Meet Piglet the Kiwi Pittie

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Piglet for letting interview him. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit Piglet’s Facebook page to follow his story. 

How old are you?
  On april 28th I will be three years old.  I share my birfday wif me Hoosis, Ashleigh, an I’ve been a Smith since I was four months old!
Where did your name come from?
  I’m a rescue pup.  PAWS Rescue and Rehabilitation was me first home.  My tail reminded Ginny of a Piglet’s tail… (personally… I fink it should be because I LUB food so much! BOL!)  Dey had a competition an let people who liked their page name some of us pups.  I was named Jack… but Hoomum said Jack just didn’t fit… Piglet did!  So here I is!
This is my good side
  How did you come to live with your hoomum?
  Me doggy sissy, Mishka, who is a Staffy X, was ten at da time, an had just had a cancer removed.  She went all depressed, so Hoomum, (who neber wants a home wifout a doggy) talked to Hoodad an me siblins, an dey decided to adopt a doggy.  Either an older dog, or a pup, an Hoomum has always LUBBED Pitbulls..  They saw PAWS Rescue and Rehabilitation facebutt page, an my photo was there right beside another pup dey liked the look of… but Hoomum said I was too adorabull!  So she read up about us pibbles, spoke to vets an trainers… an decided da myths an bad press about our breed was just dat. RUBBISH!!!  Because ob bully’s being classed ‘dangerous breeds’ here in New Zealand, she had to get a reference from her vet, police checked an approval fwom her landlord/boss.  And she passed!  Dats how I gots here… (She had to twavel three hours to pick me up too!)  An now we work at twying to change peoples perceptions ob pitbulls an bully breeds.
Were you scared on the ride to your new home?
  Nope!  I had me sissy Mishka wif me the whole time, and me Hoobro, Josh.  Hooman’s make comfy pillows I tell ya!
Did your new sisfur tell you all about where you were going to live and do?
   She sure did!  Hoomum boughted her to come pick me up.  And it was lub at first sight for da us both!  There were other doggies an Pups at me foster home, but she just knew I was her baby bruffer!  She told me abouts sharin our bed wif do Hoomans and how dey appreciated it on cold nights.  About awl da space an paddocks I can run in… she told me abouts cows too… but dey didn’t sound like much fun… but I liked da descripshun of how dere poop smelled!  Mmmmm mmm!  As for our Hooman’s?  Tweats, toys, baffs an LOTS ob lub!  I coudn’t wait to get to me new home!
How long did it take to adjust to your new home?
  I adjusted to me new home really quickly.  I had food aggression issues at me foster home… but not here.  Me an sissy ate side by side fwom da verwy beginnin.  But da farm was different.  I was scared ob awl da noises, da bikes, machinery… an da COWS!  Dey were HUGE!  Dey lefted me delishous patties though… but it took a while for me to get used to those beasties!!  Hoomum walks us ebery day an it took me a couple ob months before I decided I was safe around da machinery… nearly six months before I’d sniff a cow!  An does calves?!  Widdle, cute… but fast!
How many furry siblings do you have now?
  I hab me sissy, Mishka, an eight cat siblins.  All rescues an desexed, an most ob dem were dumped on our farms.  Lisa, Nae Nae, Nu Nu, Scrawny, Precious, Lennox, Oscar and Tilly.  Den we hab Blue!  Hims me calf bruffer dat walks wif us around da farm.  Him is Hoomums baby too.  Hims is going to lib his life wif us and not be eaten!
Daisy & Blue (Chocolate is in the background)
Are you still scared of the cows?
  Nope.  I help me sissy push dem to da shed sometimes, an I’m da official Calf Pibble!  I help Hoomum feed da calves an look after dem.
What is your favorite thing to do?
  Snuggle wif me Hoomans!  Especially Hoodad!  Hims is soooo comfy!  AND I lub runnin wif him on da farm!  I LUB racin him on da motorbike!  I AWLWAYS wins.  Poor Mishka is a widdle slow!  BOL.
Can you tell me what makes you – as a red nosed pit – different from other pits?
  My nose!  BOL!  Dat’s awl dat makes me different.  I may be a pitbull,  but I am a dog first.  I am just like awl other dogs, I just wear pitbull fur!  And like Hoomans, we awl have different personalities an strengths. That is what makes us… US.  We are individuals 🙂
What would you or your hoomum like to say about pitties?
  Hang on a sec… “HOOMUM!!!!  YOUR TURN!”
  Hey, it’s Piglets Hoomum here.  Belinda.  What I’d like to say about pitbulls is this.  They are awesome dogs and don’t deserve the bad press they get.  Like all dogs, EXERCISE them,  train them, love them and socialize them, and you will have a happy, human and animal friendly dog.  Piglet is my best friend.  He and Mishka are never alone, never left outside, and always with one of us.  He is a pleasure to have around and when he’s with my husband… it’s VERY quiet and lonely!  Adopting a Pitbull is the best decision I have ever made.
What would you like to say to people who are afraid to adopt pitties from a shelter?
  I’ze back!
  Hoomans!  Pwease educate yourselves!  Go an visit shelters, talk to and visit wif responsible owners of pibbles and Pibble rescues, see for yourself what amazing animals we are.  I don’t judge all Hooman’s based on da horrible fings dey have done to each other AN our kind.  So pwease… don’t judge us.  Dogs aren’t born bad… it’s Hoomans dat make us dat way.  AND IT’S HOOMANS DAT CAN SAVE US TOO!
What do you mean this is your bed??
Is there anything else you would like to add?
  Yes… just this … I am a dog. Yes, I am a Pitbull.  And I am a loved member of a family.  I am not a lawn ornament.  I am not a security system.  I am not a fighter.  I was and continue to be, loved, trained and socialized, and most ob awl EXERCISED daily,  just like my hooman siblings.  I am the result of my situation and my upbringing.  Just like a hooman child is.  I am a Pitbull.  I am Piglet! An I lub EBERYBODY!
May I borrow pictures of you – Miss Piglet ma’am- for the article? I will state that they were used with permission.
 BOL!  Well… I is a Mr… a desexed Mr… (But dats awlright, Hoomum said it’s acause I’m so pwetty AN handsome dat people gets confuseded)  and yes.  You are more than welcome to use any of my pictures from me facebutt page … Hoomum said you can too!
  Fank you for givin me da opportunity to speak on behalf ob Pibbles everywhere!
  Pibble Nibbles and whippin tail wags
  Piglet an Hoomum xx

