Frankie’s Story

FRANKIE

FRANKIE’S STORY

 

This is the story of how beautiful, three year old, one-eyed Frankie came to spend the balance of his life with us on the Sunshine Coast – lucky boy!

First, I must back-track to a day in late February, when we’d travelled to Sydney the day before for a family court matter, and then had to wait for most of the day for a late afternoon return flight to the Sunshine Coast.

On our return home at about 7 o’clock that evening my beautiful big Tiger was keen to greet me, as were the other three cats, but he was my favourite. I had got Tiger as a kitten (my last!) and he was a beautiful 8 kg six year old. You’ll see that from the photo of him.

Tiger 2

TIGER

I made my usual fuss of him, as I loved him dearly, but, unfortunately, and totally unexpectedly, two hours later he had a massive heart attack and passed away, fortunately very quickly. We rushed him down the hill (we live on the top of Buderim) to the emergency vet hospital, but he was gone. I had suspected he might have the defective HCM gene, and the vet confirmed that this had probably been the case. More about that at another time!

Ken and I were totally devastated, of course. It was a heartbreaking end to a day that had not gone as well as it could have.

However, Ken is very patient where our cats and I are concerned, and was happy to help me look for another cat, as he knew how much I missed Tiger. His passing had left a huge hole – for me, anyway. As a result Ken found Frankie advertised on Gumtree, looking to be rehomed by his Mum, Amanda. Amanda already had an old female cat, Saba, who had not taken to Frankie. I have to say, we’ve also found this with our female cats when introducing male kittens or cats.

Amanda had adopted Frankie from the RSPCA the previous July after he had been handed in with a badly damaged eye, which was later removed by the RSPCA vet. He was also desexed and microchipped at that time. Probably a lot of people would have been reticent about taking a cat recovering from such a traumatic injury, but Amanda took him home and did a wonderful job with him, giving him the love and care he really needed at that time.

However, Amanda’s work as a night superintendent at one of the large clubs in Sydney meant that she really did not have the time to spend with Frankie, who is very affectionate, and loves company and being petted. So ultimately she reluctantly made the decision to rehome Frankie – a very difficult decision as we know she loved him dearly – as do we. We believe her Mum also helped and supported her in this difficult decision.

As a result Ken flew to Sydney from the Sunshine Coast, picked up a hire car at the airport, and drove to Amanda’s home to collect a very unwilling, and very vocal, Frankie. Apparently they had great difficulty putting him in his carrier, and by the time Ken left for the 40 minute drive back to the airport both Amanda and Frankie were crying – Frankie very loudly. Ken rang me from the airport, very upset, and said he felt like a baby snatcher. I did my best to comfort both of them!

Unfortunately, as only some flights carry animals, they had to fly back into Brisbane on a late afternoon flight, which was fine for picking up Ken, but we had great difficulty finding the cargo animal collection place for Virgin Airlines. I was in a panic, of course, as it was a late Saturday afternoon/early evening and I had horrible visions of Frankie being locked up for the weekend; incorrectly, of course.

We finally got to the right place and Frankie was brought out in his carrier, looking quite composed, actually – far more so than I was! I spoke a few words to him and put my fingers through the cage door, and he seemed to be okay, thank goodness.

We were expecting a very noisy trip back to Buderim (about an hour’s drive), but there was not one peep out of young Frankie, until he gave a bit of a squeak just as we turned the last couple of corners to home. He seemed to sense that we were almost at our destination.

Frankie spent his first few days in the master bedroom, which has large bi-fold doors onto a very large deck, with a wonderful view across to the Blackall Range. I had done this with our previous youngster, Riley (now also known as Skippy because of his long legs!). There is a cat opening from the deck into this bedroom, but we closed it off to keep our other cats out of there until they got used to each other. However, they could still see each other (our two naughty young ginger males) through the glass, and do what cats do – hiss ferociously (just a big act really) at each other.

Frankie actually spent a lot of his first few days in the walk-in robe, behind the shoes, peering up at us with his one bright eye. The fact that he’d lost an eye upset me at first, but I’ve got used to it, and he certainly copes very well. However, I’ve become a “helicopter parent” and get a bit panicky when they roll around the floor playing and having the odd squabble, as young cats do.

