Helping Hawaii's Abandoned and Homeless Felines
Sandi in Pahoa - Her colony of feral cats, dogs and chickens all surviving together.
Jan's Foster Kittens in Waikoloa - She feels she has the best job in the organization.
Jan's Hotel Kittens - A kitten rescue at the Fairmont Hotel in Waikoloa.
Gen from Kaloko - She feeds 8 colonies in Kailua Kona.
Dnitra - A bit of an undignified, but successful kitten rescue in Kona.
Roberta from Kailua Kona - The amazing travel story of an old feral male Siamese.
Jennifer Olson - School teacher rescues kittens where she works.
Veronique - Telepathically finding a lost cat.
Gen's special connection with a dumped cat.
Roberta and her husband find love with a rescued cat.
Jan's kitten with Glaucoma - He lost his sight, but is still happy.
Yvette - A stray became a beloved cat.
Barbara from Kea`au - She has a group of beloved ferals.
Cats In Love - Stories from our feeders and caretakers.
A Kitten Rescue with a Happy Ending - A family of cats who lived at the Hilton Resort.
Squeek - A visitor returns to adopt an island kitten.
The Creamsickle Kitty - A condo kitty has many friends.
The Kitten Finds Us and Her Name is Lola - A kitten found her way into a wonderful home.
Sandi in Pahoa; Her colony of feral cats, dogs and chickens all surviving together.
I love cats. I have seven cats living with me and would probably have more if I didn't have a husband who has a bit more sense than I do! I also volunteer at Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary where I work with about 205 cats. I took over the role of feeding cats at the Pahoa Transfer Station about a year ago when the current feeder was faced with many difficulties in her life. I asked my friends, Sabina, and Gregg and Sharon if they could help out as well. I feed the cats four days a week, Sabina two, and Gregg and Sharon one day.
The Pahoa Transfer Station has an area of lava rock covered with trees where we were able to create a bit of a shelter for the cats. Sabina erected a tarp a few feet back from the road in the jungle where they can get out of the rain. Curiously enough, they seem to enjoy sitting and lying on the tarp instead of under it! But, we can put food underneath so that it stays dry.
It can be a depressing job, or a joyful job, depending on your state of mind. I attempt to stay positive and feel that we are at least providing these animals with some food and love, even though the majority are feral. You do get to know them and when they don't show up you worry about them. I have rescued ten cats and found homes for two, not counting my two! Five are at Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary, one was very ill and passed on, and two now live with me. Of these ten only two tested positive for the Leukemia virus.
About four months ago two small dogs showed up at our feeding area. They were very shy and afraid of people, so we are now attempting to win their trust so that they can be relocated and adopted.
There are also many chickens that compete for the cat food. It helps to bring chicken food to lure them away from the cats! All of these animals seem to live together in harmony, or at least in mutual respect.
I am working on creating a new non-profit organization, Puna Partners for Paws, that will raise money to help with the spay/neuter and medical treatment of these cats. Between my four days at the Sanctuary, four feeding days at the Transfer Station, studying to become a Homeopath and playing in a rock band, my time is a bit stretched! However, I am determined to get this done and start the sterilization process at this site. We have spayed our first cat, but this was paid for by Rainbow Friends. It's a start.
I believe education and legislation are the keys to ending the abandonment of these wonderful beings. With everyone working together we will end the needless suffering and create a truly humane island and planet.
Jan in Waikoloa; She feels she has the best job in the organization.
I have the best job in the organization. I foster the trapped kittens who are young enough to be socialized and placed in homes as pets.
Usually these little ones are scared and wary of humans, as their mothers taught them to be. According to the experts, the cut off age for socializing feral kittens is seven weeks, and I've found that to be pretty accurate.
Unfortunately not all kittens are caught early enough in their lives, but there are exceptions to the rule and I've found that sticking with it and giving lots of love, food, and attention at least gives the older ones a chance. If it proves too much for the young cat to grow accustomed to living with humans, they can be treated as the adults are and spayed or neutered, then returned to their colony. However, the goal is always to give these kittens a good chance at life as a pet in a loving home.
