Blog

Animal Advocacy
  • Helping the Helpless

    I saw a local news story the other day about someone who threw two kittens out of a moving truck. One of the kittens survived, but the other was killed before they could be rescued. There's a thousand dollar reward for information on the person who did it.

    Ugh, right?

    It's easy to ramble on for a while, raging about what kind of person could do something like this. The obvious, succinct answer is that it's someone who has no empathy for animals.

    But it made me look down at my goobers, wrestling each other while their poofy tails flop back and forth. If someone with less empathy had found them, they wouldn't be here today. Same goes for Aery (and every other unwanted kitten, really) - the lady was giving away the kittens in a last ditch attempt before taking them to the shelter. Of course, who knows if they would have actually made it to the shelter. (Or if they would have made it out. High kill shelters are not friendly places for tiny kittens.)

    If, by some means, you come into possession of an animal that you don't want and cannot take care of, please, find a nearby shelter or rescue. If you can go the extra mile to take them to a "no kill" shelter, so much the better. Many places have intake hours - if you are outside of those hours, hang onto the animal overnight if you can. If you absolutely cannot, do you have any neighbors, friends, family, who can take the animal overnight for you? Don't just dump an animal in a box on a shelter's doorstep. They could get free and get lost, could freeze to death, or end up prey. You could also look up nearby vets or emergency vets and ask if they will take the animal overnight. Even if they officially can't, it wouldn't surprise me if one of their employees would be willing to do so. Yes, I'm asking you to make a small sacrifice to make sure the animal gets to safety, but in the scheme of things, it's one day over the course of an animal's life - and yours. Not only is it the kind thing to do, it's the right thing. They're living, breathing, feeling creatures, and whatever "The Incredible Journey" might have taught us, most young animals can't find safety on their own. 

  • Where the adoptable pets go

    Where the adoptable pets go

    My latest volunteer stint is a morning shift over at the pet store. They're nice enough to house a couple cats for us in hopes of being visible and getting them adopted. So once a week I head over there and take my turn cleaning up after them and loving them up. 

    It's nice and quiet, for the most part, and I love it. 

    This week I have Scamper and Sissy, two very affectionate, chill cats. 

    Every week I tell the kitties that I hope I don't see them the following week, because it'll mean that they have homes. But if they're still here, I'll be back, and happy to see them.

  • Advocating for Change

    Advocating for Change

    There's a calico cat, surrendered to a shelter because the owners can't take care of her anymore. It's summer, which means most shelters are filled to capacity. Adoptions can't come fast enough, rescues can't pull animals fast enough, and so every day, animals are euthanized. This calico cat is one of them. Her papers say that she is sweet, well-behaved, and shy. She did nothing wrong. At 5-10 years old, she could easily have spent another 10 years in another loving home. But there was no room, and she ran out of time.

    I wish I could say that I was making this up, but I watched all this unfold on on of the rescue groups I follow on facebook. Someone wanted to pull the calico, but they were minutes too late. 

    While I'm extremely grateful that our local humane society is no-kill, this is the reality of many, many shelters out there - when they run out of room, animals have to go. Otherwise healthy, happy animals will be killed. It's not an exaggeration, it's simply what happens, and it's heartbreaking. 

    It has to change. 

    I'm not saying that we should pull all the at risk animals from shelters and overcrowd our houses. It's better to take good care of the amount of animals you can care for than to take poor care of too many animals. Also, the problem is much larger. There are behavioral and cultural changes that need to happen, over time, to make a lasting impact. 

    For starters, make sure your own pets are spayed and neutered. Litters of puppies and kittens are cute, but to be honest, this is only exacerbating the problem. Go into any shelter this time of year and find out how many kittens they have. The average cat has litters of 4-6 kittens and can have 3 litters a year. That's potentially 18 kittens that need a home, from just one cat. Imagine how fast the problem grows when those kittens have kittens, and so on. 

    If there are feral cats in your area, you don't need to have them taken to the shelter, where they will likely be euthanized because they are not adoptable. Many places have TNR (Trap, neuter, return) programs that will take care of the reproduction problem. Feral cats are great for controlling pests, and kept in check, are actually beneficial for the environment. If you live in an area without one of these programs, consider going the extra mile and talking to vets and shelters about starting one. 

