in our circumstances.    We were using the cage to keep rescue cats separate from our own cats to protect them from our cats' Feline Leukemia.  Thus we have not tried to bring this cat indoors as it would be very difficult (because of our wheelchairs) to keep him in a separate room without our cats trying to get in or him get out as our wheelchairs go in and out of the room.

The neighbor called me tonight though to report that he is hanging out by her door and she is afraid one of her cat loathing neighbors will hurt him.   She doesn't want me to have him in here though as she is afraid that being in the same apartment with our FeLV positive cats, even kept in a separate room (which as already noted would be difficult for us), would give him FeLV.  She also doesn't want him taken to the vet as she said if he has had his shots already to be given them again will harm him.

I am trying to arrange for him to go on the next monthly transport to a no kill cat shelter as he is very loving and has an excellent chance of finding a home that way.  To qualify to go though, he has to have a clean bill of health from a vet, including being tested for FeLV and FIP and showing that he has had his shots.   She doesn't want him to go to the shelter or to the vet.   She also doesn't want me to put flea medicine on him even though he has been living outdoors, as she feels the flea medicine will harm him too.   She said she will agree to it only if she sees fleas on him.

She wants him to find a home locally but despite posts that I have done in all of the local groups, no one has expressed any interest in taking him. 

Far too often cats in this neighborhood just disappear, never to be seen again so staying outdoors is not a good option for him.  Especially since this cat who showed up as a total love bug a little over a week ago, is getting more and more skittish the longer he lives outdoors.  It is kitten season too, which means there is even more competition for the limited number of homes available now.

So what is this post about?

It is about the human side of working with rescue cats as sometimes that is the most difficult part of all.   When you have more than one person caring for a cat that is living outdoors and there is no meeting of the minds on what is best for the cat.   Since the cat has no actual owner, there is no one person who can make the decision.  In the meantime, the cat is still living outside and at risk.

Sometimes this is the hardest part of all when you work with rescue cats.

Loving cat needs a home
Newest stray cat having his dinner.  He is a very loving lap cat
but finding a home for him is proving very complex.


May 24, 2019 update.  I learned this morning someone who is moving into our apartment complex today might be interested in adopting this kitty.    I am thrilled with the news and waiting to hear more.

May 25, 2019 update.   She tried to introduce the cat to the new neighbor but others were there and the cat was too scared to let her bring him over to meet the neighbor.    The longer he is outside, the more frightened this cat who was so loving two weeks ago is getting.     She is going to try again today.   This is such a sad situation as this cat showed up as the most open and loving lap cat.

May 31, 2019 update.    The new neighbor has been very busy with his new job and has not had a chance to get to know the kitty yet so this adoption is still in pending status.



Our Disclaimer





Challenges of a Semi-Tame Cat

What do you do when you have a semi-tame cat and you have to move to a new place?

As I wrote about in Behind The Scenes, when I first met Night she was so terrified of humans that she would run across the street to hide when I put food out for the other stray and feral cats.   She has come a long way since then but I still cannot pick her up even though she has now lived indoors with us for almost three years.   (She has learned to love her indoor comforts though.)

Formerly feral cat, Night, has learned to love the comforts of being an indoor cat
Once completely Feral, Night has learned to enjoy the comforts
of being an indoor cat.  Here she is sleeping on a bed I set up for
her in my home office so she can relax in comfort and be near me.

So how do we deal with having a cat that we cannot pick up.    It does mean we cannot take her to the vet for regular checkups and annual shots.  Since she is 100% an indoor cat now, we are less worried about her shots than we would be if she was allowed outdoors.

Would we like to take her to the vet for annual visits?  Of course, but

We originally caught her in a Havahart trap and got her to the vet that way to be tested for FeLV (she is positive, as is Johnny), spayed and get her shots. Unfortunately there were some complications from the spay and she had to go back again.  That was a disaster as far as both getting her into the carrier and what happened at the vet's office when she panicked and escaped.    When we finally got her caught and back home, she was so terrified that she literally would not leave my side for six hours.  She stayed cuddled next to me on the bed and would not move at all.    I have not tried to take her back to the vet since then.