My routine with kittens is to weigh them, deworm them, and give them a good quality food to help them grow. Tiny ones sometimes have to be bottle fed with a kitten formula. We get into a nice routine so the kittens can relax and learn to trust. Some babies allow me to hold them right away while others need some time to adjust before they're willing to do that. Toys are many and it's fun to watch the kittens develop and go from pouncing to tracking to chasing.
Foster kittens have taken over my life and my house. They have redecorated, according to their tastes. Drapes? Forget it. Climbing posts are nice, but the artificial tree in the living room is so much fun that it's mostly a big stick now with the plastic leaves strewn about the floor. Some use the cat beds I have purchased for them, but most are just as content, if not more so, to nap on the living room couch, often piled in a heap on top of one another.
One of my recent foster kittens has taught my other kittens how to hiss and they act like they've learned a naughty word on the playground. They now run up to each other, hiss, and turn around and race away.
The hardest part of fostering for me is to give the kitten up after I've grown to love it and it's become attached to me. Helping the kitten become adoptable, though is the goal and achieving that goal is very rewarding. I wish there was a loving home waiting for each kitten that I foster. Maybe if you're reading this, you know of someone who could give a home to a "hand raised under foot" kitten and continue the process of giving the feral cats of our community a chance at life.
Please see pictures of the current advoKITTIES I have for adoption: Kitties; Lost, Found & For Adoption
Jan's Hotel Kittens
Two little ones were brought to me today that were caught at the Fairmont Hotel. An employee had been trying to trap a pregnant cat but wasn't successful in time, so it turned into a mama cat with two babies which she had holed up in a drainage pipe on the resort grounds. A hotel employee named Laurie was very concerned Wednesday when it was pouring down rain, so on her break she went out to the pipe and found it partially clogged and filling with water. In the mud and pouring rain she reached in and pulled out one kitten but the other was too far in for her to reach. While she was toweling off the saved kitten and putting her in the carrier she had brought with her, the mother cat, who was apparently watching, went into the pipe and carried out the second baby and laid it at Laurie's feet. I find that absolutely amazing. Laurie hasn't caught the mother yet but is doubling her efforts since Mama cat has got to be pretty uncomfortable because she hasn't nursed her babies since Wednesday. Another neat aspect of this story is that a guest put all their sightseeing activities on hold to help with the rescue and attempted trappings. She and her husband have since returned to the mainland as their vacation time is over. Also, Laurie thinks she has a sponsor to get Mama Cat fixed (if they can catch her) and some employees have expressed an interest in taking a kitten as soon as they're old enough.
Gen from Kaloko: I feed 8 colonies daily
Although I would have never considered myself a "cat" person years ago, since I took over feeding these colonies for a friend I have grown to love and care for these cats I now call; "My little friends." When I arrive they are waiting for me and some have grown to trust me so much they allow me to pet them. Some days I really don't feel like going to feed, but I remember my little friends and know they are counting on me and I can't let them down. I see their little faces waiting for me.
It's enjoyable to watch the cats in the colonies and how they get along. So many of them are bonded and greet each other like friends; rubbing each others faces and bodies and even slamming each other like a big hug.
I have noticed that the males I have neutered have become so much happier, calm and relaxed, where as before they would just slink around the buildings or bushes, wary of me and always on the lookout for other male cats.
In one of my colonies there are only two cats left that need to be spayed or neutered and this makes me all the more determined to trap them. When I started feeding and doing TNR one of my colonies had no ear tipped cats. (Feral cats that have been spayed or neutered have a tip on one of their ears cut off by the veterinarian who did the surgery. Right ear for females, left for males.) Now that colony has 10 ear tipped cats. There are still many more to do in my other colonies, but my goal is that one day I will have them all spayed or neutered. But it doesn't help when people continue to drop off new cats...
I don't believe in just feeding feral cats, it needs to be done in unison with trapping, spaying and neutering to reduce more kittens being born. TNR really works! At one of the shopping centers I feed at, the management recently told me since I started to feed there and perform TNR; she has not seen any new kittens around.
Dnitra - A bit of an undignified, but successful kitten rescue in Kona
Before I left Hawaii for Washington, I had 8 colonies I took care of, now they are in the hands of the most wonderful lady who has continued my work threefold! KUDOS to Gen!
