Serving the animals and citizens of Iowa County and its surrounding communities
|Letter From The Editor|
Parades, football, family fun, celebrations and resolutions – 2014 has begun! The New Year did not always begin on January 1st; rather it was tied to the various seasons over the centuries. Initially the early Roman calendar only had ten months and January wasn't one of the ten. When January was added to the calendar, the first month was named after the god Janus (Latin word for door). Janus had two faces which allowed him to look both backwards into the old year and forwards into the new one at the same time. Many people use New Year's Day as a time to reflect on the past and resolve to improve oneself in the coming year; thus New Year's Day has become a symbol of renewal and a time to prepare for a new beginning. Happy New Year to all... As you read this letter, it is important to remember that I am a volunteer and these are MY thoughts.
Happily, ICHS doesn't have to start anew, but there were many changes at ICHS in 2013. Perhaps the most momentous one was purchasing the building! After 15 years of renting/leasing, ICHS finally has its "forever home". This allows us to move forward to make necessary changes and improvements so that we can make better use of our space/dollars for the needs of the animals, staff and volunteers. Although much has been accomplished to make the building more energy efficient in the past couple of years, there is still more to be done. The newly formed Building and Grounds Committee is fortunate to have the expertise of some very knowledgeable people who have an interest/background in helping with future improvements of the building. In the past few months these volunteers have been thoroughly examining and documenting the condition of the building and equipment. This committee's agenda includes: energy use/conservation projects, replacement of failing equipment (i.e. furnaces) and the expansion of "useable" building space. If you have an interest, the time – as well as knowledge to share – please consider joining us as we work towards improving our "home". If interested, please contact ICHS president Marcia Thompson for more information.
So many cats/kittens have been adopted from ICHS this past year – close to 200 furry felines found their forever families in 2013. I am hopeful that we will find even more homes for kitties in 2014. I am wondering if you would indulge me by allowing me to ask that if/when you are planning to add a new kitty to your family, would you please consider following this 3-step resolution? It goes like this:
I resolve to:
1. Adopt from an animal shelter or rescue organization. If you happen to have a 'non-feral' homeless community cat and would prefer to provide a home for it - rather than adopting – that would be perfect too! (Please make sure to have it spayed or neutered).
2. Stop and take a look at the "Top Ten List". These cats have been at ICHS for 2 going on 5 years. (You don't have to choose one of these 10, but at least start your search by checking out the kitties on this list).
3. Check out the "special needs" cats. If you can only have one cat, why not one of these sweeties? (If not YOU, who?)
How about this resolution??? I believe that one of the most common New Year's resolutions is dieting – so many Americans are obsessed with weight loss. But what about managing your pet's weight? I sincerely hope that you will heed some advice from someone who has "been there, done that" - please think seriously about keeping your pet at a 'healthy' weight to avoid possible problems – one of them being diabetes.
Raymond is my blind cat and has been overweight for most of his 12 years (or at least since he has been living with me). His veterinarian has advised me repeatedly that he needs to lose weight. A few years ago she asked me, "What is worse than a blind cat?" The answer: "A blind AND diabetic cat". Well, Ray is now diabetic. Granted, there may be other factors which contributed to his diabetes, but his uncontrolled eating probably played a part in him now being diabetic. So now (after the damage has been done) I am making a serious attempt to get him to lose weight – and it is not easy! But...getting Ray to lose weight isn't the only challenge. My husband and I have to monitor Ray's blood glucose levels so that we can get his diabetes "under control". Monitoring your diabetic animal's blood glucose levels has to be done – whether you do it at home or have it done at the vet clinic. For us, it isn't practical to drive 25 miles round trip to the clinic, so we have a glucose meter and do it ourselves – right now it has to be done daily and Ray is NOT very cooperative. Besides the cost of the meter, you also need the test strips ($40 for 25 strips). And then, of course, there is the insulin. When I left the pharmacy (after picking up the insulin) I was numb! The cost of insulin...oh my!!! I just sat in the car for a bit and wondered how this fits into my budget! And also, the special food that a diabetic animal needs costs more than the food for a 'healthy' animal. There are also other concerns that I don't have time/space to go into. As much as most of us love big, fat, roly-poly cats, please consider making a New Year's resolution to protect your pets, extend their quality of life, their life expectancy and your budget by watching their weight for them. "No, Ray, it's not time to eat – I'm being responsible..."
