Archive for The Cat Box

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FollowTheLeaderThank you so much for following this blog about animals and animal communication! I wanted to let you know, however, that I have moved the entire blog to my main website and that is where new posts appear. I hope you will hop on over there to catch up and sign up to follow me at that location. And if you have a blog too, please put that in the comments there so I can check it out. Thanks so much! LetaSignature

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Animal “Walk-Ins” – A Different Kind of Reincarnation

Is this Moose, Merlin, or both?

What’s going on? The number of reincarnation cases I’ve been getting these past few weeks has been mind-boggling. Maybe it’s just a reflection of the fact that more people are believing in the fact that souls reincarnate… including animal souls. Or maybe it’s because more souls are striving to evolve more quickly by existing on our planet (which I have read somewhere). Whatever the reason, many of us are searching like mad for those special animals we have lost, hoping they come back to us SOON, so that we can continue to share this lifetime together.

To say the least, this has been a very interesting time, and one of the aspects of reincarnation that has been coming to the forefront for me lately with the animals is “walk-ins.” Moose/Merlin, to the left is a perfect example.

But first, for those who may not be familiar with the term “walk-in” as it applies to reincarnation, it simply means that one soul trades places with another soul and takes over that soul’s body, with both souls in agreement. Apparently this is more easily done when there has been an accident or a near death experience and the soul previously inhabiting the body is ready to leave. Usually one soul replaces the other, but sometimes both souls “share” the same body–again, by agreement. And, at least as far as my understanding goes, the souls are usually members of the same “soul group.”

I never thought about how this might apply to animals until a few years ago when I had my first walk-in case where a deceased dog entered another dog who was at a rescue sanctuary. The person involved was very drawn to the particular rescue dog in question, so the soul of her deceased companion zipped right in–by agreement–and co-inhabited the body of the rescu’ee, who was four or five years old at the time and was happy to share her body but not ready to leave. This was my first up-close-and-personal insight into this phenomenon and the fact that it occurs with animals as well as humans. In this case, how the departed spirit chose to display her traits and prove who she was to her person was most fascinating and very specific.

But back to Moose/Merlin. I had an inquiry (through this blog, actually) about a kitten who had come to the attention of a woman whose cat, Merlin, had crossed the Rainbow Bridge not long before. Merlin had been a beautiful black cat with great wisdom. The new kitten was black but, well, he had a lot going on. He had obviously been through major trauma and had some injuries, including a broken jaw. He was not even old enough to be weaned but had somehow found his way into our subject’s life and heart. She of course was not looking for a Merlin replacement but took the kitten in to help rehabilitate him.

And so began the story. Shortly after taking him in, she began to realize there was something special about this kitten and the way they had come together, even though he was born before Merlin departed. The kitten also exhibited a few very particular kitten traits that had been predominant in Merlin when he was a wee lad. Too much to ignore. So, while she called him “Moose” starting out, our reader feels sure that Moose is Merlin, and came back to her as a walk-in, in spite of great odds and life-threatening circumstances. And I happen to agree.

This is how it often happens. Seemingly by accident. Not in ways one could predict. If we are meant to be together, we souls have a divine knowing and understanding of how to make that happen. And sometimes, if all else fails, it’s through coming into a body that already exists, trading places, and settling down into the niche we’re meant to be in–with the person who’s waiting for us.

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Why Foster? Simple. It’s a Joyous Thing!

A Bedside Table Full of Blessings

When the plea went out from our local shelter recently for help with the dozens of tiny, motherless kittens who needed fostering, I finally ponied up and jumped in full force.

When I went to pick up a few of the babies and saw how many there were (literally dozens), peeping their squeaky little appeals to all who passed, sitting dejectedly in the corner of their cage, or, in the case of the stronger ones, leaping up and hanging from the cage door so you couldn’t miss them, I decided to take as many as I thought I could handle. So nine it was, from three different litters.

These babies weighed between one and 1.5 lbs., mind you, and gaining enough weight to be spayed or neutered and then put up for adoption was the main goal. Socialization the next, almost equal, priority. I thought, “Okay. I can do that. A couple of weeks of a little mayhem but lots of play time with kittens — it’ll be fun!”

Think again, Leta. The day after taking my babies home, ringworm was discovered in the nursery so all in that section had to be isolated and treated. It was decided to keep mine where they were — at my house in my guest bedroom — but a week later one of my tiny tots did glow blue (not good) when the shelter vet scanned him for ringworm with the black light.

