Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three KWCS Kittens currently being fostered by Raphaella in Venice, FL

My three little foster kittens: Abbey Road, Zeke, and Tony. There were actually eight in this litter, and they are all on their way to finding their families through various foster families. I'm blessed to have these three here with me. Mama cat went with three of them up to Cat Depot where I know Marilyn and her crew will take good care of them. Cat Depot is hosting Pawpurr's Ball, their annual fundraiser on Saturday, November 13th at G. WIIZ - The Science Museum, 1001 Blvd of the Arts, Sarasota from 6:30 - 11pm. To see all the kittens the Key West Cat Society / Venice Cat Coalition currently has up for adoption, go to

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Paw Project - Support California Bill AB 2743 to prohibit California Landlords from Requiring Tenants Declaw their Cats or Devocalize Dogs

Do you know animal lovers in California? Ask them to ...
This bill has passed in the California Assembly and Senate.
Click here to learn how and where to send letters »
Please write to the Governor and urge him to sign AB 2743 into law.
Read more at The Paw Project website. Declawing is now illegal in EIGHT California cities. Click here for Animal Welfare Resources, including a list of vets in the US and Canada who REFUSE to declaw. "Like" The Paw Project on Facebook. Follow them on twitter. Be informed. Do not declaw! Help change the world for our beloved pets and all of the animals. One person can make a difference.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My love for the kittens

Hello. My name is Terry and I am a foster for the Venice Cat Coalition. I am proud to be associated with them because they do not give up on any cat; every cat that comes to them, stays with them until they are adopted. I have been fostering for about two months now and I LOVE it! I have always been an animal lover and have always had pets growing up. Fostering is different than owning a pet, but I still get to play with and love the animal. I believe that an animal will make a much better pet after its been in a foster home, rather than stuck in a cage at a shelter. The kittens with us get a lot of interaction and socialization while in a foster home. When a kitten I am going to foster first comes to me and I bring it to my home, it is usually scared and does not have much trust in me or my family. By the time they are adopted, they trust people and other animals and are much happier cats. When the kitten first comes to my home, I give it some space and time to adjust to the sounds and things going on in the house. I will lay on the floor besides it and just talk softly to him or her. Slowly, the kitten will approach me and I softly pet it. In that instant, I can see the kitten has let its guard down. I can sense that the kitten wants love and attention. So I hold the kitten close to me and just sit there petting and loving on it. I look into the kittens eyes and see that I earned some trust from it. That is a great feeling for me. The kitten is now relaxed and now it's time to play! I love seeing a kittens eyes light up when it sees something wiggling to play with. My daughter is 5 years old and is also an animal lover. She spends a lot of time with the kittens too and is very good with them. She helps them to be comfortable with children. She knows that we are just taking care of the kittens until someone adopts them, and the experience of her being a part of this is a good life lesson for her. We do this for the kittens, not for ourselves, and we will not get anything in return other than happy memories and good feelings. Some days I will be in a down mood or upset about something, then I go to the kittens and sit on the floor with them. Whether I am petting them or playing with them, I feel better and am happy. The kittens are healers to my mood. They are gifts from God and I am very thankful that they are in my life. I am happy to have the kittens safe with me, but I am also sad for them for not having a home of their own. Everyday I talk to people and tell them about the kittens in hopes that someone will want to adopt one. When someone does want to adopt a kitten I am so excited! They come to pick the kitten up and, I'll be honest, a part of me is sad to see them go. During the time they are with me, a bond between us is created. But, the sadness I feel for me is not as strong as the happiness I feel for the kitten. When the kitten first comes to me, it is homeless. I devote everything I can to find it a home. Then, when that finally happens and I see the kitten in its pet carrier ready to finally go to its very own home, the circle is complete. Success! My job as a foster is not to give the kittens my home and stay with me forever (even though I would love to keep them all). My job is to open my home to them and make sure the kitten is a happy and healthy kitty. It is also my job to do everything I can to help the kitten have a home and an owner to stay with forever. That is my passion. When the goal is reached and the kitten goes home, I feel an indescribable feeling through out my entire being. Then I start again with another kitten. One kitten at a time and each one brings so much joy into my life while they are with me. I feel so much love for the kittens...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kitty Palm Cat Tree