    If you have an animal that absolutely needs to be rehomed, please don't take the animal to a shelter that euthanizes for space. Surely that animal, your companion for whatever length of time, deserves better. Don't gamble with your pet's life just because you can't care for him/her. If there's a no-kill shelter in your area, start there. For dogs, there are often breed specific rescues that may be able to take your dog in. Rescues are often great alternatives to shelters because the pet will be fostered in a home, which is far less stressful. Some shelters will ask for or require a donation or fee to help cover the cost of caring for your pet while they find your pet a permanent home. This is a small price to pay, considering. 

    Stray cats in particular may not need to be taken to a shelter. The average lost cat wanders a much smaller area from home than a dog, and is better about finding it's way home. A cat taken to a shelter has a very small likelihood of being reunited with their family. The odds are actually much greater that the cat will find it's way home. If necessary, consider putting out food and water for the cat while you try to locate the owner. It's still a better alternative than dropping the animal off at a high kill shelter.

    If the only shelter in your area is a high kill shelter, not all hope is lost. More shelters are turning towards the no kill model, but it takes time. On the whole, shelters will need more space and money to be able to care for the pets, and they'll need community cooperation. That's right - shelters can't do it alone. It takes a village to save and care for animals. If the cause matters to you, see how you can get involved, whether through donating time, resources, or money. Any little bit helps.

    I admit that this is a cause close to my heart. If our local humane society had still been euthanizing for space as it had a few years earlier, my Gwen never would have stood a chance. Now, their save rate is currently at 97% for the year, which is phenomenal. 

    We can do better by our animals, but it takes effort. It takes people willing to step up and work for change. But it's not impossible. Animals who are healthy need not die because their owners can't care for them. We can do better. We must do better.

  • Carla and Fred

    Carla and Fred

    Above is Carla. I feel like I describe every cat as affectionate, and I'm not sure whether every cat is affectionate, or I'm just a cat whisperer. I like to pretend that other cats can smell my girls' happiness, and they're like, "oh hey, this must be a good one." Carla really wanted to curl up in my lap, and was loathe to relinquish custody of me. I was happy to hold her for nearly an hour before she decided to go eat. A few days after visiting with her, Carla was adopted. She's going to be a great cuddle buddy.

    This is Fred. If you look up at the top picture, you can see Fred curled up at my feet. He waited there, very patiently, for Carla to leave. Then he hopped up and asked for attention. He's a sweet guy, and a big cat. Like, I know that Gwen is on the tiny side, but he was closer in body composition to Mikenna! He's a sturdy guy. Very calm. I imagine him as a sage cat, sitting next to an older child as they do their homework. 

    As for me, I've started volunteering for field trips and birthday parties at the humane society. This isn't as weird as it sounds. It helps children learn about animals, how to approach and handle them correctly, how to care for them, stuff like that. Being around kids helps the animals learn to be handled, learn that people can be good, and helps make them more adoptable. It's good for everybody! I find that it's something I really enjoy so far, and I love having another way to help out. 

  • Full of Grace

    Full of Grace

    A few hours after we brought Gwen home, she stopped what she was doing, started turning her head to the side like she was possessed, and making this sad "NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH" noise. The first time it happened, I wondered if she had some sort of brain trauma we were unaware of. 

    I knew she had gunk in her ears, but part of me wondered if her mouth was bothering her. I used the free vet checkup coupon we had for adopting Gwen sooner than later to get her looked at. Sure enough, she had a double ear infection. But when the vet went to check her mouth, she went from a docile perfect patient to scrambling, clawing to get away. The vet and I agreed that something was probably up with her mouth.

    She continued to periodically stop what she was doing and make that awful "NYAH NYAH" noise, shaking her head along with it. Her ears were getting better, but her weird noises weren't. A day or two before her dental appointment, I saw rusty spit along her mouth. I wanted it to be kibble remnants. I tried to tell myself that it was just kibble spit. (After all, we have some pretty weird spit after eating things like oreos, right?) But in my gut, I knew it was blood, and I knew there was something up with her, just not the extent. I mean, even one really sore tooth could cause that, right?

    It's been just over a year now since Gwen had every single one of her teeth pulled. 

    I got to visit her the day she had it done, and they handed me a little Gwen burrito. She was loopy out of her gourd, laying there in her towel swaddle, staring at me sweetly. They told me that as much pain as she was in at the time, she was no worse off, and may even feel better, than the pain she had been living with before the surgery.

