Friday, November 30, 2012

An Additional Member of the Team

The deliberate poisoning of stray cats is a stealthy, cowardly and horrific act of cruelty and must be regarded as such. What kind of sick mind can kill completely harmless animals in the most heinous ways and let them die an agonizing death without a single
hint of remorse? However, as evil as it gets, it’s been happening with frightening frequency in many Serbian towns over the years. That’s exactly what happened to a cat colony that Prekica had once lived in.

She was already a fully-grown kitty when I met her for the first time. She was cuddly and affectionate but has never liked to be held or to have her head touched. There were many cats living there together and I used to bring them food every day,
but after the poisoning I decided to take the surviving ones with me. Nevertheless, Prekica and a black tomcat kept returning to their familiar surroundings and the only thing I could do was to feed them there.

Being lovable and
sweet, Prekica was a personal favorite of a man who worked in the neighborhood so she used to spend most of her time with him and didn’t roam around very much. And yet, he went home in the evening every day, so she remained there all alone and unprotected. When we were about to move to the shelter, I picked her up and named her Prekica, short for the name Prekobrojna, which means Supernumerary.

Prekica is quite unique looking, she is kind of tortoiseshell with
the tabby pattern and she could best be described as a tabby tortie, or torbie. She enjoyed her life in the shelter from the beginning, as her way of living is also unusual – she keeps to herself, but when she is in the mood for a cuddle, she just snuggles with everyone. She has liver problems and FUS and should be on a special diet, but she hardly ever wants to eat medical food and yet she’s not getting any worse.

Prekica is definitely a content and happy kitty, if I’ve ever seen
one. She is quite easy to live with, non-intrusive but loving and nice. She hasn’t had a good life while she was living on the street, none of the stray kitties have, but she somehow chose to have a calm mind and a joyful heart and is able to spread happiness and positive
vibes to the others in every possible way. As if she succeeded in finding peace and serenity in the world she might have not always understood, she now radiates affection and grace from her entire being. And that’s exactly what makes her so charming and so unique.

"The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Run Free Now, My Brave Little Fighter

Tragedy has struck yet again. My precious little Frannie, who had been valiantly fighting her mysterious illness for more than a month, against all odds, has finally lost her exhausting battle and left us all totally devastated and completely shattered. The tears I shed now
are telling the story of deepest sorrow, overpowering grief, broken hope, a destroyed dream and everlasting love.

Frannie was one of Alethe’s daughters, one of five unwanted kittens born to a desperate Mom just inside of a pizzeria in
Belgrade. A heavily pregnant stray cat I've named Alethe rushed into the restaurant seeking a safe shelter to deliver her babies, as she didn’t have any other choice. All of them were in imminent danger from the beginning. Although the owner had promised not to kick them out immediately – he quickly changed his mind and decided to get rid of the burden. Alethe and her babies were picked up literally at the last possible moment and brought to me the next day. Alethe herself was in such a rough
state that she couldn't produce enough milk for her babies, so a special kitten formula had to be fed to them to keep them all alive.

After their incredibly hard start to life, I did my best to provide them with everything they needed to have a bright and happy
future. They were showered with love and care, they had everything that money could buy.

However, little Frannie was somewhat strange from the beginning; she’d always been too shy, too delicate. All of her siblings were active
and playful, even a bit mischievous but she usually kept to herself and seemed not to care too much about anything. Maybe she knew she wasn’t strong, maybe she was somehow aware of a serious problem she had. She was growing and gaining weight, she looked
healthy, but still just a bit fragile from the outside. I’d always had an ominous feeling that something was terribly wrong with her.

And then, only a couple of months later, the nightmare began. It all started with a high, prolonged
fever that simply couldn’t be lowered. She had stopped eating and I’d been force feeding her for weeks. She was under treatment from the beginning but the drugs didn’t do her any good. Blood tests showed only that she was severely anemic and the vet suspected
she had immune mediated hemolytic anemia with some underlying immunosuppressive disease. No one seemed to be able to give a definitive diagnosis and my little sweetie was getting weaker by the day.

Even with being so
horribly thin and weak, she wasn’t giving up. She bravely fought with all her might, surrounded by her loving friends that were by her side constantly, in a desperate attempt to comfort her and to show her she was not alone. With immense devotion
and persistence, Billy and Kami, nothing more than kittens themselves still, had been trying to heal her with love, but she was rapidly losing what little strength she had left. She put up an enormous effort, but her exhausted little body just couldn’t allow her
to carry on.

Frannie passed away peacefully and evidently without pain, surrounded by those who loved her and who will always remember a fragile little kitten with the cutest little face in the world. Even the kitty magic from her
friends couldn’t save her, but her personal heroes, Billy and Kami, taught us a lesson about true friendship and unspeakable love, a lesson worth remembering.

