Archive for April, 2009


Posted in Cats at 11:57


The new cat is here, and already with Kanoko — I was given no choice in the matter, the three women who brought him let him out in my living room before I could say anything. It’s going well though, they’ve both got their ears perked forward when they watch each other, even when they hiss and growl. Grey needs antibiotics; I had to use a towel to hold him steady for his pill and he’s chosen that towel to nap on. One of the ladies brought Feliway, so perhaps that’s one reason they’re both at ease.

As I mentioned yesterday, Grey got pretty badly beaten up. I learned more of his story today: he’s originally from Le Cannet (just north of Cannes), and people there knew him and his owner. They saw his owner, a woman, put him out on the streets, and asked her what she was doing — “I don’t want him any more, I’m moving” was the answer. When he was found this Monday, he had a 42°C (108°F) fever and was at risk of death from blood poisoning. He was brought to the vet by a lady who rescues cats, checked for any and all diseases etc., and is fine apart from his infections (being treated with the antibiotics).

Grey is very thin and bony, and his fur is rough due to being on the streets for a while. Le Cannet residents said it’s been about a month or two, rather than the week we first thought. Despite having been abandoned and on the streets, Grey is indeed very gentle and affectionate. He’s already let me brush him and showed me his stomach for petting, and has a lovely deep purr. He’s shown no aggression whatsoever other than the occasional hiss at Kanoko, but even those are rare. I’m looking forward to seeing his transformation as he regains his health!

(As for his name, “Grey” may very well stick with him since he is indeed a striking grey, even his eyes. I had a list of other possible names, Grey not being among them! None of the others fit, though. Update: I’m going to stick with Grey, using “Earl Grey” as his full name. Not terribly original, but most French people recognize it better than just “Grey”!)

A second feline friend

Posted in Cats, Nice at 17:57

New bed

I’m back to write about adopting a second cat, since I learned quite a lot about animal adoption agencies other than regular refuges (animal shelters) in France. Two weeks ago I asked a few friends and colleagues whether they had or knew of any kittens available, and also asked my kind neighbor, “Francine” (name changed for privacy), the same lady who gave me Kanoko. By “kitten” I meant aged 3 months to one year, hoping for a cat near Kanoko’s age to be a companion for him. Kanoko is well-behaved and careful with his claws, but unlike Malo (my previous cat), who had been able to go outside and find other friends for playful cat tussles, Kanoko can’t. Francine checked with a friend who works for an adoption agency that rescues cats found on city streets and puts them with foster families until adoptive families can be found. I had no idea such associations existed before. If something like this would interest you, ask around since it works best by word of mouth. It’s cheaper than going to a refuge as well, since donations are “optional” (you should donate), and smaller amounts (40-100 euros) are fine. Refuges here ask for anywhere from 400 to 800 euros for a cat. (When donating, do be sure to take into account whether they’ve had to vaccinate, operate, etc.! Vaccinations for a cat cost about 50 euros, males are about 60-80 to operate, and females are 100-150.)

The association lady set an appointment to visit my apartment and meet Kanoko, since she wanted to be sure my place was cat-friendly and that any cat she found would be a good match for Kanoko’s personality. Without me saying a word about Kanoko, she noticed he is indeed very affectionate, gentle and intelligent, so she assured me she wouldn’t set me up with a hyperactive or aggressive cat. There was a black, seven-month-old female kitten available for Saturday, so I agreed.

However, it turned out that the black kitten’s foster family had a small girl, who had fallen in love with the kitten and didn’t want to be separated from it! The adoption lady said that there was a female calico kitten she could give me on Sunday, though. “Great, I love calico cats!” I said. Sunday she phoned to say that it had been given to someone else, but no worries, there was a black and white male she’d try and have that afternoon. Sure enough, it happened again; the black and white kitten was given to another person by a different member of the adoption agency.

The lady handling my case was so unnerved with the other agency members that she had Francine phone me to explain: like many adoption shelters and associations (in many countries), some members gave cats to the first willing person to come along, without checking up on them or notifying other members trying to place cats. Francine’s friend was, clearly, of the sort who prefers to go forward carefully, so that each cat is placed with trustworthy people who are the best fit for its personality. Francine said her friend would phone veterinarians the next morning to check for adoptable cats and call me once she had any leads.

Monday morning she phoned to say that she had indeed found a cat who needed a home, and that he was very sweet. There was a small catch — he was five years old. Now, if you know much at all about animal adoptions, you know that adult animals can be nearly impossible to place, and once abandoned, often spend the remainder of their lives in shelters, if not worse, when in reality they can be great pets since they’re out of their rambunctious stage and are happy to have a real home. So, knowing he was a gentle cat, I agreed. This was when I was very happy to have a face-to-face relationship with the person in question, since it made all the difference: had I not trusted the adoption lady’s judgment, I would have feared the older male be more aggressive and take over Kanoko’s place.

The adoption lady continued the poor cat’s story: last week he’d been put out on the street by his previous owner, “since she was moving” (quoting her excuse). He’d been fixed and had spent his life as a single apartment cat, so he had no idea how to defend himself against other street cats, and promptly got beaten up by them. Since he’d also been vaccinated and ID’d, when he was found by an agency member who rushed him to the vet, they were able to contact the previous owner and get the cat’s back story. The previous owner confirmed she was abandoning him, and hung up. (I’m pretty sure her heartlessness goes without saying.)

Apparently he’s a beautiful semi-longhair, light blue (grey) tabby who charmed the vet and his rescuer with his gentleness, despite being in rough shape. (Cats are not usually gentle when injured.) He’s been under observation since Monday, and will come to join Kanoko and me tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. I’ll have to give him antibiotics for the first week he’s with us. He probably has a known name already, since he was registered, so I’m waiting to see what it is before deciding whether to rename him or not. It could go either way, since if he already has an identity that fits, it would be good to keep it, I think, but then again, the poor dear was abandoned cruelly by the person who gave him his name… it might be nice to have a new name to commemorate his “rebirth” into a new life. We’ll see tomorrow — I’ll also post photos here!