Thursday, April 27, 2017

Adoption Update: The Tippy Tuxies



I met Calvin, Daisy and Rosie (TheTippy Tuxies) at their adoption photo shoot. My cat of 19 years, Kitty Wampus, who was also a tuxedo cat, had passed away a few days before. Photo days are like a kitten party so I was really looking forward to a little "kitten therapy". Basically I play with kittens while taking their pictures. On July 16, 2016, The Tippy Tuxies came in for photos. They were being fostered by Linda, another Feline Rescue volunteer. I saw a glimpse of them in their carriers so I knew there were tuxedo kittens but I still wasn’t prepared for their resemblance to Kitty Wampus. Rosie and Daisy had nearly the exact same markings! 

Calvin on the day he came in for pictures
The Tippy Tuxies have that name because they were born with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH). I’ve photographed a few kittens with CH before so I knew CH kitties can be rather difficult to photograph. Their heads wobble and they tend to have erratic movements, so sometimes it can be harder to get clear photos of them. Rosie and Calvin mainly seemed to have some fancy footwork but were otherwise normal kittens. Calvin walks with a high-step that looks like a trot or a prance. It was so adorable! They fell over a little bit, but they were mostly just sweet, charming and adorable kittens. Daisy, however, couldn’t walk or stand without leaning on something.  

Rosie
A little bit about Cerebellar Hypoplasia
Feline cerebellar hypoplasia (CH) is a non-progressive, non-contagious neurological condition that results in walking and balance problems. A kitten is born with CH when her cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills and coordination, is underdeveloped at birth. Consequently, an underdeveloped cerebellum can result in underdeveloped or complicated mobility. CH cats are known for their “drunken sailor” walk, which is why they’re known endearingly as “wobbly cats.” Since the condition is non-progressive, it will never get worse — and in some cases, owners say that their cat became more capable over time [as they learn to adapt to their disability and develop muscles]. Source:
lifewithchcats.com

Daisy on the day we met
Shortly after this photo was taken, Daisy crawled into my lap. It took so much work for her to get there since she wasn’t able to walk at the time. The sweetness of that moment and her resemblance to Kitty Wampus brought me to tears. I then had to explain to Linda why I started crying. We talked a little bit about my recent loss, and these new kittens and we agreed that I would foster the three of them when Linda was planning to be out of town at the beginning of August. On my way home that same day, I stopped and bought them a scratching post and a few new toys for when they came to my house.

When I started fostering this trio, my goal was to get all of them adopted together. Rosie and Calvin were extremely bonded, and although Daisy was more independent, I thought it would be better for her to stay with her siblings. Although, I’m pretty sure most of the foster volunteers were already placing bets about my impending “foster fail,” I think the moment I knew was on August 9, when Paul and TJ from the Engineer's Guide to Cats were at Feline Rescue on the day of the Cat Video Festival. I brought the trio in for the open house, and I was being asked when they’d be available for adoption. I didn't like the idea that they might be leaving me someday!
 
Paul and TJ with Calvin, Daisy and Rosie
After Kitty passed away, I didn’t think I would be ready to adopt for several months. However, I was open to the idea of foster failing and welcoming new cats into my home. But I had only planned to adopt a pair. The Tippy Tuxies helped me heal so much, and the three of them were so perfect together, I didn’t debate too long about adopting the three of them. Rosie and Daisy were a little bit underweight, so we waited until September to do their spay and neuter surgeries. I adopted them shortly after that.

National Specially-abled Pets Day is May 3 so I wanted to share some information on what it’s like to live with animals who would be labeled as “special needs.”

Rosie
Cats with CH do require some special considerations, but to what extent can vary from cat to cat. Even cats in the same litter can be affected differently. The Tippy Tuxies had siblings that were not affected at all. Calvin and Rosie walk and run pretty well, but Calvin can’t jump at all, and Rosie can only jump a little bit. She’s good at jumping up to the couch, for example, but the bed is a little too high so she climbs. It helps that I have carpet thoughout most of my home. This gives them traction and helps reduce their spills and also provide a little extra padding for when they do fall. For Daisy, that carpet is essential because she needs it for traction. She is not strong enough or balanced enough to walk very well on slippery surfaces. 

