Forever Lost

by Rita Reimers

max kittyMany years ago when I was living in uptown Charlotte NC, I discovered a lovely feral cat living on the grounds of my apartment complex. Before long, she starting coming to my patio with 2 tiny kittens in tow. Somehow she knew I would be a soft touch and an easy meal; she was right.

I began leaving food and water for her and the kittens. Momma cat allowed herself to get fairly close to me, but she would leave her kittens behind and carry food back to them. At least at first. I began to sit closer to the food and talk to her while she ate, and soon she would bring the kittens within a few feet of me. As we continued this daily ritual, over the next few weeks I was able to sit right next to the plate of food while the kittens ate. They would even enjoy a few ear scratches, too.

After a few weeks, momma cat began bringing her kittens right up to my doorstep, and leaving. It was as if she was trying to give them to me, and I felt that I had to bring these little fluff balls inside. After much coaxing, I finally managed to get Honey, the baby calico, and Max, the handsome grey and white boy, into my apartment. Once momma saw that I took her babies inside, sadly she stopped coming around.

Getting through their initial panic of walls, a concept they didn’t understand and which drove them to literally try to climb up those walls, took time and patience. Once I tamed them down, a coworker friend adopted Honey, and Max joined my cats Precious and Sebastian and became part of my cat family. A very shy and sweet cat, I always felt he was just a little uneasy being inside.

lost catThree years later after moving to another city, Max made his escape after slitting open the screened in porch at my condo. Luckily none of my other cats escaped, but Max was gone and I was heartbroken. I put up flyers, walked all over the area, knocked on many doors, and cried a lot of tears. Although a few people called and had spotted him, I was never able to find him and bring him back home.

max catIt’s been 15 years now since Max made his great escape. I have never stopped wondering if he found a new home, I have never stopped worrying about him, and I have never stopped missing his sweet little face. Often I’ve wondered why there were no pet tracking devices available; having something like that would have made all the difference in Max’s fate. Even if a cat has a microchip, people don’t try to catch a stray cat and reunite them with their owners, as they would with a stray dog. Most people who see a cat running loose outside assume it to be neighbor’s outdoor cat.

If my Max had a Pet Tracker Tagg, which is essentially a GPS for your pet, it would have made all the difference in this story. I would have been able to see exactly where he was, I could have found him immediately, and he would have lived to be a ripe old age at home with me where he belongs.

Max is forever missed and he will never be forgotten.

(Note: the photos in the article are actually of our Oliver. Photos of Max were lost long ago, sadly, and Oliver is a look-alike of Max.)

cat vetAs owner of a pet sitting company that visits only cats, I am often asked questions about cats and their health needs. The number one question I hear all the time from both clients and friends alike is “Does my cat need to see the vet?”

My first response is always YES! No one knows your cat better than you do, so if that question is even crossing your mind, then you already suspect something is wrong.

Sometimes it’s a subtle shift in behavior that perhaps someone who doesn’t know your cat well would not even notice. One reason we assign one primary cat sitter to each of our clients at Just For Cats Pet Sitting is so they get to know your cats well enough to notice these subtle signs.

But sometimes things are more obvious. Here are some tell-tale signs that your cat is in need of medical attention:

  • Decreased Appetite is the number one sign that something is wrong. If your cat is not eating or drinking, this can be a sign that your cat is ill, and this should not be taken lightly. Just 3 days without food could result in Fatty Liver Disease, which is very serious and often fatal.
  • Lethargy is another sign something is going on that could be a medical problem, such as Urinary Blockages or Anemia.
  • Increased Urination and Thirst could indicate Feline Diabetes or the beginning stages of Kidney Failure, to name a few possibilities.
  • Decreased Urination might be caused by urinary blockages such as Crystals or Stones, a Urinary Tract Infection or even the chronic urinary tract disease known as FLUTD.
  • Urination Outside The Box could be a behavior issue but it also could indicate a medical issue, like the ones mentioned above. Before soliciting the assistance of a Cat Behavorist, be sure to rule out any organic causes first. Also please refer to my Behavior Blog, where I wrote an article about Litter Box Avoidance and tips to keep your kitty “going” inside the box.

I cannot stress enough: If you think something is wrong, you are probably right! A check up with your veterinarian will give you both peace of mind.

