The tale of a one eyed cat and Sumo Costumes.

Mary Skinner, the magic behind Skinner’s Cupcakes & Pastries and Skinners Treats for dogs, shared this story about her one eyed cat.

Mary and Lucy Skinner

In March 2006 we were celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday.  I decided to rent some Sumo Costumes for a little added fun from a local business just a mile down the road.  As I am pulling in here comes this sweet little cat…MY cat.  As the guy approaches I pick up Stroker and begin petting him.  I tell him “this is my cat” of course he looks at me thinking I am crazy.  He continues to tell me the cat he calls “One Eyed Jack” has been visiting him for at least a year, just comes and goes.  I explain that I live just down the road and that my cat comes in to eat and sleep and then spends the remainder of the time outside.  What a little traitor!  Here he comes home to eat and sleep then goes to the neighbors for day time attention while we are at work.  So after much convincing I load up in the car with Stroker in tow.  I am just laughing at the idea that my 7 year old cat that I have had since a kitten is such a little traitor.  He was so sweet on the way home..sucking up I am sure.  As I pull up to the house and get out carrying him I notice something…
This is not my cat!  Oh my goodness.  As the new cat “One Eyed Jack” jumps out of my arms and under the car to escape my cat, Stroker, who is growling and ready to kill I am speachless.  As I am laughing at myself I have to call my husband to tell him what is happening.  “…the cat is the exact same color, he’s missing the same eye…”  How funny is it just 1 mile down from my house my cat has a twin.  Unheard of!  So as I am trying to keep this poor cat from being eaten alive by my now furious cat I am realizing I have to take this poor kitty back home.  My Husband ask “How do you know which one is Stroker?” Easy…”He is the one ready to kill someone”  Stroker is a pro at defending his turf and he was NOT happy to say the least.  As I packed One Eyed Jack back in the car for the trip to his new found home all I could think to say is…”Funny story, this isn’t my cat, but my cat is MMAAAADDDD”  Luckily the guy had a good sense of humor.  Watch out for look alikes!
One eyed cat

Stroker, or is it One Eye Jack....

Australian shepherds

Festus, Cleo and Lucy Skinner. Official tasters of Skinner's Treats.

Australian Shephed

Cleo, the face of Skinner's Treats.

You Can Help Pets Affected by Tornado’s in Southern Indiana

Tornadoes in Southern Indiana on Friday March 2, 2012 devastated several small towns.

As a pet owner I know that I would be concerned about my pet’s welfare if I lost everything, pets are family, and a great comfort.  This timely NPR story describes the physical and emotional benefits of simply interacting with an animal.  Keeping a pet with you during a relatively minor life upheaval can be very challenging so I can’t imagine what it must be like for those who are suddenly without everything, except their pets.  In an effort to help survivors of Friday’s tornado’s care for their best friends Spay and Neuter Indians Pets, SNIP, and Pet Supples Plus have partnered to collect donations of pet supplies that SNIP will deliver as needed.

They are asking that you makes purchases of items such as pet food, leashes/collars, litter/boxes etc. at Pet Supplies Plus and leave at any of the four stores in the boxes marked SNIP Tornado Relief or you can stop by the SNIP van in front of the Greenwood PSP store on Sat 3/10/12 from 12:30 to 2:30 with “gently used” items. If you can’t make it to the store and have gently used items or want to make a cash donation for us to purchase items at PSP you can contact SNIP snip222@sbcglobal.net

SNIP is a non profit organization that provides “High Quality – Low Cost” spay and neuter services by partnering with local vets who share their passion for saving lives.  100% of funds go directly to help the animals, in this case it is the victims of the tornados.  Your donation will go just a far year round with SNIP though because 100% of your donation goes to our spay neuter services–none goes to fundraising, office expenses or employees as they have no employees! They are an all volunteer group, working locally in their communities, grassroots spay neuter initiatives.

SNIP is an IRS 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, your donation is deductible.

Anything you can do to increase donations is appreciated and I’ll do whatever I can to help get donations to SNIP.

Artie, my little Papillon, and his Tale of Survival

Rescuing my Papillon

Papillon

Artie at his cutest. Photo By: The Photon Wrangler.

papillon

Artie finally learned to behave on the leash, mostly. Photo By: The Photon Wrangler.

