Happy Birthday, Bacardi

Bacardi turns THREE years old today! Well, for a shelter cat, it’s not so much a “birthday.” It’s more of a “on this day two years ago, the vet health-checked me and estimated me to be one year old.” But just thinking that on this day two years ago, my beloved Bacardi was in the shelter—in fact, he would stay in the shelter for two more months before I finally realized he was meant to live with me and Smirnoff—makes me appreciate him so much more.

Shelter cats really are the best. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Bacardi!

What I Owe to a Cat Named Patti

Patti was one of those cats that came to the shelter, stayed a couple months, and then left, without my hardly knowing it. I knew which cat she was, but it never crossed my mind to really interact with her.

Then, a couple months after that, she was returned for house-soiling. House-soiling is one of the worst reasons for a return (in my opinion) because if a cat can’t use its litter box, it can’t live in a house—it’s as simple as that. The adopters had tried different types of litter, different boxes, etc., but something was making her not want to urinate in the proper location and they eventually gave up.

She was a pretty cat—about a year old, tortoise shell coat, and she was shy, but friendly. Upon her return, I took notice and was sympathetic. But again, it didn’t go much further than that.

The first time Patti was in cat playgroup during her second stint in the shelter, she hated it. She sat under the bench in the adoption center and hissed any time a cat came near her. She was a nice cat on her own, but all she did all day was sleep, or sit. Mostly sleep. But I went to visit her now and then, giving her pets and attention. I liked her, definitely. But she didn’t stand out much more than any of the other cats.

Then something happened, which made me take notice.

A Cat Named Murdock

It was the summer of 2011, and I was single, worked part-time, and was spending as much time at the shelter as I could. I was quickly becoming the “cat lady” among my friends, so it wasn’t so much of a surprise when I received a text message from Sonja telling me she had found a stray cat outside her apartment and didn’t know what to do with it.

I was coming back from a work event all dressed up, and called her back.

“Let me get home so I can put on some pants, and I’ll be right over with a carrier.” Continue reading “What I Owe to a Cat Named Patti”

It’s Time for Playgroup!

I really like Mondays. I know that sounds weird, but it’s because on Mondays, our shelter is closed to the public and that’s when we get to have cat playgroup. No, you aren’t reading wrong, and I’m not talking about dogs. Our cats get a playgroup of their very own.

We close all the doors to the adoption center, put up signs to make sure no dogs come through, put a litter box out, and grab the extra pair of hawk gloves (as a precautionary measure—but they’re hardly ever needed). Then it’s time to bring out the cats.

It’s really important to go slowly. Bring out two cats, let them settle in the room. Then bring out another. Cats are environment-sensitive animals. Some get nervous being taken out of their cage and into a room they’ve never been in before. Some, of course, hate other cats. If we know that ahead of time (either from owner testimony or our observations in their cages) we might not bring them out. But usually we’ll try every cat at least once. Because sometimes they do change their mind, and sometimes a cat that you’d bet money hates other cats actually likes them (or vice versa). Continue reading “It’s Time for Playgroup!”