Yoshi’s Choice

Little Yoshi is on his way home, though it’s not the home we were hoping for when he was trapped in early August.

Yoshi is one of 13 kittens trapped during a big trap-neuter-return (TNR) project I’ve been working on since June for Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland. The homeowners have worked diligently to get all the kittens and adults so we can stop the cycle of cats in their yard. We’re almost done! (More on that on the blog soon.)

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All of the kittens were placed in foster homes, and a handful of them have already been adopted out. The transformation of the kittens from frightened outdoor cats to lovable kittens – and in some cases, major lap cats – has been nothing short of amazing. We have some of the best foster homes!

It didn’t go like that for Yoshi. He was in foster care for more than two months, but he was still terrified of humans. He didn’t want them to pet him or even to be near him. It was clear that Yoshi was trying to tell us something: People aren’t his thing, and he doesn’t want to be an indoor cat.

Yoshi was born outside to a feral mom, and he was on the older side when we trapped him. There was always the chance that he would resist socialization even if his siblings and cousins warmed up to the idea of life on the inside.

So the other night, Yoshi slept in my garage, and yesterday, he went home. His caretakers are happy to have him back. After a couple of days inside to help him remember where home is, he’ll be freed in the backyard. He’ll be reunited with his mom and other adult cats in the colony that he knows.

He’s been neutered, vaccinated, and ear tipped so that he can live a happy life outside – without bringing any more kittens into the world. There was a time when I would have felt sad for Yoshi. In an ideal world, every cat would have a loving indoor home, but we know this is not an ideal world. Instead, I am glad that Yoshi has a loving outdoor home where he can live out his years as a happy cat.

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Remember Me Thursday Roundup: The Cats We Featured

Yesterday was Remember Me Thursday, and we hope you enjoyed seeing the Internet and social media filled with happy adoption stories and pictures of critters looking for homes!

We shared several cats available for adoption through Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland yesterday on our Facebook and Instagram. All of these cats have been in foster care with Rescue Angels for several months.

If you’d like to know more about any of these kitties, email Rescue Angels at rescueangelssomd@gmail.com.

Raz

We’re partial to black cats here at Three Irish Cats, so Raz is our first feature cat of the day! He’s a sweet young adult kitty who has been in foster care with Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland for several months. Raz is chirpy and chatty, and if you’re lucky, he’ll even show you his tummy!

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Clarice

Clarice watched her siblings go off to loving homes months ago, and she is still waiting. She even made a friend in foster care, senior guy Jack, and he got adopted, too! Clarice can be a bit standoffish at first; she just wants to make sure you’re OK before she lets you in. She needs her space, but she also loves to play and will come looking for attention.

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Padme

This gray beauty is Padme! She’s a young adult tabby with lots of purrsonality. She has a bit of a limp, but she doesn’t let it get her down. Padme has been in foster care for a few months, and she would love a home to call her own.

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Nino

Orange cat alert! 3-year-old Nino was saved from the shelter by Rescue Angels of Southern Marylandearlier this year, and he’s been in foster care ever since waiting to find his forever home. He’s a bit shy at first, but give him a few minutes to warm up, and you have a head-butting, purr machine who loves to snuggle!

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Aurora

Sweet Aurora has watched the kittens at her foster home get adopted, and she wonders when it is going to be her turn! Aurora is 7 and was surrendered with her sister Alexis (also available for adoption) a while ago. Aurora is affectionate and snuggly, and she has the sweetest mew.

aurora

Remember Me Thursday: The Three Irish Cats’ Story

When our cat Aoife died in June 2015, we were going to wait a few months before adopting again. Aoife had been sick for a long time, and her decline was tough on everyone.

We made it through the summer, realizing quickly how empty the house felt without someone furry around.

Aine

So that Labor Day Weekend, we visited the Humane Society of Charles County, just to see who they had. Of course, we had some rules:

  • No kittens
  • No long-haired cats
  • No more than two cats

You know how well that worked out. 😉

In the cat room that night, we met lots of wonderful kitties, but two older kittens in a cage together kept drawing us in. “Pantha” was solid black, and “OJ” was orange and white. Both were shy but craving affection.

Next door, the cage of a two-year-old long-haired orange cat named “Rascal” was open. Rascal was going in and out of all the other cages and sampling everyone’s food. We learned that he had already been adopted out once and returned for sneezing. (Silly, eh?)

Seamus

Oh, and while he was out and about, Rascal made friends with my husband. (You can see where this is going ….)

We loved all three, but we had to go home and talk about it. We really only wanted two cats.

The next morning, I was volunteering at the humane society’s carnival, and we went in early so we could visit the cats again. By that point, we had decided to adopt the two kittens if they were still available; they weren’t siblings, but they were in a cage together, and we didn’t want to separate them.

“So, we’ll adopt the two kittens?” I said to my husband. Rule No. 1 broken.

“Yes,” he said, and paused.

“And Rascal.”