This story took place on Mothers Day. I was at one of my usual spots; the cave rocks, which was one my easier trapping spots, as it has a nice flat rock to put the trap on. These cats were already spoiled with canned food and I had one favorite kitty who let me pet her; Fiona. I suddenly heard some kittens meowing which was not unusual for that spot, as there were constantly roving Mamas. In the past I had rescued 11 kittens from there over about two years and I kept three of them. There was one Mama that I tried to get for two years and was unsuccessful. I heard the kittens and figured they were hers. I looked into the "cave" and way under some rocks was that Mama with four little ones suckling away. I had to climb some rocks, do some maneuvering, but I was able to reach in and grab one red itty bitty kitty! Mama ran, dragging her poor little ones with her. I put "Jeffrey" in a towel in my car, let Kai, my yellow lab who goes everywhere with me, including "feedin" every night, have a sniff of him, and off we went! The next day, I was DETERMINED to get those kittens. So in the middle of the day I went back, and sure enough, there were the kittens! Mama bolted, but I stuck my head and body as far into the hole that I could, reached down, grabbed two of the three kittens and prayed that the boulders didn't fall on me and crush all of us! Since I always wore a bun on the top of my head, and my cell phone clipped onto the side of my shorts, I was STUCK. I had to make a decision; let the kittens go or just let myself die right there with only my fanny and legs sticking out of the rocks (mind you, this is in front of a restaurant, laundry mat, auto repair, and other businesses). Then, still holding these kittens, I'm wiggling and waggling, trying not to harm them, but trying to undo my bun by rubbing my head against the rock, or unclipping my cell phone by rocking up and down, up and down. This went on for what seemed like an hour, but was probably only a couple of minutes and long enough for mama to come back and look at me like: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU ALREADY TOOK ONE OF MY BABIES, PUT THE OTHER TWO DOWN!" Well I sure didn't want her to attack my face, so I somehow got the bun loose enough, and scraped my way out of there with two kittens in hand, a little blood on the face and arms (mine) and my dignity a little bruised! The guys at the auto repair clapped when I came out of the hole with the kittens; what a show that was! And anyone who feeds or has fed at that spot, knows exactly which hole I'm talking about and it's not for someone with a big head!
Long story; but Jeffrey, Joey and Jessie, who had to be bottle fed for weeks, lived with me in my office which always smelled like new kitten poo. The mailman started leaving the mail OUTSIDE my office. They went home with me every night, and then back to work the next day. They even went to the Sea Mountain Condos for the weekend (we smuggled them and their huge dog carrier in). They were island travelers! Jeffrey and Joey, as hard as it was, were adopted by a friend of someone involved in advoCATS who owns a coffee farm away from any roads, and they had a nice big safe barn to sleep in at night and a field of mice to play with during the day. Jessie to this day, is still my boy. He came to work with me everyday since that first day and he rode in his own doggie car seat. He never tried to escape, that was HIS truck. He is still with me now and gets to come inside in the afternoons and sleep in the office, especially in the cold Washington winters. All our cats (we brought 4 from Hawaii) have a heated cottage, with plenty of baskets, so they are outdoor cats with their own indoor hideaway, with Kai the lab! Aloha!
Roberta in Kailua Kona; The amazing travel story of an old feral male Siamese.
I've been trying for awhile to trap an old unneutered male Siamese who lives behind Long's in Kailua Kona who is getting thinner and thinner so that now he's skin and bones. It took a lot of sardines, but I finally caught him the other night. I put him in his trap in my car where I also had about six other traps as I was heading to Century 21 (above Safeway on Henry St.) to trap more cats. When I got to Century 21 I accidentally opened his cage and he ran out and disappeared. The woman who feeds at Century 21 saw him at 10:30 p.m. that night. I cried all night thinking of him sick, old and lost and I cried all day the next day and went back to Century 21 the next night to trap him, if I could find him, and to trap the kittens. I was willing to stay all night. While my friend and I were sitting in the parking lot at Century 21, Pat, who feeds at Long's, pulls up and tells me that the Siamese is back at Long's. He had found his way a mile down Henry St. and across the highway. He's there now and we're feeding him wet food and worming him to see if that helps. I'll wait a month and try to trap him again.
Jennifer Olson; School teacher rescues kittens where she works.
