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Here’s looking at you kid…

Here’s looking at you kid…

When I first met Bogart up at Rescue Village, he was isolated from the other cats living in the hallway where the laundry was kept. The hallway was in between two of the cat rooms and so Bogart could watch the other cats – which was good and bad. Good because he had exposure to role models and fellow felines, and bad because he did not understand why he couldn’t be with them.

He would stick his paw through the barrier to reach out to a cat working to get their attention. And if you were in the cat room petting and playing with the cats, he would stand at the door and look up at you with the most imploring look as he let out a long and sad meow.

The other notable thing about Bogart was his red collar.

great kitty rescue cat bogart up at rescue village
Photo by Mark Lemming

“Why does he have on that red collar?”

“It’s to warn you that he can be aggressive.”

“Really, he has been very sweet with me.”

“Just wait. He will suddenly turn on you.”

And it was true, Bogart could suddenly get over stimulated and lash out. He never caught me, but there were a number of caregivers who do have some war wounds from this handsome boy.

As much as he could be aggressive, he also could be the sweetest loving cat soliciting pets and asking to sit in your lap. Whenever you entered his cat room in Cat World, he would be front and center to say hello and when you sat down he would climb onto your lap, nuzzling and rubbing. He loved attention and wanted all of it. That may have contributed to his becoming ornery – maybe he was jealous of the attention given to the other cats.

Bogey did mellow a lot as the years passed and as his posted bio said, “I have a bad reputation for biting people. It hurts my feelings because I really love being petted and snuggled. I will be the first cat in your lap! Just watch my tail for fast twitches and then slowly stand up so I can get off by myself. You may think I’m hardcore, but I just need the right person who will love me and my quirks.”

great kitty rescue cat bogart bio

Sadly, Bogart never got a home of his own. He has been battling several health issues over the past few years and he finally succumbed to bone marrow cancer. He was crossed on Monday, May 29th to join so many of his fellow Great Kitty rescue feline friends on the Rainbow Bridge.

A special thank you to Shelli and Mike Bzdewka for bringing Bogart into their loving home for his last days ♥

Here’s looking at you kid!

great kitty rescue cat bogart march 2016
Bogart March 16, 2016
Remembering Kramer

Remembering Kramer

After giving so much joy and love to so many people, our feline friend Kramer crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 9th.

Bob and I first met Kramer up at Rescue Village at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. For those of you who don’t know, Rescue Village consisted of four yurts and several RVs and was home to the cats of the Great Kitty rescue when they first arrived from Pahrump.

Kramer was always one of the more social cats – a mixture of innate personality and the fact that he had come from Sherri Allen’s home and not the compound that was F.L.O.C.K. Still, he did need to fine tune his social skills so he was enrolled in Miss Sherry’s Finishing School for Felines where he tended to get into trouble with his mischievous ways. But he was so lovable and all we could do was laugh.

Kramer was included in a mobile adoption event here in San Diego at South Bark in May 2008. He quickly captured the attention of a young man and his girlfriend and after a quick home check by Bob, Kramer was adopted. But it was not meant to be – Bob and I were back up at Rescue Village when the call came in that the young man’s roommate (who owned the condo they were living in) wanted Kramer gone. Bob and I knew something was up when a small band of staff approached the open door of the Wildwood where we were staying.

“So, Kramer’s adopter called. He can’t keep Kramer.”

“What?” Bob asked in disbelief.

“Oh no!” I cried.

After a little hemming and hawing they came down to it – “Would you be willing to take Kramer in and find him another home in San Diego?”

On the spot, loving the boy and caring about his welfare, we agreed to foster him. The day after we arrived home, the adopter dropped Kramer off with us. Amid tears – both the young man and his girlfriend – they handed Kramer and all of the belongings they had bought for him over.

Kramer was with us a very short time before our friends told us they were looking for a companion cat for their resident feline. We brought Kramer over to their home and the meet and greet went well and they agreed to give it a try. Everything was going fine until our friend’s mother and her small dog moved in with them. Kramer thought the dog was a brand new toy and chased him relentlessly – much to the mother’s dismay. Unbeknownst to us, they let another friend take Kramer. Her cat had just passed and Kramer looked so much like him that she was smitten. In the end, Kramer did not act like her cat and she gave him back. That is how he ended up with Bob and once again.

In his travels, Kramer had learned to play fetch and he would play it for hours if you let him. He had a cat wand that he loved and no matter where you threw it or how far, he would run and bring it back to you to have you toss it again. He would dive over couches, roll under chairs, rush down the hallway – he would do whatever it took to get that wand. We would have to impose a timeout when his breathing got labored, an act that he barely tolerated.

