Thursday, September 29, 2011

Junk Food Flyers from Moderncat Studio

Tired of boring old cat toys? Want something eco-friendly and crinkly, that you know your cat will love? Then you need to buy Junk Food Flyers from Moderncat Studio! Created by Kate Benjamin and tested by her kitties!

These flyers are made from "clean recycled cat food bags" as stated on a card included with Sandpiper Cat's Junk Food Flyers. Kate sent Sandpiper Cat two Junk Food Flyers to write a from the head cat Piper and her assistant Sabrina, we bring to you, Sandpiper Cat Blog's review of Junk Food Flyers.

Sabrina inspecting her new toy.
 Piper's review


Get a whiff of that!
Deez krinkley crunchy toys are one of my new favorites. I liked to hold the crinkle in between my pawz. It even makes a good hat! I think other kittiez would like these toyz because they are fun to chase! They try to runz away but I am so fast I can catch it! I have to share mine with Sabrina, but she likes to runz around with themz on the bed.

Sabrina's review!

I never hadz these junk food toy before. I like to have my mom throw them up into the air so I can demonstrate my super kitty flying powerz and jump to catch them! Watch me catch them on the bed here:

The Junk Food Flyers can be purchased on Kate's Moderncat Studio Etsy shop. Junk Food Flyers can be purchased in a set of 5 for $5. Shipping is $2 in US, $2.50 Canada and $3 anywhere else.

Junk Food Flyers will have your cats running around like crazy! These are worth purchasing!

Visit Moderncat Studio at

I have in no way been compensated for my review. Moderncat Studio sent the toys to me to review for free. This review is solely my own opinion.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Help us win a Facebook contest!

Help us win a contest on Facebook!

Simply go to this link, scroll down to the bottom and like the comments from Rachel Shubin and Sandpiper Cat Blog.

Please vote! Thank you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

31DBBB - Task 4 Analyzing The Conscious Cat

The next task in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, is anaylzing a blog in your niche. My niche, is pet blogging. So I picked one of my absolute favorite blogs, The Conscious Cat, written by my good friend Ingrid King.

1. Identify a successful blog in your niche.

The Conscious Cat

2. Take 15 minutes to do some analysis of the blog in some of the following areas

  • What topics are they covering? Ingrid covers reviews of cat toys, a weekly post with fun/intriguing stories (such as Mews and Nips from around the Internet), product reviews,book reviews, giveaways, rescues, fundraising for those rescues, cat celebration days, etc).
  • What topics are they ignoring? Ingrid covers a vast selection of topics, particularly from a medical viewpoint, as she had been a veterinary hospital manager. If I could suggest an article to Ingrid, because I don't think she ignores anything, I would suggest an article on how The Conscious Cat post on "Tortitude" (found here) has over 6,898 comments - at 9/22/11 12:23pm - and is still counting!
  • What voice/style do they post in? Ingrid mainly posts in her voice, though she opts to do two columns from her cats Ruby and Allegra's point of views. Ruby's reflections tend to entertain readers with cat toy reviews, as well as Ruby's crazy kitten adventures with breaking things here. Allegra, Ingrid's other kitty, posts to her column, Allegra's World.
  • How often are they posting? Ingrid posts sporadically (don't we all?), but posts 1-3 times a week, if not more.
  • What level are they pitching their posts at (beginners, advanced etc) Ingrid posts not only for beginners, but also posts for cat-pros. Although, the cat-pros sometimes have a thing or two to learn.
Reader Engagement:
  • What topics generate most conversation? It is inarguable that the "Tortitude" post has generated the most feedback. However, whenever Ingrid is having a giveaway, there are many comments of hopeful humans/felines!
  • What styles of posts seem to connect with readers best? Readers seem to respond best with personal accounts, such as Ruby's knocking glassware off the counter, or being a "vertical pee-er."
  • What questions are readers asking in comments? Readers often ask for cat advice from Ingrid, which she takes time to thoughtfully answer each and every person who comments. I've certainly taken advice from Ingrid numerous times. Such as switching our cats to the cat food Weruva, which we are in the process of doing.
  • What complaints do you see readers making in comments? I have not seen any reader complaints.
  • What tools/mediums is the site using (eg: are they using Twitter, forums etc) Ingrid's blog is done through Wordpress, she is on Facebook, and Twitter.
  • What first impression does their design give? Ingrid's blog design is visually appealing.
  • What have they done well? What have they done poorly? The eye catching banner with Ingrid's past cat Amber and current cats Ruby and Allegra are the first sight eyes will stumple upon entering her blog.
  • What Options do they give readers to subscribe? You can follow The Conscious Cat by email as well as the CC Facebook page.
  • what advertisers are targeting this blog? Cat related items ranging from - herbal essences, cat furniture, as well as many other feline toys, treats, food, etc.
  • what type of affiliate programs are they promoting? Ingrid also uses her blog to promote her book, Buckley's Story, her monthly newsletter 'News for You and Your Pet', as well as featuring links to adoptable pets in the local area.
I visited the Compete website and entered Ingrid's blog. I saw stats for visitors to The Conscious Cat. The chart above shows visitors. It is self interpreting to look at the graph and see the rise of visitors. I have no way of knowing if this is correct. Compete said the sample size for this site is small - psh, whatever that means.

