Cat Project Archives for August 28 thru September
28, 2017 - "A cat's behavior is a direct reflection
of his feelings." - Carole Wilbourn
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "New toy! New toy! New toy!"
Mewvie: Abandoned at 17.
Feline Art: 1880 Victorian
bed with hand-painted cats on headboard.
cat that won a dog lover's heart
by Sally Stephens
We never knew where Miss Kitty came from. But she was looking for a family
and chose ours.
Years ago, my mom noticed a cat hanging around the outside of her house
in Toledo, Ohio. She started to leave water, then cat food, out in the
driveway. When I visited for Christmas, we bought a small dog bed for
the cat and put it on the open front porch, with towels for added warmth.
It was winter, cold outside, with snow on the ground. Mom was so worried
about the cat that she started leaving the front door open — in
December in Ohio — so the cat could come inside and get warm. One
day, my mom shut the door behind the cat, and Miss Kitty became a part
of our family.
We never knew if she got out accidentally, ran away from a bad home or
was deliberately abandoned, but she was definitely on her own. Since
she had been declawed, she must have had trouble catching food and defending
herself. She was looking for a safe haven and found it with my parents.
We had always been dog people. We’d never had a cat and had no
idea what to do with her. But at a time when my parents were in their
mid-80s, largely housebound and unable to take care of a dog, this cat
brought a distraction from illness, giving them something outside themselves
to think about, to relate to and to love.
Six years ago, after my dad died, we moved Mom into an assisted living
facility. I brought Miss Kitty home to San Francisco to live with me.
I had never really liked cats. They seemed so aloof and hard to understand.
Dogs wear their emotions on their sleeves, but cats are more reserved.
I took in Miss Kitty because she had been my parents’ cat. But
over time, she won my heart.
She’d be at the top of the stairs waiting every time I came home.
She followed me from room to room. She talked a lot, in short clipped
meows that a friend called “chirps.” She didn’t walk;
She never liked to be held, but as time went on, she spent more and more
time close to me. She loved to walk across my lap to get to her preferred
spot on the sofa as I sat working on my laptop. One time, she stopped
mid-lap to be petted and admired, and after she had her fill of attention
and moved on, I realized she had somehow managed to increase the font
size of the letters on the laptop screen so that each one was more than
eight inches tall. She had to sit on three different keys on opposite
sides of the keyboard simultaneously to pull it off.
If I slept on my side facing away from her, she’d paw at my back
until I woke up and rolled over. Then, she’d smugly walk back to
the foot of the bed and lay back down. I loved watching her roll around
in the catnip I put on a towel for her. It was the most carefree I ever
Over the past year, Miss Kitty’s health declined significantly.
By last week, her quality of life had deteriorated so much that I decided
it was time to let her go.
With her death, I lost one of the last connections I had with my parents,
who are both gone now. But mostly, I mourn the loss of my relationship
with her. I keep thinking I see her out of the corner of my eye, or start
to say something to her, only to realize she’s no longer here.
Pets bring companionship, love, compassion and fun to our lives. Saying
goodbye is hard, but our lives are richer for the time spent with them.
They force us to think and look beyond ourselves. They expand our horizons.
Miss Kitty was special. Just by being herself, she taught this lifelong
dog person how to love a cat.
29, 2017 - "You have learned enough to see that cats
are much like you and me."
- T.S. Eliotn
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Heyyy.... nice tattoo."
Mewvie: Cat tries paws at pottery.
Feline Art: Painting
by Lindsey Kustusch.
30, 2017 - "What's virtue in a man can't be virtue
in a cat."
- Gail Hamilton
Gratuitous Kittiness: "Don't worry. I got this."
Mewvie: Pulling the tiger's tooth.
Art: "Black Galaxy Cat" by Hontor.
31, 2017 - "Artists like cats; soldiers like dogs." -
Gratuitous Kittiness: "I haz seen the light."
Mewvie: Noisy, hungry kittens.
Feline Art: Cat painting
by Linsdey Kustusch.
