Friday, February 26, 2010

We grabbed our socks an' we're hoppin' over to Olive's place!

Not home today 'cause we grabbed our socks an' are hoppin' over to Olive's place to help her celebrate her eighth PURR-thday! Y'all come now, ya hear!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's the middle of the night, do you know where your kitty is?

Mom: Forrest, is that you sitting on my head? Get off, it's three in the morning!
Forrest: Not me, mom.
Mom: Pfft! Forrest, did you just put your tail up my nose?
Forrest: Not mine, mom.
Mom (rolling over trying to get comfortable, AGAIN): Forrest, my head is NOT a LaZy Boy!
Forrest: Not me, mom, honest. I'm a furry good boy.
Mom: For Pete's sake, Forrest, my bed is NOT a track for the 50 yard dash!
Forrest: Not me, mom. I'm not doin' it.
Mom: Whoever kept me up all night purring and rubbing and batting me on the head isn't getting extra stinky goodness in the morning! Forrest, where are you...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

To my dearest Dante. L♥ve, Miss Camille Suzanne

My belongs to only you, dearest Dante - FUR now and FURever (Dearest, the music today is to celebrate our l♥ve, my handsome and brave mancat)

Spending time with you on this day of l♥ve is PURRecious to my ♥. Momma has prepared strawberry milk shakes for us to sip and made some 'nip cookies for munching. When you return home to Canada please thank your mother for allowing you to come to me this day to celebrate our l♥ve and our bond.

In solidarity with other cats throughout the blogosphere today, we wish to honor the love and devotion displayed between woofie, Maxdog, and his mom. Maxdog is fighting the good fight and close by - always present - is his remarkable mom.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ears lookin' at you, kid...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Doctor pens book about cat who can sense when patients are dying

Mimi's note: Say what you will about cats - they are smart - a lot smarter than most people give them credit for - in fact, smart enough to keep it to themselves unless it is absolutely necessary. After all, they enjoy their privacy and we'd be asking them questions all of the time if we knew what they knew

Dr. David Dosa poses with Oscar, the cat who senses when patients are going to die at the Steere House Nursing Home in Providence. Dosa has written a book about his experiences with the unusual feline.

By Linda Murphy
GateHouse News Service
Mon Feb 08, 2010, 01:18 PM EST

In 2007, Dr. David Dosa wrote an essay for The New England Journal of Medicine about a cat at the Steere House nursing home in Providence who apparently had the ability to sense when a patient was going to die. The media picked up the story and almost overnight, Oscar the cat became an international phenomenon.

“We attributed the unexpected publicity to one part cat, one part death and a slow news day,” Dosa said.

The international interest in the cat led to Dosa’s book, “Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat,” which was released last week.

Barrington, R.I., resident Dosa, a staff geriatrician at the Steere House and assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, said to date the cat has sat vigil with 50 patients at the nursing home.

“When I wrote the essay I was worried that there would be a mass exodus from the nursing home when the patients’ families read it, but it’s been just the reverse. Families are wonderfully accepting of Oscar,” Dosa said.

Though there’s no clear explanation for Oscar’s uncanny ability to sense when a patient is going to die, Dosa said it’s possible the cat may be attuned to the sweet-scented ketones or other cellular byproducts that are released from dying cells. He also said animal behavior experts have suggested the cat may be attuned to the urgency of the nursing home staff when a patient is close to death.

A scientist with a self-proclaimed aversion to cats, Dosa at first doubted Steere House nurse Mary Miranda when she tried to convince him of the cat’s unusual behavior.

Oscar, one of several cats at the nursing home, wasn’t known to be particularly friendly or to spend any time with patients. But when one of the elderly nursing home residents was about to die, the cat would be found stretched out purring on the bed, providing comfort in the patient’s last hours.

“I was very skeptical,” he said. “It brings you down a peg when a cat knows more than you. But as two vigils turned into four vigils, it eventually began to whittle its way into our psyches.”

If there’s one clear-cut case when Dosa said he began to believe Oscar had the ability to sense when a patient at the Steere House was going to die, it was the day the cat sat with a patient while the nursing home staff was gathered in the room of another patient that they expected to die.

They sent a nurse’s aide to find the cat, thinking Oscar’s streak of predicting death was broken. But every time the aide tried to bring the cat to the patient’s room at the opposite end of the floor, he returned to the room where they found him.

