Tag Archives: Shelter

Cat at Petsmart Desperate for Attention


I bought cat litter this morning at Petsmart and couldn’t help but check out the cats in their adoption center. I had no intention of adopting a cat today but I feel bad that they are stuck in small cages so I thought they might like a little attention. I could not have imagined how desperate one of the cats there was for that attention.

She is an 11-month-old female and she really needs a home. The one-year-old male next to her was also needing attention but he was not as obvious about it.

This cat is at the North Clearwater, Florida location. If anyone is in the area and is looking for a pet, I think she would be a great choice. If you know someone in the Tampa Bay area that might be interested, please share.

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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.

 

Surviving Hurricane Irma With Cats – Part One


We knew Hurricane Irma was heading our way for a week or more prior to its arrival. What we didn’t know was exactly where it would go or how strong it would be, so we didn’t worry too much about it. I suggested to my wife, Rose, that we should pick up another cat carrier since we only had one large carrier and one small one for four cats. She gave me a reason why she didn’t want to do that but I no longer remember what that reason was.

The following Wednesday, more than four days before Irma’s arrival, its projected path was still heading to Florida so I decided to go to PetCo on my lunch break and pick up a carrier. They were completely out. I was told that all stores in the area were out. It seemed that people were panicking early. Water and gas were almost impossible to find too. I was lucky to have an electric car. I decided to order a carrier from Amazon and chose the guaranteed Friday delivery option.

By Thursday morning the forecast looked like the storm was going to go up the east coast of Florida and since we live on the west coast Rose decided she wanted to ride it out at home. Then we learned we were in a mandatory evacuation zone and we needed to be out by 6:00 a.m. Friday morning. I thought that was a ridiculous demand and looked into it. It turned out the evacuations were to start at 6:00 a.m. It’s funny how misinformation spreads so quickly.

Evacuating was difficult for several reasons. Traveling with four cats, even with the right number of carriers, is not easy. Then there is the fact that Irma was predicted to affect the entire state and nobody knew what part of the state would get hit the worst. So there was always the possibility that the place you chose to go would get hit worse than your home.

Leaving the state was another option but finding plane tickets was almost impossible. We heard some people paid as much as $3,000 for a one-way ticket out of the state. Driving was also risky because most gas stations were out of gas, all the hotels were booked and the highways were jammed. Not a good place to be stuck during a hurricane.

We had options, but not great ones. We considered staying at Rose’s sister’s vacation condo to the south in St, Petersburg but they were ordered to evacuate too. Her other sister, who lives north of us, said we could come there but they have cats and their mother was going there with her cat so Rose worried that there would be little room for us and there would be conflicts with all the cats. I was also under the impression they were in a worse flood zone than they really were.

Our best option was to stay with friends in the northwest part of Tampa. Their house was closest, about eight miles away, and they had plenty of room. Unfortunately, we learned when we got up Friday Morning that they decided to evacuate too. They said the neighbors told them the area was prone to flooding.

Rose called me at work that morning and said she found a place in Historic St. Petersburg on Airbnb. She said it was in an Evacuation Zone C. I Wasn’t sure if that was a good idea since Zone C was only a little better than the Zone A we were leaving, but since there weren’t many options to choose from, I thought that would be better than our home. We have five evacuation zones here and non-evacuation areas that fall outside the zones.

Friday evening I checked the tracking on my cat carrier and it said it arrived in Clearwater at 4:00 a.m. and was out for delivery at 6:00 a.m. It then said it was delayed at noon and delayed again at 4:00 P.M. It said it would arrive by 8:00 p.m. which is the same thing it said at 8:30 and at 10:00 when we went to bed with no cat carrier. So for some reason, this item was put on a truck in the same town I live in and they couldn’t get it to me in 14 hours.

Saturday morning we packed up everything but the kitchen sink and loaded it into our two cars. We then had to pack up the cats, which is not an easy thing to do. The plan was to put Frankie and Floki in the big carrier but Floki was so difficult to catch and contain that we just put him in the closest carrier, which was a small one, and then put Puck in with Frankie. I then put Frankie’s harness on Chris. We thought Chris would be the best choice to go without a carrier because he seems to stress out less than the other cats.

