Tuesday, April 23, 2013

No Friends Needed

There’s a saying about ferals which goes “Just because you can’t touch them, doesn’t mean you can’t love them” and that phrase can rightly be applied to my Tigar macka (her name means Tiger cat). Unapproachable and uncatchable, she’s
been living with me for more than 16 years and yet, up to these days, she still has remained the very definition of distrustful cautiousness.

There’s really not much I could say about her. She appeared in front of
the building I lived in as a half-grown kitten, maybe six or seven months old, extremely wary, vigilant and always on guard. Although she never befriended any of my kitties and wasn’t social at all, she kept coming and was always around, in their close proximity,
perhaps just taking comfort in being near her own kind. Nevertheless, when the time had come for her to be spayed, I had no other choice but to trap her in order to take her to the vet’s, where she was given general anesthesia through the bars and taken out
only when she was already in a deep sleep. No one was willing to take a risk - had she been awake, she would’ve most certainly fought with all her might and nothing would’ve stopped her from escaping.

Our next close
encounter took place many years later, when we were all getting ready to move to the shelter. I somehow succeeded in luring her into a big crate in my garage and it was probably the last time she was within my reach; as soon as she got out she disappeared into
the yard, not to be touched ever again. She does approach me at feeding time, but maintains a safe distance and keeps a watchful eye on every move I make…

She is in great shape and looks a lot younger than her age, but photos always fail
to show her real self, as she feels uncomfortable in the presence of humans. Viewed from afar, she is a beautiful little cat, a gorgeous tabby with stunningly bright emerald eyes, an independent and solitary creature retaining and enjoying her freedom. She
doesn’t need anyone to find joy in her life; she set her boundaries a long time ago and the least I can do is respect them.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A New Round of Repairs Is Already in High Gear

This winter has been entirely too long, spring should’ve been here weeks ago but we’re still having cold, wet and demoralizing weather that makes everyone tired and reluctant to go outside. However, what must be done, must be done and now that winter
seems to be finally giving up, this year’s round of shelter repairs has begun. With the dismal, overcast, windy and rainy days we’ve been having lately, it’s not possible to work outdoors , but the sheltered area under the eaves needed to be paved in order to
become more durable, less slippery and easier to maintain, so we’re currently working on it. The paving tiles had been bought months ago, so we just needed to purchase the glue and paving is now in full swing. It may not seem like very much, but when
it comes to repairing the shelter with not enough money raised, every little bit counts!

The next step, and a big one too, will be fixing the only cat room in the front yard. As all of you probably know by now, that cat room is in the worst shape of
all, with a huge bulge caused by moisture that has formed in the ceiling and countless cracks in all of the walls. The roof over the room hasn’t been repaired in time and like the rest of the house's roof, (except for the section that was fixed last year), it’s totally worn out,
with partially cracked roof beams, rotten rafters and sagging tiles. If enough of the ceiling gets waterlogged, it will become too heavy to support itself and the entire structure will be on the verge of collapse! We can't allow the ceiling to crash down on my
cats, so it’s imperative that the room is renovated as soon as possible.

The concrete path that leads from the side entrance into the yard to the cat’s indoor facility wasn’t even touched last year as we didn’t have enough money to
make a new path, but we’ll have to do it this spring. The biggest problem with the old path is that heavy rains always leave it covered with standing water, so the existing deteriorated concrete will have to be removed, and the top layer of the ground stripped away to get
the path leveled. After that, steel frames will be set in place to provide a welded framework that's ready to receive the poured concrete; that’s exactly what was done last year with the path between the house and the main entrance gate.
We can only hope that the outdoor perimeter fence holds on a little longer, although I fear that the coming sun and heat will cause additional damage to the already crumbled fence posts and then the whole fence will be at serious risk of falling down. If these rotten
posts fall apart, there’ll be nothing left to hold the iron fence up and fixing it is becoming an emergency as chunks of mortar are already falling off…

Not until these urgent repairs are done can we proceed with replacing the roof and
repairing the auxiliary rooms in the backyard, both of which must be finished before the cold weather sets in again. The roof of the auxiliary rooms has already begun to leak and it’s crystal clear that it can’t possibly endure another winter. We’ve been
lucky so far, as this last winter wasn’t a very severe and snowy one (even though it had its moments), but we can't count on luck forever. We must find a way to prepare the shelter for the next cold season at any cost!
As soon as real spring comes, winter's ordeals will be forgotten by many, but if we’ve learnt anything from our own mistakes, then we know there’s no time to waste. Day by day, step by step we are getting closer to the goal, which is to make the shelter a
safer, more secure and more comfortable place for the Felix kitties to live in. Will you help us?

Monday, April 8, 2013

So Close, Yet So Far

Poli and Esca are sisters, presumably born in the house and thrown out as soon as they were weaned. The sequence of events which followed remains unknown, but by the time they were picked up, Poli had already been hit by a car on a busy street and left unable to
walk or stand on her own. Esca had probably seen what happened and was desperately trying to protect her sister, using her own body as a shield. Confused and terribly scared, they were brought to my shelter, and that’s how our paths crossed…

Poli was just lying still in the beginning, although she was able to hold onto her hind legs a little bit. She was obviously in pain every time she tried to get up and a visit to the vet revealed that her hip was broken. Instead of surgical repair, it was allowed
to heal spontaneously on its own, and she recovered literally completely. She now walks with a slight swing to her hips, but runs and jumps like any other cat. She is definitely one of the troublemakers, as she has always been adventurous and fearless, despite her
temporary handicap.

Esca is totally different, kind of shy and withdrawn, although she did display astonishing bravery when she had to and when it really mattered. She arrived at the shelter apparently uninjured, but just a few weeks
later an old wound with a surrounding area of necrotic tissue was discovered just behind her right shoulder blade. Everything that had to be surgically removed was removed and after that, nearly half of her fragile little body was bandaged up for days. She
managed to recover and now the only reminder of her suffering is a small scar, that's almost unnoticeable.

About six months later the spring came and both Poli and Esca reached the right age to be spayed. They both looked healthy
and no one could have imagined what their spay surgery would reveal. I still recall that fateful day I took them to the vet’s; out of five kitties scheduled to be spayed, all of them young and apparently healthy, none of them had a normal surgery! Trcika didn’t survive
sedation given before the general anesthesia, Poli had a huge tumor and almost bled to death, both Esca and Nasha were found to have large ovarian cysts and Farrah had a severe pyometra. After the initial shock, I didn’t even have time to grieve over
Trcika’s death because Poli’s life was hanging by a thread and then, once again, her sister stepped up for her.

Although they were not too close while they were healthy, Poli’s misfortune brought them together again. Esca didn’t want to leave
her side at all, she was warming her up, licking and cleaning her, encouraging her to fight and survive. And Poli did, with such tremendous support and love.

Taking a look back at the past year and a half, I must conclude that Esca and Poli
have stoically and valiantly endured life’s hardships, always having each other’s backs when it mattered most. Their devoted, beautiful relationship in times of trouble can't even be explained by family ties; however distant they may be at any given moment, I think
each of them knows that if anything happens, the other one will be right there. It’s not just sisterly love, but also an incredible, deep, loving friendship.

Poli and Esca are now walking their separate paths and living their separate lives, but
neither one of them will ever have to face any crises alone. They certainly don’t fear the future and challenges to come - if and when the need arises, both of them can be sure they will get together again.