2022 SPRING NEWSLETTER
BEFORE AND AFTER
We’ve all seen those stories and ads where people go through great transformations, whether it’s to lose large amounts of weight, get rid of wrinkles, get rid of unwanted hair, add more hair, change hair colour and a host of other things. We see pictures of before and after the 100 pound-weight loss, before and after the makeover and before and after the hair change. We learn how these changes have improved the lives of those who have undergone these transformations.
At C.A.R.E.S., we too have many “before” and “after” stories. Being in the rescue business, we have, on many occasions, seen some of our new arrivals come to us scared and in pretty rough shape. We’ve watched as these cats go through physical transformations, as they recover from a variety of injuries they sustained while being stray or abused. We’ve watched as their terror slowly transforms into trust and hisses turn into purrs. We can report that many of these stories have had happy endings. Here are just a few:
One of the more significant before and after transformations we’ve seen is that of our beloved George. George came to C.A.R.E.S. in February 2010, a month or two after his owners had moved and abandoned him in the dead of winter. Realizing that George was left behind, a kind neighbour
began to feed him, but could not take him in due to having cats of her own, who did not take to George at all. When the really cold weather hit, she allowed George to stay in her laundry room temporarily, but then had to release him back outside. After she had let him back out, the lady didn’t see George for several days. Then one day he returned, and what she saw made her break down and cry. George was a mess. His head was covered in nasty wounds and he obviously needed medical help right away. Remembering that a friend of hers volunteered for C.A.R.E.S., she called and was instructed to bring George to the C.A.R.E.S. vet A.S.A.P. She rushed him in that same day.
C.A.R.E.S.’ mission is to rescue, shelter and find loving homes for stray, abandoned and unwanted cats.
Phone: 604.532.5632 www.carescatshelter.com
In This Issue:
- Before & After P. 1-2
- Calicivirus P. 3-4
- Adopting…a Shy Cat P. 5-7
- 19 Years & Going Strong P. 7
- Happy Trails P. 8
- Fundraising & Events
- P. 8-9
- Purdy’s P. 10
- Susan Phillips, Editor
BEFORE AND AFTER cont’d
When our vet saw George, he commented that it was one of the worst cases of abscesses he had ever seen. He suspected George had come in contact with a raccoon and was lucky to be alive! Dr. Bath had to shave George’s head to clean and stitch up the many wounds. Poor George was quite a sight, with drains coming out of the side of his face and nose. Finally, George was released into the care of the shelter where he completed the rest of his recovery and transformed into the beautiful boy we knew he could be.
In late June 2009, an injured cat that hung around the Abbotsford Hospital was caught and brought to C.A.R.E.S. Named after the late singer, Michael Jackson, he was given a thorough checkup by Dr. Bath. Particular attention was focused on Jackson’s front right leg. He had sustained an injury to the leg and was unable to walk properly. The paw would turn under and Jackson would end up putting his weight on his elbow. Dr. Bath wondered if Jackson had been clipped by a car. It was decided that Jackson would need surgery to attempt to repair the leg. Throughout his ordeal, Jackson was loving and friendly. He purred and bumped whenever you paid him any attention.
Jackson was finally released and came to
C.A.R.E.S. to continue his recovery. The time came when we were able to start letting Jackson out of his cubby for exercise. It was soon apparent, however, that his leg was not getting better. The damage to his leg was more extensive than originally thought. The option of amputating the leg was discussed.
It was hard to know what to do. That is, until he was seen biting his leg. Not a good sign. It was possible that Jackson was experiencing “phantom” pain. If this was the case, Jackson could injure himself further.
One of our volunteers took him home so that he could be closely monitored. A few days passed and we finally got a home report that Jackson was biting at his leg again. Lisa took Jackson back to Dr. Bath to go ahead with the amputation. It was then that Jackson’s transformation began. Jackson bounced back so well, that Dr. Bath let the volunteer, Lisa, take him home the next day for his recovery time.
Lisa remembered Paula, who had adopted a shy mom and her kittens from us earlier that year. Paula had mentioned at the time that she would consider taking another cat, if it were the right one to fit in with her little family. We phoned her and told her about Jackson. Happily, she said she would love to meet Jackson. Lisa took Jackson to his new potential home. It was love at first sight on both ends. Jackson took to his new home right away. He became a good friend to the younger cats who seemed to gain more confidence with him around. For a while we received pictures of Jackson and we chuckled to see him up on a table next to big fish tanks. We knew we’d made the right decision for Jackson and were able to log another happy ending.
