Beloved sisters! Sunny is missing in this photo. They all came together, having been found in a box in the El Cerrito CA. Pet Food Express parking lot. Their life improved greatly after that point :-) We shudder to think what it had been theretofore. Nonetheless, as cats do, they demonstrated nothing but love and happiness here at our home/shelter. Melanie, in the foreground, will just lie by herself and purr...and purr...and AnnaBelle knows she's a princess...loves the service here, and is not shy about asking for more! Shining examples of how to live, these beauties!
Here's all three, and Sunny with Melanie...(Emma in the background)
Such a great feeling! These two, their two siblings, and their mother are safe and sound!! They would not have lasted long where they were found, at the entrance to Wildcat Canyon Reg. Park. A friend called me this morning in a panic. She'd seen them off the road, up a few steps, close to a wall of ivy. I approached VERY slowly. With each step, I moved my carrier closer. I put a dish of food out and she smelled it. If she ran off I might not have been able to catch her.
First miracle: she was calm and allowed me to pick her up and put her into the carrier. However...! The babies were all connected to her and to each other by a long string. At first I'd thought it to be very tangled umbilical cords, but no.... They went into the carrier as one. Not too good, as damage may have been done when I picked the mom up.
Second miracle: no permanent damage had been done, it seems. One of the babies' ankles was wrapped in one of the cords, and the foot had swollen. I was able to cut the string and untangle them all.
Third miracle: I'd been leaving them alone as much as possible so as not to stress them, but, since the carrier was wet, I decided to move them into the big box I'd fixed up. Glad I did. I discovered a fifth! Cold and wet! EEK! In a newborn, that condition can kill quickly. I warmed him up and dried him with the hair dryer on low...and have been giving him supplemental feeding. He's smaller than the others, and was most certainly not getting his share of milk. But he has energy...haven't seen him actually nursing yet, but he's staying warm, and getting fed one way or t'other.
I spoke with my homeopathic vet who said to give the one with the swollen foot a high potency dose of Arnica Montana. Did that. Because there was still wet blood, it seemed that the three undeveloped ones had been delivered recently, perhaps within a few hours, and so the foot had not probably been without circulating blood for too long. Fingers are crossed.
The four are all healthy, about one day old, and nursing. the fifth is okay too...had just gotten away from mother's warmth. Mother is lovely and sweet. Mother ate a big meal with lots of supplements for milk flow, etc. She is probably dehydrated, but fluids can wait. I'll call her Cibelli.
The three undeveloped ones will be buried...bless them.
,Without question, the most loving cat we ever had. He would wrap his arms around my neck and give...tiny love bites. He was so tuned in to us...never demanding, though kind of sweetly asking often...
He came to us later than he should have: he had a terrible abcess which covered the entire side of his head, and was so far advanced that the infection had pushed his eyeballs out of his head. (No gruesome photos to follow). I'm grateful to live so close to great doctors. He started antibiotics, and saw the ophthalmologist. He was at this point, blind. It was a long, but steady recovery. He was so traumatized that he didn't move off his new home, the couch, at all. We had food and litter there. He would creep back and forth on the (long) couch, and eventually...BIG day... got down off the couch.
He continued to improve. we could see that he was one of great courage and fortitude. He was gentle and accepting.
His infection died away, the swelling went down, and gradually, his eyes returned to their rightful place in his head. Dr. Zarfoss could not really tell what his vision was, but, since he went farther afield every day, we knew that his sight was coming back! This is a photo of him after his recovery.
Happy times. He recovered completely, Thank you, doctors, and Catfish for not giving up!!
Cat O' the Day: Mama Frances!
This stalwart mama came to us pregnant, from a reasonably good situation: safe neighborhood, regular feeding by a nice woman...who hadn't called when she had delivered her first (?) litter. She didn't know what happened to the babies :-( but her Last litter was born safe, indoors, at our home. On March 5, 2021. We have a big bathroom in the back of the house, with a bay window and glass door which leads outside. We fixed up a box for her there. She had a week of great nutrition before she gave birth to these fat five babies. BIG and fat! They weighed almost twice what a normal newborn weighs! Holy googly-moogly! I was flabbergasted. Healthy too! They're five days old in this photo,
I named mama Frances, after the redoubtable Frances McDormand. She put up with being kidnapped and confined, sensing that she and the babies were safe. I left her alone. Didn't try to handle them for several days.
Mama is built like a tank! She's all muscle. No neck; can't be scruffed! She ate like a stevedore...we like that!
After delivery, Frances was still big. I wondered if there were more babies inside her...but no...she is just big. Never seen a cat with a body like this. Strong, for sure.