I put everybody in the back seat of my car except Chris. He sat in the front seat next to me.

Bad Cat Chris in car

 

 

He seemed fine for a while but driving outside of a cat carrier was something he’s never done before and I think it made him nervous. He started crying and he wanted to get on my lap. He made driving difficult and I had to pull over and put him back in his seat. He stayed there for a short time and then he started bothering me again.

By that time we were about halfway through our trip and I pulled over again and there happen to be a Petco in the parking lot. I went inside to see if they had a cat carrier. I knew they wouldn’t but I thought it would be worth a try. The guy I talked to was very nice. He told me they didn’t have any but he suggested putting him in a box enclosing the top. He happened to have a box that he thought would be perfect for me. I thanked him and put the box in the front seat and put Chris inside and closed the top. That lasted until I walked around to my side the car. By then he’d already busted through the top. I knew that wasn’t going to work so I took him out and folded the box up, wedged it between his seat and mine, and started driving again.

It wasn’t long before he got down onto the blankets I had on the floor. I was hoping he would lay there but instead, he went head-first under the dashboard. He was in a position that looked dangerous so I had to stop the car again. Finally, he settled into laying on my lap. It was a position that was not great for driving but it was safer than what he was doing so I let him stay there since I only had a few more miles to drive.

When we got there I put Chris in the house first. It was nice because there was an enclosed porch so I could bring our stuff inside without worrying about the cats getting out.

I then brought Frankie, Puck, and Floki inside and opened their carriers. I soon noticed that Chris was nowhere in sight. I assumed he was exploring because that is what he does, but I soon became worried when I couldn’t find him.

cats

It was a small place with not many hiding places so I couldn’t understand where he went to. Rose joined the search and she couldn’t find him either. I went outside to look, thinking maybe there was a way out we were not aware of or maybe he slipped past me, even though that seemed impossible. I was scared at this point, thinking the storm hasn’t even hit and already Chris was missing.

When I went back into the house I was relieved to find out that Rose found Chris. He was hiding in a corner amongst a pile of stuff.

I think the owner wasn’t planning on renting it and had stuff piled around the house.

With that crisis averted, I brought in the rest of our stuff. We decided not to unpack anything we didn’t need to in case we had to leave in a hurry.

The place was actually not bad. It was very old, perhaps 80 to 100 years old, and small because it was a regular house divided into a duplex, but it had potential and the neighborhood wasn’t bad. It was relatively close to downtown St. Petersburg and the waterfront. I’m sure there would be plenty to do nearby on a normal day but this was not a normal day.

There was no sofa or television, which was weird for a rental. There were just a couple of chairs and a table. There was also a bedroom with no doors and a double bed, as well as a day bed on the patio.

We passed the time as best we could. We tried to play cards but that wasn’t easy with Chris around.

cat on cards

I did go out at one point to get ice, which nobody had, and look for a place to charge my car, which did not exist in the place the map showed. While driving I saw a cat in the back of a car. Her mouth was opening like she was crying in distress. I guess this person didn’t have a carrier too.

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One good thing happened while we were there. We witnessed Puck use the litter box for the first time in months. 20170910_053117 Puck peeing

Shortly after this momentous event, I found poop on the daybed.

We spent a lot of time checking weather updates on our phones as well as social media where several people from out of state were hounding us to leave because our life was in peril. I think they thought leaving was easy.

All day Saturday the forecasted track kept moving west with every update. Before going to bed the track was going north through Tampa. Not good.

Sunday morning Irma reached the Florida Keys.  I saw the forecasted track moved West again and had it over water from the keys all the way to Madeira Beach, a barrier island next to St. Petersburg, where it was predicted to make landfall. Traveling over water meant the storm would probably not weaken before hitting us.

That was when Rose decided it was time to abandon our shelter and head north to her sister Felice’s house.

To be continued . . .

Read part two here.

