Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Dear friends,
May you all have a beautiful, wonderful Easter! Wishing you joyful and peaceful time! Enjoy the Holidays!

Easter Glitter image

Monday, March 25, 2013

Only the Present Counts

“No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again” – Buddha

Nasha and her two brothers had a rough start in life. They had probably been born in a house, unwanted kittens of someone's pet cat, mercilessly packed into a
cardboard box and dumped in a public park. This park is a favorite spot for dog owners in the area and a number of strays as well. Three tiny kittens alone and terrified of dogs, found a safe haven in a treetop and stayed there, crying for hours, until they were
rescued and put up for adoption immediately.

The two ginger boys were deemed easily adoptable from the beginning, but their little sister wasn’t so fortunate. Her huge disadvantages of being a female and even more so of being
a tortie with white, seriously diminished her chances of getting adopted into a nice, loving home. She had been advertised up for adoption countless times over the months, but not many people were interested. Nobody really wanted her, no one seemed to be ready to provide her with care, love, and a safe, secure place she could consider to be a forever home.

She must’ve been at least five months old when she finally got adopted, but just a couple of
short weeks later her new family went on a trip, so she ended up in a temporary dwelling first, and then arrived here. She was kind of strange, not really shy but somehow hopeless and distant, her eyes had no sparkle and her face held no expressions. Every
time I touched her, she would freeze up like a suspicious statue, showing no emotions at all. It was as if she had never been pampered and loved and had just stopped expecting anything. She was also quite small for her age, and maybe a bit too slender.

Being so thin, she managed to escape through the fence promptly upon arrival and I hadn’t seen her for days. She had to be somewhere around, but no signs of her presence could be spotted anywhere. I didn’t even consider the possibility that her
whereabouts would remain unknown and just kept looking for her, but by the time she finally appeared her owners had already adopted another kitty, so the shelter became her forever home.

And then, little by little, she began to
melt and learned to trust. She was getting bigger, gaining weight, making new friends and enjoying attention. The change in her didn’t happen overnight, it took her quite some time to relax and start behaving as a cheerful, playful kitty. She must’ve always
been one deep inside; finally, her self-confidence was growing and she was obviously feeling better about herself with every passing day. The spring came, she got spayed and during the surgery it was discovered she had large ovarian cysts, so she got fixed
just in the nick of time, before her problems could evolve into something worse.

Now, a year later, Nasha is a full grown, chubby and beautiful kitty beaming with joy and health. She’s come a long way from the unwanted, abandoned kitten she
once was; her movements are free flowing, gracious and soft. She radiates strength and dignity, while her golden eyes are gleaming with confidence and the utmost certainty that everything will be all right. Her past is forgotten by now, her future looks
promising; she is free to enjoy the present and that is the key to true happiness.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Worse Than Ever Before

We’re snowed in again! In the middle of March, when everyone had thought spring was just around the corner, a heavy snowstorm hit Hungary causing commuter havoc - and Felix shelter is located just a short driving distance from the Hungarian border!
It’s been snowing continuously since yesterday, the brisk and biting northerly wind blows the snowflakes everywhere and the whole shelter is covered in snow on every side. Eastern and Central Europe are gripped by an unusually bitter cold
snap and the end of our problems are still nowhere in sight.

We’ve been talking over and over again about the extensive damage the shelter itself has suffered during the winter months, as well as about the desperately needed funds for
shelter repairs. But I guess it all seems like an exaggeration and not really a serious problem, because the kitties aren’t living on the streets and are not emaciated or neglected. Horrible pictures of mangled, abused and dying animals definitely pull on people’s
heartstrings and make everyone want to help, so animals that are loved and well cared for hardly attract anybody’s attention. Felix kitties are chubby and beautiful not because their lives have always been a bed of roses, not because they have never experienced torture and pain, not because angels have been watching over them, but because I’ve been investing everything I have into them for years now!

The costs of the shelter repairs are way beyond my means and
that’s why I’m forced to ask for help. The top wire fencing is sagging under this new snow load, even the rails holding the mesh are bent down and deformed and everything looks worse than ever! The entire chain link fence remained droopy after it barely held up
through the last year’s winter and it’s questionable how much more it can take before it finally crashes down.

The tarps attached to the new roof eaves cannot protect the area under the eaves from snowdrifts, so the only way to make a sheltered place underneath is to put in sliding lexan panels. All of the cats have seemed to enjoy the snow so far, but now they look desperate and don’t even want to set foot outside if I’m not around. This winter was extremely hard to
bear and we’ve all had enough.

Another urgent problem is the outdoor fence. The posts had already started to deteriorate and crumble. They became wobbly last year, and this year’s snow and ice further degraded them and
caused extensive additional damage. Not only that, the gates can't close properly. These rotten posts will fall apart and cause the whole fence to fall down any day now. It’s not an exaggeration, it's an inevitable reality and a dire emergency!
Should I mention the roof and indoor enclosures again?

Please, help us! Just take a look at our project and learn what we’ve accomplished to date and decide for yourselves if Felix kitties are worth your attention! In spite of
all of our efforts, we are simply not able to solve all of the problems on our own. We're coming apart at the seams. Felix shelter depends on your generous support and no donation is ever too small, as it all adds up and really makes a difference! A huge
thank you to all of our friends and donors who have helped us so far, and to all of the wonderful people standing by our side through thick and thin who are showing us that we are not alone!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Completely Different Siblings

Does anyone remember a sad little family I took in almost a year and a half ago? When I first heard of them, they had been living on the street for some time, fending for themselves, struggling to survive and fleeing from danger on a daily basis. The
mother cat had given birth to her kittens in an unprotected place next to a busy road, where there was no food or shelter and encounters with roaming strays and pet dogs off their leashes were the norm.