Saturday in January, I saw an adorable black and white kitten that was young enough to be fostered and tamed. I tried to catch it, but it was too smart and quick, and it easily eluded me and ran for the trees. Knowing she was there, I went back the next day. I didnt succeed in catching her, but I did catch her brother, an adorable orange striped male.
On Monday, I went back to the school again. This time, I managed to catch the black and white kitten, but only because she had been blinded overnight by a nasty eye infection which caused both of her eyes to rupture.
As soon as I had her, I took her straight to the vet. She was on antibiotics for a couple of weeks. With good food, a safe environment, and medication, the ruptures in her eyes closed up. She was lucky enough that one of her eyes healed in such a way that she regained partial eyesight in that eye. She is able to see movement and shapes. She and her brother (who also got the infection, but to a lesser, easily treated, degree) were adopted by a man with a history as a Vet Tech, who knew all about the care and treatment of these infections. The Animal Rescue Coalition of Hawaii (ARCH) played a big part in finding this home. I sent an e-mail with pictures, which they placed on their website. Merrylynn von Cramm personally called the man who adopted the kittens and encouraged him to call me.
Since then, I have caught three more kittens at the same location. All have needed treatment for eye infections. None of the other kittens have been so unfortunate as to have their eyes rupture. One female was adopted with the help of Dnitra Ayers, who found her a home. The last two, an all black male, and a black and white female that could be the twin of the almost blind kitty, are still being fostered. After the first kittens were adopted, others still called about them and may take these most recent foster kittens home instead.
Veronique - Telepathically finding a lost cat.
Although I find myself living far far away from the Big Island now in Belgium, while reading the article about cats in earthquake territory, I remembered a story from the time I was helping out in an animal shelter.
The cattery in the shelter was always very crowded, and when going in and out, sometimes one of the cats managed to slip out and disappear. On one very cold winter day, it happened again. Two cats found a way out, one of which slipped through the second door out into the open. The other cat stayed inside, hiding in a corner, but we were able (not without some severe scratches and bites) to grab her and put her back in the cathouse. But the other cat was gone, not a trace of her!
The other helpers had given up after about an hour's search, going back inside into the warmth. But I was thinking about this sweet cat, out there somewhere in the cold, and I remembered a story from Samantha Khury, the animal telepathic, that I heard years ago on a tape. She was sitting on a crowded beach one day, and saw a young seal swimming ashore, that looked lost and scared. She decided to just close her eyes, and create a peaceful, quiet and safe place inside herself, creating an inviting haven for the animal to come to. After just a few minutes of doing this, she felt the young seal climbing on her lap, and after some initial trembling, it finally went to sleep. I was so impressed with this wonderful story, I decided to try to do the same thing for the cat!
So I went outside, took a warm blanket out of my car trunk, and sat down in the snow, on the frozen ground, closing my eyes and creating a deep peace inside of me. And yes, after several minutes of quietness, I heard a soft 'meow' and there she was, the lost cat, hesitantly coming closer and closer, until she came into my lap and I was able to comfort her and bring her back to a warmer and safer place!
The other helpers couldn't believe their ears when I told them the cat had returned and that she was safe again.
Gen's special connection with a dumped cat
The night of Oct. 11, 2006, I was putting out a couple of traps at one of my colonies when I noticed an orange cat walking around exploring with his tail up like a tame cat. I had never seen him before and don't have any orange cats at that colony. Sure enough, I caught him. He was an unneutered male and was wearing a flea collar. I think he probably got dumped that day. I had him neutered and named him Leon. He was so sweet that I couldn't put him back out with the colony even though I know a lot of my colonies contain dumped cats. I kept Leon in a big dog crate in my kennel for two and a half months while I tried to find a home for him. He was listed on the Advocats' website and I put flyers with photos at the vet clinics. Other Advocats members tried hard to help me find a home for Leon and I sent photos to anyone I knew who loved cats and had lots of friends. I even ran an ad in the newspaper. As time passed I became more and more attached to Leon. He never lost his lovable personality through the days of confinement. I visited him twice a day and let him out to play in the kennel while I was in there. I had to treat a couple of cats from my other colonies for one reason or another and Leon became my assistant. He followed me around and looked into their crates in a concerned way. He always welcomed the other cats. The happy ending to this cat love story is that Leon didn't become a member of one of my downtown colonies or get a new home because he still lives with me as a member of our menagerie. I should have realized from the beginning that he and I had a special connection.
