Categories
Animals Canada Cats Pets Rescue kitten Sophia

Sophia (Rescue Kitten) turns 1. Flashbacks.

Presenting Sophia–our Rescue Kitten from Port McNeill area on northern Vancouver Island.

Photos posted of Sophia which won my heart.

After speaking with the family who had located Sophia, her mother, and her sisters and brothers; we drove the 350 km distance north west up island to adopt this little waif. The kittens had been rescued from the woods of rural Port McNeill, where sadly they had been dumped!

Reflecting back now, we really knew such a minimal amount about Sophia’s background and the initial weeks after her birth. Sophia won my heart immediately and I wanted to protect her! We named her after Sofia (Sophia) Loren. This tiny kitten was so attractive and had markings similar to eye liner near her eyes reminding me of this beautiful Italian actress who wore a trademark of ample eye liner.

Travel was challenging because Sophia was very anxious and meowed pitifully. Once we arrived at her new home she explored, burrowed under things and eventually fell asleep.

Sophia shortly after we adopted her. Aged approximately 2 months.

The first few months were a transition for Sophia and us! We saw several different vets as Sophia had quite severe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from her short life experiences prior to us. We sure wished we had more information to assist her transition and help her feel less anxious.

Sophia’s first few months!

Sophia was prescribed daily anti anxiety medication as well as using a Feliway Diffuser to assist keeping her more calm. Sophia was extremely dependent on me and would get very fearful if I departed from her sight.

Sophia during the first few months

Luckily, I had recently retired so I could focus my attention on Sophia’s emotional development. She was slowly expanding her circle of adults she trusted, but was still angrily scratching and meowing to escape outdoors. More vet consultations determined that Sophia was NOT intended to be solely an indoor cat. She was spayed early at 4 months, with the goal that by 4 1/2 months she could be introduced to the outdoors.

Her first taste of freedom was sweet!

Sophia’s first introduction to the outdoor world

I was worried that Sophia might run away, but she did not! She raced around the yard in ecstasy leaping, smelling, racing up trees, and experiencing her new freedom!

From 4 1/2 months of age, Sophia officially became an indoor/outdoor cat. During rainy, windy weather she tends to stay indoors more. During late Spring, Summer, and early Autumn, Sophia spends more time outdoors. We reside in an area with lots of forest, and our immediate neighbors love Sophia!

Sophia likes to be around us and “help”. October

Sophia checks in with us multiple times a day and usually comes when she is called. Initially she was fearful of other cats and animals, but her curiosity generally wins out. Sophia loves to watch Mark work and is always very curious and helpful!

Sophia is super curious and loves to “help” Mark.

She is also learning to trust more people and her affectionate side is developing. Sophia clearly trusts and adores my son Alexander.

Sophia and Alexander have a special bond.

Sophia’s curiosity is endless and her antics keep us entertained ! After 6-7 months of age her anxiety started reducing and we were able to slowly withdraw all medical supports. She continues to be fearful of more than about 5-6 people at a time, loud noises, and unknown or unfamiliar things. We love her and she is definitely a much loved member of our household. Even her excessive scratching is ever so slowly decreasing!

Sophia and Mark watching the snow…

Sophia was truly fascinated by snow and had a fabulous time tunneling and high stepping through it on our deck and in the yard. But she was also quick to run back inside to get warm and dry!

Sophia’s first snow encounter!

This video highlights the second half of Sophia’s first year with us!

Sophia aged 6 months to 1 year!

Happy 1st Birthday Sophia! You have come a long, long way baby!

The next blog posts will focus on hiking and kayaking adventures around mid Vancouver Island. Stay safe and keep smiling my friends.

Categories
Canada Caring for Humanity Cats Knitting Rescue kitten Vancouver Island

Blankets 4 Canada. How to help from your home.

I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities, freedom, and standard of life we experience living in Canada.

However, people’s journeys in life vary and not all are as fortunate as I am. There are so many ways to be kind and support others. This global pandemic reaffirms the importance of being kind, calm, respectful and understanding towards humanity.

While respecting social distancing, you can join an organization like “Blankets for Canada” where volunteers purchase their own wool and knit or crochet squares to create blankets which are anonymously donated throughout your community.

