These three cats enjoy living in the same household, even though they have different personalities and joined the family at different times. Each cat may need a different introduction routine. The gray and cream colored cats are older boys. The orange cat is a young female who can hold her own with her older brothers. Photo courtesy of “Real World Cat Consulting.”
If you need some advice about your cat, Bonnie Still of “Real World Cat Consulting” can help you.
I met Bonnie in 2010, when I began volunteering as a photographer at Wayside Waifs, an animal shelter in Kansas City, Missouri. I learned a lot from Bonnie’s kindness, wisdom and empathy, as well as from her deep knowledge of the ways of cats.
“Real World Cat Consulting provides compassionate guidance and support to people experiencing a disagreement or misunderstanding with their cat’s behavior, and to increase the likelihood that the family remains together in harmony.
Bonnie Still is a certified Feline Training & Behavior Specialist with over 10 years of experience working with cats. She has helped hundreds of cats overcome their fear of people, resolved litterbox issues, taught cat guardians how to introduce a new cat to an established cat (or dog), helped others to manage their cat’s aggression towards themselves or another pet in the home and more. She has also guided others to understand their cat better, which increased their bond with their cat.”
Learn more about “Real World Cat Consulting” through these links:
Lester and Oreo are both HIV positive cats, but they can still live long and healthy lives.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I wrote this post more than seven years ago, but didn’t publish it. I was waiting for an update on these two kitties in their new home, but I wasn’t able to get one. So this post has languished in my drafts all of this time. I decided to publish it anyway. I’ve been taking photographs of cats for adoption at Wayside Waifs for more than ten years. There are always cats as wonderful as Lester and Oreo, some with HIV, available at Wayside Waifs.
It was the worst of times, but then it was the best of times (to misquote Charles Dickens) for two kitties, Oreo and Lester, who were homeless. They were brought separately to Wayside Waifs, a no-kill shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, area. Because each cat tested positive for the FIV virus, they were isolated from other cats. The Feline Immuno-deficiency Virus is a slow virus that affects a cat’s immune system, but a cat with FIV can live a long, healthy life if well-cared for with a high-quality diet and kept indoors in a low-stress environment.
Both Oreo and Lester are very friendly and sociable cats, so they were lonely in their own rooms. Staff and volunteers decided to put the two cats together to see how they clicked since they both seemed so easy-going. Like humans, cats have a wide range of personalities, so finding compatible roommates is both an art and a science, which many of the Wayside Waifs staff and volunteers have mastered. Lester, 8 1/2 years old, was introduced to Oreo, almost age two, in his larger room, Cat Fish Cove. They bonded quickly and soon were grooming each other, wrestling and sleeping and snuggling together. Humans should be so lucky to find soul mates like this!
Lester and Oreo, a bonded pair.
A family fell in love with the pair, and now Lester and Oreo are happily settled in their new forever home.
The medical report on both cats explained their condition: FIV “is an active viral infection results in immunosuppression of the infected individual resulting in an increased susceptibility to secondary infections with other pathogens. The virus is spread through direct contact, although unlike FeLV (which is spread through prolonged intimate contact, such as grooming) FIV is more commonly spread through bite wounds. The virus is not a hardy virus, meaning it dies quickly once outside the body – making spreading via fomites, such as food bowls, unlikely. Positive cats can live long healthy lives as long as any secondary infections are treated properly. However, due to the contagious nature of the disease, they should not live in multiple cat households unless the other cats present are also FIV +.”
Before Lester was moved into Oreo’s room, he would wait at the door of his hug room, hoping for attention. Because he is FIV positive, he wasn’t allowed to free roam or interact with other cats, unless they were also FIV positive.
At Wayside Waifs, Lester and Oreo were very happy together, and easily entertained each other, but they still liked human company. They’d often come to the door for some attention when someone passed by.
I’ve been a Cat Lady since 1991 when we got our first cat, Malcolm, a little Maine Coon kitten from Wayside Waifs.
Lucky me, since the summer of 2010 I’ve played with cats and kittens every week at Wayside Waifs when I take their photographs for the adoptable cats section of the Wayside Waifs website. I also photograph dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and ferrets. But mostly cats, maybe 15,000 so far.
Sadly, Malcolm and Paddington have both passed over the Rainbow Bridge.