CAT TALES SPRING 2022
Have you heard of Feline Calicivirus?
Cats are no strangers to respiratory infections; they’ll sneeze, sniffle, cough and generally not feel too good at times, just like us. Upper respiratory infections are something we see yearly here at C.A.R.E.S. Calicivirus, however, is much harder to treat in a shelter environment where the cats require much more care.
There are many types of Calicivirus’ affecting different animals, as well as humans, but feline Calicivirus strains can only affect cats. All strains of Calicivirus are highly contagious.
A cat contracts feline Calicivirus via direct contact with an infected cat’s saliva, eye/nasal discharge or aerosolized droplets from sneezes. The virus enters a cat’s body through the nose, mouth or eyes. When the virus enters the body, there is a 2-14 day incubation period before symptoms become apparent. During this incubation period the Calicivirus sets up shop in the lining at the back of the mouth. While there, the virus replicates and then spreads to other places; once the symptoms appear they usually last about 2 to 3 weeks but may last as long as 6 weeks in severe cases.
Feline Calicivirus symptoms can range from mild to severe and include: Sneezing, squinting, eye discharge, nasal discharge and nasal congestion. Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelids) eye and nose discharge range from clear to yellow-green. When the virus spreads to the mouth, infected cats develop painful oral ulcers especially on the tongue. These ulcers cause the cats to excessively drool and can cause bleeding from the mouth and nose.
When the infection becomes more severe, infected cats will show systemic signs of illness such as weight loss, appetite loss, lethargy and depression. Cats with upper respiratory infections often lose their appetite because they cannot taste or smell as usual; add the oral ulcers from Calicivirus and this can make eating extremely uncomfortable for some cats.
CAT TALES SPRING 2022
C.A.R.E.S. has recently gone through a period caring for some cats that had Calicivirus. When symptoms first appeared these cats were quickly quarantined in our hospital away from our main population. Our amazing volunteers provided around-the-clock care in different shifts to ensure the health of the others in our facility.
Some of these poor souls were so sick that they wanted
to just give up. Each day we cleaned them and washed their little faces when they couldn’t. We wiped their noses and helped with bathroom cleanup when they were too weak to do it themselves. We fed them when they couldn’t eat. Although this was very difficult to do at times, we continued to fight for them, even, when the cat clearly wanted to give up. With dedication and hard work all six of our Calicivirus kitties have made full recoveries and are spending a little more time at the shelter to ensure that the virus is completely gone from their systems.
Thank you again for helping us to continue to do this important work!
Come on down to PetSmart and check out our adorable kittens/cats and maybe you will connect with one or two of them. Or maybe they will pick you as their mom and dad! – Kristina
CAT TALES SPRING 2022
ADOPTING A VERY SHY OR FERAL CAT
A shy cat is a cat that is extremely shy with people and that may have had little to no past human contact, or have been a stray for a very long time. Sometimes very shy cats are called feral cats, meaning they are undomesticated and not used to living with people. The term ‘feral’ does not mean these cats are aggressive. On the contrary, feral cats tend to be timid and afraid of people, typically doing their utmost to avoid human contact. However, shy cats are generally comfortable living with other cats.
Realistic Expectations When Adopting a Very Shy or Feral Cat:
Shy cats will likely stay somewhat shy and will take anywhere from several months to years to learn to live with humans and feel comfortable in your home.
Shy cats will often initially regress and become temporarily shyer upon moving into a new home.
They prefer small areas and hidey holes to feel safe. They don’t like new people, fast movements, loud noises, door bells and the like. Shy cats may never feel comfortable with visitors to your home, preferring to retreat when strangers arrive. They may bond with the whole family or may prefer a close relationship with only one or two family members.
Feral cats are quiet, keen observers who love a predictable routine and calm environment. They have a boundless curiosity and are often extremely playful.
Shy or feral cats usually love living with other cats and can often form close relationships with dogs. The best way to understand a shy or feral cat is to imagine you in their shoes (or paws, as the case may be). As a shy cat living in a family home, you’re completely surrounded by an alien species. It would take you a very long time to learn to live in this new environment without your old companions.