Creating my first “Blanket for Canada”

There are rules about the types of wool, colours, weight of yarn, size of squares, etc. You may select to just create squares and drop them off at a local pick up location, or create squares and sew them together prior to dropping off a completed blanket. A member from the not-for-profit registered organization checks the blankets, attaches a label, and drops off blankets at multiple locations including: Women’s Safe Shelters, Men’s Shelters, Salvation Army hostels, or city homeless street people.

https://blankets4canada.ca/ This is the Blankets for Canada link if you are interested.

Upon reading about this organization in a community newspaper, I joined the Nanaimo chapter as one of a team of members knitting or crocheting squares to improve the quality of life for struggling community members. Winters are cold and wet here. In addition to giving warmth, our goal is to offer love and hope.

So the knitting vigil began. Sophia (8 month rescue kitten) watched beside me sometimes playing with the wool or sitting on the blanket so I couldn’t knit!

Sophia watching the action!

While working on each square I contemplated the person who might receive this gift. I hoped they knew they were loved, important, and cared about. The squares accumulated and as I neared the goal of 48, I made the decision to also sew them together and complete the entire blanket myself!

So….Off I went to visit one of the head organizers for the Nanaimo branch of Blankets for Canada and received a lesson in organizing squares effectively and techniques to sew them together. My mentor was extremely helpful and encouraging.

Here is a short video of the Blankets for Canada process

The process to create a “Blanket for Canada”

It took an additional couple of weeks to organize the patterns and sew all 48 squares together…with Sophia’s assistance (of course).

When the blanket was completed I added a personal message. A couple of my friends had previously spent time at a Safe House while dealing with domestic violence. I requested the blanket be given to somebody at a Women’s Safe House and heard it was delivered to Haven House. I have no idea who received it, but I hope she feels loved and cared about.

The first 25 squares are knitted for blanket number 2. It will be ready for delivery when covid safety protocols open up again later this year.

If you have spare time during Covid lockdown, this is one idea of a project which could offer hope and love to another individual. Keep safe and optimistic my friends.

Northern Vancouver Island, Mt. Washington skiing, and Sophia assists with house renovations are the next blog posts coming soon.

Categories
Animals Canada Cats Rescue kitten Vancouver Island Winter Snow

Sophia’s Introduction to Snow! (Rescue Kitten)

Flashback to our first snow fall on Vancouver Island this season. This blog post is dedicated to our rescue kitten, Sophia, as she experiences snow for the first time.

Sophia’s first snow season!

Although initially dubious and slightly hesitant to immerse her paws and body in the cold white substance, she quickly embraced the experience tunneling through the snow and even playing with little snowballs. Here’s a short video of her very first reaction to snow!

Sophia’s very first reactions to snow.

During the next few days, the snow continued building slowly. Unlike the majority of areas in Canada, on Vancouver Island our durations of snow are short lived. When the powdery snow arrives, we embrace the beautiful winter wonderland knowing that usually within a few days it will melt and disappear.

January on Vancouver Island — We usually have snow for part of the month.

Sophia had mixed reactions during the snowfall time. She was very curious often watching the snow fall from the doorway, but she also increased her burrowing activity hiding in bags and strange locations.

Rescue kitten anxiety still flares at times

Sophia was fascinated by the falling snowflakes.

Sophia watching the snow

The snow decided to grace us with its presence for a few days as the centimeters increased steadily on our sundeck and around our neighborhood. We parked our vehicles at the top of our little hill as snowplows are rarely required here and cul de sacs are the last to be cleared when a snowfall does occur.

January snowfall in Nanaimo

The moon was full and the winter wonderland was quite magical so we decided to venture out for a walk around our neighborhood in Nanaimo, mid Vancouver Island.

Winter wonderland!

Snow continued falling throughout the night and the following morning Sophia ventured out to explore the sundeck. Her confidence towards this unknown substance had grown and she was now jumping, pouncing, tunneling, and playing with the snow. Her reactions and playful antics brought such wonder and happiness to us all.

So darn cute!