Emmett

And just like that, my husband, who was not really a cat guy when he and I met, had added a third cat to our family. My husband, whose heart has been broken when our orange cat Rory died in 2013, had found a new friend to love.

Bam. Down with rules 2 and 3.

Two years later, we can’t imagine it any other way! We broke all of our rules, and we couldn’t be happier. Pantha became Aine, OJ became Emmett, and Rascal became Seamus, though “Rascal” should be his middle name.

Aine, Emmett, and Seamus are three of the lucky ones. Across the country, nearly 3 million cats and dogs each year aren’t so lucky. Feral cats are even less lucky. So today, on Remember Me Thursday, we hope you’ll take some time to remember the millions of homeless pets across the country looking for love – and remember the rescue the next time you want to bring a furry family member into your home.

What is your pets’ adoption story? Tell us in the comments!

What is Remember Me Thursday?

Did you know that just a third of pets in the United States come from rescue organizations and shelters?

And that nearly 3 million animals in shelters die every year waiting for a forever home?

I learned those stats on the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Remember Me Thursday website, and they really gave me pause. I knew from my rescue volunteering that millions of animals die each year waiting to be adopted. But I am absolutely shocked that only 30 percent of pets are rescues.

The purpose of Remember Me Thursday, which will be celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 28, is to bring attention to the millions of animals that are currently in shelters or under the care of rescue organizations. They’re waiting for their forever homes, and they need our help to tell the world about them.

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Seamus rocks a Remember Me Thursday bandanna.

Remember Me Thursday was created by Helen Woodward Animal Center CEO Mike Arms five years ago. Since then, famous faces, well-known animals, and blogs like ours have joined together to spread the word about pet adoption. And guess what? You can get involved, too!

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Post about Remember Me Thursday and animal rescue on your social media accounts on Sept. 28. Use the hashtags #RememberMeThursday and #RememberTheRescue.
  • Enter the Remember the Rescue Contest! Share your rescue pets’ pictures using the hashtags, and a rescue organization of your choice could win food and money! Enter the contest here.
  • Light a candle (real or virtual) in honor of the pets who have lost their lives and for those who are looking for homes. Post it to your social media!
  • Adopt! We can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

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We’re excited to post all about rescue pets next Thursday. We’ll tell Aine, Emmett, and Seamus’ adoption story and share pictures of animals available for adoption here in Southern Maryland on our Facebook page and Instagram. (Follow us!) We even got this cool kit so we can represent Remember Me Thursday while we’re out and about.

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Thanks to the Helen Woodward Animal Center for this cool kit!

We hope you’ll join us and share your pet adoption stories, too!

Every Animal Deserves an “Adoptiversary”

Earlier this week, the Three Irish Cats marked their “adoptiversary.” That’s the day that we brought them home with us from the shelter. How those two years have flown by!


I can’t imagine our lives without Aine, Emmett, and Seamus. They make me smile and laugh every day, and when I am feeling sad, nothing is more calming than a cat sitting by my side. Seamus sleeps on my pillow at night, and Emmett sleeps against my side. Aine prefers her space most nights, but when the weather gets chilly, she curls up on my side of the bed, too.


We remind the Three Irish Cats frequently how lucky they are. As you probably know, I volunteer with Rescue Angels of Southern Maryland doing public relations, social media, and feral cat trapping. Our rescue is in contact every day with animals who are not as lucky as my three cats. We get urgent calls for help from the local public shelters when animals in their care have run out of time or are suffering in the shelter environment. These shelters only have so much space, and when space runs out, animals are killed to make room for the new animals coming in.


Every animal deserves an adoptiversary. The Three Irish Cats and I will be marking the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Remember Me Thursday on Thursday, Sept. 28. On this day – and in the days leading up to it – blogs and social media pages like Three Irish Cats will shine a light on homeless pets, both those looking for homes and those who died waiting.

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Remember Me Thursday seems especially timely this year as shelters across Texas and Florida grapple with the effects of devastating hurricanes. Shelter pets are being sent to rescue organizations across the country to make room for abandoned and lost pets in storm areas. Here in Southern Maryland, four organizations (that we know of!) have taken in shelter pets from the Houston area:

Whether you adopt, foster, or donate, these groups need our help to provide loving temporary and permanent homes. Plus, with Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida this weekend, there will no doubt be more pets needing our help.

You can learn more about the work these organizations are doing at the links above. And, find out how you can participate in Remember Me Thursday here!

Bringing Home Kitty, Part 3: Little by Little for Aine

I’m not going to lie: We didn’t do any of this when we brought the Three Irish Cats home from the shelter. And now that I know Aine a little better, I wish we would have.

You see, Aine is shy and a bit skittish, even now. She spent most of her time hiding the first few weeks that she lived with us. She came out to eat, and she would sleep with me at night. But if you moved too quickly or company came over, she was gone.

Fast forward to today. Aine is still shy around most company except the most familiar faces, and if you move too fast toward her, she darts away. But given nearly two years in her forever home – not to mention a break from foster cats – and she has come out of her shell and really started to own the place.