    Can you imagine that? The pain of having all of your teeth removed at once was better than before surgery? It took a lot of effort not to melt into a puddle of tears and cry all over my loopy cat.

    They told us that she was a remarkably sweet cat, because most cats in that amount of pain are incredibly mean and anti-social. 

    While I had my feeling that something was up with Gwen, I had no idea it was that bad. She had seemed so happy, curious, content! I never looked at her and thought, "ah, yes, this cat's mouth is horribly infected and she needs all of her teeth pulled." 

    Infected as her mouth was, I sometimes wonder how much longer she would have had to live, had we not come along. I'm no expert, I've no solid basis for guessing. But we know how this story ends. We know that Gwen healed up like a champ and went on to eat us out of house and home for several weeks after her surgery. We know that she became an even happier cat who loves to groom us and nibble our hands and play with everything. 

    This little cat has been through a lot. By all rights, she should be bitter and hate people. But she's not. I'm not exaggerating when I say that she is one of the happiest little cats I've ever seen. I see kittens run around with her energy and enthusiasm, but not cats her age. I couldn't be more proud of her, and if it's possible for a cat to inspire a person, she does. If Gwen can live in mind-breaking pain and still be a cheerful girl, what can I do? 

    And by the way, once her mouth healed, we never heard the "NYAH NYAH" and head shaking again. 

  • Laser Cats

    Laser Cats

    This little guy is Barney, an eight week old kitten who was brought to the humane society because his family was moving. How sad they must have been to give up this sweet little purrmonster!

    I told Barney that I would come back to snuggle with him in a couple days if he was still here - if not, that meant that he had a new family, and that was a win-win. He was adopted later that day.

    Lucky for him, adorable kittens don't have to sit long there.

    I walked out of one of the cat rooms and saw this. Someone looks worn out! Judging by the collar and harness, I think they must have just been out for a walk.

    I brought a laser pointer with me to the humane society that day. I didn't know what to expect, but I was pleased with the results. (And I think the cats were even happier!) For the most part, they took turns chasing the laser around the room, while the others waited their turn. When one cat would flop down on their side to take a break, another cat would jump in. It was surprisingly well-organized!

    There were many tired out cats after my visit that day. 

    While animals love to be loved, playing with them is also an awesome option! Many places will have some toys available, or you can certainly donate some yourself. Or bring a laser pointer. I think that's a treat that the cats don't get to see as often as they would like - plus, it helps them work off some of the extra treats they get from the other volunteers. :)

  • All Shapes and Sizes

    All Shapes and Sizes

    I know why you're here. Cat pictures. 

    Know what amazes me? How there are so many animals at the humane society, and there are no two exactly alike. Sure, you've got your categories - torbies, tabbies, orange cats, black cats, calicoes - but they're all so different.

    Even if you do find two cats that are similar looking, their personalities are so unique. One orange cat will be very standoffish, while another will try to jump in your arms as soon as he sees you.

    Ginger is one of the more standoffish cats. Every time I come to visit, she comes around a bit quicker, but she's not pushy, and she doesn't quite trust me yet. But that doesn't stop her from sitting nearby and accepting a little bit of attention.

    If you like cats at all, there is a cat out there for you. Probably several, in fact. 

    Tom is a chatty little guy. He might not come running, but if you show him some attention, he's your buddy. 

  • Segal

    Segal

    This is Segal. He's 6 years old, and was brought to the humane society as a stray at the end of October. I like to pretend that I love all the cats at the humane society equally, but I have to admit, this little guy has stolen my heart.

    He is a very friendly little guy. He lights up when I come in the room, and is happy to climb on my lap as soon as I sit down next to him. 

    Better yet, Segal is a cuddlebug. Sure, he'll get comfy on my lap, but if I lift him up to my chest, he nuzzles his head against my shoulder and purrs himself to sleep. 

    The first day that I met him, he was so happy to have company, that he put his paws around my face and proceeded to groom me. Not just one or two quick licks, a full on grooming. I'm used to being groomed, but I have to admit, the face was new. 

    He is such a sweetheart. I can't rave enough about him. If we had the room, I would bring him home in a heartbeat. I'm going to be very sad when he finally finds a home, but I know that this little guy is going to make someone very happy. He's the kind of cat that isn't just a pet, but a real companion. 