Alas.

So it was decided my crew too should receive treatment. This consists of dipping as well as oral medication. Since I had unexpected guests arriving for a long weekend, and the kittens had to go to the shelter for their treatments as well as routine vaccines and deworming, the shelter graciously offered to keep my babies for four nights so my guests could inhabit my guest quarters without having nine kittens scrambling all over them.

I went to retrieve the babies yesterday. Or part of them. I had decided only to bring back four or five of the smallest, as the nine-some had indeed proved to be fairly tricky to handle. The stronger amongst them would attach themselves to me like iron shavings to a magnet when I walked in the guest room door, or several would come pouring out into the hall and land amidst my six dogs who were standing there ever curious about the new occupants. (Fortunately my dogs are cat-friendly, so no mishaps there). But it was hard. Besides, all had gained weight and thrived under my watch so I thought the larger ones would probably do just fine if I left them there. So four or five it would be.

NOT.

When I got to the shelter I was first and foremost totally awed by all the  the folks who work there do for these little guys, every day. They have to do ungodly things to them several times a day (pills, shots, dipping, cleaning up diarrhea, to name a few), keeping decontamination uppermost in mind at all times.  I was so impressed!

But I was also horrified. Every single one of my babies had lost at least 2 or 3 of the hard-earned ounces I had put on them in the ten days they were with me. One was back down to 1 lb. and had horrible diarrhea. Her little face looked like a Biafran orphan, and I could tell she was walking that line between deciding to live or not. They were all depressed and somewhat lifeless. After all, in their circumstance they could not be taken out and handled so they could not receive the oh-so-important cuddling and loving and play time all babies need in order to thrive.

Needless to say I scooped up all nine of my babies again . . . plus one. She too was tiny, tiny, and was isolated in a cage all alone. I could not leave her behind.

I’ve had “my” 10 babies home for 24 hours now, and am as protective of and concerned with their welfare as a mama bear. They are getting top-grade kitten food from the health food store, are eating voraciously 4 or 5 times a day, and some soothing intestinal herbs and powerful micronutrients are already putting a little pizazz back into them. A few are still puny and obviously not feeling well, but several are zooming around the room again turning somersaults together, or sitting in the sun watching the birds outside their large window. And my little Biafran baby, Blue, is beginning to stretch when she wakes up (a good sign) and show a lot more interest in her food.

I don’t plan to adopt any of these wee ones, but yeah, they are starting to take on distinct personalities and names:  Zapata, Sparks, Ochenta and so on, and it will be a red letter day when I can take them back to the shelter fat and happy and well socialized so that they can go to wonderful, caring homes. It’ll be a while — no two-week frolic, for sure — but it’ll be more than worth it.

"Sparks," so named by Ava, a friend's little girl in Boston.

Whether it’s baby kitties, an adult dog or cat, or a rescue horse, I urge you to help out when you can. It is so gratifying and good for your soul, not to mention life-saving for these precious beings.

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Pound Puppies = Problem Poops

This is just another way of saying:

  • Rescue dogs usually have upset tummies. Or . . .
  • Shelter dogs have digestive problems. Or . . .
  • Yuk! What’s wrong with my new dog?!

Any way you want to put it, this fact is usually paramount for the dog or puppy you bring away from a shelter or rescue situation. Same goes for cats, kitties, and horses. Why?

If this looks stressful to you, just think what it feels like to him.

Stress. Poor nutrition, possibly even starvation. Emotional anxiety. Grief. Any or all of the above, and more, often plague the rescue while on the streets or in the shelter. They’ve lost their families, or been abandoned, are totally confused and trying to figure out where in the world they are.

This has recently been brought to my attention once again by the arrival of ‘Bear,’ an unspayed, year-old Great Pyrenees female I rescued from the animal shelter 12 days ago. Meet Bear, my number six (yes count them, SIX) dog:

Bear at the shelter. Stay tuned for a follow-up picture and report soon!

Bear was picked up at the landfill in Taos, NM, pretty bedraggled, and then spent a few weeks behind bars being evaluated for aggression (emotional stress) before being spayed and put up for adoption. I heard about her and did a ‘meet & greet’ with two of my other dogs, and listened to her and to my heart about her disposition. I approved, she approved, and my other dogs approved. So she was immediately spayed and home with me the next day.

All is well, and Bear is the perfect ‘peaceable kingdom’ candidate already, just two weeks in. But she came home ravenously hungry 24/7 and burping all day every day. She was underweight, her stool loose, her coat rough and matted.