Check back on "The Situation," many exciting new posts coming soon!

Ingrid King and The Conscious Cat, were not aware of this post until it was published. They have in no way compensated me for my review. This review is solely my own opinion and does not reflect the composition of The Conscious Cat.

Monday, September 19, 2011

31DBBB Post 3 - Blog Promotion

Blogging isn't just a hobby for me. At least, it was until I went to the BlogPaws conference. I learned that with blogging you can do so much more than write for your friends and family. Expanding your blog by promoting it on Facebook, having business cards, sharing your link online as well as networking with fellow bloggers.

After going to BlogPaws I came home without any of my business cards left, but plenty of cards with my new contacts. I subscribed to their blogs and read them as frequently as I can. I've been given free cat toys to review on my blog, which I haven't done yet because our cats have crazier lives than we do! I was recently contacted about a no more odor spray for cat litter smells, and will be getting a sample to review on my blog.

I want to not only enjoy blogging for myself, but promote my blog to others and get on the radar. I'm not in it for glory, fame or freebies - but recognition that my writing has touched at least one person. I promote my blog by buisness cards and my Facebook page you can find here.

I know that I have quite a few readers, and I hope to increase my following.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

31DBBB Post 2 - List post

Today's 31DBBB post is a list post. I will talk about ALL the cats I've had in my life, in a list post, with a short explanation.

1. Ashley - Ashley was a boy orange tabby, named for Gone With the Wind. He was my dad's first cat, received from a friend whose cats had kittens. Formally named Barney, my dad made the change to Ashley. According to my dad, Ashley was a crazy kitten and the vet (at the time in the 1990's) suggested my dad have him front declawed. Back then, declawing was endorsed by vets - never realizing how truly painful it is to remove the claw and the joint of the cat. He was our one and only declawed cat, something we would never do again. Ashley was one of the unusual cases of cats who got an injection site sarcoma, which gave him cancer. He lived until he was 16 years old and died from sarcoma cancer in 2001, some time around 9/11.

A blurry screen shot of Ashley (bottom) and Marsh (top) from a home video.

2. Marsh - Short for Marshall, - the supreme court judge- was my dad's second kitten he got to keep Ashely company. Marsh was actually a purebred Maine Coone that my dad bought from a breeder (who actually ended up being a hoarder). Marsh was our first and only purebred cat. Another 1990's popular cat decision that we would never make again now. Marsh and Ashley didn't get along, and Marsh wasn't necessarily the sharpest crayon in the box. Marsh one time ate a brillo pad and went to the emergency vet. He ended up living through that and pooping out pieces of brillo pad for a while. Marsh got sick in mid 2005 and it is presumed it was some sort of cancer. Marsh passed in June 2005, a few weeks before we left for vacation.

