Thursday, December 31, 2009

Even The Kitty Brats Deserve Our Love...

I call my kitty cats the kitty "brats" for so many reasons...I'm sure I need not explain ANY to the cat lovers out there!  Both of my cats were street urchins at one point.  Muzzi, the orange tabby, was spied roaming my neighborhood in Providence for several weeks a few years back.  I had thought the family across the street would take him in, as the kids were smitten with him, but, I think they just could not manage.  I started feeding him, and, in less than 24 hours after starting that I decided to bring him in.  He was about 9 months old at the time and a scrappy little bratty boy.  I suspect he was an abandoned housecat who learned to eat from human plates as he was clearly not feral, but resourceful with regard to food, and STILL wants nothing more to eat from my plate today.

When I first brought him into the house, I had to eat standing at the kitchen counter because if I sat down anywhere he would steal food right off my plate.  He was very quick with bread, and, would steal a piece, and, hide under the coffee table to eat it.  If I tried to reach to take it away he would growl and hiss at me.  As an adult, he has mellowed slightly, and, prefers dairy products to all else.  He can hear me remove a package of cheese from the refrigerator from 3 floors away!  I share my vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt with him each morning which keeps us both healthy and happy.

I adopted Carmen from a local shelter when I was living south of here as company for Muzzi.  I was looking for a younger, female cat to not cause a threat to him.  She was perfect, and had the most engaging personality but someone had already selected her for adoption.  I asked the shelter to let me know if the people backed out and they did!  I was able to adopt her and what joy she has brought to all of us!  Carmen loves life. She lives in the moment and holds no grudges.  While she has the curiosity of the Calico (her paws are into everything and she is a climber!) she has never once hissed or swatted in her life.  She does have a little growl, which she reserves mostly for Muzzi, and, occasionally if she is being taken someplace she does NOT want to go.  She loves to climb on people but loathes being picked up.  It took my husband and I three tries - with a pillowcase! - to get her into the carrier to change homes.  She is the most willful cat I have ever known.

I am writing about my cats today, on the last day of the year, as, I am also excited to announce that Carmen and Ginger was able to donate $200 to The Forgotten Cat this year!  Never did I think we would achieve that great of a result by taking 10% of gross profits of Christmas items as a donation but we did!   Thank you to all who made Christmas purchases from both Carmen and Ginger and Hang Out a Shingle this year.  Each one of you contributed to this result. We are so excited to be able to provide this gift to the organization.  It is tiny, and, while $200 seems large to us, it truthfully only pays for a spay, a neuter, some vaccinations and tests and supplies. For the people who usually pay for all of this out-of-pocket, however, and the animals they help, it is a lifesaver.

To read more about The Forgotten Cat click here.

I am posting about this today for a reason.  Carmen and Ginger made our final donation to The Forgotten Cat today so that we can include it in our 2009 tax filing.  Many people in this country also look to make donations by today in order to deduct them from their income taxes for 2009.  I am not a tax expert, so, am not here to advise you about how much to donate or how to file.  What I can tell you is that there is a small amount (I believe $250 for the past few years) up to which you can donate without completing any additional paperwork, then, I think a level beyond that which requires a special form.  I also believe the organization must be registered as a non-profit.  How these donations help you with regard to your taxes varies depending on whether or not you own property, your income, etc.  You would need to look into these details to know how a donation would affect you with regard to taxes.  What I can tell you is that any donation to a worthy cause will both a) help the recipient and b) make you feel better heading into the New Year.   If you are looking for some ideas here are some options:

Alley Cat Allies is a wonderful organization with high ratings from watchdog sites.  Their web-site is very comprehensive and if you are looking to do more than just donate, it can help you to connect with people working with Feral Cat populations in your own area.

Lange Foundation - Los Angeles

I used the search and ratings system at Charity Navigator and easily found the three four-star rated organizations in three different areas of the country above.  This site is easily searched and provides ratings of organizations along with their income reporting, a breakdown of how they spend their money, and all sorts of additional supporting information to help you make an informed decision about how to donate wisely.  There are other ratings agencies out there, but this one is exceptionally good, a not-for-profit organization, and, provides data equally to all interested parties and politically slanted media groups.  They have no agenda other then to provide accurate summaries so that people can make informed decisions.

I hope you will consider a donation - of money, time, or advocacy - to a cause that is important to you as we head into the new year.  Cats are not for everyone, so, I'll understand if they are not your thing.  But look how cute they are...when sleeping that is!

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