Thursday, November 28, 2013

The First Snow

Snow and sleet are not really a surprise at the end of November but it seems that winter always comes too soon and somewhat unexpectedly… The weather we’ve had since yesterday is just an ominous sign of what lies ahead. Kitties welcomed the

first snow with mixed feelings – most of the youngsters looked excited, almost thrilled for a while, until they realized that the fluffy white stuff is also cold and wet. At that point their enthusiasm rapidly vanished and all they wanted was to get back to their rooms as quickly as

possible. Older kitties were definitely not impressed, to the extent that they hesitated at the very thought of stepping in fresh snow which remained on the higher objects in the yard, luckily it was too wet to stick to the ground.

In spite of all of our efforts, we haven’t quite managed to get the shelter ready for the cold months ahead. I guess all of you remember our excitement and sheer happiness when we received a very generous donation for the roof replacement back in September,

but due to the totally unpredictable and rainy weather, it simply wasn’t possible to find a construction company that was willing to start replacing the roof of the auxiliary cat rooms then. The only thing we can do is strengthen the existing structure the

best we can, put a nylon cover under the old roof and wait for spring to come. We're relying on pure luck once again, and anxiously hope the upcoming winter won’t be too harsh and snowy. With the extra support, the old roof should be able to withstand the snow

load and the roof replacement will finally begin in the spring, as soon as the weather gets nice.

The herpes outbreak that’s been sweeping through the shelter for months now is not slacking off yet. However, the everyday struggle to

try to quarantine and isolate all of the sick kitties and to boost the immune systems of those who were still healthy did give some encouraging results – almost all of the cats who had gotten sick first have recovered nicely and only a few of those recently affected ones

are still on the mend. Elderly cats and delicate youngsters are always at particular risk when a virus starts making the rounds through the shelter but all of them have put up a valiant fight up until now and I dare to hope that the near future will bring us

some relief. At this point it’s impossible to say if all of the kitties will be strong and lucky enough to make it through the winter, but we’ll do everything we possibly can to at least give them a fighting chance to see another spring.

In closing, we have wonderful news to share – thanks to the incredible generosity of a few caring, kind-hearted supporters and friends of Felix kitties, we finally have enough money to purchase the first tank of gas for central heating which will enable all 115 of the

shelter kitties to be warm and consequently healthier over the next two months! Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others make all the difference in the world and there are truly no words to describe the depth of our gratitude to our friends for all

of the kindness shown and support given in times of crisis. We'd like to extend our warmest wishes to all of our devoted donors, followers and their families over the holiday season. Without your unconditional support through thick and thin, our work would

not be possible and we wouldn’t be where we are today. May your thoughtfulness and compassion be returned to you a thousand fold!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Like a Phoenix from the Ashes

Life on the street is tough and dangerous, particularly for such delicate and small creatures as stray cats. Their life expectancy is short, and their lives are stressful and of poor quality; they are enduring summer heat, winter cold, rain and heavy snowfalls
while rummaging through garbage, existing on bugs, rodents and lizards and facing all kinds of danger. The major threats are from other animals, people, cars and the risks of deadly diseases, just to name a few. If they are lucky enough to have a caretaker, someone who is keeping an eye on their well-being and providing them with regular meals, vet care and a protected place to sleep in, their chances to survive are slightly better, but even then they are safe only while inside. Unfortunately, every time they
leave their haven wishing to explore the big outside world their lives are at risk and they are frequently getting killed by cars, dogs and evil people. This is not to say that a stray can't spend years living on the street but it’s usually the toughest and fastest, the most
cautious, skillful and distrustful who survive. Friendly and amicable stray cats often die horrible deaths as they are lacking fear and wariness and care-freely walk right into the trap, with terrible consequences.

Sneska has always
been and still is one of those unsuspecting, credulous and affectionate kitties who obviously believes that life is a bed of roses, that there is no viciousness and cruelty in this world and that accidents never happen. She has always loved people
and used to cuddle with everyone she met, she would approach total strangers without any reservation or hesitation and she was either incredibly lucky or had a guardian angel watching over her as nothing bad has ever happened to her in all
those years of street life. She came to me as an adult, a fragile, tiny and delicate tuxie girl who had the habit of rearing up on her hind legs while trying to nudge me with her head and cheek-rub my face, while her emerald eyes were sparkling with confidence, sheer
happiness and absolute trust. She looked so innocent and was so touchingly sweet that the minute I met her I knew I’d do everything I could to prevent anything from shattering her illusions.

Later on, it turned out that before coming to me, Sneska had spent years living in a joint yard with many other kitties where a friend of mine was taking care of them. I don’t really know why and or how Sneska decided to make a move but she didn’t come for a visit,
she came to stay. And she did. When my shelter was finally finished, she was one of those 50 something kitties I initially took with me.

Up to this year, Sneska has never had any serious health problems. Although she was never very
interested in food and consequently was quite skinny, she looked healthy otherwise. She has always been a picky eater and it usually took her ages to finish her meal - instead of swallowing her food, she would carry it around until she finally ate it, or more
frequently, some other cat would grab it away from her. But in the late spring, inexplicably and unexpectedly, she began to lose weight and waste away continuously, even though she was still eating, unwillingly as always. By August she already seemed just a
shadow of the kitty she once was, horribly thin and light as a feather, just skin and bones. Her ribs could be seen, her spine, shoulder blades and hips were protruding, her tummy looked empty and her beautiful eyes were almost too big for her bony face. Except for
being slightly anemic she had no other symptoms so the nature of her problems remained unknown and no one was overly optimistic about the final outcome.

She was so heartbreakingly thin that she seemed
almost transparent, like one of those size zero models and just a mere ghost of her former self and the only thing I could do was to feed her separately, to give her vitamin supplements to help boost her immune system and to hope with whole my heart for a
miracle. And then, surprisingly, she started gaining weight little by little, her appetite was increasing and she was getting chubbier with each passing day. Her sunken cheeks filled out, she’s become nicely rounded and her fur is now shiny and soft.
She is prettier than ever before, a charming, loving and caring kitty that never misses the opportunity to head-bump my face.

Sneska must be 10 or 11 years old now, but hasn’t change a bit in all these years that I have known her. She
stills loves everyone and approaches whomever she sees, but since she’s been living in the shelter she is finally safe no matter what she does. Just like the phoenix, she rises to life again, triumphant, sparkling and more brilliant than ever.