Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Noelle or Noel

Big Girl.
Doesn’t matter Noel will answer to any of those names. Her way.

Gregg had gotten a call around the holidays from Laurel, a friend who had rescued a cat from an alley in Flushing after trying for a long time. The cat, which had seemed friendly, had not only resisted integrating with Laurel's other cats but was now terrorizing them. Thinking it a personality difference, Laurel regifted the cat to another rescuer, who encountered the same problems, and the chain of pass-alongs continued. When the cat came to Gregg, giver of Last Hopes, there had been 5 homes in three weeks. We needed some pictures for a flyer to find her a real home where our contentious girl could live a happy life. Carol & I went over to Gregg’s, camera in hand, prepared to keep our cautious distance.

Noelle (well, it was the holidays and she needed a name) had been confined to a bedroom by herself. Gregg’s cats are a diverse social group of independent thinkers. New cat Noelle needed a space of her own to calm down and get used to the idea of living indoors, eating regular and not fighting for her food, litter space and sleeping perch with an alley of other ferals. So far, the privacy thing was working.

Carol went in to sit with Noelle while Gregg & I worked up a flyer. When I went in to the bedroom later, Carol & Noelle had bonded. Noelle was purring, kneading her paws and lifting her legs up like a Clydesdale show horse. No sign of fear, or hostility, or any other kind of unhappy behavior. Carol was smitten, and said we should bring her home with us. That cold night, we bundled up our new cat and gave her a space of her own at our place. In the quiet of our bedroom, Noelle ate heartily and slept the next 12 hours, till she awoke and ate well again. Followed by another 12 hour nap, followed by a big meal, then 12 hours sleep, a big meal, 12 hours sleep, and on and on. Along the way, she became Noel. Silent letters don’t fare well in our noisy household. A few days later, our first visit to the Animal Medical Center brought very distressing news. Noel was extremely sick.

Noie had an enlarged spleen and liver (she may have eaten rat poison at some time), severe sinusitis related to her herpes simplex infection, a urinary infection, a upper respiratory infection, possible hyperthyroidism, 2 or possibly 3 types of ear fungus and mites, fungus infestations in her claws, bad teeth and gingivitis, poor vision, worms of every type, impacted anal glands, a arthritic spine and her immune system was wrecked. In short she was a street cat who had outlived 8 of her lives.

We expect these sorts of problems from our rescues. Almost all our cats are in bad shape when they come off the streets. Rarely, though, do we see this many conditions piled onto one cat.

Gregg spends a lot of time and and her own money to take care of the health problems of our rescues so our cats are healthy for adoption. Vet bills run up to 5 figures each year, and food and litter costs just keep marching on.

All Sentient Beings is an effort to expand this care-giving and betterment of these poor creatures lives. Many of us already have our homes filled with cats and people. Others cannot keep animals because of life situations. However, by supporting All Sentient Beings, we can bring better lives and love to our companion animals. It’s better to do something then to turn our backs.

But back to Noel. She insists.

Noels medical rehabilitation began immediately. Hospitalization, long drug regimens, twice a day ear cleanings for 7 months (I never bled so much in my life), Pills, pills, pills (never got bit so much in my life), subcutaneous fluids, separate litter box monitoring (Let’s see. Blood, worms, density, color, firmness. Ugg!). 8 teeth come out in almost two hours of anesthesia. Lots and lots of TLC, all paid back in spades from Noie’s big heart. Everything eventually clears up or becomes easily manageable. We know we have succeeded when, after a year and a half, Noie no longer sleeps 22 hours a day. When we first brought Noel to the Animal Medical Center her best-guess age estimation was, oh, 8 years old. At a visit back to AMC 18 months later, the vets’ consensus of her age was now, oh, 4 years old. Perhaps less. That’s life on the street. A cat in Noel’s condition, almost dead on the street from the cruel life of an abandoned cat, a lucky rescue at the age of two and a half.

Noel still needs to be an only cat. The fact that she lives bloodlessly in a 5 cat household (all rescues) is a tribute to her common sense and a lot of personality management. The other cats walk by in awe of her Tough Cat Attitude, hair-trigger howl and ability to commandeer a sleeping spot. She’s super affectionate to Carol and me, tolerates human guests with great charm and dignity, and wears her happiness on her face all day long. We love her, she loves us, and everybody else leaves her alone. Who could ask for more?

