Callie’s Cat House
Will you partner with Callie to provide care for her new Oklahoma feline friends?
#GivingTuesday, #GivingTuesday2023, #GivingTwosday #GivingTwosday2023
Zero to 60 in x seconds is common car lingo, but this may apply to cats too!
Once one feline finds a friendly human, many more may soon appear! Maybe they have the cat version of radar – catdar. Or maybe it’s as simple as they smell food, pick up the scent of other cats and, of course, see that kitty looking out the window, a sign that they’re at a “cat friendly” home.
However they figure it out, you’ve been IDd as “CAT FRIENDLY.” This happened with our original cat family that grew to four when we lived in Los Angeles. And it happened in Oklahoma where we moved after our time in L.A.
What began as an effort to offer food and shelter during a cold winter for a few Oklahoma City cats turned into a Cat-A-Rama. While the number fluctuates (and isn’t 60, thank goodness!), it can top ten to 15. This excludes our four L.A. cats who relocated with us when we returned to Oklahoma. Among the four is Callie, a calico, for whom we're naming this project.
Between vaccines and other health care issues that arise – in addition to replacing cat collars & tags that come off and the daily needs of feeding and watering – more than ten cats does require financial wherewithal.
A friend and colleague suggested a fundraiser. After considering, it seemed like it might be a really great idea – cat aficionados and those who’d love to have a cat, but can’t (landlord rules, allergies, etc.), could enjoy our cats vicariously!
A large expense in 2023 is with The Count a/k/a Count Catula. In late 2020 with approaching winter, The Count, a feral cat who had lived two years outside, ran into the house when the door was opened and didn’t go back outside for more than a year! Apparently, he felt he’d found “safe harbor” and did not want to spend another winter outside, or maybe he knew he wasn’t well and was looking for help.
Count has a few places he hangs out, including under a coffee table and under a chair. You may be detecting a theme. While he’s happy to be inside, he did not seek out the human touch until recent months. Thus, it has been difficult to plan a vet visit. He has shown signs of poor health, and getting to the vet became a priority. Once we got him to the vet this year, the diagnosis from our primary vet was stomatitis, the same as Alfie’s (see his story below).
A solution is to remove all or some teeth, which may sound drastic, but it worked for Alfie, who is now a thriving, happy kitty at proper weight. In addition to being an expensive procedure, it also means a four-hour round trip to a specialist in Tulsa, Oklahoma (we’re in Oklahoma City). That's not easy for cats who generally don't like to travel. Also, recovery may be long. That said, we’ll go with the diagnosis of the dental vet specialist.
So let’s introduce you to a few of the Oklahoma Cat Colony:
Popsicle is a ginger and white troublemaker who has been known to take a powder for 4 or 5 days, returning hungry, tired and usually with battle wounds. So we try to keep him in, but he does escape from time to time.
Alfie is a ginger tiger stripe and probably the older brother of Popsicle. He was a healthy, happy growing feral cat who liked to be petted, but had two traumatic experiences. He came back from one misadventure with a rubber band on his testicles, which had become infected. Alfie was treated at the vet, who removed his infected testicles.
Later, he and Popsicle were both exposed somewhere to something toxic which made them both quite ill. After being treated by the vet, Popsicle recovered after three days. However, Alfie remained puny, was put on an IV and was released after a week, only to have to return for more days at the cat hospital. Alfie ultimately recovered; however, later that summer he once again began to look puny and appeared to be losing weight (he was still an outdoor cat).
The vet ultimately determined he had stomatitis. After much deliberation and trying alternative treatments, Alfie had all of his teeth removed as the solution to the disease. While it took about nine months of extended medical management, he recovered, gained weight and is a happy boy who has no problem eating, even sans teeth! Given he has no teeth, we try to keep him inside to the extent possible – he does like to check out the outdoor scene still, but stays close to home.
Ms. Z is a torbie cat and sister to Popsicle (same litter). She is an incredibly sweet and affectionate gal who prefers to be outside. After her walkabout (see below), she’s been here daily for regular meals and sleeps in a cat condo in the garage during cold months. She seems very thin this summer – maybe the extreme heat – but she needs to get in to the vet soon for regular shots, so we’ll see if anything else is going on with the Z girl.
