Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Random woman, random insight

(deleted stuff due to new "blogging policy" at work and personal info on employees)

Anyway, being an animal hospital, the woman started talking about her indoor/outdoor kitten at the end of the meeting. I forget what exactly she was saying about the cat, because I couldn't believe that here was an intellgent 30-ish looking woman, AND SHE DIDN'T KNOW THAT SHE SHOULD NEUTER HER INDOOR/OUTDOOR KITTEN. Now, it's not really that this particular woman didn't know, but how she was talking about "Oh this cat got this one pregnant, and I didn't know which one was mine, etc" as if this was all commonplace (which I know it unfortunately is). I know that a lot of people don't understand how important it is for animals to be sterilized, and I know a lot of people have so many other things on their mind that it doesn't occur to them as a priority. But this woman seemed averagely smart, averagely aware of important issues, but she didn't realize that she is playing a part in the overpopulation issue.

T immediately stepped up and told her how big of an issue the cat population is, that the hospital is involved in sterilization of feral and stray cats, and that she should get the kitten neutered ASAP to prevent more babies. (All in a friendly, conversational, non-preachy way, of course...) And I started telling her about males fighting and spraying, and possibly spreading disease, all of which are major incentives to get the kitten neutered. She didn't know this more specific stuff about *why* it's good to get pets sterilized, but it was surprising that she didn't think it was important in the first place, even (*especially*) to simply prevent more babies.

I mean, the animal-loving community is here to spread important, vital information on pet care, but it is surprising to me at times how little info the general population is in possession of. And sad, because the more educated we are on these topics, the better care we can provide to the animals living in our communities. It is important that we spread the message of spay and neuter, but we need to remember that people need to know *why* to sterilize their pets. We can't just say "overpopulation" and expect them to understand. We have to say "no pets in heat. Less fighting. Less spraying. Less wandering. Less spread of disease, especially in males. Less reproductive cancers/issues in females. Calmer animals (usually, right?)"

I think we forget that the people who don't work with animals simply don't know what we do. I forget this all the time. They don't know why over the counter meds don't work, they don't know why they're puppy can't just have one litter before she's fixed, they don't know that unneutered male cats are many times more likely to get FIV. So yeah, it's all about education. And NOT JUDGING PEOPLE at the same time. B/c I know very little about human medical shit, and I'm sure my step-mom thinks to herself "I can't *believe* she hasn't been to the doctor in that long!"
Definitely something worth thinking about.

Friday, February 19, 2010

And Smidgen makes 3

Smidgen is the baby of my three cats. She loves to play with those outlet protectors. Knock them down the stairs, meow as if a baby had been dropped down a well, then race to the bottom to save it! It's a great game to play, I suppose...

Another picture with her favorite piece of plastic....

Baby Smidge, curled up in her favorite blanket.

Smidge hiding from the world in her snuggle sack. She is really only a pair of eyes, her body no longer exists. At least, she would probably prefer it that way. She's very shy, hates to be walked at, and spooks at odd things like leaves in the window. She is a bit silly. She is very gentle, however, and will tolerate pretty much anything from a human.

My cats aren't as cute as some others', where the cats sprawl out with their tummies exposed to the sunlight. Maybe they're afraid I'll poke them? So when I saw Midge like this on the chair, I squealed! I haven't seen her lay like this since. So cute, though.

She looks like she's yelling at the birds or the dog next door. Which makes it amusing in my mind.

They do love the summer time when the windows are open. I do, too. It's one thing I miss the most about summer when it's gone.

Black cats are so difficult. Most pictures I have of this girl, she looks like a pair of eyes on a fuzzy black sock. Hah. At least she's a cute, fuzzy black sock!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Noms

I can't sleep. (Too much caffeine today.) So here are 3 of my favorite pictures of Domino. He is Domino, b/c, well, obviously. However, I have met a Domino more perfectly domino-ish than he. She has one spot on one side, two on the other. My Domino just looks like a cow.

