Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pet Rescue: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

We heard three bits of news this past week that we thought was share-worthy.
Because we prefer to leave you on an upbeat note, we're going to profile The Bad and The Ugly first.

The Bad:

As many of you know, we've been actively opposed to Loews' Hotels decision to remove the feral cat colony at their Portofino location in Florida, a colony that had been a model example of how T/N/R, when properly enacted, is a success (Loews, through trap-neuter-return, had reduced the feral cat population in their area down to only 7 cats).

One of the top resources that businesses such as Loews turn to for information and advice when contemplating such a change of direction is the ASPCA.

We were horrified to learn that the ASPCA is engaged in actively fighting the no-kill movement throughout America, labeling it extremist and even going to the extreme of publishing a brochure on how to recognize and respond to those who advocate for no-kill shelters.

In December, Forbes outed the ASPCA's position, in their article highlighting key learning in 2011. One key insight, the author stated, was that "the ASPCA has actively fought to prevent cities from establishing no-kill shelters and aggressively fights bills proposed in local city councils that aim to reduce the number of innocent animals being killed." (, Dec 13, 2011)

That's despite proof that many cities have implemented successful and creative alternatives to high-kill shelters - programs that are working.

But if the ASPCA is seen by businesses such as Loews as the Industry Standard, the go-to guys for information on such issues, that's BAD. And people - and businesses - need to be made aware of this.

The Ugly:

We have heard not-so-nice things about PETA before -- and we must say that this is a hotly debated issue that we would really like to avoid engaging in, as this is not the purpose of this particular post.

Except to say this: we were beyond horrified to learn that, far from being a no-kill organization, PETA euthanizes most of the animals it rescues. This from a 2008 article in The Daily Beast, which states, "since 1998 PETA has killed more that 17,000 animals, nearly 85% of all those it has rescued." Wha-a-at?

It got so bad, in fact, that a State Inspector from the Virginia Department of Agriculture attempted to overturn PETA's status as an animal shelter in July of 2010.

That's just UGLY.

The Good:

But the good news is that many cities, counties and even states are seeing beyond these organizations to the successes of innovative alternatives to euthanasia.

In 2010, the city of Austin, TX - my old hometown! - voted unanimously (the City Council voted 7-0) to implement a no-kill policy. And on January 6 of this year, they announced they had achieved a 91% live animal outcome rate which makes the city of Austin officially a No Kill City.

And that's very, very good indeed.

We hope many more cities follow Austin's amazing example and institute no-kill initiatives of their own.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Our Five Fave Tweets: December, 2011

Since most of you only know us through blogging...
And since this blog sprang from our presence in the twitterverse...

We're happy to present to you the first of a new monthly series:

Our Five Fave Tweets!

There's a real art to conveying our intent in only 140 characters. We've had to train Mommy to type in shorthand -- things like "U" vs. "you" and "2" vs. "to", etc. We've expanded those back out so it's easier to read here. [Just in case anyone's counting characters!] So.....

*drum roll pleeeez*

#5: Daddy, If Mommy catches you eating those fries, you gonna be busted for sure WE'LL JUST HELP U STAY ON YOUR DIET nom nom nom *altruistic look*

 #4: Trust us Mommy, artfully arranged sweaters on the closet FLOOR and the clean lines of an empty shelf above are All The Rage!

#3: ooh CHINESE? FAB idea! *paws thru menu*I'll have a #3, #7, #15- extra shrimp-- WHAT DO YOU MEAN "DINE IN?"

#2: THINKING OF INSTALLING MOMMY 2.0 UPGRADE 4 FASTER RESPONSE can I buy software on ebay & how do U install - ctrl+alt+nipear or cmd+bitenose?

and our #1 Fave Tweet...(well okay, maybe it's not Allie's...)

 #1: ATTENTION MOMMY: @Allie_Kitti gave me Power of Attorney *paper-wave sleight of hand* so I sez SHE OVERWEIGHT, ALL HER TREATS GO TO ME

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today we are thankful for.....

The amazing anipal community on Twitter who raised over $1,000 this past weekend for the shelter Mommy volunteers at: Wayside Waifs.

