Homeless and without a caring family, Claudie was having a rough time in southern California. When she was rescued, it looked like she was finally on her way to finding a home. However, that all changed when the wildfires started.
With the fires raging, many pets, including numerous cats, were separated from their owners. Before long, shelters across California found themselves caring for large numbers of displaced animals.
Upon learning of this heartbreaking situation, SAFe Rescue began working with partner organizations to help move previously homeless kitties like Claudie (who had nobody missing her) up to Washington State. This gave California shelters more room to house those animals separated from their families.
Within weeks, Claudie found herself changing climates and moving thousands of miles north. She boarded a Wings of Rescue flight on November 19, travelling from San Diego to Paine Field. Even though it meant losing familiar surroundings, Claudie was helping make room for other kitties in need and she embraced her chance to become a Pacific Northwest cat. Hopefully, Washington would be where she could find her forever family…
However, Claudie faced an ongoing challenge: she is an FIV+ cat. FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is a disease specific to cats, but it doesn’t usually impact the kitty’s lifespan or ability to be around other cats. WIth a loving indoor home and proper care, FIV+ cats can live long and healthy lives. Sadly, an FIV+ status can make these kitties get overlooked, even if they are perfectly healthy and full of love, like Claudie.
Home for the Holidays!
Fortunately, luck was on Claudie’s side! With a little help from Pawsitive Alliance’s #WhyNotMePets program, Claudie went on TV to show what a sweet girl she is. Soon after, a loving family came in and decided that Claudie was the purrfect fit for their family. By coming up to the Pacific Northwest, Claudie not only got a second chance, but is now spending the holidays with a family dedicated to caring for her throughout her long and healthy life!
All of us here at the rescue wish you a winter season that’s “meowy” and bright…. And safe! Here are some holiday safety tips for cats to help you avoid hidden hazards:
Update the chip:
Heading out of town? Make sure kitty’s microchip is up to date with your current contact info and address, just in case. Sometimes cats take advantage of changes in routine to try a great escape… We’ve seen many owners happily reunited with their pets thanks to microchips!
Keep sweets out of reach:
While sneaking treats isn’t exactly healthy for kitty under any circumstances, many holiday goodies contain potential toxins such as chocolate (which is dangerous for cats) or other ingredients that cause tummy upset.
Skip the tinsel!
Tinsel may look beautiful, but it’s irresistible for many felines. Swallowing long strands of tinsel or ribbon can cause serious medical issues such as intestinal blockages.
Cat-proof your decorations:
While tinsel is especially problematic, any ornament, light, cord, or decoration that kitty tries to eat could cause problems… Make sure that anything within reach is safe for your mischievous friend. (Vomiting and diarrhea can be signs of intestinal blockage, so be extra vigilant for these symptoms if you think your cat may have ingested something.)
Pick plants wisely:
When we think of toxic holiday plants, poinsettias usually spring to mind. While poinsettias can indeed cause kitty problems if ingested, there are other plants that pose greater danger, including holly, mistletoe, lilies, and amaryllis. For a database of toxic and non-toxic plants, see the ASPCA’s website.
Create a safe retreat:
Make sure your best feline friend has a safe, quiet place to retreat during the festivities and New Year’s fireworks. A bedroom or large closet with a warm comfy bed, favorite treats, and some water will be sure to lessen the stress.
We wish you and all your family (both furry and human) a safe and happy holiday season!
You can lead the way! Please spread the mews: #GivingTuesday can be more than a just a global day of giving, it can start a movement to provide for the many kitties looking for their forever homes. Start a social media fundraiser, post your kitty story, share a kitty selfie… However you participate, you’re changing the world for kitties in need.
On Giving Tuesday—or rather, “Giving MEWS Day”—your advocacy and caring go further to help even more kitties:
* Double your donation!
A challenge gift from rescue supporters will match your gift (up to a total of $2,000). That’s twice as many lives saved!
* Double again!
Starting at 5:00 AM on 11/27, Facebook will also DOUBLE donations made through Facebook, while matching funds last. (Up to 7 million dollars nationwide.) Meowza!