Meet Cassie Graus

Author’s Note: I had the pleasure of interviewing Cassie Graus, the wonderful talent behind KittyCassandra’s Cat Paintings.  Thank you so much for letting me ask questions and feature your work.
Her websites are as follows:

First may I ask when did you start drawing? Was that before or after you had your first cat?
I started drawing as a kid; drawing at friends’ houses was my favorite activity. Even in school I would just draw in my notes to make someone else laugh. I struggle(d) with depression, so it’s really like therapy for me. Art and comedy were the two main ways I could make people happy and connect with them — I’m a people-pleaser but I’m very shy, so art or music was my in. My drawings were usually of animals or whatever class was about that day. I think my mom got the idea to adopt our first cat when I was in third grade because I drew them so much and make books about them when I was really young.
What was it like to be featured on Animal Planets Cats 101?
It was a huge honor that I absolutely lucked out in getting. The production company found me through my Etsy shop. They must have searched for “exotic shorthair” since I made sure to tag my art with that search term. They sent me a message asking if wanted to be featured in a human interest story relating to that breed of cat. So don’t be afraid to put whatever it is you do “out there,” even if you think it’s silly — like my grandfather always told me, “someone’s always watching.”
Where do you get your inspiration?
I am inspired by things that make me happy because I want to make other people happy with my art… my cats… cute things… junk food… pretty colors… (I’m not breaking any intellectual ground here). Also just trying to be original inspires me, trying to paint something no one’s ever painted about before, or in the way that I would paint it. When my convention booth catches someone’s eye and they grabs their friend’s arm, and they walk toward my table, and to make joy happen in someone else, that’s the biggest rush for me.
California Cat
How long does it take a finish a piece?
It takes about 8 hours on average from sketch to finished digital piece, longer if it’s using traditional media (my go-to material is acrylic on canvas), and even more time if it’s a larger piece. My longest pieces are my 36″x48″ HUGE paintings (“Junk Food” and “Picnic at the Park” are two of them), which take me maybe 40 hours over several weekends.
May I ask what you are working on now?
I’m taking a little break from commissions right now — I am working on a series of personal pieces featuring humans being rescued by a squad of tiny kittens, mainly to show more versatility in my portfolio since my dream is to get into professional illustration. I am also excited about developing two graphic novels (one cat-centric and one human-centric), but those require such an up-front investment of planning time that it’s so much more tempting to spend my weekends and evenings on quicker pieces that I can share with everyone immediately after finishing, since it’s not so much about painstaking technique as it is about a joke in the piece. I like when I can make my art like a comic, but without words.
How many cats do you have?
My husband and I have 3 cats. We got them immediately when we got our first apartment after I graduated college, which was the first time we were allowed to have cats where we were living.
Why are you against declawing?
I am against declawing because it is cruel, plain and simple.
8x10" print - Percival's Rare Vase Shop
Percival’s Rare Vase Shop
What alternatives would you suggestion to people who want to declaw their cats?
I would suggest getting into a routine of clipping their claws every 3-4 weeks or so. I like the scissor kind rather than the guillotine kind for greater precision. Choose a time that you know your cat is calm and sleepy. There are also little temporary plastic claw caps to prevent scratching. If you are really having a tough time with it, you can typically bring them to your vet’s office for a trim at not too high of a cost.