We're so honored & humbled to be associated with so many who have such generous souls.
Please accept our most heartfelt thanks.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Maxwell the Engineer-Kitteh

Did I mention I'm the AFLETE in the Fambly? Mommy calls me her little Tarzan cuz I'm always swinging off something in the house!

Faraday! Contrary to your opinion, it's not Always About You! *sigh *
Today it's Maxwell's turn. With a brief Interlude so I can show off my Chanukah Collar. *pats coiffure & poses*

Allie, no one cares about your bling. Puh-LEEZ. And I was juuuust trying to give Context:  I'm the aflete, Maxie's the brains. See?
Duhhhh-h-h-h....What did you think I was doing?

*blushes* No, guys, that's all right. Really. I'm kinda not much of an attention hog. (As opposed to Tarzan, you know.) Though I am curious about How Things Work. Papa sez that's cuz I have an Engineer's Mind.

How Drawers Work:

How Cabinet Doors Work: 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wonderfully Warm January Days!

 Mommy sez we've been having an Unseasonably Warm Winter this year, with hardly any of the icky wet white stuff that Allie hates so much. Alls I can tell is that Allie gets to "go out" just like she does in the summer. Without me. Did I mention she gets to Go Outside? And I don't?

Uh yeah. That'd be because they don't trust you. Something about crazy kitty dashing out into the street before they could catch you.
And duh, you have noticed that Allie hasta go out with Mom or Dad there the Entire Time?

*snickers* Yeah, she hates that. Mommy told her to think of them as her own Personal Security Detail, but she acts like she's being hounded by The Warden.
And I would not either run away! *crosses paws behind back*

*sniff* Boys.
They just don't understand a Girl needs to get away once in a while.

*squee!* I can't believe it! Grass in January!
 My darn Secret Service Agents just won't leave my side.
 ooh YUM! Grass! Don't mind if I do....
Oh's tough...and stringy...
 Wishing for spring, and those succulent, tender new shoots of grass.
This winter's offering just isn't up to My Standards.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday PhotoHunt: "Bliss" having the remote all to yourself.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Local Hero Dog Saves His Mom, Inaugurates Women's Shelter "Pet Wing"

You know that whole "six degrees of separation" thing? Well, this was a post we just had to share, since we have a second-degree "purrsonal connection" to it!

Well.... you don't Faraday, but our big sister, Allie does.

Besides, it's just a pawesome, wonderful story about a brave dog who stood between his mom and certain death.

We're referring to the story that was picked up this week by MSNBC, the New York Daily News, TIME magazine and, about a Great Dane named J Matthew.

When J Matthew saw his mom being beaten with a hammer (!!) he thrust himself between her and the abusive man who was doing this to her.

As a result, they were both beaten nearly to death - but they feel certain that without his brave intervention, she would certainly have died.

Now here's where our connection come in ----

Many battered women refuse to leave abusive situations because domestic violence shelters will not make room for their beloved pets --in some cases, they might be only source of unconditional love a person has.

Well, in this case, the woman turned to the Rose Brooks Center, in Kansas City, MO. Rose Brooks has been working with my Alma Mater, Wayside Waifs, for over a year now to develop a way women and pets can stay together. (Wayside also has, for some time, been quietly helping out on a case-by-case basis, too. Isn't my Alma Mater wonderful?!?)

Well, the incredible woman who now functions as the Chief Development Officer at the Rose Brooks Center is the same lady who used to be Wayside's Development Director. She'd wander in and give me chin scritches when I was just a scrappy little Waif myself.
*dreamy look*   Marla's my role model!

And we sincerely hope that the partnership between Wayside Waifs & The Rose Brooks Center -- and Rose Brooks' open door policy toward animals -- serves as a role model for other organizations around the world.

So from all of us at A Tonk's Tail to wonderful, fabulous Marla and the team at Rose Brooks Center ...
HIGHPAW! We salute you!

Please join us on Twitter from noon today through noon tomorrow  -- Jan. 21-22.
We're gonna party as only animals can to raise funds for Wayside Waifs!
Be sure to use the hashtag #pawpawty when you join in.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

These are the faces of the kitties Loews Portofino Resort in Florida has been trying to trap ... and send to a high kill shelter.
They once had a model T/N/R program, and the new manager has said "they must all go."

