Sunday, June 30, 2013

Spotlight Post - My Cat Related Summer

If you've been wondering where I've been, I have been lucky enough to be spending six weeks in beautiful Cool Cape May, New Jersey at my family's beach house - The Cool Cat Cottage. Our house is a rental house and you can find more information on our Facebook page (linked above).

Now, being away from my kitties for six weeks has been undeniably one of the hardest things of the summer, particularly with the sudden loss of our cat Sabrina last week (read about it in my latest post here). I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a wonderful blogging community as well as friends, family and neighbors -- both at home and in Cape May -- which has allowed me to fondly remember Sabrina while being able to stay strong in Cape May.

Our sweet little Sabrina.
But....don't think I haven't been without any kitty companionship these past few weeks while I've been here! If you follow me on my other blog - Cape May Chick, you may have read about some of my cat related activities. I have been lucky enough to volunteer at Animal Outreach of Cape May County (AOCMC), which has been a wonderful and stress-relieving experience. I typically spend almost every Friday of the year volunteering with my local rescue - Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, so having the ability to volunteer in Cape May is excellent. Volunteering is typically something I do with my family, so I have had the opportunity to branch out my skills by going over to the animal center to volunteer.

Cuddles at Animal Outreach.
While I am at Animal Outreach, I not only play with all of the cats, but I help with the socializing, feeding and cleaning of the litter boxes (who says you can't scoop on vacation)! Spending the time with the cats was always important to me, but particularly after Sabrina died, I needed some sort of cat outlet in addition to my creative writing outlet.

Let me tell you about Animal Outreach. It is a beautiful, volunteer run 501(c)(3) nonprofit rescue. They are located at 600 Park Blvd in West Cape May, NJ. This location is only temporarily, as they have purchased a piece of land not too far away in which they plan to build an animal sanctuary.

Nigel appreciates me spending time with him!
Like all future projects, the new building will take time. Hopefully they will be able to get the facility built within the next few years. They will also be able to house dogs at the building too.

Holding Scully, a very scared girl who had just surrendered.
Martha in a box.
Left: dad with Oliver - Right top: new kitten Rachel, below is her brother Michael ;)
I had an amazing time volunteering at Animal Outreach while I have been on vacation. Even though it was only for about 5 weeks of volunteering, I went plenty of times and always had fun. And it was awesome to get to meet the volunteers who make this rescue all possible. I know from my experience that it couldn't be done without them!

I will enjoy staying on their email list and seeing who is there. I will certainly miss the cats I have met that are still around and hope that they get adopted! And of course, I can't wait to go up to Cape May in the off season and play with all of the kitties!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Remembering Sabrina 5/11/09 - 6/10/13

Dear Sabrina,

I’m sitting here in Cape May and it is pouring; the rain matches the tears streaming down my face. I can’t believe you got so sick this past week. I don’t understand because you’re so young, four years young. I’m, so glad we got to spend these past three years with you, my little espresso Bean.  I remember it was Christmas time when we were volunteering with Lost Dog. Mom, dad and I have such a soft spot for black cats, we all wanted to hold and cuddle with you.

Sabrina on her typical shoulder pose - at Lost Dog before we brought her home.
Trying to get you adopted around Christmas time - we fell in love with you.

It doesn't matter what was in here, you wanted to taste it.
Dad took you out first and you immediately wrapped your paws around his shoulders and held on for dear life. And little did I know, he held back tight on to you, hoping to take you home. But you were up for adoption and we already had five cats. That was December 17, 2009. I took some pictures of you in a Christmas collar to put on the rescue website to help get you adopted. That was the first week we met you. The second week you came back and you were the first and only cat dad held – for the whole adoption event.  We talked jokingly about fostering you, but felt that we couldn’t with five cats because we would be tempted to keep you.

I bought a new pink fluffy bed, just for you!

Week 3 of adoption events, I filled out the foster form and you came home with us. Dad and I wouldn’t take no for an answer, so mom had to go along with it! You stayed in my room and I knew that you weren’t going to go home. And on January 1, 2010, you became Shubin cat #6.

