Why adopt a shelter cat? We’d love to tell you! June has been declared Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat-Month and we at Posh Pets are huge kitty lovers. Our resident cats, Baxter and Panda both came from Toronto Animal Services and they are absolutely wonderful! Baxter has been with us for three years and Panda for two and we cannot possibly imagine life without them. Every night I’m reminded, as my legs are pinned together in one place because they sleep on opposite sides, that a purr in the house makes it a home.
So obviously, we are big supporters of adoption. Maybe you’re thinking about it, but maybe you’ve heard stories. So, here are five reasons to consider a shelter cat:
1. There’s a cat personality that’s just right for everyone.
I find it is a huge myth that all cats are aloof and shun human interaction. Baxter and Panda are proof-positive. I often call them my ‘puppy-cats’ because they greet us when we come home, respond to their names, love to be petted, brushed and will often cuddle up on my lap when I am working. There’s no doubt that my husband and I have created an environment where that type of behaviour flourishes, but the fact is, they were very sociable while still in the shelter. And it showed. That’s probably one of the great things of visiting a shelter to choose a kitty – there are many different breeds and personalities to choose from all in one place. Add to that, the staff usually have a good idea of the personalities, and can help you choose the perfect cat for you and your lifestyle.
2. You’re saving a life.
Many shelters are overrun with cats looking for homes. It’s a harsh world for a cat or a kitten on the streets. Fifty percent of feral cats die within their first year and are considered ‘lucky’ if they make it past 2 years of age. Whereas, a well-cared for indoor kitty has an average lifespan of 15 years! Adopting a cat not only gives them a great life, but also saves the life of the one who now has a ‘spot’ at the shelter. That second cat now has their own chance at a forever home which, when they find it, leaves a spot for one more. Believe me, hearing the thankful, content purr of a feline friend that you share your home with, is simply amazing.
3. Shelter and rescue cats are a good financial decision.
If you have weighed the benefits and costs of cat ownership, then getting your furry feline from a rescue or shelter makes sense. When you adopt an animal from a shelter, you are receiving the benefits of all of the work has been done before. They have had a health check, received necessary vaccines, are often spayed or neutered and have passed a behavioural assessment. They are also often sent home with a ‘starter kit’ consisting of lots of information, food, some health insurance. Plus, your adoption fee is a donation towards the medical needs of yet other animals in the rescue’s care. It all makes perfect cents!
4. There are health benefits to owning a cat
Having a pet has shown to minimize our health risks. Everything from lowering the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease and heart attacks. Much has even been written on the health benefits of a cat’s purr – it’s certainly calming to listen to a happy kitty purring by your side. So, you’re saving a life and they, in turn, are lengthening yours.
5. It’s a great way to support a great cause.
Rescues and shelter are doing great work helping cats live better lives. Your adoption sets a great example for those who believe that a shelter cat is somehow damaged or unhealthy. You’re helping get the word out that they are indeed loveable pets and can give so much back in return. If you are unable to adopt at this time, you can consider making a donation to a shelter or rescue that you believe in. As they say:
Adopt. If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, donate. If you can’t donate, educate.
If you are looking to adopt a shelter cat because you want the companionship of a great cat or kitten, there are many shelter and rescue organizations within the GTA. Here are some of them:
Toronto Animal Services
Toronto Humane Society
Annex Cat Rescue
Toronto Cat Rescue
Team Cat Rescue
Last week, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Lil BUB as part of the CFHS Just for Cats Video Festival. She is just shy of 5 years old and weighs a mere 4.5 lbs. In other words, she is tiny. But, the little dynamo has a loyal following of millions of fans across the globe, including Posh Pets® Photography.
As part of the event, I got to sit down at Toronto’s Chelsea Hotel (who are totally pet-friendly, by the way!) with her human, Mike Bridavsky, and speak with him about the phenomenon that is Lil BUB. I really expected to write a nice post about a cute cat with a perpetual smile on her face. (I’m sure I said, “she’s adorable”, twenty times during the interview.) Instead, I came away with five lessons I think we can all apply to our personal and professional lives. So, sit back and learn something from Lil BUB…
1. Do what you do. Know why you do it. And don’t compromise. Especially for ‘success’ or fame.
I asked Mike how much of the public persona BUB now has was originally planned out. His answer? Nothing. “This is who she is”, he said, “we never set out to be famous.” It seems that BUB has always just been herself, spreading her positive energy with everyone she meets. If the comments on her various social media outlets are any indication, she has helped people who have faced tragedy, sickness or other challenges to have a positive attitude and face those challenges with dignity. The fact that she has now become a brand is just a bonus.
For those who would like to have the goal of making their pet famous, Mike’s advice is simple: get a better goal. “BUB is a one in a billion cat. I have five other cats who never became famous. I have a recording studio and the music is not as famous. You can’t force stuff. It just comes to you. Or not.”
These days, BUB receives many requests and opportunities from various organizations. It can be anything from endorsing a product, to appearing with a local politician at an event. But BUB and her people take her influence very seriously and have great respect for her following. She knows her mission – it is to spread positivity, to encourage empathy for others, to be proud of what makes us unique, and to throw a light on animal welfare as well as the challenges of caring for a pet with special needs. If an opportunity falls outside of that, it is turned down.
2. Know what you can’t do and surround yourself with people who can.
I was touched by how much Mike loves and cares for Lil BUB. “Her health and safety come first,” explains Mike. Obviously, BUB cannot always communicate her needs to everyone, so Mike advocates for her. Prior to our interview, I was told that any photography would need to be taken without flash because flash bothers her. During her interviews on the evening’s red carpet, I watched as Mike asked camera operators to dim their lights so as to reduce the effect it would have on BUB. Mike views his role as simply interpreting for BUB and translating it for the public. But, it’s a vital role and pivotal to her health, happiness, and success.
