A couple of months ago, my mother-in-law’s beloved cat, Finnegan, died at a fairly young age. I wrote about his adoption three years ago here. Recently, a stray cat started coming to her door. I think the word has gotten out amongst the homeless cat community that her house is the place to go.
This new cat was very friendly and must have had a home at one time because he had worn-out nail covers, but he was not neutered.
I don’t know how long he was coming around. I assume long enough to know he was separated from his original family. So my mother-in-law decided to bring him in and make him an inside cat.
We were there visiting Sunday morning and the cat was happy getting attention from all of us. She had an appointment to get him fixed this week and the only thing left is to name him. Someone suggested Zorro and she liked that name but I don’t know if she officially decided yet.
I forgot Frankie’s Gotcha Day which was last week on the 9th. Since his chart labeled him as three years old, I also consider it his eleventh birthday. Frankie was actually an early Valentine’s Day gift for my wife in 2014. she wanted a cat instead of jewelry that year. Rose’s previous cat, Puck, became my cat as did Frankie, eventually, which is why we got Floki but I’m getting ahead of myself.
You can read about Frankie’s adoption here. I also posted several photos of Frankie in two posts three years later. See the first one here. I won’t repeat those here but I do want to show some newer photos of Frankie as well as one photo from day one that I forgot about.
Here is Frankie on his first day with a blanket in his mouth.
I thought that habit developed later.
Here he is in 2017 on one of his walks that he loves.
Here he is with Floki enjoying the catio we built at a previous home in 2018, days before Puck died.
Here he is after one of his many escapes. He uses vehicles to make it difficult for me to catch him. If I get close, he simply backs up where I can’t reach him.
I always consider Chris to be the touchy-feely cat but Frankie has his moments. Here he is with Puck.
We usually see Frankie stretched out.
But sometimes he likes to curl up into a ball.
We are very happy we adopted Frankie and I think he is happy too.
My wife is in charge of several apartment communities in Florida, Virginia, and West Virginia. One of the closer ones to our house is about fifty miles away. The manager there told Rose about a friendly stray cat that started hanging around the office. They decided to help the cat by allowing it to come into the office. Rose ordered several supplies for him on Chewy, including a litter box, litter, food, and toys. She visited the property last Wednesday and sent me these photos.
They named the cat “Gato” which is essentially the same as naming him “Cat.” I don’t think Gato cares what he is called, he is just happy to have people to love on him.
He comes and goes during the day, taking advantage of the many people who open the door for him. At night, he stays inside and someone comes to take care of him on the weekend.
One of the maintenance guys from the property came to our house on Saturday to help install two new windows in our house and I give him one of our carriers so they could take him in to be neutered.
From what I hear, he is super friendly so he is probably not feral but was someone’s pet at one time. I have seen this several times before and wonder how they become separated from their humans. I know at apartment complexes people sometimes move out and leave their cats behind. Sometimes they leave them inside an apartment with no food and water. I would like to think humanity is better than that and most strays end up on the streets for innocent reasons.
Today marks twelve years since we adopted Chris. He has been with me longer than any other pet I have ever had and has become such an integral part of this family that I can’t imagine what life would be like without him.
I met Chris while volunteering at a shelter in Myrtle Beach called Save-R-Cats. They were in the local PetSmart on a rotating basis and I went in one morning before work to clean the cages. I let all of the cats out of the top row of cages while I cleaned them. Suddenly, a kitten, about four or five months old, jumped from the floor onto my back and clawed his way up to my shoulders. He then proceeded to nibble on my ear and then on my nose. That kitten, of course, was Chris.
We didn’t adopt him right away. At some point, he was adopted and then returned the next day because of his bad behavior, although I don’t remember when that occurred.
Sometime later my wife came from the shelter and met Chris. That meeting went pretty well.
Still, we didn’t adopt him because we were not ready. We had a cruise coming up and my wife had a business trip to go on after the cruise. While she was on that trip, I went to the shelter and saw that Chris was not only still there, but he also climbed up onto my shoulders again. A shelter worker took a picture of me and Chris with my phone, which had a bad camera even for 2009 standards.
I sent the picture to my wife with the text, “Can we keep him?” I think she agreed but I wanted to wait for her to get home from her trip so we can make the decision together. That way, if Chris turned out to be a bad cat, it wouldn’t be totally my fault.
When Rose returned, we went to the shelter one more time to see Chris before making a decision. Once there, we couldn’t go home without him.
When Chris got to our house he immediately took over to the surprise of our other four cats.
The next few years were pretty difficult as we dealt with problems such as Chris pooping where he shouldn’t, getting on the counters, opening doors he should not be able to open, bothering us while we were sleeping, trying to escape, digging the carpet and I’m sure many other things I can’t think of right now. But during this time we also knew that he was worth it because, besides being a constant source of entertainment, he was probably the most loving being this Earth has ever seen.
While Chris can still be quite annoying, he doesn’t get into as much trouble as he used to. What hasn’t changed is the love. Chris is a shining example of pure love in physical form.
