How Catify Cafe & Adoptions All Started !!
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
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All of what you are about to read and see took place between 2010 up though July 2019 pertaining to the 17 cats, who adopted us (ok, 16 adopted us) that allow my wife and I to live with them as long as we feed them, play with them, care for them, pay all the household bills and most importantly, LOVE THEM, Some on their own terms! These are very gracious cats !! ALL CATS within this story were all fixed (spayed/neutered) and got the necessary shots/vaccinations shortly after we were able to secure/capture them. NOW, we want to help even more Cats (besides the ones we already adopted) by not only finding them "Forever" homes, but to care for them, and especially nurture the ones who have been neglected, had a very rough start to life or just abandoned for no reason and have felt rejected. We want to show them unconditional love and care while they are in our care until they are ready for adoption. Please consider helping us reach our goal of this cafe, veterinarian & adoption center.
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HOW IT ALL BEGAN......
My wife & I had lost one of the best cats ever, a tiger cat, Kasey. My wife got her while she was in Chiropractic College in Georgia. LONG story short, a stray cat came into her friends apartment closet and had babies. Kris took one at six weeks, which practically fit in the palm of her hand at the time. She raised it and it was the most loving cat and always was there for her through thick and thin. I met my wife in 2004 and got to know Kasey really well and we got along great. Kasey would often "steal" my bacon from my hands as I would try to eat it and thought nothing of it, like it was hers to begin with. Sadly, in 2010, she developed cancer and we had to put her to sleep, which took us a couple of weeks to finally do it. It seemed that she was not suffering with pain during those two weeks, just harder to breathe and she would constantly go off by herself into little cubby spaces to "hide". Finally, when we began to see her breathing more labored and she stopped eating even her favorites, we took her to the vets and stayed with her throughout the whole process of putting her to sleep. It was one of the hardest things we ever did, as those who know, these little creatures become Actual Family Members and it's a tremendous, heart-wrenching loss!! We cried for many days.
On January 11th, 2011 we adopted TWO Cats from the Wayne County Humane Society near where we live. We wanted them to have a companion when we were not at home. We named them Jethro & Ellie Mae. Both were found separately and turned into the place where we adopted them from. Both had worm issues and both had to be fixed. Jethro & Ellie Mae took quickly to each other and to us, and we were a family in no time. In July of 2012, we moved from Creston, Ohio to Orrville, Ohio (25 minutes away) to my wife's home town. The economy and home sales had just tanked and we were blessed with a very nice, fairly large home, at a wonderful price.
A couple of months after we moved in, my wife was working in her office and noticed a young kitten, on our window ledge looking in. Here is where it really begins !! My wife called me over and when we got close, it darted off, not to be seen again. Well, until the next day, when we were looking in our back yard and saw her and TWO MORE young (sibling) kittens, eating our bird seed we had put out for the birds. Hungry kittens, looking for anything to eat!
For the next several months, we fed "our" growing kittens: Whitey, Stripey 1 & Stripey 2 (looked identical with an ever so slight mark on one), tiger/tabby cats. They were definitely feral, as they would run off if we got close. During that time as well, Mama Kitty and Blackie showed up and we affectionately named them, too (somehow, they seem to become "ours" as soon as we name them! No matter how generic the name is, it's just funny how that works!). After about six months, we were able to get the first three captured, but not without Stripey #1 giving birth to THREE AND Mama Kitty giving birth to TWO babies. Meanwhile, we took Stripey #2 and Whitey to get fixed (females), but the non-profit pet care facility that did low cost spay/neutering in our area, told us that we needed to put Stripey #2 down, due to HIV+ (Feline Aids) status and that she was pregnant as well. The Doctor said it was best to put her and the babies down while she was "out", in preparation for the spay procedure. Being uneducated at the time about "Kitty Aids" (HIV+), we agreed, since the "Doctor" said it was best but it still broke our hearts. It's years later, yet WE STILL TOTALLY REGRET THAT DECISION, based on what we know now about kitties with HIV disease being able to have a relatively normal and fairly healthy life, especially if cared for properly !! Later in this blog we will talk about a cat we currently have that IS HIV+ and is just a great cat!
Stripey 1 & 2 & Blackie Mama Kitty & Babies Mama Kitty Babies @ 1 mo.