Happy Birthday, Dear Sadie

March 7, 2014

This isn’t the best photo of my darling, Sadie. But I love it anyway. It was taken on her first birthday, March 17, 2003. As what would have been her 12th birthday approaches in just a few days, I am again filled with grief that she is not here. SO much has happened in the […]

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Your Medications are Deadly to your Pet

March 29, 2013

A friend and fellow cat rescuer of mine is experiencing a devastating loss. His 5-year-old kitty passed away suddenly because of a horrible accident, and he may never forgive himself. After taking some ibuprofen, my friend placed the child-safety cap onto the bottle to keep his cats from getting into the contents. But instead of […]

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Mr. Chewy Pet Supply Home-Delivery Service

May 20, 2012

I’ve visited plenty of online pet supply stores, but and was never very impressed. Either their prices were high, their selection didn’t include every item I needed, or their delivery charges made their use impractical. Not so with the Mr. Chewy website. At www.mrchewy.com, I was able to find everything I needed in one place, […]

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It Takes Time

April 19, 2012

One of the first things people ask me when I’m conducting a behavior consultation is, “How long is it going to take before I see results?” My answer is always the same: Expect it to take some time. It’s not realistic to expect immediate results and perfect behavior after just a day or two of […]

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Still Grieving, After All These Years

March 17, 2012

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, but for me, March 17th has a very different meaning. It’s my Sadie’s birthday: she would have been 10 years old today. It’s been over 3 years since that awful day that I came home to find my Sadie had died in the short 2-hours that I had left the […]

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It’s a Lifetime Commitment

February 21, 2012

I am compelled to write to you about a very serious subject today. For the 6th time in recent months, someone I know, a client, is choosing to dump their cats because they are moving in with someone. In this case, the other person has dogs, so the dogs get to stay but the cats […]

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Losing Our Kitty Loved Ones

January 29, 2012

Losing our Kitty friends is a sad but inevitable part of our relationships with them. It’s been 3 years now since I lost my beloved Sadie kitty, and almost a year since my 17-year-old Precious left us last Easter Sunday, yet the pain of their loss is as fresh as yesterday. Sometimes our friends and […]

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It’s Travel Season! Can you travel with a cat?

June 4, 2011

“Wanna go for a ride?” Say these words to a dog and he’ll be running for the door faster then you can put on your shoes. Say them to a cat and, well, you’re in for a challenge! Take it from me; I drove cross- country with my six kitties when I relocated from South […]

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Bringing Home Baby

March 14, 2011

Adopting a kitten is a happy and exciting time. You’ve found just the perfect little bundle of fluff and now you are preparing to bring him home. Especially for the first-time kitty parent, knowing what to expect from your kitten’s first days in your home will help you better prepare for his arrival. Give Kitty […]

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A New Year for You and Your Cat

January 26, 2011

Another year has come and gone. Did you keep your 2010 resolutions or are they going to be on your 2011 list? If you’re like me, you probably made some promises to your cat, too. But if not, there are some things you really should add to your list of resolutions that will make life […]

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Give a Little Kibble, Keep a Family Together

January 7, 2011

In this troubled economy, more and more families are having trouble keeping food on their own plates, let alone in their pet’s food bowls. It’s a sad fact that many families are having to give up their pets in order to ensure they get the food they need. Tails Magazine has asked me to share […]

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Professional Pet Sitters Give You Peace of Mind

November 15, 2010

A question I am sometimes asked by potential clients is “Why should I use a professional pet sitter to care for my cat? Can’t I just throw down some food and litter and leave for a few days? Can’t I just let my friend, family, or a neighbor stop by and feed my cat?” Let […]

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Shy Cats, Deep Bonds

September 13, 2010

Do you remember the shy kid at school? You know the one; she would sit in the back of the room and hide behind her books, avoiding eye contact with everyone. Most people just ignored her, and never made any effort to get to know her. But not you! You knew there was a treasure […]

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Two = Twice the Love

August 11, 2010

Cats are like potato chips, it’s hard to stop at one. And really, you shouldn’t. Despite the myth that cats are loners, cats are actually highly social creatures and are happiest when living with other cats. Whether you are looking to adopt an adult cat or a kitten, adopting two at the same time is […]

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It’s Kitten Season… Again…

July 24, 2010

It’s summertime, and with the spring and summer seasons also comes Kitten Season. That’s right, kittens do have a season when there is a sharp rise in the number of litters and the rescues, shelters, and back alleys become inundated with sweet furry babies. If you’ve ever considered opening your home to a frisky feline […]

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Are expensive cat foods worth the price?

