Sunday, April 13, 2014

Therapy Cat Tales: NW Pet and Companion Fair 2014

Tabby writes:

I'm tired!!!  I was on an adventure yesterday and part of today!  Mommy and I did a talk/demonstration at the NW Pet and Companion Fair.  Well, Mommy did the talking and I sat on a chair and in my stroller and looked cute.  Does that count?  Everyone said it did.

We took a taxi over yesterday, but today Grandma drove us.  Nice!  I got to spend time with Grandma!  The taxi was fun, too, but I took a nap most of that ride because I was in my carrier.  When I ride with Grandma, I get to be on Mommy's lap, although still on harness and leash.

Yesterday, after we checked in, we went over to the stage to see where to check in there.  We finally found the people and got everything situated, but there were doggies on stage before us so I didn't check the stage out beforehand.  The doggies were demonstrating how to do clicker-training.  They already knew how to do it, though.  They were just showing off for the people.  I didn't think they were very interesting, but some of the dogs in the audience were paying attention.

Just as we were getting ready to go on stage, a lady asked someone else if she was named Mommy's name.  Mommy overheard her, and went to meet the lady.  She turned out to be our friend from Catster, Michelle!

Michelle and her brother are Bitu's purrents, and our family has known Bitu's family on Catster for years now!  It's always so nice to meet the people who belong to our online cat friends!  Mommy Erin's sister, Anna, took this picture on Michelle's iPad.  It was nice that Anna could come, too.  We ate lunch with Anna after our presentation and walked around the expo with her for a while.  She got her face painted like a cat, even!  Mommy was going to get her face painted, too, but there was too long a line.

We also did the fashion show/costume contest.  No, I didn't win anything, but that's fine.  There were a lot of dogs participating, but I wasn't the only non-canine entrant!  For once!!!  There was a bird named Athena, who blogs on tumblr, and a pig named Periwinkle, who has a Facebook page.  Athena and I didn't mind being right near each other!  Here's a slideshow of some of the costumes from the contest.

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After the fashion show, we went around to more booths.  We got a huge bag of goodies from Pet Pros.  Thank you so much for all the yummy-looking food and treats!!!  Mommy had business cards made up for me, so she handed those out to the people we met and people who came to our presentations on both days.  I met a lot of new friends!  There were even people who want to know more about training their cats to be therapy cats like I am.  Plus, a few places that want us to visit people!

If you are one of the people we met at this event, feel free to contact us using the "PDX pride" profile link near the top of the right column on this blog or the message feature on my Facebook page.

This morning, we did our presentation again.  I was better about not sitting in my stroller the whole time.  I sat on a chair at the back of the stage, so Mommy picked the chair up and put it front-and-center.  Not what I had in mind, but that was ok for a while.  Then, I decided I wanted my stroller, which was off-stage.  I headed toward it, so Mommy picked that up and put me in it, then wheeled it to the middle of the stage and talked from behind it and the chair.  Everyone thought that was funny, but I was comfortable and was showing off that I had a safe space that I was trained to be in.  That was just fine with everyone!

The black cat that we saw last year was there again this year with her person.  Guess what?  Both of them want to be a feline-assisted therapy team, too!  They are going to meet us on Wednesday for our regular visit to H. to see what we do, and hopefully will get registered to visit different places, too!  Wouldn't that be cool?  Maybe we can even open up a Portland, OR, chapter of Love on a Leash!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Feral Friday with Tigress

Tigress writes:

Hi everyone!  I know it's been a long time since I've done a Feral Friday post, but I've got some exciting news to share!  The Grandma person is an ok person!  She gives treats, foot pets, talks softly to me, doesn't chase me, and even will come let me out if I ask nicely enough!

At first, I was scared of her when she moved in a couple months ago.  The other cats love her and she'll even pet them occasionally.  I was scared of her, though.  I don't even know why, except that she was a new human.  She didn't do anything scary, but she was just there.  I didn't like being in the house with her, and would ask for out whenever I realized I was sharing the same house with her.  She tried and tried to show me she was nice, and my purrents told me I was safe and they wouldn't ever bring anyone around who would hurt me.  I believe them, but it still scared me.

