Tag: Humane Society

After Fire Destroys 1,000 Colorado Homes, Victims Are Still Looking For Their Cats

After their home was destroyed in an all-consuming fire, a Colorado family thought they’d gotten some good news when police found their cat and brought her to the local Humane Society.

The Conejo family visited their beloved Pumpkin at the veterinary clinic where she was recovering from her burns and were eager to bring her home until a veterinary tech realized there’d been a mistake: Pumpkin is female, but the heavily burned and convalescing orange tabby was male.

Now the parents — who were not home when the fire ripped through their neighborhood and couldn’t retrieve either of their cats or their belongings — have to tell their two young kids that it was a case of mistaken identity, and they still don’t know what happened to Pumpkin and their other cat, Justin.

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Boots suffered burns on his face and right front leg.

In what is now officially the worst fire in Colorado history, almost 1,000 homes were destroyed and more than 100 others damaged, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless with many of them still searching for their missing cats and dogs two months later.

The Dec. 30 blaze ripped across three suburban towns between Denver and Boulder, consuming entire housing divisions, strip malls and stand-alone buildings. Authorities still haven’t said how the fire started, playing their cards close to the vest as they await laboratory tests and analysis from forensic fire investigators.

A search warrant executed on the compound of a nearby cult and a viral video that showed a barn burning on the group’s property, reportedly at the time firefighters were notified of the initial fire, have drawn attention and speculation from locals. But authorities say they’re looking at every possibility, from a possible lightning strike to an electrical fire and even the possibility that one of the nearby abandoned coal mines could have spontaneously ignited.

While the Conejo family did not get the news they wanted, things had a happy ending for the male tabby they thought was their Pumpkin.

The cat, an eight-year-old named Boots, had an emotional reunion with his human on Feb. 22 courtesy of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.

“Hi, sweetie,” she said, hugging Boots tight in a video posted to the Humane Society’s Facebook page.

Some neighbors, who were inexplicably but mercifully spared by the fire, were counting their blessings but said they felt guilt as well.

Tracy and Jason Granucci were vacationing in Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas when their phones began blowing up with incoming alerts and texts from concerned friends.

Tracy Granucci immediately texted Carol, her cat-sitter: “I don’t care about the house,” she wrote in the text. “Obviously Peanut is all I care about.”

Routes to their street were blocked off and neither Carol nor animal rescue volunteers were able to get to the Granucci home, but when they returned they saw their home was still standing, unscathed despite the destruction of four nearby houses. Peanut, their 16-year-old tortoiseshell, was fine.

“The feelings I’ve had about being in our home and looking out at our neighbors and our community is definitely … survivor’s guilt,” Tracy Granucci told the local PBS news affiliate. “All you want to do is you want to help everybody.”

Camden Hall was at work when the fire raged through his neighborhood and was terrified that his cat, Merlin, was in its path.

When his landlord called to tell him the house had burned down, Hall said he felt “like someone had just ripped my soul out.”

Luck was on Merlin’s side. A neighbor heard distressed meows coming from one of the few homes that were still standing and found the little guy on the porch, badly burned but still alive. Hall reunited with Merlin at a local veterinary clinic.

The ordeal isn’t over for Merlin, however. His injuries were much worse than were realized, and he’s got several procedures and a long road to recovery ahead of him. A GoFundMe started by a friend of Hall will cover the veterinary expenses and help Hall get back on his feet.

Sunday Cats: Chonky Kitty Gets A Home, Footballer Gets Second Chance After Cat Abuse

Sterling the cat is a cute and playful little guy, and no doubt would have his fans among those who love chonksters, but he has to lose weight.

That was the gist of the message posted by staff at the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Michigan, who wanted to find a home for Sterling but also wanted to make sure his new human(s) would be dedicated to his health.

The silver tabby with a Buddesian coat pattern tips the scales at 30 pounds. Not only is the weight unhealthy, but it makes life as a cat difficult.

“We know, those plump cheeks are adorable. But obesity is terribly unhealthy for cats,” Humane Society staff wrote on Instagram. “Sterling is fastidious about hygiene, but can’t groom himself properly (we had to shave matted fur off his back). He’s so lively and playful, but can’t chase after toys. He’s curious about the world, but can’t jump up to look out the window. He’s so affectionate, but can’t comfortably snuggle with his people.”