General Tips to Help a Shy Cat Transition into Your Home:
- Prepare a safe starter room or sanctuary for your new cat. This will provide the cat the cat with the quiet and safety s/he needs while becoming familiar with the scents and sounds of your home. The starter room can be any size but must have a secure door and ceiling.
- Cat-proof the safe room. Check out our Cat Health and Safety resource sheet for more information.
- Keep in mind that shy cats are nervous and like to hide. Cardboard boxes or sheets draped over a couple chairs make ideal hiding spots when you first bring your new cat home.
- Remove large items of furniture from the safe room, such as beds and dressers. It is much easier to interact with a cat hiding in a box than a cat hiding under a bed.
- Equip the safe room with cat food, water and litter. Place food and water on one side of the room and an open (unenclosed) litter box on the other side.
- Shy cats may not each much for the first 24-48 hours and may have temporary diarrhea from stress. If your cat has not eaten in 48 hours, try extra tasty treats such as canned tuna or salmon. If this is not successful, you may want to consult your Adoption Specialist for advice.
CAT TALES SPRING 2022
ADOPTING A VERY SHY OR FERAL CAT cont’d
How to Begin Interacting With a Shy Cat:
Quality time with people is very important. Start out with very slow movements and quiet voices; eye contact with lots of blinking, as this reassures the cat of your friendly intent Yawn and slowly look away to show you are not a threat. Establish a predictable routine
Next, you’ll want to help the cat get used to normal activities in your home. To do this, try the following:
- Read a book or magazine out loud or talk on the phone to friends so the cat gets used to your voice.
- Play a radio quietly—soft classical music is often best—and only for an hour or two each day. Loud and constant radio noise can actually add more stress.
- Sit or lay on the floor when talking to your new kitty. This posture is much less threatening than standing above them.
- Show the cat anything new you bring into the room, whether a book, telephone or glass of water. Cats are very curious and want to know that the new object is not a threat.
- Upon each visit, offer the cat one small tasty treat. This way, they begin to associate your visit with something pleasant. You can use a long-handled spoon or stick to offer the treat. (Remember: You don’t want to over indulge the cat with treats as this can lead to obesity. It is intended just to be a small reward.)
How to Pet a Shy Cat:
Start by using a wand toy, long feather such as a peacock feather, or petting stick. First, set your petting stick, feather or wand on the floor so the cat can see and sniff it. Start to touch the cat ever so gently and lightly around the cheeks and chin for only a very short time such as 30-60 seconds in the early days. Then, set the petting stick down for several minutes and talk to the cat. Repeat a few times each day. As the cat gets used to the touch of the petting stick and begins to indicate this is a pleasurable experience (your cat may lift its head so you can stroke its chin or rub against the wand on its own), you can begin to slowly introduce the touch of the petting stick to the top of the head, the back and other areas of the body.
Go slowly and build on each day’s success gradually. Over time, you may be able to slowly move your hand down the length of the petting stick until you fingers are helping the wand pet the cat. The goal is to be able to introduce your hand and fingers as the ‘substitute’ petting stick once the cat identifies the wand as a very pleasant experience.
Integration from the Safe Room into the Rest of the Home:
When you and your new cat have established a trusting relationship, the cat is ready to begin exploring your home. Be sure to begin this process when you are home to supervise. Close most of the doors so the cat begins its orientation in stages. Too many new spaces at once will be stressful and frightening. Do not let a shy cat into the basement for many weeks or they may hide in the rafters or other small, dark places where you’ll be unable to work on socialization. Full house privileges may take 2-3 months depending on the personality of the cat.
CAT TALES SPRING 2022
ADOPTING A VERY SHY OR FERAL CAT cont’d
Very Shy or Feral Cat/Kitten Companions for the Resident Cat:
Very shy or feral cats are often used to other cats and welcome feline companionship. They will be very lonely on their own, so we recommend that the integration process take place very quickly (1-3 days) unless there are significant problems.
