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2017-09-13 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Often cats and kittens travel a dangerous, bumpy road on their way to rescue. Here are a few with powerful background stories. All are either from Last Hope in Wantagh or Babylon Shelter/Last Hope cats:

1)BOBBY came into Babylon Shelter as a six-month-old with cerebellar hypoplasis (CH). He moved in a wobbly way. At first his name was “Bobbles” but changed so not to focus on his disability. CH is a non-life threatening condition that occurs when the cerebellum does not fully develop in kittens before birth, often caused when the mother cat is exposed to the virus — or the vaccine — for panleukopenia (aka “feline distemper”) late in her pregnancy. There is no treatment for CH but many affected cats learn to negotiate their environment over time. Bobby had a moderate case and could still zoom. He moved to Last Hope and was adopted by a family who has added several ramps to help him run through his house.


“Frances” a special, under-sized kitten. “Frances” a special, under-sized kitten. 2)FRANCES and her sister were found as eight-week-olds in Selden in May. Her foster Mom noticed she was a bit immature. There seemed to be a developmental lag. “She’s Special. Frances is a bit smaller. Her legs are a bit stubbier. Frances was a bit slower to learn kitty things. She was less coordinated than her littermate Amber and half her size...But Frances has progressed. There’s nothing medically wrong with her. Frances plays now, and what she lacked in developmental speed, she makes up for with her double dose of Kitten Cuteness” read her Last Hope Face book post in August which was seen by over 25,000 people and prompted many adoption offers. Soon after Frances was adopted by a lady with three other Last Hope black cats, the mother of a young boy whose femurs had fused prematurely expressed interest Frances as a companion for her son.


The Navajo Cat Code Talker TG The Navajo Cat Code Talker TG 3)FRED was from a hoarder eviction in Brentwood. This tenant left at least 50 cats behind, both inside and outside. Some were tame and neutered; others feral and breeding. The landlord hired workmen immediately and many cats were trapped inside. It took feline diplomacy to get him to allow Last Hope to trap the cats. However, this would not be a TNR (Trap/neuter/return) effort because the cats could not go back there. It took months to capture all the cats. Fred appeared feral when first caught. He was ear-tipped and ornery. After a brief stay in Wantagh, he became a mush. He was adopted recently, and we get many updates about how wonderful he is.

4)HAL went from being a kitten hanging from a stockade fence with his paw wedged between the planks to a pampered pet named “Flynn” whose home looks like a Tabby Toys R Us.

In May Babylon Shelter got a desperate call from a Wyandanch woman saying a kitten hanging from her fence by a paw. ACO Jill rushed to the scene and scruffed him while the husband pulled the planks apart.

At the shelter, HAL limped on that front leg. Later x-rays showed he may have had past nerve damage to this paw which caused him to get stuck in the first place. Hal came to Last Hope and was around Mother’s Day. A specialist fitted him for a splint to strengthen his bad front paw. He is not crazy about his splint but still races up the stairs and climbs on his tall cat tower. He is now using his injured paw to grab his many toys.

5)HOFSTRA was a tiny tabby discovered alone under the bleachers at the university stadium. When he went to be neutered, one of the veterinarians fell in love. Because of his stay at Last Hope, Hofstra (renamed “Cecil”) now has a veterinarian as his Mom, a professional photographer as his Dad and a French Bulldog as his Best Friend.

6)MORRIS an older orange tabby stayed alone for months in his huge, empty home after his 91 year-old owner died in a car accident on his way to work. His estate executors were not cat-savvy and reached out for help so they could sell the home. Even though a Last Hope volunteer had contained Morris in one room, they gave him access to the whole house before the volunteer set the trap. Finally he was captured, and soon after adopted by a volunteer vet tech and her husband who have space in their hearts for senior cats.

7)PATTY CAKE was saved in the nick of time. A superintendent at a Bronx apartment building saw a black garbage bag move on the trash compactor conveyor belt. He looked inside and found a bewildered calico. Named for the baby gorilla born at the Bronx Zoo long ago, Patty Cake stayed at Last Hope until a volunteer was delivering microchips to an animal hospital. A receptionist was so taken by Patty Cake’s story that she visited Last Hope to adopt her.

8)TG (aka “Tough Guy”) was an ear-tipped tabby who found himself in a Queens feral colony, most likely dumped there. The other cats didn’t accept him so he had to fight for food which is how he got his name. TG turned out to be a love at Last Hope. He was adopted by a family with two little girls. TG, now “Navajo” lets the girls dress him up for tea parties. He joins in their Monopoly games by sitting on the board. He is also tries so hard to speak to his Mom. We call him a Navajo Cat Code Talker.

9)VINILIO (Spanish for “vinyl”) was saved while the Wyandanch High School graduation was going on in the background. Babylon Shelter got a call from a woman saying a kitten was crying loudly in the back of her property but she couldn’t find it. Shelter director Chris and ACO Jill responded to the call and eventually located the crying coming from the bottom of a tall PVC fence post. The cover of the post was missing. A longhaired black kitten had fallen to the base. It took awhile to free him by cutting a doorway at the bottom. Jill’s hand was small enough to pull him out. By then, he was half-submerged in rainwater.

Dr. Lyons hydrated and warmed him back at the shelter. Jill fostered him for the weekend. Shortly after he was moved to Last Hope and adopted from our Pet Smart Bellmore satellite site to a home in Brooklyn. It’s a good thing Vinilio’s cries were louder than the high school band.

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