Roberta and her husband find love with a rescued cat
The Humane Society called me to pick up an eartipped "advoCAT". By the time I got there, everyone at the Humane Society was madly in love with 'Emily Post" (because they trapped her at the post office). She turned out to be a feral cat from Buns in the Sun. She had been dumped originally but was out there for a year and a half and had five kittens before we were able to trap and spay her. She is the most loving, affectionate, sweet cat and she loves to be with us in the house. She uses her litter box and rarely leaves out side. It was love at first sight for my husband and I, but our other cat is not as thrilled as we are.
Jan's Kitten with Glaucoma
Where have you been Billy Boy, Billy Boy, Oh where have you been charming Billy?
Billy Boy has been a number of places in his short life of less than 5 months. He started out in a feral cat colony where his feeder noticed his infected eyes and poor health condition. She caught him and took him to a friend's house, and from there he made it to my house.
At eleven ounces and with health problems, his mere survival was questionable. His fur was infested with fleas, and he was scrawny and sickly, but the thing that one noticed first about him was his bulging eyes. Even the fleas were interested in them. His immediate needs were antibiotics, fluids, and nourishment. He wasn't yet eating solid foods so he became a bottle baby. Some kittens do well on kitten replacement milk, but it seemed to give Billy a tummy ache. On to plan B, NutriCal by syringe followed by water, this being given to him every two to three hours.
The fleas were tenacious little creatures. I combed them out, dropping them into a soapy solution to kill them, but in the end it took stronger measures to rid him of them. Fleas can cause anemia, and in a sick kitten they're life threatening.
Within the first week Billy Boy began to be interested in feeding himself, first lapping up the NutriCal from a bowl and then moving onto canned food and soon kitten kibble. He was easily gaining an ounce or two everyday.
The antibiotics didn't clear up his eye infection. He looked like a space alien with a cloudy blue film covering the entire eye; no pupil, no sclera, just blue. The vet prescribed a medicine to lower the pressure, as it was becoming evident that he didn't have an eye infection; he had glaucoma. A few weeks into that regimen and one eye ruptured. The pressure in that eye was 6, in the other eye, 40. Now I was giving him two eye medicines three times daily at ten minute intervals and another twice a day, plus a liquid medicine. What a trouper he was.
The question for me was, "Can he see?" I was reasonably certain that he had some vision because he seemed to follow the red dot from the laser flashlight. He played with the other foster kittens but knew enough to get out of their way when they were racing and chasing. I was amazed at how Billy Boy would sit quietly and bob his head slightly, getting clues of the world around him.
At his next vet appointment the pressure in one eye was 20, the other, 50. The eye that had originally ruptured was discharging a bloody fluid again and the veterinarian told me that the pressure on his optic nerve was causing him pain in the form of headaches. Once an eye goes more than a day or two with the pressure his were experiencing, the chance of returned vision was near zero. From the time he was four weeks old he had swollen eyes, which meant he had been in pain the whole time I had him and there was no chance that his vision would improve. The best thing to do was to remove his eyes and relieve him of the pain. His limited vision had already trained him to get around and I was assured that he would be a much happier cat without the constant discomfort he was experiencing.
He had his surgery that same day and came home the next. The difference I was concerned about, other than how he would look without eyes, was that now he would be in complete darkness with no chance of recovering sight. He's doing remarkably well. Limited sight was all he had known in his short life. He's back in familiar territory recovering, playing with toy mice and his other kitten buddies. He's the first one to the food bowl at mealtime and has made it into the litter box every time-no accidents. It's a marvel to see how he adapts and accepts his situation without a second thought. He's adventurous, he's a climber, and I especially admire his loving nature. Billy Boy is a lesson to us all; I have lost the gift of sight but it's turned out all right, I've got a home and I'm a cat like no other.