During this time, Kramer’s final adopter was struggling with fellow Great Kitty Rescue cat Hugo. Huge was being stubborn and was not coming around to living in her home as smoothly as we knew he could. She called and asked, “By any chance do you have a role model cat that I could borrow to help Hugo?”

She had been working with Hugo to help him gain confidence and trust, but felt that a positive feline role model would do wonders in getting Hugo to the next level. We will always believe that this was a fortuitous event, a step in the path that was meant to be for Kramer.

We took Kramer over and re-introduced him to Hugo – they had been close roommates up at Rescue Village. With his usual aplomb, Kramer made himself at home and did help Hugo blossom into a loving and confident cat. Bob and I took care of the two of them in our home when mom went on vacation and it was delightful to spend time with them and to see how happy they were.

great kitty rescue cats hugo and kramer are best friends
Hugo and Kramer

Unfortunately, sad days were around the corner. Hugo developed an abnormal type of FIP and was crossed. Bob and I were there with his adoptive mom that day. Hugo was so peaceful and loving and welcoming the pets we had struggled so hard to get him to accept – it was one of the hardest goodbyes we had to say.

great kitty rescue cat kramer missing fellow pahrump cat hugo
Kramer missing Hugo

Kramer’s mom went on her first trip to Best Friends and up at Rescue Village, she met Thorne. She and her friend took Thorne on a sleepover and the next day she decided to adopt him. Kramer welcomed his old buddy and they became close friends, sleeping together, playing together and working to keep the other felines in the family in line 😉

Each cat from the GKR has a place in my heart, but it would be a lie if I said that my experiences with some of them make them just a bit more special to me. Kramer was one of those cats and I will forever cherish the special memories I have of him.

And now he is frolicking up there on the Rainbow Bridge with too many of his old friends…

Houdini’s Feline Friend Pablo

Houdini’s Feline Friend Pablo

When I first met the handsome Tuxedo cat Pablo up at Rescue Village in February 2008, he was totally unapproachable. He was scared and angry and would lash out if you came near. There was a group of FIV positive cats – the tough boys we called them – that hung close together. Strong in their united front, they protected the very sweet and social Snow who sat calmly in the middle of the group. His one blue eye looking at us sweetly as the others hissed or growled.

I felt badly for these cats, thinking that perhaps there was something we could do to help them trust us more so that they could relax and be happier.

When I got home, I read some blog posts about Pablo in the Nye County section on the old BF website:

PABLO — Poor, poor Pablo. He was in love with another kitty named Naomi. They would cuddle and play and groom each other. Then, Naomi got sick and it turned out it was heart failure and she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Pablo was VERY VERY depressed. But, then he met Houdini and now they are buddies and they cuddle and groom and play together. Pablo is a sweet soul. He is unassuming and gentle. He is shy, but very nice and sweet. He is FIV+, but because he is so gentle with other cats he poses no risk of transmission and would fit in fine with FIV- cats.

HOUDINI — Houdini is a sweet, shy boy. He is best friends with Pablo and they spend most of the day snuggling. They would LOVE a family that would adopt both of them and understand their shyness. A home with other cats would be ideal so that they would have “behavior models” to demonstrate outgoing kitty behavior. Houdini enjoys petting and cuddling and he is wondering if the right family is out there for him (and Pablo?) He is FIV+ but has next to no chance of spreading it to FIV- cats and could co-exist in any household.

The Pablo I had met certainly didn’t fit the original description of him posted by this volunteer!

When I met Pablo, a number of the FIV+ cats were in cages so that they could be treated for various health issues. Houdini’s cage was on top of Fez’s cage so Pablo couldn’t see him or be near him.

After reading those blog posts, I suspected that being separated from yet another friend made Pablo sad and angry. I e-mailed Terri asking her to consider moving Houdini’s cage to the bottom so that Pablo and he could be near each other. She agreed as we both felt that being near each other would benefit them both. The next month when we went up there, I found Pablo sitting contentedly beside Houdini’s cage.

As the cats gained good health, they were released from the cages and we made progress gaining their trust. Most of them would take baby food from our finger and some would allow pets – Pacific, Winston, Pepsi, Pink, Orbit, Ralph-Rueben and of course Snow. Pablo didn’t seem to be food motivated and wouldn’t take any baby food, but he didn’t run from us either. He would sit calmly next to the other cats and watch as they ate the baby food and accepted pets.

By August, Pablo was enjoying baby food and accepting pets and I got to see and experience the true Pablo – a very gentle loving cat.

As many of our readers know, Rescue Village was slated for closure by the end of that September and they began to move cats down to Cat World.