* Rally cat lovers!
Start a fundraiser, save lives, win prizes.
Lend a helping paw to kitties in need by starting a #GivingTuesday Facebook fundraiser. It’s easy! Click here to create your fundraiser, and watch your community come together for a meownificent day of giving! When you meet your goal (min. $50), you’ll be entered to win the ultimate relaxation package for you and your cat. (Included: massage certificate, a four course wine and cheese pairing, a comfy kitty cot, PAWsome toys, and tasty treats.)
* Spread the word!
Every post, kitty selfie, hashtag, and cat photo you share helps raise awareness and get kitties into homes! Follow #givingmewsday2018 for updates – thank you for helping kitties in need!
What could be cuter than kids helping cats? Not much, is the answer. We realize that youngsters have some of the biggest hearts out there, and love to get involved and help causes they care about. At SAFe Rescue, accessibility and inclusivity are important to us. That’s why we’re here to share some ways young people can get involved over the holidays and beyond!
Coming soon to a cat rescue near you…(And by that, we mean us!)
Kids for Kitties! We are looking for youth volunteers (ages 7+) to help create kitty toys, learn more about how we care for our cats, and make some new furry friends! Kids for Kitties will take place on Saturday, December 29, starting at 12:30pm. Email email@example.com for more info or to sign up (space is limited!), to be added to the wait list, or with any questions you have.
Youth volunteers will not be working directly with cats, but they will work with other animal-loving kids to help enrich the lives of the cats in the rescue.
Reverse Advent Calendars! Say what, now??
Advent Calendars are a beloved Holiday tradition and can bring excitement to each day in December. Reverse Advent calendars are a great twist to celebrate the season with service. All you need is a box or a bag! Each day your family can buy or make something for homeless cats and add it to the box. At the end of the month, come pay the kitties here at the rescue a visit and deliver the goodies. You will see how much your generosity adds up over the month, and everyone will enjoy getting into the spirit of giving—especially the cats!
Birthday or holiday fundraisers
One of the most heartwarming forms of support is when people thoughtfully dedicate their special day or a holiday to helping the kitties. Birthday fundraisers have been increasingly more popular, and we are so amazed and grateful! Generosity like that is what is helping save more kitties each year.
Is your child’s biggest birthday wish to help animals in need? Have more legos than you know what to do with? Consider asking for gifts for the kitties instead! Ask guests to pick up an item from the Kitties’ Wish List—it gives gift givers the fun of selecting a gift, and the birthday child the joy of opening one. And of course, the cats benefit from your generosity.
On our last blog, we shared with you information about a few of the FAQ’s we hear about kitty food and feeding. This subject is huge, with a lot of questions, and lots of caring kitty owners wondering “What should I feed my cat?” That’s why we’re baaaack to answer a few more!
Wet vs. Dry?
This is an age old question, and also a great one. Wet and dry food both have unique benefits, and most kitties thrive on being fed both. Wet food is great for adding moisture into the feline diet. (Cats are notorious for being stingy water drinkers.) Meanwhile, dry food adds the nutrients and caloric density cats need to create a balanced diet. To decide if wet, dry, or a combination of both will work best for your kitty’s specific needs, be sure to consult with your veterinarian!
Still curious about LID diets?
Limited Ingredient Diets, or LIDs, are pet foods made with a single-source protein. Most of the time the single-source protein is considered “novel” and doesn’t contain the usual suspects such as chicken, beef or turkey, which are the most common foods cats develop allergies to. The most popular novel proteins are rabbit, duck, and venison. These diets are especially helpful for kitties with food allergies or sensitive stomachs. Before making the switch over to an LID food, though, please consult with your veterinarian.
Need more tips for managing your kitty’s weight?
There are many ways to get your kitty the exercise and stimulation they need to maintain a healthy weight while staying safe indoors! The best way to maintain a healthy weight in cats is a regulated feeding schedule with the amount appropriate for your cat’s specific body and needs. Your veterinarian can help calculate an appropriate amount of food.
