Monday, January 21, 2008

A Place To Meow: Rescued Pets are the Best


A new furry face on the farm

Many of you know that last June our magnificent New Cat died suddenly, most likely from a snake bite. And then a week later we lost Gretel, a sweetheart of a tabby cat who was my beloved companion for 20 years. What you don't know is that early last November we lost yet another cat, one you'd never met (she was very private). Twin was a beautiful Siamese mix who was Molly Doodlebug's half sister.

Their mother, an incredibly smart calico cat named Ollie, was one of the seven semi-feral felines that came with Windridge Farm. There were several litters of kittens born before I was finally able to get everyone caught up and spayed and neutered.

Twin was an outdoor cat who came to live in the house after she'd had her leg badly torn apart, probably by a coyote. I didn't think she would ever walk again, but with the help of Dr. Susan's Cat Repair Kit, I nursed her back to health (hydrogen peroxide is an amazing thing!), her leg healed up just fine, and she spent ten happy years amusing us in her own quiet way.

She didn't meow, she couldn't purr, and she pretty much stopped moving around once she realized that inaction was the best way to lose The Doodle Monster's constant interest in attacking her.

With both Twin and Gretel gone, only 12-year-old Molly was left in The Shack. The thought of being the 4-1/2 pound Doodle Monster's only potential indoor victim terrified Joe so much that, despite the fact that he happens to be extremely allergic to cats, he suggested we rescue a couple of cats from the always struggling, always overcrowded, and always underfunded no-kill shelter that we've been donating money to for years. Then he let me go there alone.

On December 1st, I visited the shelter and adopted the three adult cats who had been there the longest—because really, three cats is only one more than two. (My dear friend Beth kindly pointed out that three is actually a full 50% more than two, but I told her we weren't doing the math that way and to please keep that fact to herself.)

Topaz, who is pictured above, had been living at the shelter for 15 months. There was a big 'QUARANTINE' stamped on her paperwork because she had bitten a small boy and a teenage girl, and nobody wanted to risk adopting her.

She was curled up on the bed within an hour, and when I crawled in next to her later that night she ever-so-subtly shifted her body so that it was pressed against mine, gave my hand a lick, and began to purr. I started to cry. She's a total foodie, and her favorite place to be is on Joe's lap.

Panther-like Whiskers (who now goes by Mr. Midnight) and frisky little Sarah Kate had both been at the shelter for 8 months. These two are the best of friends, and if they ever stop chasing each other around the house I'll snap some pictures of them and introduce you.

It's been a long time since I've lived with young cats, and adopting this instant family has been way too much fun. I forgot how much energy two-year-old cats have! It's been quite a change going from animals that lay still for so long you have to check to make sure they're still breathing to crazy critters who start their day by doing top-speed laps around the bedroom and bouncing across the bed to wake you up.


Settling Into Life On The Farm

Adopting a pet from a shelter is a win-win situation for everyone. As shelters go, ours is very nice and the animals are treated well. But it isn't home. I'm so glad we could finally give these wonderful, loving cats a real one.

February 2011 update: Topaz is doing great and (for three seasons a year) has turned into quite the farm cat. You'll find lots more photos of her here. You can meet Mr. Midnight here and Sarah Kit Kat Kate here. They're both doing really well, too.

© 2008 FarmgirlFare.com, the fur covered foodie farm blog where life is full of laughs and there's always plenty of fresh cream for the cats.

45 comments:

  1. God Bless you for adopting the kitties. Especially the ones that have been at the shelter for a long time. I'm sure they will be forever grateful and bring many years of joy to you. We adopted two from a feline rescue over seven years ago and would do it again. You don't need to enter me in your drawing, i already donated to Bernie's cause from reading at another blog. Thanks for promoting such a great cause. Janie

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  2. Thanks for mentioning the competition; just made a donation. And congrats on the new additions! Yay for Topaz, especially. 15 months is a looong time to be in a shelter and have nobody to snuggle with.

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  3. Thanks for bringing my attention to this great organization! I have two rescue dogs and am such a sucker for things like this. I donated :) And, actually, could really use a phone call; I need some advice! So I'd love to be in the drawing.

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  4. Just adopted a little brown mackeral tabby from a no-kill foster shelter (an outlet is right across my street at a neighbor's house!). That Topaz is a gorgeous cat.

    We still use the term "new cat" around our house, by the way, based on your photos of NC. Like, "You put Sophia's hair up in a ponytail and she's all new cat."

    What a blessing.

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  5. Topaz just about made me cry, with the tale of her subtle shifting, then licking and purring! When the time comes for another cat, I plan on looking for a mama cat from the SPCA - they are harder to place than their babies.

