My Funny Furry Valentines
February might be the shortest month of the year, but it’s also one of the busiest. And maybe even the sweetest.
Not only is February Valentine’s month, it’s also Kitten Bowl season. This year, the first weekend in February was especially special, with two fantastic bowl games — Cat Bowl I on Saturday and Kitten Bowl VI on Sunday (Thank you, Hallmark Channel!) — plus several glorious adoptions at our house. Most of those lucky nuggets were adult and senior kitties, several of whom were left on their own after their humans died. Imagine the resilience it takes to bounce back when the person you trust and depend on disappears and you find yourself in a completely foreign situation. These cats truly inspire me.
Gorgeous, gentle, and loving, 12-year-old Patches was grieving and heart-broken when she came to us. With care and patience, she found hope again, and on February 2, she also found a wonderful new family.
Beautiful Patches, surrounded by love…again.
Pogo (now Poe) and Cleo are an 11-year-old brother and sister team (below) whose human died suddenly. Like Patches, these two beauties are so lucky to have found a sensitive human who realizes how important it is to give seniors a second chance in their golden years.
When you and a nugget show up in the same outfit! Oh, Cleo!
Elegant Pogo always looks divine.
Flirty Frankie Miracle is a charmer.
And now an update on another dramatic rescue: Last month I introduced you to my Work In Progress, Frankie Miracle. I met this sweet guy when a woman came into my vet’s office with a cat in a trap and asked my vet to euthanize him. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead, this one-year-old beauty came home with me. He was initially quite frightened, but he quickly came around, and even though his ear was tipped — the sign of a feral kitty — he was anything but.
On February 3 he went home to join my former foster, Zena the magnificent, who understands grief, having lost her first owner after eight years. (Zena, by the way, was the team captain of the Forget Me Not Bobcats for Cat Bowl I and was subsequently inducted into the Feline Football Hall of Fame. I’m so proud of her!)
Frankie Miracle, above right, meet Zena.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Whew! That was a close call for Frankie. But then, unbelievably, it happened again!
Meet 14-year-old Gabby. Her human decided her recent diabetes diagnoses was too much to deal with and told me if I didn’t take her he would have her euthanized. I didn’t know whether to cry or scream. So I did a bit of both. She arrived sad and confused, but her twice daily insulin shots were super easy. I posted her online and in fewer than 24 hours, a brilliant vet tech stepped up and Gabby is now part of a wonderful family in Brooklyn.
Another near miss. Why some people so quickly opt for euthanasia frightens and mystifies me.
Gabby finds the sweetest second chance.
Being able to help cats like these does a heart good. And speaking of hearts, February is Healthy Heart Month — for humans and pets — and also Pet Dental Health Month. In other words, it’s the perfect time to schedule an appointment for your pet’s annual check-up. If you live nearby, North Shore Animal League America’s Pet Health Centers is a convenient, one-stop hub for all your pet’s health needs, offering exams, dental care, preventive and wellness care, and even physical therapy and acupuncture. But no matter where you live, find a good veterinarian and make an appointment.
Once you’ve made that appointment, it’s time to organize and update. Unless you’ve been living in a cat condo, you probably know that getting organized is all the rage these days. Folding, tidying up, and sorting has become a hot topic. But in my opinion, folding socks and tee-shirts is never as important as knowing that you can grab all your pet’s important info when you need it, especially in an emergency. So take some time to collect all those medical records and organize them either on your computer or in a file cabinet. It’s also wise to prepare a pet emergency kit, and make sure you have current information on vaccinations and microchips.
When I think of cats, health, hearts, and Valentine’s Day, I naturally think of big, fluffy Yoda Stern. The first time I saw him, he was a sad one-year old sitting in the back of a cage at North Shore Animal League America. I brought him home and my vet told me he had a heart condition and would probably live for just a couple of months. Four years later he is my paws-on foster assistant. He’s always in the foster room taking care of kittens. He grooms them, corrects them, and hauls them back into the foster room if they escape. And he’s as healthy as can be. He inspired me to write “Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens,” which I love sharing with children. I truly believe that love and purpose healed Yoda’s failing heart — and can help all of us be healthier and happier, too.
I think that anybody who has a pet can attest to the fact that they are family members. They’re there in tough times and in wonderful times, sad days and happy days. And as much as we nurture them, what we get back is ten-fold. They complete life. And above all, they spark joy!