3. Parker - After Marsh died, we decided to get kittens since my dad and mom were the only ones who've had them before. Parker was one of the first kittens we picked out from He was a gray tabby and was 2 months old. The rest of Parker's litter, Piper, Paris and one other P kitten all had health problems. It turned out that it was FIP or Feline Infectious Peritonitis, which would claim Parker's life on December 27, 2005 at 8 months old. Parker was the sweetest little baby, and not a day goes by that I don't miss him dearly. I hope that one day a cure for FIP will be found.

4. May - aka as Maybelline, Moo, Moobelle, Anamariamadonnachristinamay (not a typo) and a few other goofy nicknames! She was a brown tabby we adopted from Lost Dog along with Parker. May and Parker loved each other and roughhousing around the house. May had very big ears as a kitten and we did not realize that she would grow into them. May became a big boned, 15 pound cat, currently 17 pounds as a result of taking steroids due to allergies. She prefers my mom over all people, and slinks when my dad pets her.

5. Esterbrooke - Mostly called Brooke, Cookie and occasionally "The Mad Hatter." Brooke is our first tortoiseshell kitten and she is as crazy as crazy comes. Parker and Brooke bonded instantly and became best buddies. They were always by each other's side. When Parker died, Brooke looked around the house for him, and that is how we knew we needed to adopt another cat. Today, Brooke is still as fiesty as ever. She likes to stalk Sabrina and Piper and does not get along with them very well. Of course, what else is to be expected of a tortoiseshell.

6. Victoria (foster failure) - More commonly called Vickie (or Vicki depending on how I like to spell it) is May's mother, but a very small 8 pound cat. Vickie was on the Lost Dog website for 3 months after we adopted May. We felt so bad, her picture was so solemn...she came home as a foster. Vickie hid behind the dry wall in our basement and we slid food bowls in and out for her before she finally came out. She came out for mom's beef stew, but continued to lurk in the basement for three months after we had her. We did end up keeping her. Vickie does not like May, we think because of the time that they were separated. Today Vickie is getting the rest of her teeth out due to bad gums. Sad, but this procedure will make her live longer.

7. Henry - After Parker passed away, we knew that we needed to find another cat when Brooke was grieving over Parker. We wanted to make sure we took the right cat. So on my birthday 12/30 (3 days after Parker died) we went to Lost Dog to look at a cat called Bobby (our Henry). My mom took him out of his carrier, he wrapped his paws around her neck and gave her a nose kiss. Needless to say, sweet Henry came home with us as an additonal birthday present. He is the reason we kept our next kitty Pearl.

8. Pearl (foster failure) - We received an email from our rescue saying that little Page was sick and needed a foster or she would die. Not giving the email a second thought, we took Page home. We nursed her back to health. On the first visit out of the bathroom where we had been keeping her, Henry took one look at her and hasn't left her side since. Pearl since we've had her, has gained quite a few pounds and is a little pudgey.
Pearl, white cat, before she got to be fat.

9. Nick and Smokey (fosters/lost cats) - The S on our door knocker does not stand for our last name Shubin, but for Sucker! It seems like lost cats always seem to find their way to our door. Nick and Smokey, came at two separate times and both found a happy ending with someone who wasn't us! My dad was on a walk one day and a siamese looking cat followed him home. We had never seen him before in our neighborhood, which made us think that he could be a new neighbor's pet, or potentially lost. None of our neighbors knew him, but they had seen him around for quite a while. When we decided to do something about him, we found out from a neighbor that he took Smokey to the pound. UGH! The humanity of some people. My dad and I put up flyers and he went to the pound. He told them it wasn't his cat, something we should've lied about to get Smokey. This was on a Friday. The volunteer at the shelter told my dad that she had seen signs in a neighborhood a few miles away from us, a missing cat for a chocolate point siamese. My dad and I went to the neighborhood and sure enough the description described Smokey. We called the lady but she said she really didn't think it was her cat, they had gotten a lot of calls already and basically given up hope. My dad sent the picture we had of him, and she called us crying saying that it was her cat. When the shelter opened on Tuesday, she picked Smokey up and we got to see him at their house. They were very greatful. Not many stories turn out that way.
Dad and his buddy Nick. Nick is in the lower left corner, he blends in with the chair.

