Meet George the Handsome Deaf and Blind Cat

Meet George the Handsome Deaf and Blind Cat

Who is George?

George is a very handsome cat.

George and his blue blankie

How old is George?

George will be 5 years old in September, 2012.

Where did the name George come from?

When I first laid eyes on George, I thought he was the most adorable and handsome male cat I had ever seen so I appropriately named him after the most adorable and handsome person, Mr. George Clooney.

How did he come into your life?

My parents were both living with me at the time and my Mother very much wanted a white, female kitty like one she had as a child.  We looked around at a number of shelters but could not find a white kitty.  In the meantime, I fell in love with a black adventurous male cat, Jack, at one of the shelters.  When I went back with my Mother to visit Jack before the adoption went through, we saw the most beautiful brother and sister orange tabbies and it was love at first sight.  We ended up taking all three home with us – Jack, George, and his sister Callie.

It’s mentioned on his page that he had an illness that resulted in him being blind and deaf, do you know what that illness was?

When George was approximately 7 months old, I observed what looked to be scratch marks on his face.  I thought it was strange as the cats never played or fought that rough.  When the wounds began appearing all over his body, my veterinarian immediately recognized it as Cryptococcus, a fungal infection.   This was confirmed with blood and biopsy tests.  It is unknown where he would have been exposed to the fungus as the other cats never became infected.  George went into a serious decline as the infection had been growing inside of him before it was visible on his body.  Anti-fungal medication does work but it takes a period of time before significant results are seen.  Unfortunately, George did not improve with the standard anti-fungal he was first given, and he continued to decline.  The infection became so bad that George had a feeding tube inserted and was too weak to use his litter box.  There were times I felt he had gone through enough and I should let him go.  It was a very difficult time as I was not sure of what was the best decision for him.  Given that he was so young, my vet supported my decision to keep fighting as she saw George trying to fight and she wanted to help him make it to his first birthday.  The vet knew that once we were able to fight the infection with the right anti-fungal, he would have a long, happy life.  After research done by both me and the vet, we switched George to a lesser known anti-fungal and after some time he began to show improvement.  The serious illness lasted approximately 3-4 months, but the entire healing process was quite long.  We celebrated accomplishments such as George being able to get in and out of the litter box on his own, George switching from being fed prescription high calorie wet food via a syringe into his mouth to eating on his own from a bowl, and George finally crawling back up onto the couch on his own.  Once it was apparent that George was no longer on the verge of death, the vet and I, and a vet eye specialist realized he had lost his sight and hearing from the infection.  I was saddened by this as I felt it would greatly affect his quality of life.  The vet assured me that cats successfully learn to cope with this, which George has.
George on the Beach

Does he have any siblings?

George lives with a 16 year old tabby named Sam, Jack the black adventurous cat, and his sister Callie.

Is he mainly an indoor cat?

George is an indoor cat, which is especially important given his disabilities.  All my cats are indoors and have plenty of toys and cat condos to play on.  Because George needs extra sensory stimulation, I do take him on supervised adventures.

Since George is blind and deaf how does he get around?

George adapted to being blind and deaf.  He walks around the house with his head lowered so that if he bumps into things, it will hit lightly on the top of his head rather than his face.  He walks slowly so it is rare that he would ever bump into anything with force.  George also uses his whiskers to help him feel his way, and he remembers the feel of the floor.   For example, on a rug in the living room is his favorite toy and a scratching box.  When he feels that rug, he knows where to find these items.  George is not afraid to get up on furniture.  As long as he can judge where the top of the furniture is with his paws, he will get on it.  He will not jump straight up onto a counter or something high as he cannot judge where the top is.  George had to learn how to get down from things he crawled onto.  He normally reaches his paws out to try to feel for the floor or a landing spot.  If he cannot feel one, he will let himself drop and he has learned what pieces of furniture are close to a wall.  For instance, when he gets off of the guest bed, he knows to jump down and immediately turn is body sideways mid-air because it is a narrow space and if he jumped straight out, he would hit the wall.  He learned this from experience and he remembers these important details!  He only has to hit a wall once to know how to adjust his dismount.  The great thing is that he doesn’t let these occasional bumps and crashes keep him from being adventurous.  In fact, he rotates his sleeping spot around the house, even on different floors of the house.  He spends anywhere from a few weeks to  a couple of months in one spot which is his designated sleeping spot, then he will suddenly change it.  I’m not sure what makes him decide to move, but I am glad that he isn’t afraid of trying new things.
George on the Boat (he’s really adventurous)
As I mentioned previously, George needs extra stimulation of his other senses to keep him from becoming bored.  It is important that George remain engaged with life.  George will spend time on our back deck which allows him to feel something different under his paws and fully take in the scents of the outside.  George also goes on camping trips to New Hampshire and has camped in a cabin as well as a tent.  During the day he lounges outside on the campsite in a play pen tent which is large enough to accommodate him, his litter box, food and water bowls, and a bed and toys.  He has gone on a pontoon boat and has spent time walking on a beach and sticking his paws in the lake.  George enjoys his adventures and his personality makes it possible for him to go on these trips.  Since the time George lost his sight and hearing, he no longer runs or jumps on things.  Because of his laid back nature, he can have these experiences without me being worried that he will escape and become lost.  I obviously watch him carefully and am right by his side, but George is happy to just take in the smell of the air, the sand or dirt under his paws, and the feel of the sun on his fur.

Anything else special you would like to share about George?