Oscar’s patient died first while the patient they expected to die remained alive until the following day, when the cat sat vigil in that room.

“It was clear that Oscar knew more than us that day,” said Dosa.

While Oscar is clearly central to the story, the book also sheds light on the touching end-of-life stories of the patients, many of whom have dementia, and their families as they wrestle with losing their parent or spouse.

“I interviewed families for the book and in talking to them I found they all had different feelings about what Oscar was doing, but they all took comfort in the fact that he was there for them,” he said.

Dosa, one of only 7,000 geriatricians in the country, also uses the broadly fascinating story of the cat to call attention to the less-attention grabbing issues of dementia, end-of-life care, a need for health care reform and the ramifications of the upcoming “silver tsunami” of the country’s aging population.

In one of the earlier stories in the book, Dosa and the husband of a woman dying of Alzheimer’s disease are at odds over submitting the clearly diminishing woman to a barrage of potentially painful tests to determine if the woman has colon cancer.

“I know you love your wife,” he tells the husband, who has just ordered the doctor to do everything possible for the woman. Dosa, realizing the tests and potential subsequent cancer treatment of the dying woman would be pointless, adds: “Sometimes the deepest act of love is letting go.”

“Patient choice at the end of life is so important. At the end of the day I’d pick a cat over the ICU (Intensive Care Unit),” said Dosa. “One of the messages I hope people take away from the book is the need to discuss those decisions. We all have different goals and values.” The Herald News of Fall River, Mass.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Animals slaughtered for their fur leave living legacy for wildlife babies

Mimi's note: Each and every day animals throughout our world are slaughtered in the most inhumane fashion for NO other reason than to feed the vanity of human beings. Now, those dear animals that have lost their lives can help orphaned wildlife babies to live. Please, do all you can to help this most worthy endeavor. I cannot think of a better way to honor the dead than to help the living.

By Andrea Cimino If you strayed into the back office of our Fur-Free Campaign, you might think you were in a fur warehouse, rather than in the headquarters of an international animal protection organization. Our staff spends hours each week packing and labeling boxes of fur for shipping—not to fur shops, but to wildlife rehabilitators who use it as bedding for orphaned and injured wildlife such as raccoons, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, and even bobcats. Wildlife rehabilitators say the fur reduces stress in their animal patients, perhaps reminding them of the comfort of snuggling up to their mothers.

Everyday Heroes Donate Fur

Presidents of PR firms, fashion editors, and Long Island homemakers are just a few of the people who made the compassionate decision to become fur-free and donate their fur to The HSUS. From Hawaii to Maine, from England to Slovenia, former fur wearers (and people who have inherited furs from relatives or friends) are proud—and often relieved—to donate their furs to The HSUS.

Each fur donor has their own story to tell. Many people who inherit fur have been long-time supporters of animal protection and would never dream of wearing fur. Yet they don't want to toss out the fur that a relative gave them, nor do they want to resell the fur, and have it be worn by somebody else. For them, donating the coat to help wildlife presents the perfect solution:

Sentimental and Squeamish: A donor from Costa Mesa, California, who sent us a mink stole told us, "I'm not comfortable wearing fur, and because it has sentimental value, I didn't want to just throw it away. Thank you for providing a great use for this fur."

Scared by a Stole: Another donor in Cary, North Carolina, parted with her grandmother's fur with a sense of humor. "Here is a scary-looking fur stole I found among my grandmother's belongings," she told us. "Hopefully the orphaned animals won't find it as disconcerting as I did."

Garish Gift: We also receive many donations from people who received fur as a gift, showing that fur is never a wise choice for a present, since so many people are upset about the animal cruelty inherent in fur garments. Not comfortable refusing the fur, and even more uncomfortable with the thought of wearing it, these people turn to the Coats for Cubs program.

Other donors tell us they purchased a fur item before they realized the extent of the cruelty behind each fur coat, trimmed garment, or accessory. Through their HSUS membership, information from a friend, or an article or video on the fur industry, these fur donators say they realize that the animals need their fur more than we do. The images of animals pacing in tiny wire cages on fur farms or caught in cruel devices such as the steel-jaw leghold trap drive home the idea that fur is cruel and unnecessary. Giving fur back to animals can be an ideal way to provide a happy ending for an item with such a sad beginning.

