Tag Archives: Florida

Memories of Shelter Cats


It has been over two months since the local SPCA told all of us volunteers to stay home. They are still taking care of and adopting pets but they are doing it with just their paid staff. That means the cats and dogs are still finding homes but they have fewer people around to pay attention to them while they are there.

While I was volunteering, I took photos of some of the cats almost every time I was there and I thought this would be a good time to share some of the ones from this year. The last time I was there was March 19th, over two months ago, so I’m sure all of these kitties have found homes by now. At least I hope so. I also have forgotten all of their names except Grampa Hulu who was unusual because he was a male tortie.


Grandpa Hulu


Hopefully they will be letting us volunteers come back pretty soon.

More Cats in Litter Boxes


A couple of months ago I wrote about the many cats I saw who tended to spend their time lying in litter boxes at the SPCA shelter where I volunteer (see here). I suggested, and people agreed, that this is a behavior caused by stress. Since then I have accumulated several more photos of cats in litter boxes. Many, if not all, of the cats shown here have been adopted so enjoy the photos but don’t worry about the kitties.

Being in a shelter is no fun for anybody but usually, the end justifies the means. I’ve noticed the turnover is relatively quick and a cat that spends three months in our shelter is pretty rare. Now that the shelter is by appointment only that might change but my hope is people won’t forget about these pets in need even though they have other things to worry about right now. What do you think?

Shelter Pets Still Need Homes


As many of you know, I volunteer for the SPCA here in Largo, Florida. I work as a cat counselor every Thursday from 4-7. Usually there are three of us counselors but a week ago two of my fellow volunteers did not show up. When I went in this Thursday I was expecting the shelter to be closed to the public but I was pleasantly surprised that it was open and pets were being adopted, although they have adopted an appointment only policy that started Friday.

I was again alone this Thursday, and I hope the two ladies I work with are well, but it does make my work seem even more important now. During the three hours I was there I saw three cats go home with their new families. It is a good feeling.

My wife and I have been throwing around the idea of adopting a female cat. Unfortunately, we are only allowed one pet where we live and are already over our limit so it probably won’t happen but I still think about it while I am there. This last month there have been a string of female black cats that have been extremely friendly and affectionate. Three of these cats have been in isolation because they supposedly do not get along with other cats. We considered adopting one of them, Jezebel, which I wrote about here. When my wife came in to check her out she proved herself to be intolerant of others.

While I was there Thursday, I kept an eye out for the most friendly female cat at the shelter. This, of course, is impossible to determine on one visit because cats might act differently depending on how tired they are or for other reasons. However, I do think a six year old cat named Kiki would get my vote. Coincidentally, she is another female black cat and I noticed how friendly she was the previous week too.

I think the friendliest male cat at the shelter would be a one year old named Kitty, who is a very special cat with a not so special name. He is in isolation because he is on a special diet but I think that is temporary. When I opened his cage he was all over me. He would push his head into my chin and then put his paws on my shoulder and snuggle with me. As an outgoing and rather well built male, I think he would cause jealousy among our other two wannabe alpha males.

Please excuse the poor quality of this photo of Kitty

On the way out after my shift I noticed a beautiful cat that was just outside the door. He meowed at me and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was one of our cats that escaped. I took a photo of him and went back inside to ask someone.

It turns out his name is Chunks, or something like that, and he is a stray that they take care of. It seems strange that a stray cat would be a permanent resident outside a shelter but if he is feral and unadoptable, that is probably the best place to live. When I came back out I bent down and reached out my hand, hoping he would come to me, but no such luck. I think he his trusting but to a point.

How are things where you live? Do you know if shelters are still open?

Photo Friday: Frankie Escapes Again


Frankie ran out the door last week when I opened it for the UPS guy. At first he stayed close and dared me to catch him. He even stuck his tongue out at me as if he thought he couldn’t be caught. He was right.

Cat Frankie with his tongue out

I put my phone away and casually walked towared Frankie but he darted off and dissapeared. I decided to wait for him outside so I let Chris out and the two of us waited together.