George is a handsome, loving, special boy and he has melted the hearts of others, some of whom have never liked cats!  I recently set up a FaceBook fan page for George under the name “George the Handsome Deaf and Blind Cat”.  There is quite a cat community on there and through this, I have discovered so many deaf and/or blind cats and dogs who are also living wonderful, full lives.  George is a happy cat who loves when his best friend comes for a visit.  He can smell her in the house and immediately gets on her lap and kneads on her (aka “makes cookies”).  George continues to stay on the anti-fungal medication as there may be residual Cryptococcus hiding in him since it did make it to his brain.  George also receives eye drops every day to keep the inflammation down in hopes that he will not lose his eyes.  As George can see some light, I am hopeful his eyes remain healthy.
George on the bed

What advice do you recommend for anyone thinking of adopting a cat that is blind, or deaf or both?

I feel that having a special needs kitty adds so much to my life.  I love all my cats but I truly get a lot from living with George.  I have seen how he has dealt with losing his sight and hearing which was scary for him at first.  I am so proud of him for not letting that stop him from living his life to the fullest.  When I have bad days or doubt myself, I look at George and am inspired by his attitude and willingness.  These special cats just want to be loved and feel safe in their home.  George adores being petted and rubbed and will give little kisses by licking my hand.  People should not hesitate to adopt a special kitty.  They should look at their house and be aware of some adjustments they may have to make such as not leaving their shoes or other items on the floor where a blind cat may be jumping off a piece of furniture.  The cat won’t know it is there and could hurt themselves if they land on it.  Also, let the cat know you are there before you suddenly put a hand on them.  If they are deaf or blind, they may not realize you are there and will jump when they feel your hand touch them.  I always give a little tap of my foot when approaching George and will place my hand close to his face so he can smell me first.  Then I will pet him without causing him to jump or be startled.  These are little adjustments to make and so worth what you get back in appreciation.  It may take a while for the cat to get used to the house and to map a route to the food bowl and litter box in their minds (if they are blind).  If a cat is deaf, or blind and deaf, you can tap your feet a certain way on the floor to alert them with the vibration that breakfast or dinner is served.  There is a lot of helpful information on the internet for tips on living with these special cats.  Don’t feel sorry for them!  Sure, it would be great if George had his sight and hearing, but he is a happy cat who gives and receives love and has added so much to my life.  I am thankful for what George has given me and for the adventures we will continue to share.
George at the lake

George related Links:

Thank you’s
The author would like to thank George’s guardian for answering the questions about this very handsome little guy. Photos were used with permission.

Meet Bella the Blind and Deaf Cat

Meet Bella the Blind & Deaf Cat

How old are you Miss Bella?

Hello! I am approximately 10 years old according to the vet.

Where did the name Bella come from?

Mom named me Bella because Bella means “beautiful”.

Were you born blind?

I don’t know how long I have been blind. Mom does not think I have always been blind or I would not have survived as long as I did with my former owners.

Do you live with any four-legged family members?

I have 4 kitty siblings and one dog sibling. The kitties are Jareka, Miss Kitty, Amber & Moses. The dog’s name is Samson.

Where do you spend most of your time?

I spend most of my time in a 6 ft x 8 ft. kitty palace that Dad built. It keeps me safe while they are at work. When Mom & Dad are home they let me walk around the house but I like to sit in their laps the best!

How long did it take for you to adjust to your furever home?

It took around three months for me to get use to living the life of a Princess! I had been abused so I was not use to humans being nice to me. Mom says that it is a blessing for she and Dad to have a “dfferently abled” kitty like me! It isn’t always easy, but the love I show them with my head bonks, purrs, hand rubs, & chin rubs make them feel all warm inside. Mom says that no matter what happens, I got to know that I am lovable and deserving of love!

Do you accept fan mail? If so, where can people send it?

jannestaylor@yahoo.com

Is there anything else you would like to share ?

Be aware of blind and/or deaf pets’ compensatory heightened senses:

  • To aid in room orientation, place differently textured rugs on floors and unlit candles of varying scents into each room.
  • Deaf pets respond to vibrations; tap out different “Morse code-like” vibrations by, for example, tapping your toes on the floor, knocking your knuckles on a wall, or slapping a hand on the steps to alert them to feeding time, outside time, or bedtime.
  • Memorizing the outlay of your home gives them freedom from mishaps; rearranging furniture or forgetting to put things into their “proper” places, can lead to harm.
  • It is cruel to startle any pet.
  • The warmth of your lap and your gentle touch help to expand and fill their silent and/or dark, world.
  • Remember that Helen Keller had many limitations, but blossomed through patience and perseverance.
  •  When  you can no longer care for a pet, take it to a humane society.

There are so many animals like me who deserve a chance!

Check out the rest of Bella’s story at:  http://www.angelscribe.com/tnt_032212

Bella’s Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/bellatheblindanddeafcat

Author’s Note:
A huge “thank you” goes out to Bella and her family for letting me do the article. Photos were used with permission. 

Meet Mea the Beautiful Kitty

Meet Mea the Beautiful Kitty

Mea the Beautiful

Who is Mea?

She is a cat

How old is Mea?

Mea was born in Miami FL sometime in October 2011 (we don’t really know)

Where did the name Mea come from?

This was EXTREMELY easy for me. You see, my mom died of Jacob-Crutzfeldts Disease (the human version of Mad Cow disease) when I was 17. Even though she’s not with me anymore, I know she’s watching over me even though I can’t see her. Well, her middle name was Mea and I thought, how PERFECT that my baby girl won’t ever be able to see me but she knows I’m here and taking care of her 🙂 So the name Mea is FULL of all sorts of meaning!

