Although Jordan and Fish had never met, the two senior cats had a lot in common. Both had been adopted and returned multiple times, both had behavioral issues and both were eager to find loving forever homes. As luck would have it, these sweet kitties did end up finding the perfect home—with each other! After years in the making, here is Jordan and Fish’s Happy Tail.
Our story begins with Fish, a six-year-old black cat who came to the ASPCA from a local city shelter in June 2013. We were thrilled to see him adopted just one month later, but were disappointed when he was returned the following March. The adopter stated that Fish was food-obsessed, that he played rough and that he had a tendency to bite and scratch. It was clear that Fish had not yet found his ideal match.
Meanwhile, we hadn’t heard from eight-year-old Jordan in nearly six years. The black-and-white cat had been found as a stray and adopted in 2008, but last July, his guardian returned him due to familial issues. He, too, found a new home quickly, but was returned again in November 2014 because of house-soiling and litter box problems. Although they were unrelated, finicky Jordan and rambunctious Fish seemed to be kindred kitty spirits.
In March, both cats wound up together in the same room at the ASPCA Adoption Center. As luck would have it, that was precisely when Mary O. of Inwood, NYC, also wound up at the ASPCA. She says, “Two days after my previous cat passed, I found myself lying awake in bed realizing that it had been more than 30 years since I was without a living creature with me in my home.” She missed the warmth and companionship of a cat, and decided that the timing was perfect to bring home two feline friends at once.
Mary and her partner, Andrea, headed to the ASPCA in search of young female cats. They met a number of adoptable felines before visiting the habitat where Jordan and Fish were living. “As Andrea and I sat on the floor scratching any chin that was presented, Fish came right over and stuck his head into my hand,” Mary recalls. “Then I noticed Jordan. Jordan was just sort of hanging out, watching the others, and then got up and ambled about. He and I made eye contact, and I got a slow blink.” The volunteer pointed out that neither cat was a young female, like Mary had requested, but by then she was sold. “These are the cats for me,” she said.
Because both Jordan and Fish had presented behavioral issues in the past, we made sure to fill Mary in on their history and advised her to ease them into their new home slowly. But upon arrival at Mary’s apartment—and much to everyone’s surprise—the new brothers had settled in by the end of their first day. “As soon as Fish started to inspect the living room, Jordan took it as a sign that the coast was clear and came right out to join him. They looked so happy,” Mary says. “When I fed them dinner, they ate right next to each other, and by the time I was ready for bed, they were on the bed with me.”
Over the following months, Jordan and Fish continued to delight in their happy new life. Mary bought them cat beds and toys, but she says, “the real big hits have been Snapple lids and Trader Joe’s paper bags!” Fish loves climbing his six-foot-high cat condo while Jordan has decided that the computer is where he wants to be—“I have come home a couple of times to find gibberish on the screen from where he has been ‘typing!’” Mary laughs. She says the two of them sleep, eat and hang out right next to each other all day long.
“I’m really happy to have my Big Moosh (Jordan is 14 pounds) and my Little Moosh (Fish is 11) to cuddle with, and I am looking forward to years of good times with them,” says Mary. “The next purchase will be a pet cam so I can Skype with them during the day!”
It’s almost hard to believe that these are the same two cats who experienced so much difficulty in the past. Their story is proof that with love, patience, and the right family (both feline and human), any animal can flourish.
It’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month—and if you can’t bring a new feline into the family, no problem! Whether you volunteer at a shelter, regularly foster kittens and cats in your home or just love DIY crafts, you can still help kitties in your local shelter or rescue group by giving them the spa treatment!
With a little help from shelters all around the country, the team at ASPCApro—the ASPCA’s sister site for animal welfare professionals and volunteers—has put together a special downloadable “Spa Day for Kitteh” booklet, featuring a full menu for pampering felines young and young-at-heart alike. And the best part? These eight great ideas all call for simple, inexpensive materials—many of which you might already have lying around your home:
What’s a spa day without a massage? Here, a simple paint roller does the trick.
Who ordered the special grooming session and refreshing drink? If you’re bottle-feeding itty bitty kitties, a toothbrush acts as a mom cat’s tongue, helping stimulate them to better take the bottle.
All that relaxing calls for a nice nap! Felines love spending time in these cozy hammocks. The “Spa Day for Kitteh” booklet has complete instructions for creating these—as well as fleecy, fuzzy beds for kitties who prefer not to let it all hang out.
Last year, the federal appropriations bill for 2015 renewed a ban on the use of tax dollars for inspections of horse slaughterhouses, keeping the vile horse slaughter industry from operating anywhere in America … for a time.
This September, that ban expires, putting horse slaughter facilities once again in a position to potentially reemerge in America, and putting the burden on Congress to reinstate its temporary halt.
But while renewing the ban every year stops slaughterhouses from opening on U.S. soil, it cannot prevent American horses—approximately 150,000 every year—from being legally trucked to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.