I took care of a Papillon in 2003 and knew that when I got a small dog it would be a Papillon.  In 2008, I was ready to adopt.  Artie was the fourth dog I applied to adopt.  The rescue lets foster parents match their charge with potential parents and I finally measured up with Artie.  In retrospect, I’m not sure what that says about me.  I drove to Minneapolis to meet his foster parents who came down form Northern Wisconsin.  Out he came into a Taco Bell parking lot on a leash two kids were fighting over.  He was bouncing, spinning, yapping, jumping and circling at the end of the leash.  I thought he was adorable.

In my five page application I had indicated that I wanted a young and healthy dog but that I did not require that it be trained or house broken.  I can do those things, I thought.  He proved to be a bit of a  challenge.  He had separation anxiety and barrier frustration.  I gave up on crate training when I came home to his little nails bloodied because he was trying to dig out of the crate.  I adjusted to him as much as he adjusted to the house and me.  It took a good six months to house train him and that was with him tethered to my side 24/7.

Two German Shepherds and a Papillon meet

By February 2010 everyone was getting along just fine.  Artie went out one day into the yard which had and invisible fence.  I don’t know if he escaped the fence or if the neighbors two dog aggressive German Shepherds escaped theirs but either way, they met up and it almost killed Artie.  There were dozens of wounds and it was described to me as a “curtain of blood.”  He was rushed to a vet in town that happened to be open despite it being Sunday afternoon. I was working and I got to the vet’s office just in time to get him,  his medication, and pay the bill.  He was sent home with dog arthritis medication, a tube in his chest and a vague prognosis that he might make it.  On the 15 minute drive home I knew he was dying.  I took him to Airport Animal Emergi-Center emergency vet.  The emergency vetrinarian told me that Artie would have died if I had not brought him in.  There were wounds that were not sewn shut, including one that allowed air to escape his chest cavity.  The vet showed a video he took showing air moving in and out of the wound by holding a piece of cotton in front of it.  Other wounds had hair sewn into them.   He also said that he rarely needs to place chest tubes and that injuries as severe as Artie’s come in about once a month and this came from a veterinarian who specializes in emergency medicine and sees the most extreme injuries.  The good news was that there was every reason to think his chances of recovery were good.  They kept him overnight.  When I picked him up the next morning he was shaved from neck to tail and the stitches and wounds were so numerous that I never tried to count them.  He also had a narcotic patch and was heavily sedated to manage the pain.  A long way removed from the dog aspirin he was given initially.

papillon

Artie would not wear a coat or sweater or sit near anyone. Here he's curled up in a chair across the room from me.

He spent the next week at our regular vet, St. Francis’ Pet Hospital, (Artie and I can’t say enough good things about St. Francis’s Pet Hospital and the staff there) during the day for monitoring and at home being hovered over by me at night.  After the narcotic pain patch wore off he seemed to be in a lot of pain despite strong pain medication and sedatives.  One morning when he went out to go to the bathroom he ran straight under the front porch and would not come out.  It was 6:00am and about 20 degrees.  No amount of enticing, pleading or bribing would coax him out.  He growled and bit at me when I tried to get to him and moved away if I tried to go under the porch after him.  He was under the porch in the freezing cold, virtually bald, his wounds were dirty, he was obviously terrified and I was at a loss.  This went on for nearly two hours.  My brother, Matt, came over to save the day, and Artie.  After Artie bit him and drew blood, Matt got a long 1×1 board for himself and one for me.  He then crawled under the porch, which runs the length of the house, and used his board to block Artie from doubling back behind him and force him towards me at the other end.  We both used our boards to close off his retreat and slowly shrink his avenue of escape to an opening right in front of me on the outside of the porch.  When he came out I grabbed his collar and I’ll never forget how he bit, growled and cried.  It was awful.  His disposition did not begin to improve for about a week and he was very leery of anyone touching him for months afterwards.  The best explanation I heard for his behavior from the time he went under the porch to his return to normal (Artie’s version of normal at least) was that the poor little guy was trying to hide from the pain.

When Artie lept from the floor to the back of the couch for the first time month’s later I knew he was fully recovered.