Mea kneading on her blanket

How did she come into your life?

Being an animal lover I have “liked” MANY pages on FB. One of them is Last Chance Animal Rescue (LCAR) in Waldorf, MD. This is where I saw a picture of Mea just after her surgery to remove her eyes. I contacted LCAR by email inquiring into Mea but with me living in NE I really didn’t expect to hear back from them. But a week later, I got an email in return! So, I called them, did the paperwork the same day and talked with the director. I was going to be in Washington DC doing a presentation the week of April 15th, which was 3 weeks out. They agreed to hold her for me so on Friday April 20th, I rented a car, drove to LCAR and got to meet all the wonderful women that had taken care of my baby for a number of months and bring her home with me on the plane sitting on my lap the whole time! (shhhh…don’t tell the airline! haha!)

How many eye infections did she have before the vet decided it would be best to remove her eyes?

Honestly I don’t know the answer to this. LCAR had said that when she was 11 weeks old, they got her all the way from Miami FL and brought her to Waldorf, MD (yes, this little girl has traveled!) when they got her, her eyes were so bad that they knew they couldn’t save them and that it would be best to remove them. So she was around 3 months old when she had her eyes removed.

It’s a tough life, playing and lounging all day

How did she react to that?

Honestly, animals are SO resilient that it didn’t seem to be a big deal at all! The worst part was likely wearing the cone around her head because for a kitty that’s blind, they really need their whiskers to be able to feel around and it would affect the way sound came into her ears as well, so the cone is not the greatest thing for her.

Did you have to make changes to the house when Mea was brought back home after the surgery?

Actually, I adopted her knowing she had no eyes. I did my research before bringing her home to know what would be best to help acclimate her to the house and really, there were only minor things we had to do. You see, her blindness really isn’t a disability at all! Her sense of smell and hearing are so hightened that you would never know she was blind! The few things we did was that we bought a water fountain instead of a bowl so that she could hear it the first few times she had to find it. When we brought her home we put her in her litter box right away so that would be her “starting point” of which everything else in the house would be based around. We don’t move furniture in the house b/c she learned the mapping of the house in the first 2 weeks, so it’s best to keep furniture where it is, just so she doesn’t have to learn a new route to get around the house. But other than that, she does everything a cat normally does! She climbs our 6 ft. cat houses like a pro, chases toys and has actually caught two flies mid air! Like I said, her hearing is UNBELIEVABLE!

How does Mea get around? Does she use sound to help to find her brother or her way around the house?

I kind of answered this above, but really, the best way for you to see how well she does is to watch the video’s on her You Tube page “Mea the Beautiful Kitty that’s Blind” http://www.youtube.com/user/agebhardt34?feature=guide
and you can friend her on FB too with the same name https://www.facebook.com/MeaTheBeautifulKittyThatsBlind

You will be AMAZED by watching the videos 🙂 I post as many as I possible can and most people are 100% amazed and surprised b/c you really would never know that she doesn’t have eyes! She does EVERYTHING a normal cat would, short of not being able to chase a laser light 🙂 but she CERTAINLY chases her brothers when they are chasing the light!!!!!

Shadow the loner of the family

I read that she has 2 siblings, are they special needs cats as well?

We do have two other cats but they are not special needs. Our oldest cat, Shadow, is a 8-9 yr old male black short hair. He was actually my other half, Dusty’s cat and Dusty rescued him when he was a baby. We got our other cat, Peanut, from a farm litter. He was born on St. Patricks Day, March 17th, 2011 and is a male short hair tabby. Shadow is a very independent cat having lived as an only cat for the first 6 years of his life, so he didn’t really care for Peanut much at all. I didn’t realize how much Peanut needed a friend to play and love on until Mea came home and those two are literally inseparable! They are never more than a few feet from each other and the clean each other, play, fight, romp and sleep together every day 🙂 They are truly best buds!

How did you get interested in animals?

I give my other half Dusty all the credit for that! If you can believe it, I never had an animal ever before! I wasn’t allowed to have pets growing up and until meeting Dusty, I’d never really known cats! I tried to understand Shadow as much as possible when Dusty & Shadow moved in, and we learned to love each other quickly, but it really was when we got Peanut as a baby that, within 24 hrs. of him coming home, it was an instant switch to becoming a HUGE animal lover of ALL kinds of animals! I now volunteer at our Humane Society, I donate as much money as I can to the charities I’ve researched and found to be reputable, and I even became a vegetarian since getting my kiddos! It’s been an amazing shift!

Mea taking in the outside world safely

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about adopting a blind cat?

