Orphaned Kitten + The Goathouse Refuge

The Goathouse Refuge is an amazing non-profit organization that helps cats and kittens in need and regularly pulls them from death row in shelters. I absolutely love them.64806_531863823523942_1568424774_n

About three weeks ago I was contacted by someone at Goathouse asking if I could pick up a kitten that was alone outside and thought to have an upper repertory infection (URI). The kitten was just about 15 minutes from my office, so of course I didn’t mind. The Goathouse closes at 6:30 and where I work is about an hour away from the refuge. I told Goathouse I’d just pick the kitten up and bring her very early in the morning before I had to be to work at 8:30am. I went and picked up this sweet little kitten shortly after I got off work and was not prepared for what I saw….this beautiful itty bitty white kitten with a touch of gray here and there. Now for some unknown reason, I was thinking this kitten would be older, around 5 or 6 months, not about 8 weeks old. I got her home and decided I was going to call her Lottie; the name just seemed to fit. Poor Lottie was underweight, dirty, and covered in fleas. After Lottie drank a ton of water I gave her a bath, hoping to give her some relief by getting rid of some of the fleas, cleaned her ears and watched her devour a can of food. Because of her URI I couldn’t let her near my cats, but Otis did wander in and say hi. He loved her and Lottie loved him. Much to my sadness, I left her in the spare room for a few hours while John and I had dinner, walked Otis and hung out for a bit. When I opened the door to go see her, she was just sitting there, patiently waiting, but very sad she had been alone. I caved and ended up letting her sleep in the bed with us and she is a true snuggle bug, just the perfect little kitten.Image090820141815421

The next morning I sadly loaded Lottie into the car at 5:45am and took her to the refuge. I knew she’d be well cared for and loved, but I really wanted her. It amazes me that I can fall in love and become so attached to a sweet kitten in just 12 hours. I reluctantly turned over Lottie to the Goathouse and then cried the whole way to work. That night I told John if Lottie was not adopted in 6 months I was going to go get her. John said he wasn’t going to say no, but he isn’t saying yes yet either. I think a lot will depend on where we are and John’s job

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I know this story seems kind of sad, but it isn’t. I was able to help a kitten that was sick and an orphan get to a no kill refuge that gave her the medical treatment she needed for her URI, get rid of all of those damn fleas, and is now fed and loved daily. Lottie even has a little friend, another orphan kitten named Opal. Animal rescue can be heartbreaking, and for me there are usually tears, I prefer happy tears of finding homes, animals being rescued, and all the good stuff. Even though I balled when I left Lottie, I also was happy she was where she needed to be until she could find a forever home, even if that doesn’t turn out to be with me. 10665700_792644904112498_5123643998539312740_n

The Goathouse does so many wonderful things for animals and they are always looking for help with transportation, volunteering at the shelter, fostering, doing home checks for potential adopters, and of course donations. Most cats at the Goathouse come from high kill shelters, but during kitten season especially, they taken in many abandon/orphaned kittens-ones whose mothers were killed, born on the streets with no home, dumped as if they were garbage and not living beings, left in boxes, etc. It really is heartbreaking and Goathouse tries to help as many cats and kittens as they can.

Now, I know I sound like one of those SPCA commercials and Sarah McLachlan should be playing in the background of this post, but Goathouse really does need donations to keep their refuge going, particularly to help the orphaned kittens. Random fact, it takes almost $200 to get a kitten to an adoptable state, this means spayed/neutered, all shots, combo tested, and any medical treatment from being anemic because of fleas, dehydrated, injuries, etc. It’s a lot of money and many rescues do lose money when taking in kittens. The average adoption fee for a kitten or cat is $80-100. How do rescues afford to do this and how can you help? A really easy way to help is to become a sustainer. Sustainers are the ones who let the Goathouse know that have a “known” monthly income so Goathouse can continue to help based on a known budget. Sustainers sign up to give a monetary monthly donation and it’s so easy because when you sign up it comes out of your account every month.  Right now the Goathouse needs 100 sustainers to have a successful fall and continue to work towards their goal of ensuring a stable future for the cats. To just feed the current population of cats is $5,000 a month. Think about it. And just to break it down for those of you thinking about joining:

$5 per month allows for vaccines to cats and kittens

$15 per month allows for the purchase of high quality food

$25 per month allows us to pay for necessary blood work needed for accurate diagnosis of sick cats

$50 per month allows for the purchase of flea/tick prevention for 5 cats

$100 per month pays for vet visits for a special needs cat or kitten

$250 per month will allow the Goathouse feed 10 cats a high quality diet for a whole year!

If you want to become a sustainer, you know you do, you can sign up here: http://www.goathouserefuge.org/become-a-sustainer/

Also, click The Goathouse Refuge to be taken to their main site for other ways to help.