Papillon Power

Papillon picture in black and white

Artie, my Papillon, surveying his kingdom from the back of the couch. Photo By: The Photon Wrangler.

papillon

Artie earning his keep guarding The Critter Mobile.

papillon

Hanging out in the hammock. Photo By: The Photon Wrangler.

 

 

 

papillon

Taking a well deserved rest after a hard day at work.

papillon

Artie showing of the coat he happily wears these days.

3 Cats and their Cat Sitter

An open letter to the humans who maintain the home of three very important house cats.

Regarding the Pet Sitter, Amy.

Dear Humans we Dominate,

cat

"Sometimes, the truth hurts. To bad." Erie

This letter is long overdue.  The substitute Amy the pet sitter has been “tending” to our needs for years now and we are just now making time in our busy schedule to tell you what we think of her.  First of all, she smells.  Bad.  Like dogs.  It disgusts us.  If you could talk to her about that you won’t regret doing it.  Secondly, she does not feed us enough.  I’m sure this is either a shining example of what you consider is “good for us” or of Amy’s inability to follow instructions.

Fred disagrees but Obi and I (Erie) think that 30 minutes a day is not enough time to adequately care for our needs and provide necessary adoration.  We want her here to pay attention to us when we are ready, no when she just happens to be around.  Therefore, we have decided she should be on call, so that we can summon her as needed, 24-7.

cat

Fred allows me a peak at his lovely coat.

Fred says to make her leave quickly and tell her to stop uncovering him.  

Obi is really upset, he invested a lot of time watching the houses on the street and chose you as his caretakers and you routinely leave him with Amy who does not feed him enough.

We might consider forgiving you for leaving us if you reintroduced canned food into our paltry diet.  As for Amy, we’ve decided she is as trained as she is going to get and that training a new substitute would be to much trouble so you can keep her.  Do talk to her about the smell though.

Your Adored Cats,

Erie, Obi Wan and Fred

 

Obi Wan Cat

"See, she smells bad." Obi Wan

 

IndyFeral – Saving the lives of cats most in need.

I have unfortunately been unable to upload the pictures that I want to include it this post due to my malfunctioning internet.  I will update the post ASAP.

 

IndyFeral was my gateway into truly becoming involved in animal rescue.  My introduction to feral cats was much like most people’s.  I kept seeing a couple cats lurking around the garbage outback, lounging in the sun on the porch and hiding in the bushes out front.  I started feeding them and realized they were not friendly to humans and likely not owned or not fixed.  A little research lead me to IndyFeral.  The next thing I knew I was not only the caretaker of what turned out to be 8 feral cats but an active volunteer with IndyFeral, having been quickly converted by the enthusiasm, devotion and empathy everyone involved exuded.

The mission of IndyFeral is simple:  IndyFeral seeks to reduce the stray and feral cat overpopulation through the non-lethal method of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), not trap and kill.  This mission is so important because ” In the U.S. the most comprehensive data indicates that nearly 72% of cats that enter these facilities are killed.  For feral cats, the kill rate in shelters and pounds rises to virtually 100%.” (Source)

What is Trap Neuter and Return?  TNR is a humane and non-lethal approach to feral cat population control. It is a comprehensive management plan where healthy feral (free-roaming) cats are sterilized and vaccinated, then returned to their habitat and provided with long-term care. (Definition courtesy of Alley Cat Allies.)

What is a Feral Cat?  “A Feral cat may be defined as any cat to wild or unsocialized to be kept in a typical home.  These cats are often born in the wild and avoid direct human contact.  Every feral and abandoned cat is the end result of irresponsible pet owners who failed to spay or neuter their cat then allowed it to roam freely.”  *As defined on the IndyFeral website.

This 1 minute video also explains what a feral cat is.

I would add that in my opinion these cats are the most in need of our assistance and protection as well as perhaps the most deserving because we have abandoned them and without organizations like IndyFeral there would be no one to advocate for them.

When Lisa Tudor realized that there was a great need for a TNR program in Indianapolis, IN it 2002 Indy Feral was born.  Thanks to the fantastic volunteers, some of which have been active since 2002,  that she was able to bring into the cause Indy Feral can proudly present following amazing statistics:

  • 23,194 cats fixed
  • Assistance for over 2,500 managed colonies
  • 2,717 friendly cats/kittens removed from colonies

Marion County, Indiana passed a TNR Ordinance that regulates the care of stray and feral cats with the assistance of IndyFeral who was instrumental in passing this ordinance.