Update on Billy Boy: There's something so totally wonderful about watching male cats taking care of kittens. Maybe we just don't expect it. I see it time after time, but usually when the male cat is fairly young. Maybe as they age they become more self centered, although the relationships they formed when they were dragging around their little charges continues even when the kittens grow up. Billy Boy who was rescued as a feral kitten at 4 months and had to have his eyes removed at 5 months, nurtures my foster kittens and they totally adore him. He just turned a year old and I'm hoping he keeps loving the babies as it gives him purpose and tactile experiences he needs. He doesn't try to carry the kittens but he bathes them and they even try to nurse on him--and he lets them. He untied my shoe the other day, which I thought was hilariously funny, especially since I didn't know he had accomplished that and I nearly tripped over the dangling lace. He's quite a boy. A couple of weeks ago he picked up a soft toy and threw it into the air and caught it again. The next time he missed, but he swept the area around him and played a little hockey with it.
Yvette - A stray became a beloved cat
Orangey and I met one day when I heard my chihuahua Batman barking at something in the backyard. There was Orangey, sitting on my picnic table, eating Batman's dog food. Batman was barking non-stop in Orangey's face, but it didn't seem to bother him.
That was in California when Orangey was about 9 months old. Since then he has moved with me eight times, living in Lake Tahoe and now Hawaii. He's about 14 years old now and is just as handsome as the day we met. He has been my rock, always supportive, nurturing and caring. There's a calmness about him and whenever I need him, he's there.
During both of my pregnancies I became very ill, lying in bed for 5 months each time. Orangey never left my side. When I was hospitalized for a week Orangey stayed out in the snow, refusing to come in until I came home. I think he feared the worst for me. He was relieved when I came home!
Over the years God has placed new kitties in our lives, and each time Orangey welcomes them with a good cleaning and love. I wonder if he thinks these are his children and grand-children. He is protective and loyal and is a true blessing to me and my family. When each of my daughters were babies, Orangey would lay in the crib with them.
When it comes to meal time, he always lets everyone eat first. He is very polite and extremely patient. I love him with all of my heart and soul and I know he feels the same.
Barbara from Kea`au - We have 5 feral cats, all fixed by patiently catching them in a dog kennel and pulling the door shut with a string, then getting them spayed and neutered over a two year period. They are a wonderful investment as they keep away all other feral cats, to say nothing of rodent control. They also are so fun to watch. In spite of the fact that I found two of them when their eyes were barely open, I have never been able to pet all of them. One of the cats will allow us to pet him and the others watch longingly, but pet each other.
The cats do not receive shots or vet support and are perfectly healthy. (The non-feral cats we have taken for annual shots have all died prematurely and the cat we never took to the vet died of cancer at the age of 12) We feed the cats dry food only throughout the day and in the evening. They are very undemanding compared to domesticated cats.
On this inside of the house we have four dogs who also love the cats, from afar. We can't speak highly enough about our feral cats.
People that feed the cats at feral cat colonies are privileged to observe some very special moments in cats lives. These cats who are sometimes living in the harshest of conditions not only live, but love and care for each other whether they have been together since birth or made a connection sometime later in their lives. Here are some heart warming stories from our feeders and caretakers:
Love At The Sanctuary from sanctuary caretaker Kandice Crusat. Buddy is a very shy long haired male Siamese mix from the first group of 11 cats brought to the sanctuary in October 2006. Princess, another Siamese mix, and possibly a pure bred, came by herself two months later in December. At first Buddy hung around with Fluffy, a long haired female Calico who is also shy and came from Buddies original colony. Then Fluffy became aloof and we rarely saw her. When Fluffy wasn’t there Buddy moped around by himself meowing mournfully. Princess was a loner since her arrival until 8 months later when we saw her and Buddy together one day and ever since they have been inseparable. Buddy grooms her and she him. They would have made beautiful kittens together, but as you know, everyone at the sanctuary has been neutered, thank goodness!
A Romantic Beach Affair from feeder and trapper Ferol Kolons. At their beach colony Mauna and Lani do everything together and are so bonded they even walk with their tails intertwined. One day I noticed a bad wound on Lani so I brought her to the vet for an exam, then kept her at my home for a week on antibiotics. In the mean time poor Mauna just sat by the feeding station every day waiting for his true love to return. He'd come up to me just meowing away asking about his girlfriend and all I could do was keep telling him she was OK and I'd bring her back as soon as possible. In the mean time Lani was happy, enjoying all the creature comforts of a home, but sadly missing her boyfriend. That was a long week for all of us but once Lani was well enough to go back to Hapuna I took her back down there. As always, there was Mauna waiting for me and missing his girl. When I let Lani out of the carrier it was the sweetest thing to see how happy these two feline loves were to see each other; lots of meowing, rubbing, rolling and then cleaning of each other. Since Lani's return to Hapuna you never see them apart, always together eating, sleeping and hanging out. So now when I come down to feed them in the morning they're both there waiting for me with lots of rubs and rolls. They love to be petted and are constantly under my feet.