Chiweenie Tucker now, hale and hardy.

Ah, yes. Shades of my last rescue experience two years ago — bringing little Chiweenie Tucker home from the shelter. Tucker, who now weighs in at 18 lbs., was only two-thirds of that weight when I got him, and his diarrhea was so bad we feared for the worst.

Or Hank, the 29-year-old Quarter Horse I rescued from starvation several years ago. His was a very extreme case and required a carefully orchestrated re-introduction of food and supplements  into his life.

Some of my particular ways of rehabbing rescues include top quality food (I use Flint River for the pre-prepared part of my dogs’ and cats’ diets), Simplexity’s  Super Blue-Green Algae products, especially probiotics to replenish their depleted natural resources, and the herb powdered Slippery Elm (the inner bark) to soothe their highly irritated digestive tracts. There are different variations of these nutritional elements, and other things I use as well, but everybody who comes in as a rescue gets very, very special food and care until they are back to balance. As an example, you can read about Tucker’s special diet HERE.

Just be prepared if you rescue an animal. Don’t expect them to be the picture of health and perfectly well adjusted the moment they come to their new home. Give them time, love, and attention. Just grit your teeth, start brushing out the mats or bathing out the dirt, and customize your new animal’s diet and exercise program. You can bring them all the way back and make them gloriously beautiful, healthy, and happy. They never forget and are grateful to you forever for it.

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READ MORE ABOUT WHY PROBIOTICS ARE SO IMPORTANT FOR A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM AND DIGESTIVE TRACT HERE.

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Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

Lily gathering rosebuds

I thought of that old prophetic adage this morning when I spied my precious cat, Lily, posed to take the best advantage of what little sun there was on the bottom corner of my bed.

No matter how cold, on most winter mornings my bed is flooded with New Mexico’s unmatched and  glorious sunshine, and Lily habitually naps there for hours, soaking up its life-giving warmth. This morning was a little different, a little overcast, the sun wasn’t quite its usual self and sure enough, by mid-morning there was no sun at all.  Lily must have sensed what was coming because when it did peek out for a short while, lighting up that tiny corner, she seized the moment and arrayed herself to make the best of it.

Lily is a special cat. She knows how to gather rosebuds. How to enjoy the moment, smell the coffee, make the best of any situation. She is an only cat amongst a boisterous family of five dogs, big and little, so she has to adapt on a minute-to-minute basis. And she does. Lily is grace under pressure and one could take lessons from watching her.

The Santa Fe Human Society recently held a cat photo contest as part of its ongoing and inspiring efforts to involve the community in what is one of the most successful animal shelters in the nation. I noticed the deadline was just a few days away and that there were very few entries, so I rifled through my digital cat photo files and sent in one of Lily — one I felt did not really show her off that well, but still, I was hoping that more entries would generate more entries. Lily wrote her own submission statement which you can see below the photo here.

“My name is Lily . . . short for Liliputian. I am an only cat whose purpose in life is to take care of my five dogs. This picture shows me ‘in action’ with Charlie but represents only one of the many services I offer. I am devoted to my work.”

Lo and behold. Having forgotten all about it, about ten days later Lily received a lovely letter informing her that she had won First Place in the Tabby category and Second Place in Best of Show (out of almost 40 entries)! I was floored. Lily gracefully took it in stride, neither overly proud nor feigning undeservedness. Here is a picture of Lily’s trophies, ribbons, and certificates, which I picked up on her behalf just yesterday.

We all need to take lessons from Lily. Enjoy whatever sunshine there may be. Cuddle up to your closest friend without reservation and absorb their warmth and love. Take good care of your family. And gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

Thank you, Lily, for being such a beautiful reminder of living life to the fullest in each and every moment.

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Please Consider Adopting an ‘Owner Surrender’

What is an ‘owner surrender’? You probably already know, but just in case: being classified as an ‘owner surrender’ is one of the most heartbreaking conditions an animal can find itself in. These are the dogs, cats, horses, birds, and other animals who have been given up by their owners for adoption. They are abundant in our shelters and humane societies. Many are quite aged, and many have health conditions. Others are just thrown away because someone gets tired of them or they’re going through a difficult growth spurt. Whichever it may be, the term ‘owner surrender’ has come to carry connotations that are not valid. People still may tend to see that classification on a dog or cat’s card at the shelter and think to themselves, “Uh oh, this one will have big problems. No way can I consider him!”