#NationalCatDay I’ve been a cat lady since 1991 when we got Malcolm from #WaysideWaifs. #Purrfect Love (Top Left to Right, clockwise) Malcolm, Bones, Inka and Paddington.
This cute tabby cat is enjoying a pile of towels in her kennel.
In January, to start out the New Year, stores often discount bedding and towels. It’s a marketing strategy called a “White Sale,” when bedding used to be all white, to jump start sales after the Christmas shopping season is over. I don’t remember ever buying bedding or towels in January, but it is a good time to do an inventory of your old towels and sheets. I keep a lot of old towels for cleaning rags, more than I need, so I donate some to Wayside Waifs, the animal shelter, where I volunteer. Animal shelters have a constant need for towels that are still in good condition. The towels are placed in the kennels to give the animals soft, cozy bedding. Old blankets and sheets are also needed. Contact your local animal shelter to see how you can donate. Wayside Waifs has a large bin in its entryway for donations, for example.
An old towel is also wonderful for people. In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” author Douglas Adams championed the importance of always having a towel with you when you travel the galaxy. I always carry at least one towel in my car on my earthly travels. It’s been very useful many times.
Melvin melted my heart the minute I met him at Wayside Waifs. He certainly wasn’t beautiful in the usual sense. His ears were crinkled and bare, his fur was patchy, and he was missing his front right leg. He was probably close to being deaf. He’d had ear infections. He could barely get up to greet me, but he tried and tried until he finally made it to the front of the kennel. He is a very sweet and affectionate cat.
He was thought to be 14 years old when he was brought to Wayside Waifs. Little was known about his history. He was transferred from another shelter when it ran out of space.
I admit that my heart is easily melted, but Melvin tugged even harder at my heartstrings. I seriously thought about bringing him home, even though my house isn’t set up for a cat that can’t get around very well. My two resident cats, who don’t get along that well with each other, were also a consideration. Melvin worked his special cat magic on a lot of volunteers and staff members at Wayside Waifs, who called out “Hi, Melvin” whenever they passed his kennel. We were all so happy when the boyfriend of one of them recently adopted Melvin so that he can live out his final years with love and in comfort.
I’ve met a lot of wonderful cats and kittens during my six years of volunteering as a photographer at Wayside Waifs, a no-kill animal shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, but Melvin will always hold a special place in my melted heart for him.
Paddington, the cat with the BIG personality! Here he is giving me one of his “I don’t care what you’re doing, stop everything and brush me now!” stares.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole France
It’s been six years since I updated the tale of the Brothers Angora — Paddington and Bones. Where has the time gone? I’ll pick up where I left off in 2009. You can read their earlier history in the links at the bottom of this post, including newborn photos. Cute photos!
Paddington was a very brave kitty at the vet in September 2015. On the left he waits on my lap, in the upper right he patiently endures shots and prodding. In the lower right, he explored the room. So many wonderful toys!
In September of 2010 after a year in San Francisco with Cynthia, Paddington returned to live with us when Cynthia moved to South Korea to teach English for a couple of years. This time, I wasn’t letting him go!
Paddington and his brother are Turkish Angora cats. Paddington was renowned for his one blue eye and one amber eye, and Bones is deaf, both are traits sometimes found in white cats. According to descriptions about Turkish Angora cats, these cats often choose a particular member of the family to be their constant companion and are very protective of their person. This was true with Paddington.
“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” ― Colette
After Paddington returned to my house to live in 2010, he was a bit standoffish, since Cynthia was his person. And he’d been a wide traveler, too, with many frequent flier miles. But he grew attached to me and soon was demanding his daily brushing. He would follow me around and stare at me until I got the hint. Whenever I sat on the sofa, he would jump on my lap. When he wanted to be brushed, which was often, he would stretch out, placing his paws on the sofa arm. He turned so that I brushed every section of his beautiful white fur. He especially loved to have his cheeks and neck brushed. There was no better job than being his masseuse and groomer.
Paddington supervises my artwork as I prepare to paint an Airedale Terrier for friends.
Paddington’s bed was next to my desk upstairs, where we had many conversations. At night he’d always appear at my bedside as I was getting into bed. Even when I thought Paddington was sound asleep in his bed, he’d often wake up as I passed by and dash down to my bedroom before I even got there, ready for his nightly chest rub. When I was settled in, he jumped on the bed for a nightly petting, which included a chest rub. As I rubbed his chest, he would paw the air “making biscuits.” It was so adorable!