I saw how nice Grandma was to the other kitties, though.  She would often pet them with her legs or with her feet, and thank them for giving her leg pets (winding around her legs) and wanting to sit with her (even though she can't have them on her lap due to being sick).  I would hear her coughing and would get wide-eyed, going to Mommy or Daddy for reassurance, but after a couple weeks I wasn't wanting out right away when I would see Grandma.  I would watch her from a chair under the dining-room table or from my comfy chair in the bedroom, then want out when she saw where I was.  I wouldn't hide from her, though, unless she was walking toward me.

One day, the twins had a birthday!  We all celebrated by having a big treat!  I didn't know what it was, but the others were very excited about it, and were milling around Grandma in the kitchen.  She got Mommy to help her open a can of something.  I hung out in the hallway and watched, wondering.  Mommy took out plates and showed Grandma how to spoon out the something onto each plate.  Then Mommy set the plates down on the floor in the dining room!

Feast time!  The others invited me to join them, but I said no because I didn't know what the treat was.  It smelled kind of good, but I wanted to watch them eat to make sure it was safe.  They told me it was something called "tuna" and it was a fish.  What fish comes out of a can?  I catch the little fish in the marsh sometimes, but they don't swim around in cans!

You can see in the picture how we social-eat.  Dare and Starla are sharing a plate, Missy's eating by herself, Panther's eating by himself, Carbon only eats by himself because he tends to be food-agressive, the twins are sharing a plate, Tabby's eating out of a can, and Little Bit's waiting her turn.  At this point, I was still in the hallway (the first picture).

Mommy brought a plate down the hallway to Rori so she could have some of the tuna treat, also.  She likes it, but she didn't want to brave the mob in the dining room any more than I did!  Grandma stayed in the kitchen and made herself something yummy with the tuna, too.  She put something else in it and mixed it up, then put it on bread for a sandwich.  Heimdall went in to see if she had some more for him, but she had mixed the remainder for her food, so he came back out and licked a can.

I finally got up the courage to go social-eat and found out the tuna was yummy!  Wow!  Do you see me over in the top left?  I'm trying to get to the plate with Freya and social-eat with her.  Dare decided to share the plate that Missy was eating from, and Little Bit got the can that Tabby had.  Tabby got another can that she and Heimdall shared.

After that tuna treat, I decided that Grandma must be an ok person.  I let her pet me once, and almost have come in the door when she's tried to let me inside.  About a week ago, I wanted out and she was the only human awake.  It was my hunting-time, around 5 or 6 in the morning.  That's when the mice and the birds are sleepy, so I can catch them more easily.  I went over to Grandma, who was in the kitchen, and wound around her legs, talking to her.  She thought I was Tabby at first, because she does the same thing when Grandma's in the kitchen.  Nope!  She looked at my paws and saw that it was I instead of Tabby!  She asked me if I wanted out, so I walked over to the door and pawed it.  She walked over and opened the door for me.  I looked at her and meowed once, then ran out like I normally do.  Thank you, Grandma person!

Since then, I've said hi to her most of the time and she's let me outside a few times more.  Today, I even went down the hall to her room to wait outside the door until she came out!  Hi, Grandma!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Birthday to our Little Bit and Mommy Erin's Smokey!

Little Bit writes:

It's my birthday!  My sisters' birthdays, too!  Yay!  *runs around in excitement, playing THOE with Dare*  I'm now 6 years old!  I don't feel like I'm 6 years old.  I've still got all the energy of a kitten!  My sister, Smokey, acts like a grumpy old lady a lot of the time, but she still has the energy of a kitten when she wants to play.  She lives with Mommy Erin, so I don't get to see her since they moved out last year.  Here's a picture of her, though!

Our other littermate, Baby Chiba, is at the Bridge.  She was a kitten when she died.  We're thinking fondly of her today as well!  We don't know where our mama, Boo-Boo Kitty, is, but we remember her well!  She was a good mama to us.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to Freya & Heimdall!