As the weeks went by, she stopped trying to put the hurt on me when I came in to change her bedding, her water, etc. At about four weeks the babies started eating solid food. Took quite a burden off Frances....
They didn't just start eating: after looking up into fur for a nipple, a pile of stuff on the floor did not impress.
It's a process, putting a bit into their mouths, then having them lick it off your finger, convincing them not to bite your finger, lowering finger slowly to bowl...takes time. Of course they still nursed as well.
Frances adopted two, Johnetta Lewis and Tuxedo Ted, who had lost their mother. Stellar feline, she!
Fast forward: remember that back door? The babies started going out, exploring the patio. They come alive when they get out into the living world, yes they DO! The smells in the wind, the bugs and plants...they run all over the yard now...and always go back in after a couple of hours!! We like it like that!
Frances has gone out a few times. By herself, then with the babies. However, Frances seems to want them to go under the house. I don't. ( I once had a mother who tried to convince her babies to mistrust humans, to be 'wild') Frances led them there; at least they wound up there together...fortunately, the babies came when I called them. Now Frances and babies go out at different times. Babies have not since gone around and under the house.
Two have found a home together...happy they are! Great folks!
Frances lets me pet her now. She rubs her face on my hand. And I'm wondering, since mother has been here so long, if she wants to go home...certainly not till the other kittens have been adopted. Nothing has to be decided right this minute...
Cat O' the Day: Leo
Leo was found in the middle of the railroad tracks in Richmond, CA. He was brought to us by a friend...and fellow animal lover. He was tiny, but old enough to eat solid food (whew).
From his first day here, Leo was a serene, gentle, loving cat. He was adopted with a fellow orphan from Richmond, Andrew, with whom he'd become close. The adopter, living on Arlington, had fears that Andrew would get hit by a car, and so Andy and Leo came back to us. Can't say I regret it! Both are stellar felines. Andrew is a bit sensitive and not as secure as Leo, and I think the man had reason for his fears; Andrew is not as confident as Leo. I've been calling him Handsome Andrew to build his confidence. And, yes, he's gorgeous!
But back to Leo...Mister Sunshine.
Leo is a joy to have around...a calming, sweet presence. No drama. He's a cuddler; an undemanding, happy soul. He's a great role model!
Cat O' The Day: Sunflower
Cat O' the Day: Sunny (Sunflower)
Where to start with this upstart? She came to us after having been left with her three sisters, in a big box, in a parking lot. One was literally skin and bones, and died within hours. Two had become blind; Ophthalmologist said likely from eating dog food, BUT!!
As cats do, they survived handily, and are with us now, the sweetest of cats! The SWEETEST! Sunny is a calico, with a stiff twisted tail and stiff little legs. She is tiny but mighty, albeit understated. She stayed under the covers for months, just in case it wasn't safe outside of them, and perhaps because she'd never had a warm bed. She navigates beautifully...going for it full-tilt even if it means bumping into things a lot. Don't let folks tell you a blind cat needs to be kept indoors!!
Sunny is very affectionate, but don't try to pick her up! She freaks! Makes vet visits a blast, though she quiets right down for her acupuncture needles!
You can see her ear tip...turns out a trapper friend had trapped her and her sisters, years back, and had returned them to where they were trapped. Who knows what they went through after that....but let's not dwell...
Sunny is close to her two sisters, sleeping with one or both when she's out of bed.
She goes NUTS when she gets her hands on a toy mouse...and even with batting it around, keeps good track of it. I've tried to get videos with sound those little cries...you'd not believe it!
Sunflower is a bright light around here!!
Rant Alert! "Re-Homing"
You can't "home" someone, let alone "re-home" them. The word "home" isn't even a verb. A home is created by the one who lives in it, over time. But the real reason this term offends me is because it reflects the casual attitude folks have, even (especially?) rescuers, about uprooting cats and putting them somewhere else. It's said that cats bond more with their territory than with their caretakers...
Am I too much of a curmudgeon? Language, language.
A Year Ago! March 11 2020
March 11, 2020 seems like another lifetime. Bee Holistic, our cat rescue, hosted a party/fundraiser at beloved Los Moles restaurant in El Cerrito on that date. Little did we know that it would be the last social gathering till...?? Zoom doesn't count. Seeing our supporters and friends, having an Anejo Tequila...fantastic food...sigh.
Our cats and their needs, mysterious ailments, blessed recoveries, and now...newborn babies!!! have kept us sane and happy. Above is mother Frances, from a safe enough place on the El Cerrito/Richmond Border, in the hills. but not safe enough. The woman who had been feeding her called me, and I brought her to our shelter/home. She was not pleased. I did my best to explain that she would be safe, have her babies in a warm, protected place, and, when the babies were old enough, go back home. She came on February 24, and had two weeks of good food with appropriate supplements before her babies were born, on March 5.
they were Honkin!! I weighed two of them at three days (wanted not to disturb mother Frances till then) and they weighed SIX ounces! Average weight at three days is three and one-half ounces! And all the same size! Frances chose the father well! All strong and healthy!