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” ― A.A. Milne
When Paddington and Bones lived with my daughter and Cynthia in college, the brothers would hang out together, but not so much after their most recent separation. In November 2015, Paddington started hanging out with his brother more. One night, my daughter heard a strange yowling cough and thought the two brothers might be fighting (yes, they did get into some tussles with Paddington usually the one starting the spat), but when she went into the room, she found Paddington limp on the bed. We rushed him to an veterinary emergency room, but he couldn’t be revived. He must have had a heart attack. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge on November 18, 2015. We were in shock. He was only eleven years old. We thought we had many more years with him. I miss that little guy so much. So far I haven’t been able to remove his bed, which is still matted with his white fur. There will always be a cat-shaped hole in my heart and life. Take no one for granted, not your family, nor your friends and not your little furry companions.
Paddington, left, and Bones snuggle on a bed. Though they were littermates, they couldn’t be more different in personality. Paddington was the BOLD one.
“Animals are such agreeable friends ― they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ― George Eliot
This Gingerbread House, by pastry chef Greg Connolly, resembles the Wayside Waifs building with its characteristic silo. It greets visitors, staff and volunteers who come to Wayside Waifs.
Greg Connolly, a pastry chef, created and donated this cute gingerbread house to Wayside Waifs, where it is displayed in the entry hall for the Christmas season. Wayside Waifs is a no-kill animal shelter in Kansas City, Missouri.
The house shows a cookie squirrel on Wayside Waifs’ signature silo rooftop. Along the dogbone fence, written in the snow in yellow, is “Fleas Navidad.” Don’t miss the fire hydrant, and look for the dogs wearing Christmas sweaters and the grinning snowmen in the frosty yard. Inside, I’m sure there are kitties tucked in bed, waiting for Santa to bring a jingle ball.
From the Wayside Waifs website: “Wayside Waifs is committed to finding homes for all adoptable pets. Wayside is the largest pet adoption center in Kansas City, placing over 5,400 animals each year in loving forever homes. Wayside does not euthanize adoptable animals, and there are no time limits for animals in our care. Only animals suffering from significant medical issues or those that pose a danger are humanely euthanized. Wayside Waifs is proud to be a part of Kansas City’s no kill community.”
UPDATE: Here’s a video of puppies enjoying this gingerbread house.
Jackson Galaxy is signing the book bag I won in a drawing at his talk in Kansas City on May 8, 2013. The first book I put inside was Galaxy’sCat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, which he also signed.
Is your cat mojo working? I got my mojo revved up last night when Jackson Galaxy came to town in a Rainy Day Books event.
Jackson Galaxy’s “cat mojo” approach to cat behavior helps people to understand why their cats act the way they do. Galaxy, a cat behaviorist, spoke to a large, very enthusiastic crowd at Unity Temple on the Kansas City Plaza on Wednesday, May 8, as his first stop on a book tour for his book “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean.”
Galaxy, known as the Cat Daddy, is the star of Animal Planet’s popular television show “My Cat from Hell.” My cats have all been little sweethearts, but even purr-fect cats can use a little mojo.
Many of the attendees were volunteers and staff members at Kansas City area no-kill shelters, such as Wayside Waifs, where I volunteer. In fact, many of these dedicated animal lovers helped to organize the event, including a reception. While on his book tour, Galaxy, a life-long shelter worker, has a great appreciation for shelter workers. At a shelter where he worked, Galaxy developed his cat mojo methods to help misbehaving cats become adoptable. Galaxy is also devoted to reducing to zero the number of animals that are killed in shelters. While that might seem an impossible goal, the number of animals euthanized has dropped dramatically in recent years. Spread the gospel of the joys of being a cat or dog guardian! Spay and neuter, too.
At Wayside Waifs, I’ve marveled to see scared and unhappy cats become loving companions with the love and devotion of the staff and volunteers. (Who wouldn’t be mad after what some of these cats have experienced?) If you understand the needs of cats — food, territory, the need to hunt and explore, some companionship and physical contact — you can guide a cat to better behavior and enjoy meow-velous companionship. Looking at this list of feline needs, I see cats and humans are not so different after all!