Fleece Is Warmer than Fox:
One donor told us that she bought a pair of fox fur-lined gloves upon moving to Alaska. Shortly afterward, she saw her first arctic fox, who was walking through her backyard. It dawned on her that the fur looked better on the fox than in her gloves, and she decided to donate them to Coats for Cubs. She even sent us a picture of herself wearing fleece garments in the great Alaskan outdoors, telling us how much warmer fleece is than fur.

Rethinking Rabbit:
Another donor from Castleton, New York, thanked us for "making me aware of a good use for this rabbit fur coat. I certainly wasn't thinking of the unfortunate rabbits when I purchased it for my daughter about 15 years ago. We are both much more aware now, and are very pleased to know that it may help other animals recover."

New School of Thought:
A donor from Middlebury, Vermont, wrote us, "I haven't known what to do with these fur coats for the past 25 years, ever since I became aware of the fur issue. I wish I had been made aware of it in school, before I ever had a chance to buy these two coats. Thanks for coordinating this effort."

Many of the furs donated to us are in near-perfect condition, and might have earned these everyday heroes a lot of money if they resold the items. But for many people, the chance to right the wrong done to the animals killed for their fur is more important than any financial gain.

The Cubs They Saved

The payoff of Coats for Cubs is helping injured and orphaned wildlife with the donated furs. Coats for Cubs has sent donated furs to wildlife centers such as The Fund for Animals' Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Ramona, California, Larimer Humane Society in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Ohio Wildlife Center in Columbus, Ohio, the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, British Columbia, Helping Arkansas Wild "Kritters" (HAWK) in Russellville, Arkansas, and to independent wildlife rehabilitators licensed by their state wildlife agencies.

While we send furs to wildlife rehabilitators all over North America, we've given extra to the Gulf area in recent months. Suzy Heck of Heckhaven Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana, thanked us for sending the furs, explaining that because the center lost everything "due to Hurricane Rita and the flood after, these furs will be much appreciated. We are getting animals in, many still storm related, and soon, the orphans will be appearing."

Anna Harvey, a rehabilitator in Osceola, Iowa, took in a litter of orphaned opossums from a woman who climbed into a dumpster to rescue them. Their mother had been hit by a car, and someone had thoughtlessly thrown the litter into the dumpster. Harvey used our donated fur to comfort the orphans, and reported that they responded well to the fur. "The woman who rescued the opossums from the dumpster is a big hero, as are the people who sent the furs to you. Opossums love the long fur. They are doing well and eating a bit on their own," she wrote to us.

Tracy Beasley, a rehabilitator in Davis, Oklahoma, told us, "my favorite thing to do with the furs is to sew them into pouches of different sizes with draw string tops. They are excellent for orphaned opossums and raccoons. It makes them feel secure and keeps them warm."

In one case, the fur from Coats for Cubs made the difference between life and death. Lynne Slater, a rehabilitator in Arkansas, received a week-old bobcat whose mother had been killed by a car. Slater tried removing the bobcat kitten from the bed at feeding time several times, but the kitten simply would not suckle a baby bottle. Then inspiration struck, and she cut a hole in a Coats for Cubs fur, stuck the baby bottle nipple through the hole, and voila, the kitten drank hungrily. This technique worked until weaning time. Slater said, "Without the Coats for Cubs program, we wouldn't have been able to help this bobcat kitten survive. Thanks so much."

What Kind of Furs do People Donate?

The boxes of fur we ship out to wildlife rehabilitators contain common types of fur like mink, fox, rabbit, and raccoon. Occasionally we receive rarer types of fur, such as lynx and seal fur. The strangest coat of all was a vintage monkey fur coat, now fortunately illegal under CITES.

The donations range from full length fur coats to accessories such as stoles, capes, hats, and handbags, and fur trimmed items such as gloves and jackets.

How Do I Donate?

The HSUS is partnering with Buffalo Exchange, a vintage clothing chain with 25 stores across the country, to collect all kinds of fur, including coats, trim, and accessories. Now through Earth Day, April 22, 2006, you can bring your fur to any Buffalo Exchange store and let the staff know it is a donation for The HSUS. Click here for a list of store locations.

How Will I Know That The HSUS Has Received My Donation?

If you want to receive a letter of thanks, please include a note inside the box stating your email address or your mailing address requesting an acknowledgment. If you've requested an acknowledgment, you will be sent a letter of thanks 2-3 weeks after the fur has arrived. Please save this letter if you want to claim a tax deduction.