Meet Samson the Blind Cat & Company

Author’s Note: This has been revised as the pictures and editing did not show up when it was published. My apologizes.
Many thanks to Samson’s mom for letting me interview her about the furry family. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit the facebook page – Samson the Blind GA cat to follow their story.

How many pets do you have that need extra care?
We have four are blind or partially sighted, one is deaf, one has FIP.  Gracie, a little long-haired tabby, is about ten months now, and was thrown from a car as a kitten.  I found her in the street, injured, with a concussion, and unable to walk.  As a result, one leg is paralyzed.  But she gets around very well.  She can outrun me!
How many of them are blind?
Sammy, Cricket, and Bones are totally blind.  Stevie has a little sight in his one remaining eye.  He sees as we would if we were looking through a small circle.  He has to move his head to align his field of vision.
May I ask if they were born blind or lost their eyesight due to infections/disease?
All are rescues as adults so we really don’t know the causes.  All the blind ones came from high kill shelters.  Two are black and blind, pretty much a guarantee of euthanasia in a shelter.  Black cats are the last to be adopted.  Black and blind cats stand almost no chance at all.
We had a lovely Siamese named Li who was adopted as an elderly fellow.  He had gone blind from untreated glaucoma, as did another blind senior girl named Abigail.  Li passed away last year, and Abigail about three years ago.  With the others, we really don’t know the causes, except for Stevie.  He was born with Microphthalmia, meaning his eyes were underdeveloped.  One eye was completely blind.  His lashes turned inward and irritated it so badly that we had that eye removed.  It wasn’t even attached to the optic nerve.  He’s much more comfy now.
Samson (Sammy) was born without eyes.  He was caught as a kitten in a feral cat trap in the mountains.  His rear leg had been broken at some point and healed a bit crooked.  At first he was terrified of being off the ground, so we figure he broke it in a fall.  Now he’s probably the bravest of the blind cats and loves to climb and explore.
Do they have full reign of the house or do they stay in one section/room?
They’re allowed all over the house, except in the formal living and dining rooms.  We have a screened porch in the basement with a cat door, and they all love being out there in pretty weather.  The blind ones navigate the stairs with no issues.  Only Cricket, who is the shyest, doesn’t go downstairs.  She can, but she chooses not to.
How long does it take for them to adjust to their new environment, or does it vary with each cat?
When bringing in a blind cat, we start them out in just one room.  For how long depends upon the cat’s personality.  When they seem comfortable and curious about what lies beyond the door, we will let them have access to another room.  It just increases from there as they seem ready.
We have found that cats born blind are pretty much normal cats.  When they go blind, as from glaucoma, it is more of an adjustment.  Those born blind know no other way to be and think nothing of it.  Those that go blind are usually more cautious and take longer to adapt.  Our Earl Grey was born blind and LOVED exploring.  We nicknamed him Houdini.  If there was a way to get outside, he would find it.  Earl knew no fear.  Sadly we lost him from a probable aneurism a couple of years ago.
Can you tell me a bit about the other cats?
Shamrock is a lovely white Maine Coon with stunning green eyes who is totally deaf.  He startles easily, so we’re always careful to let him know we are there by flicking the lights or waving at him.  If he’s asleep, I’ll hold my hand by his nose.  He’ll eventually pick up my scent and wake up without being startled.  I didn’t know he was deaf when we brought him home.  I figured out when he didn’t run from the vacuum that something was up.  Like the blind ones, he can never go outside, but Shammy loves the porch and lying in the sunshine.  He does understand hand gestures.  If I want him to come, since I can’t call him, I gesture for him to come to me.  He usually does.  He is difficult to treat medically – give pills or meds – as you can’t talk to him to soothe him or calm him down.  Blind cats are pretty easy to treat since they can’t see what’s coming!  🙂  Shamrock loves traveling and often accompanies us on vacation.