Stripey # 1 and Babies Tigger - Smokey - Mojo Mama Kitty & Baby
Mama & Stripey Babies 5/14 Whitey 09/14 Smokey-Mojo-Tigger 09/14
At this point we now had: Jethro, Ellie Mae, Whitey, Blackie, Stripey #1, MoJo, Smokey, Tigger, Mama Kitty and her two babies, (we did not name her kittens as we found them a home to go to when they became of age to do so) ELEVEN cats up to this point. Mama Kitty would love to roam in the woods behind our house, but always took care of her babies. Shortly after we got her babies adopted out, she one day went out to roam, and never came back. We don't know what happened to her and feared the worst. We were very sad she was no longer a part of us.
In the midst of all of this, a few months prior, we had had a "neighborhood" (very feral) male cat show up, named CHUCK by the neighbors. Chuck roamed the neighborhood, and we learned he was more than likely the "Daddy" of all of our girls, or at least one of them. We learned in the process that a female cat can be impregnated by multiple male cats. This would make sense with our stripey who birthed MoJo, a solid black cat with a touch of white, Smokey, with a uniquely shaped face, and Tigger, a tiger cat. Chuck was always sweet with Mama Kitty and Stripey and very protective of them. AWWWW!
Chuck was a true Feral cat that could never be tamed to the point of being held or picked up. I was able to finally, after months of gaining trust, be able to pet him...a little bit. Boy did he love to eat and that was usually when I could get a few strokes in down his back. We fed our cats well, and still do. In the pictures below, the "white stuff" you see on the bowls is "Rotisserie Chicken" that I diced up and gave to the cats from time to time, and even to this day. Chuck hung out mostly at/near our place once he found us, (as the other main neighbor who said they fed him, commented that he basically stopped eating over there and they did not know why since he was still looking robust. We shared with them that maybe he liked our restaurant better !! :-) One day, a couple years ago, at night, we saw Chuck outside, walking very slowly and almost limping, he came up to me and I petted his head then his back which was very wet and smelly. He stayed on our deck on a blanket we had for him for about an hour and left. The next morning, we saw him at the neighbors house at the end of the driveway, sitting almost in the road (not like him at all) I went up to him and in the daylight, I could see he was dying. We called around for several agencies to come and get him, but none would and they just advised don't touch him. Sadly, he went off down to a drainage/runoff area, never to be seen again. We figured that he came up to us that night to say goodbye. At least for the few years he lived outside "with" us, he had great food, a heated outdoor house, clean bedding and as much love as he would tolerate.
Chuck Upper Right Chuck Upper Right Our 4 Unit Heated Condo
Without Chuck and Mama Kitty, we are now at 8 cats. Jethro, Ellie Mae, Whitey, Blackie, Stripey #1, Mojo, Smokey, Tigger. OH WAIT, did we tell you BOOTS just showed up (yes, we named him), one afternoon as I was away? My wife calls me to say there is a new cat on our deck and he was just skin on bones. "What do I do with him?" my wife asks. I said: "Feed Him" !! And then there were NINE. Boots, "with a hint of ADHD", was and is a very sweet and lovable cat. Boots was one we did not have to earn his trust and he was not a Feral like the rest were (except Jethro & Ellie Mae). He was happy for a home and waltzed right in! Over the next few months and a couple of vet visits, he turned out to be a very loving, handsome, healthy cat !!
Boots Boots "Modest" Boots
So, we're good with nine cats now !! Right ?? Oh, Nay Nay !! Here comes cat # 10. One Monday morning as my wife is walking into her office with her hands full, barely able to just open the outside door, and IN WALTZES, from the cold outside, Abby. Abby was different from most cats, uniquely independent, and mannerisms of a dog. Over time we have called her a "Dat", which to us means "a dog caught up in a cats body". She is just so cute and adorable. Plays fetch like a dog, back and forth over and over. Wags her tail like a dog and does so all the time, and clearly answers to her name every time when we call her. Initially, she had a very rough start, weakened immune system and sick along with two types of worms causing her many issues. After a week or so, she was all better !!