Today Chris turns twelve years old. In cat years, he is a senior, but he is also like a child and sometimes like a baby who needs to be held. Of course, this is just his estimated birthday. When we adopted him he was about six months old so I just subtracted six months from his Gotcha Day and came up with May 14, 2009.
He has been a part of our family for so long that I just don’t know what we would do without him. Sure, he can be incredibly annoying at times but he is also incredibly sweet and affectionate.
He loved people from the first day I saw him and had no trouble seeking attention from strangers, like my wife the first time she visited him at the shelter.
The above photo was taken almost six weeks before we brought Chris home. Can you imagine a cat as special as Chris being overlooked for so long? I was told he was adopted once and brought back the next day because he was too annoying, but I don’t remember if it was before this photo was taken or after.
Of course, he gave us a lot of trouble too, but we persevered. How could we not? He was so funny to watch. The first thing he did was take over as head cat the day he arrived.
He also constantly threw himself on top of the other cats, much to their displeasure.
He still does that today.
Another thing he used to do was get on people shoulders, especially mine.
Other cats would see Chris on my shoulders and they would get on my shoulders too but Chris was a natural at shoulder riding. The other cats always seemed nervous and unstable.
Chris didn’t get his “Bat Cat” moniker for nothing. He gave us plenty of trouble too. It was a constant battle to get him to stop doing things we didn’t want him to do, like get on the counters. All of our cats get on the counters today simply because Chris won the counter wars and we surrendered.
He also started pooping in the tub, at first, and then moved on to pooping outside the boxes. He didn’t always do it but it was enough to where I worried that my wife was going to make me choose her or the cat. I think that went on for four years or more. The solution came on accident when we moved to a smaller home and consolidated our litter boxes in one room, instead of having them spread around the house. It seems if one box was not perfect, he wanted another box right there. He certainly wasn’t going to make the effort to go to another room.
Chris was also good at getting into closets, and still is but he doesn’t care about it as much these days.
This last one was considered for a documentary about cats but didn’t make the final cut, probably because the resolution was not high enough.
Chris was also a champion of getting on top of things that our other cats would not attempt.
Many of those behaviors are in the past, partly because of Chris’s age but I think mostly because of his weight. He is what we affectionately call a “carb addict.” He loves his kibble. I try to not give him too much but he wears me down. He annoys the crap out of me when I am working so I give him a little kibble in order to get some work done. I usually do something else first so he won’t associate annoying me with getting what he wants but he is a smart cat and I doubt I am fooling him.
All in all, we have been very fortunate to have a cat that has really touched our hearts the way Chris has. I sometimes think about those people who returned Chris. They just have no idea what they gave up just so they could get a good night’s sleep.
The SPCA announced recently that they were allowing the volunteers to come back. I took that opportunity to trade my 4-7 shift on Thursdays for a 1-4 shift on Fridays. This means that I will be volunteering at the same time I am on call at the Red Cross but I have gone on two calls in six months so I thoght it would be no problem.
When I walked into the cat room I noticed that all of the pods were empty, at least all that I could see.
I thought maybe they moved the cats and didn’t tell me but as I continued I saw a pod with four cats in it. I was pleasantly surprised to find seven of the eight cat pods empty. The next room has the smaller cages where cats are kept in isolation, either because they are recovering from surgery, they have a special diet, or the don’t play well with others.
There were four cats in that room, including a very friendly black cat named Sassy who had a skin condition from a flea allergy. I took her photo but it is too blurry to post.
There were also six kittens in the room in three separate cages, probably separated by litter. There were two black kittens that I failed to get pictures of. There was also a single gold and white kitten who was curious but shy.
Then there was three kittens together in one cage, a ginger boy and two females including one tabby and one tortie.
The ginger kitten was the most outgoing of the three and would come down from the shelf for attention.
The four cats inside the pod were pretty shy except for a white and gold cat named Max.
When Max wasn’t busy catching some rays he was busy looking for attention
While I was there, a man and his two boys came in shortly before a woman. All of them decided they wanted to adopt the ginger kitten but the woman recognized that the man was first and let him take the kitten. Perhaps if he didn’t have two young boys who wanted the kitten, he might have let her have him. Unfortunately, the woman left without a cat.
Another woman, who had been in earlier, decided to adopt an eight year old male Siamese cat named Sage. He was hiding under their homemade cat tree so I had to pull him out and put him in a carrier. I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it then but today he is living the good life.
While I was there I spoke with someone about doing animal transports. It is an on call position that I know almost nothing about yet but she did ask if I would be comfortable handling wildlife and mentioned birds of prey and a few others that I don’t remember. My guess is these are animals that are injured and need medical attention but I don’t know. I have an appointment to meet with her at 7:00 am this morning where I will learn more about the job. I think it will be interesting.
A hero does not have to wear a mask and cape or be a firefighter or soldier. According to Google, a hero is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” I was thinking about that on Thursday when I was volunteering at the SPCA.
