///Cats, Dogs, and Bunnies

Cats, Dogs, and Bunnies

Love them, don’t leave them!

PattycakeThis is Pattycake. She’s a one-year-old beauty abandoned by her family. Her biggest quirk? She hates other cats, even their scent on me! In many ways, she’s a typical Tortie, which means she’s smart, opinionated, and stubborn. Some people call this “tortitude,” but I’ve learned from experience that “you can’t judge a cat by her colors.”

Pattycake is with me in Florida, and I’m trying to find her a second chance with an experienced cat adopter who has no kids at home. Her backstory breaks my heart. She was found as a tiny kitten and brought inside by a family. When the daughter moved out, they threw Pattycake outside. Neighbors cared for her for more than a year but started getting annoyed because she’d run inside when their doors opened. All she wanted was a home of her own!

PattycakeTechnically, with so much white in her coat, she’s a Tortico, and like her Tortie cousins, she’s got a mind of her own. So we’re looking for an adopter who can deal with her sometimes feisty nature. Pattycake might not like other cats, but she loves people, so her adopter must be okay with her being the ultimate lap cat. It might take a bit of time, but she’ll make someone a wonderful companion.

So, yes, she’s a bit like our sassy, naughty Pebble Poopy Stern, who became a member of the Stern family because, given her unpredictable emotional eccentricities, we thought she’d be abandoned by most other adopters. We couldn’t bear to think of that happening to her, so we made her ours.

I admit it’s tempting to think that all Torties/Torticos are difficult, but then along comes Thumbelina from Oman, one of the sweetest, friendliest, most affectionate fosters I’ve ever cared for. She’s a young cat rescued by @street_cats_of_oman, who nurtured and took her for much-needed medical attention. She had to have one eye removed due to an injury from living in the rough streets. She was flown to my friends at North Shore Animal League America, then came to me, and is now blossoming, playing, and showing everyone how much fun she is.


Sweet Thumbelina with her rainbow, and Poopy Pebble in a calm and snuggly mood. They could be sisters, right down to the missing eye, but they could not be more different personality-wise.

Our pets, just like the people in our lives, are unique individuals who deserve to be treated with understanding and respect. I’ve placed many Torties over the years, and while some share certain characteristics, they all made wonderful companions with the right people. All they needed was understanding. (By the way, Torties are related to Calicos and are almost always female. Male Tortoiseshells (about 1 in 3,000) are rare and are usually sterile.)

Butterfly KissesRight now, I have several adult cats in my program who were abandoned by families that should have known that adoption is forever. Butterfly Kisses (right) was abandoned in a feral colony. The colony feeder knew right away that she was not feral but rather absolutely petrified. The feeder couldn’t trap her for weeks, so this poor, young, purebred British Shorthair kitty was left to fend for herself. Once in my program, she got the time she needed to learn to trust, and she’s now out and about. She’s so beautiful and loves chin scratches…until she’s had enough! She’s still afraid of other cats, so we’re looking for a family who wants a “one-and-only princess.”

Mama PaisleyMama Paisley (left) was left outside when her family moved. Neighbors felt bad and continued to feed her. She had multiple litters, and the neighbors don’t know what happened to the babies, as they disappeared one by one. When they saw she was pregnant yet again, I was contacted. She’s safe with me now as she awaits her last litter. She’ll never be abandoned again, and this time, her little nuggets will find safe, loving homes.

Harvey DreamboatAnd though we can’t be certain, gorgeous Harvey Dreamboat (right), another Oman rescue, was probably abandoned as well. This charming, curious, gentle kitty is deaf and scared of other pets. I posted a video of him on IG taken just before he was rescued. He’s in an empty lot where his rescuers have left food, but he’s so scared and helpless that it breaks your heart. Even though he’s crying for food, he’s afraid to go to the dish and eat. It’s hard to imagine how he survived, but today, my heart is full because he’s going home soon!

It makes me so angry that cats and dogs are abandoned, ending up lost, alone, and betrayed by the people they thought loved them. The lucky ones find their way to my program, often through the outstanding work of my colleagues at North Shore Animal League America (NSALA).

This year, NSALA is celebrating its 80th anniversary! For eight decades, we’ve led the way in the no-kill shelter movement, saving the lives of more than 1.1 million dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens. And through our many partnerships here and around the world, we’ve facilitated the rescue and adoption of hundreds of thousands more. We’ve also introduced programs that were once considered revolutionary but are now standard practice in animal rescue, programs like humane relocation and mobile pet adoption. As the national spokesperson, board member, and foster partner, I am so proud of everything we’ve accomplished during the last 80 years.