Truly, do your research. You will realize that the animals themselves, whether it’s blindness, loss of a leg, etc….they don’t know they are disabled. All they know is they are the biggest, baddest, sweetest, most amazing creature they know! 🙂 and I can’t disagree at all. It’s us humans that put this label and stigma on them! There is very little that I do differently with Mea than I do with Peanut! The biggest thing is that I let her smell my hand and “feel” it before petting her so that she knows I’m there. I really don’t pick her up often and when i do I do it slowly b/c that disorients her to where she is in the room (which makes TOTAL sense when you think about it!) but those are the only two things that I consistently do with Mea that I don’t have to do with Peanut or Shadow. Otherwise, she does everything a normal cat would and there really are no differences!!!! I’d suggest that if you are thinking about getting a cat that has special needs, you would be a human angel for them! Animals with disabilities are the first to be killed in most shelters b/c they are “less adoptable”. I say that the more we can get the word out that there is very little difference with these animals, the more we will realize that the issues are with us humans, not the animals at all 🙂

Mea posing with her dad’s artwork

Fan Mail

Shadow, Peanut, Mea or the soon-to-be new member Sir Walter (Wally) Moo

c/o Angela Gebhardt,

PO Box 94683,

Lincoln, NE. 68509

Mea Related Links:

http://www.youtube.com/user/agebhardt34?feature=guide – Mea’s Youtube Page

https://www.facebook.com/MeaTheBeautifulKittyThatsBlind – Mea’s Facebook Page

Thank You’s 
The Author would like to thank Mea’s guardian for her patience with all my questions about the beautiful wonderful Miss Mea. All photos and videos have been used with permission. 

Meet Isis the Head of the itty bitty pittie committee

Meet Isis the Head of the Itty Bitty Pittie Committee

Author’s Note: Miss Isis was kind enough to answer with the help of her mom, but I took the liberty of translating so it’s easier to understand for those that don’t know how to read dog. 🙂 

Who is Isis?

Miss Isis is a pittie (pit bull)

How old are you ?

i iz 1 1/2 years old

I am 1 1/2 years old.

Where did the name Isis come from?

I came wit da name Isis BUT it iz da name of an egyptian goddess. mama used to play Dungens and Dragons and dat waz always da name of her character.

I came with the name Isis, but it is the name of an Egyptian Goddess. My mom used to play Dungeons and Dragons and that was always the name of her character. 

Isis and Onyx

How did you come into your mom’s life?

when mama saw my pic fur da furst time she knew she needed me, den when she saw my name herz knew it waz fate.

When my mom saw my picture for the first time she knew she needed me, and then when she saw my name she knew it was fate. 

Why are you the head of the itty bitty pittie committee and when you did become the head of it?

i became the head of the Itty Bitty Pittie Committee because everypawdy always remarked about how small i was fur a pibble, den my fwiend wilson potter was running fur prezident and asked me if i would head da small pibble committee

I became the head of the Itty Bitty Pitte Committee because everyone always remarked about how small I was for a pibble (pit bull), then when my friend Wilson Potter was running for president he asked me if I would head the small pibble (pit bull) committee.

What would you like to say to people who are afraid of pitties?

i tell people dat iz afaid of pitties to just remember we iz just dogs despite how da media portrys us.

I would tell people that are afraid of pitties to just remember we are just dogs, despite how the media portrays us.

What would you like people to know about BSL?

i wood like to tell people dat BSL doesn’t work. it duz knot take into account who is at da other end of the leash. da dog iz juss a means to an end fur dem. you ban one breed dey will juss start wit anudder breed. make da hoomins accountable fur dere actions and maybe we will see a difference!!

I would like to tell people that BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) doesn’t work. It does not take into account who is at the other end of the leash. The dog is just a means to an end for them. You ban one breed they will just start with another breed. Make the humans accountable for their actions and maybe we will see a difference!

How did your mom get involved with pitties?

mama alwayz liked pit bullz but herz neber realized how bad it waz till she found da pet pages on FB. herz wanted to help by fostering. she got refered to “Its a Pittie” and da rest az dey say iz history.

My mom always liked pit bulls but she never realized how bad it was until she found the pet pages on FB (facebook). She wanted to help by fostering and she was referred to “It’s a Pittie” and the rest as they say is history.

Do you have siblings that you live with?

i live with my mama and 2 sissy’s Bella Mia is a 7 yr old husky/dalmation mix and Onyx is a 2 1/2 yr old black lab. we all gitz along gweat but Onyx iz my true best fwiend we iz alwayz together.

I live with my mom and 2 sisters; Bella Mia who is a 7 year old husky/dalmatian mix and Onyx who is a 2 1/2 year old black lab. We all get along great. Onyx is my true best friend, we are always together.

Where can people send you fan mail?

people can write to me at Isis Faith 215 David Drive Streamwood IL 60107
Is there a website where people can petition to join you in ending BSL?

dere are lotz of petitions out dere fur ending BSL but da best ting to do iz write to youz elected officialz and let them nose you tink it iz wrong.

There are lots of petitions out there for ending BSL but the best thing to do is write your elected officials and let them know you think it is wrong. 

Anything else you would like to add?

oh….i haz earned my CGC am going to start therapy dog training next month and i iz mamas Emotional Support dog and I keep herz frum suffering from panic attacks(i juss nose when herz iz going to haz one and can keep herz calm)

Oh, I have earned by CGC and I am going to start therapy dog training next month. I am my mom’s Emotional Support dog as I keep her from suffering from panic attacks ( I just know when she is going to have one and keep her calm).

it’s a pittie in peotone IL (my rescue) we iz agaist BSL we worked really hard to save Lennox and Wicca to name a few. also puppy mills. we believe in “don’t shop adopt” and “don’t breed or buy while others die” oh and it is ok fur dogs to wear dresses. i love to wear my dresses when i go out becuse it makes people smile and dat make me and mama feel gud.

We are against BSL, we worked really hard to save Lennox and Wicca to name a few. We believe in “Don’t Shop, Adopt” and “Don’t Breed while others Die” and it’s okay for dogs to wear dresses. I love to wear my dresses when I go out because it makes people smile and that makes mom and I feel good. 