Calvin
They have stairs to get up to the bed and a tray under their water bowl to catch spills. Their litter boxes have high sides and a low entry to make it easy to get in, but also for them to lean against if they need to. I found a cat tower that has levels that are closer together and easier for them to climb to the top, and also isn’t too high, so that if they fall off (or jump from the top like Rosie does), they won’t get hurt. And I try a little harder to find activities to keep them engaged. Especially for Daisy who can’t burn energy by running chasing her siblings around, it’s critical to find activities that help her develop muscle and keep her mentally stimulated.

Daisy
Daisy’s walking has improved quite a bit since they first came to me. She was only able to walk while leaning against walls or furniture. Now she can take several steps at a time in the middle of the room without support. Another Feline Rescue volunteer, Caia, helped build a special walker for Daisy out of PVC pipe and wheels that we found instructions to make kitties on YouTube. Daisy used it a couple times for physical therapy, but later made it known that she had no intentions of being strapped into a glorified wheel chair. So I started just making her physical therapy a game by getting her to chase toys and the laser light to work on getting her strong enough to stand and walk on her own.

Walking still pretty hard for her, it takes all of her concentration to balance, take a step, and even just stand without support. It’s possible and even likely her walking skills will continue to improve over the next few months. I have hopes that she’ll be able to move around without tumbling over every few steps. 

Daisy uses a wide stance to balance while standing and walking
All three of  The Tippy Tuxies live like otherwise normal cats. They get to the litter box just fine, can eat and drink without assistance and can play and wrestle with the best of them. They are three extremely loving and sweet cats who’s fun personalities more than make up for any perceived burden of having a special needs pet (let alone three). Plus, they’re really great about posing for photos! 


Rosie, Calvin and Daisy
Rosie, Calvin and Daisy
If you’d like to keep tabs on the Tippy Tuxies, you can follow them on Facebook or on Instagram @TippyTuxies. They have new photographs and videos posted every day.

In honor of National Specially-abled Pets Day, May 3, please spread the word about how truly wonderful pets with “special” features can be!

Story and photos by Kris Kaiser

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Adoption Updates for the Whole Family!

Debbie, one of our fabulous foster volunteers, compiled an adoption update for her entire former foster cat family (momma cat and 5 kittens).


1 year ago today [April 11], a young cat named Ripley gave birth to 5 sweet, adorable little babies at our home thanks to Diane who rescued Ripley from the streets and thanks to Feline Rescue that took her into the foster care program! One year later where are they now?? They are all happy and healthy in their forever homes. Here's a brief update . . .

Beau and Shelby were adopted to a home of a family we have known for many years. They have an older sister cat and in just a few short months they are all happily playing together and sleeping in the family bed at night!

Beau
Shelby

Mabry and Langley (now Mackenzie and Veronica) are in a home where they are loved and adored. The girls are still best friends and made themselves right at home from day 1!



Snelling has a new best friend in a dog! Snellling loves to find toys during the day and leave them in her mom's bed for her to find at night. Snelling is a true Momma's girl!



Ripley has blossomed into a sweet young cat who loves to watch out the windows and appreciates the oppportunity to go outside and stalk birds and bunnies and have a good roll around in the dirt!


Thank you to all the families who adopted Ripley and her kittens for providing them new loving homes. It was an exciting and a little bit worrisome day the kittens were born but Ripley sure knew what she was doing as a first and only time mom!

We love you all -- Ripley, Shelby, Beau, Mabry, Langley and Snelling!

You can view more photos and stories of Debbie's fosters on her Facebook page - Debbie's Foster Kitties.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kitten season is here!


