Cat Stories-The Cat That Started it All

This is the cat that started it all.  I don't know what her name was, or anything about her.  If I remember correctly, I was about 4-5 at the time, and had already been in several foster homes.  This picture has a note on the back that it was taken at a San Joaquin County facility. I remember this cat.  I remember really liking her, (she slept on my bed for a while, and that was nice because there was competition with the other kids) and then having her taken away because she supposedly had fleas.  I was heartbroken at the time.  Funny, the things you remember.  Anyway, she was the cat that started my lifelong love affair with cats and with rescuing cats.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cat Rescue Story- Finora

Cat Rescue Story- Finora

The most patient cat ever.  I got a call to my rescue organization from a veterinarian's office.  It was hard to believe they were saying what they were saying.  They said they had a cat there, that they had been using for a blood donor, but for some reason they didn't want her anymore.  They said if I did not pick her up in one day, they were going to take her out of her cage and toss her in the street.  A vet!

At the time, all I had was a motorcyle (this was before I got hit by a car on that motorcycle and got lifelong chronic pain from that- but that's a different story).
I went to the vet's office, and there was Finora ( I did not name her- that's the name they had for her) in her cage.  They let her out, and she practically leapt into my arms.  I drove her home inside my jacket on my motorcycle.  I never understood that- she was so sweet and good natured, and rode home on a motorcycle- had spent (according to them) several years in a cage doing nothing but giving blood for the other cat patients.  She was a saint.

I did try to find a home for her, but at the time my rescue organization had only a few foster homes.  One lady wanted her really badly, but when I visited her home, she had plastic on all the furniture (that's actually clean)- because she had four cats over the age of 20 with various stages of cancer.  I understood why she wanted a younger cat, especially since the vet had said Finora had cancer, but Finora was so much younger, and that house was so depressing, I just couldn't leave her there.  All in all, I had Finora for a good 10 years after that.

I had her for about 10 years after that, and brought her to Ghosthouse, so she was a very old cat.  She was funny.  She'd be all quiet, and then all of the sudden get a hair up her ass and start skitterbugging all over the house.  She was awfully polite.  Sadly, she was one of the first cats that were killed by my psychotic drug-abusing ex-military next-door-neighbor who decided he hated my cats.  She disappeared, and years later, after he'd gotten off the drugs, he admitted he trapped her and took her up into the mountains and dumped her.  To this day, it breaks my heart thinking about her all lost and hungry and dying up in the mountains all alone.

I hated that neighbor for years.  He didn't just kill her, he killed many cats, and not just mine.  Once he got off the drugs (after I threatened to call his military superiors), he came home one day with a kitten.  It creeped me out.  He'd seen someone toss her out the window on Kearney street, and he picked her up.  You'd have thought she was made of gold.  After that, all of the sudden, he just loved cats.  So weird.  I'm glad that he is now nice to cats, but that doesn't give me back all the cats he killed. Sad.

I think of Finora often, and not just because I have a painting of her on my wall.  She was a very sweet cat who had a hard life, and deserved to have died with some love and dignity.

I know the picture is bad.  The wording on it says- 'Only a small black angel could get into heaven now-a-days'.

Funny thing- I learned when I started that rescue group that it is easy to find people willing to throw 10 bucks your way each month to keep rescuing animals- but very few people were willing to actually take an animal in and care for them themselves.  Eventually it overwhelmed me, and when I moved away from Santa Barbara, I didn't try to run another rescue organization.

Cat Rescue Story- Sammy

Cat Rescue Story- Sammy

This is Sammy.  I have photographs of  him somewhere, I'll just have to dig to get to them.  Sammy was a funny cat.  He was HUGE.    I don't even remember how we got him, but he fit in right away, and my longterm cat Tiffany fell in love with him.

At the time, we lived in Santa Barbara on California street, which is a steep hill.  We found out after a while that once we left to go to work, Sammy would run down the hill and spend all day at this Japanese family's place.  They had a cute little siamese, and a koi pond.  When Sammy heard our Volkswagon chugging up the hill, he'd run back up and try to pretend he'd been there all day long.  The Japanese family told us different!  They said he would spend all day playing with their little cat and the pond.

After we moved back to Fresno, Sammy got a urinary infection.  The vet thought it was a good idea to cut off the end of his penis to fix that???  We spent the next few weeks in and out of the vet office.  Eventually he got really sick, and I took him in before I went to work.  He died in his carrier at the vets- they hadn't even taken him out of it.  Tiffany was really heartbroken. That's when I found out about how vet offices send dead animals to rendering plants- because I tried to get his body, but they said they'd already frozen it (after a few hours?) and sent it off with their daily pickups to D and D Rendering plant.  Then I found out D and D Rendering makes sludge of vet animals (among other unsavoury things) and sells them to pet food companies.

Sammy was a great cat.  He was definitely a Romeo.  Sadly, he taught me that vets and all kinds of weird places send animals to be rendered and turned into pet food.  It is gross, but it is the truth.

Also, he was the only cat I have ever heard of in my life that farted out loud.  Ack!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cat Story- Mischa

I found Mischa behind the garbage bins of the apartment building I lived in when I was 17.

