Dear Fellow Felines:
We have an annual tradition here at For the Love of Cats: every year on Black Friday all felines in residence collaborate on a letter to Santa. Wait for it at the bottom of this column!
As the shelter’s surrogate Santa Claws, official supervisor, and top cat I am overseeing my staff of 73 elves this season as they decorate kitty condos, lead the cats and kittens in singing cat-mas carols, and distribute gifts to the most deserving and purr-fect felines to cross our threshold. Each shelter cat and kitten will be getting the same gift: a fur-ever home with a loving person, the best thing that can happen to a shelter cat!
We’ve had several heartwarming rescues of late. A nice lady was feeding six kittens who were living behind a Mexican restaurant. When she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and lyme disease, she asked for our help. Shelter founders Jim and Jan Rich and longtime feral trapper Bob Choate spent one very long night rounding them up. “They were running from shrub to shrub in a parking lot behind a shopping center,” said Jan. “I can’t imagine the terror of that.” Naturally, the six-pack was a bit nervous when they got here, but after a week of TLC from my staff (remember, cats have staff, dogs have owners) they are turning into real bundles of love.
A six-year-old orange and white male named “Sherbert” came to us after the nice man who adopted him as a kitten had a heart transplant. Facing a lifetime of taking immune suppressing drugs, the man’s health would have been a risk if he’d kept Sherbert. Can you imagine having to give up your best friend? But good news: Sherbet just found a new fur-ever home! I love happy endings.
We have another six-year-old cat here who is just drop dead gorgeous. Her name is “Persimmon”. She lost her home because the other cats in the household made her very nervous. “She was not doing well,” said Jan. “She is very talkative and very social. She’s a perfect fit for someone looking for a BFF.”
In another situation, and one I face far more often than I’d like to, we took in two abandoned domestic cats whose family moved away and left them behind. Talk about cruel and heartless! House cats are not wired to survive in the wild on their own. In another life saving rescue, we took in another abandoned pet and her two kittens, who were riddled with fleas and worms. The “bot” worms eat their way from the inside of the cat to the outside and are lethal unless removed. My staff did a first class job of saving these innocent babes and their heartbroken mom.
If right about now you’re thinking I must have a pretty full house over here, you’re right! For those of you who don’t know, I myself am a former abandoned cat who was rescued from a life of dumpster diving! But because I was an incorrigible biter, I was deemed un-adoptable and given the job of shelter supervisor. Titles don’t matter to me, however, and I’ve bitten every member of my staff, at least once. It is this reputation that has garnered me such respect from humans and felines alike.
Even though I’m still a feisty girl, Santa Claws was kind enough to grant my Christmas wish of two years ago and I finally got to live with Jim and Jan instead of out in the shelter with all those noisy kittens. I get so much more sleep! But I have my paws full here trying to manage the other three cats who live in the “big house.” Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I saunter out to the shelter and do a perimeter check to make sure everyone is doing their job and minding their manners.
Lest you’ve forgotten, Christmas is coming and you’ll be needing stocking stuffers. I can really help you in that department. Just stop by our booth at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market and check out our goodies, and visit with whatever kittens who’ve signed up for “market day duty.” You can’t take one of the kittens home with you, but we have lots of other goodies: car magnets, calendars, note cards, a sterling silver cat necklace, and even Hello Kitty sunglasses. We also are running a raffle for a hand-painted ceramic serving tray covered with adorable kittens.
My last holiday note is to remind you that at least 59-percent of cats are overweight according to the American Animal Hospital Association. Said condition can lead to diabetes, kidney disease, skin and respiratory disorders, and even osteoarthritis. And though I enjoy eating all of those extra holiday treats, I must be mindful of the fact that they should not exceed 20-percent of my total daily calorie requirement. For the average cat weighing between 8- and 10-pounds, total calories should range from 160 to 250. Since I’m a slight thing at just around eight pounds, this means I should not eat more than 15 “Temptations Treats for Cats,” which are two calories apiece. Make sure you ask your staff to check calorie counts before dropping a handful of treats onto your placement (like you’re really going to follow this advice).
As promised, here is the shelter-kitties letter to Santa Claws:
Dear Santa, Thank you for sending those nice people over the other week with their tuna-baited traps and kind voices. They saved my life and gave me a warm kitty condo. All I want for Christmas is someone to love and protect me, and who will let me love them back. I can tell you up front that I will shed on your black jacket and heave a few hairballs, but I promise to always purr and be your most loyal and truest friend fur-ever.
Love, All the kitties residing at For the Love of Cats in December 2015
Love, nips, and purrs, Naomi the Cat