How many of you have been enjoying the mild winter we've had? We've only had few frigid days. And really no snow storms to speak of. You've spent more time outside this winter, haven't you? Well, so too, have randy tomcats. Warmer temperatures mean more kittens. The calendar says it's Spring, but for those of us at Feline Rescue, it's Kitten season.

We are ramping up for our busiest fostering months of the year. We already have had a handful of momma cats taken in Foster care (a couple still waiting to give birth). Last year, we had 6 momma cats give birth in our care during these months; we most likely will have the same (or more) this year. We had forty-two kittens born during Kitten season last year.


We need all the help we can get. What can you do to help? We are in need of the following:

CAREGIVERS:

Although new caregivers cannot foster pregnant momma cats (there's SO much to learn about fostering and we've found it can too overwhelming to start with such a critical foster), we are in need of caregivers to take in abandoned kittens, mommas with older kittens, and medical needs cats (like diabetics or injured, ones that will require more vet trips).

Fill out our online foster application

SUPPLIES:

Bottle Feeding - 
Feeding - 
Kitten-safe Litter -
Bedding -
 

By Robin Holland, Foster  Program Director 

Photos by Kris Kaiser

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Easter, Bunny!

From Red Lake Rosie's Rescue:
Bunny was a beautiful long-haired tortie that was a surrender at Red Lake Rosie's Rescue a few years ago. RLRR is so thankful for the relationship we have with Feline Rescue where we are able to send cats by twos to be adopted. Bunny's story is one of the many success stories we have with Feline Rescue.

Yesterday I received this picture and message:


"I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for all that you do.
In 2012, after the death of my cat Boo-Boo, I decided to spend 2 days a week visiting the homeless cats at Feline Rescue. I love all the cats, even the snarky ones. I don't remember her exact surrender date, but in early 2014, a long-hair tortie that they named Bunny showed up from you guys.

All my recent cats, {Binky and Comet}, have been either feral or hated people. I seem to have a way with them. Bunny was definitely a problem. She kept attacking the volunteers when they would clean her litter box, kennel, and give her food and water. She did respond to a few people, and I was one of the fortunate few.

I had lost Comet's sister Sunny, my soul mate, in 2013, and, in the spring of 2014, Comet had a stroke. I didn't want Binky to be left alone if Comet didn't pull through. I figured no one would adopt Bunny the way she acted, so I brought her home. Comet did pull through, thank heavens, and Bunny has become an awesome family member. Of course she has the famous "tortitude", but she's really sweet. She doesn't like being picked up or held, but she often climbs up on us for loving. We live in a rural area and get mice, but Bunny totally loves hunting them.

She's very safe now. My cats are NEVER allowed outside where they can get hurt. If it hadn't been for you guys rescuing her and sending her to Feline Rescue, we wouldn't have met. I can't imagine our family without our Bunny. Shelters seldom hear about how their former charges end up, and I know I always love hearing the happy endings from adopters, so I thought I'd share Bunny's story with you. Thank you again for all you do."

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Miracle of Willie


Willie was a cat Feline Rescue took from a hoarder. When rescuers went into the home, they passed by Willie, who was curled up on a bed and not moving. No amount of noise they made roused him. They thought he was dead and they couldn't bring themselves to check. They continued to move in and out of the room. Willie never moved. After making one final walk-through of the house, one of the rescuers summoned her courage to check on Willie. She had to know before she left if he was still with us. She knelt by the bed and after a few seconds, Willie slowly lifted his head. The rescuer would comment many times after leaving the house that she was so glad she checked on him.


Willie spent two weeks at our vet. He had a wicked cold and could barely breath. He would be sent to his foster home with an armload of drugs. The vet would find a couple more things seriously wrong with him. One of his eyes is non-functioning, a "dead" eye, the result of some head trauma that only Willie knows about. To add insult to injury, Willie tested positive for not only FeLV (Feline Leukemia) but also FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus).


