a stepping-stone to adoption for abandoned furballs





about 50K

'09 Lives –
The Year in Furballs


When 2009 began, 50K was kitten-free and we were shuttling down to the shelter two or three times a week to visit our alumni Flynn and Ferris…

…who both spent over months on view but finally found their homes after the holidays. A great start!

Cute gray kittens Isabel and Ivory arrived in mid-January, along with our shaggy and feral little toad Brennen. The inauguration was approaching, so we dubbed them the ‘Naugs.

Brennen s-l-o-w-l-y began to let down his guard, encouraged by Captain Tuna.

After several weeks at 50K, he was brave enough to nap on the bed with Ivory.

Bottle-babies Arnie and Caddo (Martha’s birthday boy) landed at 50K in early March. The Bottle Rockets spent their first week in the nursery.

“Got milk?” Caddo does.

The Rockets were introduced to the bunkhouse before going to spend a week with Jamie at Elephants Upstairs

while we vacationed in Colorado snow-country.

When we got home, we’d received an e-mail greeting from the family who adopted Posey. Her Mom raved about her and sent this great pic of our full-grown supermodel.

And soon after we visited the friends who adopted JJ

and Otter. We love alumni reunions!

Meanwhile, Arnie was flexing his muscles…

…until new sheriff Lois, a solo kitten, joined the smaller Bottle Rockets in the bunkhouse.

The rompin’ and rasslin’ intensified as the Rockets got stronger.

Caddo ruled the basket…

…while Arnie was more of a peep-cat.

The Rockets were adopted together by a nice family with two children soon after they returned to the shelter. A few months later we were shocked and saddened ato learn that Arnie had succumbed to an unknown illness – possibly FIP. Caddo was unaffected, and the family adopted another kitten from the shelter soon after Arnie’s death.

During the dog days of summer, the feral Hot ‘N Bothered crew arrived at 50K. We called them the Hobos for short.

Unlike her siblings, tiny Pinky was determined to be our friend from day one.

Dice gradually relaxed in our presence, and his good-natured personality emerged.

While Pinky toddled around the bunkhouse, her three big siblings romped in the shower.

Like Dice, Jeter started to relax and get comfortable with his peeps around.

When socialized Dice and Jeter returned to the shelter and were quickly adopted, Pinky was still too small and hissin’ Harley too feral to graduate from 50K.

“Get those ears up, Harley…”

A hybrid litter we called the Castaways arrived in early July.

Big-kitten Gramps was a furball-magnet to little sibs Moby, Trina, and Bibi.

Little Castaways Rocco, Bibi, and Trina took a while to get cleaned up.

While the little sibs shacked in the bunkhouse, bigger Castaways Chowder, Gramps, and Cassie headed downstairs to the villa.

Rocco, Trina, and Bibi pondered the sounds and smells of a summer night through the bunkhouse window.

After Gramps and Chowder returned and found homes, Cassie spiked a fever. She recovered and rejoined the little Castaways in the bunkhouse and on the playground.

Sometimes Bibi was off-the-charts cute.

Like most of our black kittens, Cassie was engaging and active.

Trina always got her mouse.

The Castaways all graduated just before we left for our second Colorado vacation of the year. While we took our boots off at Buckskin Pass in the Maroon Bells, this mountain goat approached from hundreds of yards away and would have walked right over us if we hadn’t scrambled off the trail.

After our vacation, our old pal Pattyfound her new home! She’d been returned to the shelter weeks earlier and was overweight and quite shy. We’d visited her several times and watched her gain confidence. Yay Patty!

Lynxie and her brood of H-named kittens came to 50K from a rescue organization. All were severely congested and none were eating. After two days in the villa and a trip to a local vet, the rescue organization asked me to take Lynxie and the Hellions out to an animal hospital in Purcellville. We never got to know them.

Another hybrid litter landed in the bunkhouse at the same time. Siblings Dorothy, Dorian, and Dierdre were fuzzy little tabbies, while Spike and Salem were bigger black kittens.

Dorothy went gaga over catnip.

Salem was everybody’s friend and helped the shy tabbies gain confidence.

The Cinders take five in the bunkhouse nest.

Another black kitten from the shelter joined the Cinders in the bunkhouse. Goblin was underfed and had some abrasions, but he quickly made himself at home and started gaining weight.

When Spike stopped eating and his congestion progressed rapidly to pneumonia, Goblin offered him affection and support. Despite sharing the bunkhouse with Spike from the time he grew ill, none of the other Cinders came down with his respiratory disease. Spike’s story ended badly, and our belief that he suffered unnecessarily ended our relationship with the shelter.

As of today, Dierdre is the only 50K fosterling from the shelter who has yet to find a home. During our last visit there, she was healthy and on-view. Now we think she may be back in sick bay.

The Ragtops came to 50K from the super-fosterer we visited with Spike. Her rescue organization pulled them from a DC-area high-kill shelter.

Regis was the most fragile Ragtop from the start, but he drank from a bottle and gave us hope for a few days.

The Ragtops began their 50K tenure as a scraggly crew.

As his siblings gained weight, Regis never got traction. Over the course of ten days, we tried everything we could think of to keep him alive. He’s the first kitten we’ve lost that we don’t feel in retrospect we might have been able to save.

The three surviving Ragtops adapted well to the bunkhouse environment…

…and gradually outgrew their scraggly looks…

…though it took Risa longer than we expected to outgrow her bottle.

In mid-November we redecorated the villa to make it more kitten- (and rodent-) friendly.

In their spacious new turf, the Ragtops got sassy…

… and enjoyed lap-wrassling…

…or just hanging out in the villa with their peeps…

…while Ryder provided the comic relief.

Orphaned fat-cat Margo came to 50K from another local rescue organization, and we learned the art of tube-feeding.

But within a week or so, Margo had started to nibble on her own again. We’re hopeful that she’s overcoming her fatty-liver disease.

And the Ragtops were spayed, neutered, and returned to 50K two days before Christmas. What lucky families will take these furballs home after the holidays?

It’s been a memorable year at 50K, with the good times and successful stories outweighing the inevitable losses and sorrows. We greatly appreciate the support we get from our readers and we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to communicate and exchange ideas with many of you.

From Margo, the Ragtops, Ted, Martha, and the 50K staff (Khola, Chase, Reggie, Mia, and Yogi), cheers – and all the best for 2010!

filed by: TS



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