I have no idea how
many kittens were originally in the litter, before most of them died a violent death in the jaws of vicious dogs; two little boys were the only survivors. Had their Mom been present at the time, she would have probably been killed in a death defying, risky attempt
to protect her babies. Presumably, she was away; maybe she went off in search of food, maybe the kittens began to explore the world on their own and none of them foresaw the tragedy that was about to happen. Be as it may, a little stray cat family suddenly
had only three members left.

As soon as I heard of their plight, I brought all three of them to the shelter. While the Mom and her ginger boy Jaki were friendly and lovable from the beginning, little tabby Hermes was shy and withdrawn, the exact
opposite of his brother. They never acted alike, not even when they were kittens. Jaki has always been affectionate, outgoing, and a loving and friendly type; Hermes, on the contrary, has been skittish and cautious, tended to ignore other cats and
seemed to be happiest when left alone. And that hasn’t changed up to this day.

Both brothers have grown into large, powerful and magnificent cats, and in spite of slight resemblances in their faces, they are totally unlike, as different as
night and day, as heaven and earth, as fire and ice. Jaki is a huge attention seeker and so cuddly that it borders on obsessive; Hermes, on the other hand, recoils in sheer horror at the very thought of being touched. Jaki will jump enthusiastically into laps of total
strangers, with no hesitation at all; Hermes freaks out whenever I try to pick him up.

They don’t even spend time together. Jaki has many friends, he enjoys running and playing with them all day long and they are always on the move.
Hermes has no friends except for maybe Muppet Show, who is as shy and unapproachable as he is, but sometimes they do sit side by side. Jaki loves to be photographed, he hams it up posing for photos; Hermes hates the camera and tries to hide whenever he
sees me with it. After over a year and a half, I've managed to take just a few photos of him, on the extremely rare occasions when he didn’t notice what I was doing.

Jaki is happy to be picked up a hundred times a day, the more the better; Hermes
has been picked up twice since he's grown up. Once I wanted to move him from one part of the yard to another, but as soon as his paws touched the ground he broke through the gate on his way back, and the next time he started biting and scratching furiously
the second I tried to lift him, so I gave up.

Maybe Jaki and Hermes don’t have the same father but they do have the same mother. They were probably born within minutes of each other, they grew up in the same place, they had the same
care and yet, they couldn’t be less alike. I’ve never even seen them behave like brothers. Their personalities are different, their preferences are different, their lives are different, but as long as they are happy, each in his own way, nothing else

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

When Cats Outlive Their Owners

I know it’s a tough question to ask... but have you ever wondered what would happen to your pet if something unexpected happened to you? No cat owners like to imagine what their pets’ lives would be like without them, but however sad it may sound, there are
no guarantees in life and anything can happen to anyone at any given time. That’s why it’s so important to make pre-arrangements for the future lifetime care of pets in case their owners are no longer able to care for them.

Most people assume that their friends or relatives would take care of their pets should they get seriously ill, disabled or worse, die first, but it’s frequently not the case. Thousands of pet animals are euthanized every year because
their owners or guardians became ill or have died. Sadly, many heirs of the deceased pet owners take their relative's properties and possessions, but not their pets, which are left behind and usually end up abandoned and all alone. That’s exactly what
happened to Joca, almost three years ago…

Joca’s owner was an elderly lady who took care of him, as well as nine other cats and one dog, until she died. Her successors weren’t interested in any of her animals; moreover, they were
ready to kick all of them out of the apartment right after the funeral. To make things even worse, none of the cats had ever been outside, so their chances of fending for themselves and surviving on their own were almost zero. Adopters or foster homes were desperately needed, but all of the cats were already adults and it was clear they wouldn’t be adopted easily.

After a few weeks of negotiations and vast promises, four of them arrived at my shelter – Joca, Milica, Lilica and
Coka. They were not really skinny, but they had obviously been neglected for some time; they were full of worms and fleas and in delicate health. It took Lilica quite a while to finally adapt to life in the shelter, but the others were super cuddly and lovable from the
beginning. Joca never looked sad, not even in his first days here; he was eating, gaining weight, making new friends and was always sweet and affectionate.

And then, just when I felt that things were back to normal and the new cats seemed
to fit in, he suddenly got seriously sick. No one knew what was happening to him, no definitive diagnosis was made. He had been receiving IV fluids for days, the vets were doing everything they possible could, but his fever persisted and he was just getting
weaker and weaker. One night he was in critical condition, up to the point where I was considering putting him down, as nothing we had tried seemed to help. Miraculously, he succeeded in overcoming the crisis and by the next morning his
symptoms had already begun to abate. He recovered rapidly and completely and has continued to enjoy his life here, like nothing ever happened to him and not even up to the present moment do I know what was wrong with him.

Joca probably doesn’t even realize that he was on the edge of being dumped on the street after his owner’s death, like many other kitties who weren’t as lucky as he was. Moral and ethical judgments aside, the point is that pet owners can't rely on other people’s
good will when it comes to the future of the pets that outlive them. If pets are considered to be members of the family, a responsible owner should plan ahead for their care if something unforeseen occurs, as a part of the commitment we all accepted the day
we took them in.