Rainy Day Shelter Visit

Aaron decided to take the afternoon off to fix our garage door. We went to Home Depot to pick up parts and, while we were out, stopped at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter to visit the cat adoption room. What a lovely way to spend a gloppy afternoon!

While we were not able to get photos of it, Mau did come out of his box and we brushed him. He has thin patches of fur on his sides, which I think are evidence of overgrooming, probably from stress. He’s also quite skinny but apparently he does eat. Amazingly, he refuses to eat wet food and insists on dry food, even though that must hurt him, but apparently does so because that’s what he is used to eating. He reminds me of Garrus when we first got him. Aaron agreed with me that he looked sad, a bit scraggly, and in need of our help.

While we were there, two other volunteers, Carolyn and Grandma Jean came into the adoption room. Both had worked more with Mau than I have, so I asked them questions about his temperament. When he first came to the shelter a month ago, he was terrified (understandable). Gradually, he started softening and demonstrating that he is a calm but friendly cat who likes to be held and brushed. He has toe floof! Evidently he has been handled a lot more than Garrus was, so that’s a plus, but he’s also quite a bit older than Garrus and Charlie and spent presumably a while with his previous owner.

Mau doesn’t like new environments so being taken out into the open space of the adoption room is overwhelming, but he does better in the small interaction rooms. As Carolyn reached into the condo to pet him, he started licking her hand repeatedly, which I thought was an odd quirk. When Aaron and I held a kitten, he didn’t seem to mind them at all, whereas his neighbor Chester growled at the the mere sight of the kittens.

As to if and when Aaron and I will be able to foster Mau, we’re waiting for him to be transferred from the shelter to Austin Pets Alive!, since he needs extensive dental work. I contacted both the shelter director and APA and have been approved as a foster (yay), and let APA know that I wanted to foster this particular cat from the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. In the interim I’ll visit and love on him.

Peace…for about 3 minutes!

Shortly after I took this photo, the grey tabbies woke up and started yammering for attention. Obviously we had to plunk on the floor and hold kittens because I couldn’t resist giving these babies lovies. (Who would?)

The tabbies had adorable spotted tummies (!), and all of them had eaten recently, so they had little fat bellies begging for rubs. The black kitten was calm and cuddly today and, mercifully, not so pointy after having his nails trimmed. The orange bicolor and grey bicolor were chatty and bold little explorers. They are clearly used to climbing into volunteers’ laps and being adored. The orange tabby was a genuine extrovert and threw a squeaky, wiggly tantrum until he was picked up again. Once held, he wanted to chill and started to doze off against my chest. There was much internal squeeing on my end.

Adult Cats Need Love Too

While it was easy to get sidetracked by the massive cuteness exuded by the seven kittens yesterday, I felt it was important to spend time visiting each of the three adult cats in the adoption room at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. I’ve never seen the cat adoption room so empty but that’s a good thing!

This is Chester. Initially he was mislabeled a girl! He is slow to warm up and, when overstimulated, gets scared and poofy (perfectly understandable). He is decidedly not a fan of the kittens in the condo downstairs.

This is O’Rian, a total love bug and adoration sponge! He was chatty, frequently kneading on his bed, and greeted me by putting his paws on my shoulder when I opened the condo door. He loved to look around while being held and made air biscuits. Also note how handsome he is!

This is Mau. He is rather shy but sweet and loves to be brushed (which he needs, since I don’t think he’s grooming himself much). He was also a little chatty with me, which made my heart melt.

Given that Mau is 10 years old, somewhat timid (he seldom left his box), and has stomatitis, it is easy for him to be overlooked. He and his two housemates (who also have dental issues  and possibly upper respiratory infections, and therefore are currently in isolation) were surrendered by their owner a month ago. Aaron and I have discussed fostering again and I think we could help this boy. I wanna love him!

Aaron and I can’t adopt all the cats but we want to help those who need a respite from the shelter and who might take longer to find a home due to age, need socialization, medical issues, or other factors.

OMG Kittens!

I realized that I had not volunteered at the shelter recently because I had been preoccupied taking care of Boudicca for the last several months. With that in mind, I gathered up several cans of cat food that we weren’t using (Boudicca had not liked the brand or texture) and took them to the shelter for donation. Since their policy changed a bit, I filled out a couple of forms but once that was done, I was ready to go. After all, there were SEVEN KITTENS that were now in the adoption room. Obviously I had to visit them.

Such emphatic little squeaks!

I love black cats so I had to hold this one first. (I totally squeed with joy.) Note: s/he looks concerned because s/he got stuck on my shirt with those needle-sharp little claws!

Being this cute is most exhausting. Note: the all grey one was extra fuzzy-wuzzy. There may have been some swooning over this.

