Part of our mission within the Weirdo Cat Lovers of Cleveland community is to assist pet parents provide emergency veterinary care. Thanks to our valued members, we are often able to raise the funds needed to assist in this process. Occasionally, no amount of veterinary intervention is enough to heal the afflicted cat. While this is never the desired outcome, we are thankful we have been able to help these cats cross the Rainbow Bridge peacefully. WCLOCLE are hopeful that in assisting pet parents ease their beloved cats’ pain and discomfort, we have also helped them find peace and closure by returning their ashes to their homes. Each member of the leadership team feels the direct impact of these losses personally. We want to thank every one of our members for the love and support they provide during all of our emergency cases. Whether you donated personally, provided kind and loving thoughts and words, or just bumped the post, the leadership team would like to thank you for support. In loving memory of all those we have lost, including Willow, Denver, Frosty, Chloe, Crinkle & Wiggles. Until we meet again...
If you have spent any time perusing our fb page, you’ll probably notice a proliferation of kitten posts. It seems like kittens are coming out of the woodwork and you would be correct. According to the ASPCA website, Kitten season is from March to October. Depending on the climate , it could be sooner or later. This year we had a warmer than average winter with less snowfall. In fact, Cleveland saw a deficit of two feet of snow. Another major change impacting kitten season this year would be the COVID-19 closures affecting us in Cleveland the second week of March. This year the warm winter and changes due to coronavirus have made this kitten season very challenging. Here we will provide information as to how you can help during kitten season and why it takes a village to help these little fur babies out.
Why won’t a rescue take my kittens that I found?:
This is a common question we get from fellow Weirdos. Veterinarian offices and rescues are often the first line of defense when it comes to homeless, sick and injured kittens. Usually someone will notice kittens whose mom has not been spotted in a while (more on this later), or they will have a feral or stray mom bring their kittens to a feeding station or to a house with friendly humans once the kittens are mobile. That is usually when kittens are first noticed. Humans will then call their veterinarian’s office, post on a local social media sites, or call a rescue for help. While this system works in the beginning of the season, by the middle of the season, it seems as though foster based rescues and shelters become full. Kitten season is usually a game of time. It takes 8 weeks for a kitten to become of age in order to be adopted out by law. This doesn’t mean they have to be adopted out at 8 weeks, but it is the min. age for a kitten to be adopted out. If the kittens are still with their mother, this is the age that they are weaned and can properly eat food, use the kitty litter, and clean themselves. If they are being fed by a foster mom, this is the age they stop eating formulas completely, and can safely be transferred to eating only wet and dry food. It is also the age that they can safely receive the first round of vaccines.
Kittens who do not interact with humans by 9 weeks, generally become feral and very difficult to socialize. Anyone who has been around a 5 week old kitten, can see that they are not always the friendly, furry little newborns that we assume them to be. Most have been taught by a very early age by their moms to hiss and spit at anything that comes in their way. This is an important survival mechanism but it is also difficult to foster as they need time to socialize themselves. It can take three weeks for a kitten to finally accept a human’s love. If kittens do not have enough human interaction, then they too, like their parents, refuse to be domesticated. They will not be friendly enough to handle, or interested enough to stay indoors. Therefore there is a small window of time rescuers have to socialize kittens. Please give these kittens time. It’s amazing how they turn around.
Kittens need social distancing too!
One important reason rescues become full is because they need to be careful when intaking a lot of kittens from different places. Disease can run through a rescue like wildfire. It is important to separate kittens into their own family units and away from other fosters and permanent pets. Kittens are still gaining immunity and just like their human counterparts, they are most vulnerable to viruses. There must be adequate space between fosters kittens. There needs to be separate kitty litters, bowls, living spaces as well as caretakers who wash their hands before and after each foster group or in a shelter, each living space. A case of Parvovirus, Calicivirus, or even FIV can decimate an entire foster population. Not to mention Ringworm, or other illnesses that are very contagious-even their human handlers can get them!
Kittens are a lot of work!
If you think your kids don’t put things away and make a mess, just watch a litter of kittens. Contrary to stereotypes, a box will not contain kittens. But they need to be contained and so there are special tents and cages that will hold them. Kittens make a mess when they try to eat. They often spill their food, walk into their food and then walk right into the litter! They haven’t yet mastered the cleanliness older cats have because they have no mama to teach them! It is not unusual to have to clean a kitten’s space two to three times a day, including the litter and the bowls. It takes lots and lots of wiping, sweeping, mopping and throwing out. Furthermore because they are prone to viruses and diseases, they will have diarrhea more than the average adult cat, which necessitates lots of kitten baths. Taking care of young kittens can seem like a full time job.
COVID-19 Complicates Kitten Season
Why would this make a difference? Because Veterinarians and rescues could not use their partner stores or adoption spaces or events since they were closed, this slowed the adoption process. Another factor was the surgery bottleneck. PPW usually worn by Veterinarian offices and their staff were reallocated to hospitals and first responders. Kittens generally are neutered and spayed before they are adopted out and if there is a holding pattern on these operations, then rescues will find themselves in a holding pattern.
