(A lighthearted tease at our dog friends!
Signed, 'The Cats')

The last few months have flown by and it's time for our last e-newsletter of the 2013 year!

We want to share some of the stories with you to brighten your holidays. With our collective efforts, many cats are in a much better situation than they were. Our education advocacy is having an impact and the public is helping to push the 'welfare' priority on municipalities. Keep speaking out for our feline friends and know that you are making a difference with each step you take to get involved, each person you tell about Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR), and each roadblock you clear. It all has a positive effect.


It was early August when Lindy called and we heard about two young kittens being found in a storage shed behind a business in Horseshoe Bay. A mother cat had been hanging around the area but was shy, and possibly feral. The employees caught the two kittens but mom disappeared and no one knew where she was or if there were more kittens. PAF talked to the employees and we made plans for monitoring and late night trapping when the area was quiet. The traps were baited about 10pm as dusk fell and many nights we wandered around the lanes and businesses searching. We would pack up about midnight as mom was always a 'no show' . We couldn't leave the traps open all night in case raccoons came around. Nearly two weeks went by with no luck and no sightings.

Then VOKRA got a call from the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal Office saying there was a mother cat with a kitten spotted near a culvert by their parking lanes. Shelley called PAF and, together with Shelley and Liz from VOKRA, we all got involved. Mom and kitten were in the area but not able to be caught at that time. We put two and two together and realized by the description of the mother cat and the age of the kitten, that they were the ones PAF had been searching for nearly 3 blocks away.

Over the next week we all took turns searching the terminal parking lots and out buildings, and leaving food. The cooperation from the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal Supervisor's office was phenomenal. The car deck employees were all notified of our searching and kept us posted on any sightings. Leanne and Dave, both of HB Ferries, filtered word out to other HB employees. Liz and I plastered the area with posters and an urgent call came to PAF from a car passenger around dinner time on a Sunday night. I sped out to HB while the ferry passenger kept leaving bits of food for mom and baby who were behind a fenced area near the washrooms. I set the traps with tuna and backed away. Baby could get through the fenced gate but not mom. The ferry supervisor was soon on scene and unlocked the gate and we hoped mom would come to the trap for food. Within 5 minutes we had them both! Shelley had also arrived and we celebrated!

BUT there is another heart stopping twist to this story. I took mom and baby home and eased them into a large dog kennel together, not knowing whether mom was feral but realizing that they needed to be together. Both were thin and starving. Over the next couple of days food and blankets were changed as well as the litter box. Mom was nervous but not feral and both were eating up a storm.

Five days after catching them, Dr. Sue came to my house for a visit with the kitties and to ascertain whether mom could be scheduled for spaying. She noted an irregular lump in mom's belly area and almost immediately, mom's breathing became laboured. An urgent dash to the veterinary clinic, and x-rays, revealed a diaphragmatic hernia which is a life threatening condition. Mom had a tear in her diaphragm which allowed the abdominal contents such as the liver and intestines to enter the chest cavity. The vet thought some sort of a trauma such as a high fall or car accident was the likely cause and, as mom was now eating lots since her rescue, the tear in her stomach wall was rapidly enlarging. Immediate surgery was done and the skill of Dr. Sue Hughson and Dr. Janice Crook, along with vet techs, Jen and Kate, saved mom's life.

The happy result was that Dr. Sue and her daughter fell in love with mom and baby and adopted them both!

For photos of the little mom and baby – click here


One of those difficult situations occurred when Trish took on her next employment assignment case with an elderly woman. Health care providers had been contacted as the woman had Alzheimer's disease and was no longer able to care for herself in her home. The woman had two adult cats and part of Trish's job was to find them a new home. The only relative of the woman's was a brother living in England who came to Canada to help with the transition situation. Trish made arrangements with the brother to surrender the cats to PAF and Dani, of the Cat Cottage on Bowen Island, graciously agreed to look after them for a short while and then re-adopt them to a home together. Unfortunately, when the cats arrived, both exhibited medical problems and urgent veterinary care was required. Milo was heavily overweight and suffering breathing difficulties. Otis was only 6 pounds, was lethargic and had balance problems. Health providers could find no veterinary records for either cat nor was the elderly woman able to provide basic information such as age or history on them.

Extensive veterinary care such as x-rays, ultrasound, and blood and urine tests were needed. Otis was suffering from a severe, untreated ear infection which had punctured his ear drum and now was systemic in his body. Ultrasound showed Milo's breathing difficulties were caused by an enlarged heart and a collapsing trachea tube. His overweight body was part of the problem. Multiple supporting medical treatments and antibiotics were prescribed and Dani provided intensive nursing care. The first round of veterinary care was $1,400. and the family was able to contribute $ 450. The cats rallied over the next month but Otis' infection came back after his initial course of antibiotics was completed.

Otis was put on a long term course of antibiotics and has again rallied but a second round of vet care was incurred. Thanks to a generation donation from Trish's friend, Owen, some of those costs were covered. Over the past few months Otis has gained weight, his eardrum has grown back and his balance is better. With attention paid to his diet, Milo has lost weight which has eased his heart condition and breathing although both need to be monitored. Both cats seem to be enjoying life after their struggles. However, through a neighbour of the woman's, it was learned that the cats were approx. 15 – 19 years old.

