Tag Archives: animal stories

The Four Phases of compassion fatigue.

Those of us who work on behalf of and who dedicate our lives to animals go through four phases in our career evolution.  As we are unique, so are our individual stories, but we all go through a similar process and, if we survive that process go on to understand that we have achieved what we wanted in the first place.
Phase One — Honeymoon

Red hot and raring to go, we are out to change the world.  We are high on life. We know we can make a difference; that our efforts on behalf of animals will ease their plight.  We work what seems like 25-hour days yet are energized.  Our enthusiasm overflows, our capacity for challenges is limitless.  We eat, sleep and live in the cause for animals.  Our friends don’t understand our obsession and turn away or just fade away, and we let them for we meet new ones.  Some of us though don’t make new friends; we’re too busy working for animals.  Some of us become loners with only our canine or feline companions to keep us from total isolation but we’re content because we have a cause.  In our zeal we tend to affix simple solutions to complex problems — every animal should be sterilized or no animal should be euthanized.  We’re often late because we try to rescue animals from highways and streets.  We think we understand the problem and we know we can fix it if only people would get out of our way.
Phase Two — Depression

Our phase one enthusiasm has turned sour; the bubble bursts and we crash.  We see the same people coming into the shelter with yet another litter — they haven’t heard our message.  We continue to euthanize, there seems no end to it.  Even our friends — those we still have left — don’t understand us.  We can’t seem to reach anyone.  Animals are still abused and neglected; their plight seems unchanged despite all our efforts.  We’ve lost the boundless energy that characterizes Phase One.  We no longer wish to talk about work, don’t even want to admit where we work.  We’re tired all the time.  We go home from work, lock the doors, turn out the lights, turn off the answering machine and close the window blinds.  We’re too exhausted to cook so we scarf fast food, pizza, potato chips or chocolate.  Some of us buy useless objects we can’t afford.  Some of us turn to alcohol for it takes away our feelings of hopelessness.  We ignore our families and even our pet companions get less attention than we know is right.  We seem powerless to affect any of the changes that drove us to such ecstasies of dedication in Phase One.  We have become horrified by the work we have to do.  Even our dreams are filled with the horror.  Every animal we take in, every animal we euthanize is yet another nail in our coffin of defeat.  Somehow we’re to blame for our failure and it’s destroying us; our wall of isolation gets thicker and thicker.  It blocks the pain and the sadness and makes our life somehow tolerable.  We continue on because every now and then we get a spark of Phase One energy.
Phase Three  — Anger

Our Phase Two depression has turned outward and we’re mad as hell.  Hopelessness turns to rage.  We begin to hate people, any people and all people unless, like our co-workers they dedicate their lives to animals the way we do.  We even hate our co-workers if they dare question us — especially about euthanasia.  It occurs to us, let’s euthanize the owners not the pets.  Let’s take everyone who abuses an animal, or even surrenders an animal and euthanize them instead.  Our rage expands to our out-of-work life.  That guy in front of us on the highway, the one who’s in our way, euthanize him too.  We rage at politicians, television, newspapers, our family.  Everyone is a target for our anger, scorn and derision.  We have lost our perspective and our effectiveness.  We’re unable to connect with life.  Even the animals we come in contact with seem somehow distant and unreal.  Anger is the only bridge to our humanness.  It’s the only thing that penetrates our shield.

Phase Four — Resilience

Gradually and over time the depression of Phase Two and the anger of Phase Three become replaced with a new determination and understanding of what our mission really is.  It is big picture time.  We realize that we have been effective — locally and in some cases regionally and even nationally.  So we haven’t solved the problem — who could — but we have made a difference with dozens, even hundreds and sometimes thousands of animals.  We have changed the way others around us view animals.  We begin to see our proper place in our own community and we begin to see that we are most effective when we balance our work and out-of-work lives.  We realize that work is not our whole world and that if we pay attention to our personal lives we can be more effective at work.  We understand that some days we work 14-hours and some days we knock it off after only 8.  We take vacations and we enjoy our weekends.  We come back refreshed and ready to take on daily challenges.  We see that all people are not all bad.  We understand that ignorance is natural and in most cases curable.  Yes there are truly awful people who abuse and neglect animals but they are a minority.  We don’t hate them.  When we find them we do all we can to stop them from hurting animals.  We recognize that the solutions are just as complex as the problems and bring a multitude of tools to the problem at hand and use them any way we can and we begin to see results — one small step at a time.  We reconnect with the animals.  Our shields come down.  We understand that sadness and pain are a part of our job.  We stop stuffing our feelings with drugs, food or isolation.  We begin to understand that our feelings of anger, depression and sadness are best dealt with if we recognize them and allow them to wash over and past us.  We recognize our incredible potential to help animals.  We are, little by little, changing the world.

