Tag: shelter cats

Sunday Cats: Eurasian Lynx Captured On Long Island, ‘Loneliest Cat’ Has Been Returned To Shelter Twice

The saga of a “big cat” spotted on Long Island this week has come to an end with the animal’s capture.

Authorities believe the cat is a Eurasian Lynx and was a pet who escaped or was abandoned by his owner. The frightened feline was first spotted on Wednesday in Central Islip, Long Island, a suburb that stretches for 118 miles just south of New York City.

“Scared the daylights out of me,” Diane Huwer, a self-proclaimed cat lover who was the first to encounter the lynx, told the local ABC affiliate.

The area encompasses two counties and is one of the most densely populated places in the U.S. with more than 7.6 million people. It’s one of the worst places in the world for a wild cat to be abandoned, with heavy traffic, ubiquitous environmental noise and endless shopping plazas surrounded by labyrinthine residential neighborhoods.

It’s illegal to own wild animals in New York, and the cat’s “owner” likely would have kept it without a proper enclosure to avoid attention from authorities.

The lynx’s sightings made the headlines in the New York papers, as well as coverage by local TV news and online publications. It went viral on social media, with users trying to determine what kind of cat it was from the handful of blurry photos witnesses were able to snap. Some media coverage suggested it was a true big cat. (Here at PITB, we thought it was possibly a Savannah cat or an American lynx.)

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Authorities said the Eurasian Lynx was clearly socialized and wasn’t aggressive when they finally caught him. Credit: SPCA

Local authorities searched fruitlessly for three days and were about to give up early Saturday morning when someone spotted the wild cat in a residential neighborhood and called police.

The hungry feline was pawing through garbage cans next to a house in Central Islip. Authorities said the young lynx was friendly and socialized to humans.

“He was rubbing his face on the cage, looked like he was a friendly cat and from the tips we’ve gotten,” Frankie Floridia of Strong Island Animal Rescue said. “It seems these people have had him since he was a baby.”

Veterinarians have named the lynx Leonardo de Catbrio and said he’s about a year old. Despite his ordeal, the 40-pound cat was not malnourished or dehydrated, and the vets who gave him a check-up said he’s in good health. They’re waiting on lab results to confirm his species.

“Someone obviously had it as a pet,” the SPCA’s Roy Gross told Newsday. “These are wild animals, not the type of animals anyone should have. … They don’t belong in captivity this way.”

In the meantime, police, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the SPCA are looking for Leonardo’s “owner,” who faces misdemeanor charges and a fine of up to $1,000 if he or she is convicted. They’re sure to have questions about how the person acquired a wild cat, let alone a non-native species. It’s been illegal to “import” wild animals since the Wildlife Act of 1976, and the illegal wildlife market has been a scourge on law enforcement and conservationists alike.

“I know everybody wants something that’s exotic,” Gross said. “They want something cool. It’s not cool.”

Header image of Eurasian Lynx courtesy of Pexels

A lonely cat in the UK needs a forever home

Eleven is a silver tabby who’s been returned to the shelter twice by would-be adopters, and staff at the shelter are appealing to the public to find her a forever home with patient humans.

The four-year-old with bright green eyes has been with Battersea Cats and Dogs in south London since April. Her rescuers say she takes a while to adjust to new surroundings, and they believe that’s why Eleven was returned twice within days. If Eleven’s failed adopters had been more patient, shelter staff said, they would  have discovered she’s a loving lap cat once trust is established.

Eleven the Cat
Eleven the Cat takes a while to warm up to new people. Credit: Battersea Cats and Dogs

They hope to place her in an “understanding home” with people who “will give her the time and space to settle in, as she would be a wonderful addition to a home.”

“Eleven needs her own space when she’s settling in, so she can hiss and swipe if pushed into interactions that she is not ready for,” a shelter spokesman told the Mirror. “She expects respect, but once given she will reward you with plenty of love. She is a super clever cat, who enjoys learning and she will sit on command for a treat of course.”

