Thursday, January 2, 2014

So Many Beautiful Cats: Please Give Us a Home!

At the end of September, just a few days before I returned to Germany from Nova Scotia, my sister Paula and I visited a wonderful animal shelter for abandoned cats and dogs in the Annapolis Valley.  It was about a half hour from Bridgetown, in a small community overlooking the Bay of Fundy.  It is a foster care home situated in a beautiful spot surrounded by meadows and trees, where those animals find love, warmth, food and protection.  The animals remain there until some generous and loving person wants to bring one into their own home and family.  It is an amazing place!
The organization is called "Companion Animal Protection Society of Annapolis County, Nova Scotia" or CAPS.

All the little kittens shown here had just arrived at the shelter and were in quarantine in the separate building where brand new residents stay for a short period of time before joining the cat community.

Below is Julia, an older tabby cat who had also just arrived and was in quarantine.  She looks just like two of our own cats, Brownie and Annabelle.  Brownie was a stray that we took in last winter and Annabelle was a feral kitten whose mother Daisy, a stray or perhaps also a feral cat, introduced to us 13 years ago. Annabelle is still with us as is Brownie.
The abandoned animals arrive from the Municipal Pound.  In the past eight years, according to the CAPS newsletter, they received 172 dogs and well over 1100 cats.  Pound animals are taken to a local vet clinic by the Annapolis County Animal Control Officer where they receive preliminary health testing.  In the case of cats, they receive a combo feline leukemia/FIV test and if negative, the cat is then released into CAPS care.  New cats are kept separately from the established animals in the shelter for about two weeks before being introduced to the community of felines.

Anna, at left, and her husband, Alf, have a large house and next to it her husband built two small cottages for cats.  They decided to do this after retiring and to dedicate their lives to looking after abandoned cats and dogs.  She told us that as long as they are alive and well, they will continue to do so.  They no longer travel because of the animals, but Anna told us that she had travelled the world and had seen much.  She had been a teacher.   She still is, but now it is teaching animals how to behave and live harmoniously.

Anna's foster home is the largest in Annapolis County, but there are ten other active or respite foster homes that handle up to 12 cats and kittens.  The smaller foster homes handle around five cats.

Volunteers are, of course, indispensable; they are always looking for others to help out.  Anna told me they do about 50 to 55 loads of laundry a week, so helping hands are needed to not only fold towels but to help keep the place clean, to feed the animals and to play with them.  I really don't know how they do it as all the animals seemed happy and interactive with one another and all seemed to get along.  I wish I could say the same for our own!  Anna called them all by name which is quite a feat with so many of them.

Below: the two cottages for the cats, a veranda on one where they can sit in the sun.

When Paula and I visited, CAPS shelter had 120 cats, although I'm not sure if all 120 were in Anna's foster care home or if that was the total in foster care homes in Annapolis County.  Anna has had a number of dogs as well, but there was just one on that day.  She had a fairly large pen and dog house in which to live.  They or one of the volunteers walked her every day, a chap who came especially to do that.  They were also doing politeness training with her.  They had initially thought she was aggressive with other animals, but after a lot of work with her, found that not to be so.  She just needed guidance.  For some reason, I neglected to take any pictures of the dog or the pen.

A group get-together

There were so many beautiful and sweet cats that it is hard to decide which ones to show you.  Both cottages were spotless inside with little beds, tables with pillows, cat doors into each little room, ledges and shelves.  Shoes had to be removed when entering, with slippers offered.  One isn't allowed to go too close to those in quarantine so we looked at them from a distance.

The shelter appreciates any donations of money, food, blankets, equipment.  Both of us have donated to this important cause.  Paula has brought cat food and a friend, John, has as well.  Two volunteer women arrived at Anna's as we were leaving.  It is a little ways from the main road so for some it is difficult to get there, although for most that isn't a problem at all.  It is a lovely drive up the North Mountain to Margaretsville, on the Bay of Fundy, where they are located.

The perfect bedroom for a cat or a child!  And a view besides of a red building.

CAPS is always in need of more foster care homes as the foster parents are one of the most valued parts of their organization.  CAPS provides them all with food, litter, carrying crates, food bowls, blankets, toys and so on.  As well, CAPS pays for all veterinary care and medications.  In their words:  "All we ask is that you love them and make their lives special while they are with you."  CAPS is a totally volunteer society.  Those volunteers also help with their many fund-raising events.

Here are a few of the many other cats we saw that day.  The pictures also show the facility as well as all that is offered to their little guests.

The sunroom

My sister Paula loves cats as do my other two sisters.  I was the last sister to succumb to small felines.  Paula has an old and unwell dog so she isn't able to take any cats.  They did have one for many years though, a large grey one called Duke.

This is Tilly on the left.  She had shown up at Paula's door last winter and was expecting kittens.  Paula made a warm place for her in the shed to await the big event.  Six healthy kittens were born.  After that, she and her six kittens and her daughter from an earlier pregnancy (they were living in a barn in the neighbourhood) were picked up by the Control Officer and eventually they arrived at Anna's shelter.

The kittens and the year old cat were adopted quickly.  Tilly is still there, but she is safe and warm.  She is sweet, but adult cats are not as sought after unfortunately.  They can make wonderful pets, though, for any family.  We have taken in several stray cats over the years here in Germany, three of them being a year old or a few years older. 

 I love the rocking chairs; the windows, too; the cupboard at left with a warm cover and even a cradle.  Lucky cats!  I know they won't all find homes, but if they don't, here they will stay and it doesn't come much better than this.  They are all loved.

Two sweet residents awaiting a family of their own.

This old cat below may not be the prettiest there, but she or he is gentle and wants a home. The little one underneath in the box is sound asleep.

 Two beauties!

 Ready for a nap.  Please do not disturb me!

 I think the cat on the pink pillow followed us!

Making sure it will be mine for my afternoon sleep

The sign at left was being sold to raise money for the shelter.  Paula and I both bought one.  I brought mine back to Germany with me.  Paula put hers on her lawn to raise awareness.  Or, maybe she thought he'd make a great Premier!

We have just celebrated the New Year and winter is in the air.  Here in southwestern Germany it is mild.  In Nova Scotia, it is snowy and colder, a time to think of animals that have no home in which to curl up beside a heater or on a soft pillow.  Perhaps, if you love animals, you might consider taking one into your home and heart.  We know from experience how rewarding it is to take in a cat that has no home, as all of our cats over the years were strays or feral except for one.

If you long for a cat, please adopt one from a shelter as those animals will love you for it.  And you will love them!  Or, take in a lonely stray that comes to your door as you will be rewarded with devotion and affection.

Before Paula and I visited Anna we phoned to ask if it was okay to visit as it isn't always convenient for them.  Anna is a very busy person and is on the go from morning to night.  Their email address is as follows:  You can also find it on the internet. See the website above on the sign.

I am watching for my new family to arrive any minute.  I hope so, anyway!

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