An adopter has stepped up to the plate and given Sterling a new family, a deal that includes committing to working with a veterinarian to get the kitty to slim down. The Humane Society haven’t said who the adopter is, but Sterling’s adoption profiles disappeared shortly after the shelter’s impassioned plea on Feb. 9.

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Sterling weighs about 30 pounds. Credit: Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Zouma gets another shot

Kurt Zouma, the Premiere League footballer who earned himself worldwide condemnation over the last week for uploading a video showing him abusing his own cat, won’t lose his job due to the scandal.

West Ham United Coach David Moyes said Zouma’s actions were “completely out of character from Kurt” and compared the abuse incidents to drunken driving.

“He’s a really good lad and we’re going to get him some help,” Moyes told reporters. “Just like people with drink-drive offences have to go to classes to learn the reasons and the damage that can be done, the RSPCA are going to provide some courses for Kurt to understand about animals and how to treat them.”

Moyes says Zouma has repeatedly apologized, and he thinks the French national is sincerely contrite.

“But what do you do?” the coach asked. “Do you keep punishing people or do you give them a chance to make things right? All of us in life need second chances sometimes, and we’re going to give Kurt a second chance.”

The controversy flared up immediately after the UK Sun published a story about three short clips showing Zouma drop-kicking, slapping and throwing a shoe at his cat. The clips were filmed by Zouma’s brother, who can be heard laughing in the background, and involved Zouma’s son.

In his apology, Zouma said the abuse was “an isolated incident,” but said there was “no excuse” for his actions.

“I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video,” the soccer pro said.

Zouma was fined £ 250,000 — equal to about $330,000 — which is the maximum amount the club could fine him under league rules. He also lost his primary sponsorship with Adidas, which issued a terse statement and immediately dropped the center-back from its roster, and insurance company Vitality pulled its sponsorship from the entire team. Two other sponsors said they would meet with the club to discuss the issue.

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Scotsman Jason Kerr of Wigan gently scoops up Topsey, a house cat who interrupted play on Tuesday night by running onto the pitch in a match between Wigan and West Ham United.

Zouma also surrendered both of his cats — the one who was abused in the video and a second feline — to the RSPCA, which is conducting an investigation. Like the SPCA in the US, which has its own law enforcement division, the RSPCA has the ability to file criminal charges in cases involving animal abuse and neglect.

The felines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Did you know the first Siamese cat to reach America’s shores was probably Siam, who belonged to First Lady Lucy Webb Hayes?

Back when Thailand was called Siam, U.S. ambassador David B. Sickels read that Mrs. Hayes — wife of Rutherford B. Hayes — was a cat lover and sent one of the now-famous Asian cats to the White House.

“I have taken the liberty of forwarding to you one of the finest specimens of Siamese cats that I have been able to procure in this country,” Sickels wrote to the First Lady in 1878. “I am informed that this is the first attempt ever made to send a Siamese cat to America.”

While we’ve written quite a bit about the famous cats who have occupied the White House over the years, the Hayes story and others are also detailed in a new article from Smithsonian Magazine, which marked the occasion of Willow the cat’s arrival by revisiting presidential pet history. It’s well worth a read if you like the idea of kitties roaming the halls of power and even sitting on one president’s lap during state dinners, eating at the table like humans.

Sunday Cats: FDA Approves Kitty Arthritis Drug, Woman Calls Cops On Her Cat, Grudge Gets A Book

Older cats could soon have easier lives after the FDA approved the first-ever drug to treat feline arthritis.

Degenerative joint disease and the pain that comes with it is extremely common, impacting 45 percent of all domestic cats and 90 percent of cats older than 10.

It’s the reason kitties “slow down” later in life, it’s a significant blow to quality of life and it often leads to decisions to euthanize beloved pets who are in severe pain. The new drug, called Solensia, has been described as a “highly efficacious treatment” by experts. It can “extend [cat] life, extend their happiness, and extend that beautiful relationship between cats and their owners,” Dr. Duncan Lascelles told USA Today.

“This is absolutely groundbreaking,” said Lascelles, who researches pain and surgical methods at the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. “I have been in pain research for 30 years and this is the most exciting development that has happened.”

Solensia is administered via injection by veterinarians, with doses calculated by weight. Because traditional painkillers and other drugs can aggravate kidney disease and other common feline ailments, the new medication “marks the first treatment option to help provide relief to cats that are suffering from this condition,” said Dr. Steven Solomon, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

“You’re Grounded, Go To Your Room!”

