There are all sorts of pet owners in the world. Thankfully, a large portion of them are responsible, caring, and loving toward their furry family members. Others, well, those are the ones of whom I’m not a fan.
I’ll start by sharing about the extensive work I have done for several colonies around Burlington. In one particular neighbourhood in central Burlington, I have, with the help of my boyfriend and a couple others, successfully taken in excess of 40 cats and kittens off the street, vetted them, and found them loving homes to live their lives forever. Despite the sheer magnitude of this job, there remains the odd feral cat in the neighbourhood who remains “at large”. These feral cats are extremely intelligent and trap savvy. It also goes without saying that there will always be “one more” who suddenly shows up out of the blue; most often due to a pet owner deciding their pet NEEDS to go outside. These people feel it is “cruel” to keep their pet cats indoors. This simply isn’t fact. If you believe this, I am not a fan of your beliefs, your logic, or your excuses.
I am not a fan of you when you allow your cat to roam free among the traffic, in the rain, snow, sleet, and of course, I am not a fan of the nights you were too tired to call your cat indoors and left him or her outside alone at the mercy of the lurking coyotes and other various predators.
I am not a fan of yours when you come to my private residence and complain to me about how your cat was attacked by the stray in the neighbourhood that still evades capture. I am not a fan of yours when you tell me your vet bill amounted to a couple thousand dollars because of YOUR choice to put your cat outdoors. A conscious choice that was made by you and against my best advice. A choice you made already knowing this feral cat has already attempted to attack your pet in the past. I am not a fan of yours when you blame your 6-year-old for not having the properly learned skills about why we do not let our pets out of our homes unsupervised. I am not a fan of you disobeying the city bylaw which states that no pet should be permitted to roam at large. I was not a fan of yours when I heard one of your cats was killed when it was hit by a car around the corner. I was not a fan of yours when I found out how quickly you replaced this family member with three more kittens and never learned your lesson about keeping your cats indoors.
Most of all, I am not a fan of you invading my privacy asking me what “we” should do about this stray cat who keeps attacking the cat you feel deserves to be let outside. I am not a fan of yours when you seem to feel you have the right to threaten the life of this feral cat who is merely surviving on the streets when your own pets have a safe home. I am also not a fan of yours when you feel it is MY JOB to fix your problem. The problem, is you. It is not the stray cat, it is not your own cats, the problem indeed is your lack of responsibility and compassion for these animals. To have someone tell you repeatedly to keep your cats indoors for their own safety and as per the city bylaw, only for you to feel you are above all, well, let me say it again; I am not your fan.
I will never be a fan of arrogance or ignorance. I will never be a fan of those who deflect the blame, refuse to take ownership of their own mistakes and wrong doings, and most importantly, I will never be a fan of anyone who deliberately puts an animal in harm’s way.
Do not come to my home expecting me to show you pity for your actions. Your cats are the ones I have pity for. I pity them because their owner simply doesn’t care enough to keep them safe indoors
In the early morning on Easter Sunday my sweet boy, Chance, peacefully passed away. He was my bubbly, overly enthusiastic, attention seeking, and perfectly beautiful best friend.
This sweet soul came into my care in September 2015 straight from “death row”. He was merely hours; if not minutes, away from certain death. Poor Chance had been left alone in a carrier; abandoned in an apartment when his owner moved out. He had spent countless days in the care of Animal Control, receiving ongoing medical care; only to have his fate decided when his condition did not improve.
From the moment I picked him up, he laid on the charm. To look at him, you wouldn’t have known his urethra was completely blocked and that he required emergency veterinary care. I drove him straight to Dr. Sharon at Mountainside Animal Clinic and he was provided with the expert and loving care she is known to give each of her patients. He charmed the staff at the clinic during his stay there and happily came home with me once he was no longer in danger. His personality was simply wonderful despite the hardships he had endured in the weeks leading up to where we now stood. Chance took an instant liking to my young son; just three years old at the time. He would sleep close to him, protecting him throughout the night, and giving my son the comfort of having someone close by. This provided us with many cute photos through the baby monitor and occasionally the scare that my son may have Chancey pinned underneath him. Those nights we would quietly call to Chance over the video monitor and we would quickly have the reassurance of his glowing eyes as they turned upward to let us know he was more than okay. He was in kitty heaven. He was such a loving pet.
A time came when Chancey was adopted into a home where a lovely older woman bonded and loved him dearly. Sadly, he was returned about a month after when the husband decided he was not interested in helping to care for Chancey and despite his wife’s sobbing, he came back home into our care. We loved having Chance back with us and continued to enjoy his company. He was pampered and spoiled rotten like any pet should be. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a special place in my heart for him, but I always knew there would be someone who would be his proper match and he would have a true home to live out his senior years.