What would you like to say to people who have a problem with you wearing dresses?

i wuv wearing my dresses. when mama gitz one out my butt starts to wiggle un uncontrollably. most people dat see me want to come say hi den dey ask what kinda dog i iz and juss about all of dem iz shocked when mama sayz pit bull. mama den uses dat az an excuse to tell people about da REAL personality of a pit bull. and even da onez dat duz knot approch mama most of dem smile when dey see me and dat gives me and mama da warm fuzziez. we iz berry anti bullying on my page or any page. mama was picked on horribly when herz waz a kid and it juss makes her angry.

And I canz respect dat knot all peoplez iz gunna agree wit us…..datz what makes da world go round…..if you knot like dogs in clothes juss don’t come to my page. But don’t come to my page and say mean tings or make fun of us. I knot understand wht dey knot understand dat

I love wearing my dresses. When mama gets one out my butt starts to wiggle uncontrollably. Most people that see me want to come say hi. They they ask what kind of dog I am and most of them are shocked when mama says I’m a pit bull. Mama then uses that as an excuse to tell people about the REAL personality of a pit bull. Even the ones that don’t approach mama smile when they see me and it gives mama and I warm fuzzies. We are anti-bulling on my page or any page. Mama was picked on horribly when she was a kid and it just makes her angry. 

I can respect that not all people are going to agree with us, that’s what makes the world go round, but if you don’t like dogs in clothes just don’t come to my page. But don’t come to my page and say mean things or make fun of us. I don’t understand  why they do that. 

Morgan her facebook brother and supporter would like to add these words:

Well, here’s my opinion on da wittle pibble girl who rocks in dresses, otherwise known as Isis! It iz so important fur us to be ambassadors fur our breed. I always talk about it starts with one….one mind changed, one  perception erased. What better way to start a conversation about all da positive qualities of da Pit Bull den with a bootiful doggie in an adorabull wittle outfit! Isis has her CGC and iz a medical alert doggie fur her mommy. I bet most hoomans would have no idea dat Pit Bulls could be certified as Canine Good Citizens or assistance doggies. Imagine da possibilities of da conversation dat  starts about a dress! One mind changed, one perception erased!

I say dare to be different, dare to stand out in a crowd. You neber know where it might lead!

Well, here’s my opinion on the little pibble girl who rocks in dresses, otherwise know as Isis: It is so important for us to be ambassadors for our breed. I always talk about how it starts with one, one mind changed, one perception erased.  What better way to start a conversation about all the positive qualities of the pit bull then with a beautiful dog in an adorable little outfit!Isis has her CGC (Canine Good Citizen) and is a medical alert dog for her mommy. I bet most humans would have no idea that pit bulls could be certified as Canine Good Citizens or assistance dogs. Imagine the possibilities of the conversation that starts about a dress!One mind changed, one perception erased!

I say dare to be different, dare to stand out in a crowd. You never know where it might lead!

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Isis-head-of-the-itty-bitty-pittie-committee/282936965075539  – Isis’ Facebook page

http://rescueapittie.org/ – Rescue a Pittie

Author’s Note:
I would like to than Isis and her mom for letting me interview them. Photos were used with permission. 

Meet Jasper

Meet Jasper, the one-eyed, extra toed, therapeutic ambassador of love

Who is Jasper?

Jasper is a cat.

How old is Jasper?

He is approximately 7 1/2, they are uncertain of his exact age

How did Jasper come into your life?

I went to the Quincy Animal Shelter to look at a cat who I thought sounded and looked perfect.  As fate would have it, that cat escaped her cage right before I got there and when I had the chance to interact with her she hissed at me.  I realized with a vacation coming up, it wasn’t a good time to look anyway and decided to leave.  Just then I heard a loud “Meow” from below.  There was this face in a cone, with black stitches where his left eye should be.  I knelt down by his cage and reached my hands towards it and asked “What happened to you?”…he took this opportunity to stretch on his side and reach his huge paws out to cradle my fingers and meowed again.  That was it!  I have loved him from that moment on.

Since his paper work says he was dumped at VCA, does anyone have an idea on what happened to his eye?

 No one has really been able to shed much light on that.  They said the eye was not working at all when he was left there.  I don’t know if it was due to an injury–or if he needed surgery and his owners couldn’t afford it so they abandoned him.  All I know is I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

How did he become a therapy cat?

I have a friend whose dogs are pet assisted therapy dogs; then, I met someone at work who had a roommate whose cat did it.  I knew Jasper was great on a harness and loved people from his PR work at Petco for the Quincy Animal Shelter; so, I knew he’d probably be good.  I took a full day class in New Hampshire with Pet Partners.  Then, a few weeks later we had a test as a team.  I was SO NERVOUS; but, he passed with flying colors.  He immediately wanted to meet all the judges on the panel. They, like so many others, adored him.
Since Jasper is an ambassador to the Quincy Animal Shelter, what is on their wish list? Do they need volunteers, blankets, toys?

Do they have an amazon list or an address that donations/items can be sent to?

Quincy Animal Shelter (http://www.quincyanimalshelter.org/) is a volunteer-run organization.  They could always use help with something–even if someone cannot do a regular cat care of dog care shift–there are other ways to help.  During Kitten season they need homes where people can foster kittens.  This year they had such a large amount of kittens that they put out a plea for Fancy Feast kitten food cans.  They also need other items on a regular basis, paper towels, etc.  Right now, the website says they need: Yesterday’s News Litter, Sheets and towels (no bigger than twin size), and Fancy Feast and Friskies wet food.  Of course, they are always hoping for more monetary donations.

