I'm sure it sounds dorky, but each time I add to this series, I become so giddy! I love telling these stories, being able to photograph animals and actually do something with the images. Believe it or not, I'm slowly running out of dogs and cats to photograph within my inner circle, so this coming year will mean outsourcing! (If you are someone who owns a rescue animal and wouldn't mind some free pet portraits, let me tell your story! You can email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org)
You know how they say there are two types of people; Cat People and Dog People? As you've probably guessed, I'm a 'dog person'. We never had cats growing up, so I don't speak the language of cats. I like them, I just don't understand them. Along with 3 dogs (you can read about one of them here), my parents have 4 cats and though they aren't from animal shelters, they were rescued all the same. As I've mentioned before, my father owns his own garbage business and a few large garages/buildings where he houses all of his equipment. The story of how my parents ended up with a clowder of cats starts there, at the Shop. It began with Kibbies, the voluptuous little kitty below. Kibbies' mother came to the shop in one of the roll-off boxes from a neighboring town where they have a bad stray cat problem. Not long after, we got a call from my dad that there was a kitten in the recycling, so we found her and brought her home. At the time, we were living with my parents, and our dog, Luna, became obsessed with Kibbies. They spent their days basking in the sun, napping, and rolling around nibbling on each other. (If you've never seen a kitten chew and pull on a dogs face/ears, put it on your bucket list for life.. the cuteness is sure to make your heart explode.) Unfortunately, the shop is located right next to a farm with lots of barn cats wandering around, and it wasn't long before Kibbies' mama ended up pregnant again. One afternoon, my dad walked in the front door of my parents house holding a tiny ball of black fur - a nearly dead kitten. This cat would come to be known as Otto. That night, my husband, sister and I went up to the shop to try to find the other kittens. After searching and chasing terrified, malnourished kittens in and out of buildings, we ended up finding the remaining four. After they were all vetted, a small black and white spotted kitten sadly passed away. My mom spent the following weeks nursing the remaining three cats back to health, feeding them with syringes and changing out hot water bottles and blankets every couple of hours. My parents had no intention of keeping these kittens, but they (not surprisingly) became extremely attached. They only ended up finding a home for one kitten -Cleo, though it's worth mentioning that he went to live with my grandparents, so that doesn't really count. (You can see a photo of the three kittens, Butters, Otto, and Cleo, below.) So, are you keeping track? That left them with three cats total. Not too long after that, Alfie came into the picture. Another cat found at the shop, another cat my parents promised (to themselves) that they wouldn't keep. We're not really sure where Alfie came from, as he looks nothing like the other cats that were rescued, but he is part of the four-cat-clowder residing with my parents, brother and sister. Since rescuing them, my parents have spent a lot of time at the vet dealing with the health issues the cats still face from being malnourished as kittens.. Kibbies has kitty asthma, Otto has emotional issues, Alfie can't really see out of either eyes.. could there be a more pathetic bunch? Regardless of their issues, these are four of the most spoiled and fawned over cats you will ever meet, and I don't think my parents could imagine a life without their small cat colony.
A big part of this 'rescued' series is to show the importance and impact of adopting animals from a shelter, but It's also about education. Before rescuing these cats, I never payed much attention to the amount of stray cats that are wandering through towns and cities. It can be frustrating because a lot of these cats are feral and hard to get to. So what can you do to help? One way to help if you have a stray cat hanging around is build a simple cat shelter and fill it with hay. This will help keep the cat(s) out of the elements, you can read more about it here . Another way to help, and it may seem obvious, but feed them. If you think this is going to leave you with a gang of cats hanging around your house, you could be right, but we started feeding a very underweight/ overly friendly cat that was hanging around our house and he never came back. (My husband and I were very sad about this). The real solution to ending the feral cat problem is to spay and neuter them. Check with your local vet or humane society for programs and people that specialize in trapping feral cats to spay and neuter.
Name: Kibbers Age:2.5
("The Queen", the bossiest cat in the bunch, full of sass and curves)
Name: Otto Age: 2
(Shy, emotional, and sensitive. I was interrupting his afternoon nap)
Name: Butters Age: 2
(The trouble maker, always trying to play and pick fights with his brother, Otto)
Name: Alfie Age:1.5
(The baby. Goofy, playful and a little bit cooky.)
Butters, Otto and Cleo as kittens.