We thoroughly enjoyed our week or so of snow in January and Sophia became very adept at maneuvering through it without snowshoes or skis. Here is a short video of some highlights from her explorations in our yard on Vancouver Island, B.C.

Sophia becomes a snow loving kitten!

As quickly as it arrived, the weather warmed up and the snow melted making way for our next new adventures.

Future blog posts will include: Blankets for Canada, wolves at North Island Wildlife Recovery Center, Sophia helps with house renovations, and Harbour City Newcomers Club adventures. Keep safe and keep optimistic my friends.

Categories
Adventure Animals Canada Cats Pets Rescue kitten

Sophia’s Freedom (4-6 months)

Based on estimates from several veterinarians, Sophia’s probable birth was late May. We adopted this little rescue kitten when she was approximately 7 weeks of age after she was discovered in the woods near Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island. Sophia’s markings are quite unique and gorgeous. Her cat coloring is classified as a blue diluted Tortie with white.

Little Sophia. Aged 4 months.

Sophia continues to suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and can be aggressive and anxious; but she is learning to trust and adapt to our family and neighborhood.

Her snuggles are becoming more frequent and she truly melts our hearts. One moment she is fascinated watching water drip through a drain, the next she is burrowing and hiding.

But whether Sophia is curious or timid, playful or resting, aggressive or calm; she is always amusing and unpredictable.

Sophia’s happy place is definitely outside exploring the yard and climbing trees. So with her recent freedom (at aged 4 1/2 months) to explore the outdoors, came the responsibility of wearing a collar and a bell! She was not impressed!

We started with a safety quick-release collar with no bell. After several attempts, she eventually decided to leave it on and not rip it off anymore. Next, we introduced a safety quick-release collar with a bell attached. It took persistence, and eventually she gave in to wearing that collar too.

Sophia exploring the bushes and trees in our yard.

Sophia has long, incredibly sharp claws (trust me!) and a light muscular body. She leaps up fence panels and literally nearly flies through the air at times. She seems quite fearless outside in nature.

Look carefully at the trunk of the Hemlock tree… Sophia is camouflaged in her position to the left of the tallest silver ladder. She zipped up the tree with her legs spread-eagled apart at an incredible speed. At approximately 5 metres from the ground, her pace slowed and she stopped holding on to the tree trunk. Then she proceeded in reversing by backing down (spread eagled) until about 2 metres from the ground, turned her body around still attached to the tree, then jumped down head first to land on the ground. She has clearly done this before, or has incredible survival instincts!

Sophia is always curious and wanting to be included when we work in the yard.

Whenever we work around the yard, Sophia thinks it is playtime and she happily races around the yard and climbs trees near us. She seems to have a playful sense of humour. She loves to hide, then leap out and tag me on the leg (no claws)or hide in a tree and tap me on the head if I am gardening below her. She is also getting quite interactive with my husband and adult son.

Sophia helping out with kitchen renovations!

Sophia is always curious and her trust has grown to the level where she now investigates whatever we are involved with. Sometimes we end up with extra little white paw prints in unexpected areas!

All this activity can be quite exhausting for a 5-6 month old kitten. She is such an expressive, cute little sleeper!

My adult son, Alexander, returned home to Canada after living/working in Bangkok, Thailand for 6 years. Thankfully, he arrived home just prior to the Covid pandemic! Sophia’s circle now extends to my husband and I, Alexander, my mother, and the neighborhood deer.

Our home and street in Nanaimo

Having my son home opened up the freedom for my husband and I to escape south to Mexico! Little did we know this would be our final International trip for an unknown duration due to the Covid 19 global pandemic. Playa del Carmen, Mexico here we come!!!

Mexico here we come! (Prior to Covid!)

Categories
Animals Canada Cats Pets Rescue kitten

The Arrival of Sophia (Rescue Kitten)

During a period of time when our home was undergoing substantial renovations/updates, I saw online photos of a tiny kitten recently rescued from the forest up around Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island. My heart swelled with maternal love. I knew I needed to adopt this tiny creature.

After phone calls and a hasty drive 4 hours north, we adopted this tiny waif on the spot. We named her Sophia as we were quite taken by her beauty and the “eyeliner” look around one eye. People commented….She is so beautiful and sweet.