Given their medical history and senior ages, they are not likely to be re-adopted. Dani is willing to have them stay with her so she can provide them with the care they need but we are hoping for 'sponsor care' assistance to help PAF pay the continuing monthly vet costs of antibiotics, subcutaneous fluids, and for food and litter. We estimate the monthly maintenance cost to be $100. and are hoping that Otis and Milo might have a few 'regular' friends contribute $20. a month to help them. Anything contributed above the monthly cost would be set aside for further veterinary care as either needed it. If you would like to help sponsor the little guys, please visit the PAF website, and click on the 'Canada' icon at the top right of the home page. When filling in the donation page form, please click on the 'Fund Designation' drop down box to take you to the 'Milo and Otis' Fund.

For photos of these sweet cats, click here


It was one of those heart wrenching calls that rescuers receive and immediately fills you with sorrow. The beginning of this story is hard to read but the outcome, miraculously, has a happy ending.

On a cold, rainy Friday in late September, the woman's voice on the phone was shaky as she said she had heard a cat crying in her storage shed that morning. When she pried open the door she found one tiny kitten dead in a corner but she thought maybe there was another one. Once again, it was the Horseshoe Bay area and, when I arrived, she opened the shed again. In a dusty floor corner of the shed a tiny piece of dark fluff was wedged against the wall. 'There's the dead one', she said. The tiny bundle was in a ball - rock hard and ice cold. The little eyes were not open and the ears still rounded and I estimated it to be no more than a week to 9 days old. We lifted everything we could out of the storage shed and searched by flashlight for any other kittens but to no avail. We left food, water and a blanket in the shed and the lady said she would continue to leave food and check in the coming days to see if there was any trace of a feral mother cat or any other kittens.

With a heavy heart I wrapped the baby kitten in a flannel pillowcase and laid it on the floor of the passenger side of my truck. Being thoroughly chilled and soaked from removing all the items from the shed in the pouring rain, I turned the heater and defroster on high to clear my windshield. A few minutes later I reached North Vancouver and pulled over to the side of the road to take a cell call. Still being cold, I left the engine running. I had been talking for about 10 minutes and the call lasted much longer than I expected.

Suddenly I heard the tiniest of squeaks. The sound was shocking as I couldn't believe my ears! Could that baby still be alive? Did that constant blast of hot air from the truck heater revive it? I immediately phoned the vet clinic to alert them and arrived within 8 minutes. The clinic was waiting and, as I unwrapped the flannel pillowcase, they went into urgent procedures. The kitten's paw was moving slightly and the little mouth was trying to cry. Dr. Janice Crook and the two vet technicians, Jen and Kate, went to work. No body temperature could be registered. More intensive medical intervention continued while we held our breath. A second attempt at temperature a short time later still registered no temperature but little baby was moving all four legs and crying. She weighed 6 oz. and was a dark brown with orange flecks in her coat. Finally, at the end of the afternoon, little one's body temperature was up to one degree below normal. I made up baby kitten formula and when little one had regained her swallowing response, I was allowed to syringe feed her. We were not confident she would make it, given her condition, but we were going to give her the best care possible.

I took her home, filled her carrier with warm microwaved pads and began the weeks of round the clock feedings that orphan baby kittens need. No sign of her mother or other kitten was ever found. She opened her eyes for the first time 3 days after she was rescued and gradually she gained weight. She was a little slow in her development but after nearly two weeks she started to get mobile with little crawling episodes. She began to take interest in her surroundings and get stronger on her legs. We christened her “Ducky” because when she first started walking it was with the side to side waddle like a little duckling following its mother. She learned her name and, when we would call “Ducky Ducky”, she would appear from somewhere racing to us with her unique little 'duck waddle'.

Her survival is a real miracle. Evidence is present of how close a call it was. As she grew, it was apparent that the tip of her tail was not filling out and growing. A vet visit confirmed that the tip was dead, likely the result of the lack of blood supply as her body shut down in that cold shed. When she was six weeks old the tip of her tail fell off. Another half hour in that shed and she might not have made it at all.

For photos of little Ducky please click here.

HO HO HO . . . .

'IN THE RAW' – Food for Dogs and Cats

Get in the Christmas spirit and come visit Jill and Rob's wonderful store at 150 East 2nd, North Vancouver. Celebrate their theme of 'The 12 Days of Christmas' from Dec. 12 - 24th! There are goodies galore and prizes to be won and the discount is 5% OFF the entire store! Their products are amazing and the store is chock full of a huge variety of brands. They, and their staff, are very knowledgeable about diet issues for your canine and feline friends. They are always so willing to help answer your questions.

Jill and Rob have been very supportive to PAF and have invited us to set up a Christmas table fundraiser on Dec. 14th. We hope you will stop by to say hello while you shop for all those furry companions on your Santa list.

Please click here to see more information on this upcoming event.

Merry Christmas to All and wishing you a peaceful and happy holiday!  Thank you to all our wonderful supporters!

    Lana Simon, Director
                                                                     Pacific Animal Foundation