UPDATE: Kaya The Kitten To Spend Another Week In Shelter’s Care Before Adoption

UPDATE, 12/1: To Rescue says Kaya the kitten is “healing nicely” after surgery on her eyes, but will remain with her foster family for another week before she’s cleared for adoption. Kaya was examined by a veterinarian on Nov. 30 and was given the all-clear. She’ll stay in foster care until she’s finished with her medication.

Original post:

Several readers asked for a follow-up about Kaya the kitten after our earlier post about her.

The shelter To Rescue turned to the internet for help after not a single potential adopter showed interest in Kaya, who has a congenital facial malformation but is otherwise healthy.

Kaya had successful surgery on her eyes on Nov. 16 and has been recovering in her foster home, where she continues to be her natural, playful self, shelter staff say.

She was scheduled for a follow-up vet visit today, Nov. 30. We’ll update as soon as we hear anything else.

If you’re interested in adopting sweet Kaya, you can visit the shelter’s site and fill out an adoption application.

Cat Alcatraz: Brazil’s Island of Abandoned Felines

In 2012, veterinarian Amélia Oliveira started a program to trap and neuter hundreds of cats who had been abandoned at Ilha Furtada, an island about 20 miles west of Rio de Janeiro.

Known as Ilha dos Gatos — island of the cats — the island was teeming with starving former pets and their feral offspring. Ilha Furtada has no natural source of drinking water, Oliveira said, and cats without hunting skills would quickly starve.

ilhafurtada3
Ilha Furtada became a curiosity for boaters and fishermen, and a sore spot for cat advocates trying to stop people from dumping animals there.

With the help of others, Oliveira began a program to end the misery on what’s been called “Cat Alcatraz”: The group managed to neuter more than 380 cats. Former pets were adopted out to new homes, but the ferals would need to remain on the island, so volunteers began feeding them and bringing fresh water on a regular schedule.

With the cooperation of local authorities, the group put up signage around the island and the coast warning that abandoning pets is illegal and asking people not to interfere with the island cats. There were plans for an official survey to quantify the feline population, an initiative to use cameras to dissuade people from dumping their pets on the island…

…and then came the Coronavirus pandemic.

Whatever gains Oliveira and company made over eight years have now been erased as Brazil — one of the countries hardest hit by the virus — has suffered more than 450,000 deaths officially (and likely much more uncounted) and an economy wrecked by waves of infection and lockdown.

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A “feline shantytown” on Ilha Furtada.

Many owners could no longer afford to feed themselves or their cats while others died, leaving their cats at the mercy of relatives and landlords. Once again, people began abandoning their pets on Ilha Furtada.

“If you don’t take them, they’re going out to Island of the Cats,” people would tell shelter operators, a veterinarian told the Washington Post’s Terrence McKoy.

While the feline population of Furtada Island increased, resources dwindled as lockdowns prevented volunteers from delivering food and water as often as they had in the past.

Now the island has “the appearance of a feline shantytown,” dotted with dilapidated and hastily-constructed shelters for its resident felines.

I recommend reading the entire story, one of just a few highlighting the toll the pandemic has taken on pets.

Brazil Cat Island
Volunteers from Animal Heart Protectors fill a dispenser with food for cats on Furtada Island, popularly known as “Island of the Cats,” in Mangaratiba, Brazil, Credit: AP/Silvia Izquierdo)

California Shelter Is Out Of Cats: Adoptions At Record Highs

A shelter in Orange County, California, reached a milestone on Monday after it adopted out the very last of its cats.

“It’s really weird. We have five rooms for cats to roam free, and they’re all empty,” WAGS Pet Adoption’s Cortney Dorney told the Orange County Register. “Normally, we hang out with the cats while we eat our lunch, and now there’s none to hang out with.”

A brown and white tabby named Sphinx was the last kitty to go, scoring a home with a 27-year-old IT specialist who works from home. When he found out all the others were gone, adopter Jairo Granado said he was “glad to be the one who ended up with” Sphinx.

Staffers say they know the reprieve will be short-lived as there are always cats who need homes, but what they’ve seen reflects a much larger trend across the US and UK since the pandemic began forcing people to shelter in place and practice social distancing.

