The past few days have been pretty busy.  On Sunday afternoon, I found a post on FB from my sister-in-law about a senior cat on death row at NYC Animal Control.  He’s 16 years old, an owner surrender.  I just can’t fathom surrendering a 16-year-old cat to a shelter.  If the shelter didn’t euthanize him, he was certainly die alone.  Let’s face the facts – city-run shelters overcrowd easily, hence why all of them euthanize.  (I say all because I have never heard of a city-run shelter not euthanizing.  If you know one, please comment on this post and prove me wrong.  This is like the one time I would love to be wrong!)  If by chance, he managed to stay off the kill-list for more than a week, it would be likely that health complications would arise.  I’ve seen senior cats at the shelter come down with severe depression.  In turn the cat’s immune system weakens and something serious sets in.  One time a cat, MooMoo, was so heartbroken by being dumped at START II by his companion, he entered this state of depressions.  He came down with such a bad case of conjunctivitis that his eye ulcerated and needed to be removed.  After he was in foster care post-surgery, he developed FIP.  The whole ordeal was traumatizing for MooMoo (who rapidly declined within 48 hour and need to be put to sleep) and the volunteers.  But, MooMoo’s story is another blog post.

I knew that if this kitty (whom was named Uno) remained at the shelter, no one would adopt him.  I couldn’t bear the thought of Uno sitting in a shelter awaiting death alone.  I shared the post with Ron.  My sis-in-law got me info to be considered for adopting Uno.  It was a process similar to other shelters/rescues with a pre-screener, interview, and contract.  To be perfectly honest, since Juno and Apollo’s crossing the Rainbow Bridge, it really hasn’t been the same without the presence of an older, wizened kitty here.  Granted, Pandora is ten, it’s not the same as being sixteen.

NYC Urgent Cats contacted me within a couple of hours after I filled the pre-screener.  By evening’s end, I was in contact with Heather, director of cat rescue at AmsterDog Rescue.  It was going to be a race against time to get Uno out of the shelter.

While I was rearranging my schedule at START II planning to take a ride to Harlem, I was informed that Uno could be delivered to me.  I sorta did a double-take over the phone.  That was not something I was expecting.  There’s a group called Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, in which adopted rescues are transported to their new homes within the tri-state area! So, Heather made all the calls to the right people and prevented Uno from being on the following morning’s kill list.  She also arranged his transport with Mayor’s Alliance to my apartment.  And she metaphorically held my hand throughout the entire process.  Which I needed.  I was an emotional mess.

Uno arrived yesterday afternoon, just after 2pm.  When I brought him to his room, he was scared.  His fur was matted severely, he was all bone, and beelined for the water bowl.  I can’t imagine how his previous owners treated him.  I was less than impressed with their answers on a questionnaire included with his medical paperwork.  I spent all afternoon with him.  He circled the room a few times, getting the lay of the land.  Each time he circled around, his tail was held higher.  So happy to see that.  He loves to give head butts.  This morning, he was waiting by the door.  When I opened it, he looked up at me and meowed.  Uno loves attention! And he’s gonna get plenty here.

The next task was renaming him.  While Uno certainly described his ear “situation,” it sounded too much like Juno and we couldn’t have that.  We settled on Orion, after the huntsman that Zeus put in the night sky.

Orion has a geriatric vet visit on Friday morning.  He’s gonna get the works!  I have a feeling he has hyperthyroidism, but the vet will determine in a couple of days.

Until then… Here’s a quick picture I snapped with my phone.  Not the greatest of quality, but 1 hour after his arrival.

Orion an hour after being home.

Orion an hour after being home.

And I would also like to extend a huge THANK YOU to my sis-in-law, Nikki, Heather @ AmsterDog, and all the kind folks at NYC Urgent Cats and Mayor’s Alliance.  Without your help, Orion wouldn’t have had a second chance!


Rags to Riches Adoption

Last week I wrote about Blaze, the cat that was rescued by a good Samaritan when a group of kids tried breaking his legs.

Well, Tuesday night (July 2nd), Blaze was adopted!

He went from an abused street cat to a little girl’s best friend.  A family saw Blaze in Wayne on Sunday and fell in love with him.  He worked over his new forever family good, too!  Blaze made himself cozy in his new guardian’s lap and sat next to their little girl (her lap was too small for them).  That cat is going to be living in a nice neighborhood with a family that loves him to pieces.  Between Sunday and Tuesday, the little girl kept asking if they were going to pick up Blaze.  They will grow up together and be companions to each other.  And they will form a bond that is unique to a little girl and her favorite kitty.

Many tear-filled congratulations to Blaze!

I’ll miss him, but I’m so happy for him at the same time.  I knew once he had an opportunity to meet the public, he wouldn’t be staying long in START II’s care. 🙂




SONY DSCA couple of weeks ago I entered the shelter on a Sunday morning, making my rounds to all the cat cages and making sure everyone was okay.  In the office of our shelter, we have smaller stainless steel cages.  Typically, we use these as a “quarantine” area for new cats entering the shelter.  I’ve noticed that the smallness of the space doesn’t overwhelm a newcomer so much.  The stainless steel is also easier to disinfect.  Most of this year these cages have been empty on days that I volunteer.  New cats were quickly taken to the vet to get tested and checked, thus they found themselves a larger cage quicker.  However, we are completely overwhelmed right now with kitties.  These cages fill quickly now.  That morning I heard hissing from the top leftmost cage.  I opened the door to find a terrified black cat.