Mary Riley posted this link on our Sarasota Kitten Club Facebook page. What an awesome new product. The Kitty Palm Company is in Sarasota. Here's what she said:

"Want to benefit the SRQ Kitten-Club? Check out this NEW cat climbing palm tree made in SRQ. Kitty Palm won 3rd place at the Global Pet Expo. It is kitten and cat tested, personally, and it curbs boredom, believe me! You can sell them and make donations to the Kitten-Club too!"

It looks like they range from  $122 for 36" to $310 for 80" - the company is in Sarasota, FL so the locals wouldn't need to pay shipping. They're also looking to hire a few retired or semi-retired wood working types for full and part time and light manufacturing. Call 941-925-7737.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bottle Babies for Me

July has brought me four little bottle babies - 5 weeks old. Theresa has been "Mom" for weeks already and now it's my turn to take over the duties.

She taught me how to feed the little darlings with a miniature bottle. They are so cute. I am getting used to having them climb all over me as I try to work. You can see how "easy" it was to read a book today.

Mind you, I'm not complaining. I am blessed with cuteness, soft furry babies and the opportunity to take 100 pictures a day.

-Raphaella Vaisseau

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kitty Pile - Raphaella's Picture of the Day

Is there anything cuter than a soft, furry kitten? ... Three of them all cuddled up together taking a nap. 
What a blessing they are.

And then, there's Angel.

- Raphaella Vaisseau 6-13-10

Friday, June 11, 2010

Poster Child

Here's little Annie Oakley, one of my new little foster kittens. She's so cute and patient, she let me take a hundred pictures of her and make one into a poster.
For once I can tell all the kittens in my house apart from one another without memorizing the little details of a face or a foot. Annie Oakley is smaller and has more subtle markings than her brother Kimosabe (saddleback tabby). Tonto (orange tabby) is their sidekick, a little shy but coming around. And the tiny but very brave kitten is Angel (white and grey). She watches over the whole family.

They're all listed on Petfinder. Click on "Our Adoptable Pet List" and scroll down to see all cats and kittens available for adoption. Meanwhile, enjoy these pictures of my new little fosters. I look forward to watching them grow and helping them find their forever homes and families.

- Raphaella Vaisseau, Foster Kitten Mom

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cats of Key West Cat Society - May 2010

Click here to see new pictures of KWCS kitties taken yesterday, May 28, 2010 by Raphaella. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Warm Mineral Springs Trapping Success

We have been helping at a colony in Warm Mineral Springs for the last year. One of the residents, Richard, absolutely loves cats and looks out for the whole neighborhood, calling for help when he discovers a newly abandoned cat. He also feeds the strays...

This particular neighborhood has lots of rentals and tenants come and go with the seasons.

Richard called last week asking for TNR help with 2 cats... We easily caught them and had them fixed with the help of Georgianna and the Animal Welfare League in Pt. Charlotte. Turns out, one of them, now named Larry, was as friendly and lonely as could be. Instead of putting him back onto the street, he's now being fostered with KWCS and is up for adoption.

He is a gorgeous tomcat, orange and white, long haired. Talks alot. Wants to much to snuggle and follow you around. A perfect older lapcat!!!
In case you are wondering about the Siamese cat in Richard's arms, this one too was left behind by a tenant. She has been fixed (note her ear tip, meaning that she's been to a clinic, and I would guess it was ARC due to the tip instead of a notch). She is available to a good home. We have not run her through any medical program, but will do so if you know someone who will adopt her. Please help us find her a good home.
Cat Depot may assist and take her this week, so if you want her, contact us asap!!

I only have a photo of him in the trap, but this week will get a better picture of Mr. Larry (named by volunteer Angela's son Jack)... Here's to Larry!