What can be done and what can I do:
First things first: When you see very young kittens, do not assume Mom is absent. Moms will go and hunt and leave kittens for hours as a time. They will usually hide them in corners of sheds, under boats and cars, in wooden piles, and other hiding spaces. Please do not disturb the kittens! Observe and observe. See if Mom comes back. She will often come back to nurse and clean and go out again. If she does not come back, or you know for certain she is not around, then you can intervene:
1). Just like human kids, there are resources. The kittenlady.org is an excellent reference that has instructional videos, information, on line and off line (she even has a book).
2. DO NOT ASSUME A RESCUE WILL HAVE ROOM. This is important. Always have a plan! If you know for sure, there is no Mom, and no rescue will be found, most likely you will have to intervene.
3. Know the ages and stages! Alley Cat.org has some great information. You will need to know the age in order to feed properly, toilet young kittens properly, and make sure they have a heat source. This graphic will help you know approximately what age your found kitten is: https://www.alleycat.org/resources/kitten-progression/
4) Be prepared. The Scouts were right! Preparedness in this case can save lives. Because COVID-19 has reduced hours in most stores, especially the after hour stores such as Walmart, Target and others, it’s important to have supplies on hand BEFORE YOU FIND THE KITTENS. Most kittens will need a heat source if they are 4 weeks and younger. Make sure you have a heating pillow and towels and a cage or tent to put the kitten in. For 2-3 week old kittens and neonates, a cat carrier can work. Make sure the spot is indoors so the kittens are not subjected to the weather. You are not covered in fur like their mother so they will need to be protected. Make sure you have kitten formula. You CAN NOT feed young kittens cows milk. They must have a formula ready that they can digest. Pet stores and even Walmart and Tractor Supply will have these formula brands. Please buy some in advance because distressed kittens are exceptionally fragile. Lastly there are nursing kits you can find in the same places as the formula. However there is something called the Miracle Nipple and syringe which will help you out if you have small kittens. They are very inexpensive but they are mainly on Amazon.com. I would purchase them to have a few on hand.
5) Work with rescues. If you have a homeless kitten and the rescues you call are full, ask to become a foster so that your kittens have a place to be adopted out and also somewhere you can go in case you have questions and need assistance. If rescues could, they would love to take all intakes. But they can’t. They have limited resources including people and time. If you can help by fostering your kitten, foster organizations may try to work with you.
6) Create awareness. Post about your new foster kittens and your discovery on your social media, and talk to your friends and family about your new kittens. You never know where an adopter will come from who is qualified. Also when you post videos and information that is accurate, you help other people learn about the overpopulation of kittens. If just one person fixes one cat, that can prevent 100's of kittens from being born homeless and unwanted.
7) We recommend that you work with a foster organization as a foster or you surrender to an organization once the kittens are old enough to be adopted out. However, if you do adopt out yourself ALWAYS ask for a vet reference, ask about their living situation (do not adopt out to people who can not have pets per their rental agreement), ask about previous history of pets, kids and how much they travel. Most importantly for your piece of mind, write up a contract and have them agree to return to you if they can not care for their new family member. It is recommended you adopt out spayed and neutered kittens. If you have a Veterinarian, you can ask them to do this or you can look under resources in our resource section. You can always ask for the price of the operation when you adopt out as an adoption fee. This is why foster organizations have fees. Ask yourself, if the adopter is unable to pay for a fee, how are they going to properly feed and take care of a cat? It’s always recommended that there be a fee involved.
Happy Snoozy Sunday, Weirdos! Today we wanted to share some of the fun drawings from our first Poorly Drawn Cats Fundraiser AND let you know that we are having a Part Mew coming up June 27th from 6 to 9pm! Stay in the know by joining the event here.
Both the artists and the pet parents had SO much fun with our first round. We had many amazing artists who used different mediums and techniques, but there was one common theme - adorable cats! We hope that you'll join in the fun with us and help us to raise the much needed funds to continue helping cats in need. For only $5/each, you will have a randomly assigned artist do a rendering of your cat(s) that's sure to make you smile, while supporting the Weirdos!
If you are interested in being an artist for this event, please PM Dawn Thomas. As always, we thank you for your support!
Happy Sunday Weirdos! I know you’ve seen the rules on the page, but today we wanted to take a bit of time to go over them and to discuss some of the questions, concerns and reasons surrounding a few of them.
A couple of the rules that we think are self-explanatory…
No bullying, profanity, abusive language. We reserve the right to delete all such comments and/or remove members who treat others poorly or continue to use profane language.
No Shaming and No Blocking
Shaming for re-homing is not tolerated and blocking a Mod or an Admin will result in removal from the group.
And some of those on which we’d like to elaborate…
We do not allow posts that discuss or show any animal violence, distress, death or unsafe care. This includes kitty’s latest “catch.” We are also a breeder-free zone. Any such posts will be deleted. Anyone selling/flipping animals will be removed.