  • Gwen's Day

    Gwen's Day

    Today marks our first Gwen's Day, one year since Miss Gwen found her home. (Or, more accurately, was unceremoniously placed into a cage, put in a cold car with relative strangers, taken up some icy roads, and let out in a weird place with two highly curious animals.)

    We don't know Gwen's birthday, or her exact age. Based on the guesstimates from the humane society and vet, she's probably somewhere between 6-8. I tend to think she's on the lower end of the scale, because the humane society's guess (the higher one) was likely based at least partially on the appearance of her teeth. I've read stories where cats with severe stomatitis (the auto immune disorder Gwen has) can require full extractions as young as 18 months, so her teeth would have little indication of her true age. Last year, the vet said based on her bloodwork, she may be around 5. So I don't know. She has a lot of energy and is really into playing lately, so however old she is, she's pretty young at heart, and that's what counts.

    Speaking of playing - that seems to be Gwen's new "thing". Aeris is a huge snob when it comes to toys. Gwen loves to pounce and tackle things - hands, pillows, q-tips, actual cat toys. Unfortunately, all this playing is leading to a new round of tiffs between her and Aery. When Aery sees Gwen play, she interprets it as an invitation to play, and it's not. That seems to be the way of things between the feline sisters - every time Gwen opens up, Aeris hopes hopes hopes it means that they're now best friends forever, and it ends in scratches. Give it a week or two, and they'll be back to respecting each other's comfort zones, and all will be well in kitty world again.

    Gwen has not ceased to amaze me this last year. As soon as the wobbled out of her crate, she began exploring and was a thousand times more receptive to affection. The humane society told me that I could expect her to hide in my office for a couple weeks. She was out in the open in less than an hour. I was amazed, and right then I knew that we had done the right thing.

    I didn't know what we were bringing home when we adopted Gwen. She has exceeded my hopes for her by leaps and bounds. In my wildest dreams, she likes to cuddle with us, and I'm not sure if we'll ever get there. She tries the waters periodically, but generally prefers to sleep on her own, nearby. I had no idea that we would need to extract all of her teeth, and had I known that before adopting her, I don't know if I would have gone through with it. I'd like to think that I would have, but I feel like I'm spending too much if I buy a $30 purse - $1300 in cat teeth is kinda frightening.

    I wouldn't trade our little sass for anything, though. I know we were a perfectly happy family of four before her, but now I don't know how we didn't notice that Gwen sized hole.

    Happy Gwen's Day, little miss. Here's to hoping that we celebrate many more Gwen's Days with you.

    (Gwen in the crate there was the first time I saw her sit up and saw her eyes! She literally did nothing but lay in a curled up ball every time I visited her. In fact, I was a little bit paranoid that she couldn't really walk or something. She was very stoic through it all. Meowed just twice on the way home. I guess she figured it couldn't be any worse than where she was.)

  • More Adoptable (and adopted!) cats of the LHS

    More Adoptable (and adopted!) cats of the LHS

    I'll start with some good/bittersweet news. The two lovely ladies above have been adopted since my last visit! It's bittersweet because these cats are, to some degree, my feline friends. I hate to see them go, knowing that I won't get the chance to play with them again, or have them curl up on my lap for a nap - BUT, the whole purpose is to find them homes, and I'm so happy when they do! I know that seeing me for a few hours each week is a poor substitute for a real home. So yay for Clawson and Catrina!

    One thing I absolutely love about our local humane society is that they do not euthanize for space. They are a no kill shelter, and this is so important to me! (To be honest, I couldn't volunteer there if they weren't no kill. It would break my heart)

    What does no kill mean? It means that so long as the animal is healthy and able to be rehomed, they will give that animal a chance. It can be a bit of a mixed bag. There are some animals who will continually be overlooked for whatever reason, and it will take them a very long to find a home - if they ever do. But, if they weren't a no kill shelter, we wouldn't have our Gwen.

    If an animal is in a shelter for a very long time, they may need a little more of an adjustment period to fit back into a home, but that doesn't mean that they are unfit!

    It's a lot of fun to watch what living in a small space will do for making new friends. Some cats will find new play buddies or learn how to be social for the first time. Other cats will put up quite a fight, trying to maintain their space. Not all cats want to share space with other animals, and it's important ot take that into account when you're adopting. While it's great to get a cat out of a shelter and provide them with a home - you want them to be the happiest they can be, even if that means having them wait for another home. Now, if it's a choice between life and death, certainly, take them in until you can get them a permanent home! But if you have existing furry family members, watch the temperament of the animal you're looking at. Are they receptive to being played with? Does it depend on the cat that approaches them? Are they aloof, agreeable?