If you have any suggestions or ideas about the content of ICHS PAWPRINTS, please contact me, Terri Davis at email@example.com
Gail Yu, a long-time ICHS volunteer and supporter, passed away suddenly on November 29. I first met Gail back in the summer of 2002. I had just started to volunteer at ICHS. Besides looking forward to spending time with the animals, I also looked forward to spending time with two other veteran "cat cuddlers" - Gail and Betty. Betty joined me on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Gail did likewise on Wednesdays and Fridays. This was back in the day when there were only 25-40 cats living at the shelter, so on most days we could get all of the kitties out of their cages for 15-20 minutes of socializing. Gail also was a special person in that (as often as she was able) she would take home the kitties that had little chance of being adopted. Most recently Gail took Dominic (FIV+) home, and she also took in homeless cats from her neighborhood. Staff and volunteers here at ICHS extend our deepest sympathy to Gail's husband, Hyuk, and their three sons and families. I don't feel that I did a very good job here conveying what a compassionate and wonderful person Gail was, but she was – a truly WONDERFUL person!
Upcoming Fundraising Events
Just a reminder that ICHS is always looking for volunteers to help with the planning and implementation of our fundraisers. A goal is to have enough volunteers so that each individual would only have to help plan and work at one event per year. At this time, we are brainstorming ideas for 2014. So...if you can help out with the planning and organizing for next year's events, please contact Cheri firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to hear from you!!!
We all know that all animals are 'special' but the animals featured in this section are indeed special. These are 'special needs' animals. The special person/family who adopts one of these animals knows that this may/may not be the long-term relationship which we hope for when we open our hearts and homes to a new family member. These animals 'forever homes' with us may be just for a short time before they move on...But, nevertheless, these animals need a home and a loving family just as we all do. Are you possibly the family that could provide a home for one of these animals? If not, do you know of a family who could provide a loving home for these animals? If so, please come out to ICHS and find out more about these animals from the ICHS staff.
Cameron, Limbo, Buzz, Isaac & Kit Kat
Our FIV+ (Feline Immuno-deficiency Virus) population has increased to five – Cameron, Limbo, Buzz, Isaac and Kit Kat. FIV cats are "normal" cats– it's just that these five kitties have a virus (FIV) which affects their immune system – but slowly – over a period of years! So these kitties should live long and normal lives! Cameron is a handsome, active, playful guy who loves attention. He needs to be an only cat – he isn't the least bit fond of other cats. He has been at ICHS for well over a year - now on the "Top Ten List". Limbo is a good-looking gray guy who also loves attention. Buzz was thought to be 'feral' when he first arrived at ICHS – but he was simply frightened. He now has the reputation of being "one of the sweetest and most loving cats in the building". I agree. When I took him out of his cage to get to know him - he never left my lap; he just wanted to be petted! However, I took Isaac out right afterwards, and he was the same way – so loving! Isaac is a young, beautiful kitty! Kit Kat is a beautiful calico who I haven't gotten to know yet. She hasn't been with us long, but if she is as friendly as she is beautiful, she is the cat for you! If it wasn't for the FIV+ sign on their cages, you wouldn't have a clue that these cats have FIV! Although we call these cats "special", there really are no special considerations when adopting them. They must be kept indoors. They may live with other cats since FIV is not easily passed between cats (it would be best if your other cat(s) are good-natured and amicable to a new pal). FIV is primarily spread by serious bite wounds so if you have other cats, it is important to properly introduce any of these five to the others (but you would do that with any cat that you bring home). It is also important to keep them free from stress so a quiet home would be best. Is it possible that YOU just might be the special family that these kitties are looking for? So...Cameron, Limbo, Buzz, Isaac and Kit Kat need homes!
Frieda & Madison
Frieda and Madison are FeLV+ (Feline Leukemia Virus) kitties. Frieda, a beautiful gray lady, has been at ICHS for a while. She is very affectionate and she only wants "lap time" when she is taken out of her cage – she has the sweetest little "meow"! She is not overly fond of other cats. Little Madison is a strikingly beautiful "classic" tabby with the bold, swirling pattern. She is about a year old, can't get enough attention and does well with other cats (she even tried to be friendly with Frieda, but Frieda had other ideas). If you only want one cat, either of these would be perfect. FeLV cats must be only cats (they can live with other FeLV cats) and they must be kept indoors. FeLV cats may be asymptomatic (free from symptoms) for years and will hopefully live relatively long lives. FeLV cats are hard to place which is unfortunate because they need someone – just as we all do! So...if you are looking for a kitty companion, these kitties are looking for YOU!
Gregory & Fozzy
Both Gregory and Fozzy are indeed special kitties! They tested positive for both FeLV and FIV. Now don't let that deter you from making either one of these guys (or both of them☺) a part of your family! As mentioned earlier, as long as these guys are kept indoors, are only cats and live in a stress-free environment (as much as possible), they should be with
your family for many years to come. Both Gregory and Fozzy have only been at ICHS for a short time. Gregory is very friendly and affectionate, but he hasn't had a lot of opportunities to interact with people (he was a barn cat), so he needs YOU to show him what a loving relationship is all about. Fozzy is a young fella and a real character! He is a bit "cross-eyed" which simply adds to his charm (take a look at his pic – how can you resist?). He is very affectionate and loves to play. So...Gregory & Fozzy need homes.