It did not take long for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to show its colours. She was terrified of overhead revolving fans…most men…and multiple things she encountered.

Her personality would change instantly from an intense need to be around me (I guess I became the surrogate mom) to racing around biting and destroying things. Challenging, was a mild prognosis. But I loved her from the moment we met. I have abundant love and patience and I believed she was worth the effort. Besides, she was so darn cute and had a tail like a monkey!

The drive back down Vancouver Island from Port Hardy to Nanaimo was a prediction of what lay ahead! She meowed endlessly in panic trying to hide until finally she fell asleep tucked into a blanket on my lap. It was a long, slow 390 km trip home! Thankfully, she was toilet trained!

Once Sophia arrived home, she explored everywhere! In spite of her tiny size, she was strong and coordinated. She raced up and down the stairs, jumping up and climbing up, on anything she could find. But at regular intervals she checked in, and was immediately anxious if I was out of her eye range. One of Sophia’s favorite tricks, if I wasn’t giving her enough attention, was to sit on top of my laptop screen until she managed to close the lid then look up at me.

Sophia continued to be extremely worried, anxious, and aggressive at times. In addition to consistency, and lots of time and love; 3 different veterinarians agreed she needed to use a Feliway pheromone diffuser, Zylkene medication, and calming chews to assist her ability to cope and calm down.

We tried them all. Some helped for awhile. (After she was spayed and started spending time outside and inside, we were able to reduce to only using the pheromone diffuser.)

All 3 vets agreed upon Sophia’s probable birthdate. Their best guess was that Sophia was about 7 weeks of age when we “adopted” her. Sophia’s markings are classified as a blue dilute Tortie with white. She is a domestic short haired cat. While a kitten, Sophia was non stop active until she crashed, then she fell asleep in the funniest positions!

Sophia is always curious and has an insatiable appetite for exploring and experiencing new things. We were quite stunned one evening as we watched a documentary about Africa, when Sophia jumped up and watched the entire show from a front row seat! She was not frightened of the animals or sounds. She even moved her body as the animals moved on the screen.

After a couple of months together, Sophia continues to be curious and her trust of humans is evolving–even letting me cuddle her periodically. Her coat is becoming lush and the rest of her body is catching up to her incredibly long tail! She loves napping beside me with her front paws over my leg and playing peek a boo from inside any type of bag.

Sophia’s instinctive desire to be outside increased as she aged past 3 months. She sat at the window meowing to go outside and she was becoming more aggressive trying to escape outside. I had been advised by several vets to get her spayed early and allow her outside access.

So….Each day I put Sophia in the travel carrier and we went to different areas of the yard. While I worked in the garden she would be beside me in the travel carrier. I spoke to her and introduced different things from around the yard into her box. She loved chewing grass and playing with pinecones, small apples, etc. Initially our visits only lasted about 5-10 minutes before she got restless and noisy. Eventually, she grew to enjoy her outdoor time and most daily visits lasted about 30-45 minutes.

As soon as she was 4 months old, Sophia had her surgery. We waited the advised time after surgery and exactly 2 weeks later Sophia (aged 4 1/2 months) experienced freedom!

I must confess I was quite worried that as soon as she was given outdoor freedom, she would run away. But her reaction was pure bliss! I carried her out into the yard in her travel carrier as I had done so many times in the previous month. But today, instead of opening the door after returning inside….I opened it by her favorite location near the sunny retaining wall.

Her reaction was priceless! First she peeked her head outside the carrier. Next she exited the carrier and stood beside me. She was there looking around for a minute or so…and then she raced! With her tail fluffed out and head high she raced as fast as possible all around the yard. She leaped through the air.

She ascended our 120 foot tall Helmlock trees to about 5 metres up, faster than any logger I’ve ever watched in Logging Contests! I thought… Oh no! How will we get her down? Then, she independently backed down to about 2 metres above the ground, turned and jumped to the ground. She was ecstatic! I thought she would leap up the fence and depart.

Sophia stayed within the confines of our large yard–at least for today. Most importantly, she kept checking in with us and returned home for dinner. We all slept soundly that night. At 4 1/2 months of age our rescue kitten is now officially an indoor/outdoor kitty.