    While a cat's playfulness doesn't have to be a dealbreaker, it's a good thing to keep in mind. I think Aeris might have appreciated a friend with a bit more spunk and social skills than Gwen, but that doesn't mean that they don't get along. (Most of the time)

  • Friends with cats

    Friends with cats

    I recently started volunteering at our local humane society. There are plenty of things to do there, and in the future, I plan on helping out with events, but for now, I'm loving up cats.

    I mean, if you're good at something, why jinx it?

    There's something very important for you to know about volunteering with animals: It doesn't take them long to recognize you. If you go visit them with any regularity, animals will be very, very happy to see you. Now, a lot of animals will be happy to see you the first time, but when you're a known person? Hoo boy.

    Now, you can just walk in and start petting cats. That's fine. But if you really want to get on their good side, sit on the floor with them. Yes, I know, your clothes. Just resign yourself to changing when you get home.

    The cats will be thrilled to pieces if you sit down with them. People come in and out of the rooms all day, maybe stop for a quick pet. But when you sit down, they know you're something different. You will make friends. I really could have used about six more hands and several more laps for all the cats interested in my attention, but alas.

    Some cats will be very shy and standoffish at first. This little guy was interested in hanging around me, but kept just out of petting range. But when I got comfy on the floor, he decided that I was friend material after all.

    It may not seem like much, but the animals are so glad when you come to see them! They're in a strange environment, and most of them are probably a bit confused and scared after having their lives turned upside down. Offering them a friendly lap for a while makes their lives feel a little more normal.

    Also, if you're considering adopting, spend an hour or more with the animals. It'll give you a better sense of their personality and how they interact with others. It might still not be a true reflection of their personality, depending on how stressed out they are, but the more time you can spend with them, the better you'll know whether they'll be a good fit for you.

  • Your Leftovers

    Your Leftovers

    I remember when my husband (then boyfriend) told me that they had adopted their family dog from their local humane society.

    A thought ran through the back of my mind: oh, nobody wanted that dog? Must not be that great.

    Because once upon a time, I thought that the humane society (and other shelters) were where you got animals that nobody else wanted. They were the broken, used animals, that people couldn't stamp "return to sender" on.

    It's not that I wasn't an animal lover, because I always have been. But I had never been to a shelter, had never spent any time with animals there. I thought that the idea of shelters were great - but I just couldn't see myself adopting from one. I really, truly thought that adopting from a shelter would be a bad idea for me, because I couldn't see myself loving an animal as much if I hadn't raised it from puppy/kittenhood.

    Even as Matt and I talked about adding another cat to our family, I thought of it as a "mission of mercy", of sorts. I may not love this animal as much as my other two girls, but I was sure that I would feel affection for it, and be glad that I had given the animal a place to live.

    Obviously, my reservations turned out to be completely wrong. I'm not sure I could love Gwen more if I tried! She is just as loved as Mikenna and Aeris, and now that we have her, I can't imagine our little family without her.

    Now, most animals come to the shelter because of a change in life circumstances for their owners. They're moving somewhere that doesn't allow pets or that number of pets. They've decided that their children cannot get along with their animals, and it's in the animal's best interest to be rehomed. Or, the owner has died, and the family cannot or will not take care of the pet. Most animals aren't put in a shelter for behavioral or health issues, though some are.

    Still, the odds of finding an animal that would work for you are good! If not on the first visit, then eventually. In fact, I highly recommend taking your time and finding a pet whose size and temperament would work well for you. The last thing you want is to promise a pet a forever home and then take them back to the shelter.

    I have mentioned before - Gwen has an auto immune disorder that causes her body to attack it's own enamel. So shortly after we got her, we had to have all of her teeth pulled because her mouth was a mess. But the little miss had been in the shelter for two years, and had been a stray for some amount of time before that. (I believe she had a family at some point, but that's another story.) It's likely that nobody knew about her health problems before we did - she probably wasn't abandoned because of them.

    The odds of getting an animal with a health issue like Gwen's aren't very high. I believe that most shelters will have their animals looked at by a vet before adopting them out, so you should have some idea of what you're getting into. You should take the age of the animal into account - animals a few years old will probably be less likely to have a pre-existing problem than a senior. (However, this is not a guarantee, and a health issue does not mean that the animal will be a bad pet!)