Does Jasper require any additional care?

Nothing beyond the usual: nail trimming, teeth brushing, hair maintenance.  Sometimes he is relentless in his pursuit of petting and snuggles (and his morning wet food)–that’s probably what makes him such a good cat for Pet Assisted Therapy.

Does Jasper have a home or does he stay at the Quincy Petco?

He lives with me and has been my cat for five years now.  He visits Petco as an Ambassador to tell people about the great animals at QAS.  He also is a great proponent for giving adult cats a chance if a personality-match is tops on your list for your pet-match.

Jasper Pictures

Jasper’s guardian wanted to share some of his favorite pictures of Jasper.

Jasper at work–is a picture of him at Petco, the day they had a halloween costume contest.

The above picture is of him in a fruit bowl, is it the calling card I sometimes leave with people he has visited.

King Jasper I took of him for a holiday card

Paulette’s foot.  I love it because when we first went to visit Paulette, Jasper was standoffish (she is a Quincy Animal Shelter Adoption Rep and was in rehab after having knee surgery).  Then after being there awhile he suddenly wanted to be with her and snuggle her.  He was loving her long fingernails.  Then suddenly he went to her leg and snuggled with it and went to sleep.

What are extra toed cat’s called?

They are called many names; polydactyl (latin for many digits), Hemingway cat’s (after Ernest Hemingway and his love for cats), mitten cats, six-fingered cats.. the list goes on and on.

More on extra-toed cats:

Facts and how the name for extra-toed cats came to be- http://cats.about.com/od/felinegenetics/a/polydactyl.htm
The Hemingway House of Cat’s Website – http://www.hemingwayhome.com/cats/
Yet another site about polydactyl cats – http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/catbreed/americanpolydactyl.htm
Author’s Note:  I would like to thank Jasper and his guardian for their patience in answering my questions and supply with photos of Jasper and giving me a new appreciation of extra-toed cats. =^.^= 

Meet Fuzzer the Blind Cat

Meet Fuzzer the Blind Cat

Who is Fuzzer?

She is a blind cat.

How old is Fuzzer?

When she came to live with me in September of 2011, they said she was 4 months old. So she’s about 15 months old now. I think we are going to celebrate her birthday as of September 25th, which was the day she came to live with me. She said something to me earlier about ordering Hello Kitty invitations, she loves Hello Kitty anything!

How did Fuzzer get her name?

Fuzzer’s real name is Marion The Fuzz. She was named by a man named JF Richards, after his cat Buzzer, who had passed away. I renamed her Marion in honor of my grandmother, but she had already learned to recognize her name so even though her name is really Marion, we only call her Fuzzer or Fuzz here.

Fuzzer’s Story (according to her mommy/guardian):

I first saw Fuzzer, sitting in the grass at a feeder’s yard. This was the heart of the summer and I was so packed with kittens. I had just stopped by her property because I got a call from someone that there were kittens again on her property. About 5 years ago I had trapped some of the cats on her property and had them altered. On a side note, 5 years ago her nephew took my traps that I left on her property to trap the cats and refused to return them. He did not want me to trap the cats. When I ask for my traps he wanted to hit me. His aunt finally came out and told him to give the traps back to me because they did not want trouble. I was not able to get all the cats on the property altered because they took them inside to hide them from me. I tried to explain that I was helping the cats. Not sure why they did not believe me.

I saw Fuzzer sitting in the grass and about 6 or 7 other kittens her age ran when I approached the yard but she did not run. I said to myself just walk away since I did not have the energy to handle a situation like that. Janet came out to speak with me. I walked over to the kitten that did not run and I saw how sick she was and scooped her up. I told Janet she was dying and I had to rush her to the vet (I had to lie since I felt she did not trust me to give me the kitten). Janet kept saying “I take care of her, I wash her eyes with warm water”. I wanted to smack her. I took her home and force fed her since she weighed nothing. She was fur and bones. Both eyes were bulging out but one was worse than the other. She was covered in fleas. She would not have survived another few days I am sure if only because of the fleas eating her alive. The vet did not want to take blood to test her since she was in such bad shape. I found a young woman who fostered her for about two weeks. She had time to force feed her 4 times a day. I then brought her to the shelter and she lived there for a few weeks maneuvering very well outside. She would lay in the sunshine and run and played with the other kittens. Both her sisters were always by her side. She then went to Claire for a few weeks (another foster home) then to Pet Haven for surgery. Christie took them for a week after surgery. The rest is history as they say. ”

Fuzzer tagging her daddy

Did you have to re-arrange your furniture for Fuzzer when she got back from surgery?

Fuzzer didn’t live with me before her surgery, so she had no idea what my home was like. Truthfully, she does a great job getting around and even a few times I have added new things into my home and she quickly figured it out. In my dining room, I have a fireplace mantle (non working!) which was at least two feet from anything that Fuzzer could climb up on to get there, and I walked into the room one day and she was up on the mantel. This means that she jumped at least 2 feet from either my dining room table or my chair. Scares me to think of it, but she is pretty fearless about that kind of stuff.

How did Fuzzer adjust to being blind?

Fuzzer was blind already when she was rescued. I think there were 9 kittens in her group and we call them her siblings. All had bad eye infections but Fuzzer’s was the worst so she probably has no memory of being able to see.

Since Fuzzer lives with other cats, how do they call get along? Do they even notice Fuzzer is blind?