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  6. I really enjoy your blog. I just donated to. We lost our sweet cat Freddie in August. Her ashes are buried under an oak tree in our front yard. We're catless for now, since we are planning to build a house and move to rural central Missouri sometime this year.

    So, I would love a phone call. And once we move to MO, I'll be rescuing a cat, too.

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  7. Wow, what a great new family!

    I went and donated. I would be happy to be in the drawing for the cookbook, but I'm happy to support the rescue regardless of the whole prize thing.

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  8. I'm happy to add my donation to the rest; I sure hope Bernie's shelter (and all the animals) wins! Add my name to the cornbread cookbook drawing, please - and thanks for doing your part to spread the word.

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  9. We've "rescued" almost all of our pet rabbits, too. They're not as common at the shelters as cats and dogs, but they're there.

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  10. Just made a donation. We just lost our nearly 20 year old cat. I'm glad you have new cats - it's too early for me right now, but maybe in a few months. I'd like to be entered for the cookbook. I'm not a farm girl - just really love your blog!!

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  11. well, i had to donate - in memory of my own shelter kitty named topaz.

    and i would love to be entered into the drawing to talk to you, susan!

    thanks for your kind heart and making me aware of a place to bark.

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  12. Oh Susan, I'm so happy to read about your three additions to the family! They are so lucky to have you! Big hugs from us in sweden!

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  13. Temporarily de-lurking (I love your blog, but I think this is the first time I've commented) to thank you for making this charity known. I've made a donation and have also posted on my blog - though I couldn't get the *&*# badge to work.

    Being overseas, I wouldn't ask you tax yourself with a phone call. If you wanted to write a letter, though ... ;)

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  14. My lab and my two cats, Felix and Oscar (adopted 1 year apart) are all shelter animals. They are so grateful that they always love you like no other.

    Topaz is a pretty cat. Can't wait to see the others.

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  15. I just donated -- please add me to the chat drawing! I'd love to talk to you about chicken-keeping and chard growing. :)

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  16. I'm wondering what Joe does to combat his kitty-allergies. I adore cats but am, too, terribly allergic. Even my claritan/nasacort combo doesn't fully eliminate the lung-closing effect these felines have on me. But maybe Joe has some tricks he needs to share? How does he co-exist with indoor cats?

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  17. We have five rescued animals - three cats and two dogs, which is the max allowed within city limits!

    Just donated and will link to my blog.

    Thanks for letting us know about this!

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  19. Susan,
    At eight, Bellais for the most part fairly staid and laid back, but she is one of those cats who chases ghosts on occasion and tears through the house like some sort of demon-spawn.

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  20. Hi Susan-
    Your story of the new cats who were lucky to have found a home with you is so heart warming, thanks for sharing it and cheering my day. I have made a couple donations to A Place to Bark, and would like to be entered in your drawing. I first found Bernie's website through your website, and I admire Bernie so much. Knowing about people like her helps put some of the bad stuff that goes on in this world into perspective...

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  21. I'm so glad you adopted those kitties; too many of my friends adopt expensive dogs & cats through breeders when there are plenty of great needy animals at the shelter. I even know one couple who drove 400 miles roundtrip to spend $800 on a boxer that they now don't even like and are trying to give away. I just donated to Bernie's cause -- she's doing a great thing.

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  22. Good on you for rescuing the cats. I have two shelter kitties that have been my constant companions going on 8 years.

    Anywho, I just donated to A Place to Bark and would like to be entered in the cook book drawing.

    I enjoy your blog, but don't comment much. More cat pictures! And sheep! And donkeys! And food! (Your bran muffins are great.)

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  23. Nice story. Good luck with them. You face problems us cat-owners in the UK don't have to worry about - like coyotes and snakes!

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  24. Thank youfor sharing this article. I have a huge place in my heart for animals. This is a great organization and I hope you bringing attention to it helps them out! :)

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  25. Monique in TX1/23/2008 11:44 AM

    Ear scritches to Topaz. Torties are the best!

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  26. I was very glad to make a donation! In addition to our friend's 2 horses and our 2 dogs at our place we have a 3rd dog and 2 cats from shelters and they are all just wonderful loving additions to the family.
    Add my name to the cornbread cookbook drawing, please - and thanks for doing your part to spread the word.

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  27. my hamster's name is topaz!!

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  28. Ohhhhh! Sweetest new kitties! HOORAY! Hooray for happy adopted kitties, and FarmGirl, and Joe, who had the courage (or is it foolhardiness, ha-ha!) to trust FG with picking out two, no, three new cats! HOORAY!!!