When a second adopter came along, we were thrilled to hear his adopter was a vet tech, and had experience with cats that were prone to urinary blockages. It wasn’t a week before I got a message saying that Chance had had an accident on the living room floor, a behaviour that had never occurred while in our care or his previous adopter. Just a couple days later, he was back at our veterinarian; his urethra had gone into spasm and was clamped shut. We had to consider the option of altering his gender should initial medical attempts fail.
Throughout this, Chancey remained the perfect patient. Everyone loved his gentle and happy demeanour. He was always a favourite at the clinic. Needless to say, we were all relieved when Dr. Sharon was able to pull him through without the gender surgery and after a lengthy stay, he came back “home” and back into his role of protecting my son from the scary things that only four year olds dream of.
It was pretty safe to say I had determined at that point that Chance should become our pet. I believed Chance was trying to tell us that he WAS home and was happy in his room with his buddy.
About a year ago, I had another adoption request for Chance. After weighing all options, I felt maybe this was finally the home for Chance. I brought him into what would have been his new home, even stayed to comfort him for two hours, yet he went into respiratory distress and made it altogether clear that he wanted to go back “home”. With the potential adopter in tears, I apologized and brought Chancey back home once again. This time, I said to myself, is the last time. Chance is mine. He is ours. He wants to stay in my home, in HIS room, the only room where he has felt safe and loved.
Over the year Chance began to lose a bit of weight, which we attributed to aging. His appetite remained great, he had a lot of spunk, and he was ALWAYS happy. There was never a time when he stopped purring or kneading away. On the nights when I had the pleasure of sleeping with him, he kept me awake. All. Night. Long. He was borderline obnoxious simply wanting to be part of you. He was simply the most wonderful pet I have ever had the pleasure of loving.
Losing Chance has been a shock. An incredible, heart breaking, and gut wrenching shock. The loss I feel is tremendous. It’s difficult to convince myself that I did what I could, that it wasn’t my fault, and that I could have done more. His death rips at my soul like he was my very own son, my child. As much as people may think these animals don’t have feelings or that they don’t hurt like we do… I beg to differ. I feel and KNOW differently. I have seen the hurt and the pain in their eyes. I have seen how they suffer. I have seen the look of fear on their innocent faces, fear from the vivid memories from which they can’t escape. I know in my mind how happy Chance was. He loved HIS room. For the residents who lived “outside” HIS room, they knew HIS room was off limits. As a senior, he had fight in him like that of a Tomcat defending his territory. At times I have been shocked at the viciousness he would show another who dared to enter HIS room. Even my dog knew HIS room was off limits.
Today, my dog could sense my deep sorrow. She whined as she looked up at me, she knew I was in pain despite my ability to keep myself in check. It wasn’t until I went into HIS room once again that I began to sob. I hadn’t been able to enter HIS room for days after he passed. I just couldn’t do it. I have a family to look after, and of course, if I deny the truth, I don’t feel the pain. But I knew it was time for me to go back in HIS room so I could face the truth and feel the emptiness. Chance deserves the tears and my broken heart. He deserves all these words I write and more. I gave him his name because he got a second chance at life. Little did I know, I was that second, third, and fourth chance at life. He chose to come back to me each and every time he had a chance.
When I brought him in almost 4 years ago, I never would have thought how much of an impact he would have on my life and that of my son. I am beyond devastated over losing him and hope I gave him all he needed and more. I am heart broken that he didn’t die in my arms and instead chose to pass away peacefully in the night. On Good Friday I remarked to my boyfriend that Chancey appeared as though he was trying to tell me something, he had come down to the main floor that day to say “hello” to everyone. This was out of character for Chance, especially the sweet greeting he gave to my dog; someone he was not particularly fond of… He lay down at my feet and I took his picture. His eyes were always particularly striking, one of his most handsome attributes. His eyes told stories I was never meant to hear, but they also showed me a happiness he likely felt he’d never feel.
I love you Chance. I wish I could hold you one last time.
It is with great pride (and a few happy tears) that I share this beautiful photo of Lucky about to embark on her new journey with adoptive parents whom love her to the moon and back.
We already miss Lucky so much at the clinic; her chatting away and her silly antics, but we are reassured that she has the most wonderful home complete with patient and caring “parents” who will continue to love her just as we all did at Mountainside Animal Clinic.
Lucky was abandoned at the clinic around 7:30 pm on October 2, 2018. It was only by sheer, unadulterated “luck” that I happened to be taking Bacci in after hours for some oxygen therapy. When I drove up at 8:30 pm and saw what the black carrier held inside, my panic immediately went into overdrive because I was now looking at one more cat in desperate need of medical attention.
As many of you may have seen, my boyfriend, Brett, came to *our* rescue and with his reassuring demeanour and calm hands, he was able to gently rip at the tape with his pocketknife; being so delicate as to not cut her ears that were tightly taped and folded in on top of her head.
