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Infinite Cat Project Archives for February 27 thru March 3, 2017.

Mewsings: February 27, 2017 - "The last thing I would accuse a cat of is innocence." - Edward Paley

cat in a bucket

Gratuitous Kute Kittiness: "This is No. 1 on my bucket list."

Cat Mewvie: A day in the life of a cat owner.

the real cat in the hat

Today's Kitty Komic

cat painting by Ay-O

Feline Art: "Nashville Skyline" by Ay-O.

three feral cats

The Working Cat
by Jonathan Berr

About five years ago, Chicago resident Paul Nickerson turned to a trio of cats to deal with a rodent infestation after higher-tech pest-control methods failed. He figured he had nothing to lose.

“It got to the point where my neighbors and I couldn’t walk out of our back doors to throw the garbage out at night because rats would be running over our feet,” Nickerson said.

The cats came from a Tree House Humane Society program that places animals that aren’t suited for life as house pets in places where their native talents as hunters are needed, such as warehouses and breweries.

In Nickerson’s case, the field of battle was his two-car garage, where he also stores beekeeping equipment and other gear. His feline team was led by a calico female he named “Kevorkian -- The Angel of Death,” in reference to Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the late champion of assisted suicide.

“For about a year, I’d see a dead rat probably on a daily basis,” said Nickerson, adding that the rats are now gone. In fact, he was so taken with his cats that he eventually joined Tree House and now runs the shelter’s “Cats at Work” program.

According to Nickerson, the cost for three working cats, which is a typical order, is $650, which includes the cost of spaying and neutering and equipment such as a heated pad. Clients must agree to feed and provide medical care for the animals. They also need to pass a screening process.

Other shelters around the country have similar programs.

About 100 otherwise unadoptable cats from Philadelphia have found new homes in barns and stables over the past year, according to Ame Dorminy, of ACCT Philadephia, an animal rescue group. Some “working cats” even warmed up to humans once they got situated in their new homes, she said.

Feline mouse eradication specialists are on the job at the Southern California Flower Market, the country’s largest, in Los Angeles. The Arizona Humane Society has a waiting list for working cats, according to spokeswoman Bretta Nelson. Minnesota businessman Jim Trenter is such a fan of the program that he’s planning to get a new feline to patrol his grass seed business after someone “catnapped” his Fritz, a working cat he adopted last March.

Beyond helping people deal with vermin, shelters put cats to work to generate revenue, which helps ease the burden of caring for the 6 million to 8 million unwanted pets that wind up in their care every year. According to Dorminy, working cats take up space that could go to cats who have a better chance of being adopted.

“Anytime we can move a cat fast, it saves us money,” she said.

The felines also appeal to people leery about using rat poisons favored by professional exterminators, which charge between $200 and $2,000 to handle a rodent infestation depending on the size of the property and damage involved, according to HomeAdvisor.

Working cat programs “are popping up all over the place,” said Katie Lisnik, director of cat protection and policy at The Humane Society of the U.S. “Perhaps if the shelter is crowded or the cat is near another cat, and they get sick, then you have medical concerns -- veterinary visits, medications -- all of that.”

According to the Humane Society, animal control organizations spend as much as $1 billion annually to combat such problems. In some regions, two-thirds of the animals in shelters are cats, and roughly 70 percent of them are euthanized.

The cats that shelters draft as workers are often closer to the kind of feline that has long patrolled barns and lived outside than the sort of cossetted cuties that are daily fodder for YouTube.

Many are feral and afraid of humans, or at least indifferent toward them. Nickerson said “Kevorkian” and her associates “Morticia,” a gray-and-white longhair female, and “Eberkanisis,” an orange-and-white female, remain leery of him.

“For the first couple of years, they would not even stay in the garage with me,” he said. “They were deathly afraid of me. They’re not like a house cat where you can sit there and pet them all day.They have a threshold where they get overstimulated. So you can only pet them a couple of times, and then they let me know that I have overstepped my welcome.”

Mewsings: February 28, 2017 - "No one shall deny me my own conclusions, nor my cat her reflective purr." - Irving Townsend

kitten in food bowl

Gratuitous Kittiness: "It's not what you eat, it's HOW you eat, baby."

Cat Mewvie: "Kitty wants IN!"

finding the perfect cat comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat art by kazuaki horitomo

Feline Art: "Monmon cats" by Kazuaki Horitomo.

Mewsings: March 1, 2017 - "A little drowsing cat is an image of perfect beatitude." - Jules Champfleury

cat with blue scarf

Gratuitous Kittiness: Perfectly coordinated kitty.

Cat Mewvie: Rory's riding in style.

cats discussing mothers

Today's Kitty Komic

korean tiger

Feline Art: "Tiger", 19th century Korean portrait.

Sable, my cat

Goodbye, my Sable
by Mike Stanfill

Sable stuck her head through my cat door about ten years ago, looked at me, and decided that I was her new human. I've owned a lot of cats but this one owned me. Her unbridled affection was such that, had she been a human woman, I probably would have needed a restraining order.

She promptly took over my home, letting all the other cats know, without even lifting a paw, that she was in charge now. For their part they all took it very gracefully, as though they had a choice.