But, these tips shared with us by Petco are going to be invaluable when we move with Aine, Emmett, and Seamus a couple of times over the next few months. Our first move is next week, and we’re already planning how we’re going to set up a “safe room” for them to hang out in when we first get to the new rental house.

Ease Your Cat Into Their New Environment

(originally published here)

Cats are typically wary of new environments. It’s important to introduce them to your home gradually, so they feel comfortable and confident in their new surroundings.

While humans typically love to explore every inch of our new homes, cats are the opposite. The more room they have to explore, the more scared and overwhelmed they may become. Designating one room where your cat can stay for the first few days is a great way to start things off on the right paw. Keep the door of the “safe room” shut and make sure there is a litter box, food and water in the room, as well as a few toys. Your cat may hide for the first few days and that’s totally natural. Let them come out of a hiding place on their own time. Make sure to visit your cat throughout the day so they get used to you, your smell and sounds. After a few days, let your cat explore the house or apartment at their leisure. Make sure to leave the “safe” room accessible so they can return whenever they want.

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Introduce New Pets Slowly

Bringing a new pet into the home can be extremely stressful for the new pet as well as any resident animals. First off, make sure new pets visit the veterinarian and are up-to-date with vaccinations before exposing them to other family pets. Then give them time to get used to each other before allowing full access to one another. (This is another reason why giving your new cat a room of their own for a few days is important.)

For homes with other pets, put a baby or pet gate at the entrance of the safe room and open the door periodically so pets can see and smell each other at a safe distance before they are allowed full access.

Experts like Pam Johnson-Bennett, behaviorist and author of Catwise, helps clients introduce cats by exchanging the pheromones using her Sock Exchange method. For an easy transition, pet parents can rub each cat’s scent on a sock and introduce the sock to the other cat, helping both pets grow accustomed to each other’s scents.

Regardless of the method used, it’s important to take cues from your pets to determine how quickly you will let them interact with other pets. If you notice any problems, you may need to take some time before everyone can roam freely throughout the house together.

Conclusion

Cats make wonderful pets. But while they may have a reputation for being relatively low maintenance, it’s important to set yourselves up for success. Shop for the right supplies, give your pet time to transition to their new home and take your time introducing other pets. Soon, it will seem like your cat has been part of the family forever.

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Bringing Home Kitty, Part 2: The Reason We Don’t Have Plants

I often joke that Aine, Emmett, and Seamus are the reason we can’t have nice things, but the reality is they’re well-behaved cats, and I have no reason to complain. What they do like to do, though, is chew on plants. They don’t care if they’re real or fake. If it has a leaf, they want to nom on it.

I don’t have a green thumb, so not being able to keep plants indoors doesn’t really bother me, but occasionally, I’d like to bring fresh flowers into the house. That’s a no-go for me; we plant outside instead.

But if you can keep plants and cats in your house, stay away from these blooms. This graphic courtesy of Petco highlights some of the most dangerous flowers for cats – as well as some other ways our feline friends might get themselves into trouble.

How to Cat Proof Your Home

(originally published here)

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Cats can get into all kinds of trouble. It’s up to pet parents to make sure their homes are as safe as possible. Cats like to chew and play with many things, some of which may surprise you.

  • Close the toilet lid
    Some cats—especially curious kittens—can slip into a toilet and drown. Make sure to close the toilet lid after each use.
  • Latch cabinets and cupboards
    Cats can get into unlocked cupboards if they put their minds to it. They also like to knock things over. Use child safety locks on cabinets where you store medicine or cleaning supplies. Keep dangerous items out of reach so your cat doesn’t ingest anything except food or treats, or walk through a puddle of something and lick it off their paws.
  • Be diligent about string and yarn
    Most cats love playing with these. Unfortunately, some cats will ingest string and yarn, which can lead to organ damage. Dispose of or store these items out of reach.
  • Keep rubber bands and hair ties out of reach
    Similar to yarn and string, cats can ingest rubber bands and hair ties.
  • Secure windows and screens
    Keep windows closed and screens closed and/or locked. Cats love sitting in windows, and a loose screen can become a safety hazard if your cat pushes against it and falls out. Keep dangling cords from blinds secured safely as well.
  • Unplug or secure electrical cords
    Your cat may be tempted to chew on these dangling hazards. Either unplug cords that are not in use, or secure them along window or floor trim. Alternatively, you can wrap cords in plastic tubing (found at hardware stores) or spray them with pet-safe, natural deterrents such as citrus or apple bitters.
  • Remove fragile objects
    Do your cat and yourself a favor by anticipating accidents and removing breakable items from the tops of dressers, counters or cat-accessible shelving. The slip of a paw or tail can send these valuables crashing to the floor.
  • Check the washer and dryer before you use them
    Curious cats and kittens can crawl inside these appliances and be seriously injured.

Watch your new cat carefully to understand how your cat gets into trouble and which hazards you should safeguard.

Friday: Preparing Your Home for a New Cat

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