Wait, it's our birthday already?  How can we be four years old?  It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that we were babies.  We were born to a pet tuxedo cat, but the dad in the household didn't want us kittens.  There were four of us in the litter:  two boys and two girls.  We weren't named until we got to the shelter, and then we all got names starting with F:  Fonz (Heimdall), Furkins (Freya), Fizz, and Fink.  Our momcat stayed a pet cat to our first family.  We kittens were brought to Salem Friends of Felines in Salem, OR, where we were taken care of, checked out by a vet, and given a temporary home in the kitten room.  That's a special part of the shelter where all the kittens hang out!  It's a pretty cool room, about half the size of a typical bathroom in a human house, with shelves, cat toys, hiding boxes with cutouts to play paws in, and cat trees.  Of course, it also has litter boxes, food bowls, and water bowls.  Oh, and a window to see the humans.  Anyone who visits the shelter can go visit the kittens, and we loved it there.  We were there for a long time, though!

We plan to celebrate our 4th birthday by snuggling with Mommy and Daddy, maybe getting petted by Grandma, and playing with the rest of the family.  Oh, and possibly birdwatching, because the spring birds are starting to arrive!

In case you're wondering who is who in the picture, Freya is on the left and Heimdall is on the right.  We love our daddy's slippers!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Therapy Cat Tales from Yesterday

Tabby writes:

Hi everyone!  I'm back to visiting again!  We took a break for a couple months, because Mommy wasn't feeling well and we had Grandma moving in, but now we're back.  I'm sooooo happy!

We love overhearing conversations on the bus and MAX train when we ride.  It's fun how my presence on public transportation gets people talking about their own cats, even if it's not directly to us.  We heard one person who had always wanted an ocelot as a pet, but couldn't get a permit to own one because they are wild animals.  He got a Savannah instead, which is a domestic cat but has been bred from an African serval (wild animal) and a domestic cat.  We also heard about a long-haired black polydactyl cat that a homeless couple has.  They are trying to find a place to live and may have to give their cat up to be able to live in low-income housing.  Most low-income housing doesn't allow pets (other than emotional service animals, which need a doctor's note).  That would be sad if they had to give up their kitty!  I made them very happy by purring for them while they petted me.

We got on one MAX, but the driver told everyone that it wasn't in service, so everyone got off again.  Why did it even let us on if it wasn't going to take us anywhere?  We had to wait another half hour for the next one, because they weren't running on time.  That made us late, and I don't like to be off-schedule!  Kitties love schedules and patterns, and I'm no exception.

When we got to H., the people there were off-schedule, too!  They'd gone on a field trip for lunch to a restaurant and were just getting back, so we waited a few minutes before going up to visit them to let them settle.  I saw them going up, and said hi to one of my friends before she got in the elevator, but we waited until they were in their rooms before "officially" visiting them.  That confused me, because I could see they were going back home and wanted to follow them, but Mommy said we needed to wait.  I kept asking her with my paw when we were waiting, to let her know that I wanted to get going.

Finally, we went upstairs!  We went to see my friend A.M. the first thing, and she had the picture of her and me in a frame on her shelves!  I love her so much and always snuggle with her.  One of her friends was there, and asked her if I was the kitty she loves so much.  She just smiled and hugged me.  Purrs!

We went to see more of our regulars, and it was so great to see them again!  They missed me as much as I had missed them, and were glad to see me again.  Mommy's friend L. from her former church held me and hugged me, saying how nice a kitty I was.  I purred hard for her, too, because she's one of my favorites as well.  We met a new friend, C., who told us about her kitty.  She and her husband have a kitty they took in, but then the kitty showed up one day with a collar and tag.  It turned out to belong to their neighbors, who are backyard neighbors!  The cat doesn't like to be alone, so when its people aren't there it visits C. and her husband!  We also heard about a cat who didn't want to move when its people moved.  It was hand-raised from a kitten, but became an outside cat with the backyard and surrounding area as its territory.  When its people moved, they took it with them but didn't move far, so the kitty kept going back to its territory.  Its people made arrangements with the family who had bought the property, who agreed to adopt the cat and care for it.  It's so wonderful when that happens so the kitty can stay in its territory!  We had that happen with our feral Shadow at our old house.  We weren't able to take her with us when we moved, but we arranged with Spongebob's person that he would take care of Shadow since Sponge was best friends with her.  I also visited with someone who is going to go home in the next week but was so glad that I came to visit her.  I could tell that she wasn't feeling well in her stomach so I snuggled up really close to her on her lap right away.  She, Mommy, and R. (who takes us around to everyone) visited while I snuggled, and talked all about how we cats just know when we're needed and where.  Well, of course we do!  That's why I visit!

