Foster Anniversary

At last year’s Clear the Shelter event (held on Saturday, August 19th), our lives changed when we decided to foster two tabbies. We had not fostered before but Aaron and I decided jointly that these boys really needed us.

Aristotle was gaunt, pitiful-looking, and had patchy fur due to overgrooming. Because of his severe stomatitis, he had (understandably) a poor appetite.

Tink, then two years old, had spent cumulatively 18 months at the shelter (partly in foster care). He had been adopted and returned three times, and had recently lost his buddy cat Pan. While he had been successfully paired with a new buddy, Tink was decidedly not doing well in the shelter and spent 95% of the time hiding.

Both cats were skittish, extremely shy, and wary. They needed a lot of TLC and a quiet respite from the shelter. In our care they made noticeable improvements, especially because we were patient and made an effort to gain their trust. Only two weeks later they moved in! Since we brought them home during the Clear the Shelter event, the adoption fees were waived.

A year later, they are very different, and much happier, cats. They are no longer so skittish and timid. Charlie (formerly known as Tink) blossomed into a perpetually sunny, friendly, and affectionate cat. He squeaks! He flops! He snuggles! Garrus (formerly known as Aristotle) underwent dental surgery to treat his stomatitis and is now a much healthier cat with bunny-soft fur. While still on the reserved side, he now asks for visits, bats at crinkle balls, and chases after the red dot with gusto.

As you can see, Charlie and Garrus are not concerned. They may, however, be only slightly overloved in our house.

International Homeless Animals’ Day

In 1992, the International Society for Animal Rights created International Homeless Animals’ Day (IHAD), celebrated worldwide. This year, the 27th annual International Homeless Animals’ Day will be observed on Saturday, August 18th.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

This campaign is intended to raise awareness of the plight of thousands of homeless and abandoned animals across the world and educate the public about pet abandonment, feral animal overpopulation, and the benefits of neutering/spaying pets. Check out ISAR’s website and Facebook page for more information.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Clear the Shelters!

Clear the Shelters is an nationwide pet adoption drive that began in 2015. This year it occurs on Saturday, August 18! A number of shelters may expand this drive to the entire weekend. More than 150,000 pets have found homes as a result of this campaign!

“Don’t you wanna take me home? We could snuggle.” Photo courtesy of Pexels

Across the country, NBC and Telemundo stations are teaming up with hundreds of animal shelters to spread the word about this adoption drive. Check out this neat map that shows all the animal shelters nationwide participating in the event. You can also spread the word in your local community by word of mouth and on social media using the hashtag #cleartheshelters.

“I’ve been adopted!” Photo courtesy of Pexels

DOGust and Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs

Happy DOGust everyone! And, whew, it is HOT. So obviously it’s time for indoor parties. Do you throw birthday parties for your pets? I have friends who celebrate their dogs’ birthdays. However, if you don’t always know your dog’s birthdate. Thanks to the efforts of the North Shore Animal League and the ASPCA, the month of DOGust and the Universal Birthday for Shelter and Rescue Dogs came into being!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

At a loss at how to throw a DOGust-worthy “pawty”? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. If you’re going to have any outdoor activities, do it early in the morning and in the shade. Dogs can get overheated and sun- or heatstroke.
  2. Offer lots of water to human and canine guests to keep them cool and comfortable.
  3. Don’t forget refreshments. Peanut butter treats would be a good idea, or, for the ambitious, a bone-shaped puppy cake.
  4. Provide splash time in a kiddie pool and lots of toys so everyone can play. If some want to play inside, that’s okay too.
  5. In lieu of presents for your pup, request that guests make a donation to a local shelter or rescue group. This can be cash, supplies, time, or skills!
  6. For party favors, all the canine attendees could get bandanas.
  7. Remember to take plenty of snazzy photos!
  8. Have fun!

Photo courtesy of The Dodo

Update on Mau

On Sunday Aaron and I took Mau to his vet appointment. He walked right into the carrier but once he realized Aaron shut the door behind him, Mau was decidedly upset about it. He complained a bit when carried and in the car but became quiet in the waiting room.

One of the vets looked him over and diagnosed him with severe gingivitis and multiple abscessed teeth. It is likely that he will have most, if not all, of his teeth removed. Because his teeth are rotting, that is why his breath smells like death. We just have to wait for a slot to open up so Mau can have his surgery. Also, judging from the age and condition of his teeth, it looks like Mau is older than I initially thought. Rather than being 10, he’s 15 years old! He is a sweet old man and a good houseguest.

He hid and slept under the desk after we brought him back from the vet. Poor guy.

On the bright side, Mau is eating wet food well. Both he and Garrus eat about 1-1.5 cans a day! It appears that since Mau was surrendered to the shelter in May, he has gained about half a pound of weight. We spend time with him every day, brushing him frequently and providing comfy laps and scritches. He is most grateful for any and all types of attention and responds by being most affectionate.

I also recently learned that Mau and his housemates came from a hoarding situation, which shed light as to why all three had significant dental problems. The oldest of the three went into foster care and recently passed away in his sleep. The female, also older than Mau, has one eye, if I recall correctly, and chronic bronchitis. When I gave the shelter director an update on Mau, she thought that he was lucky to be in our house. Aaron and I genuinely hope that we can help him get healthy and find a loving home in which he can live out the rest of his life, preferably most of it in someone’s lap and purring.

We think that Mau may be a Himalayan or possibly a Balinese cat! Look at that sweet face!

Mau did not want me to read my book (pictured on the desk) and instead wanted me to devote all my attention to him. After all, he takes lap time most seriously, even more so than Boudicca did!

Foster Parents Again!

We received word yesterday that Mau was ready for us to pick him up at the Austin Pets Alive facility. Although we were not stoked about the drive downtown, we were looking forward to helping a sweet senior cat decompress away from the shelter and receive much needed dental care.

Here is his photo from the shelter. Because his pupils are so dilated, you can’t see how blue his eyes really are. You can also see his lovely colorpoint markings and medium-length fluffiness.

When we picked him up, he meowed pitifully. I’m pretty sure he wanted to lodge a formal complaint with the management when he was transferred between carriers. I’m sure he was completely discombobulated from being transferred to the shelter to APA to us. Once in the car, though, he was quiet.

Aaron was magnanimous in loaning his office as a foster space. We set Mau up with food, water, a litter box, a bed (Boudicca’s pink one), a scratching pad, and a few toys. We visited but he remained put in the corner behind the desk. We spoke soothingly to him and sat on the floor but did not try to dig him out. If he wants to hide, that’s OK. Garrus and Charlie did that for the first couple of days in foster care.

We were pleased to note that he ate the wet food that APA provided for him, drank water, and used the litter box. At the shelter, he always snubbed wet food, preferring and apparently accustomed to eating hard food. We will continue to offer him both options. I will check on him throughout the day and hang out in the room with him, reading a book, so he can become used to my presence.

For their part, Garrus and Charlie knew something was up. As we moved the boys’ food out of the red room, Garrus came in and spotted Mau in the carrier before he left. He seemed mildly uneasy about the whole thing, but we also believe that he does not like change or the door shut. Charlie was puzzled by the shut door and investigated thoroughly, chirping. We made sure that Garrus and Charlie received ample visits and endeavored to disrupt their routine as little as possible. Of course, Garrus needed to go to the vet for his follow-up appointment so he won’t be happy about that either…