Thank you to Gregg, cat rescuers and to all of you who support All Sentient Beings through your contributions and adoptions.

Happy Holidays.
Bill Bloxham

Carlo the cat

Carlo was a much loved pet until his owner got evicted. They both ended up in - separate - shelters. The animal shelter where Carlo got into - euthanizes its residents due to overcrowding. We fell in love with Carlo and pulled him from the death row and are looking for home for him.
Carlo is a beautiful and sweet cat. He gives enthusiastic headbutts, hugs and nose kisses; he is affectionate, playful and a great purrer. He is very well behaved, knows what the litter box is for, to retract claws during play.
Please consider adopting Carlo. He is healthy, neutered, vaccinated, 2 years old and supersweet.
If you want to meet Carlo, please call 347 563-2843

Senior Pets Site
The senior pets site and newsletter are dedicated to finding loving homes for senior dogs and cats. Many of these pets have had an owner pass away, or the owner was evicted or lost their home. The web site posts older dogs and cats as well as disabled pets who need new homes! Please visit regularly as new dogs and cats are posted every week and read the newsletter which comes out 4 times a year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Helping with AnimalLoversNetwork with free kibble

Free Kibbles can be donated to dogs and cats by clicking on Free Kibble and then don't forget to click on the little games -right or wrong answers, don't matter- they still donate some kibble daily. AND if you click on the reminder, they'll send you a daily reminder to click on. It's as easy as ...kibble! How neat is that?!
Click on this link to go there:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Annual Fund

All Sentient Beings, Inc. invites you to contribute to its first Annual Fund. As an information clearinghouse and animal rescue/adoption non-profit organization, we offer people and animals the help needed to live together in a holistic and healthy way. Your fully-deductible contribution will allow these homeless animals the chance for a new, safe and happy life, as well as educating the Caregivers about Pet Trusts, Advance Directives and good nutrition. We are listed with Pay Pal or you can call All Sentient Beings' voice-mail for further information: 212-642-8219

Mitchell and Norman need your help!

Two lovely, healthy, neutered male cats have been in foster care since their Person passed away. Now the foster family is leaving the country and they are in need of a Patient, Caring, Forever person or two, since they do not have to be adopted together.
They can be seen in New York City by calling 212-642-8219, the voice mail of our organization:
All Sentient Beings,Inc.

Stay tuned!

Monday, December 8, 2008

More Meows & Meanderings

FOSTERING a rescue animal is a life-saving task, and one that appeals on many levels. If people are unsure as to whether they are ready, financially or physically able to adopt a pet, then fostering can be a great solution. It's kind of like having your grandchildren over, knowing they're going home eventually!

The real issue here, of course, is that the home must be as pet-proof as if you were adopting. Tightly-fitted screens, no dangerous objects underfoot or where an animal can get at them, a commitment to good quality food and litter. The ability to clean litter boxes regularly (or walk a dog, obviously, but I'll concern myself here mainly with indoor cats). Careful when opening/closing outside doors, non-smoking homes, no oil paint or toxic chemicals in the home (artists: beware!), a good vet on file and a strong carry-case at hand, a quiet, calm home environment. In our organization's case, at least a commitment to holistic care, from vets to food quality.

For some foster situations, food & litter are provided by the animal rescue organization. In other cases, the foster family takes on that responsibility.
Usually, it's best to stipulate the conditions before taking on the challenge of a new pet. Are there other pets in residence? Children? Are people home during the day or is the animal all alone for much of its day/evening? Have the fosters done this before or do they need to be walked through the process? How long is the fostering for? Again, it's best to spell this out. Does their building allow pets?!

What I try to do is be honest: we will try to find a permanent home for Fluffy and hope to do so by.....If the foster says, no worries, take your time, that's great. Often, however, they have time constraints so we have to hustle. Sometimes it takes more than one foster home until the pet has the right loving, caring forever home.