Tigger is a gray Tabby and brother to Sandy and B. Idol. When Tigger was young, he stayed at The OK Residence but then disappeared for several months. Then he reappeared and would be seen trotting down the street to grab a meal at The OK Residence. In recent months, he has become a regular living in some of the winter cat houses and dining once or twice a day. He is still fairly feral, but appears to be healthy.
, as his name might indicate, is a white cat. He has dined at The OK Residence over several years, with it originally believed that he was someone else’s cat. However, the last couple of years he has been seen sleeping in hay in The Residence garage during the winter. is feral, but enjoys being petted. has a habit of getting in trouble (maybe protecting his “territory”) and is too often with wounds. Recently, he was given antibiotics to assist in recovering from a really bad wound, and he healed, although he’s lost weight. He recently had another wound in the same area, so antibiotics may be required again.
Noir, as with , gets his name from his coloring. He is a feral black cat with a small white dot on his chest. Noir lived across the street from The OK Residence for a couple of years. Recently he began to eat at The OK Residence and hang out here. Approximately a year ago, Noir developed a significant limp. Recently, the limp has seemed to improve, but he still limps on occasion. As he’s not approachable, we haven’t been able to get him to the vet. (Trapping has it’s challenges, including trapping a non-target animal!)
The Count. You read some about him above. A little more about The Count ... He was in the same litter with Popsicle and arrived at the age of probably six weeks when his mother dropped him and all of his siblings off at her favorite feeding location. Then Ms. Z and Count went on a walkabout for about six months. They both returned, and he was an “outdoor cat” for two years. A cautious cat, as noted above, Count made a dash inside the house, and stayed! In 2023, he had an occurrence of bad drooling and bleeding, which led to a vet visit and the stomatitis diagnosis (see Alfie above).
Fancy Guy, B. Idol, Bear and Sandy were all regulars, but stopped appearing. We hope they were adopted.
The Patriarch, another sweet guy who went to Cat Heaven in 2022, succumbing to a lung fungus. We speculate that he was the father of most of the Oklahoma cats we’ve cared for. He was feral and started eating here a few years ago. The last two weeks of his life he became an indoor cat where he had a safe area to wander. He was taken to the vet, but after several tests and x-rays it was determined he likely had a fungal infection in his lungs which was probably terminal. He continued to eat and found he loved having his head rubbed towards the end of his life. John ordered medicine to treat the infection, but Patriarch moved on to a higher plane before the medicine arrived.
Since returning to Oklahoma, Maria noticed that people here seem more likely to let their cats roam, unlike where we lived in L.A. She recently counted at least seven cats who stop by irregularly for a meal (this is at the second of the two locations we’re between right now). Again, the Catdar is strong! While figuring out who is who, it seems most of the cats are pets, but there are a few who appear homeless.
Support Needs for 10+ Cats (est.) for One Year
|Priority: The Count’s dental expense for teeth removal||$ 2,500|
|Medical expense (medicine, microchipping, annual shots, wound care, other) ||$ 1,500|
|Cat food, litter ||$ 3,250|
|Catnip, supplements, collars, ID tags (collars & tags often come off and are lost) ||$ 250|
Cat care is, of course, daily and ongoing! But we do have long-term hopes for the animals’ housing situation. The need for a permanent, large, enclosed space for the cats hits home every day – when we see one of the cats stopping in the middle of crossing the street to do a bit of grooming or for a lie down (as we shout, “Get out of the street, Ms. Z!) or when a cat ends up in jail! The latter happened in October 2021 when John got a call from the animal control office that Popsicle had been trapped and turned into the office (yes, he’s chipped). So Popsicle had to be sprung from “cat jail.” But first things first!
Right now we want to focus on keeping the animals well cared for, including getting The Count’s needed medical treatment!
We do not have nonprofit 501(c)3 status currently, so your gift will not be tax deductible. But the plan ultimately would be to establish an ongoing nonprofit, so that the cats will have a home when we’re gone.
Your support will make a tremendous difference in making this happen! Thank you in advance for any level of support! That includes sharing this fundraising request with family, friends and colleagues. We, including all the cats, appreciate it!