This is Abby
TEN is a good number. Our new LIMIT. No More !! And then there were TWO more. Tortie & Koal. Again, at our office, on a cold winter day, early afternoon are these two little younger kittens, so we thought, that were actually older (about a year old). Just underfed and one stunted in growth. These two, started at my wife's office by pacing back and forth in front of the doors where people came in/out. Running a few feet away when people came but then coming right back. Approximately, 7 hours later when the office closed, they were still there so we coaxed them into the glass enclosed foyer, they started purring and doing the figure 8 in our legs and then we brought them home. They too had some health issues, mostly respiratory and eye infections. Two weeks later they were back to good health, and so we are at an EVEN DOZEN !! The wife & I have a serious talk, or should I say, SHE TOLD ME..... "NO MORE CATS". Ok, the Boss has laid down the law !!
Tortie Koal (Top) - Tortie (Middle) Koal
WELL.... I guess LAWS are meant to be BROKEN !! (at least non-governmental ones). One day, in the back yard, was this part tiger / mixed breed. For a stray/feral, he did not seem to act like a normal cat. Sneakers (yes, we named him) did not respond to noise and was easily frightened off when he was finally aware someone was there or close by. One afternoon, he was sitting on top of our outside grill, (I was inside the house looking through a window) so I went out the front and attempted to sneak up on him from behind his back. Stepping on twigs and small branches, crunching them as I went, he never budged or looked behind. I got within about 3 feet of him and clapped my hands loudly, that got his attention and he ran off. After about a month of earning his trust, I was able to get him inside. After a vet visit, we learned he was about 3/4 deaf, and has Feline Aids (FIV) which is "Kitty Aids". Only transferred usually by a direct bite from Saliva. So what do we do with this one? I was told (5th paragraph of this blog) to put him down. We couldn't. So Initially, we caged him (Cage Size: 4' X 3' X 3'6"). But as he tamed down, and we got to KNOW him and what FIV is, he now only SLEEPS in his cage at night and is out with 6-10 other cats from 6:30am until 11pm daily, and we have had no problems. One of the most loving and appreciative cats we have. EVERY TIME when I go to scoop his litter box, he has to come up and be next to me and LOVE ON ME by marking me with kisses and gentle head butts. So I guess a DOZEN is now a BAKERS DOZEN (13)!!
So now that we are at a Bakers Dozen, things KIND OF slowed down, when we experienced some trouble. To start, Garfield showed up (he was not the trouble, he was just #14), but he did take close to a year and a half for me to earn his trust. At first, if I got just within eye-sight of him, he was gone, but he always returned for the food. Within six months, I could get within 10 feet of him and we would just talk. Within a year, he was sleeping up on a chair we had just outside our door on our deck. (covered deck chair with two heating pads for the winter months). Finally, Winter of 2018 and we were getting 10" of snow, I knew he would not survive if he wandered, which he did every day regardless of outdoor conditions. So, after six inches of snow had fallen, I put food out on our step and squatted at the door talking with him while he ate. As he was eating and took a moment to look in the other direction, I grabbed him and tossed him into our sun room where 5 other cats love to hang out at. Surprisingly, within a couple of days it was like they were all one big happy family.
The TROUBLE I spoke of began summer of 2016 when three of our indoor/outdoor cats were injured within 10 days of each other from roaming out in the woods behind our house. Even though we are in a nice neighborhood, sometimes some not so nice people hang out in the woods, and not everyone understands/cares that cats/dogs/animals can feel pain and hurt just like we do. Three of the cats came home with their right front paws injured/fractured(?), causing them to limp around for several days, and one for several weeks (she was still wild enough to not be able to get her crated and to the vet). We decided after the third one was injured, this was definitely not coincidental or "natural"! We grounded all of our cats and they now live inside permanently. That was a big culture shock to some of them and we wanted them to be happy, so we did build a Large 18' long outdoor free standing habitat where they can go out our sun room window into the unit and be outside, but protected. They do love it and spend as much time out there as possible.
Our Free Standing 18' Long by 5' Wide by 7' 6" Tall Outdoor Habitat
Cat # 14 - Garfield
Short Video of the Outdoor Habitat we built to protect our cats from harm.
So where were we? Oh yes, Garfield. I was very thankful that we were able to get him inside as we were running those two heating pads, that were wrapped in towels so that it would be just warm enough and not too hot for him while he was living outside. Running them 24/7 as we did racked up the electric bill some, so I thought, "Finally, that's done." WELL...... four days after Garfield, Skidders showed up. This guy was exactly that..... Skiddish. He would NOT go into the heated chair, even though I changed all the bedding to new, clean towels. Skidders would not even go into a brand new heated box we built for him. It is now at night time in the SINGLE DIGITS and my wife and I are highly concerned, especially for his delicate ears. He would sit on a snow melting mat we put out, but that did nothing for his head. After a couple of days, we were able to grab him in during a feeding on the steps by our door, so this makes Cat Number 15.