As he peeled the tape off her face, Lucky looked up at Brett with a look of sheer gratitude, then looked around at her surroundings. She never hissed, growled, or showed any form of aggression despite the horror of what she had clearly gone through and heaven knows what else.
She was an instant celebrity, a spokescat for all the abused animals in the world. She also became one of the most loved felines for the love she had of the human race. The very race that tortured her and abandoned her in a black canvas carrier. It was apparent by the numerous nail sheaths and the abundance of fur lining the inside of the carrier, that this prison of hers was used multiple times to torture her by keeping her confined for hours on end. Drywall dust and plaster remnants are seen on both the inside and outside of the carrier, the duct tape had been wrapped around Lucky’s head as if the individual was left handed... one might imagine the person who committed this cruelty would be in the construction trade. The duct tape remains in our possession; in a ziplock bag to preserve anything else about Lucky’s abuser. Fingerprints, human hair, DNA... it’s waiting. Had this happened to a child, a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a husband, a wife, your best friend... this would have been treated so differently.
Instead, we had all of you standing tall for Lucky. You were all her voice; she felt your love, your compassion, your generosity, and she knew she mattered so much more than she once believed. We believe it is because of all this kindness, compassion, and love, that Lucky finally got to experience JOY. Lucky became a sweet and playful kitten; she played like everything was a new experience. She loved to chat and would sit with me while I worked at the computer in the back.
Lucky’s bladder infection has cleared up, her anemia corrected with a better diet, her hind end is no longer painful, she’s vaccinated, microchipped, and she’s gained a full pound in the month we had the privilege of sharing our lives with her.
Lucky is already dearly missed by us all. It feels extra quiet at the clinic but it’s all part of what we do; we couldn’t be happier for her and her new hoomans and we are grateful to have them as part of our ELM family.
With so much gratitude, thank you. Never has one beautiful rescue had such a huge impact on so many. Despite Lucky’s past, we are grateful for her and just how much she taught us. She taught us that it’s important to keep going, not to let your past prevent you from learning new things or meeting new people, and most importantly, she taught us the importance of NEVER letting anyone break your spirit.
Thank you, Lucky, for being the sunshine in our lives.
To Lucky’s previous owner, thank you for leaving Lucky where you did. Despite your cruelty, Lucky is now happy in a loving home. A home where she is a family member and not a piece of property that can be duct taped and abandoned in the dark. Please get the help you need and deserve before this escalates and someone else gets hurt. No one deserves to be treated the way you treated Lucky. Thankfully we have a happy ending.
We know Lucky’s story went viral; reaching hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, and it is my hope that her experience made a positive difference in the lives of many.
We love you Lucky and we can’t wait to hear just how much you are loving your new life!
#adoptdontshop #petsareforlife #noexcuseforabuse #TeamLucky #rescuecat #everylifematters #Lucky
On March 9, 2018, Missy took a chance on an open door and slipped out of her family home. She was determined to audition for the Cats Broadway Tour after hearing her best fur-friend, an outdoor cat, yowling “Memory” for a number of nights in a row just outside her human’s window.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make because she loved Kayla and Missy knew Kayla loved her too. But Missy’s desire to dance and sing on Broadway was just too strong to ignore.
Before Missy left her home, she went into Kayla’s room and rubbed her cheek on Kayla’s most favourite stuffy, her pillow, and rolled around on her bed so Kayla would hopefully know that Missy loved her very much. She had chosen to leave while Kayla was away because Missy hates goodbyes and she knew she would have cried and she didn’t want Kayla to see her so upset. Missy wanted Kayla to remember her as a happy kitty because she was going to do great things!
With a final look back at Kayla’s room, Missy disappeared into the vast world.
Missy admits that Oshawa was a busy place; there are a lot of cars, other animals (some aren’t so nice!), and lots and lots of humans! She had never seen so many! Missy tried to talk to many of them, ask them how to get to Toronto so she could audition for the Cat’s Musical Broadway tour, however most of them simply walked away. She never lost hope of her dream despite being cold, hungry, and alone outside. She slept under porches, bushes, and she even found a great place to sleep under a shed! She met some fur-friends and promised to write, but it was Kayla who she was missing and Missy was beginning to think she made the wrong decision.
After a couple weeks of searching for Toronto, she met a new fur-friend who told her about something called a “car” and it was on this big moving object that many fur-friends have found a quicker route to their destination!! Her fur-friend did let her know travelling by car was very dangerous, but Missy felt her dream of dancing on Broadway was worth this risk.
She did exactly as her fur-friend had told her; she climbed up into the engine compartment and waited. It was warm and Missy was grateful to have found a nice warm place to nap. It was sometime later that Missy woke up to the loud sound of an engine being turned on. Despite her terror, Missy remained still as the car began to move.