Your tail over Uncle Henry's tail

Sleeping with Uncle Henry

My sweet Beanie

Your little round face just makes me smile

Posing next to a statue, you're so gorgeous.

After stealing dad's cookie!

Should we send you away to be embroidered?

You easily earned your Sabrina, Espresso Bean, Beanie nick names. Especially after we learned how much you loved carbohydrates. Stealing a cookie off of dad’s plate, sticking your head in bowls and plates, stealing bread crust off plates and my favorite - taking a piece of string cheese OUT OF MY MOUTH (and I digress, I let you because it made me laugh). You came at a time in my life where I needed cats more than ever as I suffered through my anxiety and depression that was not easy to shake.

Grandpa Lester had died November 20, 2009, and he loved cats and especially the black ones. Dad felt like it was a sign from grandpa that you showed up. It almost made it easier to tell grandma that we adopted a sixth cat, because we thought grandpa sent her to us.  

Right off the bat we knew you must have been fed people food, because you so daintily helped yourself to crust off my plate, a cookie of dad’s plate and the cheese out of my mouth. We didn’t’ want to stop you because you loved those carbs so much. We also couldn’t get you to eat the regular cat food, so for a long time you were the only cat getting fancy feast.

Your face on a cookie for dad's birthday

Nomming on Passover Matzah

My adoption contract indicates you're in default of the breakfast clause.

I do feel like you had a good life being upstairs, even though you were afraid to leave the room because of Brooke. But getting to hang out with your sister Piper must have been nice. And even your uncle Henry and auntie Pearl liked to visit.  It’s sad that there will only be one black cat dining in the back cat cafĂ©, but I hope you’re enjoying kitty heaven with all the fancy feast, an endless supply of milk top toys (the good real ones, not the crappy reproductions) and treats galore – say hi to Ashley, Marsh, Parker, May and Abby, Frack, Lewis and Michele for me. And of course the others too.
Table for 2 black cats & a calico in the Black Cat Cafe. 


Helping me with Homework.

There are so many things we will miss about you. Your love for carbohydrates, that swishy tail we never knew if it meant a bite was coming or you were happy, your broken purr box and the occasional purr; playing with your milk tops, your Beanie chirping sounds and whistle purr, how you would swat us so you could be petted, how you lie on mom in the morning and poke her hand if she didn’t pat you, being a little voyeur in the bathroom while showers were being take, how I snuck upstairs at Passover to give you Matzah and you love it, your crazy little face when you heard the mice, how you’re the Katie Couric of cats because you’re cute, how you bite dad when he pats you but then grab his hand to rub the side of your face, how you loved to be held over dad’s shoulders and dug in with your little paws and claws.

I love picking you up and cuddling you, when you make your Beanie sounds and steal cookies. I will miss wondering whether your tail is happy swishy or angry swishy.

Goodbyes are always so hard, but this was different since I wasn’t there. I’m glad I got to Face Time with you while I was in Cape May.  I hope you know that I bought a bracelet that says Sabrina on it, and I’ve been wearing it ever since. I miss you an incredible amount and am glad that I picked you up and gave you a hug and squeeze before I left for vacation.  So frolic up in the stairs with all the other angel pets and take good care of them.

My promise to you, Beanie Sabrina Bean Bot, is that I will continue to do animal rescue & work ever so hard to get those special black cats adopted. I will continue to give our cats a lot of love and help your sister Piper to get some courage to live outside of your room & help get Henry feeling better and fight his diabetes.
You’ll always hold a special place in our hearts and I hope you tell grandpa that you were really his fault and that it’s now your time to be with him, a fellow avid back cat lover.

We were so lucky to spend three of your four short years here <3 

Love forever and always,


Rest In Peace 
Sabrina Alice Shubin 5/11/09 - 6/10/13

Update -- 6/27/13 -- I found a milk top on the beach, I think it was most definitely a sign from sweet little Sabrina! She has milk tops in heaven :)