Up early today to feed all three animals–Momo, Sweetie and foster-cat Maru. Maru is getting needier–his initial exhaustion has worn off and he’s more than ready to leave the cozy confines of my office/foster-cat headquarters for spacier digs. As Maru has healed from the trauma of being stuck for a month in an abandoned bodega his personality, quirks, and kitty-preferences have really begun to shine.
The first few days of his foster-ship Maru was quiet as a mouse–just resting, relaxing and enjoying feeling safe and loved. Now he’s a properly demanding BoyCat–as in, Maru would like to be around me at all times, and cries lustily when I leave the office, only quieting down after a few minutes. Momo and Sweetie are not quite sure what to make of it, but luckily neither seems stressed or even bothered by the loud meows occasionally emitting from my office (I, however, never like to hear an unhappy kitty, even when I know they are just being greedy for even MORE affection.)
Despite not being raised on a farm I follow the “animals eat first” tenet–I believe any creature dependent on me for sustenance and care should be tended to before I meet my own needs ( a quick trip to the loo and a large cup of strong coffee notwithstanding). So three bowls of wet food of various kinds–Sweetie and Momo get either reduced-fat Natural Balance, Natural Instinct Grain Free Healthy Weight, Innova Low Fat Cat Food or even Royal Canin Feline Nutrition Ultralight to add to their food and make it extra-yummy. I always add plain organic canned pumpkin which I truly believe is nature’s wonder food for cats eating a canned, processed diet. Pumpkin is full of nutrients and has the unique and awesome ability to ease your kitty’s digestion when they are constipated (it “loosens” everything up) –and it can do the opposite as well, firming up the whole business when their stool is too loose. You don’t need to buy the organic kind either, as it’s certainly more expensive, but if you have the extra cash it’s probably better for them in some small way. I spice up all that low-calorie food with freeze dried chicken from Mouthfuls, an amazing store (and website) based in Denver. Maru and other skinny fosters get higher calorie, nutrient-rich food such as Natural Balance Limited Ingredient. It’s a pleasure to watch them gain weight and get healthier! And of course small amounts of treats–I have yet to meet a cat who isn’t crazy about Temptations Cat Treats so I toss in about 10 of those a day. This is the life of a Catress.
After I feed the brood and tend to their litter boxes ( I use World’s Best ) and give each cat a proper good morning (which involves giving Momo space to eat, playing with Sweetie for a full 5 minutes before she will even consider eating, and cuddling with Maru because he’s been alone all night) I am ready for my own breakfast ( frozen fruit smoothie) and more coffee. This morning I had a callback for a commercial shooting overseas, for which I had to speak English and Spanish (am I fluent in Spanish? Uh….sure I am!) so I had to go full court press: natural, fresh makeup (almost as difficult to achieve as a full face of drama), soft wavy hair and a “casual but flattering”, subtle but bright outfit. I do all of this in a hurry because today I have to meet my friend Wilfredo before my call-back to give him a full bag of straw for his feral shelters (I get my straw from a friend’s farm upstate but you can order some from Amazon or Feral Villa). This is the life of a Catress.
Wilfredo and I met a few years ago. He is a large, intimidating-looking man who is also just about the sweetest, gentlest guy you’ll ever meet. I was the contact person at an amazing animal rescue, Empty Cages Collective, and I took a call one day from Wilfredo who was desperately trying to trap a local feral cat he had been feeding who was stuck in a construction site. I lent Wilfredo my cat trap and a friendship was born (every cat rescue advocate should have a Wilfredo in their lives–he came to my rescue a few months later when I needed to wade into a bad ‘nabe in Bushwick to rescue Pickles the cat who had been abandoned by his owner and was now cowering terrified in an apt–actually in the back of a cupboard–about to undergo demolition. I needed someone Wilfredo’s size and countenance to back me up, and together we got Pickles to safety and into a loving home).
So there I am, all made up and ready to SELL SOME PRODUCT (but totally in a “down to earth, natural, un-sell-y way”–that’s commercial-speak for “don’t sound like an actress” ) lugging a contractor bag full of straw through Union Square Station. Met up with Wilfredo, discussed how to make feral cat shelters, pounded each other on the back man-style and ran off to my callback, where I sat with many young, beautiful, actually-Spanish-speaking ladies who rather put me to shame. Still, I made it work. This is the life of a Catress.
Then back home to Brooklyn where I spotted my local colony of 5 Oreo-cats waiting patiently in the cold for some food. I am not their regular feeder, but I may have snuck over the chain-link fence of the yard they live in a few weeks ago (shhhhhhhhh!) to set up a small feral shelter-town for them hidden by a wooden wall I propped up through the fence.
Catress cannot walk by cats in need when I a) have $10 on me and b) am walking right by a dollar-store. I dashed into the store to buy canned food, a plastic spoon (48 to be exact, but I’ll use them) and a few tin pie plates to put the food in, because I don’t want to leave cans behind and anger the neighbors. Voila! Lunchtime. Soon as I can I plan to TNR those sweet kitties and maybe even find them homes if they aren’t too feral.
When I finally arrived home I did most of the morning routine (minus the coffee) in reverse. This is the life of a Catress.