After what seemed like 2 lifetimes, the noise and the car came to a stop. She darted out and she could instantly smell coffee. Where there is coffee, there is cream! Missy stared at the red sign and could see cars drive up to a window where they would simply put their arm out a window to receive a cup of their favourite drink! Missy thought she would sit at this window in the hopes that she too would be able to get a cup filled with delicious cream. Her tummy grumbled at the thought of the rich taste on her tongue and in her tummy.
As she sat by the window late at night, a big red truck came toward this window, Missy quickly became scared and ran away. The big red truck got a cup of goodness, moved forward, then stopped. The man in the truck got out and proceeded to walk toward her. She was intrigued, yet terrified. Then she heard the all too familiar sound of a tin being popped open. HE HAD FOOD! The man put the food down and Missy eagerly ate it up. She wasn’t aware just how hungry she was!!! By the time she finished eating, the man was gone and Missy went and found somewhere to spend the night.
The following night, she went back to the red sign and waited at the window and called out to the person who was giving out cups. They didn’t hear her. Then she heard a familiar sound; it was the big red truck! She sat under the red sign and waited. Again, the man came out of his truck and gave her some yummy food. She was SO hungry! So hungry, she didn’t notice the man drive away yet again. She looked around frantically for him, but he was gone. She decided she liked this man and hoped to see him again the following night, only this time, she would ask him to drive her to the theatre so she could audition for the Cats Musical Broadway tour.
The next night the man wasn’t there. She could smell the delicious food though! Maybe she missed him? She desperately hoped she could find his big red truck, but the hunger pains were too much for her so she used her nose to guide her to the food she was now craving.
The food was inside a wired box. Weird. Missy could see through it, but she couldn’t understand why she had to go in a box to get to her food. Maybe this was some kind of audition for a cat food commercial?! She washed her face and proceeded to go inside the wire box for her meal. She was determined to show the man in the big red truck that she was the best cat for the job!
Whoa! Missy was startled with the loud bang and she realized that she no longer had a way out. She was trapped. She began to cry, until…
The man in the big red truck pulled up slowly and placed a blanket over the wire box. He told her she would be okay. His voice was soothing and calm. She was placed inside the big red truck and the truck began to move.
The next thing Missy knew, he could hear a lady’s voice! She got excited, maybe it was her human and she was going back home!
She was given a room of her own and the nice lady immediately began to talk to her and pet her. She wasn’t too sure who this lady was, but Missy knew she liked her. The man was there too. Her room was much nicer than the outside. It was small, but she had a bathroom and a kitchenette complete with fresh food and water! It had been a while since she actually sat down for a meal without needing to look over her shoulder!
As she ate, Missy noticed the lady wave something over her shoulders and there was a beep. She isn’t sure what made the sound or why but figured it must have been a good thing because it didn’t hurt.
Missy was feeling quite tired now. Little did she know, it had been two months she had been gone from her human’s home. She didn’t realize just how much she missed having someone pet her and love her. Purrhaps Musical Broadway just wasn’t for her after all.
As she drifted off to sleep, she couldn’t help but smile. She felt safe once again and knew she would be able to sleep with both eyes closed tonight.
In the morning, Missy was greeted by the man and the lady. They both looked at her and she could feel the concern they felt just by looking into their eyes. It was then that the lady asked Missy how she got to Burlington all the way from Oshawa. Missy stared at the lady and did a long blink. The lady reached over and pet Missy on her head. Missy began to purr. The lady then told Missy she knew. She knew what Missy wanted. Missy looked up at her and began to sit up. The lady told Missy that she was so beautiful she must have been on her way to audition for the Cat’s Broadway Musical! How did she know that?! Missy gave an enthusiastic “miaou” as the lady picked her up and gave her the biggest hug she’s felt in over two months.
The lady then told Missy her big surprise! She would take her to her audition and help her travel the world so she could live out her dream of being on tour with Broadway! Missy was so excited she began to purr again. Then she remembered Kayla. She missed Kayla terribly. How would she be able to tell Kayla just how much she loved her and missed her? She decided to talk to the lady about Kayla. The lady listened very carefully and they both decided on a solution they felt would help ease both of their hearts. You see, Missy has a much younger brother named Bandit. Bandit was all alone and needed a family to call his own. The lady reached out to her loving family and asked them if they would look after her little brother, Bandit. To everyone’s excitement, Missy’s family said they would love to take care of Bandit! Missy couldn’t be happier!!! She could live out her dream on Broadway plus she would now have the reassurance that her little brother is well cared for.
Missy still thinks of Kayla every day, but she knows that with the help from the lady, she will be able to write to Kayla about her adventures on Broadway.
Missy loves you Kayla! She promises to send you an update again very soon! Please give her little brother, Bandit, a hug and a kiss for her.