1, 2017 - "A dog will flatter you but you have to
flatter the cat."- George Mikes
Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Is everybody happy?"
Mewvie: "Okay, listen to your Mama, kittens..."
Feline Art: Cat drawing
by Daguole Serstinskaja.
catman of Puerto Rico
by Angela Lutz
While most people in his neighborhood are in bed asleep, Glen Venezio
is just getting to work. Known as the “Catman” of Puerto
Rico, he’s been feeding approximately 250 stray cats in and around
his neighborhood since he moved to the island from New Jersey in 2006 — and
he hasn’t missed a single night, even when he’s sick or the
weather is bad.
“It is about being present for these animals that are so hated here by
most people, going out every night religiously, in pouring rain, in storm conditions,
on burning humid hot nights, when I am ill,” Glen said. “I have not
missed a night in over 10 years.”
Glen’s feeding route
Hearing Glen describe his feeding routine, his dedication becomes even
more admirable. His night starts around 11 p.m., when he fills about
90 2-liter bottles with water from the tap. He then hauls the water,
six 16-pound bags of dry food and 40 13-ounce cans of wet food down the
stairs from his second-story apartment and loads it into a large shopping
cart. By 1 a.m., he’s ready to get started on his route. He feeds
stray cats on street corners, in empty lots and behind abandoned buildings,
and he won’t be home again until the sun comes up. Without Venezio,
many of these kitties would be in even rougher shape than they are.
Stray cats in Puerto Rico aren’t the same as
stray cats in the US
“It’s so hard to explain the larger picture here because there are
so many misconceptions from people in the States,” he says. “People
write to me and say, ‘Don’t you have the ASPCA there?’ No,
we don’t. One woman said, ‘You need to sign up for the TNR program
in your municipality, and they will spay and neuter all of those cats for free.’ And
I told her no such thing exists here. There are hundreds of thousands of animals,
and Puerto Rico is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut.”
And there are so many stray cats
The scope of the problem can be overwhelming for Glen. In most Puerto
Rican neighborhoods — with the possible exception of gated communities — he
says the streets and beaches are inundated with stray cats and dogs.
A lot of people on the island have feeding routes, but most of them focus
on dogs. Glen is one of the few who specializes in caring for the kitties,
largely because of the negative perception many people on the island
have toward cats.
“People don’t understand that the cats come from this area — people
have either thrown them here before I moved here, or they throw them here now
because they know I’m here and I’ll feed them,” Glen says. “They
have old-fashioned misconceptions: They say cats are traitors, because you’ll
pet a cat and it will claw your eyes out a second later. Or cats will steal the
baby’s breath out of its mouth — stuff like that.”
Getting into conflicts over stray cats
People’s harmful ideas about cats often bleed over onto Glen, who
has gotten into many altercations with his neighbors, initially prompting
him to switch from feeding during the day to at night. He’s struggled
with people destroying his feeding stations or even poisoning the cats’ food.
Glen says that most of the “dangerous” people on the street
at night leave him alone, but that is often not the case with residents,
who feel the cats make their neighborhood look “trashy.”
“I have many conflicts with people in my area,” he says. “I’ve
been threatened; I’ve been hurt; I’ve been assaulted. Even though
this is a good area, it’s still a city — there are drug addicts and
criminals walking around in the night. Usually they’re not interested in
me because they see me pushing a shopping cart, so in their mind I’m a
street person like them. It’s usually the residents that live here that
are the problem.”
Improving the quality of life for stray cats in Puerto
While many people who focus on feeding dogs also work to get the animals
adopted, Glen doesn’t go that route. It’s hard to find reliable
homes for cats in Puerto Rico, he says, and animal shelters in the United
States are already overwhelmed. Instead, he prefers to keep the cats
on his route, where at least he knows they’re getting spayed or
neutered and being fed every day. Despite the challenges Glen faces,
knowing the cats are loved and cared for keeps him going.
“I’m happy to know that these cats have me; their lives are not perfect
but they have some quality of life,” he says. “They have water, they
have food, and they have care. That’s the joy I get out of it. That’s
the only thing that keeps me going.”.