I need to leave them alone as much as possible, as Frances is NOT agreeable to any human coming close. And we know how damaging stress can be...but oh how I long to hold them!! Frances may become more trusting, and I'll need to handle them (tough job, but...) as soon as they're old enough to start having fear of new things and of people.
Cats and Their Agendas
This is Rosemary. She was living in the parking lot of a shopping center before a good Sam brought her to us. Looks contented here? She seemed to love her new home with us: greeted all comers, got along fine with the other cats, NO PROBLEMS! She is not a young cat, and stayed pretty much in the house in the yard, until she didn't. Rosemary started leaving for a few days at a time, coming back, staying for a few weeks then...off again. She was found on the street above us, several times, no, many times, after her disappearances. Brought her back, stayed till next time. After months of this, she growled when I came to get her, almost bit me, and left immediately after she got home. Well! Fortunately, the folks who had been looking out for her welcomed her, and long story short, she now lives at the corner of Felix and Bernhard. the family there has been coaxing her into the house, introducing her to their dogs...but still she stays out most of the time. It is not for us to know.
And this is (or was) our man Marlowe! He was found as a little kitten on our street (unusual, most cats around our home are fixed). Marlowe grew into the most handsome, perfectly formed, loving cat ON the planet. We worshipped him, and believed that he worshipped us. He's now with a couple on Bernhard, who won't even let him into their house! At least the woman won't; a cultural thing. But they do love him and care for him, and stay in touch. He has come back a few times, but not lately. Took us down a peg or two.
Aaaand...Penelope! We got a call from a neighbor; the caller had our cat Penelope. Thank goodness for the chip! The woman had known that any vet will scan an animal for free...I've had several returned via the chip reading! She wasn't far from our home, maybe 1.4 mile. She had been there for some time, while we searched for her. This was years back; I don't remember if I brought her "home" or not. But she has been living happily with her new caretaker. The woman buys food from us, which makes me very happy. And will keep Penny healthy.
Not "our" Janey...
This little one came home with me from the shelter. Had gone to pick up another, and saw Janey in the window on my way in. I didn't foresee anyone choosing her: she was older, her coat was bad, and she seemed depressed. Bless her heart!! She broke my heart. Took her ass HOME! Janey turned out to be a love, a quiet little woman, sweet and seemingly content. She kept to a very regular schedule, to the minute actually.
We were surprised when she started staying across the street, more and more, with our friend Connie. Connie was happy to have her, being a cat lady herself. Janey established a routine there too. One time she went missing, and I found her sitting on the sidewalk, on a busy street. I picked her up and took her back to Connie. Not long after, she left for the home of another neighbor, up the street! Also a friend, happily. Janey stayed outdoors, under the steps (??) until she moved on from there. My friend thought that the dog bothered her. She went back to Connie's, and the next time she disappeared we could not find her. Restless soul. I guess.
There are lots of stories like these. There's the one of a gathering ('member those?) when five families at the party thought the cat there was "their cat".
What I'm getting at is that, no news to some, cats have their own ideas about where and how they want to live. I think it's rare that they would choose to be in one house for their whole life. I think too that they deserve to have the choice.
Been trapping...want to get the females especially, before they get pregnant...Working with a cohort...more enjoyable...
The challenge is to get enough appointments...the County lets each person bring four at a time, when we can get appointments, and another group does too. Fix Our Ferals is now booking in April! They let me know when they have a cancellation, but it's a struggle. We need more funding, more doctors...
The female below is shown recovering from her surgery in our back room. Unlike some (more's the pity) she ate VERY well!! Yay! the food they get here, which I make, is so good for them. Good for her for chowing down! Often they're too stressed to eat, I'm not sure what she'll be getting now, although I've met her feeders. She was released this morning, back to her 'home'...and happy to be there.
A previous female we'd spayed was so friendly we could just pick her up. She was our miracle: I had a wonderful couple who was ready to adopt, and she's now in a great, safe, loving home!! She's the one in the headshot.
And, of course...photos of our babies! Nessa, the grey, and April the tuxedo: What's not to love? They will be available to adopt Mid-February! Application Under Available Cats and Kittens, here on the site!
The founder of Bee Holistic, Cynthia Burke, has been caring for cats most of her life, volunteering with such groups as the wonderful Animal Balance, and Fix Our Ferals, now Animal fix Clinic. In 2009 her own non-profit was formed..