When a woman in the audience asked whether most cat lovers were women, scores of men stood up to announce that they were “cat men.”
After his talk in kansas City, Jackson Galaxy signed copies of his book “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean.”
Tony (he’s on the back of the motorcycle here), is one of the cats featured in “My Cat From Hell. ” Tony, with his friend Bud, is a star of greeting cards, designed by Tony’s guardian, Betty Matsumoto-Schuch. Click on the card to see more.
A pride of lions gathers at a carcass of a Cape Buffalo at MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa. The upper left photo: This was our first view of the pride as we drove in an open Land Rover to the lions at the buffalo kill. We had rocked over a very bumpy river bed through high grass, and then suddenly there were the lions about fifteen feet away. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time. In the upper right photo, the male adult lion suddenly see us. In the lower left photo, my heart starts beating wildly as the male lion stands up and appears to be coming toward us. In the lower right hand photo, the male lion has plopped down to digest his meal, bored with us — thankfully!
On a recent trip to Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa, my husband and I were lucky to see lions in two prides. The lions in each pride were eating a Cape Buffalo that they had killed. (Yes, it’s the Circle of Life, but I didn’t like that part…) Mala Mala adjoins Kruger National Park, which is almost five million acres, about the size of the state of Connecticut.
It was unnerving at first to be so close to these large predators that could easily attack and kill a human. In our first sighting, we rode in an open Land Rover, bumping and rocking down a hill onto a sandy river bed, pushing our way through tall grass and vegetation. A female lion emerged from the grass. We drove past her into a clearing by the Sand River, where the rest of the pride was eating the buffalo. We parked about fifteen feet away. We were assured that the lions and other wildlife see the vehicle with its passengers as one nonthreatening entity and don’t seem to mind our presence as long as we are seated in the vehicle. (I was never tempted to leave it!) I felt my pulse quicken, though, whenever a lion would look over at us and rise up. A few made brief eye contact, which my own cats do when they want something. Fortunately, the lions never walked closer to our vehicle than ten feet. I got nervous for a moment when the lions growled at one another over their meal. For the most part, the lions took no heed of us.
I’m so grateful for this amazing experience. Click on the photos to get a better look.
Female big cats in each of these photos have suffered some kind of injury, probably from hunting. In the top photo, the female lion on the left side has a big cut in her right flank. Our guide told us the injury was about three weeks old and would probably heal, although it looks pretty bad to me. This lion was nursing cubs. The lions are resting after eating. The female lion (in a different pride) in the lower left photo has a swollen back right leg. She was limping when we saw her and had moved away from the pride. A mother cheetah in the the lower right photo has a cut to her back right flank, probably incurred from the horn of the male impala she’d killed the day before, our guide said. She had three cubs.
The cats behaved in many ways like my own house cats. The way they played, rested and sat was so similar. After they ate, some of them sprawled on their backs, looking as if they didn’t have a care in the world. The lion cubs were so adorable. But I never forgot for a second that these big cats could be deadly. Even my own well-fed cat Malcolm brought down a bird that had flown into our chimney. He leaped nine feet into the air and batted it down. I was able to rescue the bird, though, and released it unharmed.
Where I live in the Midwest, we have have almost no large predators, such as mountain lions. Occasionally, you hear of a mountain lion sighting. Most of them have been killed off years ago. Grizzly bears roamed my area 200 years ago. We do have smaller cats, such as bobcats. Last year, while I was walking in my neighborhood, I saw a bobcat sitting in the grass of a large mowed area near some woods. She stared at me as I walked past. That was a little freaky! Bobcats can kill a deer. Later, I saw the bobcat trotting across the street into the yard of the president of the homeowner’s association. (The bobcat knew to go right to the leader of the human pack.) The president told me that the bobcat’s cubs were in a tree overhanging her back deck.
Lions and other big cats are magnificent creatures, but because of the danger they present and because their fur is coveted, they have been severely hunted, and their numbers have really dropped in the last century. Lions are considered a vulnerable species, and I hope they can be protected and their numbers in the wild increased. Game reserves, such as Mala Mala and the vast Kruger National Park in South Africa, are working to protect this magnificent animal. At the bottom of this post is a news article about lions in South Africa.
Well fed, this pride lounges along a creek. Note the cub nursing.
