I’ve been a volunteer at KittyKind for over 5 years now. I started volunteering when I was laid off and I wanted something fun to do. I’ve loved cats for a long time, so it made sense for me to volunteer for KittyKind.
Like most of the other volunteers, I started as a cleaner, and I still think cleaning is the best job. You get to spend a lot of time with the cats whose cages you clean. I even like cleaning the cages of the nervous or more difficult cats. Currently, I’m a floating cleaner, photographer, database keeper, curator of the Meet Our Cats books, cat bio writer, and assistant adoption representative.
I’ve been in the animal rescue biz since I was a kid. My mother was avolunteer for the Staten Island Council for Animal Welfare and a vet tech, so we had a constant parade of foster animals through our home. I spent summers as a teenager volunteering as a cleaner for a woman who had over 100 cats.
I currently have four cats of my own: Black Frankie is the boss, and he’s from City Critters. Charley Holstein (fka Charlie), Ninja Stripes, and Walter Kitty (fka O.J.) are all from KittyKind.
When we first got Walter, his CH (cerebral hypoplasia) was very apparent as he would slide around our apartment wood floors, knock his head on walls, etc. But what was more apparent was the emotional scarring that Walter had/has from being born into and surviving on the streets as an alley cat, having been given-up twice by families once being taken off the streets, and spending a significant amount of time in a cage waiting to be adopted.
At first, he was very reluctant to be pet/approached/picked-up. Any psychical contact with him met us with aggressive responses. He wasn’t so much a cuddle-cuddle cat, but more of a scratchy-bite cat. As a result, we spent the first 6 months with him tending to large scratches all over us.
However, knowing his history, we started to work on his trust issues. Walt has an abundance of character. He is easily the most curious cat we’ve ever encountered. Everything we do in our ap
t, he’s right there watching us, butting his head into the action. To be a part of anything going on, he leaps up on chairs, beds, and even once into the shower (while Jesse was in it, which was a shock to both of them – haha). His CH never gets in the way of anything he wants to do, anywhere he wants to go, or anything he wants to see for himself — without thought to any disability he has, he just runs/leaps/crawls/slides over to find out whats going. Sometimes it means falling on his face, head-butting a wall, or misjudging a landing target just to have to attempt the landing all over again.
Over the 2 years he’s been with us, and reinforcing our love to him, he’s relaxed a lot. He’s still not a lap cat, but now he sleeps in bed with us, greets us at the door with talkativeness and stumbles when we come home, and lets us watch birds out the window next to him. He loves playing with his favorite toy – a feather on a string. Ignoring his CH, he attacks the feather with a reckless abandon. Then at night, when we go to bed, he finds his feather toy and carries it to bed with him, tripping on the string every other step. It’s adorable. How can you not fall in love with a cat who does that??
Walter’s CH is a condition he has, but neither he nor we notice it. He’s just a cat with some normal adoptive-pet issues. CH doesn’t get in his way — he’ll always be curious of everything going on, have a murderous lust for pigeons on the window sill, and some day, will hopefully sit on our laps. His character and personality will always dwarf his disability. Walter is a work in progress, but time has started to heal his emotional scars — he’s a very different cat from the day we got him and hopefully things only continue to get better.
Abby & Jesse
“About two years ago on a very cold February morning, a neighbor called me to say there was a huge cat in the back area of our building. I went out and found Axl standing there, looking very scared and cold. He was behind a restaurant that had just closed down, and they just left him there with the doors open after they moved out. Axl had lived in the basement of the restaurant for years. He was 27 pounds (he is “only” 17 pounds now) and was being fed leftover human food which made him really big. When I brought Axl to live with me he was so big that his belly touched the ground, but his tests and bloodwork were all perfect. He was so happy and affectionate that I totally fell in love with him, as did my girlfriend. But when I started to introduce my own cats to Axl, he became withdrawn. We hoped Axl’s inexplicable fear of other cats would get better with time, but it didn’t. With one exception: for a 6-month period when I rescued two litters (11 cats in all) of shy teen kittens. Axl became best friend, dad, and protector to these kittens (you can see how sweet they were together in some of the attached photos). The kittens would try to nurse on Axl and felt safe when near him. But over the months the kittens got adopted and by 8 months ago we were back to just Axl and my other cats. Axl was even more unhappy than before. At that point we realized he just couldn’t be comfortable with adult cats and he needed a new home. So we brought him to KittyKind. And through KittyKind he found the best home possible. To my utter amazement, he also found a way to comfortably co-exist with DOGS at his new home: he actually lays side-by-side with them, and from day one he didn’t even try to hide from them.The adopters are such nice people – true animal lovers. Axl has hit the kitty lottery. Thank you KittyKind.” ~ Rafael
Joey and Violet (formerly Tania) came to our home about one year apart. Joey was the first, a 17-pound, four-year old “Big Orange Mush.” He came to us through Kitty Kind when his owner passed away. Crazy about yarn and catnip, Joey is a loving and independent kitty. He has brought us so much joy. Next came Violet, a one-year old “Itty Bitty Kitty,” also known as “Little Blue Squish.” She came to us after she was found wandering around Chinatown and rescued by Kitty Kind. She is an incredibly sweet and cuddly little girl. Together the two are a rambunctious riot. They play together quite often (usually when we are trying to sleep). Both are doing very well. Oh, and they are Instagram celebrities, who you can see at #bigorangemush and #littlebluesquish. We are so incredibly thankful that Kitty Kind made our adoption possible.
