Monday, October 15, 2012

Adventures in Kitty Fostering: The Importance of Spay/Neuter

I took both kitties to the shelter on Thursday night so that they could have their spay/neuter surgeries on Friday. I've learned that small animals have a quick recovery time, but I was most concerned about them having to spend the night in a cage, surrounded by all kinds-of noise. Millie (our recent foster pup) took all of 2 hours to recover before she dashing around the house at high rates of speed. Our kitties were no different.

They were docile on the ride home, just staring at me in anger through the side of the cage. When we made it home, I put them in their playpen so that they would have access to food/water/litter box, and have the chance for what I thought would be much needed sleep. Not so much. Within 5 minutes, they were wrestling each other and trying to climb out of the pen. So much for recovery time!

That leads me to the point of WHY it's so important to have your pets spayed or neutered. Our animal populations are out of control, and it not only affects shelters and rescue organizations, but it also burdens our city finances. Food and blanket donations don't pay for the staff, medical supplies and buildings needed to provide appropriate care for our homeless animals. Money does. And that money comes directly from your taxes. We're lucky to live in a city that values the lives of animals, and they receive great care while in the charge of our city shelter. But the sheer volume that has come through this year has been an extraordinary burden.

There are options for low-cost clinics and even a free, mobile spay/neuter van that targets lower poverty areas. But there are still plenty of people who do not see it necessary to have their animal "fixed". Every animal that leaves our shelter (or associated foster home) has this surgery, and I'm glad that Bess and Bernard recovered so quickly. As cute as they are, we don't need them contributing to an already out of control cat population.

Taken 2 seconds before Bernard pounced on Bess.

In other news, I believe that Bernard (now possibly "Sawyer") has found his forever home. A co-worker came to meet him on Saturday after seeing his pictures and kitty cam. She recently had to say goodbye to her 18 year old cat, and was hesitant about adding to her household so soon. But Bernard is as cute as they come, so he went home with her that afternoon. He seems to be fitting in well so far, using his kitty box thoroughly and even climbing the kitty tower that she already had. He's made fast friends with her son's dog, and we're hoping that she can win over the other male cat that was already in the household. I'm glad that he's in a home with other pet friends, as he loves to play with other animals, and hopefully they will keep him from being lonely.

Already making himself at home on his new couch.
Playing on his new cat tower.

The last picture I took of Bernard- sharing the window sill with Katie. Happy tails sweet guy!

Unfortunately, the weekend did not have a happy ending for Bess. She handled the separation from her brother alright, and even spent the night in our room (on Marley's bed). At 11, I took her to the shelter's off-site adoption event at PetCo. Since she's the more independent one, I figured she would do just fine and would get a lot of attention because she's so darn cute. Wrong. So very, very wrong. She was traumatized by the surroundings, and was shaking in the cage I had to put her in. I lost it. I was sobbing hysterically in the store, feeling so bad for subjecting her to three days of "changes". Surgery, losing a brother, and now this. I called Hank from the back of the store in tears, wanting to take her home immediately. I waited it out for a few hours, and left her there once I saw that she had settled in.

She hid under the hammock for most of the time.

She was able to fall asleep for a bit.
We never got the call that she had been adopted (no surprise considering how terrified she looked), so Hank went to pick her back up. The lady in charge of the event asked if she was always like this- she seemed concerned. Hank was just convinced that she had sandbagged the event, because the second she got home- it was game time with Katie (the one time feral cat). She was absolutely fine once she got back to our house. I know Katie was missing her, and was more than happy to have her back. I moved Bess' favorite blanket onto the floor next to my side of the bed, where she slept comfortably until this morning. I picked her up and let her snuggle with me for a bit, and she was just unbelievably cute curled up under my arm. Such a sweet, sweet kitty! I know the right home is out there for her, but I'm just going to have to find another way to find it. I don't think I can subject either of us to that trauma again.

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