Abbie & her babies
One mama and her kittens have already met their sad fate. (Not Abbie, thankfully.)

Now only 7 remain - all ear-tipped & "fixed" - but if they leave, another feral colony will step in to fill the void.

Please go to and tell them to reinstate their Trap/Neuter/Return program.

Bonnie & Clyde

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blog The Change: Jammies' Story

Thanks for stopping by as we participate in today’s Blog the Change for Animals Blog-a-thon! The folks over at the site Be The Change For Animals sponsor a quarterly Blog The Change day – and today’s the first in 2012.  Animal lovers everywhere are joining forces today to talk about causes near and dear to their hearts. 

Our first entry in the Be The Change Blogosphere this year is Jammies' Story.

photo courtesy HELP Humane, Belton, MO
Jammies is gorgeously golden – all buff with a cream muzzle and big golden eyes that stare sadly out at you.

Jammies was dropped off anonymously at HELP, a no-kill animal shelter here in the KC metro area. When staff arrived for work that day, they saw this lunging, screaming, biting ball of fury trapped in a carrier. Once inside the shelter, Jammies was so aggressive that no one was willing to open the carrier door.  They noticed something odd about the paws that were attempting to strike out at anyone who dared approach, and an abnormal tendency to shift from paw to paw, indicating discomfort.

When they couldn’t get close enough to Jammies to even determine if this kitty was a boy or girl, they decided to visit their vet.  Poor Jammies was so aggressive, so agitated, that the vet had to anesthetize him to even determine it was a “him”!

By this time, everyone involved suspected that Jammies was suffering from being declawed.  Everyone had heard of “bad declaws” (as if there are good ones?!?) but this one…wow.  As one shelter worker put it, “some vets are really butchers when it comes to this.”

They asked the vet to x-ray Jammies' paws. What those pictures revealed was horrendous: Jammies had shards of bone – remnants of the declawing procedure and possibly even regrowth of the claw – inside his paws. Imagine the pain poor Jammies was in.  What would your disposition be like if you were forced to stand on or walk barefoot over broken in and day out? 

It’s no wonder he became aggressive and struck out at all who came near.

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and other schools of Veterinary Clinical Sciences have published studies that indicate that fifty percent of cats undergoing a declaw will have one or more complications from it that include lameness, pain, hemorrhage, infection and even internal regrowth of the claw.

Is it any wonder that over 20 nations have declared this practice illegal? Indeed, just this past November, Israel added its name to the ranks with an impressive penalty for those caught in the act: a fine of up to 20,000 shekels and one year in jail.

Normally those of us who live in the U.S. like to think we're a nation that is forward-thinking with regard to the welfare of animals. The fact that declawing is not against the law here is sad but unfortunately not surprising. The number of cat owners who are informed on this issue is shockingly low. And that is why we've chosen to focus on this issue as our Blog the Change entry by telling Jammies' story.

Fortunately, Jammies’ story has a happy ending. He’s on his way to a pain-free existence thanks to the surgical attentions of a responsible vet who removed the bone shards from inside his paws. He’s in the caring hands of staff and volunteers at the HELP shelter – all of whom are teaching him that some humans can be trusted. And he’s well on his way to exchanging aggression for cuddles.

When Jammies was picked up at the vet to go “home” to the shelter a few days ago, the tears flowed as this golden boy – finally on his way to being pain-free – greeted his caretaker with a head butt and a purr for the very first time.
photo courtesy HELP Humane, Belton, MO

Please…pass the word.  There is no such thing as a good declaw.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

EPIC BATTLE: Kitteh VS Dust Mop (I so WIN)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Guess who WE gotted to meet!!! @SeabassCat's momma! (You canz read Sebastian's blogs, too, at

Hangin' wif Maxwell
You gots any WAND toys? Inquiring Faradays wanna know.
*SQUEE!* Girl Time!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our First Pet Blogger Challenge

We're very excited to participate in the 2012 Pet Blogger Challenge!

 Oh yes! And we might even let Mommy answer a few questions...for a price (hey Mommy, those tuna flakes are reeeeeally nommy...(HINT!)

OOOOH! And don't forget to catch my good side when you take pictures of my bling to show, Mother. Mother?