Newborns -- Lots to learn about feral mothers

We have newborns... this breaks most of the rules of welfare groups, which mainly want to abort all kittens, period, end of discussion.

Generally KWCS goes along with this practice when trapping, since it is how it's done, but we truly do hope that someday soon each cat/kitten life is so precious that no one will kill them in utero, but will spay neuter as early as possible after birth.

That said, a few weeks ago, I agreed to take in a very pregnant feral mother. The colony caretaker loves her (untouchable and wild as she is) and has dragged his feet on TNR because he just hates the whole idea of trapping. This mom has had 4-5 litters already, and the colony has produced MANY kittens... I am working with the people to get the whole thing under control and everything fixed, and thus, I said, okay I will let her have the babies, then we'll get her fixed and the rest of them.

I waited, and waited for her to give birth, 2 weeks!!! Yesterday I went into her room, and Surprise, 3 newborns in a carrier all snuggly. She was over under a bookcase. Well, a few hours later a fourth... that was this morning. Unfortunately one was dead, lying apart from the others. She again was under the bookcase. I saw her nursing them yesterday, but am still concerned that she's not with them constantly. They MUST have warmth and food now to survive. Especially warmth.

I removed the dead kitten, and went to get my heating pad for the carrier. When I got back to set it up, Surprise, a 5th kitten! She apparently is going under the bookcase to deliver them, then cleans them up and deposits them in the carrier.

Then my concern was that instead of feeding them, she was off waiting for another one to be born in her birthing area. So I went and mixed up some KMR and with trepidation (not sure about interfering with this whole natural process but dreading finding another dead one because she could not manage birthing and feeding simultaneously) went to give them each a small amount of kitten milk. Each one did drink a bit. One even pooped for me (celebrate!)...

They are now sleeping in a bundle on the heating pad in a carrier, while mom is about 2 feet away under her bookcase. Will she have a sixth? A seventh????
If you are interested in this little family, let me know. These kittens all have unusual markings and will be beautiful pets (assuming they survive these crucial first few weeks!)...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Barn Cat Program Kicks Off

Hello everyone,

We have started our first Barn Cat program this week, carefully relocating 2 semi-feral cats into a location in Charlotte Co., where they will work as mousers, keeping the rodents away from the seed bins at a plant nursery.

The cats are Delta Queen and Ms. Tiger. I hope you enjoy the pictures. We will check on our lovely lady ratters regularly.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Feral Cat Weekend in February

The Venice Cat Coalition brought in 31 plus 10 cats to the Animal Rescue Coalition's February clinic. Theresa got 31, Barb got 10, and the whole clinic was 100 cats... so we did great in terms of numbers. At least 4 of our 41 were pregnant, and the kittens have been humanely aborted. Sad... but that's the protocol for now at the clinics.

We are started in on kitten season.

We also had an emergency call 2 days ago from the Venice Yacht Club, where employees found 4 baby kittens in the attic, and a mother lurking around. Volunteers Mary Donahue and Peg Tomanio did the on the scene rescue, while foster volunteer Deborah Whitman of Shamrock Preschool took the 4 babies home for the night. Potential adopters are lining up for them. But they will not be big enough to go into homes for another 3-4 weeks.

Meanwhile, check out the awesome article Sarasota Herald Tribune columnist Eric Ernst wrote about the ferals and our program today:

Next clinic is the third Sunday in March. In the meantime, we will focus on helping at 2 or more colonies where the new drop trap is needed, and adopting out some of our 10-12 cats and kittens needing homes. Also fund raising. Yes, the cats cost $, so please donate as much as you are able!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Delta Queen Was Not Quite Charming Enough!