But Frankie has settled in very well and is a source of much entertainment and joy for us. My elder sister Enid, who is now a little forgetful, particularly loves him, and she has a framed photograph of Frankie on her bedside table – which amuses me as I’ve never known her to be so besotted by a cat before!

Frankie doesn’t jump on the large cat trees, of which we have four, on the deck or walk around the large deck railing, but I guess this has something to do with his ability, or inability maybe, to gauge the distance to jump up. I’m not sure about that, but I do know he loves all the chairs (there are ten) on the deck, and we have to work around whatever his current choice is.

Frankie loves his food, to the point where I’m a bit concerned that he’s becoming a little overweight, but I’m hopeful that once he gets used to the variety of food available that will settle down.

He’s also a great talker, and has just come into the office and is saying something to me. He always makes his presence known, especially at 4.30/5.00 a.m.! Fortunately we’re early risers, so this doesn’t bother us. It has probably come about because of Amanda’s working hours, I would think.

So this has been a bit of a journey for us, and Frankie, but the end result has certainly been worth the effort and the cost of bringing him to live with us. I still grieve for Tiger, sometimes quite a lot, but I like to think that Frankie was meant to come to us, and we love him very much.

We also thank Amanda, to whom I still send photos and keep in touch, and her Mum for letting us have Frankie. He’s a wonderful, kind fellow and we’ll, hopefully, have lots of years of his wonderful, loving company.

 

Snake Season by Robyn Roberts

I was reminded a few days ago when my sister and I were walking along a path that snake season is upon us, when we almost stepped on a very lively snake. It gave us both a shock, and we’ll be more careful when walking along paths that lead through forested areas, even though we were only fifty or so metres from the coffee shops and restaurants of Buderim Village.

It also reminded me that we have to be careful of kittens, and also young and/or small cats, at this time, particularly if there are pythons around – as there are in most areas in Australia!

A number of years ago when I was living in Carindale I had a cat enclosure installed, which ran out into the garden from the house and included the paling boundary fence as one side of the enclosure. It was one of those paling fences with gaps between the palings, but it never occurred to me that a snake would come into the enclosure that way – in hindsight I guess I should have thought of that.

At that time I had two adult cats and one five month old Chinchilla kitten named Sam. I was getting ready to go to work one morning (fortunately running late!) when I heard him scream, and knew something terrible was happening to him. It was a large two storey house, and I ran downstairs to be confronted by the terrifying sight of a large python wrapped around my beautiful kitten.

I am utterly terrified of snakes, but of course, without thinking, picked up the whole bundle (it was a large snake, and quite heavy, and I was a lot lighter in those days) and proceeded to try and separate the snake from my much loved kitten. I was about to drag the whole lot into the garage and grab a shovel to hit the snake, I guess, when the snake let go and poor little Sam took off, with me in hot pursuit. I was terrified he would have collapsed and died before I caught up with him – thankfully that was not the case!

However, I had the presence of mind (thank goodness) in my panic-stricken state, to shut the enclosure flap leading into the house, because when I came downstairs later the snake was right at the entrance, very keen to get at my much loved kitten.

Needless to say, I was very late to work that day. Firstly, I rushed my kitten off to the vet, where he was given anti-inflammatory and antibiotic injections, and then I saw my GP for a tetanus shot as, unbeknown to me at the time, the snake had bitten me on the arms several times.

We both lived to tell the tale, although I have to say poor Sam developed severe asthma at about age five, and having seen the large snake wrapped around his tiny chest I often wondered if that had been the cause of the asthma.

However, I mention this as something to bear in mind when planning the installation of a cat enclosure if a boundary fence is to be included. It’s not something I would like to go through again, although I guess I’d do the same thing, and I hope this will save someone else going through a similar ordeal.

As you can see, Sam survived the ordeal and is inspecting Ken’s efforts to produce our zip installation manual.

 

A Life of Riley (the newest member of our Catsafe family)

           

Welcome to Riley, the newest member of our family.

We spotted Riley in an RSPCA adoption centre and thought he could do with a good home.

