Friday, May 17, 2019

A New Life in the Pacific Northwest

A friend who has made helping felines her life mission contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if we were up for fostering some kitties from high-kill shelters in California. As a foster parent, we could be part of the rescue chain that gets these kitties into permanent, loving homes. A group of volunteers transports cats who have no hope of making it out of these shelters alive via plane or automobile to our state, where a small group of foster homes wait to help them get healthy and get ready for adoption. Then the cats will go to cat cafes in Redmond or Bellingham to be adopted.

Some people feel that there are plenty of companion animals in Washington who need help, so why help cats form another state? While the Puget Sound area has amazing animal shelters, Eastern Washington shelters could use some help getting their "live release" numbers up. My view is that kitties have no idea what state they live in, or why they are homeless and having litter after litter of kittens they can barely take care of because they are so hungry and barely surviving themselves. They don't understand that they should have a chance at a better life when they arrive at an animal shelter but maybe they won't be so lucky. Maybe they are "too old," "too black," "too sad looking," "too unpredictable..." You get the idea. 

I believe the kitties DO know that once they get into a safe, clean room with comfy beds and delicious, abundant food, that maybe things will be okay. And although we can only help a small fraction of the kitties who need a lifeline, my hope is that we can inspire the shelters to not work harder but smarter. To implement subsidized spay/neuter programs, get out into the community, speak their own language and educate folks on why spay/neuter is important for all cats. Maybe even reward the people who bring in their cats with vouchers for pet food or supplies. To have a van that transports the cats to and from surgeries so that senior, disabled and impoverished folks who can't drive can still get their cats sterilized. To develop a huge foster network so that these homes are ready when "kitten season" hits but that each year the number of kittens actually goes down. To simply sterilize and vaccinate community cats and return them, NOT kill them, which creates a vacuum effect. How much more pleasant for the kitties and the humans who work at these shelters, knowing they don't have make up a "list" and lethally inject cats on a daily basis. Plenty of shelters are getting to that happy place - why are California and Texas lagging so far behind?

Our first two foster cats include a boy, estimated to be 8 YO and recently neutered. He's affectionate but would likely do well as an only cat or with safe, outdoor access. Also, a darling little girl barely a year old. She apparently has flea dermatitis, which is an allergy to flea bites. She should be an indoor only kitty. They are both coincidentally tuxedo kitties!

Former Tom cat, waiting for just the right name



Carly

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Want to help us give Kitties their best life?



Now that the weather is warm and it's beautiful on Camano Island, please consider volunteering at Flower Feline Sanctuary. 

Here are our current volunteer needs:
  • Help socialize our shy cabin kitties: simply sit and chat with the kitties, pet them when they are ready, be non-threatening, and give them a treat at the end of the session. Read to them if you like! 
  • Weed kitty cabin area (in and around outside), shovel and load wheelbarrow with wood chips to replenish the enclosure chips.
  • Help with FB, social media
  • Know lots of cat people? Host a fund raiser at your home or business. 
  • Foster a kitty who will go on to be adopted at one of our rescue partners. 

PLANNED 2020 EVENTS:


Spring Rummage Sale at a public site on Camano
Date TBD but we will give you plenty of notice.

  • Start collecting donations from your friends and relatives and deliver donations to my garage for storage anytime. We will accept household items, books, pet items, tools, antiques, clothing only if in very good condition. No furniture or TVs please. WE ARE ACCEPTING DONATIONS NOW. 
  • Volunteer the morning of to move goods to the location of sale (amount 2 miles from our home, just off the main road). This is for early risers! 
  • Volunteer the day of, shifts TBD. 
  • Load up your vehicle and deliver unsold goods to thrift store at your convenience (nothing can remain at the blue building at the end of the day as we only have the building for a set number of hours). 
  • Help us publicize the event through social media and by posting fliers on Camano a few weeks before the event.
Crafting for Kitties/ Arts and craft fair and sale at a public site on Camano 
Date TBD but we will give you plenty of notice.

  • If you are an artist or crafter, start making items to sell (no fee to participate, donate 50—100% of profit to Flower Feline Sanctuary plus a raffle item of your choice). Plan to be there to staff your table and sell your products. Items must be hand made or finished by hand; ie. dishtowels that you buy but then embroider on to "finish", birdhouses that you buy assembled but then paint by hand.
  • Volunteer the day of, shifts TBD.
  • There is a kitchen in the building, we may offer cake and tea for sale and would need a few volunteers to run the snack bar.
  • Help us publicize the event through social media and by posting fliers on Camano a few weeks before the event.


See something you want to help with? Just let us know!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Next Open House

Spring Sit 'n' Sip on Sat., May 4th, 1-5 PM. 

You can see our catios, chat with fellow kitty lovers, and meet our adorable sanctuary residents (some will be hiding from"strangers" but don't take it personally). We'll have hot and cold drinks, and vegan snacks. Fingers crossed for a lovely spring day.