He loooooves the cube. It is his favorite spot. You know, his nose used to have a large area of pink on it. I should find pictures to show the change of pigmentation over time. I wish the other half of his chin was black, b/c then it would look like a goatee. Silly, but it would make me happy. Sharpie, maybe? (just kidding)

Book surfing. He doesn't quite fit, but shhhhh, don't tell him. He's sensitive. By the way, Domino is my cat. I know I post about other people's pets and feral cats, so I thought I'd throw that out there. He's one of the three cats I took from my mother's. She didn't get her cat spayed, she had babies, and my mom didn't want to keep them. So I took the babies. They're two and a half now. (Her cat is still not spayed, but fortunately, the cat doesn't go out and there are no more cats in the house anymore. I've tried to get her to understand the importance of spay/neuter, but if you knew my mom.....)
Domino's had many names in his short life, but it's usually The Noms now. Sometimes Gurgle Man. (He gurgles/purrs very loudly when it's munch time.) And Mimo. I think the evolution of "The Noms" was something like Domino-Yomino-Nomino-Noms. And "Mimo" was what the little boy-next-door called him. (Actually, I don't know what he called him, b/c I don't think it was English, but it definitely sounded like "Mimo!")
So that's Noms. He's a good boy. He's really just a large pile of pudding. With a girly, squeaky meow.
Oh, and he does tricks, too! I've yet to get a picture, b/c it's hard to angle the camera just right when I've got a treat in my hand and Noms is desperately trying to get at it, but he can "sit" (most of the time) and "beg." Obviously, I can't show you a "sit," b/c, well, it's a sit. Haha. But I'll try to get a picture of his "beg." We're working on the tricks without treats, but there's not much motivation for him unless he thinks he might get a treat... (I'm lying, they don't really get treats. They only get pieces of their food b/c I'm mean like that. And Noms is a bit chubby, so he doesn't get many extras. I haven't even bought regular treats in over a year...) Oh, and he usually responds to "come here." If he wants to. So maybe 50% of the time? And tapping. He's about 95% on top of the tapping. If I tap my bed, he'll hop up. Or my lap, or the top of the bookshelf, or the windowsill, wherever.
I've been pretty lazy lately. I need to teach them some new tricks, b/c they're quite good at the "sit," "beg," and "come here." What should I try next? = )

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand

This is my Rio. She is a fluffy mix of something. Chow was suggested. Shepard, too. But I am bad with identifying dog breeds, so don't ask me. Her mom went on a skiing trip with family and had some sort of heart attack/stroke while fixing her boot on the slope. She was sent to the hospital, but unfortunately did not recover. Rio's fate was uncertain for a week: we were trying to find someone to adopt her as was Rio's owner's family. I wish I could take her - she is a great dog. It turns out that Rio's mom's best friend will be taking Rio in.

I hope Rio will be happy at her new home, but I think it means that we may not see her again. The woman does not live in Rochester, I'm pretty sure. I'm glad I got to know Rio better before seeing her leave for another part of the country, though. She's very shy at first, but gets so excited about getting to play outside, especially laying in the snow (and eating it!), as you can see in the pictures. Rio is 7 or 8 years old, pretty mellow, even when playing, but a serious love bug. She loves to just hang out. She's a super wonderful dog and I truly hope her new family is just as fantastic. I'll miss her, as she's been staying with us for quite a while now. Her new mom will be picking her up at the end of the month.

This is Ella. (I think she's 5? or 6.) Pretty much any dog I post about will be one I adore, so I guess I shouldn't keep saying how much I love these dogs, huh? Ella is funny. No one knows her playful side unless they take her out on her walks. In her run, she is very quiet, borderline depressed. But as soon as she steps outside, she's a different dog. She's excited to be alive! She's very well-behaved, but when she doesn't want to come back in, Ella will simply ignore me. And run around as if we're playing - which is hard to not give in to. Oh, and Ella is a big dog, too. Waist level on me, I think? (I'm about 5'4")

This is Casey. Casey is about 8 years old and is completely, utterly, OBSESSED with tennis balls. She will bark at you nonstop until you throw that ball. She cannot get her mind off it, even for a moment. But it's great, b/c she is the type of dog that will bring the ball right back to you. Oh, and if it happens to roll away? She's right there to scoop it back up and place it within an arm's length. All you have to do is look at her like, "Excuse me, Casey. I am lazy and that is too far for me to reach." And she's right on it, making everything easy for the all-important game of fetch. Unfortunately for poor Casey, she has some hip/joint/arthritis problems and can't go too long playing this wonderful game. But as I said, she is OBSESSED. She can't be soothed by petting or treats (for long, anyway). So we tend to toss the ball short distances away. Then everyone's happy!