(Pro tip: When taking your kitty to a check-up, it’s helpful to bring either a picture of the bag/can of food you feed, or even the bag/can itself! That way, your veterinarian can see the nutrition details of the specific food and help you figure out kitty’s ideal feeding plan! )
It’s a common misconception (usually with non-kitty lovers) that cats don’t form lifelong friendships with each other and their humans. But Princess and Precious prove that myth wrong. These two sisters are 13 years old, and they’re best friends. When they found themselves homeless at age 12—and we know that senior and homeless can be one of the hardest plights for kitties—they made it clear to everyone at the rescue that they would need to be placed in a new home together.
While at SAFe Rescue, they spent many hours cuddled together, taking turns grooming each other. As if being adorable and sweet to each other wasn’t enough to warm your heart, they also love humans! Princess gives love nibbles while you pet her, and Precious loves to have her cheeks rubbed.
Here at SAFe, our priority is to make sure each kitty is as happy and healthy as possible. When we took them in, we noticed that both sisters had red, inflamed mouths. A vet check-up confirmed that they would need dental work. Precious needed a relatively minor dental cleaning and treatment, while it took Princess two extensive dental surgeries to feel comfortable again.
Once Princess recovered, she was reunited with Precious and they were ready to await their new family patiently at the rescue. Seniors sometimes have to wait longer to get noticed than younger kitties, but not to worry! One fateful day in mid-October, their purr-fect family came to SAFe and became enamored with how much Princess and Precious loved each other; not to mention how sweet-natured they both are. These sisters are now safe and warm for the coming winter months in their new home, with their beloved new humans, and—most importantly—together!
Bonded pairs are happiest when they can stay together. It can take pairs longer to find a home than other cats, so we think it’s very special when adopters open their homes to a pair of kitty friends! If you have any questions about bonded pairs, or would like to consider adopting a pair please visit our adoption page.
“Honey, did you feed the cat?” That’s a question you might hear a lot at home. But a question we hear a lot at the rescue is: “HOW do I feed my cat?” Here are answers to some FAQ’s you might have about feeding your new kitty:
How much do I feed my cat each day?
Great question! Kitty’s nutrition needs can vary depending on her age, her activity level, and her current BCS (body condition score). To figure out your cat’s needs, we recommend following the feeding guidelines listed by the manufacturer of the brand of food you give kitty. Be sure to speak with your vet about an appropriate amount of food, too!
When do I feed my cat? How many times per day?
The answer to this question also depends on many factors, including age and activity level. Kittens are growing little sprouts with appetites to match: you’ll need to feed them more food, more often.
With adult cats, it’s fairly standard to feed them twice a day. Your kitty will probably like the routine of morning and night time feedings, and that also usually works well with your human schedule as well. (It is usually not recommended that you free-feed adult cats, especially if there is more than one cat in the house.)
What does Limited Ingredient Diet (LID) mean and what is the purpose?
Limited Ingredient Diets are foods with a single protein source. For example a “Limited Ingredient” duck food diet contains only protein from duck meat. Limited Ingredient Diets can be a great option for a kitty with a sensitive stomach or food allergies. However, if you’re considering a LID, please consult with your veterinarian before changing foods.
*NOTE: if you’re thinking of making any changes to your cat’s diet, make sure the transition is slow and gradual. Sudden changes are upsetting for kitties and can even put their health at risk.*
I think my cat might be gaining too much weight… What should I do?
First step: consult with your veterinarian to figure out an ideal weight for your cat. (Cats are just like us humans in that each body is different!) No matter what, though, there are a few things you can do at home to keep kitty more healthy and active:
1) Use food toys!
There are a variety of food toys available on the market that make kitty move and play in order to reach her kibble. You can even DIY and craft your own: just search for “DIY cat food puzzle toy” and the internet will give you many ideas and how-tos
2) Create an eat/play routine.
Before kitty has her meal, play with her! Wand toys and laser toys are especially fun, interactive toys that promote lots of running and leaping. (When you use a laser, be sure to give kitty a physical toy to play with afterwards, though, so that she can have the satisfaction of putting her paws on something!
