While cats and dogs are known to behave like, well, cats and dogs, the truth is that some animals are a lot like people. They have distinct personalities, quirks and needs, and occasionally, they find someone with whom they really “click.” That seems to have been the case for Spencer, a sensitive cat who was lucky to find equally sensitive adopters. It was a perfect match, and shy Spencer soon blossomed into a perfect furry friend. Here is his Happy Tail.
One-year-old Spencer came to the ASPCA after being abandoned near a cat colony in Astoria, Queens, last November. The handsome black-and-white cat enjoyed quiet, gentle attention, but was nervous around new people and had a tendency to act defensively when approached too fast. At the ASPCA Adoption Center, our expert Behavior team spent some time helping Spencer come out of his shell, and he was soon ready for adoption. In January, he met Linda and Stuart Miller.
The Millers’ 16-year-old cat, Max, had been with them since he was four months old. When he passed away in October, they were devastated. “He really was the king of our house and our baby,” she says. In the months that followed, Linda and her son, Jake, visited adoption events every weekend in the city, but she wasn’t entirely sure how she wanted to proceed. “I knew that getting over Max would never get easier, and I missed the love in our house that a pet created. But the bottom line was that my husband didn’t feel he was ready for a new pet yet,” she says.
As the months went on, Linda’s desire for a new pet grew but Stuart remained steadfast. “I continued to look online for pictures of cats for adoption, but not until many, many times of enticing my husband—where he did no more than glance at the photos—did he pay attention, until I showed him Spencer,” she recalls. As it turns out, Spencer reminded them of Max—so much so that Stuart immediately agreed to meet him.
At the Adoption Center, the couple learned about Spencer’s history and his nervous tendencies. Fortunately, they were perfectly-equipped to handle Spencer’s unique set of needs: “My husband and I both work with developmentally challenged babies, children and teens, so we are good with being patient, calm and extremely nurturing. We were okay with letting Spencer take his time,” she says. Their patience paid off, and the cat slowly allowed the couple to approach him, offer treats and even play a bit. “I knew my husband was hooked,” Linda laughs.
On January 28, the Millers adopted Spencer and changed his named to Marty, which was soon expanded to “Marty Pants,” due to his love for sitting on a pair of Linda’s sweatpants. And although Marty Pants had big kitty shoes to fill, he proved to be the ideal match. Linda recalls, “From the very first night in our home, we have never looked back.”
Within a couple of weeks with his new family, Marty grew into a much happier, more confident cat. “He has continued to blossom every week,” Linda says proudly. “He gets the best food, both canned and home cooked, and comes running when called, has lots of toys, settled into our home routine and is now giving and receiving lots of love. Marty is a perfect fit in our home.”
Although Marty Pants is still working on his nose-to-nose kissing skills, he has come a long way from the nervous nelly he once was. Linda says, “We play, he talks, knows his routine and is really happy. We all are.” Congratulations to Marty and the Millers for finding the perfect fit!
Do you know a young animal lover who has made a big difference for our furry friends this year? We want to know!
The ASPCA is currently accepting nominations for animal heroes under the age of 14 who have helped make the world a kinder place for animals to receive our 2015 ASPCA “Tommy P. Monahan” Kid of the Year award. The award is presented as part of the ASPCA’s annual Humane Awards, an annual event which honors individuals who have been a voice for animals in crisis, as well as cats and dogs whose experiences represent the urgency behind our mission.
Toby, an eight-year-old male tabby, had never had any medical issues until he suddenly became blocked, or unable to urinate, one day last month.
“He was going to his litter box constantly,” said Carlos B. of the Bronx, who adopted Toby as a kitten. “Back and forth, back and forth—and his personality seemed to change.”
So Carlos and his girlfriend, Julie, brought Toby to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH), where he was diagnosed with Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS), or urinary blockage, by Dr. Maren Krafchik.
Most cats affected by FUS are in the one- to eight-year range, like Toby. Common symptoms include:
Straining to urinate
Frequent small urinations
Blood in the urine
Inappropriate urination (somewhere other than the litter box)
Straining without urination (urinary obstruction)
Crying, restlessness, or hiding because of discomfort
Loss of appetite
“Urinary blockage is a life-threatening emergency,” says Dr. Krafchik. “Potassium levels (as well as kidney toxins) rise in the bloodstream and can cause death in a cat.”
A urinary catheter was placed to unblock Toby’s urethra and allow urine to drain from Toby’s bladder, and he received intravenous fluids and pain medication. The urinary catheter was removed a few days later, and Toby was sent home. Unfortunately, this condition can reoccur, and Toby returned to the Hospital three weeks later with another urinary obstruction. “He went back to his old symptoms,” Carlos said.
Given Toby’s history of chronic straining and urinary problems, ASPCA veterinarians recommended a Perineal Urethrostomy (PU). This is a surgical procedure in which the external penis/urethral tissue is incised and sutured open in order to permanently widen the urethral opening. This surgery, commonly performed at AAH, helps decrease the chance of future bladder obstruction.
“Male cats are susceptible to developing obstructions of the urethra because their urethral diameter is so small,” says Dr. Krafchik.
As of earlier this month, AAH has performed catheterization procedures for urinary blockage on 163 cats, and 37 PU surgeries—an average of almost one procedure per day in 2015.
“Many people think their pets are misbehaving by urinating outside of the litter box,” says Dr. Krafchik. “The reality is that there can be an underlying reason for the behavior such as bladder inflammation, crystals, stones, or less likely, infection.”
Carlos reports that since Toby’s PU procedure, he is back to his old self. “He is really happy, very friendly, and playful, which we missed so much,” Carlos says. “He's eating and his bodily functions are back to normal.”
Update: We are pleased to share that an arrest has been made in the case of a severely emaciated puppy abandoned in Nicholasville, Kentucky. An anonymous tip led law enforcement officials to the dog's owner, who then confessed to starving and abandoning the dog.
This blog was originally posted on August 10, 2015.
Attention animal advocates: The ASPCA is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case of a six-month-old, severely emaciated puppy abandoned near the dumpsters of an apartment building in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
A Good Samaritan brought the extremely thin puppy to the Jessamine County Animal Care and Control shelter on July 29. She was immediately evaluated by a veterinarian who estimated the puppy should weigh between 21 and 24 pounds but weighed around half that when rescued. Fortunately, the puppy does not have any other health issues, and has slowly gained weight over the past week and a half.
“This is a truly heartbreaking case of animal cruelty,” says Stacy Wolf, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group. “No animal should have to suffer in this way. We thank Jessamine County Animal Care and Control staff for their commitment to finding justice for this puppy while sending a message that this type of cruelty will not be tolerated in their community.”
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Jessamine County Animal Care and Control by calling 859-881-0821. The Jessamine County Animal Care and Control accepts anonymous complaints.
Nearly 50 cats were removed from overcrowded conditions in mid-August at a private residence in Guymon, Oklahoma. The ASPCA stepped in to help at the request of a terminally ill pet parent who could no longer adequately care for her animals.
ASPCA responders, along with responders from the Humane Society of Tulsa, removed the cats from the trailer home and transported them to the Humane Society of Tulsa where they were medically assessed and cared for.
“When we visited the residence, we saw that urgent intervention was needed,” says Adam Leath, Southeast regional director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “It was truly a dire situation where the individual recognized that she had too many cats in her household and needed help removing and rehoming them so she can focus on getting help for herself.”
We are grateful to the Humane Society of Tulsa for their assistance in this rescue.