Cat with Special Needs
by Pat Davitt
The aloof, independent cat is a stereotype promoted by those who
have never shared their life with a cat. Every cat has a unique array of special needs.
There is, however, a class of cats that can truly be labeled as having "special
needs." These poor unfortunates have some physical challenges that prevent them from
leading a normal life. This article is about one very special cat with "special
One day, we noticed a tiny, black kitten poking about the leaves
at the edge of the woods near our home. After leaving some food outside for the little
kitten, we were quite surprised the next day when the kitten's entire family appeared. The
parents, gray tabbies, and their offspring, two midnight black kittens, continued to feed
twice a day.
The father of the litter was diminutive, except for his head.
Tomcats tend to have heads larger than females of the same stature and weight. This fellow
was one step beyond that, lending a visual cue to his name, Big Head Todd.
As soon as we rescued the little family, we took Big Head Todd to
our vet. We were dismayed to learn that Big had feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). We
checked the rest of the family immediately and all received clean bills of health.
The options for Big are limited. He is otherwise in good health,
but because of his FIV, he cannot return to his family or be placed with other non-FIV
cats without putting them at risk.
Big is truly a nice cat and has socialized well with his
rescuers. Before his rescue, Big lived in the woods with his family. He cared for them to
the extent that his efforts fighting intruders probably lead to his contracting FIV. Many
times before his rescue, we observed him with the kittens - grooming them, snoozing with
them in the sun, or keeping a watchful eye on them.
Big is looking for a home where he will be an only cat and where
his adopter will understand his affliction. He has the stance of a bulldog - wide at the
shoulders - as if he is ready to take on the world. His purr can only be described as a
rumble, and he is quite talkative.
We have trained Big to accept a harness so that we can take him
outside for walks. It is probably his favorite activity. He is most happy when I groom
him, twice a day, at each mealtime. He won't let me skip that part of our breakfast and
dinner routine. It is a wonderful tranquilizer for both of us.
Our vet says that it is very possible for Big's FIV to remain
dormant for years, perhaps never becoming active. Big can have a life filled with walks
and talks, lots of grooming, and evenings in front of the fireplace.
Do you know someone with a big heart who is living without a cat?
Their rewards will be without measure. Please call The Cat Sitter at 507-367-2500 for
additional information about Big.
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by Melissa Boeke
The two most popular employees at Cummings' Books in
Minneapolis haven't always raked in the cat treats. Both Attila and Artemis were homeless
as kittens. Attila came to us in the winter of 1996, and Artemis the winter of 1997. Both
keep busy when the shop is open by greeting customers, enhancing our window displays, and
approving purchases (with a sniff). They also act as surrogate cats for the students at
the nearby University of Minnesota, who were unable to bring their cats into the dorms.
Attila has a shelf called "Attila's
Picks," which houses such treasures as Outwitting Squirrels and How to Live with a
Neurotic Dog. Profits made by a bookcase of discount items go directly to the furry duo
(used for food, treats, and toys, of course).
Attila and Artemis would love to see you! Be sure to stop into
Cummings' Books at 318 14th Avenue, SE, Minneapolis (Dinkytown) and say "hello."
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Your Cat News!
The articles in The Cat Sitter Tribune, a biyearly newsletter,
are the generous contributions of our customers, veterinarians, groomers, and cat lovers.
We thank you all!
If you have a cat story, tip, joke, book, or other cat-loving
news you'd like to share, just fax or mail us and we'll be happy to include your
contribution in an upcoming issue of The Cat Sitter Tribune.
Fax: 770-967-4962 Mail: The Cat Sitter, P.O. Box 232, Roswell, GA
Things to Remember When
Using The Cat Sitter
We appreciate as much notice as possible when you're scheduling
our services - preferably 3 days notice for shorter trips (other than emergencies) and as
much notice as possible for longer trips.
Due to factors including insurance, the safety of your home, and
the well-being of your cat(s), we ask that no cleaning service or outsiders be in your
home for the duration of our service.
Remember to call and let The Cat Sitter know that you've returned
home. This will avoid an extra visit/expense. In the Atlanta market, we now have a voice
pager for your convenience.
by Tobin Emrich, DVM
Cascade Animal Hospital, Rochester, MN
There is an insidious disease which may be plaguing
your feline at this very moment. This disease is widespread, begins as early as two years
of age, and is unknown to many owners. The lesions from this disease can be well-hidden
and may rob your kitty a lengthy life of carefree abandon. This dreaded affliction is
Dental disease is thought to affect over 60 percent of cats at
three years of age and 80 percent of cats at six years of age. Oral signs of a mouth gone
bad include: halitosis, tartar accumulation, reddened gumlines, gum growth over teeth,
loose and missing teeth, sensitive teeth, cavities, and drooling. Systemic signs of dental
disease may present as: decreased appetite and activity, increased effort in chewing,
dropping food out of mouth during eating, facial swelling, nasal discharge, chronic
infections, and irritability.
Dental disease allows easy access of bacteria into the
bloodstream. This bacteria can then create problems with the kidneys, heart, lungs, and
other organs. Decreasing the access of this bacteria into the body can help your friend
live longer and have a better quality of life in its senior years.
Discovering your kitty has dental disease can be difficult. If
you cannot look safely into your cat's mouth, it is important for your veterinarian to do
a thorough dental assessment at every visit.
If your kitty does have signs of dental lesions, there are a
multitude of therapies available. Therapies range from home care to professional dental
cleaning, including fillings, root canals, and extractions. Your veterinarian will help
guide you to the appropriate care for your individual situation.
Help your feline friends live longer and happier - keep their
teeth bright and white.
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Submitted by Paula Trumble
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone,
that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special
friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water, and sunshine,
and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health
and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we
remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content,
except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one
suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body
quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs
carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend
finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy
kisses rain upon your face and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so
long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together
Do the Right Thing
American Humane Society data summarized by Joni Butler,
A Cat Sitter franchisee
Spring is here - the time of year when the female cat's
reproductive cycle kicks in and litters of cute, little kittens abound. Though it is not
very difficult to find homes for kittens, please consider the following 1997 figures from
the American Humane Society:
There are 4,000 to 6,000 shelters in the U.S.
8 to 12 million cats and dogs enter U.S. shelters each
Only 25% to 35% of shelter animals are eventually adopted
Only 4% of cats are returned to owners by the shelters
A fertile female cat can produce 3 litters each year
There are 4 to 6 kittens per litter
One cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in 7
Shelters are usually able to place kittens fairly easily. However, each kitten placed
potentially deprives a shelter cat of a home. Approximately- 30 to 60 percent of animals
brought to shelters nationwide are euthanized every year because homes are not available.
If you have spayed or neutered your pet - hats off to you! If
there are feral or homeless cats in your area - or that you may be feeding - consider
participating in a Spay/ Neuter/Release program to help end overpopulation. Call your
local shelter for more information.
Remember: Cats can't add, and dogs can't subtract, but they sure can multiply!