I have been asked in the past if I “breed” cats in my rescue. Please don’t be upset, it’s a genuine question as many people are unaware of what a true animal rescue is. While many kittens have indeed been born in my rescue, they were born out of the carelessness of humans. Humans who chose to abandon or leave their unsuspecting companion at a barn, commercial property, field, or random location miles away from the place they once called home.
Below, I will do my best to explain the true nature of what an animal rescue is; in human form…
In rescue, we open our doors to the single moms, the pregnant teenagers, the bachelors, and the elderly. We open our hearts to all shapes, sizes, and colours, we do not discriminate; we see the need and the longing in their eyes. We provide a roof over their heads, a place to sleep, and healthy meals. We welcome the diseased, the sick, the lame, the poor, and the weakened in spirit. We spend countless nights waking every couple of hours (or even less) for those late-night newborn feedings, sometimes bottle feeding more than four or five little ones. We offer programs to help rehabilitate and counselors to those who suffer the most. We cry over their pain and heartache; then rejoice with every new milestone they accomplish. We provide medical care, physiotherapy, and birth control. We cradle the orphans and provide palliative care to those whose days are few. We will also provide a room to those who are unwanted by their parents because they are fed up with behaviour that is unacceptable or out of control. Finally, we provide the patience and unending compassion that will help these beautiful souls feel they are worthy of the love they truly deserve.
Whether you have two legs or four, rescue is the act of saving someone. Animals are feeling beings. They purr when they are happy, cower when they are scared, they can sense danger, human emotions, and they can feel pain. The biggest difference between us and them is the fact that we have a voice. They do not. As humans, it is up to us to provide these beautiful creatures with a voice that can be heard. Without rescuers, people like me and you, these animals will never have the chance to be heard.
Bottom line, the true root of the problem is the act of NOT fixing our pets. Let’s face it, they will want to go outside. If there is even one unfixed animal, the potential for another 5 or 6 unfixed pets is there. It is a vicious cycle that is almost impossible to control. Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment being a best friend, parent, nurse, caregiver, servant, companion, and of course; a rescuer – theirs. Please help make a difference and listen to their voice. It doesn’t take much, simply look in their eyes, hold them close, and never let go.
It can be somewhat disheartening when someone doesn’t quite understand the true nature of the term “rescue” cat or kitten.
A “rescue” cat or kitten is a cat or kitten that was once abandoned, abused, and/or homeless at some point in their life. Whether they were born or thrown outside is irrelevant; their life experience(s) are what define each one. With each experience they have, they are molded into who they are. It is what makes them unique and gives them their personality. One trend I am noticing with our many rescue families are the genetics, or in-born personality traits adopted from other felines in their colony. For example, if a mother is timid, her kittens will most often be timid as well. If there are aggression issues, chances are most in the colony will have the same difficulties adapting to change and trusting humans.
Knowing this is an essential part of rescue. For an adoption to be successful, each rescue must be assessed and understood. They must be adopted into homes where they will continue to thrive and grow. Failure to do so may result in a rescue cat or kitten showing behavioural issues such as anxiety, aggression, marking, fear, and even regression. Each of these outcomes will typically end up in frustration and possibly the return of the adopted cat or kitten. This would be detrimental to a rescue.
We pride ourselves on how well we know our felines. This will indeed result in some applicants being denied a certain rescue. This is not personal, it is as we have always stated. That we will always put our rescues first. We will not adopt out a rescue into a home where we feel they would not fare well for whatever the reason. Most of our followers commend us for this as we make it very clear that we are about the rescue and not about a profit. We have been accused of “throwing away our money” by others in rescue and to be perfectly honest, we are proud of ourselves when we hear that. We will not adopt out our rescue cats and kittens on a whim, to make a fast buck, or to make space for more. We take our time with our process and do what we feel is best for our rescues. This may result in a cat or kitten having a longer stay with us, a longer wait period until adoption, or it may be an amazing fit right away.
Bottom line is, we are humans trying to act on behalf of those without a voice. These beautiful creatures who grace our lives, yet somehow found themselves on the street. They were unloved and uncared for. They deserve a fighting chance and if we don’t stand up and fight for them, who will?
With our most recent trapping project I have realized one thing… we must solve the problem, not add to it. It’s as simple as that.
I went outside just now to tidy up a few things that were laying out. Sure enough, the dominant male Tom showed up. He sat and watched me as I went about my business. I happened to have a huge bag of cat food donations given to our rescue cats today from Global Pet Foods so I began to open up a bag. I started to chat with him about how I knew he wanted the blueberries that enriched this amazing food I was getting ready for him. I stood there for a few minutes as we exchanged some form of communication. This Tom has been here from the very beginning. I'm told he just "showed up one day" about 10+ years ago. How has he survived that long? The average lifespan for a feral/outdoor cat is only 3-6 years depending on your source. This Tom (we call Uri) is well over 10 years old. He's trap savvy and king of the neighbourhood...