I welcome comments, questions and discussion on this very important aspect of cat adoption. Please write in with your points of view, stories, concerns. Thanks!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

1st week of December

Westy from Sewall House

Dear Gregg,

Since 2001, the first summer I brought him from his city living to Sewall House, Westy has served as solace and companion not only to us but to many of you. Guests have photographed Westy and sent pictures, he has jumped on their lap and kept them company by the fireplace and often could be found on the porch. Even when he went blind he still knew his way around our property and never wandered off, like he knew where home was. As he grew slower and older, he would still come down the stairs to greet us when we pulled in the driveway. The Monday before Thanksgiving Kent bravely had Westy put out of his suffering, always a difficult decision for any animal owner.

We miss you Westy, I will think of you, as you often did, coming to me when I meditated or sleeping with Kent as he napped. I had Westy almost 18 years and we went through alot together. Blessings, Westy our friend.
-Donna Davidge
Sewall House

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Great Cat Book!

Check out the Ultimate Cat Lover - the Best Experts' Advice for a Happy, Healthy Cat, with Stories and Photos of Fabulous Felines. Marty Becker ("America's Favorite Vet") and others have edited dozens out of the thousands of submitted stories from all over. If you care to, have a look on p.116 for my story about my dear cat Polly,written just after she died very suddenly.

There are also some terrific photos: this is a wonderful book to give for Christmas!

Friends in Need

We are asking that people send a message to President-elect Barack Obama urging him to consider animal protection a priority when appointing his new Secretary of Agriculture.

Past Secretaries have been too closely-aligned with industry, so now is the time to appoint a Secretary who is not beholden to major players in the agribusiness world.

This will just take a moment to do, folks, but it will make an enormous difference in the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves.
Thank you.

You can write a message by clicking here:
or call: 866-675-2008

(thanks to Chloe Jo and Mariana for bringing this to our attention!!)

Sandra up for adoption

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Resources and Friends

There've been so many Adopt-a-Turkey projects that I chose not to even begin covering them. Maybe next year at this time, I will be able to set it all up way in advance. Meantime here's some wonderful resources we haven't mentioned in this column up to now.

FARM SANCTUARY, which is one of the caring organisations that included the turkey-saving in its sensational roster of yearly events, offers its Winter Wonderland this coming Thursday, December 4. Organised to celebrate compassion for all beings and to give farm animals the gift of life, the event will be held from 6-10pm at the Art Directors Club, 108 W.29 St. New York.
For more information:

PET ROX will blow your mind. This popular eco-rock and roll band, is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, performing at many fundraising events for animal charities, from the ASPCA birthday party in Union Square to seven consecutive annual appearances in Riverside Park at the American Cancer Society's Dogswalk, to Brooklyn's Prospect Park Zoo.

The next performance is Wednesday, December 3 at 9:30pm at "Don't Tell Mama",
343 W.46 St. on Manhattan's famous Restaurant Row. Doors open at 9pm, cover charge is $15 with a two drink minimum. Reservations are suggested: 212-757-0788.

The Pet-Rox line-up consists entirely of performers who also work in various capacities promoting issues relating to animal welfare. All their musical numbers relate to animals and my house-call vet, Jeffrey Levy, is behind it all.
For more information:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Meows & Meanderings

Many people are involved in animal welfare and well-being, not just those of us who rescue and adopt. From time to time, I'd like to mention some of the groups that are working so hard to help the cause. Today I shall introduce you to two out of the many.

The League of Humane Voters is a remarkable organization that has information for you on its web page and works so hard to inform NYC on vitally important animal issues, from the terrible fires in the pet stores to working with the NY City Council to rectify the glitches in our system. LOHV-NYC is devoted to electing humane lawmakers and lobbying for stronger animal welfare laws, such as demanding to know now, why a bill introduced 10 years ago with the support of more than a majority of council members, has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

This bill, Intro 417, has been languishing due, according to many rumors, to the opposition from Speaker Christine Quinn. The bill would not only be a pet protection but a public safety bill, in that not only animals were killed, but fire-fighters have had to go to hospital, just putting out the pet store fires. The bill would ensure the installation of sprinklers in all pet stores and seems perfectly Humane to us. Look up the LOHV online to get the latest information on how you can help. If you visit LOHV-NYC or better, join them, Executive Director John Phillips will keep you in the loop; this way you can take action on this and other urgent issues; being pro-active, is, after all, the name of the game.