To be honest, I had five cats at the time so I tried, twice, to re-home her. Each time she hid under the furniture of her new owners, refusing to come out or even eat, and cried constantly. And so I would retrieved her, much to the relief of her erstwhile new owners, Sable herself and, actually, me. After the second attempt I never tried again.

As near as I could tell she was a curious breed of cat known as a Nebelung, a forest cat from Norway. Of course, she also could simply have been a fuzzy gray cat.

At night she slept by my side and in the morning she awakened me by standing on my chest and shoving every one of her extravagantly long whiskers against my nose. It was one of her charms.

She also 'sang', loudly and often, but not after finding the perfect reflective surface to amplify the sound. She would then unloose, for a minute or two, a sound that belied her tiny size. I never understood what it was all about.

The vets had no idea how old she really was but, as the years went by, her bony hips revealed an undeniable truth. She was always a slender cat but near the end her appetite waned. Finally she stopped eating altogether. This morning, while laying in her favorite box, she peacefully passed on. Soon I'll usher her into the arms of the earth under the big tree in my back yard, where she'll spend eternity among her friends that went before her.

Thank you, Sable, for finding me. Enjoy the ride.

Mewsings: March 2, 2017 - "A cat's name may tell you more about its owners than it does about the cat."
- Linda W. Lewis

kitten sleeping on shoulder

Gratuitous Kittiness: All tucked in.

Cat Mewvie: Snowball fights with kitty.

comic self actualized cat

Today's Kitty Komic

funky blue cat painting by mike lawrence

Feline Art: "Funky Blue Cat" by Mike Lawrence.

Mewsings: March 3, 2017 - "Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a lot of ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia." - Joseph Wood Crutch

line of cats sleeping in the sun

Gratuitous Kittiness: Lazy, hazy, crazy cats of winter.

Cat Mewvie: Why does your cat's tongue feel like sandpaper?

cat on trial comic

Today's Kitty Komic

cat photo in locket

Feline Art: Cat locket in your pocket.

cleao the cat

Community comes together to save cat's life.
by Amie Knowles

MARTINSVILLE – A local family rushed their wounded cat, Oreo, to not one local veterinarian, but several last Thursday. The black and white feline was in need of serious medical attention after having been attacked by a neighborhood dog.

With its back left leg severely injured, Oreo’s owners faced two options: euthanasia or an $800 amputation.

A decision no pet parent wants to make, the choices seemed grim. The family didn’t have almost an extra $1,000 laying around, but they wanted Oreo to live a long and healthy life.
Out of options, the family contacted the SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County and asked for the organization’s help.

Catherine Gupton, director of development and executive assistant at the SPCA, said that staff requested the family visit one more vet’s office before making an ultimate decision – Dr. Eric Lorens’ Pet Clinic, less than a mile away. There, professionals determined that Oreo could have a shot at life, but only if they amputated her injured leg.

“From what I understand, the injury was so severe, it was the only option,” Gupton said.
The family was faced with a difficult decision. Legally, in order for the SPCA to be of assistance, an owner must sign over their pet to the organization. Without medical attention, Oreo would be euthanized.

Selflessly, the family surrendered Oreo to the no-kill shelter, a choice that saved the cat’s life.
However, the SPCA, which spends over $2,000 each day to care for animals, didn’t have a third of their daily budget hanging around. In faith, they asked Dr. Lorens to perform the surgery, hoping that the community would help raise the money needed to cover the operation.

Once Oreo’s story hit Facebook, it didn’t take long for locals to give the money needed to completely fund the surgery and recovery costs.

“It actually took about 24 hours,” Gupton said. “It’s one of the most successful campaigns we’ve ever had.”

With a goal of $800, Gupton revealed the community gave over $1,000. The excess money went to the shelter’s critical care fund.

The critical care fund helps “other animals in need within the shelter that need care above and beyond standard vet care, like vaccines,” Gupton said. “If we take in dogs that are heartworm positive or animals with injuries,” the SPCA uses money from the critical care fund to help pay the circumstantial medical bills.

“It’s a really, really important fund within our budget,” Gupton said. “It takes care of special needs cases that we can’t help.”

Used in oftentimes dire situations, the critical care fund allows the SPCA to continue with its necessary functions without impacting the shelter’s everyday budget.

“If we take money to treat a certain animal, it’s money we have to take from somewhere else,” Gupton said. “We might not be able to take one from the pound or from the community, so having that fund really helps us out.”

While stories like Oreo’s bring attention to the critical care fund, the shelter accepts donations to the emergency medical care account year-round.

“We have a designated fund on the website,” Gutpon said, speaking of “They can click and have it go to the critical care fund.”

While money from the fund helped Oreo, she now has a few specific needs of which potential owners should be aware.

“She really needs to be an indoor cat,” Gupton said. “If you have higher places to put food up, she’ll need help getting up there, like stairs.”

Living indoors will help ensure the safety of the feline from potential predators.

“It’s a little bit safer because they can’t flee as easily with three legs,” Gupton said.

While Gupton said the previous owners are welcome to submit an adoption application for Oreo, others in the community have offered to open their homes to the cat.

A happy ending for the black and white feline, Gupton expressed her appreciation to the community for the funds they raised to save the cat’s life.

“We just always want to thank the community so much,” Gupton said. “The support they’ve given has just been amazing.”


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