Run free now, my precious little darling, beautiful, strong and
healthy again. You left this world too soon, but your memory will live on in our hearts and minds until the end of time. May the angels protect you and Heaven accept you, may the eternal sun shine upon your path.

“Death is not
extinguishing the light, it’s only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

Someone Brand New

We all get excited and delighted when we have something new, except when it comes to an animal rescue and it's not a something but a someone who arrives as an addition to an already huge existing tribe. I can't really say I’m exactly bursting with joy whenever I find a new kitty, as it means there’s one more mouth to feed and one more fragile body to nurse back to health. However, somewhere deep inside I can’t be anything but happy to know that another little one got a chance, regardless of all the problems and challenges ahead. Novotarija appeared as the last one
in a series of new kitties that had been found one after the other over that year and a rough translation of his name would be “novelty”.

He came to me as a tiny five-month-old kitten. He was extremely distrustful
and shy and it took him almost half a year to be able to relax in my presence. I had no idea what had been happening to him while he was living somewhere out there, all alone. His experiences obviously were not pleasant, as he always shunned people and walked
around with cautious steps, ready to flee at a second's notice. He became lovable and cuddly with me later on, yet he was extraordinary and beautiful from the beginning.

Before we all moved to the shelter, Novotarija was living
in my garage. He got into the habit of going out for a walk frequently, but he was always very careful not to approach anyone. It wasn’t unusual for him to get scared of people and dash into some basement in the neighborhood where he would regularly get
locked in and would remain trapped until I managed to locate him and succeeded in persuading my unwilling neighbors to unlock the door to get him out. He’s always been somewhat quieter and calmer than all of the other kitties his age, he gave the impression of
being a wise, gentle and noble little guy, a bit frightened and skittish, but special nevertheless. All of his friends were boisterous, rowdy and full of youthful energy but he always kept his distance and wasn’t overly close with anyone.
Since we came here, Novotarija has changed a lot and not a single trace of his old fears has remained with him. He is now cuddly and sweet with everyone, he radiates contentment, confidence, love, and shines with his own unique light. His cute
little face is still the same, adorned with bright and stunning eyes that are reflecting serenity and ancient wisdom that only contented and loving creatures can have. He might not be a “novelty” anymore but he will always be my gorgeous, dazzling and precious
little friend.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

There’s Nothing Ordinary About an “Ordinary” Tabby

Most fairy tales begin with "once upon a time“, probably because these four words are supposed to show that it’s just a story, it’s imagination, it’s not real. Most of them also have happy endings, but unfortunately real life is often not a fairy tale and real life stories
rarely even have endings. The story of Tigi, an ordinary tabby tomcat, does sound like a fairy tale in a way…

Well, once upon a time there was a four or five month old tabby kitten who appeared in front of my building,
extremely cautious and distrustful at the beginning. He’d been coming for dinner every day without even considering letting anyone approach him for months. For some reason beyond my comprehension, tabby kitties are not overly popular around here
and they don’t get adopted as often as other cats, so his future definitely looked uncertain. Maybe it’s just that there are so many tabbies and they don’t seem special at first sight – on the other hand, we all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

Be that as it may, as time went by, my Tigi started to show more and more of the unique traits of a tabby cat's personality. He relaxed and revealed his gentle nature; he became lovable and sweet. Although he
had always been somewhat of a loner, he befriended Negro and Treca Sreca and they appeared to be having a great time together. He still frequently wanted to spend some time on his own, so he found an isolated yard close by where dogs could not enter and people were rarely passing through; it became his refuge. He was always afraid to cross the street by himself, so I usually had to escort him back home.

A couple of years later, Tigi suddenly disappeared. It's
perhaps nothing strange when it comes to outdoor kitties but I had been searching for him tirelessly for days and finally located him in the attic of some building in the neighborhood. It was freezing outside, the snow was deep and although he could
have gotten down from the attic easily, he was reluctant and far too afraid to jump into the snow. I’d been trying to encourage him to jump down for quite some time to no avail, but succeeded in finally persuading him to do so in the end. Each cat that survives
years of living on the streets is either very lucky or a true fighter. My tabby boy has obviously been both.

Tigi was rather vocal from the beginning, he’s always been talking and explaining everything, in most of the photos his mouth is wide open. Since we
all moved to the shelter, he’s been spending his days eating, resting, singing and enjoying life. He is affectionate and snuggly, and doesn’t have a care in the world anymore, as he is now safe, secure and very much loved here with me. I truly hope he lives happily
ever after, to the end of his days….