He’s also a good mate and sparring partner for our two year old ginger and white, Tommy, pictured with him.  Big Tiger also loves a roll around the carpet with him, much to Robyn’s distress as he sheds his lovely long fur coat over the carpets and mats, and she’s forever vacuuming.

But they’re great fun to watch and keep us on the go, especially at feed time!

As you can see, our Catsafe house in Buderim is a cats’  paradise, the cafe curtains keep them warm in winter, and we roll them all up in summer.

Outdoor cat enclosure for two very spoilt cats

All cats love to get outdoors, and with a cat enclosure, you can give them fresh air while keeping both your cats and the local wildlife safe from harm.

An average size cat enclosure is a lot less expensive than a vet bill following a cat fight.

Cat shelves

Cats like nothing better than to sun themselves on a shelf in the back garden, or if the sun’s not shining snooze on you bed.

 

All you need to make a few shelves for your cat/s are a few metal brackets, a strip of exterior plywood and a piece of artificial grass (all from your favourite hardware store).

If you install one of our outdoor cat enclosures, they can sun themselves in happily and you can leave them with complete peace of mind, knowing they are safe.

Mocha’s verandah cat enclosure

      

Mocha’s verandah is now a whole lot more interesting, as he can now use all of it rather than just looking through the window.

“We purchased the cat enclosure for a balcony off the bedroom.

As you can see both my cats use this space a great deal of the time.

One photo shows Mocha trying to bite the enclosure he tries to do this from time to time, no result for him.  The product is secure.

We are 100% happy and so are the cats”.

Testimonials

Strata Title & info

USA balcony cat runs 2

STRATA TITLE CAT OWNERS

Pets in Strata has lots of great information to help you with your negotiations with your body corporate, including

Pet application and agreement forms

State by State summary of strata laws impacting on pet owners.

Their website is petnet.com.au

Before you contact your Body Corporate, you can download some of these forms and they may provide the information you need to put yourself in a much better position when negotiating with them.

This is another interesting article we copied from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries website.

Cats have a number of basic needs that must be met if they are to stay happy and healthy.

  1. Companionship. Cats require plenty of social contact with owners. This can be achieved by access to the house through a cat door (and tunnel if applicable). Set aside time each day to interact with your cat, for instance, patting, playing with, or grooming him/her.
  2. A well-informed owner. You should find out as much as you can about cat behaviour and care. There are many useful books and websites available. Talk to your vet about health and nutritional requirements for cats.
  3. Space. Cats prefer to have their own ‘personal space’, and this is particularly important to prevent aggression in group housing situations. Each cat requires his/her own area that provides all the essentials (food, water, bed, resting places, litter tray etc).
  4. Sleeping, resting and viewing areas. Cats like to spend a lot of time sleeping and resting in quiet areas where they feel safe and secure. Cat beds can be purchased, or blankets, towels, pillows etc can be provided. High sided cat beds and boxes are useful to give cats a sense of ‘privacy’.
  5. Cats use elevated areas as vantage points from which to observe their surroundings. These are essential, and can be provided by access to platforms, shelves, climbing posts or window ledges. Some cats love to watch birds (you can place a bird bath/feeder outside the window or enclosure), insects (try planting flowers to attract them), fish in aquariums and even nature footage on TV!
  6. Food and water. Ensure bowls are located away from the litter tray. Many cats like having their water bowl in a separate area to their food bowl. Cats can also be given grass to chew (non toxic varieties such as oats, wheat, rye-grass).
  7. Litter boxes. Each cat requires its own litter box, that is big enough for easy access and is located in a safe and private area (if a cat is startled while using the box, he/she may not use that box in future). You may have to experiment to find out your cat’s preferences for covered or uncovered boxes, type of litter and depth of litter.
  8. Cats are very clean animals that do not like using dirty litter boxes, so boxes will need to be scooped daily, and cleaned with water and non-scented soap once a week. A thin layer of baking soda placed on the bottom of the box will help absorb odours between scoopings.
  9. Scratching posts. Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats, that sharpens claws, stretches muscles and leaves scent marks. Your cat will need a scratching post, which can be horizontal or vertical, and can be made from sisal (a course natural fibre), carpet, cardboard or wood. You can encourage your cat to use the scratching post (rather than other things like the furniture!) by putting catnip on it. Cats have an excellent sense of smell, and many cats love catnip, which can be supplied as a dried herb or grown fresh in pots.
  10. Toys and exercise. Exercise your cat through play (or even by training your cat to walk outside on a harness and leash!). Cats enjoy toys that move or make noise, and remind them of prey such as mice, birds, and insects. They need a variety of toys they can roll, pounce on, capture and bite, and toys should be rotated regularly to prevent boredom.