After we were done visiting at H., we went to C.  We don't really have a set schedule at C. yet, so the person we usually visit wasn't available to visit.  I was disappointed, but then we went to another floor and I got to visit with three ladies who work there!  That was fun, because I got to settle on the rug while Mommy talked with one of the ladies.  She was quite impressed with me, especially when I asked her to pet me, and took our contact information so that we could get a set schedule there.  Someone called the next day, but Mommy missed the call.  She'll call back and then we'll set up a definite time to go visit more people there!

If that weren't exciting enough, we came home to a big surprise!  Go to the Oregon Humane Society's Doggie Dash page at this link, scroll down to where it says "Doggie Dash Poster" and click on either size.  Tell me what you see!  We got it in postcard-flyer form in the mail, and were so surprised!  Yes, we are definitely planning on going this year.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Happy Gotcha Day Anniversary to Starla!

Starla writes:

Happy Gotcha Day Anniversary to me!  I remember the day I was gotcha'd by my forever family!  I had wintered out the ice storm in their basement and it was finally starting to be spring.  I was coming inside to visit them frequently, along with the rest of my biological family (Smokey, Little Bit, and Boo-Boo Kitty).  Smokey and I were both in heat, so my forever purrents asked the people who actually owned me (two doors down) if they could adopt us, and the people said yes.  Smokey became a foster, and was then adopted to Mommy Erin and became her forever kitty.  I was going to be a foster, but something wonderful happened!  Besides getting spayed, that is, which in itself was a wonderful thing.  Not the surgery, but the fact that I didn't have to worry about that anymore.

The wonderful thing that happened was this:

I was brought inside so that I could have my surgery the next day.  After my surgery, Skylar curled around me on the futon and looked up at our purrents, pleading with his eyes for permission to keep me.  How could they deny him this wish, when he'd lost his sister a few months before, and we'd all lost Sara Kitty a few weeks before?  Of course, they told him that he could adopt me as his kitty!  Yep, that's right!  I was adopted by another kitty!

Here we are snuggling together, just after Skylar asked Mommy and Daddy if he could keep me!

He and I were best buddies until he went to the Bridge a few years ago.  Now, my best buddies are Rori, the twins, and Panther.  I live in the bathroom (yes, I "graduated" from my isolation room due to the Prozac helping my anxiety) and have my own special cave in there under the sink cabinet.  And, guess what?  I don't even need the Prozac anymore!  I haven't taken any for the last month and a half!  I'm going to celebrate my gotcha day anniversary by going to eat with the other kitties in the dining room, venturing into the living room to use the scratcher, and greeting Grandma in the hallway when she gets up!  Grandma gave us tuna a couple days ago, and I even went out to eat it with everyone else, sharing a plate with Dare!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's World Spay Day!

Do you have an unfixed cat?  At what age can you get your cat spayed or neutered?  What are the benefits to fixing your cat?  The purrfessionals here at the PDX pride will answer your questions!

Happy World Spay Day from all of us!

Rori here!  As the Big Kitty of the household, it is my solemn duty to inform you unspayed or unneutered cats of the blogosphere to get your acts together and schedule your fixing surgeries!  It's an important step in your independence as a cat-of-the-world to get this done!

1.  Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted and/or "surprise" litters.
2.  Spaying before the cat goes into heat for the first time greatly decreases a female cat's risk of breast cancer.  To learn more about breast cancer in cats, please visit our friend Sugar at her website:  Sugar Rub!
3.  Neutering greatly reduces a male cat's "nuisance" behavior, including spraying, yowling, and territorial marking, as well as makes the urine smell less strong.
4.  Spaying and neutering reduces the number of adult cats that are dumped, killed, and given to shelters.

I was spayed while I was in heat for the first time, which is more expensive than spaying while a cat is not in heat.  My yowling was intolerable, so that's why I was spayed while in heat.  However, this can create other health problems, such as weight gain.  I am now a very chunky girl!

Friends do not let friends go unspayed!  No, I am not having s*x with Smokey!  She went into heat for the first time, and I decided to discipline her by scruffing her.  I let her know that going unspayed is not tolerated in MY household!  She was much calmer after being spayed, and got adopted to Mama Erin soon after.
A happy, healthy, spayed Smokey!