One of my favorite NSALA programs is Tour For Life®, the largest mobile cooperative pet adoption event in the world! Every spring, we send our mobile adoption units across the country to work with local shelters to support local adoptions. This year, with support from my friend Rachael Ray’s Nutrish®, the event will visit 37 states and 60 cities from Philadelphia to Honolulu (we won’t be driving to Hawaii!!), and from Palm Beach to Parma, Ohio, to host special adoption events to make finding your new best friend easier and more fun. For more details, visit animalleague.org/tourforlife2024.

Tour For Life 2024

I’m certain that most of the shelters participating in Tour For Life will be stocked with adorable puppies of all shapes and sizes eagerly looking for homes. But if you’re looking for a new canine companion, I hope you’ll also consider adopting an adult or senior dog. There are so many advantages to inviting an older dog into your life. Older dogs are generally housebroken, are less destructive, and have probably developed good canine manners. They are also more likely to be calm, which means they’ll learn the rules of your home more readily. With older dogs, what you see is what you get; no surprises when it comes to size and personality.

So, in honor of National Puppy Day, which is March 23, I’m flipping the narrative a little and featuring two wonderful adult dogs at Animal League America who would love to meet you!

Koda T105803Foster Opportunity: Koda (T105803) has been cleared for foster care and is ready to blossom.

Rescued with her sister Riley in August 2022, Koda is very nervous about new people and spaces. She used to have Riley at her side to boost her confidence, but since Riley was adopted, Koda has had to tackle the world on her own.

This adorable, loving Shepherd Mix will be turning 2 years old next month, and although she might bark at you when you first meet, in 10 minutes, she’ll be kissing you like you’re the best friend she’s always dreamt of.

Crate-trained and housebroken, Koda is an extremely affectionate dog who loves to nap, chew on her favorite antlers, and bask in the sun like any other dog. She’s a little picky about food, so we’re still figuring out her favorite flavors. Koda has a congenital defect where there is little separation between her private areas. This increases her risk for UTI; however, I’m happy to report that she has not had any issues since her arrival at NSALA.

As a member of NSALA’s Foster Care Program, I wholeheartedly recommend fostering. I cannot express how rewarding it is to help an animal take that next beautiful step toward a forever home. So, if you live locally, please consider fostering Koda. Contact [email protected] for details.

Toby V28985Adoption Alert: Senior dog Toby (V28985) is a sweet Black Labrador Mix who really enjoys being a companion! When we first met Toby, he was an owner surrender and was in rough shape. Over the course of a few months, we were able to get his skin allergies under control and put him on a good regimen. This regimen includes an allergy shot every two months or so, which is covered through our Pet Health Centers. Toby’s skin has never looked so good, and all he needs now is a loving home to plant his roots for good! Toby is in our Foster Care Program. His foster mom says Toby loves to be around people and will thrive in a home where someone is home more often than not, or in a multi-person household so that Toby can share his love with everyone. He’s a larger-than-life presence and will keep you laughing all day. We’re looking for a family to take a chance on our big guy, Toby, who is so deserving!

And finally, a word for the rabbits. As you know, I love our bunnies, but they are a lot of very hard work. So, if you’re thinking of adopting or buying a bunny as an Easter treat for your kids, DON’T DO IT! Most people who get rabbits quickly wish they hadn’t, and who suffers for this mistake? The rabbits!

Every year, countless domestic rabbits are bred to be sold. But once the novelty wears off and people realize rabbits are very high-maintenance, destructive pets, these poor bunnies end up abandoned in parks or on the street, where they simply cannot survive.

And every year, animal shelters are inundated with unwanted, traumatized rabbits. In fact, they are the third most abandoned pets after dogs and cats. It’s just so cruel.

In last month’s blog, I recognized National Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month by detailing some of the issues you must consider before adopting or buying a bunny. And the list of problems is long! If you decide to go ahead anyway, do your research and be a well-informed, committed adopter.

For more information, please visit my friends at the San Diego Rabbit Society at www.sandiegorabbits.org or @sandiegorabbits on IG.

Chocolate BunnyOr better yet, if you want to celebrate spring and Easter with rabbits, opt for the chocolate or plush toy versions. They don’t feel pain and suffer.

Wishing you a happy spring!


P.S. The same warnings apply to baby chickens. Just don’t!

By |2024-04-12T08:59:38-04:00March 13th, 2024|