From what another volunteer told me, the move was hard on Pablo and he hid in the rafters and would not interact with anyone. I am not sure if he and Houdini were in the same room. After just three weeks, Pablo was crossed due to FIP.

It broke my heart when I heard the news and I wept for this handsome, quiet boy whose last weeks on this earth were less than ideal. I hated to envision him, so confused and alone up in the rafters.

But he joined his friend Naomi on the Rainbow Bridge and I am sure he was there to great his BFF Houdini and now they know no more pain or fear and the love we send to them surrounds them like a warm blanket.

Sending you lots of love Pablo my feline friend!

In love with Houdini Harrison

In love with Houdini Harrison

I was in love with Houdini Harrison and he was on my list of cats that I wanted to bring home (you know the one).

Many of us have been there –we are in love with a cat, but we can’t take them home. In some cases it is because we live in too small of a space, in others we have the maximum number of cats that we can handle, sometimes it is a matter of timing and circumstances.

For Bob and I, our feline family had inadvertently grown by two – Fluffy a temporary foster that turned into full time family member and Jessica an almost casualty of our local shelter who chose us with a vengeance. Both have been welcome additions to the clan, but made our family and living quarters maxed with six cats.

And now the chance to adopt him is gone. Houdini Harrison crossed to the Rainbow Bridge on Thursday, August 25, 2016 – also my father’s birthday and I like to think of him meeting Houdini there and reminding him how much we love him.

As with many of the GKR cats, Houdini’s body succumbed to renal failure. Just days before he was crossed, cat caregiver, Barbara Sanderson told me that, “Houdini is in late stage renal failure. The bittersweet thing is, he now meows for treats and comes down. I and some others can fluid him. He is skinny as a rail, but purrs and even lets me pick him up. He gives head butts. He still has his shy moments and keeps with his shy friends. Most of them are also onto the treat thing. He still has quality of life, but does seem to be getting tired. He is eating well, when his friends don’t move in on his food. Still, he is very skinny and we have to keep a close eye on him.”

Between ring worm outbreaks and the one building a day rule, we have not been able to spend as much time visiting Houdini as we used to. That made me very sad and I hope that in his heart he knew that we missed seeing him so very much and that we never stopped loving him and thinking about him.

In addition to feeling so sad that we never got to live day to day with Houdini in a home, I feel guilty that somehow I failed him by not giving him the opportunity to live out the last part of his life in a loving home. I know I cannot second guess our decisions – they were made with good sound thinking, but tell that to my heart…

And I guess that is a large part as to why it has taken me so long to write about my love for Houdini. That and the fact that I cannot do it without becoming a weeping mess. But I will chalk up my tears to tears of sadness at his crossing mingled with tears of joy that I got to know and love this gentle soul.

Miami Love and Loss

Miami Love and Loss

great kitty rescue cat miami regal and magical
Miami Mistical

I first met Miami back in February 2008 in a yurt up at Rescue Village – his yurt was called the Kit Kat Club. I was immediately taken by his gorgeous long haired tuxedo coat and regal stature. Cautious and shy, it took some time for him to accept the baby food we offered each of the cats in an effort to give them positive reinforcement, to show them that we could be trusted and to let them enjoy a treat. Miami remained more guarded than some of the cats, but did enjoy the proffered baby food and treats and we built an easy if somewhat guarded friendship.

When the Rescue Village cats were moved down to Cat World, Miami took up residence in Benton’s Room in Benton’s building. Miami found the rafters and withdrew from humans for a while, but he always had a feline friend to give him companionship and comfort.

As the months and years passed he offered glimpses of the once trusting boy he had been in the smaller and somewhat more relaxed atmosphere of Rescue Village. Each time Bob and I would visit, we would enter Benton’s Room and go out onto the patio and call his name. He would consider us with serious eyes, but more often than not he would come down from the rafters and join in the Party Mix and baby food party.

As time passed, Miami’s health deteriorated and he was in acute kidney failure. With his fear of being touched by humans, it would have been extremely difficult to treat him and being handled would have been traumatic for him. When his caregivers came in and found him hanging his head over the water bowl and not moving, they knew it was time to say goodbye. Miami was crossed the week of July 13th and his placement took place on Tuesday, July 28th at 10:30 am.

It hurt terribly that I couldn’t be there to say goodbye or for his placement, but I lit a candle and said my good-byes long distance. Cathy Bosley placed stones for Bob and I and I will bring my own markers to pay tribute to him the next time we are in Kanab.

Visiting Benton’s will not be the same without Miami and I will miss spending time with him. We all have that list of cats in our minds and hearts that we wish we could bring home. For me, Miami was on that list and it saddens me deeply to mark his name off of it…