I had been modeling since I was about 14, and when I was 17, I moved out of my parent's home and started a licensed modeling and talent agency of my own, with a Hungarian woman I knew, Julianna. We shared an apartment with her two children. I'd gotten out of high school early, and had already spent a year in cosmetology school earning my license for that as well.

I didn't have a car at the time, so I used to ride the bus and take Mischa to work with me. I would tuck him into a big bag, and nobody would know. This was way before the current 'pocket pet' fad with all the fancy pooch-carriers. He would stay with me at work all day, and then ride the bus home with me. I modified a dog leash so that I could take him for walks. One time I got locked out of my office and it took a whole day to get the super to open the door, so I fed Mischa by pouring Catfood through the mail slot.

My roommates' children were badly behaved, and after (among other reasons) the second time they emptied his litterbox on my bed, I moved back home.

When I got a car, he loved to ride around with me. He'd sit on the dashboard with his paws on the wheel when I drove. One time I took him to the park with my fiance and I let him off the leash to play around the waterfalls. And then when I wasn't looking, he disappeared. I called and called for hours. I went home crying. And then went back. After hours of searching, I headed back to the last place I'd seen him, and just by chance looked up into the pine tree overhead. There he was. Not saying anything. Needless to say, I never took him to the park or let him off his leash again.

He was a beautiful grey Russian Blue cat. He was featured in many photoshoots, some of them mine, some not. My fiance used to tease me that I loved Mischa more than I loved him, and he may have been right.

My parent's house is pretty much out in the boonies, which means great fun for cats to roam and explore, but it also means there are some people who drive irresponsibly thinking the police won't be out there, and very soon after I moved back home Mischa was hit by a car. I buried him across the street in the fields. Now there is a house where I buried him.

Julianna, my previous Modelling and Talent Agency partner?  She ripped me off and disappeared.  I don't think of her often, but I still think of Mischa.

Cat Story- Bunny


After Pistachio died, my parents didn't let me have another cat for years. One night when I was 15, I went to my high-school football game, and as I was standing near the snack stand, I heard a little 'mew'. It was coming from a garbage can. I dug through all the garbage and wrappers and found several dead kittens. Then I came across Bunny. She was so little, and young- her eyes were barely open.

I was only a teenager, and didn't know the first thing about kitten-care, so I just tucked her into my jacket while I watched the game. When I got home I got a pie-pan out of the kitchen and put some dirt in it, and was very surprised when Bunny crawled over to it and peed. Just then, my mother came into the kitchen and said.. oh, no, no. But then she saw that Bunny had used the pie tin and said 'That's the smartest kitten I've ever seen'. Not too sure what to think of that, since it's doubtful she'd seen very many kittens before.

Didn't matter. What mattered is that she let me keep her. I don't know how she survived, since I didn't bottle feed her. I fed her what my mother told me to- raw eggs and milk. She didn't like that I chose 'Bunny' for a name, and insisted on calling her 'Casey Tibbs' for some reason. Oh, this is horrible- I just got the idea to Google 'Casey Tibbs', and found out he was some famous Rodeo guy that was born in the '20s. That makes no sense that she wanted to call my fluffy, grey, sweet girl kitten after a rodeo guy. Whatever. She really liked being petted, and she slept in my bed with her head on my pillow.

I had Bunny for about a year and a half. One day she started acting really weird, trying to crawl under my furniture and not wanting to be petted. I got my mom to take her to the vet, and in the car she peed on my fake suede skirt. Don't ask how I remember all these details, I just do. I remember she looked really sorry for having peed on me, and I felt bad for her. The vet couldn't figure out what was wrong. Over the years, my experience with vets has been that they can rarely figure out what is wrong with cats.

He gave her some shots, and some re-hydration and sent us home. The next day she seemed ok, but the day after she was acting weird again. I thought maybe giving her some Tylenol would help. This was before the internet. She died the next day. If the internet had existed, I could have looked it up and found out that Tylenol is toxic to cats. I've felt bad ever since, because I'll never know if she died because she was sick, or if it was because I gave her Tylenol.

Cat Story- Pistachio


Being that this is my first post, my first entry should probably be about the first cat I ever adopted.

I don't remember where I found Pistachio. I do know that I was about seven at the time, and that he was never allowed in the house because I am actually very allergic to cats among other things. At the time, my pediatrician had just suggested to my parents that I have my bedroom sealed off from the rest of the house because of that.

29 years later, I'm still head-over-heels about cats.

But anyways- Pistachio was a black kitten with a white mustache. I'd just read a book about some pirate cat that had rings in his ears named Pistachio, so I thought that was a great name. I only played with him outside. My mother did not like the name Pistachio, and insisted he be called some boring name I don't even remember.

I was on a weird bender of cutting off all my Barbie's hair (probably why years later I ended up going to cosmetology school and getting my license), and I got the great idea to give Pistachio's whiskers a haircut. I felt bad afterwards when I learned that cutting a cat's whiskers affects their equilibrium and puts them at a disadvantage navigating at night. I've never cut a pussers whiskers since!

About a year later, my dad woke me up one morning to tell me Pistachio had been hit by a car. I didn't believe him, and got him mad to the point where he took me to see the body. I don't think he was ever buried, which I find weird now.

I remember I cried a lot, and eventually my parents got mad and ordered me to stop, because it 'was just a cat'.