3) Limit the treats you give each day.
Then when it is time for kitty to have her daily treat, she’ll be extra excited. Maybe you can even teach her some tricks!
Although these might be the most common questions we get regarding how to feed your cat, we are always happy to answer any other questions you have. At SAFe Rescue, one of our goals is to make owning a cat as easy and fun as possible. We are happy to help take the guesswork out of caring for your feline friend!
The kitties are in urgent need of a very special kind of foster home.
Cats with a skin infection called “ringworm” often find themselves in danger of euthanasia, even though the condition is entirely curable. Our ringworm program here at SAFe Rescue is often a last resort for infected kitties with nowhere else to go.
(Note: Ringworm isn’t actually a worm—it’s a fungal skin condition similar to Athlete’s Foot. Want to learn more? Check out our “Test Your Ringworm IQ” blog!)
Right now, though, our Isolation Room is at full capacity and we don’t have space to take in any more cases. We worry what will happen to all the kitties out there who still need help…
If you or anyone you know has experience fostering ringworm kitties in your home—or if you’re willing to learn the treatment and disinfection protocol—we would LOVE to hear from you right away!
To get started as a foster home, you can fill out the “Foster Information Form” on our website, and let us know that you’re interested in learning more about fostering ringworm kitties.
“Take a Chance on me!” We’re not sure if Chance is an ABBA fan, but we’re sure that’s the song he was singing when he arrived at SAFe Rescue. Although he is obviously adorable and lovable, little Chance has already survived more suffering than most homeless kitties endure in a lifetime.
Unhappy, injured kitty
Chance started out in Eastern Washington, where he lived outside on his own. When he hurt his paw, he didn’t have access to the medical care he needed. Chance’s wound became severely infected, and (with the bones in his paw exposed) he could hardly move. Once Chance was rescued, his leg had to be amputated right away.
Arriving in Seattle
We knew about the hardships Chance had endured before he came to us, so we were expecting to meet a timid, scared kitten. But when he arrived in Seattle, there was no shy kitty to be found—instead we opened his carrier to meet a little snuggle bug, emphasis on snuggle!
In foster care
Chance went to foster care to finish healing, and his foster family soon discovered that he adores kids. He bonded with his human foster sister, and he was at her side every day for play time and nap time. With TLC, Chance recovered quickly. He learned to tackle stairs and find his way around like a normal kitten. (Although with his missing leg, he does have a kangaroo hop!)
Two weeks later, Chance was ready to come back to the Adoption Center to find a family… Which he did, the very same day! Chance went home with a friendly new kitty sister, Kristi, and—to his great joy—three human sisters to love him.
Now, Chance doesn’t look back or let his past trouble him: instead, he’s looking forward to a lifetime of love! Good boy, Chance.
Chance’s portrait copyright K.A.Moore Photography.
Finding a home is hard enough when you’re a senior kitty—when you’re 16-year-old cat with a thyroid condition who needs daily fluid injections, finding a place to call your own can seem almost impossible! Fortunately, Minnie didn’t give up, and we wouldn’t give up on her either. For over a year, this talkative, friendly senior cat got daily medical care at SAFe Rescue’s Adoption Center and in foster care. Her endearing quirks won over the whole rescue team. (You could always tell when Minnie hadn’t had her breakfast yet by the persistent meowing!)
Minnie was happiest when she had a kitty house to curl up in. Once, when Minnie was in between foster care and didn’t have her favorite house with her, the rescue team had to improvise. She thought her cardboard house—lovingly decorated with her name and even a little garden outside—was purr-fect!
Minnie has been lucky to have a series of wonderful foster homes during her time at SAFe Rescue. When we heard that Minnie’s latest foster mom was moving out of state, we thought it might be time for Minnie to pack up and find a new place to stay… But it turns out Minnie will be packing up her kitty house for a much happier reason. Minnie’s latest foster has decided to be her adopted mom, and she’s taking Minnie with her. Congratulations, Minnie, enjoy the rest of your golden years with your new favorite person!
(Portrait of Minnie by K.A.Moore Photography.)