“Lions may be the well-reputed kings of the savannah, but South Africa’s lucrative trophy-hunting industry means the regal cats are more likely to know the inside of a paddock ringed with an electric fence than the country’s sweeping plains.
To the dismay of animal rights activists and environmentalists, growing numbers of the predators are being farmed for hunting, with more than half of South Africa’s roughly 8,000 lions now in captivity.
“The principle that you breed wild animals for economic exploitation is an international norm. It takes place everywhere in the world,” said Pieter Potgieter, chair of the South African Predator Breeders’ Association.
But “the problem is with the lions because the image has been created in the minds of people that the lion is the king of the animals. Walt Disney with his Lion King and all these things, they have created that image,” he added.
The big cats are bred in pens then leased to zoos or game farms, where they are kept in cages or used as pets to attract tourists.
When they mature, some of them are released into the wild. The release usually happens just days before trophy hunters shoot them.
Breeders treat lions just like any other farm animals before leaving them to the mercy of trophy hunters.
“In principle, a lion is no more or less than any other animal species,” Potgieter said.
An estimated 3,000 or so lions live wild in South Africa, compared to more than 5,000 held in paddocks.
In the rolling savannah plains in the country’s centre is Bona Bona Game Lodge, situated near the corn-farming town of Wolmaransstad.
A few hundred metres from the lodge, which is also a popular wedding venue, are large cages with nine placid lions and three Bengal tigers. It housed three times that number of lions before an annual auction in June.
The lions are fed weekly, each Sunday morning — an exercise visitors pay an entrance fee of 80 rand (6.8 euros, $9) to watch. Animal lovers pay 300 rand to play with cubs or give them a feeding bottle at most zoos.
“Cubs are rented out by the captive lion breeders to eco-tourism resorts to be petted by tourists, who are assured that such cubs will be set free,” said Chris Mercer of the animal rights group Campaign Against Canned Hunting.
But a fuming Mercer says: “Tourists should know that these cubs will not be returned to the wild. They will, instead, be returned to the breeders… as semi-tame targets for the lucrative canned hunting industry.”
“These cubs are farm-bred, held in confined spaces until they are old enough to be hunted,” he adds.
Paul Hart, who runs Drakenstein Lion Park in the southern Cape region, said it was the “process of removing cubs from their mothers at birth specifically so that they can be used as play things and to increase the speed of breeding that is inherently cruel, not to mention the methods employed to ensure the cubs are docile with tourists.”
Critics say some lions are also specially bred for their bones, which are sent to Asia to end up in potions, but farmers deny that claim.
Amateur trophy hunters — most of whom come from the US — each year kill about 500 captive-bred lions in South Africa.
Hunters are ready to part with $22,000 per male lion, in addition to just about as much for other logistical and taxidermy costs. A lioness however comes in much cheaper at $4,000.
The trophy-hunting practices also raise controversy.
In the Northwest province with the most lion-breeding farms, the cats are often released, hungry, just four days before a hunt.
Unleashing them into unfamiliar turf means they are unlikely to escape their pursuers.
But farmers justify the practice.
“Whether you kill a cow, a sheep or a pig, or you kill a lion, it’s exactly the same thing. It’s an animal,” Potgieter argues.
A recent study by the Duke University in North Carolina has shown that two thirds of the African lion population have vanished over the past 50 years, to around 35,000 from nearly 100,000.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service also recently announced it would launch a review on whether to list African lions as endangered species.
Such a listing would prevent US hunters from bringing lion trophies from Africa back to the United States.” Story by Jean Liou.
This weekend, March 30 through April 1, 2012, three Kansas City shelters are joining 57 shelters across the nation in a Mega-Match-a-Thon pet adoption event to send as many homeless animals as possible into new, loving, safe, forever homes. All adoptions will be $25, and all animals will be spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated.
The three Kansas City area shelter are Wayside Waifs, Heartland SPCA and KC Pet Project. Bring home a furry friend this weekend or find a no-kill shelter in your area. Don’t miss this MEGA Match event!
UPDATE: 706 shelter pets found their forever homes during the KC Megamatch event at Heartland SPCA, KC Pet Project and Wayside Waifs!
Here are some of the beautiful cats I've recently photographed at Wayside Waifs. These cats and more, plus lots of dogs, will all be available for adoption this weekend (March 30-April 1, 2012) in a Mega Adopt-o-than.