    Sorry, FG...I just get really excited about kitty adopting. I have 14. And I will be donating as soon as pay day rolls around. :-)

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  29. I am a total cat lover myself. I just donated! I don't want to be entered in the contest but I'd be very interested to know how Molly Doodlebug is getting along with the new kitties?

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  30. May I snitch your text about a place to bark? I have been meaning to do something similar and am just hammered with other things right now. If I can snitch your text about Bernie and the wonderful work she does, I can get it up on my blog sooner....

    Thanks. vln at umich dot edu

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  31. I own Topaz's evil twin. My brother tried to pet her once and got the claw in return. She also doesn't have much patience with children. Torties!

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  32. I love this post. Rescued dogs rescued cats, and a way to help even more! Will donate and help the critters who need it so much. I just adopete two cats, they are adults. Both tabby's one a bulls eye mackeral tabby, silver and black. The other is a red/brown mackeral. They are so much fun and my other cats have welcomed them with almost open arms. Topaz and the others are so lucky to have picked you and made you take them home :)
    Keep up the good work, your blog is wonderful. Your food is great, and I love to come and see what you have posted next.

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  33. thank you so much for posting about A Place to Bark. Bernie is one of my closest friends and what she does to help the animals is amazing. thank you for helping to spread the word!!

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  34. My kitty, Mr Gray, that I adopted from the shelter came with a small biography. The person who wrote the bio stated that Mr Gray gets rough and scratches. As a result of that bio he was there for almost a year because people were too afraid. before adopting Mr Gray we spent time together and I realized that he gets rough when you touch his bottom half belly. Otherwise he's a love bug. More pictures please!

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  35. So sweet! We've had three adopted pets (2 cats & a dog) and just last week, I had to give one up to a very serious illness. My hearts broken, but reading your post has been lovely.

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  36. Love the Blog. Can't wait to read the posts from the beginning! And try some of the bredad recipes. I will be checking in everyday!

    Carolyn

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  37. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your cats. I confess that I am not a huge fur person, largely because I'm allergic, but I know what it is to have to say good-bye. I had a cat for one year and she succumbed to several diseases. It sounds like you are doing some noteworthy things!

    KJ

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  38. Hi Everybody!
    Thanks for all the great comments, and a huge thank you to everyone who donated to A Place To Bark. The amount of time and energy and love that Bernie selflessly gives to her rescued animals is truly amazing, and because of your generosity she has a really good chance of winning one of the $50,000 grants. And when you add in the funds from your personal donations, she should have enough money to pay off all those vet bills and build a wonderful shelter building for the dogs!

    I apologize for not replying to your comments individually. I'm hoping to at least get to your questions tomorrow or the next day. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

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  39. Hi. I just donated. Please add me to the drawing for a phone call!

    Thanks for a great post!

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  40. Please add my name to your drawing to speak with you (although I am in such awe of what you do, I may not be able to speak.) A donation was gladly made.

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  41. Susan -
    I originally found my way to Bernie's website based on a comment you made awhile ago and have supported her before and made another donation during this competition.

    Have fun with your new kitties. We have a one-year old cat and as I recently said to my husband - its like having a teenager in the house! He loves you one minute, is embarrassed by your attention the next, and just refuses to go to bed at a "sane" hour. ha ha!

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing for the cookbook: kw29294 at yahoo dot com.

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  42. Hi, there. Just wanted to say a quick hello - your blog is one of my favourites! Topaz is SUCH a sweet-looking kitty - we lost one who looked much like her last fall and I miss her so... She is a very lucky kitty. Thanks for adopting these kitties - we need more people like you around! Blessings to you! Keep up the great blog work.
    ~ Audrey ~

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  43. Here's hoping that Bernie gets the $50,000 ... have everything crossed that is for sure!

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  44. Topaz is beautiful, what a great story about her licking your hand and purring in bed. We have 4 cats inside and that is our limit and one more than I care for but what can you do? I volunteer at a shelter and Nola had been there so long she was looking depressed so I took her home for"just a little while." 1/2 year later she's still here, so that makes 4. Ours are 10, 3, 2 and 2, so life is wild at our house and the furniture...well, it's just furniture like my husband says. Bless you for your kind heart!

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  45. I cried when I read that Topaz cuddled up to you and purred the first night. What a blessing you are for her, and her to you. I helped my mom keep a kitty out of a shelter by adopting her directly from her first family - and then mom decided Miley needed a friend and went to the shelter and adopted Chloe. They are not "best of friends" yet - Miley and Chloe - but the Miley girl is starting to come around. She didn't know the world existed of other feline types!

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