December 31, 2018
Congratulations on adopting your new family member! It’s an important decision to add a new little furball to the family. It is a lifelong commitment. You save a life by adopting from a local shelter or no-kill adoption center. Thank you for your help in saving homeless pets.
I have been in animal rescue, fostering and rehabilitation for 36 years. I would like to share with you what I have learned during that time period. Animals have been my greatest teachers. Most of my suggestions will cross species lines. I have worked with cats, dogs, horses, mules, donkeys, goats and chickens.
If you are bringing your cat or dog home in a carrier put a blanket or towel in there that smells of the new home. If they will be coming to a home with an established fuzzy family member, a cloth with their scent on it should be in the carrier. There are two reasons for this. The new cat or dog will get to meet the scent before the actual home or sibling. And, then, the established pet will find his/her scent on the new animal, making them less a stranger.
Now, keep in mind the whole new world is unfamiliar and most likely scary to your new cat or dog. Imagine you are two years old again. You are all of a sudden in a whole new world/country. You are not able to communicate well and you don’t know the new language that the others are speaking. Everyone is a stranger and are much bigger than you. They keep calling you by some other name that you don’t recognize. Nothing is yours anymore. And, these strangers keep approaching you and you want to run and hide.
What can you do to help them adjust? Most likely you will keep them initially in a secure environment. Maybe a bathroom or large dog kennel will be used. Spend time with them and have no expectations of them giving back to you. Sit for 10 to 15 minutes a few times per day just reading to them. Sit on the floor and not above them. Don’t look straight on at them and don’t reach to pet them. Sit sideways to them. If they come to you and offer to receive a pet, then great. If not, don’t take it personally and let them have their safe space. We all have our personal bubbles, so do they. After a couple of days, you can offer a relaxed hand, not a reaching hand. If they smell it, say good/thank you, and calmly retract your hand. Keep things as easy and nonaggressive as possible. If they give you a head bump, take a relaxed hand to their side and pet with the backs of your fingers. If they retreat, just keep it simple and read a little more. Then, leave. A shy cat will feel stress from a straight on look. You can use their language skills as well by tilting your head and doing a slow blink-blink.
In my fostering, I have sung “You are my Sunshine” to them. This is something familiar to all of them. New families can sing to them, to give the new kitty something familiar/recognize. This makes them feel a little more secure. In fact, all the animals here know the song.
If you are going to change their name, please, consider waiting a week to do so, then slowly introduce the new name. Put the new name with the old name. Example: if the name is originally Betty and you want the new name to be Buttercup, then say “Betty Buttercup”. Do it that way for about a week. Then, drop the original name. This way is less confusing for them.
For those of you who have adopted one of my kids, Thank You! Just to let you know, they have been fed Costco Signature brand cat food. It is the one in the dark purple bag and has no corn or soy. If they require a smaller kibble, I get the Blue Buffalo Indoor Cat Food. I add either organic grapeseed oil or flaxseed oil or hemp oil to their dry food. Just a little. They do get soft food for a treat. I use an unscented or only lightly scented scoopable cat litter.
I hope the information I am sharing is helpful. If you have any questions, you can comment here or send via the contact link on this page. Again, thank you for adopting.
Older Doesn’t Mean Old
January 8, 2019
I don’t know about your experience, but I have met people who were younger than myself, but acted like an “Old Fogey”. And, I have met those much older than me who were energetic and a blast to be around. The same can go for animals.
Most people shy away from adopting an older pet. Many times the explanation is that they are afraid of the pet dying too soon or the older pet not able to keep up with the person’s lifestyle. Let me assure you that age is not a factor in how long an individual lives, or if they can keep up. I have had many in my life pass away. Some were very young and some were very old. And, some were in between. There are no guarantees in life as to life expectancy. So, why not choose a companion who feels like your soul mate. I have an eight-year-old kitty currently here, that acts like a kitten at times. Other times, he settles down and has a good nap or hangs out with me. He is on the waiting list to go for adoption.
I have a three-year-old that is waiting as well, and she is a couch potato. She would be a perfect match for an elderly person who is homebound. She would relish sitting with someone all day.
Do yourself and a homeless kitty a favor, choose based not on age, but on how they feel to you. Are you drawn to their lovely personality? Does the very sight of them call your heart? If you are uncertain, ask if you can visit a few times before making the commitment. Now, keep in mind that someone may come along and adopt before you make the decision or the adoption center may even put a hold on the kitty for you if you ask.
In defense of oldies but goodies…Know they have the experience to give you love, cuddles, and headbutts with a true appreciation of what life was like before they were rescued. They will cherish you for the rest of their lives.
