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Infinite Cat Project Archives for August 28 thru September 1, 2017.

Mewsings: August 28, 2017 - "A cat's behavior is a direct reflection of his feelings." - Carole Wilbourn

cat with new toy

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "New toy! New toy! New toy!"

Cat Mewvie: Abandoned at 17.

cat toll troll comic

Today's Kitty Komic

hand-painted voctorian bed

Feline Art: 1880 Victorian bed with hand-painted cats on headboard.

calico cat with heart necklace

The 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 strutted.

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 saw her.

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.

Mewsings: August 29, 2017 - "You have learned enough to see that cats are much like you and me."
- T.S. Eliotn

cat looking at tattoo

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Heyyy.... nice tattoo."

Cat Mewvie: Cat tries paws at pottery.

cat late for meeting comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat art by kazmarski

Feline Art: Painting by Lindsey Kustusch.

Mewsings: August 30, 2017 - "What's virtue in a man can't be virtue in a cat."
- Gail Hamilton

cat and bottle cap

Gratuitous Kittiness: "Don't worry. I got this."

Cat Mewvie: Pulling the tiger's tooth.

cat makes demands comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat art by horitomo

Feline Art: "Black Galaxy Cat" by Hontor.

Mewsings: August 31, 2017 - "Artists like cats; soldiers like dogs." - Desmond Morris

cat hiding behind pole

Gratuitous Kittiness: "I haz seen the light."

Cat Mewvie: Noisy, hungry kittens.

we are notkitten school comic cats comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat art by lindsey kustusch

Feline Art: Cat painting by Linsdey Kustusch.

Mewsings: September 1, 2017 - "A dog will flatter you but you have to flatter the cat."- George Mikes

girl and cats smiling

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "Is everybody happy?"

Cat Mewvie: "Okay, listen to your Mama, kittens..."

cat smacks cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat art by satoshi yoshioka

Feline Art: Cat drawing by Daguole Serstinskaja.

cat news

The 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 Rico

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.”.


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