By now I'm inside and sitting down at the screen door looking out, watching him eat the high quality food. He doesn't realize he's eating one of the most expensive foods out there. He's just happy to have a meal. He's never come this close to me before. I'd never even be able to come to the window in the past without him running away. Now he's literally sitting just a couple feet away from me with only a thin piece of glass separating us. I begin to notice all his features... the dark spot at the base of his nose that so many of the Colony members have. Clearly a dominant gene. His jowls are huge. He's muscular, however a remark was made about how he's lost weight. To me, he looks majestic, strong, and handsome. But I don't know him like everyone else. I've chatted with several of the neighbours around here and many of them speak of kittens and cats running amok from home to home getting food from just about everyone. The whole neighborhood cares for these cats. Deeply. Everyone has memories they can recall with a smile. Last year, alongside with The Pride Rescue, we managed to pull over 20 Colony cats off the street here. There are still more. It was a lot for me personally; quite the undertaking to be honest.
On Wednesday, we finally caught MommyCat. Mother to our Colony Quints. I was over the moon happy. I still am, however I'm sad at times too. MC is not happy. It is not what she knows. She will get better in time, I know this from experience but to see her makes me sad as I've changed the only world she knows.
Then here I am staring at Uri. If I trapped him, what would I do? Clearly neuter and vaccines are at the top of the list, but then what? I watch him eat and wonder if he is having trouble with the kibble. Does he have bad teeth? Is his mouth sore? His eyes look tired. His fur dirty. He's looking back at me and I realize something. He used to belong to someone. He used to be a sweet and cute little ball of fur. He was scooped up and brought home like so many kittens are, and he was loved. Then, for whatever reason, he was alone outside. Alone to fend for himself. He became hardened, scared, and paranoid.
If I trap him, will the kitten come back? Look at Mina... she was hardcore feral when I got her, but her kitten came out. She still has her moments from time to time, but honestly, I believe she is rehabilitated enough to be adopted! She's approximately 6 years old. She was just spayed in December 2016 after being trapped/caught. It took someone seeing that something in her eyes. They saw that kitten and they had hope.
I look at Uri and I feel so sad knowing once upon a time he too was a kitten. He had trust and love. I'm sad knowing he wasn't the first abandoned cat or kitten and he certainly won't be the last...
It's kitten season. Please don't adopt for cuteness or because you want your kids to experience "kittenhood". If you want to adopt a "rescue", please have an open mind to all different types of personalities and characteristics. All kittens are cute. They grow up and they develop problems. Some may have heart conditions, some may have kidney issues, and some may get diabetes or cancer at the age of four. A kitten is a lifetime commitment. It isn't disposable or something you can just leave behind when you move. Please think ahead when you see that ball of fur. They grow up. Just like our kids do. The feline species is a lot more complex than you may think. They love, they appreciate, they show compassion, and they can and do feel. They are not possessions. They are living beings and their lives matter ❤️
There’s no question that each rescue has its own personality and funny quirks. They may beg, open doors, play fetch, or they may simply love exploratory surgery… Yes, we saw this one just the other week. Thankfully, “Jaws” had all the right things happen despite choosing the wrong thing to eat.
It started when one of our adopted boys from Triple R vomited. This was highly unusual for him; and his lack of energy was supportive of something being amiss. He was assessed at our clinic and there were no unusual findings. There was no tenderness upon palpitation of his abdomen, he wasn't depressed, he was able to urinate, and he even expressed interest in eating. With Jaws having a history of eating strings and similar foreign objects, the hope was that “it” would pass with his next bowel movement; as he had done in the past. He was given the okay to return home under a watchful eye and to take him to emergency or to call should there be any changes.
Around 4 am the next morning, he was at the emergency veterinary clinic as he was now dragging his feet when he walked and his muscles twitching involuntarily. Preliminary x-rays did reveal what looked to be a foreign body in his stomach; which subsequently resulted in a quote of over $2000 for exploratory surgery. Sadly, these funds weren't available to his adoptive parents on such short notice due to having quite limited incomes.
So they came out to our vet clinic at 7:30 am and tearfully waited for our vet tech all while trying to reach me in the hopes I could offer some kind of help or support; even if it was simply some encouraging words. We messaged back and forth and Jaws was left in the care of our vet care team. I came in to lend a hand with reception should surgery be necessary.
It wasn’t long before the severity of Jaws’ condition was revealed. The simple procedure of prepping Jaws to obtain a blood sample resulted in seizure-like spasms that caused him to turn into his left side and cry out in pain. Normally a very kind, happy, and loving pet; Jaws displayed his discomfort by snapping at our vet tech. Thankfully his lack of coordination made his attempt at biting unsuccessful. Despite the majority of his “episode” seemingly over, his eyes continued to twitch and his legs a steady tremor. These symptoms are not common with having a foreign object ingested… the new concern was not what he ingested; but whether or not he would survive exploratory surgery.