Shamrock – white with green eyes – Maine Coon – Deaf
1467229_10152113576362701_758265308_n (1)
Cricket – Orange and white – Blind
Grace – Young tabby – paralyzed leg  after being thrown from car
Sammy – black with no eyes
Stevie – grey tabby with one “bluish” eye
Bones – Black standing on couch – blind
 Bones (1)
The blind cats really need nothing special.  We provide toys that make noise – bell balls or crinkle balls, and they love furry mice.  The laser pointer does nothing for them.  If I move something in the house, they figure it out.  People often ask if they can find their food or litter box.  Not a problem!  They climb, play, and run just like all cats.  Cricket is the shyest of the blind ones.  She is more cautious about climbing steps or jumping down from a bed.
Can you explain a bit about FeLV, FIP & FIV?
We’ve had many FeLV cats over the years.  That is Feline Leukemia.  There’s a good article here with details:
We’ve had FeLV cats live from 8-10 years but others not even make it a full year.  We’ve lost a few immediately after neutering.  Surgery can cause the FeLV to ‘kick in’ and they crash quickly.  FeLV cats CAN live good, happy lives.  Too many vets recommend euthanizing them immediately.  There are precautions you can take to help them.  Our Bo lived 8 good years, and Nala made if over 10 years.  It’s not necessarily a death sentence.  Avoiding stress, a healthy diet, and giving L-Lysine to boost the immune system are all good things for an FeLV kitty.  A positive result could mean the cat is a carrier only and won’t show symptoms.  One of our vets had an FeLv+ kitty who lived 17 years.
Our Biscuit is positive for FIV.  That is Feline Aids (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)
Again, not a death sentence.  Positive can also mean he is a carrier and may never show symptoms.  This disease weakens the immune system, so like with FeLV, avoiding stress, a good diet, and supplements help keep them strong.  If another cat is sneezing or sick, I isolate Biscuit from that cat.  He was a Tom living on the streets, but he’s loving life as a pampered indoor boy.  So far, he shows no signs of the disease at all.
FIP is the one I most dread and hate.  There are two forms – dry and wet.  We’ve dealt with both over the years.  While there are some experimental treatments, they are extremely expensive.  There isn’t a diagnostic test for FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) so by the time the cat shows symptoms, the disease is usually in the latter stages.  Sadly it often claims kittens.  Our Luna lived with dry FIP for about five months longer than expected, maybe because we tried the expensive treatment with her.  She hated taking the oral liquid meds, though, and fought so hard against them that we opted to discontinue, plus the cost – hundreds of dollars a month – was too high for us to continue longer.  I hope one day they find a way to diagnose and treat this horrid disease.

What has been the hardest thing about having cats that need extra love & attention?
Nothing hard about it at all!  We love each one so much and are blessed to have them in our family.  The vet bills can mount up with one of the diseases, but there aren’t any drawbacks to having blind and deaf kitties.
What has been the most rewarding thing about the experience?
Just knowing that these cats who would have been euthanized as ‘unacceptable’ now have a happy and loving home.  Rescue kitties know you saved them.  All the rescued blind cats are very attached to us and like nothing more than being close by.
What would you like to say to people who are hesitant to adopt a cat that may need extra love & attention?
To quote Alana Miller, director of Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary, blind cats are just…cats.  The rewards are so great.  With the ones who have FeLV, FIP, and FIV, you have to go in with your eyes open and know the possible outcome.  But if you believe that these animals deserve a chance for a happy life, regardless of length, it’s easy to open your heart to them.  You may be surprised how hard they fight and how long they will be with you.  I can’t imagine living without a blind cat now.  They amaze us daily with all they can do.  For anyone interested, visit Blind Cat Rescue’s website and read a book called Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline’s Tale or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wondercat.  You’ll never think about blind cats the same again.