When Willie was finally sprung from the vet, he could not be contained. He pranced about his foster room, investigating everything. He was a bundle of energy. Of happy energy. He purred. He kneaded. He gave kisses. So, so happy.


Now Willie is looking for his forever home. He is super friendly and playful. He needs a friend to wrestle with so Willie needs to go home with another FeLV cat or to a home that already has an FeLV cat.  His FIV isn't contagious (transmission is only through a bite that breaks the skin) but his FeLV is.


If you'd like to learn more about FeLV, below are some links to articles that talk about FeLV and FIV.


Written by Robin Holland
Photos by Kris Kaiser

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Life is looking up for little Amelia


Red Lake Rosie's Rescue took in a cat from the White Earth Reservation- a little tabby and white female with a mangled leg. The owner said Amelia had been run over by car.  RLRR had her leg amputated and Feline Rescue was willing to take her into foster care.



It turned out that she wasn't a kitten as we assumed, but a tiny nearly-adult cat weighing just 3 1/2 pounds. She was shy and very shut-down when she arrived in foster care -- probably in pain and shock for all that had happened. 


She wasn't fond of being coaxed into moving around for physical therapy.



But, she quickly learned to love foster mom and foster dad.


Amelia even made friends with a little lion :-)


In addition to her mangled leg which was amputated and the road rash on her face which healed, Amelia's tail was broken and stiff in several places. One day her foster mom saw her out of the corner of her eye and she had a short tail! She immediately began to look around and there was Amelia's tail and a single drop of blood ;-o


No amputation required for her tail! It was healed on its own. The photo of the tail prompted what was probably the largest number of comments ever from the other Feline Rescue foster caregivers on their private Facebook page!!



Amelia is perfectly happy with her abbreviated tail.


And, she became fast friends with a another tabby in her foster home.


This beautiful girl will be ready to find her forever home very soon :-)


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Savannah's Tail


By Robin Holland

As a three month old kitten, Savannah came to Feline Rescue after being rescued from a hoarder. Savannah had a horrible upper respiratory infection. Her lungs were crackly; her eyes were watery; she sneezed dozens of times in a row all day long; and her temperature was dangerously high. She stayed overnight in our vet's urgent care ward for over a week, hooked up to an IV that administered fluids and antibiotics. When antibiotics are given intravenously instead of orally, it means the cat is in rough shape. 


If that wasn't enough troubles for this little kitten, she was also missing patches of fur. Tests would show why - ringworm. Ringworm is a highly contagious fungus (not a worm) that takes a ton of care to eradicate. It spreads quite easily as it lives a long time in the environment. It's one of the few maladies that can transfer from a cat to a human. Savannah had to be given an oral medication, a topical medication, AND get bathed twice a week in a solution that smells strongly and pungently of eggs. And because the condition is contagious and lingers in the environment, her living quarters had to be disinfected multiple times a week (all bedding and toys had to be laundered; walls and flooring had to be doused with bleach). 
And finally, the icing on the cake of woes - someone had wrapped a rubber band tightly around the end of her tail, causing the binder to cut into her skin, deadening the tissue. Her caregiver came home one day to find the last two inches of her tail had fallen off.
Despite having all these traumas heaped upon her, Savannah has remained a sweet girl. She's a mellow kitten who loves to have her nose kissed. There's not a bad bone in her body. She's easy going. She's happy. And now that she's with Feline Rescue, she's safe and healthy.
Update to Savannah's story: Savannah had her first adoption interview over the weekend and nailed it within the first five minutes of meeting her forever people. She was charming and engaging, playing with her toys and also cuddling up to the people. Savannah has been adopted! 