This organization has been around for a while, in different incarnations and I've been active in it for about 25 years. Elizabeth Forel runs a wonderful group which you can join by jumping right into the fray. She puts out an email information sheet, Horse Sense, which has weekly updates about issues and actions concerning the city's poor, ill-used and abused carriage horses.

Learn who's on our side on the Council (clue: he's running against Bloomberg for Mayor) and where to join us in our protests and activists events. Come to the programs and fund-raisers, contact your city council member, And volunteer: every weekend, weather permitting, they set up a table near the hack line to educate tourists and New Yorkers alike, about the inhumanities of the horse-drawn carriage industry. It's from Sat/Sun from 1-5pm.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Joys and Sorrows of being an Animal Activist

The joys and sorrows of being an animal activist, supporter and general compassionate Being, make for what in the "real" world could be construed as Mood Swings. The incredible emotional roller coaster of it all would leave us gasping for a free moment to breathe, but of course for rescuers, there is never that moment.

About 26 years ago, when I first returned to Hell's Kitchen, it was after a long absence. The neighborhood was rather run-down and, in its own way, quite likable. But one didn't walk around at night very casually, so when returning from Lincoln Center one dark, rainy night, I found myself suddenly thrust into the next chapter of my life.

In those days, you walked in a determined way, eyes straight ahead, no eye contact, the usual drill. And lo! a cat jumped right into my arms and said "Take me Home with You." I looked around, nobody there, so I continued walking, with her (I named her Polly) and at each corner, I'd say, "well, you can turn around and go home, just let me know." And Polly just stayed put.

Once home, I put her in a room separate from my guys (lovely mushes with us, vicious, vindictive and violent with strays) and we watched tv together, had our meals together and all was well. BUT, being the good citizen I am and the naive, totally ingenuous, debutante cat-rescuer I then was, I felt obliged to post up signs, tracing my steps from the night before.

Sure enough, I began getting calls, all pointing to a cat missing from a local shop run by a man we'll call Ari. Ari wanted his cat back, and although my heart told me that had he cared for Polly better, she wouldn't have escaped into my arms (and home), I let him come to see her and when she didn't mind going back to him, let him take her back. He didn't offer to reimburse me for anything I'd done for her, nor thank me for looking after her. He promised to have her spayed and not keep her locked in the dark back room where she'd been.

I foolishly gave her back to him and went in frequently to check on her. She was in the back room again, wasn't spayed, although I offered to pay for it and arrange for a nice vet to check her. After a few weeks of this futile effort, I went in one day only to be told that they'd given her to a fish & chips shop somewhere else because they were fed up with me pestering them.

Needless to say, I have felt guilty about this for these past 25 years and even named a future rescue cat: Polly, I have learned not to post up FOUND signs but to look for LOST CAT signs, to use the internet to help find owners, and not to return some animals to people who didn't look after them in the first place. I've learned a lot since that fateful experience, and I now rescue, place and agonize over scores of cats each year.

With the climate changes affecting "kitten and puppy season" and now, the economic reversals, leading to lost homes, jobs etc., the situation is obviously much much worse. So our job is increasingly difficult, which is why we have set up the non-profit rescue and information service,
All Sentient Beings, Inc. We hope to better inform the public on Pet Trusts, Healthful, Holistic Pet Care and more. As well as continuing our ongoing battle with the numbers of abandoned animals.

Where you can help, would be to send in your own stories on this blog, we're always interested in how you found (or lost) your animal, what you're doing about the many unwanted animals in your neck of the woods and how some of these innocent, sweet (sometimes) and helpless creatures have changed your life. Welcome to that Roller-Coaster of All Things Feline!

Post Script: the second Polly, who died in 2005, made it into the recently-published book, "The Ultimate Cat Lover," the Best experts' Advice for a Happy, Healthy Cat Marty Becker and others. My story is "The Cat from Hell's Kitchen."