Love Is Blind from foster mom Jan Abbott. There's something so totally wonderful about watching male cats taking care of kittens. Maybe we just don't expect it. I see it time after time, but usually when the male cat is fairly young. Maybe as they age they become more self centered, although the relationships they formed when they were dragging around their little charges continues even when the kittens grow up. Billy Boy who was rescued as a feral kitten at 4 months and had to have his eyes removed at 5 months because of glaucoma, nurtures my foster kittens and they totally adore him. He just turned a year old and I'm hoping he keeps loving the babies, as it gives him purpose and tactile experiences he needs. He doesn't try to carry the kittens, but he bathes them and they even try to nurse on him and he lets them.
Till Death Due They Part from feeder and trapper Roberta Agre. Pat and I feed two elderly lady cats in the old industrial area; one of the most brutal and hazardous areas in Kailua Kona for a cat colony. They have been there together for at least 10 years and they are inseparable. Whenever we arrive they are waiting as one and rubbing their heads together in love. Pat and I hope that when they finally go, they go to kitty heaven together, because we can't imagine one without the other.
You can see photos of these cats with their stories on our Winter 2008 Newsletter.
A Kitten Rescue with a Happy Ending - Little Lady Blue was rescued not only ONCE but TWICE by the cat caring staff at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Lady Blue was 5 weeks old, lost her mother and 2 siblings as the mother was nursing them on the top of a pool slide when the water came on at the start of the day. The mother and 2 of the kittens perished. But the next morning, a store manager who had been too late to rescue the mother and kitties, saw another kitten in the same place that looked like the others. She picked her up and took her back to the office with every intention of taking her home at the end of the day. When it was time to leave the store manager realized she shouldn’t really take her home so left her with food, water and shelter at one of the colonies on the guest parking lot where she knew there was a colony of cats that were being cared for. She tried to contact the person at the Hilton in charge of caring for the colonies, to let her know there was a new kitten there, but sadly to no avail. That same evening the Hilton cat caretaker went to the colonies to feed them all as usual and saw the little kitten all huddle up in the bushes and looking terrified and lonely. She immediately bundled her up and took her home, where she now happily lives. This beautiful loving kitten is now 16 weeks old and has been blessed by luck TWICE.... It seems in cats life she has 7 to go!!!
My husband, Bill, and I came to Hawaii for a veterinary conference
October 28-November 6, 2008. We stayed in a ground level condo at
our favorite resort, Waikoloa Shores. Our condo had a secluded patio,
screened off by palms. We were surprised by how many cats visited
us daily for handouts. They seemed quite comfortable lounging on
the patio, hidden from the gardeners and other residents. We served
four “regulars” canned food, rotisserie chicken, and
broiled chicken breasts, and lots of fresh water.
My favorites were Kink and Squeek. Kink would sit on the patio every day, was friendly but quite lethargic. Squeek would come when the meals were served, would head butt for extra attention, and would come close enough for pets.
When exploring the island, we had the good fortune to visit the Harbor Gallery where we met Eli, and she gave us information about Advocats. I volunteered my husband for a spay and neuter clinic the next time we visit Hawaii, and of course I would be willing to do whatever I could too. We saw so many strays, many with notched ears, but feral just the same. I was told that the average lifespan of a feral cat is about 3.5 years, and I began to worry about what would happen to our little visitors.
When the end of our vacation came closer and closer, I began to worry more and more. I knew the maintenance men were trapping cats and I wasn’t sure they were going to Advocats. (Later I found that the adult cats were going straight to the shelter for I suspect euthanasia.) Kittens seemed to be luckier, as the staff called Jan, a kitty specialist. I wondered if Kink or Squeek would be here the next time we came for a conference…would they live that long? What would life be like for them? Would they have to beg for food and drink dirty koi pond water? Bill offered to find a carrier to take one of the cats home, but which one would I choose? And we had made a pledge to each other that we would not to add any more animals to our household. I had agreed. We currently have a 14-year-old ailing female Cocker Spaniel, and two relatively happy male cats, one 14 and the other 11. It’s not easy to find pet sitters when we want to travel.