Her terror of being put into a cat carrier again after that presented a major problem when Jamey ended up permanently confined to a wheelchair and we had to move to a wheelchair accessible apartment two years ago.   The one thing I was worried about through all of the move preparations was how we were going to get Night from the old apartment to the new one.

So how did we handle the move?

I started preparing her by putting out a carrier (with the door propped open and bedding in it) a couple of months in advance.   Thankfully, she began to use it as a bed on her own.    The day the move was scheduled, I kept a close eye on her starting at 4 AM.   Folks were not coming over to help us move until the afternoon but when I found her in the carrier at 5 AM, I swiftly shut her in, woke Jamey up and told him "we are moving now."  

Johnny was rounded up and put in her carrier and both cats were transported to the new apartment and released from their carriers into one of the bathrooms (set up in advance with a cat litter, food and water and bedding).    They had to be locked in there all day as we could not risk them getting out when people were coming in and out but at least we knew Night was safely there.

Where we are now

Since then, I have continued very, very slowly trying to get Night used to the idea of being picked up. I began by trying to move her about half an inch while petting her, once every few weeks or so and then stopping  as soon as she started to panic.  When I began, she would panic and run off as soon as she felt my hands go around her to try to move her.  When that happened, I made sure to just stay where I was talking quietly to her but not going near her so she did not feel threatened.

Eventually, we reached the point we are at now where I can move her up to an inch or so before she starts to get upset.  Note that now she gets upset instead of going into full "flight or fight" panic mode.   That in itself is major progress in her case.

If I stop immediately as soon as she starts to get upset, she will usually calm down and I can resume petting her without her running away.    I still have a long way to go with her but given the panicked fit she used to have if I even put my hands around her body, let alone tried to move her even a fraction of an inch, this is progress and I am glad for it.

Another thing I have been working on with her is "squishing her."




I cannot do with her what this vet does with the cats but what I have been slowly getting her used to is having my body wrapped around her.   I sit next to her and pet her and then when she is happily purring, I slowly lean forward, with one arm on each side of her and lightly rest my upper body against her back.   This was another long slow process as when I began to do it, she felt trapped and started to panic. Now she has reached the point where she seems to find it comforting as long as I don't do it for too long and don't cover her head with my body.

This is a step towards being able to someday be able to pick her up and hold her against my body without her panicking.    Getting her from there to where I can put her in a carrier without her trying to tear me and anyone else within reach to shreds is going to be another long slow process beyond that but with enough patience and love, I do believe a day will come when that goal will be achievable.

Each formerly feral cat is different.  Some can be handled comfortably in a much shorter timeframe while there are some who will never learn to trust any human enough.   The key to working with any formerly feral cat is the same though, a lot of love and patience and giving them as much time as they need.   Watch their body language carefully and don't push them beyond what they are comfortable with and no matter what happens, do not show anger at them.    You are working to gain their trust.  Consistency is the key.   We do regular posts on this topic in our We Love Rescue Cats Facebook group too.

In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy watching this once terrified cat be so comfortable now that she regularly takes over my bed and pillows.


Formerly feral cat Night has learned to enjoy luxury
Formerly feral cat, Night, has learned to enjoy luxury.  
Here she is laying on one pillow while resting against a second.


Our Disclaimer








Behind The Scenes

The goal for every rescue cat is a loving forever home.  I will talk about the two rescue cats who have found their forever home with us in more detail over time.   Today I am just going to introduce them.

As is only right, the two cats who are our models for all of the products in our We Love Rescue Cats store are rescue cats.   Without them, we would not have come up with the idea for the store or the 10% donation of our profits (via Teespring) to Foster Mama Kittys.

In the Foster Mama Kittys post yesterday, I wrote about meeting a number of cats (some stray and some feral) when we moved to our current apartment complex.    One of the feral cats was so terrified of humans that when I put food out for the others, she would wait across the street until she saw me leaving.  Only when she was convinced that I was too far away to return before she could escape would she carefully make her way over to get whatever leftover food there was.