Nick on the other hand, wasn't so lucky. He showed up in our neighborhood and our neighbors led him to our house. They knew we were involved with rescue and maybe we could help with this cat. We didn't know what to do, we just couldn't have another cat, so we got Nick - our naming of him Nicholas Valentino for Christmas and Valentine's day advertising, if he was still around by 2/14 - into the rescue. For a while we had him stay in the garage until one night he got out. We were on the way to temple and there was no way in heck I was letting him go at night. We were late, as I took the time to get him back into the garage. We decided after that to let him stay in a spare room in our basement. For a while Nick was allowed out about the house, but...Henry started pooping innapropriately after Nick took an interest in Henry's girlfriend Pearl. We knew that Nick couldn't stay. Shockingly, the night after the poop disaster, my dad got an email from a family interested in Nick. We had them over to see Nick and he hid behind our couch and growled. They took him anyway! A successful adoption, or a two week vacation for Nick, either way was good. The adoption stuck and we heard from them for a while...but we unfortunately lost contact. My dad is always said about Nick because Nick really loved my dad. He would mope around all day until dad got home. Dad would sit down in a chair, call "Nick" and he would come running from wherever he was in the house. Needless to say....Sabrina is now Dad's Nick.

10. Sabrina  (foster failure) - Oh little Sabrina. In 2009 during the course of three weeks adoption events, Dad (with me) convinced mom that we needed to foster little Sabrina. She was a black cat, like Henry. We had no intention of really "fostering her", it was just easier to say she was a foster than deny that we were planning on keeping her. Sabrina has a good life, but it is not ideal. She lives in my parents bedroom, with visits to other parts of the house often, because our cat Brooke cannot get along with her. Hopefully we will start medicating both of them, so we can work on having "open doors" as we like to say.

11. BeiBei (successful foster!) - BeiBei was our foster on a Friday night after an adoption event. We took her to just keep over the weekend until she could go out to Leesburg. Of course, she got so much attention on the Friday night at the adoption event. She was a Persian cat with a lion cut, wearing a sweater! It doesn't get cuter than that. A great couple spent a while talking with us. They weren't sure they could have a cat because they had four dogs. They called my dad on Saturday saying they wanted to adopt her. They filled out their adoption paperwork and officially adopted her. They came Sunday evening to pick BeiBei up. She was a sweetie, and the easiest foster we've ever had.
The couple who adopted BeiBei, with her!

12. Gabby (successful foster!) - Although...Gabby and I really bonded. I really wanted to keep her. But we had heard that she didn't get along with other cats and she really didn't. She hissed at Henry...which was a definite sign that she wasn't going to work because NOBODY hisses at little innocent Henry. He's the welcome wagon! Gabby was also a Persian, but less so than BeiBei. She was a silver gray color and very sweet. She loved playing fetch with her little mouse and bringing it back over and over again. She always wanted me to play it at 2 am with her. She got adopted by my mom's friend, who has a bull dog. It's the smooshed face house family! Gabby and Lola (the bull dog) get along great and I haven't gone to visit her yet, but will soon.
Gabby with her favorite mouse to fetch.

13. Piper (foster failure) - Well, you all know about Piper. Took her, same night she miscarried her kittens from 3-7 am in my bedroom. Nursed her back to health and she became bonded with me. She is the reason that my blog is Sandpiper Cat blog! Love my little girl, even if she sleeps with mom and dad.