The author of this article is Doug Fakkema.

Brief Biography

  • January 1971:  Graduated from San Jose State University in California with a B.A. in radio-TV-film.   
  • September 1971:  I walked into the Lane Humane Society (Eugene, Oregon).  Worked in animal shelters 19 years, mostly as executive director.  
  • July 1990:  Began full-time teaching and consulting around the world, 1.8 million air miles.
  • January 2014: Retired from full time traveling and teaching, but continue to teach Compassion Fatigue classes on a limited schedule.

For more information visit http://www.dougfakkema.com

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When we grieve for a Loved Animal

If you are reading this because your beloved pet has died, I offer my heartfelt sympathy. To lose someone you love is very stressful, especially if it was unexpected. Only you know how deep your connection is to your Loved Animal and, the deeper the connection, the more profound your grief. That connection is not gone though. It is possible to maintain it in a different form, throughout the rest of your life, if you want. First, let’s look at what you might experience and what might help you deal with it.

What you can expect

Grief is our reaction to the physical separation from someone we love. It is a normal reaction that is experienced uniquely by everyone. So there is no right or wrong way to grieve (though it is possible to get stuck). Because grief is not really talked about, many people are surprised by the intensity of the pain, for example, and don’t know what to do to grieve. But everyone has grieving instincts that gently nudge them to express their grief. For example, one person might feel the urge to put away everything that reminds them of their pet (for now). While another person might want to keep everything close, as a tangible connection, until their pet’s absence is less of a shock. If you can, lean into your grieving instincts. They will guide you.

It is very natural to experience disruptions in more than one area of functioning because of grief. Your physical body may experience any of a wide variety of temporary changes, from early waking, to increased or decreased appetite, from headaches and digestive upset to numbness or tingling, even fatigue. Your social self might want different things, e.g., you might want to withdraw from others, for a while. Your mind might have some difficulty with standard tasks, such as concentrating or remembering. And depending on what you believe, your spiritual self might struggle with the fact that a loving God or Creator would allow this to happen.

These are all reactions to the shock your whole system has had. Each person will experience a different mix of these grief reactions. And there is no schedule for when they should end. The best thing to do is to be patient with this process and to be gentle with yourself. (It will also help you deal with the stress if you can eat nutritious food, get any kind of exercise and rest as needed. Your motivation to do these things might be low, but they actually help. Trust me.)

Grieving requires actions

Every time we do something to express our grief we inch forward on what is known as our grief journey. Crying and telling your story to others are two of the most obvious, and probably, involuntary ways we grieve. But there are as many grieving actions as there are creative people in the world. Here are some ways that others have found meaningful:

  • Plant a tree or flower in honour of your cat.
  • Keep a journal to allow you to express your thoughts and feelings and to also track the course of your grief journey.
  • While they are still fresh, write down all the good memories you have of your pet, anecdotes and favourite traits in a nice blank book. These memories fade with time so it can be comforting to turn through the pages of such a book.
  • Put some of his or her hair in a precious box or locket.
  • Light a candle.
  • Frame photographs of him or her.
  • Make a donation to an organisation that works on behalf of animals.
  • Volunteer for an animal organisation.
  • Foster an animal who needs a temporary home.

 

There are many other ways to do something that is either comforting or meaningful. Just let yourself do the things that feel appropriate for you. We are all different. This is good to remember when people are giving you advice on how to deal with this big change in your life. What worked for your friend, might not work for you.

Finding support

It is vital to talk to people who can be sensitive to your loss. Even if there is just one person who seems to understand, make use of them. And the online community might offer a resource of support if there is nobody in your immediate circle. As human beings, we have a need to tell our story, usually multiple times. We need others to know what we are dealing with. It is part of the process of making it real. For at first, the shock usually numbs us and we just feel stunned. This is a protective response that gives us time to get used to this change.

Unfortunately, not everyone has experienced a strong connection with an animal and so, cannot understand that it is possible. This may result in insensitive remarks that make things harder for you, at a time when you are least able to deal with them. So, try to be selective about who you talk to about this very personal loss. Don’t feel obliged to tell anyone who asks why you seem to be different. This is not a grief that is universally appreciated as significant, but I can tell you, as a professional and as an animal lover, that loss is loss and grief is grief. We need support when we lose someone we love, no matter whether they had two legs or four. And we need to protect our grieving hearts from the possibility of thoughtless words from people who cannot understand.