(Taken from www.meowfoundation.com)
19 YEARS AND GOING STRONG!
As a C.A.R.E.S. volunteer, I met Kaitlan (formerly Kaiden) quite a few years ago. While I did my work at the shelter Kaitlan watched me, usually from a high-up position, quickly rolling onto her back for pets and head scratches if I stopped to say “hi”. Kaitlan took every opportunity to jump onto a warm lap and drool from happiness!
Now our little girl is an old lady. At 19 years, she continues to toddle along much the same as she always has. Granted she has slowed down. At her age, she is entitled to that. Arthritis has added to her new, slower pace. Now-a-days, cozying up in front of the bedroom radiator or in front of the fireplace, or under a sunbeam, is what she seems to call a “fun time”.
She has taken to jumping on the bed in the morning in an attempt to get me up for breakfast. Mind you, she has always done this, but for the past year she has added a new behaviour—that of biting me, either on the arm or the face, if I’m not fast enough to ward her off.
I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t let a cat do that to me—that maybe it’s time to put Kaitlan down. Those people don’t understand the bond between a human and their animal!
Yes, Kaitlan is elderly and now has ongoing kidney problems, which means she needs special care. Yes, she has turned into a bit of a grumpy pants. Yes she bites. But she’s still my beloved Kaitlan! She still cuddles with me and purrs when I pet her. She looks at me with her eyes and I continue to melt. I am butter in her hands. We are committed together in this thing called “life” until the end. She can count on it.
CAT TALES SPRING 2022
“Just wanted to send an email to you updating you on Pita and Smokey Pie.
These two are doing fantastic and are
warming up to us really well! Pita has
loved interactive play; Smokey pie seems to
At nighttime they play together all around
the place and they love to cuddle up all day.
Although the process is slow, they are
warming up really well!”
“I just wanted to give an update on Bibby (formerly Onyx) who I adopted from C.A.R.E.S. back in August. He is very much a part of the family now and is a very friendly and talkative boy, always chirping and meowing around the house to announce himself. He was very timid and scared back then, but now he has really come into his own and I can barely believe it some days. Grateful to have taken a chance on him!” – Mariam
Other recently adopted kitties include:
Kit Kat, Miss Molly, Vali, Luna and Sweet Kernel. Adios, little ones! Enjoy your new lives!
FUNDRAISING AND EVENTS
After a fairly challenging year at C.A.R.E.S., where we made a nominal net profit, we now report on our first quarter, and for the next few months.
As we go to press, we are in the final stages of collecting items for our silent auction. We feel sure that we will have over 100 items this year and we encourage all of you to view the selection online. The Fundraising Team and other friends have worked hard on this project and we hope it will be as successful as in previous years.
Special mention should go to Cedar Rim nursery, who once again have made a substantial donation towards this event. Many thanks Russ Bruce and family!
In early March we had the first of our adopt-a-thons at PetSmart. Surprisingly, there were only a few kitties, but nearly all went out to good homes.
In April we will have our Purdy’s Easter drive, which is always popular. Kristin Haglof does a-marvelous job on this. Do please look online for details.
We will keep you all posted on subsequent newsletters about the upcoming items for the balance of the year.
Regarding public relations, we really have to mention the marvelous photographs and article in a recent edition of the Langley Times Advance. Thank you Roxy and staff! This was born out of an article written by Carol Briner in our previous newsletter.
Thankfully, Covid appears to be passing, although there could be a reoccurrence later in the year. We, however, have the same challenges as always in fundraising. Intakes and subsequent adoptions are lower at the moment, but offset to some extent by lower vet and food costs.
As with any charity, fundraising and public relations remain a strategic part of our operation:
Special thanks to Tara White, who literally owns our online communications and is busy spreading the word all the time. Susan May and Carol Briner have handled the many parts of the online auctions seemingly without end!
20015 Langley Bypass
373 – 47 20821
CAT TALES SPRING 2022
FUNDRAISING AND EVENTS cont’d
To them and to Donna Healey-Ogden, Chris Briner, Lynn Hewitt and our fearless editor, Susan Phillips, a big, ever present THANK YOU!
The need for your help, though, continues. Whether you can give financially, or of your time, please know that it is needed and much appreciated by all of us.
”Made with sustainable cocoa.”
Orders can be placed until March 28th. Pick up will be Saturday April 9th, Address and pickup details are located on the Purdy’s C.A.R.E.S. dashboard.
We appreciate your support!