A Nebraska woman called the police on her cat this past Monday, Jan. 10, after kitty supposedly flipped out.

The woman told police she was breaking up a fight between her cats when she warned one of the feline aggressors she would “put it in its room” if the fighting didn’t stop.

“At this point, the cat became enraged and attacked,” the police report says.

The woman suffered “superficial” scratches from the cat’s claws and was treated at a local clinic as a preventative measure. Unfortunately Omaha police took the cat and brought it to the Nebraska Humane Society. It’s not clear if the cat was permanently removed from its home or what its fate will be. Calls to the police and the Humane Society by Newsweek were not immediately returned.

The Book of Grudge

Grudge The Cat Gets Her Own Comic

I’m not a big fan of Discovery, the newest iteration of Star Trek, but there are some elements of the show I like — including Grudge, the feisty Maine Coon companion of the rogueish Cleveland Booker, played by David Ajala.

Now Grudge stars in first issue of a new spinoff comic, dubbed Adventures in the 32nd Century.” The comic will tell Grudge’s origin story, as well as how she encountered Booker and appointed him her loyal human servant.

Although Grudge is female and often referred to as Queen Grudge in the show, she’s played by a pair of Maine Coon brothers, Leeu and Durban, who swap off between acting in front of the camera and napping.

If you can’t get enough of the well-traveled kitty, there’s also The Book of Grudge, in which the Star Trek feline shares her opinion on everything from space travel to the nature of time.

“Depending on what planet you’re on, what sun you’re passing or what temporal anomaly you find yourself in, I’ve learned that time is nothing but an artificial construct,” Grudge muses in the book. “So it’s in everyone’s best interests to synchronize their clocks to me.”

Grudge's origin story

Sunday Cats: ‘Christmas Cats’ Rescued From Hoarders Need Homes, PLUS: Epic Workplace Cat Battle!

Humane Societies in California and Indiana hope people have it in their hearts to welcome new cats into their homes this holiday season after 110 cats were rescued from two different hoarding situations.

In Pasadena, Calif., the Humane Society rescued 52 cats who were living in a nearby home and in a crawlspace under the house. They’re calling the rescued kitties “Christmas Cats,” have given them names like Jolly, Merry and Jingle, and will offer discounted adoption fees in addition to spaying/neutering and microchipping the kitties before they’re sent to their forever homes.

Meanwhile, local authorities rescued 58 cats from a hoarding situation in Evansville, Indiana. The kitties were crammed into a single-wide trailer and many of them were in poor health, according to Kendall Paul of the Vanderburgh Humane Society.

“I think it probably started innocently enough, with the person trying to take care of just a couple of cats and then things got out of hand,” Paul said. “Most of these cats are ill with upper respiratory infections, some with more serious issues.”

The organization is calling its holiday cat adoption event “Deck the Paws,” and adopters will be able to choose from “presents” from beneath a Christmas tree, each containing discounts on adoption fees.

“We’re certainly hoping people will step up and help us,” Paul told the Evansville Courier & Press. “If you want to adopt a cat, we have lots here that are ready for new homes.”

Epic Cat Battle: Employee Demands ‘Sensitivity Training’ For Co-Worker Who Joked ‘Orange Cats Are Often Dumb’

A Redditor sought the sage advice of the always-hilarious “Am I The Asshole?” sub-Reddit, explaining her dire situation. She works in an agency with two office cats: Jean, a tortoiseshell, and Jorts, the new cat on the block who is an orange tabby.

Jorts isn’t the sharpest claw on the paw.

The Redditor explains that Jorts is “kind of a simple guy” who can’t open doors and gets himself locked into rooms and the closet where he and Jean have their food nook. When kitty Jean can’t rescue Jorts (she can open most of the doors in the office, the Redditor wrote), Jorts meows until one of the employees rescues him from his predicament.

A co-worker named Pam decided Jorts should be more independent and “has been spending a lot of time trying to teach Jorts things.”

The Redditor favored a more simple solution and put a doorstop against the closet door so Jorts wouldn’t get himself stuck every time he went for a bite. That angered Pam, who insisted using a doorstop was depriving poor Jorts of a “chance to learn.”

Then Pam went full Karen, drawing up “a series of special learning activities for Jorts, and put the tasks on the whiteboard of daily team tasks.”