I told him, “don’t worry, I’ll
get over it.” I didn’t.
I sat there at the SFO airport, 3 hours early, wondering what am I doing? I don’t even know if I will find Squeek. Will I just bring any cat home? I was so surprised when I chatted with other passengers and told them what I was doing, they were so supportive, and they wished me luck. When I arrived at Waikoloa Shores I was provided with a room that had little seclusion. I felt quite hopeless and thought I would never see Squeek, let alone catch her. I only had five days to find her, and get her to the veterinarian for a health certificate.
The resort staff was wonderful and so supportive. My housekeeper, Rona, spoke with the administration staff and within 3 days I was in a much quieter condo, with a private patio. I moved, unpacked, got my chicken ready, and put food out for the cats. Within 30 minutes, Squeek was there. I recognized that squeaky voice of hers. I put scraps leading into the condo, she stepped inside and I quickly shut the screen door. She was mine. She bounced off the screen and every glass window in the place. She wanted to find a way out, but eventually she was coaxed into the extra bathroom, where she stayed until I took her home.
We spent lots of time getting to know each other. I came to Hawaii to spend most of my time in a bathroom, and loved it. She loved the attention, and I loved listening to her squeak and purr. She used the litter box right away and enjoyed all the good food she could eat. I fell in love with her and felt so blessed that we found each other. The morning we were to leave, I went to open the bathroom door and during the night she had somehow opened the drawer next to the door. I could not open the door to get her fed. I panicked. I took the doorknob off. That didn’t help at all. I finally took a steak knife, poked the drawer, and pushed it closed little by little. Miraculously the door opened. We were on our way home.
I met so many wonderful people. The Aloha Spirit does exist and thrives.
Rona, the Waikoloa Shores housekeeper, helped me
find Squeek and told all the other residents to look out for her.
Now that we are home, Squeek is fattening up,
loves her new home and cat tower I got her. She comes nose to nose
with the dog, and the other cats, but they wish she were a temporary
resident. Maybe they will come around. We love her and her squeaky
voice and loud purr makes us smile. --Leslie Prindle Klein --
Kitty - It was Christmas night 2007 and my
husband I had just finished our dinner for two in our vacation home
at Ka Milo in the Mauna Lani Resort. We heard faint meows on our
lanai; the aroma of a turkey dinner had obviously attracted attention
and there to our wondering eyes was a very small orange and white
kitty. We shared our turkey trimmings with him and were amazed at
how much food a small body could consume. During our next several
weeks on island the kitty appeared intermittently to feed and sometimes
even wandered through our open doors to watch my husband read or
find a spot under a table to join us. He remained very timid and
untouchable. We named him “Keiko.” We returned to the
island in July 2007 and within a day Keiko reappeared. Over the
next several weeks he responded to a gentle touch when he was eating
and eventually I was able to pick him up. Now I was worried! I could
not take him back to California with us, but how could I leave him
without a foster caretaker. I tried without success to find a home
for this sweet creature. That’s when I called advoCATS. The
volunteers suggested TNR. Ferol Kolon, was especially supportive
and arranged the neutering. Then from other island acquaintances
I learned that Keiko was presenting himself at dinnertime at other
homes in the area, somewhat good news. Then I learned that Keiko
was warming the hearts of the staff (Hilary, Kristina and Steve)
in the nearby sales office at Ka Milo. Keiko, now also known as
Milo, is entertaining daily and greeting new visitors to the community.
He is fortunate to have found loving caretakers, who allow him freedom
for “indoor/outdoor” experiences. When we recently saw
Keiko we could see that he was bringing smiles to the faces of everyone
that saw him. Thank you Ferol and advoCATS for helping to create
a happy ending to the story of the “Creamsickle Kitty.”
She is a small thing on the edge of the lava rocks
watching them for a time, weighing the lights, the voices,
the warm smell of food against the call of that wilderness - earth