Gizmo is a beautiful, young Maine Coon mix. He is front declawed. If you are familiar with this breed, you already know how SWEET you can expect him to be! However, Gizmo is a "special needs" kitty. Gizmo has cerebellar hypoplasia – more commonly referred to as 'wobbly cat' syndrome. Gizmo is uncoordinated and loses his balance. This is a non-progressive condition (it should not worsen and Gizmo's life expectancy will be "normal") as well as non-contagious. Gizmo gets along well with other cats and lived with dogs in his previous home. As endearing as you will find Gizmo, he is a 'special' kitty and will be somewhat challenging – which is why this guy wouldn't be a cat for just any family. Come and meet him, fall in love, ask questions and then decide if Gizmo is the kitty that you have been looking for! Whether you can provide a home for him or not, you WILL fall in love with him! ☺
Vegas is considered a special kitty because of her 'catitude'. She is one of those cats who is difficult to place. Anyone who knows cats is aware that many Tortis and Calicoes are known for their "temperaments". Vegas is approximately 6-7 years old. She had been abandoned by her previous owner and has been at ICHS going on 5 years. Now, it's not that Vegas isn't friendly – she's just "choosy"; even preferring some staff to others! She is declawed in the front so scratching is not an issue and I don't believe she has ever bitten anyone. She just vocalizes a lot – trying to get YOUR attention! Vegas is like other 'hard to place' cats which we have had at the shelter - once they go to a home, they do very well. An experienced 'cat-family' living in a quiet household is exactly what Vegas needs. She does OK with other cats. So...Vegas needs a home.
(BTW – Sarge is not actually a dog with "special needs" – he just needs a home – as they all do).
It is said that "dogs live in the present" and Sarge is proof! He'll make every minute that he spends with you count! Sarge is a 3-4 year old Lab mix who has been at ICHS for a couple of months. He has proven to be a quick learner – knowing little when he came here, but has caught on quickly to basic commands. He loves attention and people – he's very social. He has a playful side to him – sometimes being downright "goofy". Sarge is a large dog – he probably should lose a few pounds – but he walks well on a leash so he would make a great walking companion. Sarge may need to be an only dog – it would depend on the other dog. In thinking of Sarge, the expression "a diamond in the rough" comes to mind. He needs a bit of 'polish' and he will absolutely dazzle YOU! Come and meet this gem today!
Many of you remember Bradley – a big, handsome, dominant Lab-mix. Bradley had come to ICHS in May of 2007 and finally in September of 2012 (over 5 years later) Peter and JorJan decided to give him a home. We recently received a Christmas card from Bradley and wish to share it.
Hi! Remember me? I'm finally getting my "owners" trained right; and talked them into sending a membership donation. I'm doing well – lots of walks in the fields and woods. I'm even getting more used to cats (though they are kind of nasty). I've been shaping up my new "pack" – I get them moving by 7 AM every day. Congratulations to Belle, Penelope, Sinbad and Jingles on their new homes! Hope they're as lucky as I have been! Well, time to go beg for another treat (I'm now a master of positive reinforcement).
Thank you, Bradley, for giving us an update on life away from ICHS! Thank you, JorJan and Peter for giving Bradley a home – sounds wonderful!
Scout (kna Bootsie)
Some of you "old-time" ICHS volunteers and visitors may remember Bootsie. As a volunteer, I got to know Bootsie during the summers of 2006 & 07. She was an unassuming, gentle lady living in the larger communal cat room at the other shelter on Bennett Road. She was one of those kitties (like so many) that I wondered why no one would choose her to be a part of their family. Well, Bootsie finally found her family and Vicki was kind enough to share Bootsie's story and send an update.
To the staff and volunteers:
...A stray cat was turned into the ICHS on October 25, 2005, and her name was Bootsie. Due to overcrowding at the shelter, Bootsie was transferred to the DCHS on January 23, 2008. I adopted Bootsie on February 11, 2008, renamed her Scout (after the lovable tomboy in "To Kill a Mockingbird") and took her to her forever home in Madison.
My sincere thanks and gratitude to the staff of ICHS and its volunteers for the loving kindness showed Bootsie k/n/a Scout during her 2+ years at the shelter. Scout is the most loving, affectionate cat I have ever known and I believe she is that way because of the love and attention she was given at ICHS. She loves to be held and carried around, she has a motorboat purr that makes me smile, and she loves to sleep on my lap while I'm reading and/or watching TV. She is a sweetheart.
Every Christmas since 2008, I have thought about sending a note of appreciation...and am sharing a pair of photos of Scout. The photo on the left was taken in 2009 and the photo on the right was taken recently. Scout is healthy, happy and very much loved. I wanted you to know that this little stray cat from October 2005 is content in her forever home. Thank you so much for saving Scout so I could adopt her. Vicki
Thank you, Vicki, for the update on Bootsie/Scout. It sounds as if she is doing wonderful! Thank you so much for giving this sweet kitty a loving home.
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