Evidence of having seven (oops, not yet) six cats.
14. Unmentioned others - There have been seven other kitties that have been in our lives, but only  need a short posting. Molly, a calico and Samson, a black cat, both were adopted by our close family friends (two different friends, at two different times, but both from our rescue). They stayed at our house each for about a week before being brought to their permanent homes. They are both sweet and happy and we love hearing about them.

Sweet, shy little Molly.
Butch - a big male Tom, who spent most of his life unneutered so he ended up with a big head- got left by accident at an adoption event and was an overnight foster for us. He stayed in mom and dad's bathroom and was the sweetest thing. He ended up getting adopted by a nice man whose sister, I believe, wanted to steal him away from him! And the last four kitties were the sweet kittens we fostered this summer who were exposed to VS-Calici and had to be put down. RIP Abby, Frack, Lewis and Michelle.

BYE!!!!! (Foster who I pet sat for).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

National Capital Cat Show Review

This weekend on Saturday 9/10/11 I attended the National Capital Cat Show at the Dulles Expo Center. Among the many vendors were my friends Ingrid King , owner of the Conscious Cat, Renee Austin of Whimsy Cats Care and Dr. Fern Slack of RockSpirit Designs. Other vendors I stopped at were The Cats Closet - located in Fredricksburg, Virginia - and Silhouettes by Stephanie.

At The Cats Closet booth, I found a pair of dangle earrings that are a cat for one ear and a mouse for the other. They are pink with little gem stones. They come in pink, purple, white and a few other colors and are $10 a pair.
Cat and Mouse earrings

At Silhouettes by Stephanie's booth, I picked up one of her little cat necklaces. I had purchased one last year, a white background with four black cats, and wore it all the time as well as received many compliments. After entering the show, I made a beeline for her booth to check out the new designs. This year I purchased a necklace charm slightly bigger than last year's. It has a black cat with a street sign that reads 'Free Fish.' My mom bought a luminescent necklace charm that has a black cat sitting in a bare branched tree.

The blue charm is priced at $20 and the luminescent charm is priced at $35. You can email Silhouettes by Stephanie at to see what she has in stock.

My last purchase was a small rose amethyst charm from Dr. Slack's booth. Her company, RockSpirit Designs, creates necklaces, earrings, charms and cat collars with many different stones, each with a special healing power. The rose amethyst charm I have is for healing stresses such as anxiety, anorexia, bulimia, etc.

Dr. Slack at her wonderfully set up  booth.

I would say that this year's cat show was a success. There were many rescues there, which I always like to see. Next year I won't be able to attend the show as I will be in college (a frightening thought)!

Upcoming posts will include a review of Modern Cat's Junk Food Flyers, as well as a few other pet toy reviews.

These reviews were conducted of my own personal accord and I have not been paid for them. I purchased all the items I reviewed and was not compensated for them whatsoever. Rachel E. Shubin.

Monday, September 12, 2011

31DBBB - 31 Days to Build a Better Blog

This September I am participating in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. There will be posts Monday and Thursday of each week, that are to improve my blogosphere!

Today's task is to write an elevator pitch. So here goes:

Writing one of my first blog posts here on Sandpiper Cat Blog, while Piper is recovering from her emergency spay.
Sandpiper Cat Blog started when I was a junior in high school (now a senior), to chronicle my foster cat Piper’s pregnancy and the birth of her kittens. I named the blog “The Situation” because the day Piper’s kittens were to be born landed on the month my Jersey Shore calendar featured Mike the Situation. However, because nothing goes as it is supposed to, Piper lost her kittens due to a miscarriage. I decided to keep blogging about volunteering with my rescue, as well as improving my day to day writing. I have aspirations to become a journalist, and writing a blog is my place to write short stories or tell events that perhaps need won’t fit on a Facebook status and need to have a further explanation for.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Who is Sandpiper Cat/We Have a Situation?

