No, the universe did not bring me a new tortie cat for my birthday!
Josephine was found offered “free to a good home” on a Facebook neighborhood site. You may remember last summer the kittens Cookie and Jelly Bean who were trapped and rescued with terrible URIs but nursed back to health by Debby Christy Nicola. They were, of course, named after my kitties, and the name “Cookie” infers that kitty is “on tough Cookie”, as the little long-haired tortie proved to be. It was the woman who rescued and later adopted Cookie who saw this kitty, who reminded her of her Cookie-pie. When I saw the post she reminded me of my Cookie-pie and my Kelly too. This kitty had been taken in from the street but was not fitting in. A lot of discussion ensued of what to do and in the end Cookie’s rescuer went to get her and she stayed the night here last night. Because she was originally found on Josephine Street, we decided to name the petite little girl Josephine. I have always liked that name.
Little Josephine was a little traumatized by her experience, and settled in the corner of the windowsill last night and would not move, nor responded to petting, though she did not object. I welcomed her, gave her food and water, petted her, applied a few soothing essences, then let her rest. A few hours later she had not moved, so I got her started, hugged and kissed her lightly, and showed her the food bowl. Eventually she drank lots and lots of water, then began to gently explore, but though she made progress when I was in the room, she returned to the little cubby storage next to the tub. She came out hesitantly each time I came in but was friendly, just very quiet. She ate well overnight and used the litter box. Dr. Michelle took a look at her today, and she did well with handling, and in a room with two relative strangers. And I took about 102 photos of her.
The plan was to check her out and surrender her to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society today in order to be scanned for a microchip, spayed if necessary, have veterinary care and be put up for adoption. So after I had the joy of spending nearly 24 hours with this precious little girl, this afternoon I took her over, talked to the people I usually talk to, and received her shelter number. I offered to foster if she needed any more socialization or ever became ill or in danger of euthanasia, and I have her intake number so that I can call about her and follow her.
No, I cannot keep her, and even fostering for a long term is difficult for my household right now. I won’t say how many cats I’ve packed into this tiny little house in the 25 years I’ve been here, but my average was nine, and only once, for a week, I was down to four. That’s a lot of cats, and I know the toll it took on my household. Right now, with the Five and Smokie and Bella, we are comfortable. Two in the bathroom was okay while Bert and Ernie were here, but it puts pressure on everyone’s behavior.
The WPHS is an open-door shelter, one that some people might call a “kill shelter”. But rather than call them names we choose to work with them, to help them with their goal of saving as many lives as possible. This is the shelter where Smokie came from, and Bert and Ernie too, surrendered to the Homeless Cat Management Team to give us a chance to socialize and find homes for them, or if that wasn’t possible to then find a community colony where they could safely reside. I regularly pick up cats from surgery in their TNR program and hold them for caretakers to pick up from me.
There are so many cats like Josephine, and many of them don’t find the best homes when given away free, or if they are out on the street they never find the help they need. This shelter, as well as others I’ve known, used to be a hell for animals, and I would never have considered surrendering a cat I’d rescued to them, one of the reasons I had so many for so many years. But with their own hard work and the help of the public they serve, they have turned their numbers around, and I know that, next to my quiet little bathroom, Josephine will get the best of care and love from the staff, and if she needs anything I can give her, they will let me know.
And you can bet you’ll see more about her too! I hope to help little Josephine find a very loving forever home!
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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!