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Home2Cats.org - Fall, 2009

THE  SCRATCHING  POST

Issue #41, by Barbara Stanley, home2cats@aol.com
Home 2 Cats, P. O. Box 752671, Memphis, TN  38175-2671

~ Fall 2009 ~ Happy Thanksgiving! ~

 

Mews You Can Use

Medicinal Leeches

The mere mention of leeches conjures up in my mind Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn on the African Queen with Bogart covered with the bloodsuckers. After that scene, it was hard to envision these creatures any other way, certainly not as FDA approved medical devices/treatment options!! Times have changed, or have they really? Leeches have been used for medicinal purposes for some 2500 years. They just weren’t FDA approved back then!

I have to admit at first I did not hold the same enthusiasm for these creatures as my dear friend Brenda, aka The Leech Wrangler. And (truth be known) I still don’t, as her enthusiasm is really on a whole different level from mine. I do appreciate the fascinating medical outcomes (creepy though they are) accomplished by just letting them have their way on an animal or human.

Actually, leeches in their own right are quite beautiful and fascinating to watch. They can make themselves plump and short or stretch out to be long and thin. Swimming, they look like flat ribbons gracefully rippling through the water. Brenda swears they have individual personalities. (I told you her enthusiasm was on a whole different level!)

Leeches are actually worms with suckers on each end. When they dine, they take in a large amount of blood so they do not need to eat often, in fact leeches can live up to one year without food.

Leeches can help restore blood circulation to severely injured tissue, so can be beneficial in both human and veterinary medicine for conditions such as traumatic amputations, tissue flaps and non-healing wounds. As a leech begins to feed, its salvia releases chemicals that dilate blood vessels, thin the blood and deaden the pain of the bite. The leeches’ saliva also contains anti-blood clotting (anticoagulant) enzymes that allow blood to flow for up to six hours after the animal is detached. This allows the blood to effectively drain so that it doesn’t accumulate and cause tissue death.

We do have one thing in common with leeches; their nervous system is similar to ours. So this little creature is not only a beneficial medical device to our pets and us, but is also aiding researchers in their quest for the answers to some human problems. On top of all that, these little suckers outdo us in the brain department, as they have 32 of them!

Leeches are not created equal, as there are over 600 species with only 15 species used for medical purposes. Leeches that are used in medicine are not harvested from the wild but are bred in sterile lab conditions Leeches are used only once and then are disposed, which in my book, really sucks (get it??? Sucks??). But if you are lucky to be a leech with a compassionate caretaker, such as Brenda, who greatly appreciates the service you rendered, a reward awaits you. Brenda’s leeches retire in her "Leechy Beaches Retirement Center—luxury accommodations for the discerning bloodsucker" aquarium and they enjoy a peaceful life, which can be up to ten years.

 

- -  H o m e 2 C a t s . o r g  - -

 

Cat Tails

Home2Cats -- Beginnings

Years before Home 2 Cats even became a thought, let alone a reality, Larry and I had been supporting several feral colonies around the city of Memphis. We cared for these cats bringing them food and water daily, 365 days of the years. With no outside financial support, we did our best to take care of all their medical needs.

It didn’t take us long to realize that our support and loving care for these cats was strengthening their colonies. With all our good intentions, their numbers were increasing and we were aiding instead of breaking the cycle. Lacking trapping equipment, not to mention experience, we concentrated our efforts first with capturing and spaying the females. It was a slow process with the absence of proper equipment, experience and funding. But we persevered and did what we could out of our personal budget as we knew we needed to break the cycle.

We sought help and assistance at that time but there was a dire lack of rescue organizations within our community, especially ones willing to work with feral cats. We realized there was a need for such a rescue organization. Home 2 Cats eventually became a reality and our feral colonies were adopted by the organization and supported by donations from kind and caring people

With proper equipment, funding and by now some experience behind us, the trap, spay/neuter and release process was progressing at a faster pace. At least with these colonies, we had broken the cycle!

One weekend as we were on our way to feed the colonies, Larry went a different route. As many of you know from previous stories, when Larry does this ‘different route’ maneuver that he seems compelled to take, you can hear me loudly moan as there will be an animal involved somewhere along the route.

We were driving down a busy six-lane road and I gasped in horror as we saw a small child bicycling across all six lanes. I immediately started a tirade about a small child, let alone any child, bicycling on that dangerous road and the lack of adult supervision. Larry abruptly interrupted me with the fact that the child was carrying a kitten. (Hey, I did mention I knew an animal would be involved somehow!) The child turned down a two-lane road that for the most part was barren of any businesses and contained several large lots that were overgrown with briars. Larry said he thought the child was going to dump the kitten.

