2021 was a busy year! We lost some wonderful kitties, and gained a few new faces. Due to COVID, we continued to host fund raising events exclusively outside (except for kitten yoga at the Camano Country Club). We will likely have similar outside events in the new year, so we can all feel safe. We unveiled our new website with new features, a beautiful 2022 FFS wall calendar, and the delightful Lyle cards. Our volunteer Svetlana Popova graciously donated her time and skills for these labors of love.
About one year ago, Sophie and Sam arrived from CA. Both kitties needed full mouth extractions. They were originally labeled as “seniors,” but lovely Sophie was actually a very engaging and energetic young cat. Sophie was adopted by a young family where she could be the center of attention. Darling Sam stayed with us (you can see him smiling on the first page of our website and in our 2022 calendar). We also adopted Jackie, another sweet senior who needed a full mouth extraction.
Doing adoptions has never been in our vision, so our adoptable kitties usually go to one of our favorite adoption partners, The Whole Cat and Kaboodle in Redmond. They sell top quality cat food and supplies, provide grooming and nail trims, and adopt cats out of their cat cafe, Cafe Coco. (Follow Whole Cat and Kaboodle on FB and you’ll also be able to watch their informative videos about cat care.) In February, we helped Michelle, a kitten from a local TNR site, get spayed and into the cafe. (Her wild child sister was spayed and went back to the site where she is cared for.) Vasya was an incredibly outgoing boy whom we fostered in October and also Floyd, a genial black cat who had been living a meager existence in a parking lot. Two teenaged kittens from a shelter in LA county, Max and Duke, briefly stayed with us. All these kitties quickly found homes via the cafe!
In March, my precious Paddy had cancer surgery. His eye was removed and skin was grafted from his neck onto his face in order to take enough margin around the tumor. The surgeon warned us that tissue die off (the graft not “taking”) was the biggest risk. The hardest part was having to wear the E collar so that he didn’t disturb the healing tissue, but eventually Paddy had excellent healthy tissue that “took” 100% and now sports cool wooly sideburns.
Wikipedia posits that cancer accounts for about 1/3 of cat deaths in cats over 10 years old. Sadly, we experienced this reality in 2021. This year we lost Hannah, Alfie and Sara, all age 14 and each several months apart from different types of cancer. Onyx was a friendly girl probably in her late teens who was only with us two months before she died from cancer as well.
Bella was a kitty who touched our hearts in the short time she was with us. She suffered severe seizures numerous times per day and night; medications didn’t help. We felt she had very little quality of life and after much discussion, decided euthanasia was the most humane option.
In early May, we agreed to foster cats from a horrific hoarding situation in south Puget Sound. These cats were all underweight, poorly socialized, and traumatized. Our plan is always to get cats altered as soon as possible, but one female was extremely pregnant, and spaying a cat close to term can be dangerous for her health. Cara was around 10 years old - how many times had she been pregnant in her life? Given that only one kitten was found alive in the hoarder house at the time of rescue yet the majority of the cats were unaltered, we knew most of the kittens were dying. (Cats can actually absorb fetuses as well.) Cara gave birth to six kittens on May 19th but the cords were twisted. What began was a rollercoaster ride of trying to find emergency veterinary care, bad advice, and a crash course in neonatal kitten care.
We thought two siblings might make it through the bottle feeding stage, but Portia died just shy of five weeks of age. Lyle, whom is now our own little super model, was the only survivor. Because of his relaxed nature, Lyle also helps with socializing anxious kitties who foster with us. Cara moved to a larger sanctuary where she doesn’t have to be close to people and we have her sister/relative Charlotte. In addition to Charlotte, Jackson, Constance (formerly Arianna), and Clara Bow now live at Flower Feline Sanctuary. These kitties are all on the spectrum of under socialized to feral. We love seeing them get comfortable and slowly gaining their trust.
In November, a friend discovered five tabbies living in the back of a restaurant off highway 20 in unincorporated Concrete, WA. This is an area with a lot of wildlife, not to mention big trucks and freezing temperatures. The restaurant owner was feeding the cats, which I think kept them close by and safe. We got them spayed/neutered, treated for fleas and fostered them until securing placement for them at Purrfect Pals in Arlington. They required additional care for ear mite infections and received expert care there until being adopted out.
Our latest foster kitties, Monique and Winfred, are from a CA shelter where they would have been on the “euth” list without transport out. Many rescues pull cats from shelters all over California. One Canadian rescue was turned back at the border and we housed the 30some kitties for a few nights until they could return for them this past summer. The latest two foster kitties however, offer a cautionary tale for folks eager to save lives and take cats. Monique has such severe dental disease that the infection is likely into her sinus cavities, causing her a great deal of pain and unable to eat much. The kitties were with at least two rescues and a municipal shelter before making their way to WA and yet Monique didn’t get the medical care she desperately needs. Admittedly, anyone with a companion animal knows how difficult it is to get veterinary care these days - doctors and techs are retiring, many clinics are not taking new patients, and appointments are booked weeks to months in advance.
While folks in rescue can easily feel like we can never help enough cats, we need to be present for the kitties we do have the opportunity to help and we need to know our limitations. It’s not about numbers but about individuals. We don’t make decisions for the kitties based on cost or convenience, but on what’s best for each cat. Every cat has their own story. We don’t help these kitties in a vacuum - all of our friends and followers make a difference. Thank you to everyone who has visited, volunteered, and supported Flower Feline Sanctuary this year. We hope to see you in the new year!