Context

When your beloved pet passed away, there were other things going on in your life. Your ability to deal with this real loss is affected by whatever else you must deal with. You could be facing exams or dealing with caring for an elderly parent. You might have a health issue or be worried about money. As human beings, we can only deal with so much. I think of it as a battery that is charged that then runs down. Certain things recharge our batteries. You know what boosts yours. And stressful life events run them down. It’s important to know this as you deal with your loss and figure out how much charge is left in your batteries. Self-care is important all the time, but especially at a time like this. If you make time for the things that feel nurturing to you, it will ease your stress.

Staying connected

It is a common myth that we must forget those we have lost. To grieve someone we must remember them. You might remember your Loved Animal by thinking about him or her each morning as you start your day. You might just say their name from time to time. You might sit by the tree you planted in honour of this tender creature who gave you unconditional love. And though it might sound strange, you could try writing a letter or several, over the years, to express your thoughts and feelings directly to him or her. This can provide relief and there is no reason not to do it. If it feels healthy to you, listen to your grieving instincts. If you are concerned that you are not making progress or you are unsure about whether things are moving in the right direction, I welcome a call or e-mail.

Finally, one of the best ways to remember and stay connected to your pet is to think about the traits they displayed and incorporate one trait into your personality. For example, your pet may have been patient, and you find yourself lacking it. She may have been very loving, and you find it difficult to show your affection easily. Or he may have been compassionate, sitting quietly by those who were distressed, calming them by his presence. You know your pet like nobody else. So you will know of at least one trait that you admired. To adopt that trait for the rest of your life would be an enduring legacy for your Loved Pet.

For more information on grief counselling please contact us.

 

Ike & Tina

We stood in the old barn in a state of shock. Cats. More cats. And yet more cats and kittens, everywhere. The farmer had assured us he had two white cats. We counted eight while standing there in the middle of this huge colony. At the rear of the barn was a wall of giant, circular, hay bales. Climbing down this vertical wall of hay was a black and white cat. As he descended we could see heads sticking out of gaps in the bales. There was adults and yet more kittens hiding in there. This wasn’t a colony but a megacity of cats and kittens.

It was the first TNR for Community Cats Network in West Cork. We possessed the grand total of one, spring operated, trap, and a collection of kitten and Queen cages in which to hold captured cats. This job was going to require considerably more equipment than we possessed. It was the sheer number of cats and kittens that shocked us. Every evening when milking was over the farmer carried two pails of milk down from the milking shed and poured the warm,frothy liquid, into a pair of giant tins. Then he threw a couple of handfuls of cat kibble into a few bowls that lay scattered around the floor of the barn. The cats erupted from everywhere, anxious to get a share of the meager nourishment before their companions ate it all. The adults, unencumbered by young, were the first to reach the bowls. The nursing mothers who had made nests for themselves and their young in the hay were the next to reach the food. Finally, the younger kittens arrived, fighting amongst the melee of older cats to snatch a morsel for themselves.

It was the white mother that attracted my attention as she descended the wall of hay bales. In her mouth, swinging from side to side, was a tiny, white kitten, maybe six or seven days old. The mother was obviously frantic to reach the food before it was gone and quickly clambered down the bales and ran across the barn with the kitten still dangling from her mouth. As she approached the food she spotted us standing there and hesitated. She dropped her kitten into a nearby pile of hay and approached the food on the side away from us. When the food was gone and it only took a few minutes for every last drop of milk, every morsel of kibble, to vanish, the mass of felines disappeared back into the shadows of the barn. Only one or two hopefuls still nosed around the empty bowls and dishes seeking an overlooked scrap of food. And there, atop the pile of hay, was the little white kitten. We went over to investigate.

It was obvious that the little one was is some serious trouble. The white fur around its eyes was yellow with discharge from cat flu. It appeared undernourished and weak as it lay there on the hay, mewling and crying for its mother who was nowhere to be seen. We had to make a decision and make it fast. There were many kittens in this colony. There were also many cats, a considerable number of which appeared to need some serious veterinary assistance. CCN was a new organization, so new that we hadn’t existed the previous week. We had, to put it euphemistically, limited resources. And that’s a nice way of saying ‘broke’. What to do?