There is always a great inspiration after the name of a blog, or at the very least a funny story. How did Sandpiper Cat Blog: We Have a Situation come to be?

It all starts with this kitty right here...

Little  pregnant Piper on the first night I got her, right before she miscarried her kittens.
First, a little background on how we got our foster [now our cat] Sandpiper (aka Piper). My family volunteered with Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, and had been long term volunteers and occasional fosters. From January to March 2011, we had started fostering after a year long break - the most recent foster, Sabrina, ended up staying - and had already fostered and placed two kitties.

Seeing as we had fostered BeiBei and Gabby and gotten them adopted, most importantly not by us, we felt that we could continue working as fosters. At the time, all of our personal cats were between the ages of 2-10, which made us decide to foster a pregnant cat so we could also foster kittens.

We named the pregnant cat Sandpiper with the intent to call her Piper for short, as well as planning on naming all of her kittens beach names. The date that she was supposed to deliver her kittens was April 4th. I marked it on my Jeresey Shore calendar, and it happened to be the month that Mike 'The Situation' was pictured - thus the title for the blog. I decided to write a record of all the Piper happenings on this blog.

But unfortunately, the night we got Piper, she began to miscarry and deliver her kittens at 3 am in the morning. You can read about Piper's miscarriage here. She had an emergency spay the next day, as there was still a kitten in her uterus.

But Piper settled into life at my household just fine, with a few disagreements with some of the resident cats! Even though this blog was supposed to be a diary of how Piper delivered her kittens and they got adopted, I kept it to channel my productive cat thoughts. Who knew that Sandpiper cat blog would end up with it's own Facebook page you can visit here! I continue to post about cat topics such as product reviews, book reviews and giveaways.

So that is the story on how Piper became to be the Lucky #7 cat, and the stories of the next additions to my cat family!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Help pay for Kat Khamir's Surgery

Kat Khamir (pronounced cat come here)
Tonight’s post is something all pet lovers can relate too; sick pets. Whenever your pet is sick, you live vicariously through any improvements seen in your pet. If kitty so much as sneezes, your blood pressure soars.

We always knew that our cat Henry suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which makes his stomach more sensitive than any of our other cats. He also has runny eyes due to having either no tear-ducts or blocked tear-ducts: a result from a rip-roaring eye infection as a kitten (before we had him).  But after we got back from vacation in July, Henry just didn’t seem like himself. He was sleeping curled up tightly in a ball, when he is usually a cat who likes to sleep all stretched out. He had started to lose weight and then he started hiding in the back of my parent’s closets. I was extremely worried about him when he started hiding at night – because hiding is what cats do when they’re dying.

Henry was diagnosed with Herpes (causes the runny eyes), two bacterial infections; Mycoplasma Felis and Bordetella, as well as uveitis in one of his eyes which ended up becoming both eyes. He acquired a plethora of medicines, ointments, eye drops and antibiotics. He is doing better now, but he still has a bit more of recovering to do.

However, tonight’s post is not about Henry, it is about a woman who contacted me via my blog. Kevin Tijerina has a cat, Kat Khamir (pronounced cat come here) that has bleeding masses in her body and needs a very expensive surgery to save her life. As we all know, vet bills are costly and invasive surgeries as this one will be is very pricey. Kevin has created a website,, to help raise money for Kat. She says anyone who donates $20+ will receive a handmade pillow with Kat Khamir on it.

Kat (top) with her friend Leechee (bottom)

Kat enjoying fresh air

Kat has traveled with Kevin through Texas, Illinois and California and has been with Kevin for 8-10 years.

Kat needs $5,000! Keep in mind, any donation helps. If you can’t donate, please share with your friends.

