Good Morning Weirdos and welcome to the Sunday blog! Today we wanted to discuss our 5-year goals. We have had our 501(c)(3) status for 6 months and although we are still learning and growing as a team and as an organization, we believe that having long-term goals in place is one of the best ways to ensure that we have guiding principals in our day-to-day operations. It helps us to be able to ask the question – Will [this action] help us to achieve our goals and is it in line with our guiding principals? If the answer is no, then we know that it’s not something we should do or be involved with. If the answer is yes and we feel that it is attainable, then we can choose to move forward and throw ourselves into it, heart and soul.
With kitten season starting, we really need to work together to make sure we help as many cats and kittens now. If you need help with a feral colony, please let us know so we can see if we are able to assist you. If you know of a pregnant stray cat or one that has had kittens, please contact local rescues and see if they can help. Moving forward, we will work to continue building up the TNR division and will be working towards having the ability to foster friendly strays and kittens that are found.
Some of the other efforts we will be continuing to work on moving forward:
A few other things that we’d like to say regarding the Weirdos, as it relates to the actual business, non-profit end of things. First, we appreciate all of you and could not do this without you. THANK YOU for everything you do to make this group the amazing bunch of Weirdos it is. Also, we work hard to be transparent and up-front in all aspects of the business. If you have questions or concerns, we welcome you to bring them to our attention at any time. This is just as much your family and business as it is ours.
Best Wishes & Purrs,
The past four weeks has created a new way of life for so many in the United States, as well as individuals in our group. With the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, many of us have begun to worry about what we should do with our beloved fur-babies should we become infected. While the Centers for Disease Control has indicated the risk of spreading infection to your pets is minimal, it is still recommending treating your pets as you would your human household members. This means no snuggling, petting, or sharing of food or bedding. This is disheartening as our pets are often our source of comfort when we are not feeling well. If you are in a situation where you are the only caregiver for the animals, you should wear a cloth face covering around them and to wash your hands before and after feeding, cleaning or petting them.
While only a fraction of the population that becomes symptomatic of COVID-19 will require hospitalization, it is a reality that should be addressed. Creating a preparedness plan is something every pet owner should do once they’ve adopted an animal. This plan should also be updated regularly. Living in Ohio where our concerns of natural disasters are rather minimal, most of us may not have a plan in place. Now is a good time to create one! The most important steps to take include appointing someone who has a key to your home to take care of your animals, maintaining up to date records as well as instructions for the animals. If you do not have someone you can trust to take care of your animals, you can reach out to local shelters and animal service agencies to find out what support is available.
As pet owners and animal lovers, we may find ourselves in the position of caregiver to a friend or family members pet. As the emergency caregiver, you may be concerned about contracting COVID-19 from the infected persons home or animals. While you are unlikely to become infected from their animal, precautions should still be taken when entering their home. According to the National Institute of Health, the virus can survive two to three days on plastic, outside of a host. It will be very important to wear face masks while in the home and around the animals, maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose. By taking these precautions, you can safely assume the caregiver role, allowing the inflicted to focus on recovery.
Here are some informative websites that have accurate information:
From the leadership team to all our Weirdos, stay safe and healthy! We are here for you to reach out to. Be sure to check in with your loved ones regularly!
Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland would like to take the time today to shine a spotlight on a rescue for who we have great admiration and love for- Tabby Tails Cat Rescue. Tabby Tails is a non profit cat rescue located in Toledo, Ohio. It is a small operation run by its founder, Kay Banks. Kay selflessly devotes all of her time, energy, and finances to operating her rescue. Kay will take in any cat that needs her help, but she specializes in taking in cats that would be otherwise cast away. The rescue is filled with cats with physical, mental, or behavioral abnormalities that make it more difficult to be cared for or adopted out by other shelters or kennels. Kay and her rescue volunteers work to rehabilitate the cats in their care and instill the confidence back into these cats’ personalities so they can live their best life despite their limitations. One of the really great things about Tabby Tails is that it is a cage free rescue. All of the cats are free roaming and much happier for it! This also gives Kay and her volunteers the ability to really learn about each cat’s personality which helps for matching them up to potential adopters.
