Rescue Stories: The HCMT/Pittsburgh C.A.T. Calendar

Norman and his story, featured in September, Pet Memorial Month.
Norman and his story, featured in September, Pet Memorial Month.

You read about these organizations each Monday when I post about cats for adoption, and lots of times in between with clinics and rescues and rescue stories. You know how I love to write and share these rescue stories, and along with helping these organizations who I support with my particular skills, writing and sharing the rescue stories included in this calendar was probably the greatest creative joy. Some you’ve read here, but most you haven’t. When I chose the cats to feature I first made a list of issues and topics that would would give readers an idea of all the things these two organizations do to make life better for cats, then within those topics I chose the most illustrative stories and the best photos I could find.

Norman’s story was, for me, the most touching of all. You may think it’s not a happy ending, but in truth it’s probably the happiest of all.

IN LOVING HANDS: NORMAN

Animals will often find their way to humans when they need help. While picking up kittens for spay/neuter neighbors had mentioned a friendly gray cat who looked like he needed care, and seeing him Margo decided to take him home and to her vet the next day. He turned out to be around eight years old and neutered, but FIV+ and only six pounds. Her vet didn’t want to be too optimistic about how much time he had left.

About a week later she began to see some breathing difficulty, then his appetite began to wane. He was diagnosed with asthma and her vet  began him on albuterol treatments. Margo even built him an oxygen cage, which he actually hopped into when he needed it, waiting for her to turn it on. But he was eating less and less, and obviously failing. Radiographs showed he had cancer all through his abdomen that had advanced aggressively, in just two weeks.

He had stayed in the basement with her other fosters but she decided he should spend some of his last time in the house, and it would be his home for the time he had left. He loved looking out the window, and was well-versed in cat trees and sleeping on the bed. We’ll never know some of their stories, but sometimes the best we can do for them is give them a home for the brief time they have left, and send them off with love.

Go ahead and get your tissues. I talked to Margo all through the events, I wrote the story and read and rewrote and proofed it probably a dozen times, and I still cry when I read it. Rescue is often full of tears, and happy tears as well when a cat who had suffered an accident that was not survivable, survives against all odds and thrives, like Buddy, and another rescue kitty who’d been hit by a car, Butterscotch, who also fought his way back from severe neurological and physical injuries to live and love.  Buddy and Butterscotch are in this calendar, as are the cats we rescued from death in the hoarding case in Brookline, a frightened kitty taken from a shelter when she wasn’t doing well and given months of love to find her forever home, kittens with ringworm given weeks of quarantined treatment instead of being euthanized because no one had the space, time and means to treat them. And feral mom cats whose kittens were rescued and fostered and rehome while they found a home they much preferred, in a cozy barn with other cats and animals and people who loved them, even if they didn’t live indoors. We’ve saved a lot of lives with rescue, and prevented a lot of lives with free and low-cost clinics, and it’s time to celebrate.

Click the images to see larger views.

About the calendar

As part of my volunteer efforts to help both organizations I decided to put together a few things I know best how to do, the things I have done to make a living every day for decades and that I’ve added recently since I’ve been blogging—design, photograph cats, and write rescue stories. And all those things came together as the first annual calendar to benefit both the Homeless Cat Management Team (HCMT) and Pittsburgh C.A.T.

Each month features a cat who we rescued through TNR or rescue from abandonment, neglect or abuse, offered medical treatment, fostering, socialization, and a loving forever home that met their individual needs, whether it be on your couch, or in your barn.

I don’t get to spend a whole lot of time actively rescuing cats at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help them in other important ways. A calendar is one fundraising project that I’ve wanted to undertake for a couple of years and I’m glad to finally have my hands on it. I’m designing, publishing and selling the calendar. After all costs, the proceeds are divided equally between HCMT and Pittsburgh C.A.T. and our work Making Life Better for Cats Every Day of the Year.

In 2016 alone the Homeless Cat Management Team has spayed or neutered over 1,300 cats at 15 clinics with free or low-cost spays and neuters to stray, feral, rescued and pet cats including over 30 cats rescued from hoarding in Brookline this year. Pittsburgh C.A.T. has fostered and found loving forever homes for almost 500 rescued kittens and cats through HCMT and local shelters. Together we’ve reduced the population of homeless cats in the Pittsburgh area by thousands each year. Help us keep it up and do even more!

Price includes shipping. You’ll find a box to enter your address or special instructions in your shopping cart.

Purchase here

You can purchase here or visit Portraits of Animals and do some last-minute holiday shopping as well. Calendar is 8.5″ x 11″, 28 pages saddle-stitched and includes information on HCMT, Pittsburgh C.A.T. and clinics and adoption.

About the Homeless Cat Management Team and Pittsburgh C.A.T.

The Homeless Cat Management Team is a freestanding TNR organization in the Pittsburgh PA region. Our mission is to lead the way in ending the overpopulation of companion animals in our region by providing high-volume, high-quality, low-cost sterilization. We also assist and support community cat caretakers with trapping, transportation, cat food and shelter and veterinary care.

As part of our TNR process and mission to end feline overpopulation and reduce populations of cats living outdoors, we also assess at our clinic all kittens and friendly cats trapped/captured during TNR processes for adoptability and socialization, and after spay/neuter and age-appropriate vaccines offer them for adoption through our network of volunteer foster homes called Pittsburgh C.A.T.

Read more about these two organizations:

Homeless Cat Management Team

Pittsburgh C.A.T.

Thanks for all the times you’ve helped us through the past year!


Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


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© 2016 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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