Tag: nonprofit

Sunday Cats: Brave Woman Rescues Kitten From Sewer Pipe, Fortnite Copies Buddy

When volunteers in Elkhart, Indiana, went to trap a mom and her kittens near an industrial site, one of the babies panicked and ran straight into a hole, taking a tumble into a drainage pipe beneath.

The rescuers from a non-profit TNR group called Catsnip didn’t give up on the four-week-old baby even after finding her proved to be much more difficult than they imagined. They called off the search in Elkhart — about 160 miles north of Indianapolis — the first night when it was too dark to keep working. They dropped food for the scared fluffball, whom they could hear but still could not locate in the dark, tight subterranean space.

The next morning they were back at it, trying to literally flush the kitten out before a volunteer named Ashley descended via a manhole 75 feet from the spot where the kitten had fallen in.

The entire saga took about 48 hours and hinged on Ashley who, because of her small size, was able to squeeze into a pipe and crawl 30 feet to the terrified baby cat — then had to crawl out backwards the way she came while cradling the little one.

Mom and kittens
Piper was reunited with her mom and littermates after the rescue. Credit: Catsnip

It was worth it for the volunteers, who named the kitten Piper in honor of her adventure, gave her fluids and formula from a dropper, then reunited her with her mom. Read about the whole encounter at The Dodo. (And serious props to Ashley! Just thinking about what she had to do makes me shudder. Cats may love tight spaces, but most humans do not.)

Hey! That’s Buddy’s MO!

As gamers who generally prefer more depth, the Buddies never got on the Fortnite bandwagon, so we weren’t aware that Fortnite has a character named Meowscles until encountering this article from Cracked.

Fortnite's Meowscles
Meowscles has a Buddesian physique. Credit: Epic Games

As you can see, Meowscles was clearly inspired by Bud, who is known for his incredibly ripped physique and totally isn’t a bit chubby. (“That’s all muscle, not fat!” Buddy insists.)

Fortnite is a battle royale-style game in which up to 100 players compete against each other in live matches. The game is free-to-play, with developer Epic Games making its money by selling cosmetic items as microtransactions. Meowscles is one of about 1,400 different “outfits” players can purchase to customize their characters.

The game has been a monumental success for Epic, earning billions and leading the company to launch the Epic Games Store, the first serious competitor to Steam, which has been the dominant platform for PC gamers for years. Epic has been so flush with cash that’s it’s been giving away free games every week to lure customers away from Steam, even upping the freebies to a new game every day during the holidays.

Cat and Owner Costume Contest?!?

In Massachusetts, the Cat Fancier’s Association held its ninth annual cat and owner costume contest on Sunday. Unfortunately, the only story we can find about the event comes from the local public radio affiliate, so there’s not much in terms of photos.

If you were going to enter such a contest with your cat, what costumes would you and your fluffy overlord wear?

I’m thinking maybe I’d be a Targaryen with Bud as a baby dragon perched on my shoulder in honor of Game of Thrones/House of the Dragon. But that might offend little dude, who tends to think of himself as a hulking tiger. Perhaps the easier and more realistic “costume” would be Bud dressed as a king, snug in his own little carrier designed to look like a royal palanquin, with me carrying the palanquin as his dutiful servant. Thus, art imitates life.

Cat and Owner Costume Contest
“I put on my wizard hat and robe…” Credit: WBZ

‘My Grandfather’s Cat’ Finds Future Homes For Pets of Seniors And The Terminally Ill

Buddy has a dirty little secret: He’s a biter and scratcher.

The little guy has improved dramatically over the past few years and it’s something we actively work on, but he occasionally has his moments when he gets freaked out and indiscriminately lashes out, or gets frustrated and redirects his flood of emotion on the nearest person, which is almost always me.

I love the little dude anyway, I can anticipate his moments of overstimulation or freak-outs, and I know how to calm him down.

But I also know that, if anything were to happen to me and Buddy ended up in the shelter system, he probably wouldn’t make it out. He’s even more likely to lash out in a scary, unfamiliar situation, and cats who bite and scratch are usually deemed unadoptable and put on the express route to the needle.