Fuzzer gets along great with my other cats they are; Augie, Iggy and Harry (all boys) and sister Frijole. They do realize she is a little different, but I’m not sure they realize that she can’t see. Honestly she runs and jumps and plays just as well as they do. I have seen them do a few things that are unusual though. Once my eldest cat Iggy watched Fuzzer lose a toy that got away from her and she was feeling around with her paws for it, but it was several feet from where she was. He picked it up and dropped it right in front of her.

Fuzzer (left) and Augie (top)

How did you get involved with animals?

I’ve always had animals growing up, but except for when I was very young I never had a cat because I have a sister who is allergic to them (truthfully, I am allergic to them as well). When I moved to the New York area several years ago I initially lived with a friend who had two cats, and when I moved out of there I realized that I had to have some of my own. I don’t get to do nearly as much to help animals as I would like to, but I did help Fuzzer create her Facebook page because she wants to let people know that they should consider adopting a cat with special needs. Fuzzer says I have to get a plug in for the group that rescued her, For Animals Inc. They do a great job and depend 100% on donations to help other kitties.

Fuzzer’s brother, Harry hogging the covers.
 

Fuzzer’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/marionthefuzz

 
Author’s Notes:
I would like to thank Fuzzer’s guardian for answering questions about Fuzzer as well as letting me borrow pictures for the blog. All pictures were used with permission. 

Meet Morgan the Pit Bull

Author’s Note: Morgan & his mommy decided to take control of the blog for the day and wrote this article. Photos were used with permission. A huge thank you to Morgan and his mom for writing their article. 
Helllooo everypawty!

Oh HI!  It’s me, Morgan!  How iz you doing?   You may knows me from my Facebookie page Morgan the Pit Bull.  I has lots of friends and furiends on da Facebookie and am truly blessed to have met so many wonderbull hoomans and doggies!  Well, you were so kind to ask me to write a wittle bit about myself and da tings dat I consider important when it comes to the American Pit Bull Terrier.  The main focus now should be to educate not discriminate to end BSL.  And it can start with one, but more on dat later! You may notice on my Facebookie page dat I am an Ambassador for Change.  Itz so easy to be an Ambassador and I believe I can help change minds of hoomans everywhere regarding the American Pit Bull Terrier!  I lubbs people and itz fun meeting new hoomans and hearing “You’re a Pit Bull??  No way, you’re so nice!!”  At dat point I say tank you and consider another mind changed, another perception erased!  See how easy to be an Ambassador!!  And I takes my responsibility berry seriously as changing minds and perceptions iz berry important with BSL in the spotligh  I has enlisted da help of mommy to help me write my story.  Here she is!

Just for you friends!

Thank you, Morgan.  It’s amazing to think that one dog can bring so much joy to a home but that is the embodiment of Morgan.  He came into our lives when we were very sad over the death of our beloved Haole-Boy, an American Staffordshire Terrier/Pit Bull mix.  At the age of eight, we found out he had hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer in dogs.  Within two months, he was gone.  We were inconsolable but knew that life goes on, but realized something was missing.  However, we were not really willing to risk so much pain by getting another dog.  With time, the pain turns into memories and those wonderful times make you want to experience the joy of having a dog all over again.  We wanted another Pit Bull and found Morgan on the internet, not a good place for Pit Bulls as they can easily get into the wrong hands.  We went to visit and one look at his handsome puppy face was all it took!   He had a brother and sister and we hope they both found wonderful homes too.

Weee! I can fly!

Morgan just turned two on August 26 and is the happiest dog we have ever met!  He is full of life and eager to please and always ready to play!  He is emerging from puppyhood with dignity and all the grace a 95 pound Pit Bull can possibly have!  That’s not to say he’s an angel….he still gets time outs when he gets a little too rambunctious!  He loves early morning walks and runs with me, going anywhere with daddy, playing in the snow, chewing on bones (and toys!) and meeting new people.  It’s funny to see how people react to him….some come right over and ask to play with him while others will give “the look” and go about their business.  This is where being a Pit Bull Ambassador comes in.  With all dog ownership comes responsibility.  With having a Pit Bull, the responsibility is magnified.

That brings us to the things I think are most important for Pit Bull owners.  Here are a few:

1.       People skills:  Pit Bulls are the most loyal and loving dogs you will ever find.  They are at their happiest when they are with you, the most important person in their world.  They deserve to be in your home as a family member.  Engaging with other people is a must, always mindful of the size of your dog as it relates to the size of the person.   “In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog.”  (Anonymous)

2.       Training:  Pit Bulls have amazing physical and mental characteristics which can make them sometimes challenging for the average dog owner.  They take on the behaviors of their owners and their behavior is reflective of the care, training and socialization from their owners.  It is essential for all dog owners to socialize and train their dogs, even more so with Pit Bulls.

3.       Exercise:  A tired dog is a happy dog!  Pit Bulls have an enormous amount of energy that needs to be focused in the right areas.  A rousing game of fetch, running or swimming does wonders for burning off excess energy.

4.       Dog Park:  Realize that you are under a microscope if you take your Pit Bull to the dog park.  If an incident, no matter how small occurs, your dog will be at fault even if they are not in the wrong.

5.       Involvement:  As a Pit Bull owner, you probably have a wonderful tale to tell, just like Morgan’s story.  That’s the kind of stories that need to be in the media, highlighting the true Ambassador spirit of the breed.  The dogs that have passed their Canine Good Citizens test, are therapy and service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and certified companion dogs.  You may think those things don’t apply to Pit Bulls but you would be wrong.  Be involved in your community and show the good things about your dog.  You will not be sorry!