Casey, looking up at me, wondering why I am not throwing her ball. You can tell that she is not relaxed in this picture. Every muscle in her body is tensed for when I release the ball. I think the only time she relaxes is when the ball is in her mouth - or there are no balls to be found...

I wish I had been able to take a better picture of Zee. Zee is a wonderful boy, UNLESS he happens to see another dog. He is a bit nuts around other dogs and only wants to cage-fight. Out in the backyard, though, he loves zooming around at top speeds and peeing on everything, of course. He's also great to play with and loves to cuddle. I don't know where it came from, but I call him my Firecracker. (I've decided I want to name my next dog Firecracker. Firecracker and Hippie...)

And lastly, this is a super cute picture of Ian and Dylan. Ian has started becoming more adventurous. More playful. He loves tennis balls and little fur balls (that I make for him out of his own endless supply of shedding fur) and those jingly balls. And little, bouncy, rubber balls. He has also taken to lounging on comforters in the playroom, spazzing and attacking the stuffing as if it's alive. He's quite amusing. Unfortunately, even with the increased attention and space, he seems to be meowing more. And I can't really say I know why. I can tell when he's meowing for food. And for attention, but the rest of the day, I have no clue. And sadly, he has the most irritating meow. It's very nasally (is that a word???) and whiny. He better not keep it up when I take him home with me!!! Haha.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

RIT, the Bean Farm, and Factory A's Cats

I'm so glad to be helping out RIT's Caring Hearts program. It's nice to be in league with people who have the experience and resources that they do (and I don't). So far, they've brought in 2 cats from the RIT campus and 2 from the Bean Farm right here in Henrietta. I believe they are going to try to bring in two more from the Bean farm this Friday.

I think I've mentioned before that in addition to TNRing their own campus' stray and feral cats, Caring Hearts tries to take on one "project" at a time. Their most recent venture has been a farm (not very far from my house, actually). The owner of the farm, Mrs. B, takes care of the barn cats, but was a bit overrun when Caring Hearts stepped in to help. They've sterilized over 35 cats there, I believe. Being a farm, and right on a main road, I imagine that heartless and uneducated peoples drop their cats off in the near vicinity. Fortunately, the situation has been stabilized, but she's had some recent additions. Two were brought in last Friday, both all black, one missing part of his tail, I think? She will be trying to trap a couple more for this Friday.

RIT's Caring Hearts will also be lending a hand to the leader's brother's factory's cat issue. Wow. Bad sentence. There is a factory... with kilns... and kilns are warm, I'm thinking. At least, some cats got in, made a home in the empty kilns, and started making babies! They went to fire up one of the kilns and heard babies mewing! Can you imagine how horrible it would have been to have not heard them? I'm so glad they decided to make noise at the right time. Fortunately for those lucky kitties, all found good homes.

Some of the cats are tame, some are feral. Most of the workers are coming together to raise money for the cats to be sterilized and to find homes for the socialized kitties. The feral ones will be brought to our hospital for surgery and will be allowed to live out their lives at the factory. The cats need to be done ASAP, though, because as time goes on, the more babies made, and the more of a "nuisance" they will be. The people in charge at the factory are okay with a small number of sterilized cats living on the premises, but if the population explodes, they will want to call an exterminator. Hopefully they will only have ten to fifteen cats at the factory when they are sterilized and rehomed.

This factory is not in Henrietta, but when I talked to the CSR supervisor, she said that because we are working with the RIT group, and the RIT group is the one helping them, we can let it slide that they are not located in the town.

I wish we could help everyone. I wish we could spay and neuter 50 cats a week (haha). But I guess slow progress is better than no progress...