We went for the kittens first; running around the barn, chasing the little furry bodies into piles of hay and then dragging the hissing, spitting, bundles of fury, back out, and placing them into our ragtag collection of cages. Within the space of a few minutes we had 10-11 little ones rounded up and on their way off the farm. In the car with us, wrapped up in a Puffa Jacket for warmth, was the little white kitten. Upon our arrival home we dispersed the kittens into our various cat houses where they immediately made themselves at home. The piled up bowls of cat food were a considerable help in settling the little guys down. The white kitten, however, was an entirely different problem. We quickly established the fact that she was a female and we called her ‘Murray’.  But Murray was too young for solid food and needed to be bottle fed. This in itself presented further problems. Bottle fed kittens are difficult to feed. Murray needed to be stimulated in order to urinate and defecate following each feed. She had to fed every three hours. Her weight needed to be recorded to ensure she was gaining weight. Her cat flu presented us with a quandary because she was too young for heavy medication. Any medication would only be a symptomatic treatment anyway as cat flu is viral. In short, we urgently needed a foster mother.

Help came from the most unlikely quarter. In the middle of the farm TNR, Maggie began another one in the back garden of a house in Macroom. Thus the beautiful but psychotic ‘Lily’ and her babies came into our lives. Maggie had just trapped Lily when ‘Little Miss Psycho’ decided that now was a good time to give birth. Lily promptly delivered 9 babies in the cage and had to be rushed straight to our specialist, ‘Mother and Baby’ compound, a large, plushly furnished house, enclosed within a huge cage that came complete with an outdoor, feline activity centre. Four of Lily’s brood died the first night. A litter of nine kittens was too much for her. But it was a silver linings moment for Murray whom we tentatively introduced to Lily. For a few, horror frozen, seconds, we watched as Murray nuzzled and grizzled her way along Lily’s flank, seeking a teet. Then Lily raised her head and pushed Murray into position. Murray latched on and began to suckle. Lily shot us a malevolent look and settled back down to feed her, now, six kittens.

That first summer,the summer CCN began,was notable for two things. The absolutely lousy weather and kittens. We had seventeen fosterers….and Lily. Lily was the most loving cat, or so her carer assured us. She was a pet. A doll. Wouldn’t hurt a fly. We would stand outside the Mother and Baby cage watching this paragon of love and gentleness hanging upside down from the cage roof, hissing ,snarling, and spitting at us and we would draw lots as to who would bring the food in to her. Lily hated us with a passion, but she was a superb mother to all her kittens, including the little orphan, Murray.

Lily’s own five kittens were named after ‘Soul’ singers from the 1960’s. Thus we had Ike (Turner), Muddy (Waters), etc. And Murray. When Lily’s brood had been weaned, we neutered Lily and returned her to her carer. Lily spat, hissed, snarled, bit the bars of her cage, and tried to swipe us on her way home. We carried Lily’s cage into her carer’s house on the end of a forty foot pole and deposited ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ on the kitchen floor. We then retreated to a safe position behind the dresser. Lily’s carer opened the cage and this sweet, doting, loving creature, emerged, and twined herself around her carer’s legs. We emerged from our safe zone to examine this miraculous transformation and were met with hissing, spitting, snarling, etc.

We began to rehome the ‘Soul’ family. Otis went. Martha went. Poor Muddy was killed on the road. And Ike and Murray went to live in Cork city with Sarah. CCN moved on. More TNR’s were conducted. We moved along through various farms in West Cork and began to experience cases of cruelty and neglect. There were many cats and kittens to deal with. Each TNR made different demands on us. The workload grew exponentially as CCN became more professional in its approach. The human cost of dealing with sick and dying cats, indifferent or unpleasant humans, began to take its toll on us. The optimism and idealism of the early days began to be replaced with a certain weariness. Trapping cats was just the beginning. Then came the transportation. The feeding. The aftercare. The systems of care. Getting bedding for the ferals. Providing  safe and hygienic bedding. Getting cat food. Kitty litter. Fundrasing. Keeping accurate records. Providing flea and worm treatments. Chasing people for payment. Getting ripped off by members of the public who equated  ‘Animal Charity’ with ‘Idiots’. Dealing with vets. Trying to provide the most humane and efficient system for dealing with feral cats. 16-18 hour days became the norm while we operated in all weather conditions. Riding the ferry home from Cape Clear in a force 10 gale while trying to keep our caged ferals dry and safe. Fighting between ourselves as we attempted to formulate a code of ethics, and policies and procedures, that placed the welfare of ferals first.

In the midst of all this we would occasionally see posts on Facebook from Sarah. She had renamed Murray as Tina and now was Mom to Ike and Tina, as well as her family of neutered ferals. Sarah kept us updated as to the progress of her cats. When they were sick. When Ike was tormenting Tina. When the two cats were stretched out luxuriously on chairs in front of the fire. The FB posts were little vignettes of cared for, cats lives. Ike and Tina were living the good life. Sarah is a compassionate and responsible cat carer. It is inconceivable for Sarah to be anything else but kind and caring.

We TNR’d a farm down in west cork once upon a time. It was a little hill farm tucked away up a Boreen, away from public gaze. What we immediately noticed upon our arrival was a little, Ginger and White, Kitten, crouched by his mother’s side ,both eyes eaten out by untreated cat flu. The little kitten was slowly starving to death as he was both blind and unable to smell his food due to the build-up of muscus in his nasal passages. He was the first of ten such kittens we collected that night. We brought the kittens home and placed them in two hospital cages. We placed food bowls in front of each kitten and then positioned each kitten in front of the bowls. The kittens could neither see nor smell the food. The little creatures ravished the food and when they finished eating, they began to purr and groom one another. The following morning we took the ten kittens into the vet and held each one as the vet euthanized them.

So you see, Sarah. Those little posts about Ike and Tina are soul food for us. They reassure us that there are humans who care enough to reach out to change lives and make the world a better place. That there are human beings who prove that mankind is not all doomed by indifference and selfishness.  We will leave you with the old Jewish proverb:

‘Save a life and you save the world entire’

Click the link to view the kittens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvkvdXnS4Cc     (Ike is scratching one)

Snoffy

We were driving home following a long day at work. I was sitting in the passenger seat, part dozing in the warmth of the car, which made a pleasant contrast to the icy conditions outside. All of a sudden Maggie, who has excellent vision, exclaimed: “There’s a kitten on the road”. I started awake and looked around but could see nothing but the lights of cars passing us on the busy road. Maggie insisted she had seen a kitten and turned the car around in the forecourt of a nearby garage and retraced our steps. I could see that a long line of cars had stopped on the road but I couldn’t see what obstruction had caused the blockage. Then, the lead car in the queue swung out over the white line as if avoiding some hazard and drove on followed by the rest of the vehicles. Then I saw a blur of something white as a tiny creature ran across the traffic laden road to the footpath on the opposite side. Maggie pulled our car over to the kerb and shot out the door and returned with a small, very dirty, and very emaciated, black and white kitten. Due to the fact we were on a main road with lots of traffic we unceremoniously bundled the little waif into a jacket, sat it on my lap and resumed our journey home. On the way I tried to examine what I could see of the little kitten. It was extremely bony and shivering with the cold. Its black and white coat was matted with dirt. The kitten’s paws looked like the fingers on a skeleton but what immediately struck me was the creature’s demeanour. This kitten was the most beaten looking thing I had ever seen. It had clearly given up on life and was preparing to die. It lay supine in my arms with an attitude of ‘Do what you will. I don’t care anymore’ and when we arrived home it vomited up a slug. And I mean your common, garden variety, slug! One of those slimy creatures that slithers all over your prize Begonias and eats them. Just how starving must a cat be that it is willing to devour a slug?

Snoffy didn't stay long in the cage...

We brought the kitten into the warmth and light of our kitchen and sat it on the floor while we prepared some food for it. The little kitten just sat there on the floor, not moving, not reacting, while our horde of well fed, house cats, strolled over to investigate this new arrival in their midst. Following a degree of sniffing,
our privileged lot lost interest and wandered off to their favourite perches for the night. Maggie prepared a meal of many delights for the newcomer to see what foods it would eat and we quickly discovered it would eat anything and everything that was put in front of it. Then Maggie began the process of evaluation. The kitten’s first need following food was to be cleaned. We discovered our kitten was, in fact, a she, during the cleaning process, and that her nose ran incessantly. On account of the nasal discharge that reminded me of a small snoffly kid, we named her ‘Snoffy’ and so she remains to this day. Snoffy’s paws were in an appalling state, her pads were torn and ripped, each individual digit resembled nothing more than a piece of torn string, and she had great difficulty in walking. Her black and white fur was covered in dirt and riddled with large, adult fleas, and smelt of engine oil. Her bones stuck out through her skin and you could trace her entire skeleton simply by running your fingers along the outline of her body. Following food and cleaning, Snoffy was given a warm bed for the night and settled down to sleep.

Snoffy's paws

The following day we brought her to our vet, a man we both knew and respected for a long time, for her required vax, and worm/flea treatment. Maggie lifted Snoffy out of her cage in the vet’s surgery and put her on the examination table.

I have known our vet for a very long time and have always regarded him as a jovial, easy going man, who is quick to laugh and gentle with animals. When he looked at Snoffy my first impulse was to dive under the table and stay there. I have rarely seen such anger, frustration, and contempt, all mingled on a human being’s face before. The vet softly examined our little foundling while vocally expounding on the B******S, W****S, D********S, and W*****S, who had treated a little kitten like this. Snoffy was within hours of dying from starvation and dehydration. She was riddled with both internal and external parasites. Her coat was covered in dirt and sores. She had a constant runny nose and cat flu, plus a serious respiratory infection that required some serious medication to
shift it. We left the vet laden down with advice and medication and brought Snoffy back to her new home. Here Maggie sprang into action and Snoffy (or Snoffs for short) was put under a supervised regime of diet, medication and grooming. For three, long, months, Snoffy was medicated. Her coat was cleaned on a daily basis. Her battered feet received the best pedicures Maggie could offer. Her kitty litter was inspected to ensure all parasites had left her system (this job I gladly left to Maggie) and slowly her general health began to improve. What most concerned us however was her abject demeanour. Snoffy ate what was put in front of her. She stoically endured the medication and the grooming but she never showed any playfulness one would normally associate with a kitten. The greatest hurt Snoffy suffered was the crushing of her spirit by the hands of some callous human who had neither the wit nor grace to properly care for a kitten.

Look at her mouth

The day after Snoffy’s discovery, Maggie returned to the site and, on an impulse, looked over the low wall that bordered the road, only to find the body of one kitten lying in a stream and another little waif dead on the bank. These three kittens had been placed in a paper bag and hurled over the wall into the stream and left there to die. How long those babies had struggled to escape that bag God only knows. One drowned in the stream. One made it to the bank and died there, probably exhausted by the struggle to leave the water. And the third, Snoffy, fought her way out of the bag, made it through the water, and then had to struggle up a wall until she made it to the road. Here all strength left her and she sat in the middle of the road and waited for whatever was to happen to her next. It was then that karma smiled upon Snoffy because Maggie came along and spotted her.

We had Snoffy for about four months when on impulse I bought a silly cat toy. It was a mouse on the end of a long string that was attached to a handle. I brought it home and was dangling it in front of my overfed, over indulged cats, (who looked at me as if I was simple in the head. What! chase that thing?) when Snoffy suddenly burst out from under a kitchen chair, grabbed it in her mouth, and began to play with it. It was the breakthrough we had waited such a long time for. Snoffy was behaving like an ordinary kitten for the first time in her short life. From that moment on, Snoffy started to become something other than an ordinary kitten. Her early experiences left her with a permanent respiratory condition and she needed to have all her teeth removed due to pyrrhea (or periodontitis). Snoffy has periods when she becomes extremely sensitive to light and gets confused with perspectives and shapes. She sneezes and can hurl boogers across a room, just the thing when we have guests.

But it is when some little stray, bedraggled cat or kitten, is brought home that Snoffy’s specialness comes out. Every feline that comes in our door is met and mothered by Snoffy. When Li’l Red and his four sisters were rescued and brought home it was Snoffy who was waiting for them. She marshalled all five, frightened, kittens onto the cat bed and began to groom each and every one. She taught her charges how to bum ham from the humans and where to find the warmest beds in the house. She plays with all the kittens even though she is a young adult cat now. Unlike the other cats she has never hissed at, or raised a paw to, any cat that has been brought home. Snoffy has grown into a very loving, kind hearted, little cat, and little she is as she is half the size of any other cat her age. Snoffs will never grow any bigger; her wretched start in life has ensured that, but she is a colossus when it comes to extending a welcoming, loving paw, to all the waifs that cross our doorstep.

Snoffy babysitting

Snoffy is my girl. When things get bad for Snoffy she sleeps on my pillow, her furry little body wrapped around the top of my head. She sits on the kitchen counter top and silently meows at me to fetch her ham from the fridge. Sometimes she just looks at me and I dutifully trot to the fridge to fetch bacon products for her. Snoffy is my princess and we have an understanding; she commands, I obey.

Snoffy is a rescue cat who has touched the hearts of all those who have met her. Friends who call to our house. The vets that have treated her. And most of all the frightened kittens and cats that have been rescued off the streets and mean back alleys of this county. Snoffy, the cat who lived, has now become Snoffy, the cat that loves.