And the Winners are… The Shelter Cats


A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Ellen of the blog 15 and Meowing. She said we won the prize in their Halloween giveaway, The prizes were supposed to be a catnip mat, a catnip ghost, a magnet and a button skull but when I asked that she send the prize to Chris’s old shelter, Sav-R-Cats, in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, Ellen decided to make more catnip toys, 20 in all, so the cats at the shelter could enjoy them. Isn’t she wonderful?

I got the following pictures from Shirley, the shelter manager at Sav-R-Cats, and it looks like the prizes were a hit.

cats with toys at sav-r-cats cat shelter cats with toys at sav-r-cats cat shelter cats with toys at sav-r-cats cat shelter

I’m grateful to Ellen and her crew and happy that these homeless cats have something to brighten their days a little. I know that they are well taken care of there, but I still hope all will find a loving home soon.

A Gift Arrives


We adopted Chris in late 2009 from a shelter named Sav-R-Cats in Surfside, South Carolina (near Myrtle Beach). I met Chris while I was volunteering for Sav-R-Cats and worked with Shirley and Linda who are not only still there, but still keep up with Chris and his shenanigans. They decided to send Chris, Frankie and Puck a gift which arrived the other day.

Cats inspecting packageFrankie and Puck were interested right away, Chris was off doing his own thing and was not aware something new was in the house. As soon as I opened it, the two of them were inspecting the contents.

Cats inspecting package

Soon Chris sensed something was up and was there in an instant to lend a paw in the inspection process.
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Even the box itself was thoroughly checked out.Cats inspecting package

Inside the box were some lovely, handmade blankets, two with a gold cat and one with a black cat. One each for Chris, Frankie and Puck.cat blankets

But there was something else in the box.20150212_Cats_0960

Cats inspecting package

The blankets were already a great gift but there were also toys in the box.

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Some of the toys were labeled “Loony Loops” and “Springs.” There was a toy called a “Hexbug,” which looked interesting but I decided to save that for later. The first one I took out was a spring which Chris immediately started chasing around the house.

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They loved the blankets too.

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There was also an envelope.EnvelopeInside was a nice card and note from Shirley, Linda and the cats at the shelter.

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Sadly, many of the cats on the note were Chris’s shelter mates in 2009 and are still there. There is Ace, Ralph, Jack, Jerry and Yoda, Cole, Carter, Sarah and Alinda. I took Pictures back then for Petfinder and remember some of those names, like Jerry and Yoda.

cats Yoda and Jerry

Yoda and Jerry at Sav-r-Cats, dated October 3, 2009.

These two cats are best friends and must be adopted together, which may have made it more difficult for them. They have lived a good part of their lives in a shelter (Jerry since 2006) and could possibly die there without ever knowing a good home. Of course, they are treated well at the shelter but I would love to see these two and the other “old timers” find a loving home to live out their remaining days.

Another cat that I remember on the card is Sarah. It seems the males are more likely to be long-timers at a shelter but not always.

Sarah, Sav-r-cats

Sarah, dated November 11, 2009

There is also Jack, who reminds me of our departed cat Tigger.

Jack, photo taken October 3, 2009.

Jack, photo taken October 3, 2009.

Not on the card is Hope, who I photographed in early 2010.

Hope, dated February 11, 2010.

Hope, dated February 11, 2010.

If anyone lives near Myrtle Beach, or know someone who does, and would like to help a cat or two that have been in a shelter too long, please contact Sav-R.Cats.com or check out their Petfinder page.

Update: It turns out that Hope was adopted so that is good news.

Fifth Gotcha Day


Five years ago today, we brought home a little ball of terror that would eventually steal our hearts while driving us crazy at the same time.

Here is a video of Chris exploring our home after we brought him home from the Sav-R-Cats shelter when we lived in Myrtle Beach. He did not hide under the bed like most cats, but instead, took over the house right away.

Bad Cat Chris first day home

First photo of Chris at home.

Chris can be a difficult cat at times but I am so glad that circumstances brought us together and  I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.