Contact Kevin:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Flexy's story

I wrote this article for myself, after a traumatic event. It was back in January 2011 and it was before I started my blog (and also before we adopted our last kitty Piper #7). I had been thinking about posting it and finally had time to post it today. Beware, it is a little medically graphic.
           January 28, 2011. It didn’t start off like any normal Friday. But that wasn’t my cue to know what events were going to take place that day. It was still snowy and icy outside, so school had been cancelled. The roads were okay to drive on; it was the neighborhood roads that were the problem. But nonetheless I ventured out to babysit in Arlington.
                After watching after a youngster for the day, my dad picked me up and we headed to Fair Lakes Petsmart for our Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation adoption event. Even with the traffic, we were there on time. I helped my dad bring in our crates and carriers and set up. I said hi to a cashier who has become a friend as we see her every Friday night event, then I walked around the corner to get a cup of cocoa since it was a cold night. We were only expecting three cats at the event, so I wasn’t worried about having a busy night.
                Both fosters were late, but since I am typically a person who runs late, it didn’t bother me. One foster showed up with two kittens, Gary and Flexy. They were supposed to be three months old, true kittens. All but one of my six cats is over two years old, so the prospect of having kittens was delightfully exciting. Upon arrival we realized these “kittens” were more along the age of five to seven months old.
                Gary and Flexy were our fosters for the weekend. We were really planning on fostering a Persian cat named Gabby, but because of the weather and a vet visit, we were behind schedule on receiving her. After the event we were planning on taking Gary and Flexy home. The other foster that was expected showed up not long after, with an orange tabby cat named Ivander.
                All three cats were in their crates and fine. I was standing around talking to Ivander’s foster Mary, and my dad. I took out one of the new cat toy wands I bought and started playing with it with Flexy. And that is when the unthinkable happened. One minute, she’s happily chomping on the feather toy, the next a bloody glob emerges from her stomach. It took less than a second to register something was extremely wrong.
                “Oh my god, Dad!  What just fell out of her stomach?” I screamed.  He instantly turns around and runs frantically down the main Petsmart aisle looking for the head of the rescue. Mary and I instantly react by opening the crate, getting Flexy to stop running frantically around the carrier and lie down. I grabbed Gary out of the crate and shove him into the carrier he came in and put it under our table. Looking back, I realize how the fact that Flexy’s organs coming out of her body didn’t even register in my mind. I went into rescue mode and put aside the squeamish feelings that were urging to come out and figure out the immediate response. A lady walked by and looked into the crate after realizing we are panic stricken, even though other people are walking by and remarking ‘what a cute kitten’. She says, you’ve got to get her still and hold her legs.
                “I can’t! I don’t do blood! Mary help!” I shakily say.
                “Sarah, help us now!” Mary yells to her sister who happened to walk through the door at that exact moment with her husband and kids. They were coming to see Ivander and how his first adoption event is going.
                “My sister is good in emergencies,” Mary tells me. “Sarah we need help now,” she said. The lady who had been on looking tells us that Flexy’s liver is out. At this point, the entire trauma started to become real. This cat’s internal organs have literally fallen out of her body. I look over to where Mary and Sarah are holding Flexy’s torso and legs in place. I see the blood and something that looks like the brain. Flexy’s intestines.  Oh gosh, this is so bad, I think to myself. My dad shows back up at this point, only having been gone for a minute and tells us that Barb is coming over to look at her and that she’s going to need to Blue Ridge Vet.
                “But that’s out past Leesburg! She won’t make it.” I say to everyone. Sarah tells my dad that Flexy’s liver is out of her body and that she needs immediate medical intervention.
                “Dad, I have to go outside, I just gotta,” I tell him as I frantically run outside Petsmart. There is a little path on the sidewalk outside the store and I follow it, find a dry place to sit and shakily take out my phone. My mind is reeling, organs and bloody images flash through my mind. I press number five on the speed dial and call my mom at home.
