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Alley Cat Allies - A Godsend and More for Cat Rescuers

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One of the most impressive cat advocacy and assistance organizations, Alley Cat Allies , may be far less known than their ability to help those who are casting about for help -- or for cats languishing or being killed in shelters. They are a wealth of information, connections, and guides to resources.  They also truly advocate, especially on behalf of cats in kill shelters. It is so unfortunate that many pet owners who can no longer care for their cats for reasons of health, finances, regulations, and the like often turn to shelters, assuming that their cat will be re-homed. All too often that does not happen, but, rather, the cat is euthanized. SPCA, for example, euthanizes, yet most people I know do not think that they do. People tend not to check out shelters in detail but operate on hope and assumption as if it were fact. Alley Cat advocacy is so needed for these situations. The following is from their "about us" page, but all their pages are equally rich. If you love cat

Feral Cats 2: The Case of Happy Cat

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  This is a series of Caturday posts on the topic of taking in feral cats .  General information (from pervious posts): For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas,  Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish closer and closer to the house and walking less and less far away, until they are eating at ou

Feral Cats 5: Bobolink

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  his is a series of Caturday posts on the topic of taking in  feral cats .  General information (from previous posts): For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas,  Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall, and Intrepid , closely bonded to Murjan, died three years ago from the same kind of cancer), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish clo

Rescuing/Adopting Street Cats

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  Just sharing some thoughts, for Caturday, on our experiences with rescuing street cats and integrating them into our cat family. Food  Most street cats (all of them, in our experience) are not fussy eaters (unlike some domestic cats). Generally, once they are inside and have food at the ready, they don't really trust that will always be the case. We had one cat, who really was close to death from starvation, who did not leave the food bowl for two weeks, except to use the litter box. He would eat from it, sit beside, view the world from it, and sleep beside it. Eventually, he got the idea that the bowl would always be there, and he started exploring his environment. Litter Box Most street cats have little trouble adjusting to a litter box since they look for dirt outside for doing their business. We have seeded a little box with the litter of another cat if we are going to keep a newly rescued cat separated from the other cats for a while. Once our family of cats got big enough a

Feral Cats 4: Wooper, the Odd Duck, er, Cat

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  This is a series of Caturday posts on the topic of taking in  feral cats .  General information (from pervious posts): For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas,  Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish closer and closer to the house and walking less and less far away, until they are eating at ou

Feral Cats 3: The Persistence of Snyezhka

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  This is a series of Caturday posts on the topic of taking in  feral cats .  General information (from pervious posts): For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas,  Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish closer and closer to the house and walking less and less far away, until they are eating at ou

Bringing in Feral Cats: The Case of Simone

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 For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas, Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish closer and closer to the house and walking less and less far away, until they are eating at our feet, at which point they will usually let us scooch or kneel beside them. To get to this point may take weeks. Getting

Cats and Cancer

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  A couple of months ago, in a Cancer Diary post, we shared the ways in which cats get cancer. When our first two cats, Intrepid and, pictured above, Murjan, came down with cancer (small cell lymphoma), one of which died within four months and the other which lived an additional 2.5 years, we were in shock. We were aware that cats could get cancer because of our experience with MSI Press author, Sula , parish cat at Old Mission.  But then it really hit home and in big numbers.   First, Intrepid and Murjan .  Then, two other cats have since been diagnosed with cancer.  Happy Cat beat skin cancer, after only one round of freezing it off his nose.  Snyezhka is now a one-year cancer survivor at the Animal Cancer Center in Monterey, Califonia, where she sees Dr. Teri Arteaga, who is also Sula's vet oncologist.  That totals 2/3 of our 6 cats! Different cancers, different cat backgrounds (all are adopted street cats), different cat breeds. No idea of causes, either, but clearly no cat i

Cancer Diary: Cats with Cancer

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  Personal experience from the editor: When three of our six cats were diagnosed with cancer, it was at a late stage. (The number is normal; 50% of cats over the age of 10 end up with cancer.) Even talented feline oncologists cannot turn the clock back. They can try to stop the clock, but sometimes the damage is too great.  We lost Intrepid to cancer three years ago (and wrote a book about him). He survived only a month of chemotherapy; he was diagnosed too late, and several important organs were in the process of failure: kidneys, pancreas, stomach. His older "brother" (not biological) who came from Jordan as well was diagnosed at the same time.  Murjan  managed to survive three years on chemotherapy, but by the time he died last Sunday, he was on seven medicines, periodic hydration, and down to 5 pounds (from 16). He fought valiantly, but ultimately the cancer won. Likewise, our young Lynx Siamese cat, Snyezhka, has breast cancer, diagnosed at stage 4, treated with surgery,

When Vets Scratch Their Heads #2: What is that bare patch?

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  Our white cat Murjan (pictured here) had a very thick fur, but one day a bald spot showed up. and then it grew larger. The vet scratched his head and gave us some salve. But the spot grew even larger. Now, we could see it right off, without even having to look for it through his fur, and the fur around the bald spot pulled out easily making the bald spot even bigger.  We took Murjan to a specialist. The specialist scratched her head and then gave us flea medicine for all the cats. By then, Murjan was not the only balding cat. Two others among the six started showing the same signs. So, the specialist asked us to bring in one of the other cats, too. She was able to pull a larger patch of hair from that cat to analyze -- and sent both samples to a lab. It turned out to be scabies. No one had considered that because these were indoor cats. However, a neighbor's cat had come into the house and spent some time with our cats. That cat was an outdoors cat, and the neighbor did not pay a

Excerpt from When You're Shoved from the Right, Look to Your Left: Metaphors of Islamic Humanism (Imady): From "Bashir Al-Bani, Orator of the Grand Mosque of Damascus"

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  Bashir Al-Bani, Orator of the Grand Mosque of Damascus ... Al-Bani’s delicate sensibility often surprised me. This quality could be seen not only in the way in which he seemed to be always worried about people who were suffering but also in his concern for animals, cats in particular. For over seven years, I worked as a Program Officer at the Syrian Office of the United Nations Development Program. In this capacity, I was responsible for a number of development projects supported by UNDP in Syria.  One day I was asked by Al-Bani about the feasibility of initiating a domestic waste recycling program in Damascus. I said I would investigate it but that environment was not one of the areas that I supervised. Little did I know that Al-Bani’s request was destined to be repeated with ever increasing momentum until the question, “What have you done about recycling?” became one that was automatically asked upon my arrival at his home.   “Why?” I finally asked, “are you so concer

Caturday Special: Biography of Sula, Parish Cat and MSI Press Author

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  photo by Studio Lovejoy In honor of Caturdy, we share the bio of MSI Press author and Old Mission San Juan Bautista parish car, Sula -- excerpted from her book, Tale of a Mission Cat : About Me and My Predecessors Did you know that every one of the Spanish Missions in California used to have a Mission cat? Some still do. I am one of them. My name is Sula, and I am the Mission cat at Old Mission San Juan Bautista. If you come to the Mission, you can meet me. It seems that quite not of my own doing, I have nonetheless become rather famous of late. Rather than chasing mice (really, there are no mice at the Mission these days, just people, whom I love to comfort; that is, after all, my mission), I try to raise money to save the Mission, which desperately needs to be retrofitted against earthquakes—and to have the roof repaired so that my home, the Mission, does not leak in the rain. How I do that is by giving interviews, writing books, and putting my pawtograph on my books, including