A Makeshift Shelter for Bluestar

I love rainy days, and when we get a few in a row, I don’t mind. But we’re in the middle of a stretch of rain here in Southern Maryland, and I feel for my outdoor cats when it rains for days. When I saw Bluestar come for lunch yesterday, her fur was wet, and Fireheart looked just miserable when he stopped by for dinner last night.

Fireheart at dinner last night.

It’s not much, but we wanted to offer a little shelter to Bluestar, Fireheart, and any other kitty that comes by to eat the next couple of days. A little furniture moving, a tarp, and some clamps later, we have a makeshift tent so that at least they can escape the rain for a little bit while they eat. I put some straw in a litter box in case anyone wants a nap. We have a shelter on the deck, but no one has climbed into it yet. Maybe a bed will be more their style.

The cats’ rain shelter. I wonder if anyone will take a nap.

Or, maybe I’ll be hosing out a litter box this weekend. It’s anyone’s guess.

I’ve got a plan for Bluestar and her friends, but there are a couple of details I need to work out. If anyone in Southern Maryland is looking for barn cats, please let me know! I’d like to move these guys out of my neighborhood and into a situation that’s safer. It’s too busy here.

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It’s Remember Me Thursday!

Today is Remember Me Thursday, a day to focus on all the animals in shelters and rescues who are waiting for their forever homes. It’s also a day to remember all the animals who didn’t make it out of kill shelters, never getting the chance to find a family to love them.

Seamus always sits where he fits.

All five of the cats living in my house are rescues. The three permanent residents – Aine, Emmett, and Seamus – were adopted from the Charles County Humane Society a little more than a year ago. Emmett and Aine were born outdoors and socialized and cared for in a foster home. We know less about Seamus’ history, but we do know that he had been adopted out once and returned because of sneezing.

Poe, Dickens, and Emmett.

Our foster cats Dickens and Poe are waiting for their forever home through Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland. We’ve helped to socialize these two, and during their time in our home, I think they’ve learned that humans can be trusted and that other cats are pretty cool, too.

Aine loves to nap on a rainy day. Or any day, really.

But all of the cats that have crossed my path haven’t been so lucky. Mama Spots and Sneaky, two of the cats who lived in my backyard last fall, never made it out of the shelter. They were killed for being feral. The system is not set up to handle feral cats well, and I didn’t understand the system before surrendering them.

080916-sneaky
Sneaky in the yard last fall.

And then there’s Bluestar, one of the kitties who currently comes to my yard for meals. I’m going to trap her (him?) in the coming weeks, and if an indoor home isn’t an option, we will find a barn or feral colony for her to join.

Bluestar came by for breakfast this morning.

So look for the hashtags #RememberMeThursday and #RememberTheRescue on Twitter and Instagram over the next several days. Maybe you’ll find a new four-legged friend to love! (And, when you share your rescued pet using those hashtags on Twitter and Instagram now through Sept. 30, you could win money for your favorite rescue.)

Lastly, a big thank you to our friends at Three Chatty Cats, who wrote about Remember Me Thursday earlier this week. I had never heard of this day before, and I love it.

Why does it seem so hard to adopt a cat?

It wasn’t so long ago that I was on the receiving end of a shelter application. We had decided to adopt three cats from our local humane society, and it was time for the paperwork.

The application was at least two pages, maybe three. It asked about our living situation: Do we own or rent? Who lives in the house? How many kids, and how old are they? Is everyone in the house on board with adopting?

ginger
Ginger, available for adoption from Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland

Then, it asked about pet care. Where would the cats sleep? How much time alone would they spend each day? How do we discipline? Did we have a vet? Would we declaw? We were asked about past pets and where they were now. If they were no longer living, the application asked what happened.

Last, there were some theoretical questions. What happens to the pet if we move? Have another child?

When all was said and done, we were approved, and we happily took our three cats home that afternoon. I had volunteered with rescue organizations in the past, so I wasn’t surprised by the level of questioning.

mina
Mina, available for adoption from Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland

But if you’ve never volunteered or worked inside a rescue organization or shelter, all of these questions can seem over the top and downright nosy. After all, these are homeless animals. Don’t these groups want them to go home?

Of course they do! But now that I am volunteering in a rescue organization again, I realize there’s a second part to that answer:

Rescue groups want animals to go to good homes and not come back.

We ask these questions because we want to make sure you and the pet you’ve chosen are a good fit. Foster home-based rescue organizations like the one I foster through have learned a lot about their animals because they live in homes. The application process enables us to learn a lot about you. If you’re not very active, a hyper dog is going to drive you nuts. If you have other cats, you don’t want to bring home a cat that doesn’t like other cats. If you have kids, you want to make sure the animal you choose is patient and good with kids.

dusty
Dusty, available for adoption from Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland

Animals are surrendered or returned for all kinds of reasons: Moving, babies, cost of care, and landlord rules, to name a few.

So if we ask a lot of questions or ask for references, please understand that it’s not personal. It’s just that we don’t want to see that animal again.

Unless of course, you’re sending us happy updates or coming back to adopt another animal.

Adult Cats for Adoption!

Another photo post this week, guys — this time all cats!

Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland, the organization I volunteer with, has lots of awesome adult cats up for adoption! I know it’s kitten season, but I wanted to shine a light on these deserving older kitties. Some are just a year ot two old! And, thanks to a partnership between Rescue Angels and Best Friends Animal Society, the adoption fee on adult cats in the rescue – those over age 1 – has been reduced to $25!

So here are the adult cats that Rescue Angels currently has for adoption. They’re all in foster care, and you can contact Rescue Angels at rescueangelssomd@gmail.com to learn more about each kitty.

See all the Rescue Angels animals for adoption on RescueMe.

anna
Anna
karlton
Karlton
cindy
Cinderella
anona
Anona
athena
Athena
dusty
Dusty
ginger
Ginger
jack
Jack
mina
Mina
glitter
Glitter

And, of course, my adorable fosters, Dickens and Poe!

dickens
Dickens
poe
Poe