Skidders - Cute, Adorable and Lovable
Skidders' personality type is always CURIOUS !! He just has to get into your space to see whats going on. One thing he is notorious for is, if another cat goes into the litter box to go potty, he'll walk right up to them and it's like he's asking: "Whatcha Doing?", not giving the other cat(s) any privacy. During the day it's not so bad, but at night, he is in a cage, right next to sneakers where they sleep overnight and the other cats have some privacy!! Otherwise he, like Sneakers, is free to roam/play with the others between 16-18 hours a day.
At this point I have broken my wife's law (about no more cats) THREE TIMES. Well, since I am a habitual law breaker, what's one more, right?? Actually, for the first six months of 2019, I thought we must have finally got all the cats from the neighborhood as no more showed up, which I was actually thankful for. To take care of just 15 cats, at regular costs for food, cat litter, toys, cat trees and bedding and vet bills for when they get sick or need care, it runs approximately $1000 to $1200 per month. We keep approximately forty to fifty 38LB Boxes of Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multi-Cat litter on hand, we use approximately 20 cans of moist food per day to help keep them hydrated better; dry food we use the Purina Cat Naturals, Purina One Series, IAMS and Blue Buffalo brands. Then we use Vetriscience Lysine and Multi-Vitamins. For the most part we have very healthy cats.
July 2019, shortly after the 4th of July holiday. This skinny, gray cat showed up at our house and was hanging out near where we fed birds. I saw this cat for about three weeks, but every time I got near it, it just ran off and would not come back until I left the area. I had not put any food out for it as "I Thought" is must live in the neighborhood somewhere. In hind sight, I should have put food and water out for it. Finally on the 3rd Saturday, after dark, I went to retrieve our bird feeders because if we don't the raccoons will knock them down and run off with them. As I rounded the back corner of our house, I am hearing, crying at the top of it lungs, a cat. I had no clue it would have been that same gray cat that had been hanging around, but it was.
Just sitting there under an evergreen tree at one of our tree lines was that cat who always ran off. After about 10 minutes of coaxing it out, it finally came to me, allowed me to pick it up and carry it into the garage. As I was carrying it, I am thinking: "WHAT am I going to tell my wife?? Honey, LOOK WHAT I FOUND !" I called for her and she came to the garage, looked at Grayson (yes, we named him) and as I explained what had just happened, my wife said: "AWWWWWEE". Unfortunately, we do have a Rule/Law in the house that NO cat comes inside until after it has been cleared of illnesses by a vet. So we had to keep it outside until Monday, not knowing if it would stay or not. We fed it a 3oz can of moist food and another one on Sunday morning as Grayson stayed in the flower beds by our house. By Sunday afternoon, he was following me all around the perimeter of the house, never leaving my side, just like a little puppy dog. He made SEVERAL attempts to try to follow me inside the house just breaking our hearts with its poor, pitiful rejection look and cries.
Monday morning rolled around and YES, he was still there. We called our vet right when they opened and we were able to get in before noon. To our SURPRISE, the doctor said he had not eaten for potentially 3-4 weeks, partially dehydrated, about 4 lbs underweight. This was due to him being DECLAWED, (he could not catch birds or other animals he was hunting) and he was also already fixed. We looked for over a month at lost and founds and called places, but no one claimed Grayson, so here is cat # 16. The most appreciative, loving, soft and a ham for pictures cat.
Talk to the Paw and meet Mr. Grayson !!
So Where is cat # 17 you ask? SPOOKY is cat # 17 with a floating number. Spooky actually came to us with Kris's mother (now 80) when she moved in due to health issues. That was her cat and she resides upstairs in her large bedroom with two very large closets to play in. Spooky has a three window area to be able to watch outside and see people walk up and down the neighborhood and get sunshine which she loves. Unfortunately, she is a much older cat, and starting to get cataracts in her eyes we suspect, as you can tell by the pictures. She has always been a "One Person Cat" and does not want to integrate with other cats very well.
Our mothers cat, Spooky.