 

Adopt a Shelter Cat Month


our cat Frankie at Petsmart Adoption Center

Frankie at Petsmart Adoption Center

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. I assume it is because most kittens are born in the spring so shelters become overwhelmed with kitties that need homes. I would love to help by adopting another cat but Frankie put us over our limit so all I can do is remind people that there are so many cats out there that need a home right now.

If you or anyone you know could use a great companion, please check out your local shelter… and don’t forget that in addition to the kittens, there are many older cats that have been behind bars for too long.

Chris Comes Home


November 14, 2009, a day that will live in infamy. That was the day we decided to bring Chris home. We made that decision even after knowing that Chris was adopted by another couple two or three weeks earlier and returned the next day because he kept them up all night with his biting. This is like buying a car after finding out it was in a wreck.

We got to the shelter and visited with Chris one more time before making the final decision. Of course, it wasn’t much of a decision because we brought a cat carrier with us, fully expecting that it would come home with a cat in it. We had no trouble putting him in the carrier. We just opened the door and he walked right in. He also gave us no trouble on the way home. I think he was ready for an adventure.

When we got home the other cats were not happy. They hissed and growled at Chris but it did not seem to bother him much. Unlike Abbey and Flash, who hid under the bed the first day, Chris went exploring. He investigated every nook and cranny of his new home. He also stayed clear of the other cats for a while, but that did not last long. Soon he was jumping on them and biting their necks. I’m not sure if he was trying to establish himself as the alpha cat or he just wanted someone to play with.

Next time I will talk about the first night. Stay tuned…

Chris getting comfortable with Rose on his first day home.

Updated 02/18/2015: This is a video of Chris exploring after his adoption.

Decisions, decisions


Volunteering at the Sav-R-Cats shelter was nice because I finally felt like I could be useful and help get cats adopted. My primary job was to photograph the cats and put them on petfinder.com. That was difficult at first because it had been awhile since anyone had done it and nobody knew the username, password and other important information. Eventually I got that working and I also revamped their website, sav-r-cats.com.

Rose came to visit the shelter a couple times and took interest in a cat named Kinsey. He was a very friendly cat that would jump onto the shoulders of visitors to the shelter. It was as if he was saying “adopt me” to anyone who would listen. We would have taken him in but we were not ready for another cat.

Kinsey

Eventually I started filling in at the Myrtle Beach Petsmart in the morning when they needed someone to clean the cages. They had cats in there on a rotating basis with two other shelters in the area. The cages at Petsmart have small openings between each “cubicle” on the same row. These opening can be shut so the cats are separated from one another or they can be opened to allow multiple cats to visit with each other and share the space. The later is how it was set up one morning when I let all the cats from one row out while I was cleaning.

Not much time had passed when I suddenly felt sharp claws digging into my back. It was a gold kitten who had jumped straight up from the floor to get on my shoulders. He was purring and licking my ear. He then started biting my ear and rubbing his face on my cheek. He then moved around to my nose and started biting my nose. I later found out his name was Chris and told my wife about him when I got home. I thought she would be interested because since getting Tigger, we had discovered that gold cats seemed to be friendlier than average.

Not long after that, around the beginning of October, Rose came to the shelter to visit Chris. He did not disappoint and showered her with attention like he did to me that first meeting. Alas, we still were not ready for another cat, partially because we had a cruise coming up.

Chris meets Rose

Not long after we returned from the cruise, Rose had to go to Alabama to attend a meeting. While she was there, I was at the shelter for another reason and was again warmly greeted by Chris, who seemed at the time like he was a relatively good cat. If only I knew then what I know now… Who am I kidding? I would still adopt him but I not so sure Rose would. Anyway, while I was there, someone used my phone to photograph Chris and I, which I sent to Rose with the message “Can we keep him?”

Can we keep him?

I believe the response was in the affirmative but I wanted to wait for her to see him once again and share in the decision, just in case it was a bad one.

Rose got home from her trip on Friday, November 13 and the next day we went to the shelter to make the final decision. Next time I’ll talk about the big day. I hope you will join me again.