Friday, March 1, 2013

A Different Kind of Cinderella Story

Meet our Cinderella - called Cinda.

I think pets are wonderful companions and also help kids learn routine and responsibility. Back here Max when we dog sat, I went  over why we couldn't consider a dog. And since we all liked cats, that was the direction we would go.

I knew about VOKRA and loved their philosophy so my first stop was their site. So many cats and kittens, too many, when will people learn to spay/neuter?

I knew we wouldn't get a young kitten. Kittens are great; kittens are fun; kittens are hyper! Plus, everyone wants kittens so they find homes faster than 'cats'. Plus, younger kittens should not be alone much and while the kids were home most of the day, they were not home enough of it. I also didn't want a senior cat, for a fairly selfish reason, I didn't want to explain death to the kids anytime soon (this was not knowing my dad would pass away suddenly).

In October, I filled out the application form and started the search while I waited. I poured through the pictures and write ups. No matter how 'cute' I didn't consider any cats that said "no kids" or even those with "no dogs" since one day, we may get a dog. I did look at the special needs animals and of the 4 at the time, 2 really 'spoke' to me.

I had some follow up questions via email and a couple of phone interviews with VOKRA before I was approved. I worked with Peggy and Valerie to narrow down the list of cats I would like to meet first. Top of the list was one of the 'special needs' cats Cinda along with two others. I made an appointment to meet Cinda.

And that was it. I loved her. To say she was shy was an understatement. I watched her in passing and held still when she ventured close enough, taking fly-by sniffs at me. But there was something in her eye, that caught me. And her foster mom told me how she took a while to get comfortable but would come for pets now. I was up to the challenge.

I finished the adoption process. The fees include Spay/Neuter any shots needed, tattoo and the first vet follow up visit. This is more than worth the cost. Then I was free to pick up our cat.

Cinda was understandably scared when she first came home. And from her foster mom, I honestly expected it to take months before she'd come around. Her second night, I was her best friend. Within a week, the second the kids went to bed, she was out, howling and pushing on me to pet her. This was followed by her coming out when the kids were sitting quietly (eating, TV, art, etc) but still scurrying away at any sudden movement. Then she started to come ask for pets with the boys at bedtime. Now she curls up on the bed when the boys first go to sleep and comes back and spends at least some time when I go to bed. She meets me at the door when I get home from work. And now she is very aggressive about being pet when she wants it. She is still shy and skittish and even if I make a sudden movement, she dashes away. 3 year olds make lots of sudden movements.

These pictures are from her second night at our place.

This video was a couple of weeks after she joined our family. If you can play this with volume on, I love her purr.

This was her bio:
Lovely little Cinda has had a very difficult start to her young life. She is a young cat who was out on the street, pregnant and alone. She had a terrible delivery, out in the cold alone and as such lost her kittens and almost lost her own life. A caring passerby found Cinda and called animal rescue who came and got her, performed surgery and gave her antibitotics. She was to stay with VOKRA to recover but upon arrival we could see that she was still deathly ill. She was emaciated, she had a terrible infection, toxemia and other health issues. The VOKRA team sprung into action, taking her to an amazing vet at Alta Vista Animal Hospital. 8 weeks later and Cinda is a completely recovered kitty cat. She is still slender and I dont think she'll ever be a big cat due to the terrible issues she faced. Today, however, she is healthy, loving, quiet and affectionate. She absolutely loves to be stroked and will almost jump up into your hands to be cuddled. Cinda's future health should be easily managed with a really great diet and tender loving care. 

And this video was taken last week. She clearly adores her loves and cuddles. 

VOKRA feeds their cats Wellness Chicken canned food and ask that you not change their food for 4 weeks post adoption. No problem. But I knew I would want to transition her to raw. Some cats find this easy, some resist. Cinda was all for the raw food, and I didn't even have to transition, she gobbled it up - but only chicken. She has started to put on a bit of weight, I think she might weigh 5 lbs now. She runs if you have treats but other than freeze dried shrimp, I have yet to find a cat treat she enjoys. Oh, but yeah, she is a catnip addict.

If you read her bio about her rough start added to VOKRA's requirements, you'll know that she is spayed. So you'll probably be saying WTF when I say she still goes into heat. Her foster mom told me about it and said she looked it up. I did too. It means that there is in her, somewhere, a small bit of ovarian tissue. I talked with the vet about it and he said it may be very difficult to find and could require multiple surgeries. He said there is no medical reason why she needs it. We might have a reason. She went into heat the week I brought her home and has had one more since. I can live with the caterwauling. And sure her butt is in the air, but she's very affectionate during the time. However, it also seems like she has a hard time controlling her bladder. Cat pee is rank, very rank. When not in heat, she's peed on the sofa once and the floor quite a few times and the even the bed once. But that was months ago when I think she was also a little less stable emotionally.  So maybe, just maybe, she'll make it to the litter box more during her next heat. If it becomes a problem, then I'll be looking for a vet with experience with this specific condition. She is such an amazing cat that we'll find a way to make it work.

Her foster mom is amazing. Along with Cinda she had 3 kittens that I couldn't believe hadn't been snatched up. I found out that even tuxedo cats (black and white aka cow cats) are almost as hard to adopt out as black cats due to superstitions. Seriously people - it's a cat! When I look at the 22 kittens currently available - only 4 don't have black in them. Get over it people, they are cats, not spawn of Satan. (I am happy to see 'only' 22 kittens though, in the fall when I was looking there were pages and pages and pages). I know it was with mixed feelings that I adopted Cinda. It has to be hard, caring, but not caring too much.

Adopting a pet from a place that does fostering is great for so many reasons. The foster parent gets to see you interact with the pet and can add input to 'fit'. Plus you get to talk to the foster parent and get more info than can fit in a little bio.You get to meet the cat in a home setting where she feels more comfortable and safe than she would in a cage in a shelter.

Vokra is 100% volunteer run, not a single paid staff. They run on donations. And while not everyone can donate to every cause, there are others way you can help support them. Get the word out. And hey, do you shop? Ever? Buy food? Like Startbucks? Ever give giftcards as gifts? Then you can support Vorka with no cost to you (no tax receipt either, but hey, you can't have it all). Vokra is part of the Gift Card Fundraising Program. All you do, is buy your giftcards through them and they get to keep a portion of the face value of the card. Gift Card Program

While pets should be for life, sometimes shit happens and you may find yourself needing to find a new home for you pet(s). Check with friends and family first. If that doesn't work, for dogs with a known/noticeable dominate breed, go through a breed rescue. Consider a no-kill shelter next. For cats, try to find a local rescue group like Vokra where the animals are fostered and socialized and new homes scrutinized. Yes, places like Craigslist are possible, but prepare to be slammed by people who don't care that your spouse has cancer or your child has severe asthma and will die, dammit the pet comes first. And then you have to screen the people who want your pet, who is probably like a family member and don't get that this is a horribly hard thing for you to do.

And one last thing. If you get a dog or cat, please spay/neuter them. Even if you plan for your cat to be an indoor one, things happen (a cat in heat can be pretty determined as can be an unaltered male on the scent of  a female).  It is not cruel to your pet, it could even save her life.

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