Me & my favorite toy

Unfortunately, many things in the news have portrayed the Pit Bull in a negative light.  Probably the most widely known is the Michael Vick story.  But, if you have followed the “Vick Dogs” as they are called, you will see how remarkably resilient the breed is.  They are able to forget the past and focus on the here and now, totally living in the moment.  The dogs simply got the chance to be themselves and to prove their loving temperament. Those unfamiliar with the Pit Bull breed were shocked at what they saw; no “weapons of mass destruction”, “no ticking time bombs waiting to go off”, no aggression; instead what they found was just a poor misunderstood animal cowering for love and affection. These were dogs that had not been shown the slightest bit of love and kindness, but when given the chance the Pit Bulls showered their caregivers with affection.  You may also notice stories attributing a dog bite to a Pit Bull, without facts to back it up.  Once the story is investigated, and the dog in question was not a Pit Bull, the story is corrected.  But how many people ever see that story, generally buried somewhere else in the news.  The damage has, by then, already been done.

The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) which is a national not-for-profit organization for the promotion of uniform temperament evaluation of dogs was established in 1977 and has tested (as of February 2012) 31,730 dogs.  Each dog tested is evaluated in a 10 step process, after which the dog receives either a passing or failing grade. The result of over 20 years of temperament testing has shown some surprising and not so surprising results. The Labrador Retriever is the dog with the best temperament with a passing grade of 92.3%.  The Pit Bull comes in second with a passing grade of 86.8%, consistently demonstrating an equal or better temperament than many of the most trusted breeds.  Surprised?  Don’t be….a Pit Bull is a people-loving dog full of compassion and intelligence.

Bored or lazy?

The major challenge today for Pit Bull owners is Breed-Specific Legislation or BSL.  They are charming and loving dogs but there is an anti-Pit Bull climate in the world today which can making having a Pit Bull difficult.  The myths are widespread and we are constantly battling against hurtful biases and breed discrimination.  The key is to educate not discriminate.  You know the story of Lennox.  You know the story of Wicca. You know the story of Dre. These are not isolated cases as this happens every day due to the actions of others.  Over 650 cities in the United Sates and nine  additional countries have some sort of breed-specific laws.  If you have the opportunity, sign a petition, talk with your local representatives, write a letter, take action in the fight against BSL.  Morgan has a friend on Facebook who is leading the charge against BSL.  He is also an advocate for change.  Please visit Milo at Milo’s World for more ways you can be an Ambassador for Change.

There is a saying attributable to Mahatma Gandhi that states “The greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  If you have been to Morgan’s Facebook page, you will see that he is an Ambassador for Change.  You may think that one dog cannot change the world and you would be right.  But now is the time to unite and be one voice together.  One voice against BSL that affects dogs every day.  One voice against the inexplicable acts that we see every day.  One voice in the fight to change things in this world.  It is up to us to make a difference and our one voice together can do that.

Swimming with a toy!

Links:

Petitions related to Pit Bulls:

Save Dre the pit bull petition-http://www.thepetitionsite.com/366/919/230/save-dre-a-pit-bull-in-brighton-co-who-has-never-hurt-anyone/

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives to end BSL – https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/us-representives-introduce-a-bill-to-ban-discrimination-of-pit-bullshttp://www.thepetitionsite.com/371/418/762/save-piggy/

Save Piggy a victim of BSL – http://chroniclesofhlstephens.blogspot.com/2012/07/lady-jasmine-beauty-of-pitbull-breed.html

Let  Jim Gorant speak on CNN about Vick’s Pits- http://www.change.org/petitions/piers-morgan-and-cnn-let-vick-s-pits-voices-be-heard-invite-jim-gorant-author-of-the-lost-dogs-to-speak-for-the-dogs

Petition to bring back the Paws for Tales Program at Burlingame Public Library – http://www.cesarsway.com/PawsForTalesPetition

Further reading about BSL:

BSL (Breed Specific Legistation) what it is and why it’s wrong – http://stopbsl.org/bsloverview/

Understanding BSL – http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/Locations/USLocations.htm

More on BSL – http://pittiesplace.com/WhatisBSL.htm

A stop BSL Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-BSL/54038162966

Vick’s Pits (Michael Vick’s former pit bulls:

Parade Article from 8/15/2010-http://www.parade.com/news/2010/08/15-vicks-dogs.html

Huffington Post Article from 01/31/2011: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/31/michael-vick-dogs-pit-bulls_n_816246.html#s232910

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/20/rescuing-michael-vicks-pit-bulls_n_731853.html

Pilotonline.org Article from  01/26/2008- http://hamptonroads.com/2008/01/47-vicks-pit-bulls-still-are-alive-and-recovering-guardian-says

Cesar’s Way Article from 03/08/2012 – http://www.cesarsway.com/node/1483/

Pit-related Books:

A great book about Lady Jasmine who overcomes her training to become what she really wants to be – http://chroniclesofhlstephens.blogspot.com/2012/07/lady-jasmine-beauty-of-pitbull-breed.html

Wallace the Book, a book about a pit bull by Jim Gorant who also wrote Lost Dogs – http://www.wallacethebook.com/

The Lost Dogs, a book about Michael Vick’s pit bulls – http://www.wallacethebook.com/lost-dogs-front-page/