Yes, she is the one who became my own cat.    It has been a very long journey with her and even now, almost three years later, I still cannot pick her up but I am thankful for each slow bit of progress I continue to make in gaining her trust.      My beautiful black cat is named Night and she is the one you see featured in products such as


My nails are drying - funny cat products
I have no idea why Night was in this position, but I am 
glad that I had my cell phone handy so that I could grab 
the picture.   It took me a long time to find the perfect caption
for this pose.  This is the cat who for a long time, wouldn't
even come near a human.  Now she is a model on 
 stickers, clothing, tote bag, phone cases 
and even a mug.   


As you can see in the picture above, three years of living indoors and not having to survive on left overs from the other cats anymore has given Night a bit of girth.    Below is what she looked like when we were first teaching her and her companion, Big Guy, that it was safe to come indoors to eat.  (We always left the door wide open so that she did not feel trapped.)

Night eventually became trusting enough to eat inside as long as the door was open
This photo from July 3, 2016 shows Night being affectionate with 
her feral companion cat, Big Guy.   Over time, we began to slowly 
move their food and water bowls closer to the door and then opened
the door and moved them inside.    We always stayed back when they
came in to eat so that they did not feel threatened.  Allowing Night to 
get used to being indoors this way, made it less traumatic for her when
we did use the Havahart trap to catch her and bring her to the vet for
spaying and shots and then home to begin to adjust to indoor life.



That leads to the next part of our story.   There were two feral black cats when we moved in.  They were identical in size and body shape.  They seemed to be about a year old at the most.  While we cannot prove it, we very much suspect that those two came from the same litter.  We do know for sure that when we brought Night indoors, Big Guy quickly became the companion to the remaining black cat.   He would regularly disappear for 3 - 5 days at a time but always returned to be with her.

Long story short, Black Kitty became pregnant.  By the time we managed to capture her in our Haveahart trap though, she was sick with Feline Leukemia and three days away from giving birth.    Despite intensive nursing and six vet trips, two of her kittens passed before they were a month old and the third one came very, very close to dying as Black Kitty was just too sick to care for them properly.

We were so ecstatic when the remaining kitten survived that we named her Johnny 5 after the robot in the movie "Short Circuit" who triumphantly proclaims "Johnny 5 is alive."      That tiny kitten who fought so valiantly to survive is now our other cat model for our products in We Love Rescue Cats.  She is also the queen of our home.  Over time, I will be sharing quite a few anecdotes about the things she has done.    I am 61 years old and after decades of animal welfare work, I have interacted with more cats than I can count in my life, but I will say without a doubt that she is the smartest cat I have ever met.   In fact, I often tell her person (my partner, Jamey) that "your cat is too smart for my own good."

This IS my exercise routine - funny cat short
It can be hard to get good pictures of Night unless 
she is against just the right background but I think 
Johnny was born to be a model.   She is currently featured 
on a variety of products including clothing, tote bags, mugs 
and stickers and there are future products in the pipeline.

While she has gotten just a bit more sedate then she was in the video below as she has gotten older, she still cracks us up by doing everything from claiming Jamey's wallet as her personal possession (we found it hidden in one of her cat beds) to kicking me out of my wheelchair because she wanted to take a nap in it.  Yes, I will give details of those stories and others in future posts.






Well, somewhat more sedate.  Johnny still has the zoomies, Night even joins her in them occasionally but "the Queen" can also be very fierce.  She knows what she wants and she expects to get it.


Coffee Now! Or there will be consequences funny cat mug
The Queen says "Coffee Now!"



And who are the humans who are owned by these two feline characters?   We are not hiding but this blog is meant to be devoted to the cats.  For any who want to know more about us, we write about our own lives in our frugal blog.



Disclaimer:  We do receive a portion of the profit for all of the products in our We Love Rescue Cats store.   It helps us to keep our two models living the lifestyle to which they prefer to remain accustomed.   10% of the profits for each sale is sent by Teespring directly to verified charity Foster Mama Kittys, a cat rescue group based in DeRidder, Louisiana. 

Each of our products on Teespring has a Verified Charity Contribution badge on it.  If you hover over it with your mouse on a computer or touch it on a mobile device, you will see verification that "Your purchase benefits a verified charity.   10% of the proceeds will go to Foster Mama Kittys."