Our beautiful 10th Life Rescue cat, Ms. Delta Queen, had an interested family visit her on Saturday.
They spent a lot of time (hers and mine!!) holding her and oohing and aahing over her and the other cats. They said they really wanted a six-toed cat, and Ms. DQ fit the bill, so I invited them to visit and meet her.
She did fairly well, relaxing in the lady's lap and acting about as calm as Ms. DQ can, given the fact that she is a trauma victim and is nervous until she gets to know ya.
I made the mistake (????) of fully disclosing all information about her and her history, and her issues with skin problems... Well, I guess that put them off. They left to talk about it, and called a left a message about 2 hours later, saying they didn't have enough experience with cats to deal with her issues...
I was very disappointed, DQ had no opinion at all about the whole thing.
I want very much for DQ and the other 10th Life kitties (I have 4 left here out of 10 taken) to find good homes. On the other hand, better that it didn't work out at all, than to send her home with them and have problems. They also were in favor of declawing so that was not a good point in their favor.
In any case, DQ has been allowing fosters and potential adopters to interact with her, and this is a step toward a Happy Ending for her... Say a prayer and light a candle.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Walmart argument about Suncoast Humane

Why are some people so angry?
In the cat food aisle of Walmart today, 3 women were pushing carts and one told another, you must have lot of cats, since the lady had a load of food and litter. She said, "I have 40" (maybe it was 20, I just don't recall the exact number but the woman had A LOT, ask me I know what a lot is)...

Anyway, I tried to stay out of it, but the other lady who had made the little comment started telling Mrs. Many Cats about a nice stray orange cat in her yard and what could be done, was she a cat rescue? It was getting cold again, the cat couldn't be brought in "because I already have a cat" etc.

The lady with all the stuff in her basket advised her to bring the cat to Suncoast Humane, where "they never kill any animals. My vet is on their board and they never kill animals there."

I decided at this point to say something, since most of us know that dropping a cat off at Suncoast equates to about an 80% chance of the cat being killed. (Their kill rate in 08 for cats was something like 77% of those taken in killed, according to their application for a grant from the state, which they got.) I spoke up, "Excuse me, they killed more than 2,000 cats there in 08. I wouldn't tell them to take the cat to Suncoast. Take it to St. Francis if you have to take it somewhere."

The lady who likes Suncoast sort of went ballistic at this point, becoming very angry and telling me that I didn't know what I was talking about.

She asked how much I spent on cats last year, and I told her. Then she told me she'd paid her vet $17,000 for her cats, and she asked me how many cats I spayed or neutered. I responded, about 660. This only infuriated her more (she still didn't ask who I was or what group I represent). She just fumed at me, "Mind your own business."

Well, the cats are my business. And they cannot speak for themselves. She huffed out of the aisle. I offered my card to the other women, asking them if they wanted help with their stray cat. At this point, several spectators in the cat section were watching this, mouths agape. The stray cat ladies mumbled no and shuffled out of the aisle.

I went on my way... wondering why this information had infuriated this woman, who obviously loves cats, so quickly. How could she overlook the facts on cat deaths. She had been careful to tell me that Suncoast lets "healthy, adoptable" cats live.

That may be, but this poor abandoned orange cat has a better chance of rehoming himself than going to a shelter (any shelter!) but in particular Suncoast. Look at the thousands of cats turned over to "no kill" shelter Tenth Life in the last 4-5 years. Only 350 made it out alive. Thousands dead.

If education takes place in the aisles of Walmart, so be it!

Please speak up when you hear someone planning something that is harmful to the animals, even if it makes you unpopular. These blessed ones, feral or tame, cannot speak for themselves. We humans have a voice and sometimes we have to use it!


Cat Situation Heating Up at Venice Municipal Trailer Park

We have conducted TNR in 2009 for residents at the Venice Municipal Trailer park on the island of Venice. There is a small number of cats, less than a dozen, in this large, open trailer park community.

Since Christmas, some of the snowbirds who live there for 3 months of the year have trapped cats and called the county's Animal Services to "get rid" of them. We have intervened, attempting to explain TNR and feral cats to those who live and make the rules there.

The situation and outcome are now up in the air. VCC will request meetings to come to a compassionate, agreeable solution that protects the cats and the homeowners.