That’s why I made my relatives promise that, if I get hit by a bus or something, one of them has to adopt Bud, give him a loving home, and treat him as an extension of me.

Not everyone has that luxury, especially the elderly and the terminally ill. That’s why Angela Rafuse, a 27-year-old from Novia Scotia, founded My Grandfather’s Cat.

Rafuse’s grandfather had recently lost his wife of almost 60 years and had his own health problems that demanded urgent attention, but he resisted going to the hospital because he didn’t want to leave his wife’s cat, Mackenzie, alone.

“That cat was all he had left of my grandmother, and he didn’t want Mackenize to end up in a shelter,” Rafuse told People.

Rafuse with Mackenzie. Credit: My Grandfather’s Cat

When her grandfather passed away in 2019, Rafuse adopted Mackenzie. When she posted a video of the quirky cat to TikTok, the resulting discussion in the comments led to the realization that lots of people have been in similar situations, with relatives whose illnesses were compounded by worry about what will happen to their beloved pets when they’re gone.

“We heard stories from people who had to put their grandparents’ pets into shelters after they passed because there wasn’t a family member to adopt them,” Rafuse told blogTO, a local news site focused on Toronto.

My Grandfather’s Cat works “to keep the animal with their human up until the very last day and provide the comfort of knowing a loving family will adopt their pet when the time comes,” according to the non-profit’s site.

Refuse and volunteers work with people who are terminally ill, seniors who are forced to move into housing situations that don’t allow pets and other situations, and helps them find loving homes for their pets. Knowing their cats and dogs will be taken care of after they’re gone grants peace of mind to people who are already dealing with major life changes or their own mortality.

The group relies entirely on donations and doesn’t charge clients or adopters. My Grandfather’s Cat offers its services to all Canadian regions, and Rafuse said she hopes to expand to the US.

“It is the most rewarding thing in the entire world to be doing this,” she said, “and I know my grandfather would be proud.”

Free Clinic Honors Veterinary Nurse Who Died Trying To Help A Cat

Kaitlyn O’Hara was just doing what she always did on the night of Feb. 3, trying to help a cat who was injured and all alone after a snowstorm had pummeled the northeast with heavy snows.

O’Hara had stopped her car on the shoulder of a state route in Cherry Hill, NJ, and was trying to coax the cat to come out of hiding when she was hit by another car and killed. The driver, a 24-year-old man, hasn’t been charged in the collision and there’s no indication he was impaired.

O’Hara, who was known as a “cat whisperer” for her calming influence on cats — as well as her years of work fostering shelter cats and raising orphaned bottle babies — was just 27 years old. Her family and friends, who describe her as a woman with a bubbly, outgoing personality and a relentless dedication to animals, spent her life helping cats — and that’s how they want her to be remembered.

“She took on so many animals over the years that no one else would — bottle babies, old grumpy kitties like Eloise whom she adored (and the feeling was mutual), kittens with broken legs, the defeated and sickly — but her favorite and possibly best work was with the shy, timid and feral,” a staffer with New Jersey’s Randall’s Rescue wrote. “She adored the feral babies from our orchard project and was truly our kitty whisperer.”

Randall's Rescue: Kaitlyn O'Hara
O’Hara with one of the many cats she’s helped over the years.

Now two local animal welfare organizations want to honor her memory:

On May 23, Randall’s Rescue of Mount Laurel, an animal rescue organization where O’Hara was a longtime volunteer, and HousePaws, a veterinary service in New Jersey and Bucks County where O’Hara had worked, are cohosting a free clinic for area rescues to bring in feral felines for spay/neuter services. They’ll also be administering feline AIDS and leukemia tests and looking for foster homes where some animals can be socialized for adoption. The organizers would like the event — which they have christened Kaitlyn’s Mitten Mission, a play on O’Hara’s nickname for cats and kittens — to become an annual occurrence.

If you want to know more or donate to the cause, visit Randall’s Rescue on Facebook or make a donation directly to the rescue here.