Today is Winter Solstice, marking the shortest day of the year. We can enjoy an additional sliver of daylight from here on out for the next six months. It’s a natural time to reflect on the past year, acknowledge the challenges and gifts that have come your way, and of course, make resolutions for the new year. However you celebrate the holidays and usher in the new year, remembering your loved ones present and past is part of this ritual.
Exactly one month ago, we lost our precious Paddy. Paddy was such a vital part of sanctuary life that it seems hard to believe that he was with us less than four years. Paddy took over the patriarch position from Sidney and was loved and respected by all. I am grateful that he did so well after the surgery where his eye was removed and skin was grafted because that gave us an extra year and a half before the cancer returned - this is what gave Paddy his distinctive “lamb chop” sideburn. Lottie had surgery this year with the same doctor to remove a basal cell tumor on her side, which is a less aggressive form of cancer fortunately.
Our challenges were similar to many other rescues this year; one being an overwhelming number of homeless kitties in dire need of a home of their own. The pandemic created a supply shortage and staffing issues for spay/neuter clinics, causing them to operate at hugely reduced capacity. This coupled with companion animals obtained during COVID being surrendered once people started back to work created a glut of “inconvenient” cats and kittens needing homes. We hosted multiple foster kitties, most of whom went on to be adopted out at The Whole Cat & Kaboodle in Redmond. We are deeply indebted to Nancy and the whole staff at Whole Cat because we can always rely on them to do their best for all cats.
One kitty we placed on our own early in 2021 was returned to us with serious heath issues. Sophie is now in a wonderful foster home. Her prognosis isn’t good but I’ve often been surprised with a cat’s resilience and their ability to live comfortably despite chronic health issues. Also currently receiving medical care is Keaton, an incredibly outgoing kitten from a trap site. Keaton is one of approximately 30 cats from a mobile home community east of Interstate 5 where cats were fed but never altered. Some of the cats had to be returned after being sterilized and vaccinated because they were far too stressed and unsocialized. Keaton may have stomatitis, which is an autoimmune condition. Keaton will likely have a full mouth extraction and then be adopted into a home where he can get all the attention he deserves. Keaton’s brother (or cousin?) Iggy and Lyle unexpectedly formed a tight bond. Iggy is much more shy than Keaton and separating them at this point would make everyone sad, so Iggy will stay.
Tuckerman is a new permanent resident. He's 19 YO and requires subQ fluids for his reduced kidney function, but is otherwise healthy and happy. Madeleine is a lovely kitty with a heart shaped face whom we took in several months ago. I had hoped to find a quiet, calm home for her as she is very sensitive and suffers from PTSD altering being forced to live outside for several years. (She was dumped outside when her person died.) Madeleine may end up staying as well if no ideal home presents itself. Madeleine first hides and then hisses at new people because she is scared - these are behaviors only a true cat person would understand and patiently work through. We love helping the kitties with complex medical issues and those who are frightened and insecure become healthy and confident.
We couldn’t do what we do without our dedicated volunteers. These are the folks who drive to our place through a foot of snow to bring feral cat Clara Bow a new heat bulb so she can sleep outside in 15 degree temperatures because she doesn’t want to go into the heated cabin with the other cats. These folks come over to socialize kittens, help organize our files, and help with setting up at our events. They donate their extra freezer so we can order more raw cat food at one time, and donate soft blankets and extra medications after they lose their own beloved cats. They install heavy kennels for emergency fosters, and lovingly foster cats in their beautiful homes. They use their time and talents to craft a unique and amazing calendar featuring sanctuary kitties. And of course, I’m thankful for our donors, who generously help keep the cats stocked up with food, litter, and pay the veterinary bills. We know you do it for the kitties and we love you for it!