April 15, 2015
It’s something you’ve probably got in your house already, so you don’t even have to buy it. And you were probably going to throw it out anyway.
It’s the newspaper.
Not only does shredded newspaper make a great cat litter, it’s the ultimate in recycling.
Benefits include no cat litter on the floor, the carpet, under your feet, between your toes and tracked under your sheets and no dust on the shelves in the bathroom or wherever you keep the liter box.
Assuming you buy one box of cat litter a week, using the newspaper can save you more than $600 a year. That would cover cleaning a lot of cat teeth and maybe your own teeth as well.
It’s really simple to make the switch.
For starters, put several layers of large pages of newspaper in the bottom of the litter box—to ask as liner. Then put a few handfuls of shredded paper on top. Then pour some of the litter your kitty is used to on top of the shredded paper. You can even sprinkle some baking soda on top for extra odor control. At the end of the day, just lift the ends of the paper at the bottom of the box and toss the whole thing out.
Every day you can put new newspaper in the litter box and use a bit less litter until your cat is used to just the shredded paper. That should take less than two weeks.
Shelters often use shredded paper in for cats that have had surgery so the litter doesn’t get into their stitches and cause infection or irritation.
Dr. Louise Murray, chief veterinarian for the ASPCA in New York City, confirms the practice: “Vets use litter like Yesterday’s News after surgery because there is a feeling it will stick less to incisions and perhaps be softer and less traumatic than clay,” she said.
But you don’t have to buy Yesterday’s News, which can cost almost $12 for a 15 pound bag. You’ve probably already got yesterday’s Times or Post or Daily News. Or your neighbor does and you can get theirs when they’re through reading it.
I have four cats ranging in ages from one to 16. They’ve all made the transition easily. Even cats I’ve fostered for various rescue groups accepted the shredded paper from day one.
In other words, you don’t have to have a kitten to make this work. Nobody ever said,“You can’t teach an old cat new tricks.”
A year ago my partner, Gordon, and I rescued a friendly cat from the streets. We spoiled him to death and even gave him an amazingly strange name, Thermilvden. But, our crazy play sessions just weren’t satisfying enough. I’m sure his playtime with humans was like us trying to hold an intellectual conversation with a toddler. Thermilvden wanted our attention 24/7 and accidentally took his play aggression out on us. He accidentally scratched us rather often. So, when he really wanted to befriend my parents’ cat over the holidays, we were sure he needed a feline friend of his own.
We had just read about the opening of the Meow Parlour on The Gothamist and saw this as a perfect opportunity to meet cats that liked other cats. We met a few rascals at the Parlour and some of KittyKind’s other adoptees at the Union Square Petco location, but all the talk about Julian’s antics (he was a rather renowned character) sounded compatible with Thermilvden. KittyKind’s trial policy gave us the peace of mind that we wouldn’t stuck with a cat if they hated each other.
We were fully prepared to introduce them slowly with separate rooms, but after holding the door open a crack we could tell they wanted to get to know each other right away. Julian and Thermilvden immediately began playing and ran up and down our 40 foot long hallway for several hours on end. It couldn’t be called anything but an instant bromance.
They nap together, clean each other, wrestle and pounce on each other. Thermilvden no longer swats our ankles for attention and all of his less than desirable quirks evened out immediately. Julian is a fantastic bedtime cuddler and loves to curl up with us when we watch movies.
Our happy little family feels complete now. Julian had brought peace, joy, and balance to our home. We even get to brag that he was written about in the NY Times article on the Meow Parlour! We didn’t know it at the time but that article came out the day before we chose to take Julian home.
I strongly urge anyone with just one cat to try getting a second cat. KittyKind made the adoption process smooth and thorough. You can tell they care about every single cat as if they were their own. Meow Parlour was a fantastic way to meet cats outside the cage. The cafe is a great solution for everyone’s needs. The cats are happier while they wait to be adopted and have the opportunity to become more acquainted with new situations. The public gets a chance to interact with the sweetest cats. Kitty Kind has another outlet for placing cats.
We wish we could have taken more kitties home!
Erika & Gordon