                “Mom, everything is okay with me, but something went horribly wrong with one of the kittens we are supposed to foster,” it comes out in sobs. The tears emerge from the corners of my eyes and like the instantaneous snapping of a river dam, the tears come pouring out. My mom tells me to calm down and tell her what happened. I tell her how one second I was playing with the cat with the wand and the next a bloody sack fell out of her. It was organs.  I can practically see my mom cringe as the gory details unfold.
                “It was so awful mom. I saw everything. Her liver and intestines were out. It looked like brains,” I tell her as I continue to sob and wipe the tears away from my face. My mom tells me to talk about something else and to tell her about my day. I tell her and as she realizes I’m still sobbing she asks me if she should call one of our friends who were volunteering with us. I tell her no, that I’m okay but she calls her anyway while staying on the phone with me. I felt like I had called 911 and they were staying on the phone with me until the ambulance gets there. It was literally the exact same sensation – even though I have luckily never had to call 911 in my life. She doesn’t get an answer from our friend, but I realize I need to compose myself and I do want to go back in and find out if Flexy is even still alive.
                I tell my mom I’m going back in and I’ll call her back soon. I’ve barely made it to the front door of the store when I see my dad come out and look around. I run into his arms and begin crying again and telling him it was so horrible and that I was freaked out and they kept telling me to hold her legs but there was blood and I just couldn’t. He tells me everything will be okay and I just don’t believe it.
                “Mary and another woman got the Banfield vet from the store to look at her. He is going to clean Flexy up and sow her up. Something must have gone wrong with her spay,” my dad tells me. We head into the store, me still sniffling and wiping the wet tears off my cheek. Mary comes over and tells me the vet is cleaning her up and taking care of her. She says that it will be okay and that I was very calm and brave. Mary introduces Sarah, her sister to my dad.
                Time goes by slowly, volunteers come up to talk to us and ask what happened as they can see my eyes are red from crying. Our cashier friend Kathleen comes over and gives me a hug. Everyone tells me I was in the ‘right place at the right time’ and so was Flexy. Sarah tells us that she could see Flexy’s eyes starting to glaze over. We all went into extreme rescue mode. It’s basically when the trauma doesn’t register in your brain; all you know is that this is an emergency situation and you need to act fast to save this cat’s life.
                The rescue head Barb tells us that something went wrong with Flexy’s suture, which is the thread they use to sow up animals after they’ve been spayed or neutered. She said it wasn’t uncommon for this to happen. I was thankful the vet said she would be okay. He put her under anesthetic and started to sew her back up. It’s such an awful thought; sewing a cat up after the organs fall out. The concept to me is foreign; shouldn’t needles and thread be for buttons?  Realizing Flexy will recover is a relief, but I still feel mortified at the event I’ve just witnessed. I call my mom back to let her know that everything is okay at the moment and that Flexy is in surgery and should be okay.
                More time goes by and the adoption event is over.  We still have three cats, none adopted and (thankfully) none dead. I thank my lucky stars and am glad Flexy is okay. Clearly, that used up one of her nine lives.  Barb brings her out in a carrier and I can see she is awake and aware that she is in the carrier. I can’t even believe how quickly she has bounced back from a shocking event. Still feeling sick to my stomach, we leave the event without Flexy, who has gone on to a different vet to be monitored for infection and Gary has gone back with his foster instead of us.
                For the rest of that night I thought about Flexy. And every thought lead to the river dam of tears to began to leak. I was so upset at having to see such a scary event happen. Flexy’s internal organs falling out did not register with me at all until after it happened. I’m thankful it happened at Petsmart and not when no one was around. I’m also thankful that I was there as well as the other volunteers, to save her life. I know volunteering is great work, because it allows us to adopt out animals and pull more from at-risk situations. I never imagined that I would literally save a life that night. Flexy’s story is one I will continue to tell, because I want people to understand how even though rescuing animals has its grim side, it’s always the welfare of the animals that matters the most; and that’s something that will never change.

See Flexy now: