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Sarge and Sarge's Cats




My brother died August 31st, 2008. These are some of the photos that show what mattered to him -- being a father and being a soldier. But I can't leave out his cats...the cats he had to leave behind that now need new homes.

Dick was a career soldier in the U.S. Army and retired as a Staff Sgt. in the early '90's. He served in Korea, Germany, Honduras and other duty sites. He was born shortly before the U.S. entered WWII, and knew he always wanted to be a soldier. We grew up in Phoenix and when he retired, he returned to the valley to live. He had always loved cats, and there are many homeless cats living in most neighborhoods. When he lived in Scottsdale, he took in a mother cat nursing 5 kittens - the "kittens" are now about 10 years old. When he moved to Mesa, he took in a male kitten left under a box in a shopping cart in a grocery parking lot -- in the middle of summer! Then he noticed that one of the stray cats he was feeding outdoors was pregnant - in she came and gave him 6 beautiful kittens. Later that year, another outdoor female had a litter, and after gaining their trust, he brought her and her 4 babies indoors. Next he made a major mistake, in my opinion, anyway - he did not get the newest ones spayed/neutered. He was working only part-time and living on his Army retirement, but he still should have gotten them altered. I kept nagging him about it, and when we found that he could qualify for the Maricopa County Animal Care and Controls "Big Fix" Program to get free vouchers to the Spay/Neuter Clinic, we finally started working on getting the appointments and getting them fixed. Almost all were done before he became too ill to catch/crate them, but the total living with him inside was already 37. Outdoors, there is another mama with kittens living in the carport - but she will get spayed (under a TNR program) when the kittens are old enough.

Oct. 31st Update: Three cats have been adopted by families - Felicia and Toby by one family and 10 yr-old Togo by another family.

Nov. 11th - Veteran's Day

Sarge entered the hospital 3 months ago today. A rescue group (ALF - Animal Loving Friends, based in Tempe, AZ) honored his memory as a veteran today by emailing almost everyone in the world to ask for homes or rescue placement for the cats, and a lady came all the way from Ajo, AZ to pick up two of the boys (Cisco and Tommy) for shelter placement while looking for new homes there. I'm hoping that they get loving homes really soon, and that they enjoy the beauty of southern Arizona as much as the Valley of the Sun.

Dec. 12 -- Both Cisco and Tommy were adopted together by an older man (maybe kinda like Sarge).
A Tucson rescue has collected donations to care for some of the cats - will have to wait for the New Year to see how many and when they will be able to accept them. There are still the senior cats, the shy cats, and the REALLY shy cats that will need homes, and then I have to figure out what to do about the kittens/mama that live outside. I've gotten several of them trapped and altered, but they are used to eating at Sarge's home and the neighbors don't like stray cats - one guy supposedly traps them and takes the "out to the desert" to release. Don't know who that is, but I need to protect the cats from being dumped somewhere they will likely die.

UPDATE - A lot of Good News and a NEED for more homes...

The current status for the 42 indoor cats is as follows

Adoptions - 8 (Togo, Felicia, Toby, Cisco, Tommy, Rascal/Mikey,Bear and Charlie were adopted by folks who will hopefully give them forever homes.

18 cats have gone to live in a rescue. In late January, a wonderful cat rescue/sanctuary located in Tucson, AZ, Casa de los Gatos ( http://www.casadelosgatos.org/ )("gato" is Spanish for cat) accepted 18 of the cats including Charlie who was adopted by one of their former volunteers. The cats currently living at the Casa (hopefully to be adopted into homes soon) are Socks, Prissy, Smokey, Lucky, Sunshine, Jack, Joey, Angel, Markie, Mittens, Inky, Patches, Alex, Missy, Pepper, Marmalade and Henry. The folks at the Casa are wonderful folks who spend time making sure the cats are healthy, fed, groomed, and cared for, and this will help speed the process of placing them in forever homes -- in the meanwhile, however, the Casa spends a TON of money each month caring for 300 cats (some will live with them for years since they are not highly adoptable, but most are ready to go to homes), so if you can spare a few bucks for a needy cat and a needy cat rescue organization, please consider Casa de los Gatos (read about them at http://www.casadelosgatos.org/ and then click on the "Donate" sign to help them out. Also consider donating to ALF, Animal Loving Friends, http://members.petfinder.com/~AZ237/ALF_home.shtml -- they donated website space and time to help Sarge's cats before anyone else.

What about the rest of the cats? Well, against the wishes of my own cats (and dog), they moved in with me. Some came willingly, others had to be trapped and brought to my home. I brought two of the outdoor feral kittens, and some of the in-house cats acted feral at first -- I was really worried about ever catching them again in my home if I let them out of the trap/carrier, and I put a few in cages for a few days. I found that didn't really help gain their confidence (smile) -- the "under the sink" cat ripped my hand when I tried opening the cage door to change his litter box and give him food. He trembled so much it was almost like he was vibrating -- when he lived at my brother's place, I hadn't even known that he was there for weeks because he hid in the cabinet under the sink.

I was almost ready to take him to the county pound (where he would have been immediately euthanized for being "unfriendly"), but after getting some hopeful thoughts from some cat rescuers, I decided to take the chance and let him run loose in the bedroom. He shied away from me for a couple of weeks, but all of a sudden, he stopped hiding when I brought in the canned food meals. When I opened the can of salmon flavored food, I found him rolling over on his back near where I stood, and within days he let me pet him. He flinched at first touch, but rapidly reacted with typical cat pleasure -- raising his rump when I stroked his back. Then he did the drop and flop and let me actually touch his belly when he rolled over in anticipation of "Salmon"!

As weeks have gone by, the shy ones are continuing to get more used to having me walk in with bags of food, and litter bags, vacuuming the carpet, and other "scary" things. They are getting used to having Honey, my dog, visit and do searches of kitty bowls for yummy noms, and Honey has improved her manners with all the cats.

I hope to find homes for many of them, but have to learn how to find new homes during kitten season and a recession. My own cats would like their home back, although they are learning to be a bit less vocally hateful about the situation...

January 2011

This year, I hope to find homes for the most adoptable of Sarge's cats - Bunny (sweet, confident, snuggly), Cali (beautiful, likes to be stroked, but shy of strangers), Dilly (born outdoors to feral momma, but loves to be stroked and even lets me pick her up), Taffy (Dilly's sister - loves to be stroked but a bit more shy - can't be held), Lil Bit - now named Alvin (like the rascally chipmunk) - shy but likes to be stroked, likes to play (torment) other cats. Midge and Grayling are still shy also, but like to be stroked.








Sarge (Dick) -smile
Sarge (Dick) -smile
Casa de los Gatos - rescue
:: Casa de los Gatos - rescue ::
Dick-Army-Squad
Dick-Army-Squad
Dick-Mark-zoo
Dick-Mark-zoo
We meet white tiger cub
We meet white tiger cub
Looking for Sarge
Looking for Sarge
Bunny - 1 yr. old (Oct. '08)
Bunny - 1 yr. old (Oct. '08)
Bunny
Bunny
Tig dances
Tig dances
Tig-relaxes.jpg
Tig-relaxes.jpg
Buddy - 10 yr. old plus
Buddy - 10 yr. old plus
Cali - tabby calico
Cali - tabby calico
One of the grays
One of the grays
Taffy-Jan29-09.JPG
Taffy-Jan29-09.JPG
Taffy-peekJan29-09.JPG
Taffy-peekJan29-09.JPG
sarge_family
:: sarge_family ::
Sarge's Cats - adopted or died
:: Sarge's Cats - adopted or died ::