Some examples of simple and cheap toys (that are safe for cats to play with) are crumpled paper balls, paper bags to explore, cardboard boxes, and toilet paper tubes. Try stuffing old cotton socks with cotton balls and some catnip, and tying a knot in the end. You can also buy furry toys (eg in the shape of a mouse) that make noises and can be rolled, balls (eg ping pong balls, or balls that can be filled with food or treats), sticks with toys dangling from the end of a string etc.

Indoor vs Outdoor Cats – Information

“Statistics indicate that the life span of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat.  On average, an indoor cat lives twelve years but some cats can live for as many as twenty years.  In comparison, an outdoor cat’s life expectancy is less than five years”. 

The Welfare Implications of Confinement of Cats – by EC Jongman

“Although most cat owners perceive that cats have a need to roam outdoors and that this benefits the welfare of the cat, being allowed to roam also carries welfare risks for the cat. Cats are involved in fights with other cats and may get injured, they may contract diseases, or they may get lost”.
Welfare Implications of Confinement of Cats

Cat containment news.

Cat owners who live near areas containing threatened species could be banned from allowing their pets outdoors as the federal government sets its sights on the potential killing machines.

Australia’s first threatened species commissioner, Gregory Andrews, said all cat owners should keep their pets contained 24 hours a day, saying it makes them happier and healthier, and saves native mammals.

The plan says the government will seek public support for expanded “24-hour containment requirements for domestic cats, particularly close to identified conservation areas of significance”. It listed the measure as a high priority.

Mr Andrews said conservation areas will include 12 million hectares of land across Australia where the government plans to bait feral cats. Exact locations will be determined after consultation with experts.

It would include Commonwealth land such as national parks and defence land, and may also involve contained areas such as peninsulas where feral cat control measures have a good chance of success.

Mr Andrews said community engagement was important and “we are not planning to go in and tell people what to do”.

“In terms of getting the most effective outcome, [we will] work where communities are already making these decisions,” he said.

“The plan over the long term is to make this part of our culture, and then it becomes normalised … It’s a journey that Australia has to go on.”

He said cat containment measures in the ACT required cats in some suburbs to be kept indoors. If allowed outside, they must be on a leash or in an enclosure.

The federal government does not have the power to make laws on domestic or feral cats, but Mr Andrews said it would work with state, territory and local governments to expand cat containment.

The plan says the measures will require “education and enforcement” and should be implemented over time “so it does not cause an unnecessary financial burden on those who cannot afford the containment options, or lead to dumping of domestic cats”.

Since 2005, cat containment areas have been declared in 12 Canberra suburbs adjacent to nature reserves.

The ACT government is considering an expert report that recommends the measure be extended across the territory.

But Canberra vet Michael Archinal cautioned against a “one size fits all approach”, because not all cats coped well with confinement.

“Some cats are very stressed when they are confined, it can actually induce behavioural issues and some physical problems as well,” he said.

Dr Archinal said confined cats could develop bladder issues and behavioural problems because they were prevented from scratching trees, marking, exploring and finding mental stimulation.

The RSPCA says it prefers cat owners keep their pets contained, as long as the animals’ needs are met.

An Animals Australia spokeswoman said it supported cat confinement, but had concerns about the government’s potential baiting and trapping plans.

A study released last week that tracked more than 400 cats found nearly all roamed farther than most owners realised. This put the cats at risk of cars, hissy cat spats, annoyed neighbours and poisons, all while endangering native animals and birds.

University of South Australia researchers attached GPS devices to the collars of 428 cats for a week. It found the median range the cats travelled from their home was about the size of a football field, while some free-ranged across towns and city suburbs.