“Who you callin’ dumb?” Credit: Nantenaina Andrianjaka/Pexels

The Redditor tried to put the entire thing to rest by installing a cat flap and tried to diffuse the office tension by joking that they couldn’t “expect Jean’s tortoiseshell smarts from orange cat Jorts.”

The joke made Pam “furious”: “She started crying and left the hallway, then sent an email to the group (including volunteers) and went home early. In her email Pam said I was ‘perpetuating ethnic stereotypes by saying orange cats are dumb’ and is demanding a racial sensitivity training before she will return.”

The Redditor followed up with a second post after HR stepped in and — unlike many HR departments — had some level-headed people bring much-needed sanity to the kerfuffle. They told Pam to chill out and to stop assigning “Jorts-related tutoring” tasks to her co-workers. They also told her it was inappropriate to compare a co-worker installing a helpful doorstop to ethnic insensitivity.

During her little chat with HR, Pam also admitted she’d taken the tutoring thing too far:

“Lastly, and this made us both laugh so hard we can’t deal with it in person and will be said via email: Pam admits that she has been putting margarine on Jorts in an attempt to teach him to groom himself better. This may explain the diarrhea problem Jean developed (which required a vet visit).”

Speaking as a fellow redhead, I’m outraged! My people (human and cat alike) have been the butt of jokes for too long, and it’s time we organized a Union of Extraordinary Redheads to promote our shared interests, protect our own, and show the brown- and blonde-headed people of the world that we will not take their ridicule anymore! Jorts will receive his invitation in the mail shortly.

NYC Mayoral Candidate Has 16 Cats

We normally avoid politics on this blog except for the occasional light-hearted satire imagining Buddy as a comically inept president of the Americats, but we’ll make an exception for the New York City mayoral race, which features two animal-loving major party candidates.

Eric Adams, a Democrat, is a former NYPD captain, Brooklyn borough president and vegan who has supported TNR programs in Brooklyn, pushed for more animal-friendly housing in the city and hosted adoption events in his home borough, according to the Humane Society’s Legislative Fund.

Curtis Sliwa is best known nationally as the founder of the unarmed crime prevention group the Guardian Angels, and in New York as a host on the city’s biggest talk radio station. (He’s been on hiatus since launching his mayoral campaign to comply with election law.)

He survived an attempted mafia hit in 1992, jumping out of a cab after he was shot several times by Gotti family enforcers, and he’s a dedicated cat lover, sharing his home with 16 rescues. Most of Sliwa’s cats have disabilities or were pulled from local shelter kill lists. Not all of them are permanent, and the Sliwas consider themselves long-term fosters until they can find the right homes for special needs cats. Last year they were able to place 10 kitties in good homes.

Still, the felines come first in their 87th Street apartment.

“Guess what? It’s the cats who rule the roost,” Sliwa told a New York Post cameraman in June. “We take whatever room is left after the cats carve out their territory.”

Cat furniture dominates the studio apartment Sliwa shares with his wife, Nancy, who told the Post she’s considering adopting more furballs, including a special-needs rescue who is blind. (They had 15 cats at the time and have adopted one more since then.)

Turning to her husband, she quipped: “We might have to lose your half of the closet.”

The couple share litter box duties and clean the multiple boxes in their home at least three times a day, they told the Post.

NYC mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa plays with his cats.

At the end of Tuesday’s televised mayoral debate, when asked which qualities they admire in their opponents, both Sliwa and Adams praised each other for their work with animals.

The city and its surrounding environs lean heavily blue. Sixty-eight percent of registered voters in the five boroughs are registered Democrats, and Adams holds a commanding 36-point lead according to the latest poll.

Like all Republicans who set their sights on the mayor’s job, Sliwa knew it was going to be an uphill battle even though New Yorkers have tired of the current mayor, Democrat Bill DeBlasio. Sliwa hopes one of his central campaign promises — to enact a no-kill policy across the city’s shelter system — will resonate with voters across the aisle.

Republicans who have won in the past have been centrist, like former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, or nominally Republican, like businessman turned politician Michael Bloomberg. The latter enjoyed widespread name recognition before he turned to politics and supplemented his campaign hauls with his own considerable resources.

Still, the Guardian Angels founder sees Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s Upper East Side home, as a potentially fantastic cat house.

“I’ve been in Gracie Mansion before,” Sliwa told New York magazine. “There is easily room in there for 60 cats.”