Gee thanks guys. Can't tell you how your generosity warms my heart... *grin*

Here are the questions - with our answers following:

1. When did you begin your blog? The blog began in October of 2010.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
Initially it was to give Ryker more than 140 characters to voice his opinions and spread his charm.

3. Is your current purpose the same?
Not really. About 15 days after we began, Ryker died quite suddenly.

I know many folks who are comfortable "tweeting" for their pets who have passed across the Rainbow Bridge, but I'm not one of them. Initially it was because it was too painful (it still is!) but later on, it just became more important to write about animal advocacy issues.

And then came Da Boyz in our lives - Maxwell & Faraday. For those of you who haven't met them, these guys are the first kittens my husband has ever known. So he got to name them (with a little direction from me). He's a physicist, so he chose to name them after 2 famous physicists. That is, of course, after I vetoed his first choice: naming them after the particles Lepton and Tachyon (I did mention he had a little direction from me? Sorry, but I refuse to own a kitty with the nickname of "Tacky").

For the past year, the blog has been evenly split between articles advocating for cats and random slices of kitty life in our home.

If not, what’s different?   oops, I kinda answered that already :-)

If so, how do you feel you’ve met your goals?  

We participated in Be The Change for Animals' "Blog The Change" events once every quarter.  And we also participated in Petfinder's promotion in September: "Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet". This was actually a blog marathon that we partnered with Sebastian the Sensitive Soul on - and it was our first foray into hosting guest bloggers on our site (very cool experience!).

We also recently wrote our first promotion of a "product" we feel very strongly about in a positive way: Animal Planet's' show, My Cat From Hell.

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?  Both scheduled and spontaneous.

If the former, how often — and what techniques do you use to stick to it? We try to have a Worldess Wednesday and a Saturday Blog Hop post every week - even if it's just pictures or videos of Mischief & Mayhem -- err, we mean Faraday & Maxwell. Allie, of course, is a Complete Angel. Excuse me, I think I hear Faraday choking....

If the latter, do you worry about… well, whatever you might worry about (e.g. losing traffic, losing momentum)?

5. Are you generating income from your blog? No.

If so, how (e.g. sponsor ads, affiliate relationships, spokesperson opportunities)?

If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how? We're not sure - but we won't refuse if the right thing for us comes our way.

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?  From a design standpoint, I guess it'd be the way each cat has his/her own voice and can interact within each post through the use of integrated avatars. From a content standpoint, it would be the opportunity it provides to educate, and to help spread timely information that will be beneficial to animals in general, cats in particular.

7. What do you like least? That with my schedule, sometimes I'll be so time constrained that blogging becomes almost impossible for weeks. Also my learning curve - I think there's still a lot I can learn about how to make a blog more effective.

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?  That's a good question - one I don't have a complete answer for. (eek! don't tell my high school English teacher I just ended a sentence with a preposition! ;-)
I'll be doing my very first book review at a publisher's request, so that will be a "first." And I hope there will be more firsts as 2012 progresses!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

(in my best Bogie voice)
"...Of all the nip joints
 in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."

(Maxwell nursed that drink all day long....)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Spotlight On: Spots

Hi! Oh, HI!! *wiggles pink toenails* So glad you stopped by, because today we asked Mother if she'd let us spotlight a very special kitty at my Alma-Mater, Wayside Waifs: Spots.


Yes, we felt awful for him cuz he was given up for adoption on Catmas Eve!
Who abandons their kitteh on Catmas Eve anyways?
That is sooooooo wrong.

But that's not the worst of it: he was abandoned on Catmas Eve last year. Poor dude! He was adopted in March (after three whole months in a shelter).

But it gets even worse: get this - he was then brought in again as a stray, a few days before this Catmas. Now as former shelter kittehs, Allie an' me feel this is terribly wrong. Awful. Criminal even!

Spots: A Really Cool Dude
This dude deserves a home - a real good one this time. And Momma sez he's soo sweet and laid-back. Just an all around mellow and friendly kinda guy. Third time's just gotta be the charm...right?

So if you know anyone in the Kansas City area who might be interested in a real Upstanding kinda Kitteh...
tell 'em about Spots, would ya? Paws crossed for him to have a FABULOUS New Year.