Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jake Learns the Ropes

Jake had his ups and downs as he was beginning his new job as Cat-in-Charge at the Fort Collins Cat Rescue. One morning when I arrived to do my shift for shelter cleaning he greeted me with a decided limp. Dr. Gloria, our Veterinarian, examined him and discovered he had some infection in his front paw. It looked like he could have caught it in something and tried to pull it out. It even seemed to be dislocated. Ouch!
He healed quickly with all the attention (and medical care) he got. The sore paw may have been partly responsible for his litter box difficulties but that is just my guess. It seems that it was happening mainly when he had been out on one of his many adoptions. According to Judy Miotke, FCCR Animal Care Technician, sometimes new cats that have trouble with litter boxes may need some time to get used to a new place. Also, if they start having trouble after they have been using a litter box successfully for a while it could be a sign of illness. It could be a kidney infection or some other new stress that has come into their lives. Cats are vulnerable to stress too. It is worth it to do a little checking with a vet.
Leslie Quitmeyer, Jakes handler in the FCCR’s “Purrfect Therapy” program and good friend has been working with Jake and LAPP, Larimer People Partnership. LAPP provides training and support to individuals and screening for their pets so that human-animal teams may share the benefits of human animal interactions. In mid-July I heard that Jake had passed his evaluation to do pet therapy with Leslie’s help, through LAPP. Here is what Jake had to say: (I think)
"Well, I wowed the people at LAPP the other day. You should have seen what they did to test me. But it was a piece of cake ...or tuna maybe...First of all Leslie had to carry me a bunch but it was O,K. I was just getting my bearings. But then lots of people touched me all over, I had to walk through a crowd, someone dropped books behind me, (I had to turn around to get a look at what made that noise), and some people came up to me yelling. (I wondered what that was all about, some people do strange things.) I still have trouble sitting on laps sometimes but there is always something interesting to check out, don't ya know?? I had a great time! I really have something to brag about at the shelter now."

Jake jumped into his therapy job with enthusiasm. One time at the Columbine Rehabilitation Center he put his investigative skills to work the minute he was brought into the first room. He explored each corner and sniffed the hand of each new person who reached down to pet him. He was always calm. The first person who met him was Coleen. She was delighted. Her face lit up, even though Jake was a little more interested in exploring than sitting. She even gave him a new name. He is officially ‘Pretty Kitty” at the rehabilitation center and he did look very handsome decked out in his red harness The bright red against his rich silvery grey coat made him look even more lustrous. As usual, he knew he was a star. Waving his tail as he walked down the hall you could tell he already had it figured out, he ‘owned’ this place too.