Turk the cat arrived at the ASPCA in early April after being rescued by a Good Samaritan. Scarred on his face and legs from life on the streets, he was also suffering from an ear infection and ringworm. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, the five-year-old, black-and-white cat spent more than two months undergoing treatment. He also had three teeth extracted.
Then, on June 23—78 days after he arrived at the ASPCA—Turk was made available for adoption. And within the hour, he was on his way home with Julie B. and her boyfriend, Jason, of Hamilton Heights in Manhattan.
“We were finishing up our visit, not sure if we were going to leave with a pet, when we overheard the staff and volunteers talking about a cat who had just become available for adoption and was ‘an absolute love,’” remembers Julie. Jason asked to meet the former street-fighting feline, and the moment they opened his cage, Turk begged for attention and flopped onto his back.
“We found the combination of his big, jowly, mob-boss tough looks and unbelievably affectionate personality irresistible, so we took him home on the spot,” Julie says.
Although she never had pets before Turk, Julie admits, “I've become that lady who's obsessed with her cat. He is the friendliest, most affectionate cat I've ever encountered. When people visit, he immediately wants to be their best friend and coerces them into giving him belly rubs. He still has the scars from his street-fighting days, but we can't imagine our little love bug being aggressive at all. He's a dream companion.”
Animal care technician Laurie Daniels, who helped care for Turk at the ASPCA, recalls how he was “insatiable” and loved to be touched. “He seemed to have no limits—no moments when he wanted to be alone,” Laurie says. “And what a heart he has! He is the quintessential diamond in the rough; an absolute treasure down on his luck who only needed a bit of compassion to get back on his feet.”
Julie, a singer and actress, and Jason, a jazz pianist, renamed their new feline friend Thelonious Monk after the pianist and composer. They call him Monkey for short.
“We wanted Monkey to feel like he fits in here, and it seems like he does,” Julie says. “In fact, he's already composed a few avant-garde, free-jazz style tunes walking across the piano keys toward his window perch. And he likes to sing along with me in his Louis Armstrong growl when I practice, though admittedly he may be telling me to shut up!”
Welcome to The Paw Print! In this recurring feature, we highlight the latest news affecting animals and animal-lovers around the country. Here are some of the top stories right now:
Dog Flu Outbreak Causes Concern: New cases of canine influenza have spread across several states and veterinarians are urging vigilance. Learn more about the outbreak including causes, symptoms, and preventative actions. [CNN.com]
Experts Divided on Cat Classification: Although cats have lived with humans for nearly 10,000 years and are the world’s most popular pet, many experts disagree about whether they’re actually domestic animals. A recent scientific paper examines just how “wild” our feline friends are. [Slate.com]
Pet Food Recall: Pet food maker Stella & Chewy’s® is recalling some of its products because a routine test found Listeria in a sample of its chicken freeze-dried dinner patties for dogs. The bacteria can be life-threatening to humans and to pets. [NBCNews.com]
Blame It On the Bulldog: When a pet parent came home to a mess, she asked her two dogs which one was responsible. In a hilarious video, her Bullmastiff points his paw (and his blame) at his French Bulldog brother! The video has gone viral and received over 1.7 million views. [HuffingtonPost.com]
Guest blog by Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee approved an agriculture spending bill with some positive notes for animal welfare, although it failed to protect our nation’s horses.
By a single vote, the Committee failed to approve an amendment offered by Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) that would have maintained the status quo by barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities. Congress renewed this ban last year, prohibiting the cruel and unnecessary horse slaughter industry from operating anywhere in the country. Without further action to extend this ban beyond this September, Congress opens the door for a possible return of horse slaughter to the United States.
It’s disappointing that the House Appropriations Committee could allow such an irresponsible, wasteful use of taxpayer dollars to resume. The ASPCA is working with leaders in the House to include the ban on horse slaughter funding when the bill reaches the House Floor. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to consider a similar amendment when it meets next week.