Abuse can be a tricky one. What one person considered abuse, another may not. As volunteers who keep this page running, we take reported posts seriously. For example, we recently had a video post of 2 cats being made to clean up dirt from a pot in which they were digging. Opinions on this post ranged from people thinking it was cute and funny, to others feeling that the cats were being forced to do something they shouldn’t have been and they found it upsetting. As leadership, it is part of our job to ensure that the page is place where our members are comfortable, first and foremost. Because of this, some posts, such as this one, may have to be removed. It is not a slight against the person who posted it, or those who did feel it was funny. However, in keeping the peace and ensuring that our members feel it is a safe space, we do vote on each instance within leadership and whether a post is appropriate or if it should be removed based on the content and/or number of members voicing concern.
Posts regarding breeders and those selling animals are removed because we are pro-rescue and strongly encourage our members to save the lives of the animals who have ended up in shelters through no fault of their own. We also are not able to verify how the animals are bred or how they are treated by breeders and as such, cannot in good conscience allow breeder posts.
Third Party/Drop & Dash Posts
Third party posts (posts that you are making on behalf of anyone other than yourself) and/or drop and dash posts (posts that you put up and abandon) will be deleted, unless you are willing to maintain the post and act as the go-between.
As mentioned in this rule, posts such as these will be deleted. If you know the person who has a missing cat, etc…, please encourage them to join group and post for themselves. We always welcome new members and are willing to help when and where we can.
This group is completely against declawing and any post that advocates for or encourages discussion surrounding the pros/cons or details of declawing itself will be deleted.
Please let us know if you have questions surrounding this rule. Because declawing is amputating each toe at the first knuckle, we are fully against this surgery. Also, because it is a HIGHLY polarizing topic that can become emotional and combative, posts that stir up discussion surrounding this topic will be removed.
Donation Requests & Crowdfunding
Donation requests and crowdfunding posts are reserved for 501(c)(3) non-profit rescues. Those that do not have Admin approval will be deleted.
Raising Emergency Funds
You must be a member for 3+ months to be considered for emergency funds. Owner and cat must be in Ohio. Funds are paid ONLY to the veterinary practice, To be considered, contact a member of the Leadership Team.
We do our best to assist members in need of assistance with an emergency situation. We have a blog post about emergency funding for our members that goes into more detail on how we can help and the requirements for assistance. If you’d like to learn more, please click here. As much as we would love to be able to help every member in need of assistance with general vet care, we do have to have rules and guidelines and one of those is that we only assist with emergency care. At some point, we hope to be able to expand our assistance to other needs, but that’s part of a long-term plan and one that we can only achieve by crawling before we walk and walking before we run. In other words, we are a very new non-profit (as of October 2019) and we are working hard to find ways to establish sustainable income sources (i.e. Grants, sponsorships, license plate renewal fees for specialized plates, Amazon Smile, etc…) that will allow us to expand our offerings.
Re-homing posts will be deleted IF they are not pre-approved by the Leadership Team. Found kittens and fosters looking for homes for their foster cats, are exempt from this rule. Approved posts must state “Admin Approved” with the Admin's name.
The reason that we require approval for re-homing posts is mainly because we want to ensure that the post includes all of the pertinent information that allows for the best possible chance of finding a good home. If you are in need of assistance with finding a new home for your cat(s), please send a direct message to a member of the leadership team. We are happy to work with you and if the proper guidelines are followed and criteria met, we are glad to help find a good home when needed.
Members Exchanging Money
Although we applaud members who wish to help others, we STRONGLY discourage members exchanging funds, whether it be donating or a loan. The Weirdos claim NO RESPONSIBILITY should members choose to exchange money for ANY REASON.
This one is a matter of protecting our members. While we know that Weirdos have some of the biggest hearts around, we also recognize that in the world today, there are certainly safety issues and that sometimes things don’t go as planned, even with the best of intentions. Because of the likelihood of miscommunications, disagreements and safety concerns, we feel we must stand against members exchanging money. Should you wish to do so, we would ask that you do it outside of the group.
No Spam, Advertising or Politics
Let's keep this page strictly cats please. Spam, advertisements and politically based posts will be removed. We reserve the right to remove members who repeatedly break this rule.
In today’s topsy-turvy world, we feel it’s important to have a space where our members don’t have to deal with the stress of politics or being spammed. Come share your love of cats and meet your fellow cat lovers, but leave the politics and garbage at the door!
In addition to the above, please note that Leadership reserves the right to remove members immediately if they participate in any of the following:
One final note… We love our Weirdo family and appreciate each and every one of you. We ask that during these difficult times that you think before you comment and act with kindness and respect. Our team of volunteers works tirelessly to try to make this a great cat-loving community and we need your help in doing that. With nearly 19,000 members, we can’t be everywhere at once and we certainly can’t make everyone happy every time. We are doing our best and appreciate your patience and understanding. If you ever have questions, concerns or feedback, we welcome you to message anyone on the leadership team directly. We much prefer this method because in a sea of posts, we may not see your comments otherwise.
Stay healthy and safe out there!