Archives for March 2016

Happy Tails: Blaney & Victrola

Shelter 2Blaney (pictured left) was trapped in Seabrook, NH and initially he seemed like he might be feral. One of our volunteers agreed to foster him, however, and he was found to be quite a friendly guy, so he was brought to our shelter for adoption. Little did he know, he would only have to spend a few minutes there before being swept away to his new home!
Victrola (pictured above right) is an FIV+ boy who was transferred to MRFRS from another shelter in Central Massachusetts. He is a very sweet boy who was always ready to greet everyone in our main room with nuzzles and “love bites! during his time at our Adoption Center!
Here’s their adoption story from their new “mom,” Arianna F.:

My first experience with MRFRS was fresh on the coattails of a tragedy. I had adopted a sweet boy from another shelter out of town. We shared 3 or so happy months together before he became very ill, and within another month had developed full blown wet Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). If you’ve never heard of it, it’s tragically untreatable and unmanageable and always results in death in a very short period of time. He was sweet and loving up until the very end — I was emotionally devastated to have to make the choice to let him go. I had him peacefully euthanized at home, and spent the next few days in tears. My mother saw how upset I was about the passing of my boy and mentioned MRFRS to me so that when I was ready, I could consider visiting.
A few days later, on a whim, I decided to visit MRFRS with her to meet some friendly, healthy cats to cheer me up. As fate would have it, a fluffy boy by the name of Blaney had just been brought into the shelter by his foster mother. He had been in the shelter for only a few hours before I arrived. Touring the adoption floor, I met plenty of cats that approached me casually for some attention and wandered off. That’s when I noticed Blaney, laying around the corner in the hallway. He was strikingly large, and I just had to pat him, so I crouched down and called him over. He instantly responded and approached me, laying on the floor in front of me for attention.
ShelterRight at that moment, Brit, the shelter manager, came up the stairs. She saw me petting Blaney and turned around again to call to someone else excitedly. The other woman who had been downstairs was Blaney’s foster mom. She came up and peeked around the doorframe, enthusiastically commenting on how lovable he was being with strangers. She explained to me how shy he had been at first, and she was so surprised by how suddenly out of his shell he was. I felt special and we joked about how “I” had just been adopted. His foster mom called her daughter to explain what was happening, and that Blaney was even rolling over and letting me rub his belly!
I was charmed with Blaney right off the bat and I eagerly sent a photo to my boyfriend, who gave me his blessing to go ahead and apply for the adoption. My mother encouraged me to put in some paperwork, and after going through it all, I was approved that day! I hadn’t even brought a carrier or money, not having ever thought I would have left with a cat that day. With a small loan from my mother — and a borrowed carrier from MRFRS — I left with a comforting friend to help me cope with my previous loss.
There was one other cat I met that day who remained on my mind the next few weeks following Blaney’s adoption. Victrola, an awkward, cauliflower-eared boy, had gone out of his way to sit on Blaney’s adoption paperwork when I was filling it out. He had even tried to jump in the carrier before I left!
When I saw him posted several times on the MRFRS Facebook page I did some digging through old photos. I saw he had been at the shelter for a couple months and started to consider adopting a companion for Blaney. After Blaney settled in, he seemed to miss having other cats around, and I thought the company of a cat he had been with on the adoption floor might do him good! I called the shelter right away, put a deposit down, and picked Victrola up at the end of the week.
IMG_0041Both boys are settled into their new home, spending their days lazing in cat trees, eating delicious food with whole shredded chicken, rolling in home-grown catnip, and generally being spoiled rotten. Blaney, who now goes by Hagrid (for his grizzled appearance and sweet personality, for any Harry Potter fans), comes to bed with us every night. Victrola, who now goes by Rocky (for his love of boxing and rough appearance), has his own little bed next to ours that he happily crawls into at bed time. The two boys adore my boyfriend and myself and have become our shadows when we’re home. They are both so loving and are the perfect fit for my home; it feels like fate threw us together.
I’ve had such a great experience with MRFRS, and am so grateful to Gaye for all her help, and all that she does at the shelter. I can’t say enough good things about MRFRS and their staff, and I’m so lucky to have these two boys.

We are so happy Blaney and Victrola have you — congratulations, Arianna, on the new additions to your family!

Ask the Vet

with Dr. Elizabeth Helton, Catmobile 2 Veterinarian
How do I know if my cat is overweight, and how can I help my cat slim down?

If you have an indoor cat age one year or older, chances are your kitty is overweight already! While an indoor lifestyle provides many positive health benefits for your cat, staying slim is usually not one of them. Indoor kitties often do not get enough exercise and eat more food than they need. An average-sized indoor cat may need fewer than 500 calories a day to meet his or her energy requirements.
cat_chart-BCSSo how can you tell if your kitty is packing on the pounds? First, take a look at your cat from all angles. When viewed from the top, does your cat have a bit of an hourglass shape, or is kitty more apple-shaped in the middle? When viewed from the side, does your kitty have a slight upward tuck to her belly, or does it hang lower than her chest? If your kitty is missing her waist, or her tuck, then she’s probably carrying some extra pounds. Next, feel your cat’s ribcage on each side of her chest. If you don’t feel any ribs at all, then your cat is too heavy. You should be able to feel the ribs, but they should not be too prominent. Here’s a good guide to use: Make a fist with your left hand, and feel the knuckles on that fist with your right hand. That is what too thin feels like. Now, open your hand all the way so you cannot feel your knuckles at all. That is what too heavy feels like. About halfway between the two extremes is how your kitty’s ribs should feel.
So if you have determined that Kitty has put on some winter weight, what is the best way to help her slim down? Playing is a great way to interact with your cat, and keep her entertained. Aim for half an hour a day of feather-chasing fun to help burn off some calories!
While exercise helps, the most effective way for kitty to shed those extra pounds is to consume fewer calories. You may need to cut back on the amount of food you provide, or possibly switch to an indoor, or light, formula. I do not recommend free-feeding for most cats. Certainly it’s convenient for our busy lives, but while some kitties can exercise self-control and only eat what they need, many do not. Buy a measuring cup and portion out your kitty’s food into a few meals per day. Use the food label as a guide for to how much to feed your cat, but the portions listed on the package are frequently larger than what is needed.
Weigh your cat regularly, and if kitty is still gaining, or is not losing weight, reduce the amount you feed. Feeding moist/wet food can also help keep calories in control as it has more water than dry food. Again, use the can label as a guide, and adjust according to the results you see at kitty’s periodic “weigh in.” And remember, your local veterinarian can be a great resource when it comes to nutrition and providing an individualized weight loss plan for your feline friend.