I had recently changed jobs and moved into a cat counselor position because the 4-7 shift on Thursdays opened up. Previously, I worked on Mondays or Tuesdays when the shelter was closed but now I have the opportunity to interact with people who are looking to adopt. While I was there, a couple adopted a cat that was about ten years old. I told one of the other volunteers that I thought people who adopt older cats are heroes in my book because they could just as easily adopt a kitten, or young cat, that would be with them for many more years but instead they choose to give a cat (or dog) a loving home to live out their remaining life. That is an attitude that I admire greatly and said that I would love to do that but it is hard because we are already over our one pet limit.
That got us talking about an eleven year old cat named Jezebel that was at the shelter but in a cage by herself instead of in a pod with other cats.
I opened the cage and started petting her and she loved it. She was starving for attention and just seemed so sweet. I looked at her chart which said that she had been there since October 23rd. That was almost four months stuck in a small cage by herself. I asked if anyone knew why she was isolated from other cats but nobody knew for sure. Her chart said she was aggressive with another cat which was why she was surrendered.
I thought maybe it was just one cat that she was aggressive toward and maybe that particular cat was the problem and not her. “Did anyone try to put her in a pod with other cats before isolating her?” I asked.
Nobody knew so I went to the adoption office and asked them but they did not have specific records and it sounded like they just assumed she was an aggressive cat and stuck her in a box by herself. I feel bad for her and part of me wants to go back and adopt her but another part of me worries that we might be bringing trouble into our home.
What do you think? Any advice for me?
Update: My wife and I went to see Jezebel Saturday afternoon. She let me hold her for a long time while I listened to an employee tell me that she was the aggressor. I decided to put her to the test and walked over to a cage with a cat that wasn’t sleeping. The two cats sniffed each other for a few seconds and then Jesebel let loose with a few rapid-fire whaps at the unsuspecting kitty. That pretty much ended her chance of coming home with us which is really too bad because she is such a friendly cat otherwise.
Since today is National Cat Day, a day to raise awareness of homeless pets, I thought I would share some recent pictures I took while volunteering at a local SPCA in Largo, Florida. Most of these cats are very friendly and still available for adoption. If you don’t live near me, I’m sure your local shelter has plenty of cats that would love to share your home with you.
As you can see, many cats need a home and the pictures shown here are perhaps five to ten percent of the shelter’s total.
Lately, my wife and I have considered adopting a female cat to help keep our boys in line but we are currently two cats over our legal limit so I don’t know what will happen. If we do decide to adopt, one possibility is the cat shown below. Forgive the quality but I couldn’t get a decent photo of her face because of low light and too much movement.
This girl came to me as soon as I walked in. She got on my lap and purred up a storm. I was a bit concerned because she was practically skin and bones. When one of the shelter employees saw this she said, “Wow, Mama Girl is coming out of her shell.” This surprised me for two reasons. First, out of several cats in the pod, this one seemed the most outgoing and affectionate. Second, I thought she was still a kitten. How could she be a mother? I was told she was about a year old and had already had a litter of kittens.
I expressed my concern about her weight and the employee said she would make a note of it and watch her. If she didn’t improve they might have to remove her from the pod and isolate her. I hoped that wouldn’t happen but sometimes a bully cat can keep another cat from eating. She brought her a container of wet food and asked me to watch and make sure nobody took it from her, which I did. I then noticed a sore on her front leg which I also mentioned.
I will keep on eye on her for as long as she is there. Hopefully she will gain a little weight. Perhaps if I bring her home Chris could show her how to eat for weight gain.
After her beloved cat, Pumpkin, died, my mother-in-law decided to open her home to another cat in need. This is Finnegan.
He is another ginger boy like Pumpkin but he is also not like Pumpkin. Just like all cats, he has his own personality.
I expected him to be shy around strangers and thought I would have to go look for him under the bed but I didn’t. Instead he came out to greet us. He is a very sociable cat but he is not a lap cat, at least not now. Perhaps when he is more comfortable he will be.
We visited twice since she adopted him. The second time I found him napping on the bed so he certainly feels right at home.
He is also not shy about blocking the doorway.
We brought him one of Floki’s mice to play with. I bought a bag of ten mice and still had a few left so we thought he might want one. He was mildly interested for about five seconds and then not so much.
Finnegan, or Finn for short, got his name because he looks like an Irish redhead. He is about three years old and was once a stray that was brought in after someone alerted the organization that he appeared injured or “beat up.” I don’t know all the details but he is far too friendly to be feral.
Another interesting thing is that he has no white on him anywhere. The tip of his tail is very light but not quite white. I don’t recall seeing a ginger cat with no white. I wonder how common that is? What do you think about Finn or about ginger cats with no white?
I saw these kittens at my local PetSmart on Thursday. It’s amazing how many need homes. The funny thing is, I was most attracted to the only cat that wasn’t a kitten. She is a Russian Blue with no age listed. Too bad I am already over my cat limit.
These kittens are at the PetSmart in Largo, Florida if anyone is interested.