What Do I Need to Do If I Want to Claim a Tax Deduction?

If you itemize deductions, you can claim the fair market value of your donation. The fair market value is the amount for which you could sell the fur today—not how much it cost to purchase the fur. This is a judgment call that you will have to make, based on the condition and type of the fur. If you value the fur at $5,000 or more, the Internal Revenue Service will require a "Qualified Appraisal." You must have this appraisal performed before you donate the fur. You may need to include the letter of receipt from The HSUS in your tax returns. If you have any questions, you may want to consult your tax attorney.

I Am a Wildlife Rehabilitator—How Can I Participate?

As more people hear about this wonderful way to aid wildlife, fur donations to The HSUS increase. We are always looking for wildlife rehabilitators who will give the fur back to the animals. If you would like to help, just send an e-mail to, call 301–258-1490, or write to
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
Attn: Coats for Cubs

To claim a tax deduction for your gift, please mail it directly to The HSUS. Simply pack up the fur in a sturdy box and send it to:

The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L. St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
attn: Coats for Cubs

Please make sure to include your full name and address so The HSUS can mail you a letter suitable for claiming a tax deduction. For more information on the program and claiming a tax deduction, see
National Canine Cancer Foundation

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RESCUE: One Eye: A Baghdad Cat Success Story

SPCA INTERNATIONAL The name One Eye, suggests that this Iraqi cat has a limited view of the world around him. But in fact, he has two eyes. Born on an isolated military outpost near the border with Jordan, One Eye and his littermates were abandoned by their mother at a very young age. Several kindhearted Marines stumbled across the orphans and decided to give it a shot at being surrogate dads, otherwise the kittens would never have survived on their own.

These unlikely caregivers did an amazing job of raising the kittens under challenging circumstances and these “multi-father” felines thrived as the weeks passed. Once the kittens became more active, the guys noticed there was something wrong with one of them though. This particular kitten kept his right eye closed almost all the time and relied entirely on his left eye to see. As this persisted they began to call him One Eye.

Finding a feline Ophthalmologist in far western Iraq or in any part of the country was out of the question. Wanting to do something to help One Eye see normally, the Marines found a medic willing to check out the eye. Putting up very little resistance while being examined, the conclusion was that One Eye’s eyelashes were growing on the inside of his right eyelid. The irritation must have been extremely uncomfortable, but unfortunately there was nothing the medic could do to remedy the condition. The Marines suspected that One Eye would suffer through continuous eye infections and probably eventually lose his sight in that eye – or even lose the eye.

Being a cat in Iraq with impaired vision would most likely result in death at an early age. Not willing to accept this fate for One Eye, a Marine launched a quest to get this affectionate and trusting cat to the states. After doing an on-line search the determined Marine found Operation Baghdad Pups and the process to alter a cat’s fate began.

On January 14, One Eye got his first glimpse of America. Given a day to recover from his long journey from the Middle East, the recent immigrant was driven by Operation Baghdad Pups volunteer, Danielle Berger, from Washington, DC to the Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Dr. Thomas Scavelli had contacted SPCA International in September 2009, to offer the services of the hospital at no charge to those dogs and cats rescued by the program that might be in need of special veterinary care. The timing of this generous offer could not have been any better for One Eye.

Ophthalmologist Petra Anna Lackner performed the surgery to correct the genetic disorder that One Eye had, known as Feline Coloboma Syndrome. It is an embryologic defect that results in malformation and incomplete formation of both upper eyelids. As a result of this malformation the hairs of the upper eyelid roll in towards the cornea and causes severe corneal irritation. Dr. Lackner was able to successfully destroy and remove the irritating hairs in not only One Eye’s right eye, but his left one too. When this news reached the Marines in Western Iraq that had so diligently cared for One Eye and his littermates, they were excited for their buddy. “It’s an awesome feeling that this actually came to fruition,” the Marine who found Operation Baghdad Pups said. “Giving One Eye a better life is what we all wanted and with the help of SPCA International we made it happen.”

One Eye is living the good life in Colorado being spoiled by the Marine who altered the fate of his now “Two Eye” war time buddy that was fortunate enough to be found by a group of Americans who did the right thing and saved the lives of some innocent kittens, and in One Eye’s case – his sight.