If you find a product in our We Love Rescue Cats Teespring store that does not have this badge, please do not buy it.   It means it is a brand new product that we have just uploaded and we are waiting for Teespring to add the badge to the product.  If you do not see the badge, then the donation will not be made when you buy the product.    Teespring has excellent customer service and usually adds the badges within a business day or two of us making the request.



Our Disclaimer





Foster Mama Kittys

We discovered that a partially blind cat had been semi-adopted by the on-site management when we moved into our apartment complex in 2014.   Food and water were put out for her on days when someone was in the office.

I have been doing animal welfare work in other states for over forty years so I began to feed her when the office was closed.  I learned two things quickly:
  1. her food and water bowls had not been given a good cleaning in a long time, and
  2. there were a number of other strays and feral cats being drawn to the area because of her food.
Long story short, we bought her new food and water bowls and began to feed the other cats daily to get a feel for who was coming around and their condition. We began to trap the regulars and bring them to the vet for testing, spaying/neutering and shots. With the help of the vet and Foster Mama Kittys, we found homes for as many as we could. Unfortunately, this is not a safe area for outdoor cats and a number of them disappeared before we could capture them.

Foster Mama Kittys is a local cat (and occasionally dog) rescue group.   Over the last few years, we have developed a very strong admiration for them as no one in the group receives a single penny for the work they do.   In fact, every foster parent ends up spending a significant amount of their own money to take care of the animals as we did ourselves.    That is one of the reasons I love animal welfare work in addition to the actual animal rescue work.   You just simply meet some of the most fantastic people as you cannot do this unless you are passionate about it.

The local vets do give the group a break on prices and some of the local businesses donate food and supplies but it is never enough.   There are always far more cats in this area needing rescue than there are funds to do so.    Therefore when we decided to open an online store, we chose to work with Teespring.com as they have a program in place that allows sellers to chose a verified charity to receive a portion (or all of) the profits from their sales.     The sellers never see the money.  Teespring sends a check at the end of each month to the address registered for the charity.

10% of the profit from each of our cat themed products in our Teespring store:  https://teespring.com/stores/we-love-rescue-cats is being donated to Foster Mama Kittys.   We have pictures of and stories about other rescue kittens on Quirky Quips for Kitten Season in addition to pictures of some of the other products we sell that benefit Foster Mama Kittys rescue work (and our own rescue work).

If you would like to learn more about this 501(c)(3) non-profit cat welfare group, they have a very basic, no frills web site .  The "just the facts, Ma'am"  type of web site is because the group is very focused on animal care and doesn't spare resources for any fancy trappings.  All of the money donated to the group goes directly to animal care.  

Foster Mama Kittys does have a Facebook group  and also holds fund raisers around the DeRidder area to support their work.

Amazon also offers a way to assist Foster Mama Kittys, or another animal welfare charity, if you wish.  If you make your Amazon purchases through Smile.Amazon.Com instead of going directly to Amazon.Com, they allow you to pick one of the charities that they support and donate a percentage of the money from your purchases to that charity.  This does not increase the cost of your Amazon purchases.

Please note that the only referral link on this page is the one to our cat themed products store on Teespring. Other than that, we do not receive any income from any other site listed on this page. 


Rescue cats Johnny and Night resting after a play session
We are the "forever home" for Johnny and Night, who both began life as rescue 
cats. Between the very rough start they had in life* and the fact their life will 
be shortened due to their Feline Leukemia, we do spoil them.  We want to make 
sure they know they are surrounded by love for as long they live.


*We will tell their stories over time in this blog.



Our Privacy Disclaimer

 This is a Blogger website.    Blogger (Google) is the only one that has cookies on this website that collect data.  They are also the only ones that collect your email address (or any other identifying information on you) should you choose to sign up to follow our blog via email.

If you leave a comment on our blog, we will see whatever information you leave in your comment but other than that we do not collect any personally identifying information on any visitors to our site.

We do earn a partial profit on any items sold via the links to our Teespring store https://teespring.com/stores/we-love-rescue-cats    10% of the profit for profits for each We Love Rescue Cats product on Teespring is donated directly by Teespring to a 5010(c)(3) non-profit organization, Foster Mama Kittys, each month.



Links

Our We Love Rescue Cats products benefit the rescue cats we personally work with and Foster Mama Kittys.   Near the bottom of this page, yo...