Cat Chris rolling on driveway.

Since it was hot outside we only lasted about fifteen minutes. I then brought Chris in and walked around looking for Frankie with no luck. I gave up after thirty minutes had gone by. Ten minutes after that Frankie was outside the door panting and wanting to come in.

Floki Visits the Groomer


I finally caught Floki on Friday and brought him to the groomer. You may recall my last effort ended in failure. This time I caught him by surprise, picked him up and almost lost him as he twisted and scratched trying to get loose. My wife helped me get him into the carrier and off I went with him to the groomer.

I bring him to a place called Heaven Grooming where he is handled very well by the groomer.

Normally Floki is well behaved at the groomer, which is very different than at home. It is impossible for my wife and I to trim his nails but a groomer has no problem. I think it is because he is nervous around strangers so he behaves. Unfortunately, the groomer is not as much of a stranger as she used to be so he did struggle a little this time but she handled him well. Hopefully, that trend won’t continue.

Kitten Season


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.

Good Home Needed


My sister-in-law, Felice, saw my post about the cat I saw at Petsmart. My wife saw it too and two days later we were heading to Petsmart to adopt her. When we got there the cat was gone, which was just as well because we are not in a position to adopt another cat since we are already over our limit and because we are planning to move sometime this year.

Felice thought we were looking for a kitten and told us this little fellow was available.

Siamese cat up for adoption

Another Siamese cat was tempting but we said no and the cat went to another family.

Fast forward a couple of days and we hear that he was returned but the details were sketchy at first. I still don’t know all the details but I heard that they let their kids give him a bubble bath and I think he was mistreated in other ways too. They gave him back because he kept hissing at them. Well, duh!

This cat, named Dublin, needs a home. He is located in Pasco County, Florida, which is northwest of Tampa. I posted an appeal on Facebook and Twitter and got a lot of response but none from somebody close enough.

I received more details today in an email from Felice:

Dublin is a year old and a little purr bucket.  He has been fixed, tested and had all his vaccines.
A woman from Canada had been feeding him in her trailer park where she is a snowbird.  She came in to get him fixed but was going to leave him in the park when she left for 6 months.
We told her that would not be right because he had come to depend on her and so we took him in.
We are looking for a loving, forever home and to be a strictly indoor cat.  Anyone interested would have to be able to provide their animal hospital’s phone number because we will be checking to make sure they take care of pets they have and we might even be delivering him to their home.
The last home he was at was horrible so we are not interested in a repeat of this.  Many thanks.

 

I know it is a long shot posting this here but if anyone is seriously interested in Dublin, please let me know.

 

Surviving Hurricane Irma With Cats – Part Two


If you missed part one of this story you can see it here.

I didn’t want to leave the house we rented as a shelter. It was too much stress to pack up the cats again and I thought we would be fine where we were but Rose felt the storm’s path made it unsafe and I wanted her to feel comfortable about where we were, so we quickly got our stuff together and put the cats in the carriers. This time we put Chris in the small carrier and somehow managed to get three cats in the big carrier. It wasn’t the most comfortable for the boys but they were okay.

My electric car did not have enough charge to get there so I had to stop at a charging station on the way. Fortunately, that was easier than finding gas.

When we got to Felice and Jeff’s house they had a bedroom set up for us with two litter boxes. We put the cats inside and that is where they stayed. Everbody hid under the bed at first, even Chris, who was way more stressed than I expected him to be.

I’m sure the room was full of smells from the resident cats and that was probably why Frankie spent the first two hours hissing and whacking everyone, even Rose and me. The cats that gave up their room were not happy either.

Surprisingly, it was little, shy Floki that come out from under the bed first.

Eventually, Chris and Frankie came out too.

Watching the weather became old very quick but we would turn it on periodically to see if anything new developed. I tried to hang out with the cats occasionally to help keep them calm but I also didn’t want to be rude and ignore the people in the house.