His blood work came back relatively normal, comparable to dehydration which wasn’t surprising considering he hadn’t eaten in 24 hours now. Additional X-rays revealed no further changes. By sheer “coincidence” (some may say; others Divine intervention), our radiologist was on his way in. Notably one of the top rated Radiologists out of Guelph. The client who had booked the ultrasound for whom he was coming had to reschedule as a result of a sudden, time-sensitive conflict. Jaws was now the fortunate kitty getting a much needed ultrasound to help locate any and all obstructions.
We all watched as our radiologist did his exam and made his recommendations. The next series of steps happened so quickly and efficiently that it was nothing short of miraculous. Donned in full sterile gear, our veterinarian successfully extracted the foreign object which was jammed into Jaws’ small intestine. It was a ribbon that was tied in a knot; part of a cat toy that has since been thrown away along with many others. Apparently this knot had made its way through ¾ of his intestine and subsequently turned which resulted in it getting wedged enough to cause a blockage. This resulted in a back flow of urine and the inability to pass stool.
With the knotted ribbon now removed, our vet carefully inspected the remainder of his internal organs to ensure there were no more objects that would further impede Jaws’ recovery.
Waking up was just another hurdle; the next 24-48 hours were critical which required very close observation from our vet care team. Thankfully Jaws pulled through, to look at him today; you would never know the ordeal he had been through. Our beautiful boy from Triple R is a lucky one. There are so many pets out there that aren’t so lucky. It’s safe to say Jaws used up one of his lives that day. It’s certainly something I will never forget and have learned from it.
We all know cats love playing with and chewing on ribbons, string, elastics, tinsel, and other wonderful items… what we often don’t expect is for that one item to become lethal. Please inspect your pet’s toys on a regular basis; their lives could very well depend on it.
We often share a good chuckle with some of our potential adopters when they are adamant about adopting a cat or kitten simply based on sight. At ELM we have seen this happen many times; an adoptive family will come in with their hearts set on “a ginger” or “so-and-so” simply based on how they look. Most often, it is those who are dead set on who they will adopt, will be the ones who are “adopted” by an entirely different rescue altogether!
It is for this reason why we do not often “reserve” our rescues. Of course once we have determined that ELM Cat Rescue is a great match for our potential adopter, we will invite you in to meet our “residents”. Then the magic happens. The cat or kitten that was wanted so badly, completely snubs his nose at the family, yet another rescue begs for their attention. The family is persistent in trying engage their rescue of choice while the other rescue is following a family member around, meowing, purring, and reaching up their leg just begging to be held. The family member will then pick the little girl up, and their eyes will meet. It's love at first sight. Suddenly, that rescue they thought was the one for them, the one they just had to have, has momentarily lost their interest as this little girl purrs up a storm and gazes at each of her new family members one by one, with adoring eyes. The new parents look at the little boy they had wanted to adopt so badly and see he has actually lost all interest and has gone to sleep on his favourite chair. The new family looks at the the little girl that already knows she is going home that very day, and they sigh. They look into her eyes, so calm, so loving, and so full of hope. They put her down and walk over to the little boy and pick him up. He immediately resists and jumps out of their arms and runs off. The little girl patiently sits at the feet of her new “mama” and when her mama looks down at her, she gives the sweetest little meow. Her purr is loud enough now that even from her being seated on the floor, the whole family can hear her. Mama looks up from the little one and looks at the rest of her family, except they aren't looking at mama, they are all looking at the sweet ball of fur at mama’s feet. Everyone is smiling. The decision has been made and the new family brings home a little girl instead of the little boy they had their hearts set upon, and they are all over the moon happy.
On other occasions we may be asked to “reserve” a week old kitten. As much as we'd love to guarantee a family “first pick” or “choice of the litter”, we regret we are unable to do so for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons being that a rescue kitten’s health is unknown. Knowing nothing about the mother, if she's ever had any vaccinations, or if she is the carrier of uncertain diseases, we clearly cannot offer this. Sadly we have seen our fair share of unexpected losses in kittens for varying reasons, sometimes we aren't even able to have the peace of mind knowing why a little one suddenly passed away. We are also aware that each and every kitten has a different personality. Some may be more independent than others, some may be more timid. Some may not like dogs or may be afraid of young children. It is for this very reason that we do what we do. We wait. At 7 days old, we have an uncertain future for our little rescues, little rescues that will yet show us their personality. We take great pride in pairing our rescues up with the right family dynamic. This ensures our rescues will have a forever home and our adopters will have a more pleasant experience with a cat or kitten that will thrive and blossom in their home.