June 3, 2010

One of my clients called me recently, panic filled her voice.  She had recently added a new cat to her feline family, and the rescue organization gave her “the talk” about pet foods.  “My cats are so picky, they just won’t eat those fancy cat food brands. Am I going to make them sick if I […]

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A Mother’s Day Gift for Pet Moms

April 24, 2010

We pet Moms can feel a bit left out when it comes to Mother’s Day. I mean, how is your cat or dog supposed to sneak out of the house to buy us a gift anyway? Well now they won’t have to. My talented friend, Laura Silverman, has solved the shopping issue for our furry […]

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Second Chance Cats – Consider adopting a lonely older cat (or two!)

April 9, 2010

The economic crisis continues to affect everyone, causing more and more dogs and cats to be given up by their families as they lose their jobs and their homes. This means more older pets than ever before are finding themselves in shelters and rescues, where many will live out the rest of their days without […]

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The Urban Pet – A Pet Supply Mecca for Cat (and Dog) Owners!

February 18, 2010

Have you ever visited a pet supply store and felt like the cat section was just an afterthought? Many cat owners have felt this frustration, and some, like me, must visit multiple stores to find all the products they need for their feline family members. Never fear, The Urban Pet is here! I was recently invited to […]

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When Kitty Won’t Use the Litter Box – 7 Things You Can Do

February 9, 2010

Cat ownership brings much joy and companionship into a person’s life. But when kitty begins “missing” her litter box, the relationship between a cat and owner can become strained. Not knowing what else to do, often the owner will surrender kitty to a shelter or rescue. Left abandoned, these troubled cats are usually not re-adopted. […]

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Choosing a Kitten – Key things to consider before bringing home baby

January 26, 2010

You walk into a pet store, and one of the local shelters is holding adoptions. You walk over to the cages, just to say hello, but once you see the kittens you are hooked. You impulsively decide to adopt one (or two!). It’s so easy to fall in love at first sight when you look […]

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How the Economy Affects Our Cats

January 19, 2010

On a cold and rainy day like today, I can’t help but think of all those homeless kitties living outside, unable to come in from the elements, unable to find food, unable to find warmth, unable to find love. More cats than ever before are homeless, in part due to this economy. It’s one thing to think of […]

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The Holidays are almost here!

October 16, 2009

The holidays are upon us again, and in all the excitement and rushing around we sometimes forget about our furry companions. Decorations, holiday preparations, and parties might be fun, but they can create dangers and stress for both you and your cat. Please consider the following as you prepare for the festivities, so you and […]

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City Cats – Dangers for Outdoor Kitties

September 27, 2009

When I was just 19 years old, I was driving home from work on a very dark winter night in Buffalo, New York, when I saw something dart across the road. It was a rabbit, and I couldn’t stop in time on the icy road. I hit it, and I cried all the way home. […]

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The trouble with Trouble the cat!

August 30, 2009

I have a 10-year-old brother/sister pair of brown tiger tabby cats named Trouble and Sweet Pea. They are both wonderful kitties, great in temperament but as different as night and day. Sweet Pea is a docile kitty and is very true to her name!  It’s rare to see her act any other way than as the […]

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Weruva is KING for finicky kitties. It’s Paw Lickin’ Good!

August 28, 2009

I have a houseful of cats, as you no doubt know by now. They range in age from the nearly 6-month-old Peanut to 15-year-old Precious, ten in total. The problem is they don’t always like the same food. Imagine me at meal time with 10 mouths meowing as 20 eyes look up at me, begging […]

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Urinary Tract Blockages Can Be Deadly, Laddie’s Story

August 27, 2009

My friend and fellow pet sitter Jane called me last week to discuss a situation with a cat she was sitting. She was very concerned. Laddie had been acting oddly, not eating, hiding instead of greeting her at the door. He just wasn’t his usual self. Jane was in communication with his owner, but it […]

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Illness in a Multi Cat Household

August 24, 2009

As you know, I share my happy home with 10 wonderful felines. No, I didn’t set out to become the “Kra-zee Kat Lady” but I have accomplished that station in life nonetheless. I love each and every one of my kitties and I could not imagine my life without any of them. But over the […]

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Sadie’s Heart, Loving and Losing our Beloved Cat Companions

May 26, 2009

Rita Reimers, Owner of Cats 90210 Professional Cat Sitting Service (www.cats90210.com), lost her beloved Sadie kitty in January of 2009. After spending a week in bed, filled with pain, guilt, and grief with nowhere to turn to find other people who have been through it, she decided to write a book about the experience. A sequel […]

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