One Step Too Far

Ugh. I know the CA budget is in need of help but this is just too much for me:

Schwarzenegger Wants Stray Animals Killed In 72 Hours

Basically, he wants to revert back to an older standard where shelters would be allowed to kill dogs and cats after holding them for 72 hours, regardless of whether the shelters are open to the public during those three days. The 72-hour rule was changed to a 6-day hold in 1998 under a law called the Hayden Act.

Another thing that bothers me is that one of the changes Schwarzenegger is asking for allows shelters to not check for microchipping on a dog or cat before destroying it. Scanning for a microchip takes literally 15 seconds to do and if there’s an active chip then the animal’s owner can be immediately identified. There is no reason I can think of other than idiocy why this should not be done.

And how much is the state going to save by all this animal killing? $14 million dollars.

“Terminator” indeed.

Upsetting News

Recently I’ve come to the conclusion that my oldest cat, Tina, has gone deaf.

Over the past year or so, I’d noticed some behavioral changes that puzzled me. She wouldn’t come running when I put out fresh food. She’s pretty old, so I thought that was understandable. But there were other signs too. Her meow seemed to be getting louder. She would walk with me towards the kitchen, but she would stop every few paces to see if I were coming along with her – something she never used to do. She’d seem startled when people came up to her.

And one day it dawned on me – could she be having trouble hearing? I finally decided to do some basic tests. Each time, I would clap loudly and watch to see if she turns her head or otherwise notices the sound. She doesn’t. I’m not sure if she’s completely deaf or just mostly deaf, but taken all in all, it seems quite obvious that her hearing is seriously impacted.

Tina is 17 – very old for a cat. I know that there are a lot worse things that could happen to her than deafness. I know that she’s not in any pain and that cats tolerate disabilities much better than humans do. And she’s an indoor-only cat, so it’s not like she’s going to get outside and not hear a car coming. Still – I often talk to her when she’s cuddled up on my lap; I tell her what a good girl she is and how much I love her. I know she doesn’t understand the words but she understands the tone of voice. Now she can’t hear that, and it’s sad.

New Photos Up

I finally got around to adding the obligatory archive of pet pictures here. Feel free to ignore if you’re not a cat person.

Kitten season is coming!

I went to do a shift at the SF SPCA yesterday for the first time in several months. It was good to be back.

I spent some of the time visiting two mama cats with their litters – one had 4 kittens, the other, 5. A reminder that kitten season is about to begin. One of the mama cats was small and visibly undernourished. She was a little skittish when I first came to her cage but after a few hisses she relaxed and started to enjoy herself. Eventually she climbed onto my lap and lay there purring while a couple of her more adventurous (or more hungry) kittens followed her.

Sometimes the mama cat gets overlooked when you visit & socialize kittens, but she needs love and attention as much as the kittens do. Moreso in some ways, because she’s doing all the work. (Perhaps I’m anthropomorphizing here.) At any rate, I came very close to adopting one particularly sweet mama cat I worked with last year. Someone else got her first, and considering we already have 3 cats it’s probably for the best.

The kittens, of course, generally find homes quickly.

I’m going to a retail job fair today. I really can’t get up much enthusiasm for it, but I feel that I ought to be there, so I’m going. I still can’t decide if I’m fed up with retail in general, or just being overworked in specific. Until I make up my mind or a better alternative comes along, I might as well keep looking for a new retail gig.

I’m more enthusiastic about the prospect of taking a week to go back east and hang out with my parents. I feel a bit guilty about taking off and leaving my husband here, but he doesn’t seem to mind (lucky me!).

Kitten Update

Went to do a shift at the SPCA this afternoon and got some sad news. The SPCA got hit by a Panleukopenia outbreak and 2 of the 6 kittens I spent some of my shift with on Sunday are dead.

Panleuk outbreaks are, sadly, not uncommon in animal shelters during kitten season and the SPCA team is working hard to minimize the impact. I feel awful and wish there was something more I could do to help.

Kittens on my shoulder

So today I spent a few hours down at the SF SPCA doing my thing as a cat socializer. I’ve been volunteering for almost a year now. I was unemployed when I first began to volunteer, and I would head over to the shelter three or four times a week. Now that I have a job again, I only get there about 4 times a month.

During kitten season, I spend a lot of my time at the SPCA working with undersocialized (aka feral) kittens who need to get used to humans so they can make good pets. It’s not always easy to work with kittens who really don’t want to be held or handled. But the good thing is, if you get them young, they can do a complete behavioral turnaround in a short amount of time. It’s really rewarding to see a kitten that used to be all hissy and scared climb all over you, purring and giving kitten kisses.

Not all the kittens are hard to work with. In between the ferals, I spent a chunk of time visiting with a Mom-cat and her litter of 6 kittens. They’ve all been weaned onto food but are staying with their mother until they’re big enough to be adopted out. One of the kittens climbed up onto my shoulder, plopped down, and stayed there the entire time I was in the room. The Mom-cat took a nap. And the other 5 kittens decided I was the best toy they’d ever seen and decided to climb all over me, chew on my hands, my shoes, and my pants, and generally do all sorts of cute kittenish things. Aside from the fact that 2 of them smelled like poop, it was a ton of fun.

I don’t take my camera to the shelter because I don’t want the flash to upset the kitties, but I really wish I had a photo of the kitten on my shoulder. She was a sweetie. I hope she finds a good home.