Even when horse slaughter plants were allowed in the U.S., tens of thousands of horses were still exported annually for slaughter, and several thousand were actually imported for slaughter.
During those long-distance trips, horses are treated as if they’re already dead, kept in crowded containers and denied adequate food, water, and rest. According to the USDA, 92 percent of these horses are in good physical condition and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes.
Horse slaughter is also a threat to human health because horses are routinely given hundreds of drugs and other substances during their lives that have not been approved by the FDA for use in animals intended for human consumption.
So we’re asking you to tell your legislators—especially if your representative sits on the House Appropriations Committee—to continue the ban and prevent this cruel and environmentally devastating industry from establishing roots in America. In 2011, when this restriction was not renewed, the dormant U.S. horse slaughter industry wasted no time trying to set up slaughterhouses in several states.
But we shouldn’t have to hold our breath every year while the fate of our horses hangs in the balance. So urge your Congressperson to also support the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2015 (H.R. 1942; S. 1214), which would permanently ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the U.S., as well as prohibit the export of horses to other countries for slaughter.
Horse rescues and sanctuaries are doing their part to spread awareness and save lives. In April, more than 100 equine welfare organizations from 33 states celebrated Help a Horse Day, including 53 organizations which participated in the ASPCA Help A Horse Day grant contest, our annual competition to recognize the most effective and creative tactics in helping at-risk horses.
The winning organizations, which were announced this week, employed a wide range of creative strategies, but all were dedicated to the same goal: protecting American horses.
This dedicated effort illustrates the fundamental position horses hold in American culture. But they also play a seminal role in ASPCA history. Nearly 150 years ago, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first-ever successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26, 1866.
Bergh famously wrote: "Day after day I am in slaughterhouses … lifting a fallen horse to his feet, penetrating buildings where I inspect collars and saddles for raw flesh, then lecturing in public schools to children, and again to adult societies. Thus my whole life is spent."
The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission ever since, including our support of equine welfare legislation, public advocacy, training, horse rescue, and targeted grants.
The work continues because it must. As the profit-driven horse slaughter industry tries again and again to reestablish its operations in America—spreading myths and misinformation to make the cruelty seem practical and even humane—we need to keep them in check.
Prohibiting slaughterhouse inspections is a start, but more comprehensive equine protection is a necessary finish. Our horses deserve it, and our humanity should demand it.
We all want stronger sentences for convicted animal-fighters—and the government is listening. You can help make this a reality by telling the U.S. Sentencing Commission to get tough on dog fighting! Time to speak up is limited; take action today.
Last year, at the sentencing of Alabama dog fighters, we listened while one convicted criminal after another expressed shock at the notion that animal fighting was a serious crime. These men were entirely aware of the criminal nature of their drug deals and weapons-trafficking, but had little concept that fighting, killing, and maiming dogs within huge multistate gambling rings could land them in jail. The federal judge who heard that case likewise expressed his shock that the federal sentencing guidelines were so inadequate for a crime so brutal. The current guidelines recommend prison sentences as low as six months and almost half of all offenders only get probation. No wonder the Alabama offenders didn’t know that dog fighting could land them in prison.
Today the U.S. Sentencing Commission—the independent federal agency that constructs sentencing guidelines as a reference for federal judges—took a great step toward remedying this problem by proposing to revise the federal sentencing guideline for animal fighting in its upcoming amendment cycle.
Congress raised the maximum prison sentence for a federal animal fighting conviction to five years in 2008 in response to the Michael Vick case. The current sentencing guidelines never incorporated that increase, creating a huge gap between what is allowed under federal law and what is recommended in sentencing guidelines. As a result, convicted dog fighters too often receive unacceptably weak sentences.
We commend the U. S. Sentencing Commission for considering this critical issue. Tell the U.S. Sentencing Commission to get tough on dog fighting by making stronger animal fighting sentences a priority. The Commission will be accepting comments for the next 30 days—make sure they hear from you!
The House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee this week took a step forward to protect research animals by demanding the USDA address the serious allegations of animal cruelty and neglect at its research facility or forgo millions in funding. The 2016 appropriations draft bill approved by the subcommittee contains a provision to withhold $56.1 million of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) budget until the agency offers official assurances to Congress that its animal welfare protocols and reporting requirements are updated.
“The rampant cruelty taking place at this taxpayer-funded USDA research facility is inexcusable,” says Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “We cannot allow suffering of the kind exposed at USMARC to continue, and the ASPCA commends the members of the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee for holding the USDA accountable for farm animal treatment at all USDA research facilities.”
Withholding funds for further animal research is an important step, but more must be done. Congress must close the loopholes that allow for this type of suffering by passing the AWARE Act, bipartisan legislation that would require animal agricultural research at federal facilities like USMARC to meet Animal Welfare Act (AWA) standards, and Congress and the USDA should ensure that these facilities undergo regular inspections.
You can help! Make sure your tax dollars are used appropriately and in a transparent and humane manner: Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center today to contact your Members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the AWARE Act.