    It's also likely that Gwen's mouth was not nearly as bad when she was brought into the shelter as when she left it. She was there for 26 months, which is really unusual for an animal. Shelters often have high intake and high turnaround - because she wasn't super obvious about her distress, she just slipped through the cracks. Even then, our shelter has a clause in their contract that allows you to return an animal if health issues are found that you can't care for. I believe that Gwen would have qualified, and we could have taken her back to the shelter. BUT, I don't think the shelter would have wanted (or necessarily been able) to pay $1200 to fix her mouth, and unless another big hearted adopter was found, she probably would have been euthanized.
    All that to say, Gwen is not your average shelter case! If you do choose to adopt from a shelter, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that you will be faced with huge vet bills shortly thereafter. But, if you are, and you choose to treat and keep the pet anyway, you may very well be rewarded with the happiest, goofiest and highly affectionate animal.

    I've heard that adopting from a shelter is a great experience because the animal is so incredibly grateful afterwards. I didn't believe it was possible, but lo and behold, it's true. Gwen is not anything like the cat who lived at the humane society. She is vibrant, social, and seems to love us very intensely. She is not affectionate in the same way as Aeris, but if push came to shove, I think Gwen would be the animal who sent anyone packing who tried to hurt me. For many months after we brought her home, Gwen seemed so surprised when we would remember to feed her wet food, give her a new toy, or pay special attention to her. She doesn't look as surprised now, but she still seems very happy. In this respect, Gwen seems like she's a more average shelter case - maybe more grateful because of the length of her stay. I don't know, since I don't have any others to compare her to.

    If you want to help animals in shelters, but don't have space in your own home, there are things you can do. Shelters always need help financially, and appreciate donations - whether it's in the form of food, toys, or even old blankets. If in doubt, contact your local facility and ask what they need. Shelters can also use volunteers. But if you can't do any of that, making some time to go and visit the animals is an incredible blessing.  They get lonely, and living in a shelter is very stressful on them. You can help them ward off depression and keep them looking "more adoptable" by visiting and lavishing attention on them.

  • How not to win a cat's affection

    How not to win a cat's affection

    I'm a regular visitor to the local humane society. I go because the new facility is pretty spiffy, which makes visiting easy, and because I love spending time with the animals there. Animals left in shelters are prone to depression, and the longer they're there, the more problems they can develop. I like to think that through visiting them, I'm helping them stay adoptable. It's proven that if the animals see people that they recognize, they're less likely to become or stay depressed.

    This pretty little girl is pretty new. She's curious, but skittish. I'm sure this is all very overwhelming for her.

    On a recent visit, I walked into the room as a few people were crowded around a bench. Hiding underneath, was this cat.

    "Pull that one out!" one girl exclaimed, "I want to see her." The cat shot to the other end of the bench, her eyes bulging in fear.

    The group was shocked and annoyed when this cat wasn't receptive to their attempts to grab her out from her comfort zone and be handled. They soon left.

    I went and sat down on the floor, visiting with some of the other cats in the room. I've found that the cats seem to really respond to people sitting down on their level. I suppose it's because we're less intimidating when we're not so big.

    This cat, C, watched me from across the room. She peeked around the plastic couch on one side, then skittered over to the other side and looked at me. I laughed and held out my hand for her. She hesitated for a moment, but then walked over and gave me a good snif.

    She sat there and watched me interact with a couple other cats, occasionally coming close and letting me pet her.

    As I prepared to leave, I walked over to the bench where C had been hiding. She hopped up on the seat, walked up to me, and put her paws on my shirt. She wanted to be picked up! I gently scooped her up, and she sat in my arms, purring, until I told her that I needed to go, and set her back down.

    Cats, like people, have their own personalities. Some of us warm up to anybody who crosses our path, and we'll go out of our way for attention. Some of us prefer to watch until we're comfortable. Some of us don't like crowds. This doesn't make us, or animals, better or worse. Just different.

    Oh, here. Here's another cat, for good measure.

    This sweet and energetic little girl knows me pretty well by now. This is the first time I've worn tennis shoes around her though, and she took that opportunity to attach herself. She's another cat who is pretty standoffish when she first sees you, but she climbs all over me now.