These tabby babies are being held by the cat volunteer mentor extraordinaire, Grandma Jean. (Everyone calls her this.) The tabbies had a lot to say about their nails being trimmed but they behaved well. Grandma Jean had little chats with the kittens in pairs so everyone received proper amounts of adoration. They also had lovely blue eyes but I couldn’t get a good photo because they were rather squirmy.

Day summary: I visited three adult kitties (see forthcoming post) and seven exquisitely cute kittens! Everyone got loved on, smooched, and babbled at, and I had the pleasure of rubbing some full kitten tummies too. I definitely came home on a kitten-high.

Animal Rights Awareness Week

In 1999, In Defense of Animals, an animal rights group, designated the third full week of June as Animal Rights Awareness Week. The goal is twofold:

  1. Help raise awareness of animal rights by educating the public about the basic needs of animals around the world
  2. Advocate for the humane and compassionate treatment of all animals.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

The focus of Purry Home Companion is mostly on pets, especially cats. However, Animal Rights Awareness Week includes animals beyond pets: wildlife (highlighting the need for conservation), farm animals, puppy mills, zoos, circuses, animals used for medical research, and any other place where animals can be found. The point of Animal Rights Awareness Week (and hopefully this post) is to get you thinking and acting. Yes, it might be uncomfortable but ultimately worthwhile. Here are some “big picture” questions to consider:

  • What rights do animals have, legally speaking?
  • How can animals, including those slaughtered for meat, be treated ethically?
  • Does animal rights extend to only certain types of animals? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel about animals used for entertainment purposes, such as in circuses and Sea World?
  • What is mankind’s effect on the environment, including the effect on animals?

Photo courtesy of Pexels

There has been a lot of discussion about the treatment of animals in circuses and amusement parks. Ringling Bros. retired its elephant and big cat acts shortly before the circus itself closed after 150 years of show business. The documentary Blackfish dressed down SeaWorld for its treatment of captive orcas. We are learning that animals have emotional, social, and psychological lives much more than we thought.

Here are a few more questions to think about:

  • Do you use pesticides that harm beneficial insects like honeybees?
  • Do the plants and animals in your garden negatively impact other wildlife? For example, if you have an outdoor cat, how does your cat’s hunting ability affect local bird populations?
  • How do you feel about testing cosmetics on animals? Do you wear cosmetics that have been tested on animals? Do you know what companies practice animal testing? Would you instead prefer to wear cruelty-free products?

Photo courtesy of Pexels

There are countless ways to raise awareness on behalf of animals. Remember to use your powers for good!

Adopt a Cat Month

Kitten season is here and so is Adopt a Cat Month! Did you know that more than 3.2 million cats enter animal shelters annually? Did you know that 860,000 cats are euthanized? Animals being euthanized due to lack of space and overpopulation makes me very sad, since this is a preventable problem. Spaying/neutering pets and catch-neuter/spay-release programs dramatically impact animal overpopulation issues in communities. If you want to add a fur person to your family, please, please consider checking out your local animal shelter or rescue group first. There are so many lovable cats (and dogs!) that deserve wonderful homes.

Moreover, this is Father’s Day weekend! Some shelters may run Father’s Day specials (read: discounts!) as well so be sure to ask about those too!

I’m so happy we adopted these two boys! I think they are quite handsome but I’m probably biased.

Cat-Dog Remembered

I wrote this anecdote one year ago. I want to continue sharing these stories about Boudicca and Nala as a way of remembering and celebrating their lives.

Whenever I come home, this is the reception I get:

Boudicca: *previously sound asleep the entire time I was gone, wakes up when I come in through the door* Mama! Mama! Why did you leave me? Mama! Love me, pet me, pick me up! Feed me! Is it lap time yet?

Me: No, Boudicca. It’s time to put away groceries.

Boudicca: Mama! Why are you not in your office? I’m quite concerned when you are in a different room than me. Is it lap time yet?

Me: *picks up 10 lb Slinky cat* Forgive me now?

Boudicca: Oh my person loves me. PURR. PURR. PURR. *goes googly and kneads in the air*

Two minutes later, Boudicca has passed out again. She has such a hard life, obviously.

Boudicca has still not realized that she is not a dog.

National Best Friends Day

Happy National Best Friends Day!

Take some time today to let your best friend and all your friends know how much they mean to you and that you appreciate and cherish their friendship! While you’re at it, pass along such warm regards to your pet friends too!

Ten months ago, Aaron and I fostered Garrus and Charlie. They had been introduced to one another at the shelter and immediately hit it off. We did not want to split them up and adopted them both. I might be biased but they really do have the cutest bromance under the sun. If one of them is at the vet or in another room, the other will search for his buddy (Charlie squeaks as he does this). They play games of chase, hide and seek, pounce, and batting toys around the house. Frequently we find them grooming or snuggling together, and it’s always adorable.

You can see why I bought them a dog bed. They need the extra room!