This cat was Blaze.  He had himself trapped behind his litter box.  After his initial hissing, Blaze started meowing at me.  It wasn’t the type of meow that said, “Hey, how’s it going?  Nice to meet ya.”  His meow was one of distress.  I read his cage card to see if anything was the matter physically with him that I couldn’t detect visually.  Healthy as they come.  Blaze’s meowing had me a little unnerved.

I gave Blaze a few deep blinks before sticking my hand in his cage.  When he returned the blinks and started purring, I put my hand halfway in his cage.  Blaze met my hand to smell it.  Then he rubbed his cheek against me.  I started to give him cheek scratches and continued the deep blinks.  I spoke softly to him, in which he responded well.  I knew he would be okay once Blaze showed me his belly.

Later that morning I spoke to Marge.  She told me his history, which goes a little something like this:

Blaze was frequenting the streets in a bad area of Paterson.  A good Samaritan had been watching him for several weeks.  One day, a group of vile kids ganged up on Blaze.  They tried breaking his legs because of the color of his fur.  The good Samaritan intervened, rescuing Blaze.  She kept Blaze as long as she could with her other cats.  She was living in an abandoned building with the cats.  One of the females, Bubbles, suffered complications while giving birth, so she called START II.  She was no longer able to care for all of the cats and asked START II to help find them homes.  We did.  Blaze had not suffered any major injuries from horrible experience on the street.

The following day (Monday) I was at the shelter again.  Blaze was still distressfully meowing from his cage.  When I checked on him, he was in the same position behind the litter box.  We went through our Sunday morning ritual.  This time Blaze came a little closer to the front.  He had feces caked to his fur near his thigh.  I moved his litter box and saw that he wasn’t using it, but, rather, was going all over himself.  I cleaned him up and let Jodi know.  We both felt really bad that he was having a hard time adjusting.  To make sure he ate, we placed his food and water near the back of the cage with him.

On Wednesday I was at the shelter again.  Luckily, Blaze began using the litter box.  He still was meowing like crazy.  Blaze started meowing more when we walked away from his cage.  Kinda like he was suffering from separation anxiety.  Jodi started telling me about when she picked up Blaze and Bubbles (she had just gotten out of kitty hospital, after she had an emergency procedure), they were really friendly together.  Then it clicked. Jodi wondered if he was missing his pal, Bubbles.  Both of us transferred Bubbles into a huge condo cage.  She didn’t mind the extra room.  We tried getting Blaze, but he wouldn’t let us pick him up.  We weren’t going to give up though.


Blaze & Bubbles – photo sent from Jodi

Thursday afternoon I received a text message with a picture from Jodi.  Blaze’s transfer to Bubble’s cage was a success!

By the time Sunday rolled around, Blaze was a completely different cat. He socialized with everyone, took strolls out of his cage, ate throughout the day, and played with kittens.  He was being a normal cat again.  Blaze followed Mona and me around everywhere.

It’s been a few weeks since he first arrived in our care.  He’s doing wonderful.  Bubbles made a huge difference in Blaze coming out of his shell.  She was the only “person” that made him feel comfortable.  Despite what Blaze has been through, he still trusts people – in fact, he loves them to pieces.  When I was taking his pictures, he kept trying to give kisses to the camera lens.  Blaze is going to make a family very lucky they adopted him.

We thought that Blaze and Bubbles would have to be adopted together.  However, once Blaze regained his confidence, Bubbles and him would do their own thing and play with different cats.  Sometimes it seemed like they were happy to get away from each other.  Although we’re not pushing that they be adopted together, it would still be nice to keep these two friends together.  Especially during the transition of a shelter to a home.

Below are their Petfinder profiles.  Both are available for adoption as of today!

Blaze’s Profile     Bubbles’ Profile


Blaze playing during photoshoot

Blaze playing during photoshoot

Bubbles - Blaze's partner in crime!

Bubbles – Blaze’s partner in crime!


Farewell, Houdini!

Yes, Houdini was adopted over the weekend!!

He’s such an awesome cat and deserving of an equally awesome home.  I was so happy when I heard he was adopted.  Yet, sad at the same time.  I mean, you just can’t replace his level of awesomeness with a snap of a finger.  But it’s all good.  I know he’s better in a home.  We all knew he would charm the crowd, so to speak, once he was able to get into the room at Petsmart.  And he did.  Houdini worked his magic.  So much so, that he had several adoption applications on him!  Since he’s a little dominate around other cats, we thought he would do best in a home where he was the only kitty.

Houdini worked the crowd.  He wasn’t at Petsmart for more than 24 hours, either!  Rolled around on his back, invited belly rubs, and turned his new forever parents into mush. 🙂  I love that cat!  Many congrats, Houdini!!!

Houdini - now in a forever home!

Houdini – found a forever home!