Meet Cassandra Cat

Author’s Note: I wanted to thank Miss Donna Drury for her patience and letting me borrow the images of her pictures for the article (they were used with permission). This is a correction of the original article as it posted without edits and pictures.
Please check out her beautiful work on the following pages:

My name is Donna Drury, I have two declawed cats who have health problems. I will let my Cassandra tell her story below. I am an artist and I paint her dreams, she needs beauty in her life after what was cruelly and brutally done to against her will.

My name is Cassandra Cat, I have been front declawed nine years ago. My previous owners dumped me into the woods because I started to bite them. My paws have nerve damage and are always numb. I shake them all the time. I wake up from my naps because I hiss and growl in my sleep. I have nightmares all the time, flashbacks of my declawing. A veterinarian who does not declaw cannot examine my paws unless they medicate me, I may have bone fragments in my paws from a botched declaw. The veterinarian said she did not want to put me through medication, X-rays, possible correction surgery because it would traumatize me further. She used to declaw many years ago and stopped. I take herbal medications daily for my mental instability and pain. I will never forget laying on the operating table while each of my toes were being amputated. I heard the snap, and saw my claws on the table next to me. It was the most horrible experience, I cried and cried and no one heard me. I bite my new owner, she cannot pet me. I am extremely heartbroken humans have done this to me. I cannot knead, climb, hunt, and I never purr. Declawing is a major orthopedic operation, it is amputation of the leg bone.

My new sister, Cameo Cat, is also front declawed. Her owners did not want her anymore because she started to develop skin issues, her immune system was compromised with her declaw. She had an infection for months. Her previous owners could not afford the vet bills, so they brought her back to the shelter. She also has ‘horns’ growing from her paws, they are scurs (growth of deformed claw segments).We are fighting hard to make declawing illegal. The Paw Project is our best friend, they are working very hard to educate people regarding the absolute horrors of declawing. Declawing should never have been legal, never. I, Cassandra Cat, will cut through the red tape that is keeping declawing legal with the same surgical instrument that amputated my leg bones. This is a promise.

Please visit The Paw Project FaceBook page and please use a veterinarian who does not declaw cats. If you have dogs only, still do this. Do you want hands that mutilate healthy cats touching your pets? Pets know, they sense what veterinarians are doing, they know. They only want your money and could care less when your cat develops the following…also, all cats hide their pain very well. If she does not look like she is in pain, she is. Amputations have side effects. If you feel your cat is in pain, you may want to have her paws x-rayed to see if there are bone fragments.

Reported medical complications after a declaw can include: pain, hemorrhage, laceration of paw pads, swelling, reluctance to bear weight on affected limb, neuropraxia (transient motor paralysis), radial nerve damage, lameness, infection, abscess, tissue necrosis, wound dehiscence, incomplete healing, protrusion of 2nd (middle toe bone) phalanx, claw regrowth, scurs (growth of deformed claw segments), retention of flexor process of third phalanx, chronic draining tracts, self-mutilation, dermatitis, lethargy, palmigrade stance (walking on wrists), chronic intermittent lameness, chronic pain syndrome, flexor tendon contracture, and cystitis (stress-associated bladder inflammation).
Well, I have an ETSY for prints, and I started to paint when I was a child, I used to paint flat rocks with sea scenes on them, and did a lot of paint by number. I grew up near the sea, and it was very inspiring. I did not paint again until about the time my Cassandra cat arrived, nine years ago. I raised a family before that. My mother made sure I always had paint and rocks, everyone wanted one. We would go to the beach and pick out rocks. I did enjoy painting them. I also sew quilts and make soap and woodwork. I cut my own boards for painting. I give my Cassandra cat a lot of credit for the inspirations for my paintings, she gives me the ideas through intuition. The prints here are all 8″x10″. I need to paint more paintings, and then eventually offer prints and paintings.

My Artist FaceBook page. I have been trying to get more paintings done, but, my main focus is to get the word out to everyone regarding declawing. Veterinarians will not explain what declawing is, they offer coupons also, and they sometimes declaw the wrong cat. I have read many stories of vet techs who quit because they cannot stand to hear the cats screaming for hours when they wake up.