Sissy’s Adoption

I recently realized I have not yet done a post about my third pet, Sissy. So here is her story, warning there is a convoluted start.

I moved to Charlotte in 2010 and was not enthusiastic about the move. In 2008 my cat Henry had to be put down; he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer (we could literally see the growth on his side) and kidney failure. Putting Henry down was the worst day of my life and I swore I would never own pets again.

Well, about a year after moving to Charlotte I told John I wanted to adopt a cat. I didn’t like not having a cat and the whole social scene for me wasn’t going so well. John and I had been dating almost a year at this point and he was not crazy about the idea. But, what John had not yet learned about me is that I can be very stubborn. I was a little mean, but I felt I had a valid point when I told John, “it’s my apartment and my money, so I can get a cat if I want.” I began combing rescue sites, local shelters, Humane Societies, and ASPCA websites looking for a cat to bring home.

A few weeks passed, and I just couldn’t decide on which cat I wanted to bring home, it was terrible (I know, not the worst thing in the world, but still). I had mentioned to my friend Holli I was looking to adopt a cat and a few weeks later I got a text from her inquiring as to whether I was still looking to adopt. Holli’s friend’s mother-in-law had taken in a stray black cat that turned out to be pregnant. She had had the kittens and there were only a few weeks old, still too young to go new homes, but she was looking for forever homes. I won’t lie when I say I was hesitant at first. All my cats have been rescues and I had really wanted to pull one from a shelter or rescue. However, Holli sent me pictures of the 4 kittens and I knew I had to have one. They were all so tiny and cute! I wanted them all, but knew there was no way I could have 4 cats, John would go insane. So I made a crazy decision and told John I was adopting two kittens, from Amelia County which was about 5.5 hours away.

ImageAll four of the kittens together: Sissy, Earl, Pearl, and Winston

To be fair, I told John he could pick a kitten that way we would each have one. There were two boys (a gray and a black) and two girls (a gray and a gray, black, and white tabby). I wanted a boy, and chose the black cat. I always worry about black cats finding homes since there is the misconception that black cats are bad luck. John said he wanted a female cat; his sister had a female cat when they were growing up, but he didn’t want the tabby. I said okay, the gray one then. Nope he didn’t want the gray one either. I explained it had to be one of those two unless he wanted the boy, so he picked the tabby, our little Sissy.

ImageImage Sissy’s “adoption” photos

Holli gave me the contact information for the woman who had the kittens, we told her which ones we wanted and arranged a day for us to come and pick them up. Then on the weekend we agreed on, John and I drove 5.5 hours and got our kittens! Luckily, the woman lived about half an hour from my parents, so we stayed with them. John and I became proud owners of two 7 week old kittens that we named Winston and Sissy.

ImageSissy and Winston playing

Sissy is an interesting cat. John and I think she is either part flying squirrel or very aerodynamic, due to her light weight, because she literally flies down the stairs. Right now she is going through her “teen years” and prefers to hang out in the spare room lounging on the bed or catching some rays in the window seat watching the birds and dog walkers. She loves to play fetch with her toy mice, if we throw one she brings it back and meows until we throw it again. And every night when it is time for bed, she comes to get in the bed with us and sleeps on my chest, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have never regretted adopting them both, and the woman we adopted them from ended up keeping the mom and the two others, now named Earl and Pearl, a happy story for all. It is funny though because Winston is such a Daddy’s boy and Sissy is a Mamma’s girl, so I guess we “switched”. But at the end of the day John and I love them both and this has been a great 3 years so far.Image


Winston’s Revenge

Yesterday, John and I had to take our fur babies to the vet, which is always fun. Sissy is healthy and has gained 2lbs from last time, she now weighs 7.14lbs. She is just so tiny. Winston on the other hand, he is my healthy eater and weighs 13lbs and has to lose 2lbs, which he is not happy about. Typically, these spolied babies split a can of wet food in the morning and then a can in the evening, so they get a total of 1 can a day each. We also leave out some grain free dry food for them to snack on as they want. Winston tends to go overboard with the dry food and eats it whenever there is dry food in the bowl; I think he stress eats too. So, John and I decided to not leave out the dry food and just give him his normal half can of wet food in the morning and half in the evening. Sissy we will give a handful of dry food to as long as we can stand there and keep Winston from being a food thief. We enacted this new food routine yesterday at noon.

