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 a volunteer 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.
Archive for May, 2015
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