I personally have been to Tabby Tails to adopt one of my cats! I made the drive from Cleveland out to Toledo so I could meet a few of the cats in Kay’s care. My husband and I had just adopted a dog and our 3 resident cats were having a hard time building a relationship with the dog, and the dog had no idea how to interact with them. I was specifically looking for a “dog cat,” one that I could be sure knew what a dog was and wasn’t afraid to play and interact with one. I emailed Kay and she gave me a list of current cats she had that got along with the resident dog at Tabby Tails. So I hit the road on a snowy, cold, day and that’s when I met Elvis. As soon as I entered Tabby Tails I was swarmed by cats! Basically, a dream come true for a cat lover! They were all very interested in me and what I was doing there. I could tell right away that they were all very happy cats and well socialized. Kay did also warn me, as she does all visitors to the rescue, that the rescue does include some cats which just don’t want to be disturbed or startled, so that not to just start petting a cat that hasn’t expressed their interest or permission for an interaction. Knowing these particularities about cats and their behavior is what makes Tabby Tails a very nurturing and safe environment for the cats living there. Kay introduced me to Elvis (now Oz), and he climbed on my shoulder! She said that he was great with all the other cats and that he loved to play with the dog whenever he had the chance. After walking through the rescue a bit and looking at all the lovely cats, I had Elvis say his goodbyes to his friends and to Kay and I took him back to his now forever home. (He’s the perfect fit, by the way. He’s hilarious and mischievous and he absolutely loves the dog and bridged the gap between the dog and the other 3 cats!)
Taking care of the day to day needs of the cats at Tabby Tails is expensive, plus the added expense of the special medical care that many of the cats there need. Tabby Tails relies on donations from generous cat lovers like yourself to keep up the great work they are doing. You can check out Tabby Tails’ Facebook Page to make a donation- https://www.facebook.com/TabbyTailz/
Kay has also recently written a book about her rescue efforts and the proceeds will benefit the rescue! (Some triggering and not-so-glamourous aspects of rescue are included in the book- but that is the reality of the work!) You can buy the book on Amazon! - https://www.amazon.com/Living-60-Cats-Tales-Rescue-ebook
Another great way to learn more about Tabby Tails, and to see some adorable videos, is to follow Kay on Tik Tok! @theRealCEOofCats
Tabby Tails is a wonderful rescue that is definitely worth supporting and knowing. Adoption fees are only $45 for all the cats there but the cats in their care are priceless! Keep up the great work, Tabby Tails! Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland support you and your efforts to help cats in need!
-Cassandra Bean Ungvarsky
Special thanks to our Moderator Amy Marie Filbert for her work on this blog!
Good Afternoon Weirdos! Today’s topic may have been covered before or you may have heard it before, but it does no harm in repeating. Our cats love to be nosy and join in the festivities no matter what we do. While we are in quarantine getting ready to celebrate Easter/Passover this weekend, remember the items that are definitely NOT cat friendly. My top four warnings about this holiday are: Easter Lilies, Easter Grass, Chocolate, and crafting items! Read on here on our blog to learn more about each item and the dangers they pose. If you suspect your cat has gotten into any of these toxic items I urge you to call the Animal Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435!
Easter lilies is a big one. Since, according to Dr. Justine A. Lee DVM of www.pethealthnetwork.com warns, “all parts of this beautiful plant are toxic to your furry friends.” Even one innocent nibble on a petal can send you to the emergency vet with a cat who is drooling, pawing at its mouth, foaming at the mouth, vomiting and difficulty breathing. This is not just the Easter Lily, but every part of the lily family tree. Some examples are Tiger lilies and Day lilies so you really can’t swap one for the other and stay safe.
As always, when enjoying the time with little ones remember that Easter grass (the plastic type) that come in pre-made baskets or can be bought at the discount store is shiny and crinkly. It will inevitably draw your cat in if he/she is the curious type. Lucky for us now a days, we have paper Easter grass as a safer alternative. Paper Easter grass is recyclable, and best of all won’t slice or stricture your cats' intestines. Most importantly, if you see plastic Easter grass coming out of an animal, NEVER EVER PULL OR TRY TO REMOVE IT YOURSELF. Doing so would cause more harm; never take the chance and wrap up your cat and take it to the vet immediately.
Next, chocolate we all know in large doses is bad for cats. If a child has left it out on the floor, or unwrapped it and wandered away, be extra careful. Remind them to clean it up and put it where Mr. Buttons or Shelly Cat cannot get to it. We have a ceramic candy dish in the kitchen that is off limits and has a lid.
Last but not least is a reminder about crafts. Decorating eggs is always my family’s favorite. Vinegar and water may keep the cat away but we have a chonky fellow that will always try to dip his paws in any open cup he sees us with. Now what am I really getting at? The dye for the eggs, mostly it’s food coloring and human grade. But, if you opt for the fancy glittered ones, paint pots, and/or galaxy swirl eggs that might be a problem. Be aware of what ingredients are listed on the box. Keep your cat off the table or put them in another room until the dyes are dumped and eggs are fully dry.