Starla here to say how glad I am that I got spared the rigors of teen pregnancy!  My aunt had three kittens very young, and the boys were chasing me as well.  Somehow, I never got pregnant at that time, but most female kitties get pregnant their first time.  The next time I went into heat, my people had already scheduled my spay appointment through the Spay and Save program in Portland, Oregon, one of many low-cost spay and neuter programs around the country.

I was very lucky to get my spay when I did, because there were three male cats that were trying to get me pregnant.  If I hadn't had my spay, I'm sure I would have ended up a teen mama with a litter to find homes for, like my cousin Little Bit and my aunt Boo-Boo Kitty.

Hi, Little Bit here, and this is what happens when you don't get spayed!  I'm Smokey's sister, Rori's half-sister, and Starla's cousin.  My dad Spongebob (also Rori's dad) is an unfixed male who roams the neighborhood and has befriended all the ferals within a three-block radius.  His friends also included my mom, Boo-Boo Kitty, who had a litter of three.  My other sister, Baby Chiba, had a different dad and died as a kitten.  Yes, cats can get pregnant by more than one male in the same heat cycle, so the kittens in a litter can have different dads!

When I grew up, my original people didn't want my forever family to get me spayed, and so I remained intact.  My original people were not responsible pet owners!  They only decided to give me to my forever family after a tragic thing happened:

1.  My mama cat, Boo-Boo Kitty, got pregnant again and had a litter of four.
2.  I went into my first heat cycle just after my mama cat got pregnant and had a litter of four.  My kittens were born when I was five months old, just a kitten myself!  Two of my litter had the same dad as I, which is not unusual for cats.
3.  The dog my original family owned got pregnant by another of the same litter (the dog's brother, who was a neighbor) and had a litter of 10 puppies.
4.  My original people got an eviction notice because of the amount of animals in their house.
5.  They decided to take all of us kitties except two of Boo-Boo's kittens (who already had homes) to the humane society.  But after driving around to two humane societies, they were told that it was the middle of "kitten season" and the kittens would be put-to-sleep if they were surrendered.  The people didn't want that to happen.
6.  After hearing this from the second shelter they went to, they stopped by the side of the road and threw Boo-Boo Kitty out of the car, then drove away!  I still don't know what ever happened to her after that.
7.  They drove to a fast-food restaurant, rolled down the window halfway, and went inside to eat.  Mind you, this was with my two 8-week-old baby sisters, myself, and my litter of four three-week-old boys in the vehicle.  When they got back out to the vehicle, they didn't see me and drove off anyway.
8.  They went back home and brought my baby sisters over to my forever family, two houses down, and told them the story I've just told you.  My forever daddy human was so mad that he took my baby sisters inside and left my forever mommy human to talk to the lady.
9.  My mommy went to get the box with my kittens in it from the lady's vehicle and found me in there as well!  She brought all of us back home with her.
10.  My new family found homes for all of us, but only I stayed with them as part of their forever family.  Everyone else who came with me on that horrid trip found wonderful new homes!  One of my babies had a birth defect, but even he found a forever home for the few months he lived.

I went into heat again a few days after we got to our new family's home.  Yes, I was nursing my three-week-old boys at the time, and continued to nurse.  I could've gotten spayed while I was still nursing, but my people chose to wait until I'd weaned the kittens to spay me.

I'm Tigress, and I was a teen mom as well.  However, my family chose to have my kittens spay-aborted because I was a feral kitten at the time of my pregnancy.  I was spayed through a trap-neuter-return program run by the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, which provides low-cost or free spays and neuters, first vaccinations, and humane trap rentals.  If I hadn't had my spay, there would have been at least two and possibly as many as five more feral cats that would have needed socializing, feeding, trapping, spaying or neutering, and adoption.  I got pregnant at the age of 4 months.

Please don't wait to get spayed or neutered!  Tell your humans to schedule your surgery today!  If your humans need financial assistance, it is available in most areas of the U.S. and Canada, and in some other countries as well.  If you are a feral cat, please tell your human to visit the Alley Cat Allies website for more information.

For World Spay Day events in your area, check out the official website.