You are My Sunshine
January 23, 2019
Change is the one constant in all of our lives. If we have something that has been consistent, even to a small extent, it makes that change at least tolerable or easier. I am referring to a bedtime story, a favorite sweater or blanket, your mother’s fresh baked cookies or a song that your parents use to sing to you. For me, my dad would stroke my brow as I was falling off to sleep. What all these things have in common is they are familiar and comforting memories. Many of you probably had wonderful comforting thoughts as you were reading this.
I sing to all of the animals here. The song of choice is, “You are My Sunshine”. For some reason, the animals enjoy this song. I do this for two reasons. First, they find it comforting while they are here with me. They may be nervous or scared when they first arrive, but I sit and sing to them. It helps to relax them. I, also, read to them but will cover that in my next blog. Second, when they finally find their forever home, the new family can sing this song to them to help them settle in. They hear this familiar song and are comforted by it. They will also look at the new people in their lives, not as the initial strangers, but as someone who holds a key to their past. Just remember the last time that old familiar memory was triggered in your mind. The same for them.
And, with that said…
You are My Sunshine…
Zyrtec and Cats
January 18, 2019
A couple of months ago, one of my long-term fosters had an ear infection and it affected the vestibular nerves of the inner ear. He walked like he was trying to negotiate a boat in bad weather. He was tilting his head to the left and was truly unhappy. This kitty is never unhappy normally. He is in a perpetual state of joy. I made an appointment with the vet, however, it was on the weekend and they had no more immediate appointments. They told me not to worry about waiting until Monday. It was hard to watch him try to get around. I cleaned the ear with a good ear wash and thought to give him Benedryl since I had given it to a kitty before. I went online to “Google” any information. I came across this article and found it fascinating. Zyrtec is even better for kitties than Benedryl. I gave him the recommended dose of 5 mg/24 hours. I did call the vet and ask if that was correct. It really helped him get around. It seems it helps with some mouth issues, skin issues, and a few other problems. There links within the article. I have another here with skin allergies and when she has a flare up, it is so unpleasant for her. I gave her Zyrtec at the first signs of the flare up and two days she was completely irritation free. I am so pleased. As in anything, if your kitty is having health issues that have you are concerned, you should see the vet.
Yes, he did get better after 21 days on antibiotics. He still has a head tilt and still walks with a little tilt, but has improved greatly. The vet says it takes time for the vestibular nerves to heal. And, he may always have a slight head tilt. But, he is happy, healthy and playing up a storm.
Absent Without Leave
February 26, 2019
I am sorry I have been absent from my blog. We had a blizzard hit here and digging out took days. We have been getting a tremendous amount of snow compared to normal and temperatures have been belong normal. As with farm life, you have to keep the farm running in the less than optimal conditions. Also, trying to keep animals alive. So far, so good. I did get the flu while this was all happening and it has been a challenge to keep the chores up and breathe at the same time. So, long story short, my blog took a back seat. However, I am back and will be up to full speed in a couple of days. I have learned a few things during these winter days and will share them with you. Blessings be!
March 14, 2019
We are starting to see the light of Spring here on the farm. The heavy snow that blanketed the ground is now starting to melt and some green is showing through to treat the birds. Locals have talked about this winter as one they have never seen before and I do wonder what damage will be revealed once everything melts completely. Will there be damage to the orchards and vineyards? The local dairies lost dairy cows in the blizzard. And, those small farmers more than likely saw loss as well. My old horses, mule, donkey and goat came through. The rooster boys enjoyed being tucked into their small coups with a heat lamp between them. And, the kitties nestled into the cubbies stuffed with hay to keep from the cold. None were completely warmed but warm enough to get through it all. I was so relieved to see the faces of the feral kitties and know they made it. Many hunkered down in the hay stack of the hay barn. We almost lost the hay barn to the winds of the blizzard. We humans were out in the middle of it all to keep things safe and comfortable. Well, as comfortable as one can be in a blizzard.
Outside of the blizzard, temperatures have been much colder than normal. Animals have been keeping to the area for food and shelter. I guess what I am getting to in this blog is the resiliency of the natural world. Life can be a little easier if we pitch in, however, the spirit of resiliency is not broken in the natural world or that of domestic animals. The wild birds were happy to have some food given to them after the blizzard came in. The skunks have been raiding the cat food. And, the central big, heated water bowl seems to be enjoyed by many. Now, with the melt all seem to be enjoying what comes naturally in their lives. Even the robins, who arrived a little too early with the lower temperatures, are happily listening for worms.