The ASPCA lists the animal poison control hotline as (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your feline has gotten into some chemicals. Note, on their website they say a consultation fee may apply. I remember when my curious cat decided to eat my daughter’s ADHD medicine. Since it’s handled like a poisoning by the emergency vet they would not intervene until I called animal poison control first. Keep this number handy and call it on the way to the emergency vet to ensure timely service for your cat. (Ours was such a low dose our cat was back to himself within 2 hours and my daughter now takes her meds in the bathroom and doesn’t leave them on her breakfast plate). You never know what a cat might think is tasty even if you think they wouldn’t go for it.
Have a safe and Happy Holiday from the Cleveland Weirdos, everyone!
In any business, whether for profit or not, changes are inevitable as the organization learns and grows. The Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is operated with the guiding principles that are set forth in our by-laws, as a legal entity. The Weirdo Leadership believes honesty is everything and transparency is priceless. In keeping with this, we wanted to offer a forum of discussion around the recent changes in the structure of the Board and Administration Team. We deeply value and appreciate beyond words the daily participation and of course, generosity of our members when needed, especially in these difficult times and wanted to give you all a peek behind the curtain and a chance to understand how an entity such as ours must work with legalities, regulations, and structure. As you know, there are three Weirdos no longer in Leadership – Christy K O’Malley (Prior Board Chair), Rachel Deemer Choike (Prior Executive Director) and Lesley Pontin (Prior Site Administrator and non-board member).
The majority of the board in place in March 2020 – Christy Higbee (Treasurer), Cassandra Bean Ungvarsky (Community Engagement Director), Dawn Thomas (TNR Director) and Ivy Novosel (Records Director) were not comfortable with what became a disjointed communication structure and lack of a cohesive vision for the future. These things happen within any organization or group or collective of any kind, due to differences of opinion, vision and leadership techniques. We do not take these changes lightly as they were deeply involved with our group and their removal was done without any bitterness or spite, but rather with a deep breath and a look to the horizon.
As such, a vote was set forth as per the terms of the Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland’s by-laws and Christy, Rachel and Lesley were removed from the Board and from their Administrative duties by majority vote. At that time, new board members were elected (all returning board members or Weirdos) – Brandy Dita Alderson (Board Chair), Amber Tischler (Executive/Creative Director), Meredith Janik (Compliance Director) and Mandi Stevens (Director of Grants).
We feel a renewed vigor and a lighter weight on our shoulders. We are so, so appreciative of all of our members. Your stories, anecdotes, offers of help to those in need, and of course the photos of your precious fur babies are why this group exists and thrives. We are always here for your questions or concerns. Stay safe, stay healthy. Weirdos unite!
Rescuers and cat lovers alike know that springtime marks the start of “kitten season”. Kitten season is a term coined by animal welfare organizations to describe the influx of kittens being born and found during the warmer months. Kitten season typically ranges from March-September in Ohio, however kittens can be born year round. In this blog I want to prepare my fellow Weirdos with the knowledge of what to do if you were to find a single kitten or a litter of kittens.
When finding a litter of kittens or a single kitten, take note of where you find them. In the middle of a yard or sidewalk without shelter? In a woodpile, shed, or under a porch? Acknowledging where you have found them can help you determine how to proceed.
Next, visually assess their body condition. Are their umbilical cords attached? Are their eyes open? Are they crying? Can you see their ribs? If they are in a healthy and normal body condition, the next thing you will want to do is wait for mom.
You will want to constantly be monitoring the kittens for about 2 hours. During this time you can provide them with a heat source (a warmed water bottle, warmed sock filled with uncooked rice, or a blanket). If you are worried about them wandering from the nest, you can place them in a shallow tub or box to contain them. It is important to understand, neonatal kittens have the BEST chance of survival when with mom. Not all kittens that are found without mom are abandoned. If mom is not initially seen, she could be hunting for food or simply out of sight as to not attract predators to her nest or because she is scared of you. If they are of good/healthy body condition when found, wait for mom! A neonatal kitten’s best chance of survival is with mom. Wait. For. Mom.
If they are in poor body condition, the first thing you would want to do is reach out to your local animal shelter or humane society for advice on how to proceed. Neonatal kittens need to be fed on a schedule that is determined by their age and weight, which may not be feasible for most finders. Many local animal shelters are unable to accommodate neonatal kittens due to lack of foster homes. Unfortunately, many times, neonatal kittens in shelters may not survive because there is lack of supportive care. This is something to consider when finding kittens.
The Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland website is home to ample resources for veterinarians and shelters to consult should you find neonatal kittens. Kitten Lady is also an amazing resource to show you how easy, but important it is to save neonatal kittens. Her website illustrates life savings tips like how to bottle feed, how to stimulate kittens to urinate and defecate, and more. As always, the leadership team is always available to help any member facing a situation where they find neonatal kittens. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Mews and thank you’s for reading,
Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland Administrator