Meanwhile, the situation has heated up, some of the residents have gotten nasty and verbally abusive, and made false accusations against us. Stay tuned as we remain level-headed and reasonable, and look for a way to protect these harmless felines.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pharmaceutical Problems for the Cat Rescue World

I woke up this morning to email from a feral rescue yahoo chat group confirming earlier reports that one of our essential tools to save tiny kittens, KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement), has been tainted and sold anyway, and killed a lot of kittens and other animals last year. The company has now admitted it.

I have 8 kittens buried in my backyard from the 80-90 little kittens Key West Cat Society took in in 2009, and it makes me wonder whether the KMR I was using (still have a bit of it in the freezer) was bad. Appalling! And here we are on the verge of 2010's kitten season, which will start in about March with a million phone calls asking us to help with newborns that have been found, and what do to about bottle feeding them???

I just ordered a $59 5-lb. sack of bulk KMR, and should I cancel it or what?

Now, this comes on top of:
--a Ketamine recall, which is one of the main drugs used in clinics to anesthetize cats, especially our ferals.
--A manufacturing shortage of Terramycin, a main eye gel used to treat weepy eye, green goopy eye, etc. infections. We nor our vets can get any of this stuff ($12 a tube at cost; $20 or more from your vet) and don't know why or when it will be available again.
--Clavamox is apparently not being made any more and online orders for it are being turned down with a note that it's not available. It has become my own favorite antibiotic for URI, which is severe and nasty in our area this year.

Just wondering, what the heck is going on with the drugs for cats? There seems to be a pattern, but maybe this is all just coincidence.

In any case, I am going to seek some advice from the experts at U-F Gainesville and Cornell U.'s shelter medicine vet education and research programs.

If anyone else has advice or knowledge, please post.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Hooray for Ferals, especially Pinky who lives in my yard

I looked up from my computer tonight to see the feral cat Pinky sitting on the window sill and staring in the window at me and the cats inside. Pinky has lived in our yard for years and has lately been sitting by the front door looking in the screen door and watching the foster kittens play with Diana, my orange tabby (who was a Key West Cat Society rescue last March). When I first moved here we trapped Pinky to check on her medical condition (she has a harelip) and gave it a go at taming her up. She would have none of it, so we returned her to the yard soon after that. She loves her yard, has trained me to feed her at sunup and sundown, and sleeps in the tree at the side of the property. Of late, she has been increasingly interested in the KWCS foster kitten program and the revolving kittens who come and go from my home. -Raphaella Vaisseau

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Delta Queen

Delta Queen

Miss Delta Queen is a rare beauty who's soft orange tail is graced with soft black almost-stripes that didn't quite make it as rings around her tail. It is a lovely sight to behold as she walks away to see her white body end in the soft orange spotted tail. Her light shaded eyes are mysterious and she will reveal to the special owner who adopts her what she wants you to know. Presently she has a lion's cut which dramatizes her matching ears-to-her-tail face. Her face and tail have remained uncut and long-haired. Oh, did I mention her "Hemmingway" toes? Yes, they are visible under her longish coat, and oh so fuzzy. Miss Delta Queen would thrive as an only kitty because of her royal status. She is one of a kind!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

San Francisco Examiner - Cat declawing a crime in SF since November 2009 - also Beverly Hills, LA, Santa Monica, West Hollywood etc

(Excerpt from story by Joshua Sabatini in SF Examiner dated Nov 4, 2009) - San Francisco has become the first major city in the nation to outlaw the declawing of cats. Some pet owners declaw their felines to protect themselves, or their furniture, from scratches. But pet advocates condemn the practice as animal cruelty.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to enact a ban on the declawing of cats. Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Michela Alioto-Pier voted against the legislation.

“It is well-documented and well-understood from a medical prospective that [declawing] is torture. It is a form of animal cruelty,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who introduced the legislation.

Other California cities are considering adopting similar bans. The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote on whether to enact a ban by the end of the year. West Hollywood banned declawing in 2003. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Berkeley are considering similar ordinances. Declawing is illegal in 20 countries, including most of Europe, Brazil, Japan and Israel.

Read whole story here: SF Examiner

In current news, the has a new billboard on Sunset Blvd:

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