Mike is not the only one who takes care of Lil BUB’s growing empire. There are now three full-time employees, including Mike. They are all family and friends who care for her and ensure her business stays true to its mission.
Even in the little things, BUB has people to do what she cannot do. I discovered that she loves unsweetened yogourt. But not just any kind of yogourt. “The good stuff”, Mike quips. BUB obviously will not be heading to the store to purchase her favourite type of yogourt anytime soon. But that’s alright. She has people who can.
3. Be willing to be different. In fact, embrace it.
BUB is a traveller. She’s flown over 100,000 miles at this point. (“Always in the cabin. It’s an extra expense, but it is worth it.”) Considering that most people find that their cats can barely tolerate the drive to the local vet clinic once a year, she is remarkable. Mike assures me that she loves to travel and does not find it a stress at all. Interestingly, it’s been discovered that the vibrations from moving vehicles actually help her with her bone condition and makes her feel better. Her ability and ease with which she travels has opened up opportunities not normally available to her fellow felines. BUB is different and it has allowed her to do what she does.
4. Give back to something you care about.
Success opens up opportunities to give back to something you care about. BUB is using her influence to throw a light on animal welfare, especially for those with special needs like herself. BUB’s BIG Fund in partnership with the ASPCA was started in 2014 and has, to date, raised over $125,000 for animals who need extra help. And it is not just lending her name to a cause so that funds can be raised. BUB spends her time and energy traveling to appear at events like the one in Toronto to spread awareness of animals in need. It’s her way helping those less fortunate than herself. No wonder she oozes happiness and positivity!
5. When you are true to yourself, you attract the right people and opportunities.
Mike is adamant that they have never chased opportunities, and that they never will. Everything has happened organically as BUB’s sphere of influence has increased. “I have a pretty good gut instinct,” says Mike, “and can quickly decide if something is going to fit or not.” It’s not always right, but when it is, they seize it and BUB heads off to share her message again.
Mike never even set out to find Lil BUB. He already had other pets, but a friend texted him urging him to come and see a cat that “he knew was just the type I would fall in love with”. That chance meeting, along with the determined spirit of a little cat has changed Mike’s life completely. One that he could not possibly have imagined.
So there you have it! Our interview wrapped up with me taking a couple of images of Lil BUB and giving her a gentle scratch between her ears. I absolutely loved meeting her and listening to her little mews and could have stayed there all morning. But she’s a busy girl and had more people to meet. So, I said good-bye and was on my way. As I left, all I could think was: she’s adorable.
When I found out I would be travelling to the Canadian arctic, I offered my Posh Pets’ services to the local shelter in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. As a result, I had the opportunity to photograph some adoptables in what is probably the second most northern shelter in North America last Friday.
The Northwest Territories SPCA has a beautiful facility and the animals are cared for by some amazing staff.
It was much colder than the temperatures we usually experience in Toronto, but we were still able to take the larger dogs out for a quick portrait or two.
This sweetheart has some health challenges but absolutely loves the shelter manager. As a result, he spends most of his time in the office, sometimes serenading her with song.
These four week litter of puppies could not be taken outside, so we photographed them in their kennel. It was tight quarters, but we made it work.
And, of course, some lovely black beauties. Incidentally, Yellowknife doesn’t have a cat population problem – the cats they do have available are transferred from southern shelter. The elements and the wildlife ensure that cats here, are indoor cats.
It was just over an hour of time to have these furry little souls photographed. Although the temperatures were frigid outside, we left with nice, warm hearts. I hope they all find their forever homes soon!
Three years. Three years of a warm, dry, safe place to sleep at night. A full belly. An older sister you comforted and cared for. A little sister you adore. Conversations. Head bumps. Snuggles. Naps in a sunbeam. And lots of love from your two humans.
Happy Gotcha day Baxter! A celebration of the day you left the shelter behind and entered the Posh Pets family. Truly, our world is so much better with you in it.
If you have been wondering why things have been a little quiet around Posh Pets lately, it is because I have been travelling in Eastern Europe! Bulgaria, to be exact. Now, it might seem a little off the beaten path, but the country is surprising accessible by major airlines. It also boasts membership in the European Union, but has not adopted the Euro, so travel is fairly safe, easy and inexpensive.
Our first stop was in the south, almost at the Greek border. We took a drive up to Kovachevitsa in the Pirin Mountains which was a breathtaking route.
The tiny village of Kovachevitsa is a place where time seems to have stood still. So much so, that I am told that the village is used as a backdrop for movies when they need a authentic balkan experience.
Tons of tiny streets and alleyways to explore…
But, you know my first love are the animals and I had the pleasure of meeting lots! Almost immediately, this sweetheart greeted us.
And not far off was this little one, peeking at me from under a car.
This beautiful boy commanded my attention! He thought I was quite a curiosity with my camera and strange noises. And when he had figured me out, he walked off gracefully…
A friendly little kitty followed us around while we explored the winding paths and ‘streets’ of the village.
However, this beautiful, BIG boy was the most outgoing of them all. He really was quite large – he easily matched me in weight and size. And he was a ‘leaner’ too. If you reached down to pat him, he nearly pushed you over with his big furry self. Just wanted to lovins’.
This is ‘his’ tavern (the translation of the word MEXAHA) and I could believe it when he was willing to pose beside the sign.
Sometimes, though, you have to look down and see the wee ones of the world. This tiny snail actually lifted his head and struck a pose for my camera – I guess he thought this was his moment of fame!
There’s much more to show and tell from our trip! I’ll keep sharing as I manage to process some of the photographs (I’m writing this post from an airport right now), so stay tuned…