Shelters are setting new adoption records, and in some areas the “supply” of adoptable cats and dogs currently exceeds demand.

“It’s a great time to have a buddy in the house,” Dorney said.

And it’s a great time for buddies to find homes.

Unfortunately, the unprecedented surge in adoption is also a major factor in the pet food shortages currently impacting both countries now. A lack of materials to manufacture cat food packaging, especially tins, is making it more difficult for brands to meet demand for wet food, and disruptions to links in the supply chain — like COVID outbreaks in meat packing plants — are exacerbating the problem.

Companies like Royal Canin, FreshPet and Purina have either apologized or have tried to ease concerns by saying they believe the shortage will ease in May.

Stories about the shortages have me glad I started rotating as many different kinds of food as possible when Buddy was a kitten, so he’d never get picky enough to pass up food as long as it’s decent quality. Some people and their cats haven’t been so lucky.

One story details the frustrations of a Massachusetts man, 49-year-old David Saltz, whose cat Tiger will only eat one type of food from one brand: Fancy Feast Classic Tender Beef Paté.

“I tried literally every other variety of soft canned cat food in the store — including a few cans of some way overpriced, niche, microbrew, small-batch, all-natural, wild-animal-approved, non-GMO, grass-fed (did I mention ridiculously overpriced?) canned food,” Saltz told AARP. “Almost all were turned down. Only occasionally would she eat a bit of a particular flavor, and I would go buy more of that kind, but she was having none of it.”

Bud’s always got a rotation, and it usually looks something like this: Turkey, chicken, salmon, turkey, tuna, beef, turkey, seafood entree, chicken and liver, turkey, and so on. The Buddy-approved ratio is turkey every third meal. And it’s not just about making sure he eats his food: He seems to really enjoy his meals thanks to the variety and good quality (but not outrageously expensive) cat food.

Bomb Squad Opens ‘Suspicious Package,’ Finds Kittens Inside

Authorities dispatched a bomb squad after they received a call about a suspicious package left outside an Ohio church on Wednesday, but instead of a ticking counter the explosives experts heard another rhythmic sound — a female cat purring to keep her babies calm.

After confirming via x-ray that the bag contained cats and not a catastrophe, deputies from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office contacted Animal Friends Humane Society and put the mom and her kittens in the care of the shelter staff.

Kittens found abandoned in bag
Six day-old kittens were found inside the bag along with their mother, whose constant purring kept her babies calm. Credit: Animal Friends Humane Society

A note provided some information, but didn’t say why the writer abandoned the cat and kittens.

“The note inside the bag said the mom’s name was Sprinkles, and she began giving birth at 2:00 pm on Wednesday,” Animal Friends Humane Society staff wrote on Facebook. “Sprinkles and her newborns were immediately brought to Animal Friends for care late Thursday afternoon. They were all soaked in mom’s urine and needed gentle baths when they arrived. Sprinkles, purring throughout it all, received her vaccines and blood test and appears to be in good health. She’s doing a fantastic job nursing and caring for her babies.”

Sprinkles and her little ones were transferred to a foster home, where they’ll remain while the kittens grow.

“Last year, we provided care to over 1,300 at-risk kittens,” shelter staff wrote in their post. “This was only possible thanks to support from our community.

“Volunteer foster families take on the burden of caring for orphaned kittens in their home until they’re ready to be adopted. Many of them getting up every 2 hours in the middle of the night for feedings. All needed supplies and medical costs are offered for free to these foster families, and this is thanks to our generous donors who give monetary donations or donate supplies from our wish lists.”

Animal Friends: Mom and Kittens Found Inside Bag
Volunteers remove Sprinkles the cat and her kittens from the bag in which they were found on Feb. 17. Credit: Animal Friends Humane Society

If you’d like to help the busy shelter and cats like Sprinkles, you can donate directly to Animal Friends here or purchase supplies for the non-profit via its Chewy wish list. The shelter needs cat food, litter, wipes, collars and treats, among other essentials for the animals they care for.