Sunday, February 3, 2019

Sara, the kitty with violet eyes

Sara, a "chocolate" seal point Siamese, is now quite friendly with me! She loves being petted and with her bunny-soft fur, I love petting her. I haven't weighed Sara but I believe she has lost a little of the extra weight she came with because her skin seems looser. She simply doesn't have the slender body type some Siamese kitties have and will always be a curvy girl. 

The kitties mostly favor raw meat and along with canned foods, get a higher protein/high moisture diet that kibble cannot provide. When kitties come in to the sanctuary, they often have dull coats from eating mainly kibble and low muscle tone because they can't run and jump in conventional shelter settings. I understand that cost and convenience matter in shelters dealing with high numbers of cats, and hopefully these shelters are just temporary housing for most of the resident cats. (Anyone who has read books, blogs or the website of Nathan Winograd can marvel at the amazing work shelters and rescue groups are doing these days, compared to 50, 30, or even 15 years ago, while still aiming for a truly No-Kill nation.) Flower Feline Sanctuary is not sheltering a great number of cats. We are providing a loving home to a small number of kitties, albeit more kitties than most people have in their home. Sara is blossoming because we are a small sanctuary and able to address all of the kitties' individual needs. We won't grow past that point or we would be doing a disservice to the kitties.



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Favorite Cat Activity

Cats love it when you read a newspaper or magazine! Indulge your kitty and help Flower Feline Sanctuary kitties by purchasing a magazine subscription through Amazon. Please use the link below to shop - hurry because the offer ends at the end of this month.

Hannah being extra cute

Through January 31, 2019, AmazonSmile will donate 15% the purchase price of new print magazine subscriptions. Visit https://smile.amazon.com/b?node=18541223011 for details.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Elusive Ms. Foxy


Here's a long awaited picture of Foxy in her loft! She looks a bit unhappy but her eye contact is a huge sign of progress in her comfort level. Her chirpy meows in place of or in addition to hissing when I put her meal down are also a big step for her. Foxy lived under the Magnolia Bridge for possibly her entire life. Her only positive contact with a human was a lady who fed her regularly. Fortunately Foxy was spayed early on and hasn't spent her life producing kittens, so she is strong and healthy. I never lived with a calico cat and think I only sat for a few during my career in Seattle, as they are fairly unusual to find. Now I have two beautiful calicos living with me, Christina and Foxy!

There are feral cats living in many public areas and neighborhoods in communities all over the country. Feeding them is nice but the most important thing anyone can do for them is to get them altered to stop the cycle of kittens. If you know of someone feeding community cats and they are not capable or are overwhelmed with the idea of trapping and altering the cats, please help them or reach out to folks who can help. (Resources for folks who need help with TNR) We are lucky to have quite a few free and low-cost clinics in Western WA, such as. the Feral Cat Spy & Neuter Project in Lynnwood. Never trap cats like Foxy and take them to a shelter - this is certain death for a truly feral cat. There are barn home programs in more progressive shelters and rescue organizations, but make sure they actually screen the adopters and that the adopters understand how to acclimate a feral cat to a new location so that the cats don't simply get "dumped" and disoriented at their new property. (Help with finding placement for a working cat) Unlike house cats, cats in barn homes may be exposed to predators and face a shortened lifespan but given their nature, being free is tantamount to their ultimate happiness.

Foxy has access to an outdoor catio and isn't actually free to roam like a barn cat might be. Given that she had a consistent food source and was living in an urban setting, the Flower Feline Sanctuary is hopefully the best option for her to be safe and comfortable. Technically Foxy is "feral," but each cat has a unique set of circumstances about what living situation may be best. Being feral is not a black/white dichotomy and is not a crime that should result in death.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Settled in for a Long Winter Nap...


I thought I'd give you an update on some of the kitties. I have not been able to get any pictures of Foxy, although she is comfortable with me seeing her now. I still get a little hiss from her when I put her meal down but a few mornings she has let a little meow slip out as well! She has less of a grumpy face too. Could be Stockholm syndrome, or maybe she is starting to like the set-up here?

Bunny, who is a perfect cat but sadly remained overlooked at the shelter because of her age, is still doing great. She cuddles with the other kitties and allo-grooms me and the kitties. Sara is out and about in the room and the Catio all the time, unless there are people other than me around. She has discovered a toy that gets her to push a ball around a ring and really gets into it. She doesn't like me to see her doing that but I love watching how happy she is when she plays. 

As the year winds down, I am thinking about all the people who have helped and supported us on our mission to create Flower Feline Sanctuary. All of these "cat people" love to see cats who haven't had the best of luck so far learn and grow to be happy, healthy and playing just like I do. Sanctuaries can only house a very small fraction of the animals who need a safe haven, but hopefully we send the message to society that these animals matter and inspire other caring people to continue to care. 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed in whatever way to help Flower Feline Sanctuary help kitties. We hope to see you in 2019!


Bunny will hypnotize you with her eyes!

Adian, Cole and Bunny enjoy a heated bed on a very comfortable sofa

Sara in one of her favorite beds (heated and near a heat vent)