IndyFeral is somewhat unique among rescue groups as you will see if you visit their website.  They share regularly updated listing of many dog, cat and wildlife rescue resources on their site and in a pdf format.  They also offer the only comprehensive listing of low cost medical care for pets in Indianapolis that I know of.  In this way they make it clear that they are a part of the solution, for all animals in need in Indianapolis, IN.  A special, unique and effective organization that deserves our support through a monetary donation, food donation (scroll to bottom of page) or by volunteering.

I hope this post will make you look at the stray cat in your yard a little differently next time he shows up.  You can help save lives and IndyFeral will help you do it.

 

Mary and Bella, feline cold war.

cat
” I was here first.”

Mary:

I was happy as an only cat for years.  I had my mom to myself and when she could tear herself away from me and I was provided with, Amy a pretty good substitute servant.  I like her because she appreciates my need for treats and a lap.  Then the unthinkable happened.  Bella, another cat (and her human-training them is so hard) moved in.  We disliked each other immediately.  It was MY house, she did not belong and I made that clear, but my efforts were in vain, she’s still here.

cat
“I like it here, except for Mary.”

 

Bella:

Moving is very stressful for me but once we settled into our new home I made myself comfortable and began a campaign to rid myself of Mary.  I thought this would be simple, she’s kind of soft, always playing sweet to the humans, never putting them in their place.  Humans require intensive training and follow up sessions on a regular basis to remind them who is in charge.  This includes but is not limited to swatting and hissing in the middle of a required adoration session to keep them on their toes.  This is sometimes followed up by allowing more affection immediately or simply walking away.  You have to keep them guessing.  The same tactics, modified to terrorize a cat, were be employed for my Rid the House of Mary Campaign”.  Thus far this has only resulted in much hissing and growling the humans discourage for some reason.

 

Mary and Bella:

This battle for dominence continued until the most unthinkable thing in the world happened:

 

 

Labrador retriever
“My name’s Millie and I love my new home.”

 

 

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Our out and out war had to be altered to a cold war, allowing us to join forces occasionally in a covert operation to rid our home of this vile creature.  We have tried everything from blaming any and every thing the humans dislike on the dog, ignoring the humans as punishment and attacks on the enemy.  Alas, we are still at war but considering that cat’s are far superior to dogs, we will eventually prevail.

Until we do we now look forward to our humans leaving because the dog leaves too.  Training Amy the substitute is an ongoing process but she’s preferable to the dog.

 

Bella the calico cat
“It’s exhausting being a cat.”

 

Mary the cat gettin gpets
“Lap time with Amy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rommel the Rottweiler and Nina the rescue – the Happy Critters behind Amy’s Happy Critters, Inc.

The humans that belong to Rommel and Nina have been my friends since before Rommel and Nina owned them.

rottweiler and cat under couch
Rommel as a puppy under my couch next to Domino, my cat with his first, favorite toy that he did not want to share.

 

This is a Polaroid of Rommel under my futon hoarding a toy back in 2000 when he was the size of my cat Domino.  I of course immediately insisted on being given the position of Aunt and Puppy Sitter.

 

Rommel the Rottweiler was often my house guest while his parents traveled.  Shortly after they got Rommel they of course had to get him a sister (one pet is never enough), Nina, the Flat Coated Retriever Mix (?) who they adopted from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control.  Now when the humans traveled I had a house full, 5 dogs and a cat plus a feral cat colony outside. I loved it.

 

“We are best friends.”

When I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer in 2003 Nina and Rommel were at my house.  They were scheduled to come stay again during the early part of my recovery but that was no longer an option.  Their humans hired a Pet Sitter to come into the home and care for Rommel and Nina while they were away.  What is a pet sitter I asked?  They explained, I did some research and knew right away I was not returning to my job refinishing furniture.  My surgery was February 6, 2003, I started Amy’s Happy Critters, Inc. in March of 2003, thanks to the first Happy Critters, Nina and Rommel.

rottweiler cute pic
“I have a foot fetish.”

