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Tough Love

On these pages you will find selected stories about cats that have come through our program. To see other previously adopted cats, search for their ID number on the Siamese Available page.

Dinah-mite (VA3809)
Patience and lots of it - progress was daily in little baby steps. Just to be able to make eye contact and not have her hide was big. Then to see her eat - she comes running to the dish! I remember the first time she started to purr while playing with the wand toy. I thought "Someday I will be able to pet her..", well that day is here, even though it took a couple of months! She will stand on my lap to be petted and will put her nose to mine for a brief moment then jumps down. I kept Dinah-Mite in isolation in my bedroom for about 5 weeks. I never sought her out; she did do a lot of hiding. I did read out loud to her, she is well versed in the Quarter Horse Journal and Optics (probably bored her); however she does know my voice. Now that she has the run of the house, she never hides. Most of the time she is in the same room as I or soon comes running when I call her name. The strange thing is I can only pet Dinah-Mite in my bedroom while sitting down and holding the wand toy, she will run off if I try to pet her in any other room. However, when food is involved she will take it from my hand no matter where I am in the house. She loves coffee ice cream and will jump in my lap to have some.
Adopted 2/26/06 by Linda Lachapelle

Curry (VA2848)
Curry was terrified of humans and I thought with enough love she would immediately blend in. Well, it also required time - almost 15 months now. Many a day in the beginning, I spent on the ground talking to her under the bed, and nail trimming sessions were a severe undertaking.

After 6 months or so her own little Tortie personality has come shining through. Now I know why they named her after a hot spice! She tears through the house playing and will purr and rub against anything in sight during feeding time. One day when she was chasing a fly and forgot to be scared, she ended up hanging on the lace kitchen curtains, swinging back and forth as the fly quickly moved away - but she was able to let me pick her off the curtains so she could continue her chase.

I am just so darn happy when she lets me pet her soft fur or when she bellows (boy, is she LOUD) for attention. I am brought to tears when she rolls over, purring and shows me her belly. For her to show that type of trust is amazing.

With patience and continued playing time, I know she will become the cat she was meant to be.
Adopted 4/11/05 by Bethann Flannery

Toby (VA3232) and Titus (VA3231)
Titus is really a mush in all ways, and not exceptionally bright. He uses his stomach to think, and when he came to us he was terribly anxious about food. He cried for food continuously, would jump onto the counter and grab it from your hand, and ate until he would have horrible diarrhea. He also has to climb onto the highest surface in a room, but is not terribly graceful. He takes a fantastic leap, nearly falls, and then clings and scrambles until he pulls himself up. All the furniture is getting scratched. The good news is that he has no physical reasons for his food issues. So with much experimentation we have him on a feeding schedule that keeps him regular, and he has settled down into a much lower level of anxiety about starvation. In all other ways he is a joy. He is playful and goofy, and wonderfully entertaining. Also he is good at adoring anyone with an available lap.

Toby is the real challenge. He is a grumpy old man in every sense of the word. He is cranky and unpredictable. We suspect that some of this is allergies, as he has puffy eyes, itchy ears, and grooms like it's his full time job. Currently his belly and legs are pretty naked. We have him on prednisone and are seeing some result. If he does not gradually get better we will have to try another med. But like all difficult children he is the one you love, just because. He is such a mess, but he will sit aggressively on your lap, glaring up at you, daring you to try and move him, while purring like a buzz saw. He even purrs aggressively. We call him velcro-boy, because his claws are always out and he grabs on if you try and move him. And the children are convinced that he has the cutest meow of all our kitties.

The good news is, that for all their quirky behaviors, they seem happy and content. The children love them, and they seem to enjoy the children too. They are durable creatures, and don't seem to mind being carted around or played with. They are wonderfully devoted lap sitters, and quite the clowns as well. The reality is that they have enough bad habits and issues, that there are times I wonder why I am still dealing with it. The answer is of course obvious...we love them and they are part of the family. But not everyone would feel the same, or be willing to accommodate their special needs.
Adopted 9/8/05 by Patricia Vietri

Pebbles (VA3816) and BamBam (VA3815)
Having adopted 3 rescue kitties (Pebbles, Bam Bam and Marley) and one kitty from a feral family (Rowan) adopting me in the past 4 years the one thing I can say for sure if that no two are alike. Each will react to things differently and you can't expect them to be like previous animals you have adopted. Pebbles and Bam Bam came from the Siamese Rescue and it was much different experience then Marley who can from a different rescue. I was able to get much more information from their foster mom then I received on my previous rescue kitty Marley. Pebbles and Bam Bam were fighting ringworm when in foster care and their foster mom made sure I understood what was going on and kept me informed of their progress. I was impressed with all the information I was provided on each of them as was my vet when I took her a copy of the information for their files. Marley who was adopted from a different rescue had a really bad URI they gave me very little information on how she was doing and when I picked her up she was still fighting it and spent the first few months with me on meds trying to get over it. She also had a congenital heart defect they did not detect even when she was spayed and when my vet heard the murmur they downplayed it after a trip to their vet and told me she should not have complications, it turned out it was a major defect even with the best care I could give her and weekly visits to my vet her she was with me for only about two years. I would do it all over again don't get me wrong I loved her and she was a very special kitty With Pebbles and Bam Bam I knew upfront I was adopting two project kitties and their foster mom made sure I fully understood what I was getting into. Turns out Bam Bam who we thought would be the big project has come around really fast and is a love bug. Pebbles is still a work in progress. I highly recommend the Siamese Rescue. The amount of information, the thoroughness of the evaluation process of both the cats and your home environment and the availability of advice from the Siamese Rescue is priceless. I just wish all rescues where like the Siamese Rescue.
Adopted 1/14/06 by Courtney Wright

Princess (VA3281)
1) I think the first thing it's important for people to realize is it takes a lot of patience. Animals have memories just like people, and sometimes it's very hard to overcome whatever experiences they've had. I couldn't even pick Princess up for over 2 weeks, but now she can be very loving and enjoys nothing more than nesting on my chest, wrapping herself around my neck, or joining me in front of the computer.