I got to see Puck use the litter box for the second time in as many days and thought that there was a silver lining in all this.

litter boxes

At one point we heard the storm made landfall at Marco Island, near Naples. That was much farther south than expected and good news for us because a hurricane that moves over land loses its energy. Of course, it was not good for the people in the Naples area.

The worst of the storm was supposed to occur between midnight and 4:00 a.m. Since all the windows were covered there seemed no point to stay up to watch it so we went to bed a little after 10:00. By that time we never saw anything worse than some rain and a heavy breeze.

I guess Rose and I were pretty tired because we slept through the worst of it and woke up around 5:00. We didn’t want to wake anybody so it was more than an hour before I could look outside. When I did I saw little evidence that a hurricane passed us by. Jeff had an app on his phone that said wind speeds reached 105 miles per hour where we were at around midnight. I was amazed it didn’t wake us up. I was also amazed that we never lost power.

The county that we live in, Pinellas, closed its borders. They would not let anyone in until they declared the roads safe to drive on. That meant we had to stay a while before we could leave for home. I spent the time watching the weather and taking pictures of the resident cats. The picture below is the grown-up kitten we wanted to adopt before Floki but Felice and Jeff claimed him first (see here). The cat outside is one of three strays that took shelter in the garage.

At 10:00 a.m I heard the roads were open so we packed our stuff up and put the cats their carriers. This time Felice gave us a carrier so they were all able to ride home in relative comfort.

A tree had fallen over the road out so I had to turn around and go around the block. The damage to buildings in the area seemed minimal, except for an unlucky few. There were a fair number of trees down and lots of branches on the roads but overall it was much better than expected. Almost half the traffic lights were out and everyone here thinks they need to treat them as a two-way stop. I think the most surprising thing I saw was a billboard that looked like Godzilla attacked it.

Forgive the quality, this is a partial frame from a dash cam video.

I went straight home with the cats and Rose went to check on her mother’s house. Her home survived but she had no power. When I entered our neighborhood, I saw two homes at the end of our street with part of their roofs ripped off. There was also a palm tree lying half way across the street. That worried me a little but the only damage I saw to our house was that three large planters blew over and two of them cracked, one of which was already cracked. We even had power and our alarm clock wasn’t blinking so we never lost power.

I brought the cats inside and they were so happy to be back. None of them lingered in the carrier for even a second. It wasn’t long before they were all on the bed ready for a nap. It was like we had never left.

 

Hunker Down or Evacuate?


We are watching Hurricane Irma closely. Currently, the projected path is unclear. Some forecast models have the storm turning north and heading up the east coast of Florida. Other models have it turning north and heading up the west coast of Florida. Others have it going straight up the state. We live in Clearwater, on the west coast, and are considering our options about what we are going to do.

National Weather Service Map

The problem is we have four cats and few options on where to go. Rose considered going to stay at her sister’s vacation condo. Her condo is on the eighth floor, well above any chance of flooding. It is also high enough to be less affected by blowing debris. On the other hand, the wind blows harder at those heights and right now Irma is a category 5 storm, so even if it is downgraded, those winds will be very strong. In addition, the condo sits on a peninsula in Tampa Bay, so it is essentially surrounded by water. Worse, the parking garage is below the building so our cars won’t stand a chance.

Her other thought was to stay at her other sister’s house but where she lives isn’t much better than where we live. There’s no sense in packing up four cats to bring them somewhere just slightly better.

The other problem is, we have one large and one small cat carrier. Enough for three cats. One short. I went to Petco today and they were sold out of carriers. According to the woman there, everyone was sold out. It is like gas and water around her. There’s none to be found.

I decided to look online. I found a cheap carrier on Amazon for just over $11. I then paid almost $12 to have it shipped here by Friday. I don’t care how good it is, I just need it to work twice.

Our best option now is to stay with friends who live about six or eight miles east of us. That is a last resort. We don’t want to leave and we will ride it out if we feel safe to do so. We should know more by Friday.