Not so. Please keep an open mind. Here are some facts I recently came across  from a 2007 Pethealth Inc. study as reported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

The top 10 reasons for canine relinquishment

1. Moving
2. Landlord issues
3. Cost of pet maintenance
4. No time for a pet
5. Inadequate facilities
6. Too many pets in the home already
7. Pet illness
8. Personal problems
9. Biting
10. No homes for littermates

The top 10 reasons for feline relinquishment

1. Too many cats in the house
2. Allergies
3. Moving
4. Cost of pet maintenance
5. Landlord issues
6. No homes for littermates
7. House soiling
8. Personal problems
9. Inadequate facilities
10. Doesn’t get along with other pets

If you’re reading these lists like I am, at least 8 out of 10 of the top reasons for surrendering dogs and cats relate directly to the owners or peoples’ issues, not to the animals themselves. And even then, if the animal does have a problem, like biting or soiling outside the litter box, those types of behaviors are often linked to larger issues in the household or the environment to which the animal is reacting instinctively or normally.

What is so sad to me is the emotional toll being abandoned takes on a loyal pet. You can see it on their faces as you walk through your local shelter viewing the animals up for adoption. Besides the confusion you will see on most, the owner surrenders are often severely depressed and sad, and it surely shows.

In my experience as an animal communicator, these rescues are usually the most grateful of any you can take home. They DO understand what has happened, and when you take them into your heart and treasure them it lights up their life and they are able to turn their love and allegiance to you 200%.

I’ve taken several rescues in my lifetime who were in the owner surrender category and can only say they have been among the most loyal and devoted animals I’ve ever had.

So please, if you’re considering adopting an animal from a shelter, don’t rule out the ‘owner surrenders.’ Know that they are in dire need of reassurance and affection — and yes, possibly medication and special attention. But they are well worth it. No. They are MORE than worth it.

And for those happy pups in the shelter who haven’t a care in the world and want to go home with everybody — well they deserve great homes too, so don’t pass one of them up either if they’re your cat’s meow!

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Two Good Friends – Chiweenie Tucker and His Guardian Angel, Lily

When my own child, Hannah, was itty bitty, before she could even talk or walk, her favorite book in the whole world was named that: Two Good Friends. It was a little hardcover book with simple illustrations of two animals, a bear and a duck, who became devoted friends. There was not much to it. They just did simple little things for each other on each page, with minimal words and gestures.

We read that book a thousand times, and for sentimental reasons I wish I knew where it was now. I see on Amazon that an original of this 1974 publication now sells for up to $60!

Anyway, the point is, there is just something about true friendship that can’t be bought, beat, mimicked or made up for. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or full of particular flare, and great feats and big gifts are not required to prove its sincerity. That kind of devotion touches all hearts when witnessed, as its simple representation obviously did for my precious daughter all those years ago.

My cat Lily (short for Liliputian because

Lily keeping Tucker clean

she was so tiny when I found her) has taken it upon herself to be a good friend to all of my five dogs. But her purpose in life, her raison d’etre,  is to be the absolute best friend, ever, of my Chiweenie, Tucker. And to keep watch over him and make sure he stays clean.

When I asked Lily about why she had instantly adopted Tucker as her own when I brought him home a year and a half ago, she let me know that she had immediately recognized a kindred spirit in him, and the fact that he, like she, was a rescue off the streets, sorely undernourished, scared and depressed, hit her in the heart. Plus, he was just her size — the opposite of her other canine housemates, who were all huge and hairy. Not wanting to seem shallow, she continued that that part didn’t matter so much though; it was the heart connection that counted.

Lily and Tucker, just hangin' out together.

Whatever creates these unusually loyal attachments and devotions, I don’t know. But I do know we all recognize them when we see them and are lit up by them. They open our hearts, are unknowable, and put us in awe of our truly miraculous universe and its workings. I mean, how does one small cat who came off the streets five years ago instantly recognize the needs of one small, insecure dog coming from a similar fate? How do a duck and a bear make friends?

My baby daughter obviously knew. She recognized something, somewhere deep in her essence, in that little book — something that she’s never lost. She still to this day has friendships from all phases of her lifetime that will never die.

If you have only one friend, that makes two of you. Two good friends. Give great thanks, for you are truly blessed. And if you can find it, go buy that book for your child or for a friend’s child. It will instill something in his or her little baby heart that will last a lifetime.

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