Because our rescues come with unknown histories and backgrounds we do tend to be a bit “picky” about our adoption process and will at times decline a potential adopter simply because we don't feel our rescue(s) would fit into their family dynamic. We are happy to refer them to another reputable rescue or offer suggestions on where to find the type of rescue they are searching for. This is not always appreciated by potential adopters and it's taken personally. We would like to encourage our friends to understand we will always put our rescues first. We will adopt out our rescues into families where they will thrive, we will not adopt out our rescues simply because they are wanted. ELM is a rescue, a shelter, a sanctuary of sorts. To adopt out one of our rescues simply because they are “wanted” could be a huge disservice to them and in fact cause them more trauma and grief had we not adopted the rescue to a family THEY need.
So yes, we will say no from time to time as we know our rescues extremely well by the time they are at the adoption phase. We won't do a “first come first serve” or “reserve” any of our rescues as we need to do what's best for them, and of course, their new family. This doesn't mean we wouldn't be happy to pair you with another rescue that would be better suited for your family dynamic. At times it's appreciated and our adopters are grateful for it. Other times, well, let's just say we've had some potential adopters who have been upset with our adoption process. When this happens, it actually reassures us that we made the right decision.
We have the luxury of being a small rescue. We are in no hurry at all to adopt out our kittens or cats. They have a warm, safe home with food, water, and of course, loving arms. They are our family. So as each and every one of our fur-babies are adopted, we don't say goodbye. We gain a new family and most often, some very good friends.
On occasion, I've had a potential adopter ask for a discount or credit for something as simple as a vaccine the rescue will require post adoption, or merely asking for a discount so they may save some money on our already nominal, and more than reasonable Adoption Fee.
I wouldn't be speaking the truth if I said this didn't frustrate me somewhat. This is solely due to the fact that I know the costs involved in rescue. I see the sickness, the abuse, the abandonment, and I see things first hand that no pet owner should ever witness. This is the emotional price of owning and running a rescue.
The financial aspect is altogether different. Speaking from my own experience, I am privy to information and prices that most are not. Do veterinarians help us out? Of course they do. The good ones anyway. What isn't known is a veterinarian is only able to help a rescue so much. This is often with their own labour. What is not often discounted and rightfully so; are the costs the veterinarian incurs or must pay out to their suppliers and staff. This may include vaccines, X-rays, ultrasounds, specialists, medication, specialty foods, and intensive operations that may take hours of the veterinarian and their paid medical staff's valuable time.
In order to look at the mere basics, we will look at the traditional costs any client would pay themselves should they bring their new cat or kitten in for proper vet treatment for the very first year:
Initial Exam (8 weeks old): $55-$90
1st FVRCP: $15-$20
Milebax x 2 (Dewormer): $15-$30
Fecal Flotation to detect additional parasites not killed with regular deworming: $30-$40
Revolution: $20 per application*
*Revolution is not always the recommended dewormer of choice in veterinary care and at times may require up to three doses to be fully effective in the treatment of worms, ear mites, and/or fleas.
Second Exam (12 weeks old): $45-$65
2nd FVRCP: $15-$20
1st FeLV (optional): $18-25
Third Exam (16 weeks old): $45-$65
3rd FVRCP: $15-20
2nd FeLV (optional): $18-25
Rabies (required by law): $18-25
**It's very important to note here that while the lower cost sterilizations are indeed lighter on your wallet, they are often lower due to cutting back on some very essential requirements needed during and after the operation. In veterinary practices where you would pay a higher price, you are paying for more one on one care, IV fluids during the operation, pre-meds, pain medication for after the surgery, an over night stay, and at times, precautionary antibiotics,
Now let's imagine your cat or kitten is in perfect health. No fleas, no ear mites, no intestinal parasites, no heart murmur, no eye infections, and of course, no upper respiratory infections. By adding up the lowest costs listed above; we come to a minimum total of $298 plus applicable taxes. What was NOT included in the above price of $298 was the fecal flotation, the FeLV vaccines, the Revolution application, or the Microchip.
Now, when you look at the prices most rescues ask for an adoption fee; anywhere from $65-$195 (with the higher price on average including the sterilization) you are getting more than what the average new pet owner would even pay plus what was unseen. When you adopt from a no-kill rescue or shelter, there is so much you don't see. You don't see the bottle feedings every three hours, the horrible flea infested kittens that have lost fur, are anemic, and are fighting for their lives from the blood loss. You don't see the eye infections, the intestinal parasites that ravaged through their bodies at three weeks old. You don't see the tired eyes of the volunteers or know the amount paid out in Kitten Milk Replacement (KMR), food, litter, antibiotics, x-rays, ultrasounds, surgery, and so much more. You don't see the heartbreaking loss of a rescue that simply gave up the fight despite all the efforts of the rescue and veterinary staff. You don't see the countless hours spent trapping and working with animal hoarders. What you see is a darling little kitten with a price tag of $175 and you wonder... Can I have a discount?
A mom of 3 that loves Jesus Christ, my children, cats, and of course, all that God created. Thank you for checking us out here at ELM!