Photos by Kris Kaiser

Upcoming FREE Cat Claw Clipping Clinics


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

World Spay Day


Our dedicated Outreach volunteers actively participate in spay and neuter advocacy in the community and cat retention program efforts including connecting cat owners with resources and providing access to litter, food, and other necessary cat supplies to enable cats to remain with their families. We offer low-cost alternatives to those who might not otherwise have the funds to alter cats. In addition, we work with the community and with other local rescue groups to prevent increases to the feral cat population. Last year, our Outreach volunteers assisted with the spay/neutering of 1045 cats, with 424 surgeries in the third quarter alone.

Feline Rescue’s Outreach Program will surpass subsidizing 10,000 spay/neuter surgeries this year.

Freya and her litter of nine kittens from late fall of 2013.

Here's a story that illustrates the community need and how Feline Rescue’s Outreach Program helps facilitate spay and neuter surgeries.

Working together to save cats

By Kari Cedergren

SITUATION
In May 2016, my realtor and friend, Rebecca from Cartwright Realty contacted me about a property her clients wanted to buy. But there was an issue. Rebecca’s clients would not close on the property unless the community of accumulated cats were removed. The selling realtor was supposed to “take care” of the animals, but had not. With only weeks left until closing, Rebecca took matters into her own hands. She estimated there were 50 cats in this colony that needed homes … and fast. As an animal lover, volunteer, and sustaining patron of the Tri-County Humane Society and Minnesota Horse Welfare Coalition, I wanted to help my friend, Rebecca and save some feline lives.

SAINTLY CITIZEN
A saintly soul, Susan, the property’s owner, loved her outdoor cats. She built shelters for them in old sheds and filled them with mattresses, blankets, and straw. She housed and fed her furry friends and they were fruitful and multiplied. Susan never considered what might happen when she was no longer able to care for herself. She was moved into a nursing home, leaving her community of cats to fend for themselves.

A SOLUTION
The situation was out of control. Rebecca caught most of the cats and placed them with various humane agencies. Thankfully there are local organizations to help concerned citizens do what is best for unwanted animals. Tri-County Humane Society (TCHS) led by Vicki Davis, Executive Director does incredible work in the Saint Cloud community. Their building is small but they help the same number of animals as institutions twice their size. Through a few phone calls and some coordination, TCHS helped with the majority of Susan’s cats. The kittens and a few more of the friendlier cats were adopted out as house cats and a large number were placed through TCHS’ Barn Cat program. The Barn Cat program places cats that are unfit to live indoors for various reasons. These cats are fixed.  They go on to live fruitful lives but do not multiply.

THE COSTS
There are costs to fix animals. I wanted to find a way to help cover some of TCHS’ costs for fixing Susan’s cats. Feline Rescue in Saint Paul is a nonprofit that operates three Programs: Shelter (Adoption), Foster (Adoption), and Outreach. The focus of the Outreach Program is to help concerned citizens cover some of the costs associated with Trapping, Neutering, and Returning (TNR) outdoor cats back into the community and to coordinate resources for members of the community needing veterinary care, food, or other resources for their cats. The Outreach Program of Feline Rescue is supported by donations, grants, and volunteer hours. Grant money the Outreach Program received from Chuck & Don’s Pet Food & Supplies earlier this year was used to help cover a portion of the cost of fixing Susan’s cats.

CALL TO ACTION
25 years ago these animals would have been destroyed. Thanks to the dedication of the Tri-County Humane Society and the willingness of the Outreach Program at Feline Rescue to share their grant money from Chuck & Don’s Pet Food & Supplies, Susan’s cats are now enjoying life in their new locations. These 50 cats represent a much bigger problem in the State of Minnesota, however. There are many, many more cat colonies that are being fed by concerned citizens like Susan, and the task of Trapping, Neutering, and Returning them - or better yet, finding them indoor homes - is a large one.

Through awareness, concerned citizens now have more humane options for handling outdoor cats.  We need you to continue this work.

Donate to the Trap Neuter Return (TNR) program for community cats through Feline Rescue’s Outreach Program by visiting FelineRescue.org/Donate-Now. Please designate your donation to ‘Outreach Program’.
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