2) Rescue the animal that speaks to you. I know it may sound like she's a terror, but I am sooo crazy about this cat. I see the gratitude in her eyes on a daily basis, and I really believe that fate brought her to me. I lost two cats within 1 year, and had them for 12 year. I had waited to get another animal. But when I started looking and came across her write-up, I just felt a connection. She needed a specific type of home that I could provide, and it's worked out great. Every time she makes her little chirpy noises, it just makes me smile!

3) Establish a safe environment. Place a new animal in a very limited space until they make it clear they are ready to explore. Then introduce them to other areas in small increments and keep doing so in small increments.

4) Don't force a relationship (back to patience). You need to give them some power in determining when and how the relationship progresses. That means allow them to sit with you or on you when they want to, no sudden moves, and low soft voice. For the first two weeks, I would sit down on the floor, but didn't even reach out to her. I needed her to understand that she was in control, but that she was going to get all the basic care she needed (I guess a little of Maslow's hierarchy of needs)

5) Do establish consistent expectations, rewards, corrective actions. Example - Princess got highly agitated with any movement when she first came, and would growl/hiss, and sometimes attack with no provocation. Since she was the only animal in the house, there were no excuses for her nastiness. I got a small water bottle, and anytime she did that, she got a quick shot of water. It was harmless but also let her know that it was unacceptable behavior. At the same time, when she would rub on my leg or be affectionate, I would praise her softly, play with her favorite toys, and give her treats.

6) Find out what rewards they like, what makes them happy. Princess loves to play, loves Feline Greenies, and to have her forehead stroked/rubbed right above her nose. She doesn't like her rear feet messed with, or much attention near her tail. Respect that, and appreciate the positive things about the animal.

7) Accept that you may never "love" them into an "ideal" pet. Princess made herself sick the first time I went away for 2 days. I had a friend coming over to feed her and give her fresh water, but it just stressed her out. I spent Christmas night in the emergency vet clinic. She's gotten better (no more sick spells) but her other nickname is "The Beast" because she throws such horrible fits when other people come to the house (howls, growls, hisses, etc). I know now that when company comes, she has to be put in a room so she doesn't feel threatened, and also to ensure she doesn't hurt anyone. She's also never going to be a cat that I can love on constantly, she has to call the shots.

8) Rescue/adopt for the right reason. Because you want to provide a safe loving environment for an animal that may have never known that, because you have the time and money to invest in keeping them safe & well, and because you enjoy just watching and interacting with them. Appreciate their unique personalities and play to their strengths just as you would with a child. Teach them the basics, but let them be who they were meant to be.
Adopted 10/23/05 by Mary Kaye Bennett

Mel (VA4027)
This guy was a stray found in the VA Beach area of VA, and it was obvious he was an older gent. Scruffy can not really describe the extent of his appearance - his coat was very sparse, very coarse, lots of sores along his back/haunches area, very dehydrated appearing. His few teeth were in very poor condition, but his appetite and attitude was good. This was early March of 2006 when he came in, weight was good at almost 11 pounds, but he really looked crappy.

We did all our normal things, and then some. He had a bath and we ran a ringworm culture,we did an ivermectin injection, depomedrol injection, fluids, xrays, bloodwork, a dental after a few weeks, and so on and so forth. Bloodwork showed all organs in good shape. Xrays showed that many of the verterbrae had fused together, causing severe spinal and back leg arthritis, possibly due to Lyme disease early in life. He had some difficulty walking (pronounced stiff gait in back legs), soreness around the back spinal area and back legs (manifested in nipping at you when touched back there, and pulling of his fur out in those areas when he's feeling discomfort).

Personality? Absolutely a great guy. You would not know this guy is in much discomfort, other than from watching him walk. Active, he climbs up on things without a problem, although I cringe as I watch him try to get down (sometimes he stumbles). He plays and uses the scratching pads. He ADORES catnip. He bats mice and balls around and yes, he just adores that banana and bunny kicks it until there is no end in sight. He seems absolutely fine with the other cats.

He loves to lap sit and can do this for hours on end, however, he will get overstimulated and react to touching the back part of him, and sometimes even the front part of him, with mild nips. But he waits with a look of total expectation of anyone and everyone who walks into the Rescue Center, hoping above all that they will sit on the floor just long enough for him to clamber in and look completely pleased with himself.

Mel was with us for a year and five days. He was passed over again and again, I guess because of his age and his nips. And then one day, after a good breakfast and a great game of ping pong, Mel had a heart attack, and in the blink of an eye, he was gone.

We mourn his loss, and we feel awful that we couldn't provide the one and only thing this cat really wanted - a lap to call his very own. Don't let another 'Mel' get away. If you can do it, take on a cat less fortunate. Sure, you'll be sad when they pass. But think of what you could provide for them - something as simple as a lap to call their own - something that, without you, they might never have.
Died of heart attack on 3/10/07

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