By: Dr. Dietsch | November 13, 2019
Ollie, an 11-year old blonde tabby cat, came to the APA with his brother, Henry, whose health was rapidly declining due to feline leukemia. Heartbreakingly, staff noticed that Ollie would wrap himself around Henry, as if holding onto hope that he could somehow protect and save his brother from the disease. After losing Henry, Ollie became very depressed and refused to eat, his hope fading away. Our dedicated staff would not give up on him, so instead cuddled him close and provided nourishment through syringe feedings until Ollie could once again eat on his own. After he emerged from his depression, his social personality impressed even the hard-core dog-lovers of the APA staff.
While all of our staff members came to know and love Ollie, there was one person, Jenn, who had an especially soft spot in her heart for this very special cat. She had already been considering adding a senior cat to her “small army”…was Ollie the one? He spent the next 30 days in Jenn’s office getting special attention while he recovered from losing his sibling, regained his appetite (tuna!), and awaited test results to determine if the feline leukemia virus had developed in his own body. Jenn formed a special bond with her new office mate and soon let everyone know that, if Ollie was healthy enough to be around her current pets, she wanted him to join her family. Hope! Ollie soon began to flourish and regained a healthy weight. Each day Ollie greeted Jenn at her office door, his demanding meow growing stronger (and more endearing) each day. He also started what Jenn referred to as an “intense cuddle routine.” Once she was settled at her desk, he would curl up in her lap and snuggle the entire day. He loved Jenn as much as she loved him—she knew he would fit in perfectly with her two cats.
The day after he tested negative for feline leukemia, Jenn took Ollie home – a new family and a new name: Omelette! Alongside his other feline and canine friends, Omelette can often be found snuggling or looking dreamily out the window. We imagine he is fondly remembering his brother, Henry. He continues to greet Jenn at the door each time she arrives, but now it’s at the door of his own home. Hope for Ollie…by way of the APA.
He seemed like the perfect fit. -Jenn
By: Dr. Dietsch | November 13, 2019
Darla knows that hope comes in many forms. Clinging to life, Darla and her two puppies were discovered in a rural Missouri ditch. Hope first arrived in the form of a kind-hearted man who rescued the trio and brought them to the safety of his home while he began searching for shelters to give them a second chance. Through our collaborative transfer program, in which the APA works with over 100 animal rescues and shelters throughout the Midwest, Darla and her pups, who may not have survived outside much longer, made their way to the APA.
After their arrival, Darla’s puppies were nursed back to health and quickly found wonderful adoptive families. Darla’s journey, however, became a bit more complicated after APA staff noticed a lump on her chin. An x-ray determined that Darla had osteosarcoma, an aggressive, terminal bone cancer in her jaw. Despite her bleak prognosis, Darla was eating well, in good spirits, and her pain was being managed—it was clear she was thriving from the love and care received at the APA. That wasn’t enough though. We wanted Darla to experience the comforts of a warm, loving home for the rest of her life, however long that may be. So, the APA reached out to our dedicated foster volunteers to search for a twilight foster—someone to provide love, care and hope for Darla, as she, too, had so much love left to give.
Little did we know, Darla was destined for hope of a different kind.
Isabella had just moved into her own apartment with her dog, Ginger. She had been considering an addition to her furry family and one day decided to visit the APA. Not knowing exactly who she was looking for, she started by visiting with kittens…but then asked about animals that nobody wanted or had special needs. An APA staff member told her about Darla and her condition, and Isabella asked to meet her. Darla was brought out and placed in Isabella’s arms—Darla’s sweet disposition, gentle spirit, and soulful eyes, full of hope, captured Isabella’s heart. Though uncertain of handling the responsibility and heartache of adopting a dog with declining health, Isabella instantly fell in love. She knew Darla would be her new family member.
Over a month post-adoption, Darla is still wagging her tail, eating “like a queen,” and running with more energy and speed than Isabella’s other dog. Isabella and Darla are living each day to the fullest together—creating a life full of hope and happiness. Hope for Darla…by way of the APA.
Once she placed Darla in my arms, I melted—my heart became full. -Isabella
By: Dr. Dietsch | November 4, 2019
One is the loneliest number doesn’t apply to everything, but the song rings true with kittens. Every cat owner wants a happy, healthy, well-adjusted, “good citizen” cat. Kittenhood is a time of growth and development. A kitten’s ability to learn appropriate behaviors is amplified when adopted with another kitten because, absent their mother, interactions between the kittens provide each kitten with important feedback information. They learn from each other when play or biting is too rough and how to share space. They also observe each other’s actions and consequences. Bonded kittens get a head start on their learning track because they already trust and are paying close attention to each other.
Kittens require a lot of attention, and one kitten requires even more. Kittens are curious, energetic, and playful. They are testing their environment, their abilities, and their boundaries all the time. They are also establishing their daily routine. A playmate helps a kitten to focus and burn off some of this energy, resulting in less attention-seeking behavior and potential destructive behaviors. They can also wear each other out, resulting in a much more peaceful night of sleep. It can be difficult for a person to provide a kitten with all of the needs a kitten has to play. If there is an older cat already in the home, adopting two kittens means they will most likely focus on each other, and leave the more senior, lower energy cat alone. Two kittens can actually make an owner’s life easier!
Cats are not solitary animals. Without companionship, a kitten can get lonely, bored, or anxious. Growing up with another kitten means having a companion when the human parents are away and having a companion for life–something that can help create lifelong comfort and security for your cat. If you’re thinking about adopting a kitten, consider two kittens. We look forward to adorable photos of your kittens cuddling!
Pam Hill, Local Cat Behavior Counselor