 Rommel has a foot fetish, when you walk, he puts his nose right on the top of your shoe and grumbles and sniff’s, as you try to walk.  He gets over this in a few minutes.  It’s cute, when you don’t trip over him an fall.  As with most Rotties I’ve met he can not get enough love and attention.  If you stop moving, he will be there presenting you with an ear or a stub of tail to scratch.  If you sit down, it’s time to be prepared for kisses.

 

Nina loves affection just as much as her brother but, unlike Rommel who more or less outgrew his toy obsession, Nina takes the prey instinct to new heights.  She quickly progressed from disemboweling squeeky toys to taking on raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, geese, ducks and swans with varying degrees of success.

rottweiler and rescued dog
“There are geese in my yard-I MUST go.”

 

Rommel, Nina and their humans are family to me.  Rommel is now a spry 12 years old and Nina is ageless it seems.  My friends added two children -of the human variety- to their family recently.  I am not qualified to care for those types of critters but I have non the less appointed myself Aunt Amy again.

 

Thank you Rommel, Nina and your humans for helping me make something good come of something so bad and leading me into the post-cancer part of my life.

“I think Aunt Amy’s here – treats!”

The Story of Bella Mia, My Bischon Frise – Rosalynn DeFelice

 

Beschon Frise

Grandma Rosalynn and Bella Mia her Bischon Frise on the porch in strawberry season.

My Grandma Rosalynn DeFelice wrote this story of her beloved Bella Mia when I asked friends and family if they would like to share their pet stories.  She typed it on a typewriter so I have uploaded it just as she gave it to me.

 

Bischon Frise

Cats’ Emails to Their Humans on a Weekend Away

These Happy Critters were abandoned to my care for the first time.  This is what they had to say to their humans via email.

Correspondence shown in maroon are letters received from the Cats to the Humans.

Correspondence shown in black are letters received from the Humans to the cats.

Notes in blue are from the Pet Sitter (aka. Substitute Mom).

"Your really left us?"

Dear humans who have apparently abandoned us,

The substitute showed up, so that’s a good start. She tended to our needs as instructed under jimi and Simons supervision. We all graced her with a chance to pet us then ignored her, as a substitute deserves.

Your cats.

(they become much more affectionate with the substitute very quickly!  I was glad to see everyone. All is well here, unless you’re an “abandoned” cat that is)

Dear Substitute Mom,

All of us humans were very happy to hear from our kitty friends.

We arrived here a little later than we planned 6 humans need more breaks than the 1 puppy.

All the owners especially Jimis’ much appreciated update and can see he is in good hands

Thanks

"We aren't being fed at all."

Abandonment Day 2:

To the humans on probation,

(Henry is the spokes cat) Mila, Jimi and I greeted the substitute. Yes, she gave us pets and Simon finally intruded on that but we are being starved!  Jimi is having great time chasing Simon. The rest of us are bored.

The Cats

"We are not getting any affection and it's very stressful."

Abandonment Day 3:

We are under a lot of stress right now. That’s all we can say

It was a stressful day for all of us too…. we’re hoping tomorrow is a better day

We miss you all too

"If she trips and breaks something she won't be able to leave."

Abandonment Day 4:

Well, the substitute is quite trainable so she is acceptable. Feeding the birds is a waste of OUR time though.

"I don't like her at all."

Last Day!

Ok, the sub can be used again. That is if you can bear to leave us again, which is unfathomable to us.

 

"Ok, you can let her care for us again."

 

We appreciate the great care you gave the kitty crowd… They were missed.

Even dog people like kittens, a little.

"Let's see if you are an acceptable human."

This is Emma, the newest and at present, the youngest, Happy Critter.  I thought her tail was at attention while she was inspecting me but it pretty much stays that way all the time.

Here she is having fun with her big sister Inky.  I’ve been caring for Inky for a couple of years now.  Today was the first time she came out to meet me at the door.  Our relationship progressed from her hiding from me to meeting me at the door today.  I think she has decided she will get no attention with Emma around unless she comes on out.

KITTEN ATTACK!

Kitten attacking finger.

Kitten attacking foot.

Kitten attacking foot.

Kitten attacking hand.

Emma seems to have enjoyed our first meeting and I didn’t loose to much blood.  The best part about Emma, aside from that tail, is that she has breathed new life into her big sister Inky.

Please keep getting puppies and kittens so that I can restrain myself from adding to our furry family.