“A total lapse in management at every level” was the word from the Committee on another critical animal welfare matter. Referencing the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC)’s failures after a shocking New York Times exposé detailing egregious cruelties at the facility, the Committee took strong action to address the problems. The legislation approved this week provides funding for inspections of USMARC and other federally operated agricultural research centers and mandates improvements for animal welfare at these facilities. In fact, the legislation withholds $56.1 million dollars of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service budget until the agency offers official assurances to Congress that it is adhering to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and following necessary reporting requirements.
Additionally, the bill blocks funds for licensing of Class B animal dealers who sell “random source” dogs and cats, often stolen or lost household pets obtained from disreputable and difficult-to-trace sources, for use in research. This language, championed by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), was added as part of a non-controversial manager’s amendment to the bill.
Finally, the agriculture spending bill maintains current funding levels for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. These funds will go toward AWA inspections and enforcement of provisions for dogs in puppy mills, and will enable the USDA to crack down on the cruel practice of horse soring.
The Agriculture Appropriations bill may move to the full House for consideration in coming months. Find out how you can help make sure it includes protections for our nation’s animals: Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade today.
Kristin K. knew something was wrong early one recent Monday when her 11-year-old adopted tabby, Sonny, skipped breakfast and lay on the floor.
“He’s the self-appointed sheriff in our household, always policing the other two cats,” Kristin says. “And he’s normally very active in the morning and runs to his food bowl. So I had a bad feeling.”
Kristin immediately took Sonny to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where he was examined by veterinarian Dr. Mary St. Martin.
“His symptoms were subtle, but he had a tense abdomen and a fever,” recalls Dr. St. Martin, who diagnosed Sonny with acute pancreatitis based on his blood work and an ultrasound that revealed changes in and around his pancreas.
Pancreatitis is commonly treated by veterinarians at the ASPCA, with supportive care such as intravenous fluids, pain medication and anti-nausea medications to control vomiting.
After three nights and four days of treatment at the Hospital, Sonny went home, where Kristin reports “the self-appointed sheriff is back at work.”
As it does in humans, the pancreas, a V-shaped organ located near the stomach and the small intestine, produces insulin, which helps metabolize sugar in the body and is necessary for the digestion of nutrients by producing enzymes which promote the digestion and absorption of fats.
While it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause, pancreatitis in cats and dogs can be triggered by certain infections or diseases, metabolic disorders, medications and abdominal surgery or trauma. In cats, pancreatitis is often associated with inflammatory liver or intestinal disease, also known as triaditis. In dogs, acute pancreatitis can be caused by dietary indiscretions. Obese and overweight pets, and those fed diets high in fat, are also at risk.
Sonny had never before suffered from pancreatitis but displayed the classic symptoms, including dehydration and decreased appetite. Dogs more commonly develop vomiting and abdominal pain. Both dogs and cats can also develop jaundice associated with pancreatitis.
There are also possible associations between pancreatitis (especially chronic pancreatitis) and diabetes. Sonny’s blood sugar was high and he is being monitored for the possible development of diabetes, which could require treatment with insulin injections.
“It isn't easy to prevent pancreatitis, but diet changes and keeping pets at ideal body weight may help,” says Dr. St. Martin.
Meet Wonder! This pretty pup has lots of energy to spare. She would be thrilled to go home with a new best friend who will spend lots of time running around with her to keep her busy, happy and healthy. This smart girl already knows how to “sit” and could learn a few more tricks, too—especially if her favorite treats are involved!
Wonder is friendly and affectionate with her favorite people, but she may need some time to warm up to strangers. This sweet girl is also interested in playing with other dogs. Given time to learn how to play politely, we think she could make some canine friends. Wonder would do best with an experienced adopter. Adopt Wonder today!
Wonder is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting Wonder, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Wonder, please visit her profile page.
Watch the video below to check out Wonder in action at our Adoption Center!