Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Great Cat Bust-Out of 2016

For a guy who had just spent about two hours with his considerable bulk squeezed into a carrier, Felix was looking pretty chill. The first out of his box, he sprawled out calmly in a cage in our medical clinic surveying the scene and offering headbutts to anyone who poked a hand in.
I'm just big boned, I swear. 
If a cat is king of his domain, Felix has the gift of being fairly flexible about where his domain was. An hour up north, the transfer van, whatever. He would rule it benevolently.

Oddly enough the other twelve carriers on the floor were remarkably silent as well. As Dr. Shearer, Candice and Shawna set up a triage table and Candy matched paperwork to carrier there was no yowling, hissing or terrified panting coming from any of them. As they came out of the boxes for shots and a medical look over, these kitties were positively affable. Snicklefritz rubbed against the stethoscope. Poppy purred. Dream was, well, a dream. Even as they were put back in their carriers for yet another journey, the cats maintained their composure. 

I am a dream, darnit. Check me-owt.
Who WERE these mysterious kitties and how did we come to be blessed with so many of (as Adoptions Supervisor K.C. described them) the nicest cats in the universe?

What you mean these carriers? No biggie. I'm well travelled. 
There were some clues: they were all in good health but most were wearing a few extra pounds - a telltale sign of a relatively sedentary lifestyle. They were absurdly tolerant of change, invasive
handling and being in carriers and cages. New people didn't startle them. Their ages varied widely from seven months old to ten year old Felix. 

Well, dear friends, their story starts like all good stories. With a call for help and a description of terrible weather. 

I'm on the edge of my seat - tell!
An hour north of us, a small county shelter was inundated with cats. Lovely cats. Cats like Felix, who had been there since May. What they weren't getting inundated with was cat adopters. As kitten season peaked and ebbed, kittens came and went but the adult kitties just sat there with more arriving all the time. Some were strays, some belonged to people who had lost their housing or developed allergies. Cat upon cat upon cat. Low on space, the situation was becoming dire. Determined to save the patient cats that had been waiting for so very long, the staff from this county reached out to us. Help, they said. Help our cats. We're running out of room. 

Well? Did you help them? Oh...wait..I'm here. I know how this ends. 
The first time we took nine. Nine lovely felines who filed into our Sunshine Room in an orderly fashion and loved up everyone in sight. To help them find new people (hadn't they spent enough time in shelters?) we did a free adult cat promo and almost as if they had wings, every single one of the original nine flew out the door to a forever home. A happy ending, right?

It better have been a happy ending - just get on it with it already..
Well, yes. For those nine. But the situation was still pretty dire at the other shelter. More help, please. Which is where the bad weather and the thirteen calmest travelin' cats in the world come in. 

This is Candy. 
No I'm not. I'm not Candy. I do like cookies, though. 
Okay, it's not Candy. It's her fospice dog, Miss Emily. We didn't ask Candy for permission to use a photo of her so Miss Emily (and her snazzy bandana) is standing in for Candy. Miss Emily does not, however, cover the amount of mileage that Candy does. Candy is our Transfer Coordinator. She's the one who keeps in touch with other shelters to see what's going on. She's the person the shelter folk up north called about the inundation of amazing kitties needing help. She also is the person who drives our transfer van to go pick up animals from overwhelmed shelters. 

So when our buddy shelter up north needed more help with the kitties, Candy didn't hesitate. She got in the truck and went.

Miss Emily and Mattie May re-enact the exchange with Miss Emily playing Candy.
Despite the fact that it was raining, windy and the roads were scary and miserable. Because that's just how Candy is.

Actually nobody hesitated. Our intake and behavior staff set to reorganizing space to make room for the newcomers. Our Amazing Vet Tech Army said 'thirteen more cats needing triage when we're already slammed? Bring 'em! We'll figure it out!'.  The Neighborhood Adoption Centers staff spiffed up rooms and bunked up kittens together to make space for the newcomers from the North. 

I don't mind a roomie. Just bring those guys in. 
And this is where we get a little misty eyed. Because everyone was so dedicated to making sure these cats were okay, that they would be safe and get forever homes, that they pushed and pinched and hustled to make it work. From the crowded shelter up north who called out for help to Candy driving through the worst rainstorm of the year to bring them in, everybody went the extra mile for these thirteen most phenomenal kitties. 

Within a day of their arrival the thirteen had been dispersed. Eleven to the Neighborhood Adoption Centers and two staying at the Milpitas ACC. The indomitably furniture-like Felix, who needs a little dental work before he goes up for adoption, is currently holding court in our medical department. 

Mah toofers! So yellow!
Less than a week after they got here Erika, Elvira and Rascal have already gone to new homes. Raider, Snicklefritz, Poppy, Dream, Daisy, Arlene, Aaron, Fiona and Claude are still available for adoption. Felix will be shortly as well. 

Our $10.31 through some 10/31 promo starts tomorrow and includes some of these guys, including Claude. 
I'm trying to use Jedi Mind tricks to get you to come get me. 
With a little more breathing room and a lot less crowding, the future is way more secure for the other cats at the shelter up north. If it's gets crowded again they'll call us. And we'll be there.