Since noon yesterday, Winston has not been happy. He walked around the house pouting and being ill tempered because we took him to the vet, updated him on his shots, and now don’t have dry food out. I could tell he was plotting something. Sure enough, at 3:30am Winston put plan “Revenge on Mom and Dad” into action and began meowing at 3-6 second intervals. I got up and put him in the bed with us and started petting him in an attempt to calm down. He finally did. Then, as soon as Winston knew John and I were asleep, he started meowing again. Winston kept this up for about 2 hours until he tired himself out and went to sleep, after he kicked/commandeered Otis’s (our dog) crate. Poor Otis, into the bed he went. Side note, Otis normally sleeps in the bed with us, but sometimes he hops down to have Otis nights in his crate, he loves his crate for some reason, but Winston now loves the crate too. Winston was happy this morning when he was finally able to have breakfast, at 5:30am. Yay, Winston! He’s a happy black cat again….

However, John emailed me and said since about 9am Winston has been meowing at the empty dry food bowl and throwing a tantrum. He also keeps pawing at the cupboard where we keep the dry food trying to get in, crazy kitty. I am hoping all this pouting and stomping around will help him lose the two pounds sooner so we can start putting the tiniest bit of dry food out again. Until then we are going to have to make do with our two year old in disguise of a cat.

There is never a dull moment with cats around.

P.S. Winston is now playing with bubble wrap, all may be right in the world yet.

ImageWinston mourning the loss of his dry food Continue reading


My Artsy Cat, Winston

My Artsy Cat, Winston

This is one of my favorite photos of my rescue cat, Winston. He has such a personality! He responds with various “meows” when you talk to him or ask him a question, which makes me feel less crazy, loves to cuddle, and follows my husband everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Winston will even hold John’s finger with his paws when he sits in John’s lap. What a guy.

Adopting Otis

ImageThis is my little dog, Otis. I first met Otis at Miles for Mutts, held at Lucky’s Saloon. Miles for Mutts is an independent event put by a group of amazing people to help raise money for the Humane Society of Alamance County. I had just started working for HSAC and this was my first event, first day on the job really, and there was Otis, just hanging out in a crate wearing a little vest that said “Adopt Me.” I loved him immediately. John and his friend Dylan had come with me to hangout, drink, and do whatever it was they were going to do. John held and petted Otis a little, but John was not as taken as I was. I even tried to get Dylan to adopt Otis, but while he wanted him, Dylan admitted he wasn’t home enough to have a dog. So, poor little Otis went back to his foster home that evening to continue to wait for a forever home.

ImageJohn and Otis the first day we met him

It was another month before I saw Otis again, Caitlin brought him to the office, and again, I wanted him. Otis and I bonded right away, and while I had never wanted a dog before, I’m more of a cat person, I really really really wanted Otis. Caitlin brought Otis to work a few days a week and he sat on my lap or slept in a little bed on my desk. Finally, after a few weeks I asked if I could take him home for the weekend and Caitlin said, “yes.” I told John we were just fostering for the weekend and that he would go back on Monday. This was a Thursday. By Sunday I had been crying all weekend wanting to keep him, but John was studying for the bar and said he didn’t have time for a dog. I finally made the argument that I wasn’t studying for anything, Otis could come with me to work every day, and I did have time for a dog. John finally agreed, and that dog was mine!

Otis and John’s start, unlike my start, was a rocky one. Several times John even threatened to send him back; I would never let that happen. For some reason, Otis does not like men too much and it took him about a month to get used to John. I think what finally made them bond was one night John couldn’t sleep and was up all night, he and Otis hung out and John taught him to sit by using a bag of pepperonis. After that, the two were great and they have been BFFs ever since. It was most likely the pepperonis.
Otis wasn’t the best dog when we first got him, but I love how goofy he looks, his little under bite, his love of cuddling, and he adores cats, he prefers them actually, and thankfully our cats got along with Otis. He has definitely come a long way from when we first got him. He is much better with letting random people pet him now and even cuddled up with my friend Devang when he came for a visit, something he has never done with anyone else. John and I were both amazed.

ImageOtis in the snow with John, now Daddy

I adopted Otis from a rescue and it was the best decision I ever made. I have never gotten an animal from a breeder, nor will I ever. My two current cats, Winston and Sissy, are rescues, and the cats my family had before them were all strays we found and kept. Every pet I have owned has been perfect and loving. There are a lot of people out there who will argue adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue is a bad idea because you do not know their past. Look, all you need to know is a rescue animal is far more thankful and loving than you can ever imagine. There is no reason to go to a breeder when thousands of amazing animals are in shelters waiting for homes and euthanized because no one ever comes. There are thousands of puppies and kittens in shelters who have no “past” because they are too young and many more animals who are there because their owners passed away and family would not take them or for financial reasons. It’s not “bad” dogs and cats who are there, just unfortunate ones. The animal’s past does not matter. What matters is the future and the wonderful life you and the animal can have together. I am looking forward to many happy loving years with my three fur babies.