About late August, I had this idea to act on what has been building for a long time, on how neat it would be to be able to have a place to adopt cats out. I know there are MANY cat adoption agencies already. Reality has finally set in and we realize that 17 cats is our max. So I can now help other cats through this organization we have formed by coming along side of other "Rescue Shelters" to help with their "Over Crowding". We ourselves do not rescue as far as our organization is concerned, as we will not have that type of facility. The place we are currently looking at is 5500 Sq. Ft. and will be just big enough to fit all three operations under one roof.
There are really just four places in Ohio and 58 in the U.S. that are a "Coffee House & Cat Adoption" type facility as of October 2019. In Ohio, Gem City Catfe in Dayton, Kitty Brew Cafe in Mason. affoGATO Cat Cafe in Cleveland, opened in January of 2019, and has already adopted out 241 Cats this year so far (at the time of this writing). Eat Purr Love Cat Cafe in Hilliard is also among just a few places like this that exist. All four of these are a Minimum of 75-90 minutes up to 3+ hours away from where we will be located.
There are NONE that we found that also would have a full time DVM (doctor veterinarian medicine) and have a type of facility (all under one roof) that could do x-rays and blood labs onsite (if needed) as well, to speed up the process of treating our furry little felines quicker so they would not have to suffer from the condition they would have come in for. We also want to provide a "Waiting Area / Lounge" for those parents who wish to stay close to their babies (cats) while they have surgery and to keep them informed throughout the process.
PetSmart of Wooster, Ohio has been very gracious in getting our supplies we need for our own cats, and staff there has promised to also assist with our operation. In talking with staff at several pet stores who are close to the adoption arena, they have all said something like what we would offer is highly needed. We actually see ourselves within a year or less as word gets out, having a second DVM on staff to keep up with the demands.
So between our website/PayPal we have NOW, here and a GoFundME page (going LIVE around 12/12/2019) are set up to raise funds for our "Start Up Costs" for the 1st year. We will be located in a high traffic area of Wayne County Ohio, and having done a "Very Conservative" projection of income, we would be able to be self-sustaining, especially if we were "Debt Free" on startup. If all we have is the Ongoing expenses, such as Rent, Utilities, Payroll, Supplies, etc. Then the conservative projections we have done would cover those expenses and allow us to build a "Surplus Fund" for expansion (second DVM, Vet Techs and additional equipment as needed.
We do have a Spreadsheet detailing the startup costs (details broken down) as well as a conservative annual income projection (details broken down) along with projected overhead costs. If you are a corporation or large donor, feel free to ask for our financial projections and up-front/start-up cost estimates. Email Us Here.
What will make us different? Why will we succeed when we get funded enough to open a facility? There is a big need in our area for a Low Cost Facility and there was one in one county over in Medina who no longer does Spay/Neuter. Secondly, Our Attitudes, Genuineness, Knowledge, Care and Love we have for cats !!
We understand that the overall laws on animals is that they are "Property". That is not how we feel, nor how we will operate. They are like "Family" to us as we will treat them as such. These cats, and other animals can feel "Happy, Sad, Depressed, Sick, Aches & Pains, they Bleed, get Cavities / Bad Teeth, Infections and much more JUST LIKE us Humans!! If we could save them all, we would. However, that is not reality!! But, for EVERY CAT that will pass through our facility, it will make a huge difference in their lives and to them personally !!
We do not know who you are (reading this post) or where you are from. We are not asking you to stop supporting any animal shelters or facilities in your area. But if you have extra, if you would like to help us make a difference here in Ohio, perhaps you even donate in honor of a cat you have, that one of ours looks like one you once had, or even if you are needing an end of year tax write off, please help us meet our goal. We so Greatly Appreciate Your Donation and support! Feel free to email us and we will do our very best to respond as soon as we can. If you do not hear from us right away, it would be most likely due to a major influx of emails.
Please visit our Facebook Page and "LIKE" and/or "Follow" us and we will start to update there as to what all is happening and keep you posted. You can also BOOKMARK our BLOG Pages as we will have Monthly Updates that will be updated on a regular basis (every 1-3 days, at least until kick off). If you have supported us, we want to say in advance a BIG THANK YOU!! Please feel free to stay a part of our family and watch us grow, all because of YOU!!
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Catify Cafe & Adoptions, Inc.
P. O. Box 21
Orrville, OH 44667