I was strongly disagreeing and backing up my gut feeling with "A child would never dump his pet kitten." Larry drove as slow as possible trying to stay behind the child but with traffic coming up behind us we were forced to pass. As we made our pass, Larry was trying to keep the child in his vision via the review mirror. Suddenly he stated, "He dumped the kitten." I was stunned with the news and Larry slowed down and safely made a u-turn.

We caught up with the child and struck up a ‘casual’ conversation and then asked him about his kitten. He told us he put it in the weeds and we asked him if he would show us the spot. It was hard to try to get him to talk, as he just wanted to ‘escape’. He was quiet, maybe not terrified but most definitely apprehensive and perhaps a bit frightened of our sudden interest in his activities.

He turned and peddled back to a spot and then pointed. There was the small and frightened kitten underneath some briers crying. Larry scooped him up and tucked him under his shirt to keep the kitten warm.

The child quickly blurted out that he found the kitten the night before and brought it home. His mother was furious and sent him back to dump the kitten at first morning light. He then mumbled something about there being several kittens but that he only caught one. We were horrified and turned to stare at the thorny vines that densely covered the lot. Still nervous and scared the child quickly climbed onto his bike to make his ‘escape’ from us. When we turned, the child was gone peddling as fast as he could.

It took Larry several hours of cutting thorny vines and trying to distinguish the direction of the sounds of tiny crying kittens. There were four when all was said and done safely tucked into my jacket for warmth.

I have to assume that an adult dumped the helpless kittens the first time. The second time we know that an adult directed a child to perform the same inhumane act. As helpless kittens they would not have survived. If these had been juvenile or adult cats, there would have been a small possibility that one or even two might have survived…creating the beginning of another feral colony.

I always have wondered how this event impacted that child’s life. As he followed his mother’s instructions out of fear, did he realize that the act was wrong? Did he grow up as a compassionate caring adult of all living creatures? Or did that cycle continue?

 

- -  H o m e 2 C a t s . o r g  - -

 

Animal and People Recognition

While losing a companion is one of life's greatest sorrows, never having one is to miss out on years of loving companionship.

 

 

In Memory Of Animals

Twist
Dear friend of Ed Shoulta & Jason Mills
--Jo Levy

Abbie
Beloved family member of Laurin Gregory
--Kimbrough & Susan Gregory

Abbie
Beloved dog of Kimbrough & Susan Gregory, who fought a brave battle of cancer.
--Laurin Gregory

Abbie
Beloved dog of Kimbrough, Susan & Laurin Gregory
--Karen L. Plant & Dennis L. Kroll

Abbie
Beloved companion to Kimbrough, Susan & Laurin Gregory
--Barbara & Larry Stanley

Abbie
To commemorate what would have been Abbie Gregory’s fourteenth Birthday on September 6, 2009.
--
Kimbrough & Susan Gregory
--Laurin Gregory

Missy
Beloved dog of Ann Lansden
--George & Linda Bond

Scudder
Beloved kitty of Mary Bowen
--Ivy Koster

Scudder
Beloved cat of Mary Bowen
--Kay Joest

Cocoa
Beloved dog of Janet Signaigo
--George & Linda Bond

Beau
Beloved canine companion of Mary K and Jason Donovan
--
Hal, Suzanne, Elyse, & Andrew Pate & Ki-Kitty

Yodi
He was the ‘star’ of LAMA Books and of all of our hearts.
--
Suzanne Lawlor

Micro
Little Micro the very beloved pet of Tom, Deb & Ted
--Grandma

Buddie
Beloved cat of Marilyn Dunavent
--Nathene Stark

In Honor Of Animals

Avery Okey
Newly adopted rescue in honor and in memory of Phoebe Catus
--Ruth Blann Cartledge

Phoebe Catus
--Holle Noel & Avery

In honor of your anniversary and our cat’s (Shadow) 10th birthday on May 1st. Plus in memory of our other cats of 60 years. They have given us great solace, happiness, joy and companionship.  Thank you for the great job you do.
--Sue & Frank Domian

 

In Memory Of People

Ted Cartledge
Beloved husband who died August 13, 1998.
--
Ruth Blann Cartledge

Ralph Levy
--Jo Levy

In Honor Of People

In admiration of and to honor the loving work of Larry & Barbara Stanley
--Ruth Blann Cartledge

 

- -  H o m e 2 C a t s . o r g  - -

 

Our mission is:
To provide food, medical care, love and sanctuary for injured, disabled or abused animals.
To educate the public in what constitutes responsible cat care and ownership.
To engage in other activities related to animal rescue and public education about cat care and responsibilities.


 

- -  H o m e 2 C a t s . o r g  - -

 

Home2Cats | Newsletters | Photos | Lynx
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P. O. Box 752671
Memphis, TN  38175-2671
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